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  1. ((Caraadian colony, Devron, civilian sector)) ::What happens behind the inner city walls of Devron was a question nobody knew the answer on. Only the nobles and the servants knew that but everyone was afraid to ask. The locals had to live with rumors, yet they way they have to live is decided behind those walls. Kali grew up in the city of Devron. He wasn't a noble, nor did he live in extreme poverty. All he knew was that this little land piece was keeping his family alive for ages. He pulls out a few Tasoul (vegetable) and places them in a full crate and looks around if he can see his younger brother:: Kali: Marw where are you? ::Marw is the youngest of the bunch:: Marw: ::sighs:: comming... ::walking slowly, not ever in a hurry:: one done already Kali: ::he hands him the crate with vegetables:: If you take these inside than Verta can try to sell them again. ::Verta was their older sister which was running their family shop and every other day Kali and Marw would sell their fruits and vegetables on the local market. Selling their goods to the Caradiaan nobles and never getting paid enough. This was the way they had to live, yet life here had been peaceful, until now.:: Kali: did you hear the rumors? ::Kali walked toward his sister Verta:: Verta: ::grins:: which of the many? Kali: ::he whispers in a nasty tone:: about the Valcarians? Marw: ::slow and annoyed:: why even bother yourself with stuff like that? It has nothing to do with us.... ::He couldn't care less about what would happen with the city.:: Verta: ::she frowns:: of course it does. The Caradiaan and Valcarian nobles seem to be on the verge of a war. Their decisions will affect our lives too Marw. Kali: and we don't get to hear anything except for rumors, probably spread by the Caradiaan or Valcarian nobles themselves. ::Kali sat down:: ::Marw rolls with his eyes and walks away towards the other room:: Kali ::to Marw:: We'll head out to the market tomorrow morning. Perhaps the old marketman knows a bit more. ::He hears Marw growl a little bit. Kali sighs and and closes his eyes for a moment:: oO I wonder how mother is doing Oo ::Their mother, Merhil, was the only one from their family that got to work as a servant for the noble family of Caradiaan. A few days after their father's death, their mother went to work as a servant and they haven't seen her ever since. Kali would do anything to get inside those walls, inside that building just to see this mom again. He had tried sneaking in many times before, but all in vain. His big sister was "playing" mother for a long time and now that they all grew up she was trying her best to run the small shop. Marw, on the other hand, grew sad after their mother left. Everything was meaningless in his eyes and Kali didn't know how to open his brother's eyes. They had to work together but they've never been so separated before. A few moments later he drifts off in a dream about a better place without nobles and where mothers could be mothers again instead of servants:: ============================= MSNPC's Kali (Marw & Verta) Caradiaan Civilians, farmers and shop owners. as simmed by: Lieutenant JG. Femi Cattan Chief Nursing Officer, USS Atlantis Z239308FC0 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Femi_Cattan
  2. ((Main Operations Room, Orbital Starport, Devron Planet)) ::The Imperial Advisor was there, looking at a giant holographic screen for almost an entire hour, motionless eye’s balls, hands tied up at his back, column perfectly straightened. Around himself, a busy operation room, with several Valcarian officers and servants walking around fulfilling their roles. It was not clear if he was sleeping standing or giving a show of discipline for everyone else. :: Tar’Kahrs: Sir! ::the chief officer spoke:: The federation shuttle just docked. Sam’Yasin: ::without moving a muscle:: Everything is setup as I requested? Tar’Kahrs: Affirmative! Several agents of the empire were deployed as common traders throughout the entire stations. ::checking some readouts:: Our scans on their unit revealed that they brought several kind of weapons and equipment but they would remain on the shuttle. ::The Valcarian representative of the Empire nodded in satisfaction. If everything went as he planned that inspection team would be leaving his station in less than a hour.:: Sam’Yasin: I thought it is for our best interest to allow them to remain with their communication devices. ::turning around and heading to the chief office’s position:: However, during the searching on the arrival, deploy the agent Atew’ahq to phreak their devices. This way we could monitor their communications and track their movements. Tar’Kahrs: Right away, excellency! ((A couple of minutes later)) ((Docking Port Three)) ::A small squad of Valcarian soldiers was guarding the docking port when the Starfleet officers disembarked. Agent Atew’ahq was a female officer of intelligence and was waiting for them.:: Atew’ahq: This is the Valcarian orbiting Starport of Devron planet. ::forcing a smile:: Danara: Response Atew’ahq: In the name of our beloved Imperial Advisor, Lord Sam’Yasin, I welcome you to the station. Danara/Logan/McKnight:: Responses Atew’ahq: Please step into this line and let your commbadges over the desk. ::pointing to the table:: You will step orderly, one at the time, through the scanning arc. ::walking out of the way:: As an act of generosity and confidence from our Lord Advisor, you will be allowed to use your communicators, and only that, during your time with us. Danara/Logan/McKnight:: Responses ((Main Operations Room)) ::The Valcarian was watching the arrival of the Starfleet officers through a hidden camera when his studies were interrupted abruptly. :: Au’Err: Lord Advisor! ::tremble voice:: Sam’Yasin: Yes! Au’Err: We just detected that the Federation had tapped at our decoy communication channel. ::Sam’Yasin was warned about Starfleet ingenuity and resourcefulness. He was very worried about if they would try to crack their communications or not and had set up a decoy to be discovered. With that move, he now knew that they were not there just for mediation but to interfere with the interests of the Valcarian Empire. That could not be allowed.:: Sam’Yasin: The main communications are safe? Au’Err: Affirmative. Sam’Yasin: Your life is depending on that, officer. ::he moved toward the main station:: Open a fleet-wide channel and brought Atlantis to it. Put our Captains on alert. ::Few minutes later the clean-looking bridge of Atlantis showed. They seemed a little surprised, either by that call or by his Valcarian looking. Anyway, it was time of some power struggle.:: TBC MSPNPC Sam’Yasin Valcarian Imperial Advisor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ as played by Lieutenant JG Christopher Lambert Science Officer | Physicist USS Atlantis D239306CL0
  3. This scene was originally written through seven individual sims by @Sky Blake and @Evan Delano: "Working on a day off" (Blake), "Best Guess" (Delano), "Blakonian inquisition" (Blake), "Speculation and Suspicion" (Delano), "Her modern man" (Blake), "Balanced” (Delano), and "Not used to it yet" (Blake). It is presented in its completed form below. ((Astrometrics, USS Veritas)) ::Stellar cartography had become second nature once Sierra had kicked her training off way back when. While she was waiting for the duty shift to change, for Sick Bay to be ready for her, for the captain to have had a reasonable amount of caffeine, she asked the cartography assistant for use of primary lab.:: ::There was a tingling sensation in the back of her skull when she'd heard the doors to the lab open.:: Delano: Hello, Commander. :: Evan was in the middle of his evening rounds when he was called down to astrometrics. After the Antor II mission, the senior staff had agreed to reduced work loads for most of the crew, at least for a while, which meant that most nights, as Evan was going through his end of day checklist, much of the ship felt practically abandoned. :: :: Of course, as surprised as he was to receive the call, he was more surprised by that person’s identity. He’d known Commander Blake was due back on board - he’d personally arranged for her new quarters - but he’d expected the captain to make some kind of formal announcement once their former first officer had returned to Veritas. Perhaps that would still be coming. :: ::Sky glanced back over her shoulder before turning fully to face her visitor.:: Blake: Lieutenant. ::She greeted.:: It's good to see you again. :: Evan nodded, offering a professional smile as he stepped into the room and accessed one of the center consoles. :: Delano: And you, Commander. Blake: I'd heard you'd taken a commission again. Welcome back to the Starfleet fold. Delano: Thanks. And welcome back to Veritas. :: Evan resisted the urge to tug at the collar of his uniform and instead kept his fingers busy by starting a diagnostic. :: Delano: I hope you don’t mind me doing a little work, since I’m here. I’ve been wanting to run a level 2 diagnostic on the sensors for a few days. :: beat :: How was your time away? Blake: I was sent back to Shadow's Edge, actually. I'm part of the ranger division now - though I'm on my own until such time Starfleet sends a specific commander for me to report to, other than Rahman of course. ::Rangers, though trained to work and survive on their own, technically came in groups of four or more. But given that Starfleet resources and officers were at a stretch with border protection on the *other* side of Tholian space - combine that with the Cardassians and the neutral zone, what few rangers there were, given that they were only a relatively new division of Starfleet, had their hands full elsewhere. Sending a whole Platoon wasn't possible, and sending them one by one would take months, if not years, for the platoon to come together. ::Evidently, her time on Shadow's Edge wasn't all for naught, for a Rangers unit was indeed being set up, with Shei'saur reporting additional officers following in their footsteps. Or, more accurately, two officers had been sent to Meridian (not far enough along the Mother Road to be helpful, in the Brekkazoid's humble opinion) following Sky's request for additional support within the Shoals. They'd be there in about six months, assuming they weren't asked to turn around and go back after only two months travel following some ridiculous fleet-wide emergency. To which they'd also be late for. ::The Shoals acted like a double edge sword in that regard.:: :So long as she was on Veritas or in the vicinity of Veritas, Rahman was her commanding officer.:: :: Evan nodded again. The computer was doing its thing: running the Veritas’ complex array of sensor palettes through an automated calibration procedure and a range of diagnostic tests that would show even a slight misalignment. When he was satisfied it wouldn’t need additional input from him - at least for a few minutes - the operations officer refocused his attention on Blake. :: Delano: Given what we’ve just been through on Antor, I imagine the captain will appreciate having a ranger on board. Are you hitching a ride, or are you planning to be around for a while? Blake: Until such time there's a unit for me to report to, I'm here on a more permanent basis. Which brings me to why I called you here. :: She gestured towards the large screen at the center of the room, where a course towards the Mother Road was being displayed just shy of Antor. :: Blake: I'm actually following two suspects from a pirate attack back on Shadow's Edge that slipped through the Edge's border security. They were headed towards Antor, but no Marshal outpost in the area found the vessel I was tracking - not that they've reported, at least. It's entirely possible that they jumped ship or headed in another direction, but . . . I don't know. :: Evan stepped towards the screen and away from his working console. :: Delano: I’m not surprised you’ve lost them. Everything’s so slow out here - same reason we can’t get a solid lead on Jilor. :: He turned to her and raised an inquisitive eyebrow - a Vulcan mannerism he’d picked up during his time on Seheik. :: Delano: Are you looking for my input? Blake: Well, next to the general staff, you're most experienced here in the Shoals - I was hoping I could borrow your insight. The survivor of the attack wasn't willing to divulge his smuggler routes, and I can't figure out where supposedly pirate killers would run off to towards the Mother Road. The only place of importance I can think of is Outpost 3, but the place is a wreck right now. It's of no use to any outlaw faction in its current state. Delano: Hm. :: Evan crossed his arms over his chest as he examined the sectors displayed on screen as Sky stepped back just a bit, out of his way. There really wasn’t much to see. :: Delano: Well, I know there’s at least one class-M world between Antor and Shadow’s Edge if you decide to fly direct and avoid the Mother Road. I can’t remember the name of the system… Blake: You're suggesting they're not concerned with travel times. :: The display shifted to show the star system in question. It was a binary star system with 16 planets and several hundred smaller dwarf planets and asteroids. :: Delano: There it is. The Lucian system. ::More importantly, a star system she was unfamiliar with.:: Delano: As I recall, Starfleet made first contact with the natives about 30 years ago - a few months after the Lucians broke the warp barrier. We received a polite but cold reception. And, as far as I know, we’ve never been invited back. Rumor is that the Lucians are quite xenophobic. Blake: Tholians would get along with them well. ::She muttered.:: Could marshals at least find them? Delano: Well, if your pirates managed to get into the system without being detected, they’d have plenty of places to lie low. Proximity to the Shadows and the fact that Outpost 3 isn’t exactly up to spec would probably be an added bonus. Blake: Essentially hidden from view. ::She sighed.:: Delano: That’s my best guess. Of course, if I’m right, I’m not sure what you can do about it. The Federation doesn’t have a formal relationship with the Lucians, and any probe or starship we send into their system would almost certainly be seen as a threat. Blake: Even if I wanted to, we'd have to wait for confirmation from both the Coalition and the Diplomatic Corps for the go-ahead, and I don't see that happening. It's a waiting game from this point on. Delano: Sorry, Commander. Wish I had better news for you. Blake: No, this is good. I appreciate it. If I can coax some marshals at least *around* that area, they might be able to catch them for me. ::Her hand scrubbed at her cheek, taking a deeper breath.:: Also means I'll have to ask the guys on Outpost 3 to start sensor sweeps when they're able, lest they become a target once they're up and running again. ::Tristam Core was probably going to love that just as much as he will putting the small station back together from nothing with only a handful of Ketar V construction workers and a sole security officer working with him.:: Delano: That’s probably a good idea. After Antor, I’m not sure anything out here is safe. If we’re lucky, things will die down for a while, but I wouldn’t count on it. Blake:::shaking her head:: It's been a busy few months. But now that we're leaving what I call 'familiar territory', it's just going to get more hectic. We had a bad political rap when we arrived and started Operation Safe Harbor, let alone now, after what happened at Antor. Delano: Even among the Reya-Laialara, Starfleet’s reputation is… well, somewhat tarnished compared to the way it’s viewed through the rest of the Federation. :: He shrugged. :: Delano: It’s hard to blame them. Starfleet’s presence out here has been minimal for decades. A lot of people feel like they’ve been abandoned. And as hard as Veritas has been working to make things better, one ship seems like a token effort. :: The conversation died for a moment, and Evan looked up from the diagnostic results he’d been skimming to see Blake looking at him with an expression he couldn’t quite read. :: Blake: Lieutenant, I have a question that I've been pondering since the crew's change over. :: His eyebrow crept up before he could stop it. :: Delano: I’ll answer if I can. Blake: Why didn't Veritas know you were in the area? I know you ceased to report in, but . . . any resource in the area, we could have used. I'm not sure I understand why Federation Security kept you hidden from us. :: His expression tightened as he thought back to the double life he’d led for almost a year. Disgraced Starfleet officer looking to find some kind of emotional balance between his Vulcan and human halves. And, a Federation Security agent, secretly spying and reporting on an insular, allusive, possibly dangerous religious sect operating in one of the most inaccessible parts of the quadrant. In the end, his conscience had got the better of him and he'd made the decision to stop spying, joining the Reya-Laialara in his heart months after he'd joined them through words. He'd only reestablished contact with the Federation when one of the Shadow's Edge pirate factions stole a cargo bay full of photon torpedoes. :: Delano: Honestly, I don’t know. Though I have my suspicions. :: Evan had his suspicions about most things. Whether intuition or subconscious deduction, he couldn't say. Nor could he say how many of these thoughts were accurate. :: ::She frowned a little.:: Blake: If you don't mind my prying . . . ? Delano: It might have been a matter of jurisdiction. Federation Security operates independently of Starfleet, maybe they didn’t want Veritas involved. Or maybe it was just a security thing - keeping the people who knew about my assignment to a minimum. ::beat:: Captain Carrero might have known. Blake: Possibly. ::If Carrero had known, the likelihood was that she'd at least inform Zhou - the crew had to separate on numerous occasions to get the job done. It wasn't necessarily a tactic Rahman employed today, nor would Sky recommend employing it after Carrero's death, but the assurance was everyone (or, at least, the command pair) was in the know of all that was happening in the area. ::Zhou had been clueless about Delano being in the Shoals, to the point where Tai had even attempted to press her for information about Delano to either set his mind at ease or to fuel the growing irritation at a flawed system. ::It had been easy for Sky to compare Delano to herself, if only in certain areas. And though she had absolutely no right to pry or question Rahman's confidence in Delano, or Delano's relationship with the ship's XO, that Mei'konda seemed comfortable and confident around the Vulcan had been enough to set Sky's mind at ease. She'd spent much of her time on Ornara operating under the idea that one's relationships with others primarily defined their personalities and capabilities - this assumption hadn't failed her yet.:: :: Evan rubbed the back of his neck, feeling somewhat awkward at bringing up the late captain. He knew a number of her former crew were still sensitive about her murder. :: Delano: My only other guess is that maybe there was some kind of political element. In my initial briefing, I got the impression that the assignment was being made at the request of someone from the Vulcan delegation to the Federation Council, though it was never expressly stated. ((Flashback)) Blake: You never explained to me how you perceive emotion. ::Liquid brown eyes glanced at her as he set Ayden down, lingering briefly on the baby before turning to her fully. It was a strange question of hers, of which, up to this point, had remained unanswered despite their relationship. She allowed herself to be gently led out, returning to the lounge with the man.:: Sabor: I'm not sure I understand the query. Blake: Vulcans are logical, yes? ::He coughed, covering what would likely have been a smirk at the child-like question.:: Sabor: All humanoids are capable of logic, that is correct. Blake: Including the V'tosh ka'tur? ::There was a split second where Sabor hesitated, his eyes considerably sharper as they gazed upon her and his hand stilling in it's place around a glass, before he recomposed himself. There was recognition in the name, that Sky could feel, and though usually allowed her a certain amount of access to his psyche, for that brief moment, she'd been cut off from him entirely. ::Was this Sabor's display of fear?:: Sabor: You've been reading. Blake: I'm sorry if it's- Sabor: It's fine. But I can't claim to know the inner workings of their . . . "understandings". I personally don't see logic as a choice one can make. For example, logic dictates one shouldn't put their hand under boiling water. Does that mean a Vulcan of the V'tosh ka'tur would burn themselves under such water to defy logic? Blake: Isn't that more 'self-preservation' then 'logic'? Sabor: One might argue that self-preservation could be considered rudimentary logic that requires little to no understanding to implement. ::She could tell now that this particular debate would only go round in circles until one of them gave up. Probably her.:: Blake: So why do Vulcans insist that emotions are *not* logical if all humanoids feel, and are capable of logic. Sabor: Emotions cannot be *explained* by logic. That doesn't mean that emotions are not logical. ::The corners of Sky's lips perked up.:: Blake: Is this a personal belief, or one shared by all Vulcans. Sabor:::after a heavy breath:: I support the notion that all Vulcans may have their own philosophy not shared by others - which, unfortunately, is not a sentiment one will find among regular temple-goers. But there was a time where mind-melds were considered taboo and were suppressed by a single group. This . . . may be the case today regarding logic. Blake: So Vulcans are susceptible to minority suppression. ::He eyed her with a minor frown, handing her a glass of water.:: Sabor: Drink. ::Ah, so *this* is where the conversation would end - at the notion that his people's society wasn't perfect. Sky smiled, accepting the glass and watching him fondly as he walked away to check on Faith.:: Blake: I feel like I'm being suppressed! ::She called after him with a sarcastic tone.:: Sabor: If I ever attempt to suppress you, my wife, you'll know. ((End flashback)) ::Her first interaction with a Vulcan since waking up had been with her bondmate, whom held his own beliefs and felt comfortable expressing them whilst not in the purview of other Vulcans. The second he did so, he would have been held under scrutiny of his peers. ::That a Vulcan delegation may have asked for Federation Security to spy on other Vulcans put the part of Sky that still held Sabor's mentality close on edge.:: Blake:::muttering:: Minority suppression. :: The commander’s eyes looked unfocused for a moment, as if she were deep in thought or memory. :: Delano: What was that, Commander? :: The woman’s normally sharp expression came back into view as she leaned against the console and crossed her arms. :: Blake: Sorry - it was a . . . debate I once tried to have. ::She paused.:: Is it wrong of me to ask what they were hoping you'd find? Delano: I don’t mind sharing what I know. :: beat :: Why do you ask? Blake:::nodding:: Well, historically, 'majority' Vulcans meddling in a separated factions affairs isn't usually taken very well. Forgive the conspiracy theory. :: Evan nodded his agreement. :: Delano: When I went in, I don’t think most in the Federation knew much at all about the Reya-Laialara. They did know about the Romulans that were associated with them, however, and I suspect that’s what they were most concerned about. Some kind of subversive activity - either by the group as a whole, or just the refugees that have settled in Seheik. :: He shrugged. :: Every time I sent in a report, the messages I got back asked for more details about the infrastructure. What kind of weapons did they use? Did they have any ships? How was the settlement defended? They didn’t seem willing to accept that the Reya-Laialara really are pacifists. I thought they were being unreasonable, but… well, there was Lenik. ::There was a moment of quiet between them, marked by the steady thrumming of the ship’s warp core and the occasional beep from one of the consoles.:: Blake: Just means I'll add it to the list of things we have to worry about later, anyway. For now, pirates are the priority. If political unrest happens, then hopefully the diplomatic corps are prepared for that kind of challenge. Delano: I hope so too. I’m not sure how much more ‘unrest’ the Coalition can handle right now. If Jilor wants an independent Shoals, I’m starting to believe he’s closer to that goal than most of us have thought. Blake:::with a smirk:: Is that your formal assessment? :: Evan shook his head and offered a thin smile. :: Delano: Just a hunch, Commander. ::Silence fell once again, Sky turning back to the display.:: ::He had planned to leave it there, but as another nearly awkward quiet passed between them, Evan felt the impulse to press on and explain.:: Delano: A few kilometers from my father’s house on Vulcan, there is a large field of narrow standing rock formations. On top of many of these columns are boulders that have remained perfectly balanced for thousands, perhaps millions of years. And yet, each year blowing winds or shifting sands manage to cause just enough change to disrupt the balance, causing a few of these rocks to fall. When we’d go walking through that area, I used to get this horrible anxiety if I spent too long staring up at one of those pillars - convinced that the massive stones on top could fall at any moment and crush me. Lately, the feeling I get about the Shoals is almost the same. ::A shot of adrenaline flew through her system, just from his imagery. But when she met his eyes again, his smile returned, still weak but with a hint of genuine humor behind it. :: Delano: I didn’t mean to get all doom-and-gloom on you, Commander. Blake: You wouldn't be the first one to try it around here. But paranoia won't keep us warm at night, Delano. Delano: The only point is that I think we’re standing on dangerous ground. I’d say that we need to be careful, but in this case, that would be stating the obvious. Of course, there's also a chance that being too careful is just as dangerous as being reckless. Blake:::she sighed.:: Starfleet can't add more officers into the area without hurting their resources and their political stance with the Marshals, but they can't pull us out because the Coalition will throw the argument that they're being ignored around. It's bad enough we're being pulled in five different political directions - first by Shadow's Edge, now by Antor. ::And Antor had been far more damaging than the young governor of Shadow's Edge. When they'd entered the Shoals, the reception had been icy because until they'd started shouting at the top of their lungs, Starfleet hadn't ever lingered around the area before - and some of the locals were getting concerned that, despite having asked for Starfleet to be there, they were stepping on toes. They weren't wanted because the locals had wanted to do this for themselves. ::Now, they weren't wanted because they were causing threats. From pirates, of all players.:: Delano: I'm starting to wonder if this is just what living in the Shoals is like once you've been here long enough. Blake: We've been here long enough. I'm not getting used to it yet. === Lieutenant Evan Delano Operations Officer USS Veritas & Lt. Commander Sky Blake Ranger USS Veritas
  4. (( Corridor, Deck Nine, USS Gorkon )) :: A set of dark eyes peered down the length of the corridor from a corner between the door that had magically brought him up to the current hiding spot. Bipeds walked from one end of the carpeted hallway to another, and back again. Or was that a different primate? He couldn’t tell these days, he’d seen so many. They all tended to look the same. Limited variation of coat, finite colour styles of hair. Boring beasts with big hands and sickly sensibilities.:: :: The door to his left shunted open and a set of legs walked out in front of him, passing without a glance in his direction. Bart barely lifted his carefully manicured brow. It was typical of these creatures not to notice him, after all, he was stealthy, he was quick, faster than lightening, than a cornered mouse even, and in a flash he was gone. Best of all, he knew how to plan, to ambush, to loiter and hide, waiting for that perfect moment to strike a blow to the heart of the upright snotty two-footed anthropoids.:: :: He was, after all, an incredible being, so obnoxiously full of his own self-importance, and many tended to agree. He was exceedingly intelligent, compulsively obsessed with preening himself, coupled with a phenomenal desire for murder. The very compulsion that had brought him from the station onto the ship in the first place.:: Bart: oO Soon.... Soon, she will be mine. Oo :: His stalking was nearly complete. He was nearly through the doors into the home of the avian-biped. All he needed was one of the primates to walk inside. That was all. It wasn’t too much to ask for. What did one need to bait a biped? Food? Pictures of immature offspring? A little green fruit he had seen squished onto toast on the station?:: Bart: oO Damnit, soldier, think! Oo :: The stomping feet of a larger than usual biped echoed through the corridor. Bart hid, cleverly, behind a well positioned plant storage device, and waited while the primate walked through the doors. Success! Bart sprang from his position and sprinted into the open doorway. At once, his eyes glazed over and he darted to another hiding place.:: :: It was simply magical.:: :: The lights were dark but tasteful, allowing shadow areas for many hiding spots. He saw the avian prey ahead, behind a long island type surface structure and he froze. She was taller and bigger than when he had seen her on the station. Fair enough, he had been higher up, stalking her from the upper levels of the Entertainment Deck, however he was sure she was in proportion to him.:: Bart: oO Everything I knew… Everything I planned… Dashed! Dashed! Oo :: He couldn’t take her, she was huge! What was he to do now? He had to play the long game. This wasn’t going to be a quick game of Cat and Bird, not at all, his predatory instincts were alive! This was going to be Stalked and Murdered. He narrowed his eyes. She would be his. He would delight in the glory of it. His brethren would tell tales of his victories for eons to come. He needed this, for his enslaved people on the station.:: :: He slicked his hair back. Time to be charming.:: ::Keenly aware of the occupants of the room, he sauntered over the freshly lain flooring, and leapt onto the bar in a majestic pounce that impressed absolutely no-one, his enslavement tag bouncing against his fur. He sat, and stared at the avian-biped with extermination and butchery lurking behind his cold dark eyes.:: Keska: Response? :: With deliberate slowness, he reached out his foot to the glass sitting happily on the bar, without a care in the world. He levelled a look at the bird and narrowed his eyes.:: Bart: oO Prepare for my WRATH! Oo ::of course, it sounded more like:: Mrrrreeoooowwwww… Keska: Response? :: Then, pushed it off the side of the bar. It dinked onto the floor.:: Bart: oO Your move, you feathery divine creature. Oo Keska: Response? TBC Bartholemeow, the Cat Escape Convict, Enslavement Camp 1.20 Coffee & Cat Emporium Iana Station simmed by Lieutenant (JG) Jocelyn Marshall Operations Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0
  5. ((Wilmer’s Quarters, Deck 7, Cabin J9, USS Blackwell)) ::Nate and Charlie sat at the dining room table. Each of them had their fair share of dramatic turns and bad delays. The mission had gone on slightly longer than expected. Nate had been injured, and dramatically and permanently scarred over his right eye. He had later been assigned to a very intimate fact-finding mission with his ex-girlfriend, much to Charlie’s chagrin. And as far Charlotte herself...well...she had only managed to vomit in front of most of the engineering team.:: ::Quite a week, indeed.:: ::Charlotte fidgeted with Nate’s scar, making a sad and somewhat concerned face, as she traced the J-hooked line with an outstretched index finger.:: Farnsworth: Does it hurt bad? ::Nate grimaced, hating to be the center of such negative attention.:: Wilmer: No, it only hurts when Voldemort is near…. ::Charlotte’s face was a puzzle.:: Farnsworth: Who? ::Nate dismissed his comment with a passive attempt at comedy.:: Wilmer: Sorry, obscure joke. ::He tenderly grabbed Charlotte’s hand and kissed her fingers.:: I told you Charlie. There’s nothing to worry about. It looks worse than it feels. ::Charlotte was a smart cookie. Nate knew her concern about his face had nothing to do with aesthetic reasons, and more to do with a subconscious guilt about her not having been there to protect him. However, space was a dangerous and infinite expanse. And though they were getting married soon, neither would be fully capable of suspending that danger, even for a nanosecond.:: ::Nate smiled, and rested both his hands, atop hers, and placed them on the cool glass surface of their dining room table.:: Wilmer: Shayne will be here soon. Let’s not focus on the negative… ::Charlotte slumped in as if deflated by concern and possible letdown. Her body was always so expressive, so easy to read. Her emotions were always worn on her sleeve, and her face always told the tale before her mouth could speak it.:: Farnsworth: Do you think he’ll say yes? I was so hoping your friend Sarjak would say yes...but now… ::Nate shrugged. Starfleet was an ever-revolving door of comings and goings. It came with the trade.:: Wilmer: Jak’s got his hands full with diplomatic nonsense. But it was nice to see him again. And as far as Shayne, I’m sure he… ::It was at that moment, the door chime rang. Shayne was early. Nate should have expected as much. Nate’s reading of the man had given hints of a person who excelled at punctuality. Nate liked that. He hoped that behaviour would translate into the same efficiency at his upcoming nuptials.:: Wilmer and Farnsworth: ::simultaneously:: Come in! ::Nate and Charlie shot each other a sidewise glance of serendipitous glee. They were not even married yet, and already their brains were linking up like a pair of old married elderly people.:: ::The doors to their cabin parted to reveal the visage of Lt. Cmdr. Randal Shayne.:: ::It was the one complaint he had with the Starfleet uniform that he almost never took off. It was a smart looking thing, dignified and functional. But it was abysmal at allowing people to breath. Under the best of circumstances, it was irritating. But for someone as uncomfortable as he was regarding social interaction, it was downright miserable. He clawed at his throat, aching for relief. He stepped inside, immediately concerned by the fact that both Charlie and Wilmer were present. He could relate to Wilmer as a good friend, and a fellow pilot. He could relate to Charlie...somehow. Their relationship was still a bit of a mystery to him. But them both together? It was a dynamic he was unaccustomed to, and the image of them seated next to each other sent another painful pang of loneliness through him.:: Wilmer: oO Speak of the devil. Oo ::Nate thought with a smile.:: Shayne: Um...hi. Shayne: oO Shakespearian, that was. Oo ::Charlotte being the consummate gracious hostess, stood and motioned for Shayne to enter their abode. Setting some of her garments and Nate’s discarded old dirty uniforms aside, she made a place for him to sit next to them.:: Farnsworth: Randal, please sit down. Shayne: Hm? Oh, thank you. ::Rather sheepishly, he entered. He’d noticed early on that, to make an error, one had to actually do something. If Shayne refused to do anything without being invited to do so, no trespass could inadvertently be committed. A siege mentality, but it had worked for nearly 20 years of social interaction.:: ::Nate smiled, following Charlie’s lead on hospitality.:: Wilmer: Shayne, can I get you something to drink? Shayne: Uh, no thank you- that’s fine. ::Still unsure of what to expect.:: ::Nate and Charlie sat next to one another, almost like a pair of conjoined siamese twins who were attached at the hip. Nate felt a sudden moment of giddiness, that somehow jumped into his fiancee with a joining of hands and they smiled.:: Farnsworth: I don’t know why I’m so nervous…. Shayne: oO Whoa, hang on. I’m the only person allowed to be nervous here… Oo ::Was was going on? Curiosity blended with mild terror, and a fair bit of joy- a result of the couple’s infectious mood- swamped together, creating a confusion quite unlike anything he was accustomed to. Their giggling excitement was obvious, and it took no genius to deduce that their upcoming event had something to do with the mood. But what? And what could Shayne possibly have been called for? He was more than willing to come, despite the discomfort it caused. Now it had gone from, “why me?!” to “why...me?”:: Wilmer: I know, it's like I’m asking my dad for permission to borrow the hopper… Shayne: ::An inadvertently delighted beginning to grow on his face.:: What is going on here? ::Confound their happy mood! His stony visage was failing!:: ::Nate sometimes had a predilection for not being able to get to the point. He decided to spare Shayne’s frayed nerves by getting right to the point.:: Wilmer: Shayne, I just want to say with our wedding fast approaching, and with my sense of family growing aboard the Blackwell…. ::Nate stopped, realizing he was still not getting to the point.:: ::The joy was beginning to fall away. If Nate was stalling this insistently, he could make a few well-educated, equally disturbing assumptions about the nature of this conversation. Assumption one- it was a big deal. To the couple, at least, though perhaps whatever this was about would have ramifications for others. Assumption two- it was awkward. Shayne hated awkward- but, seeing as this was one of the few times awkwardness had been in play without him being the sole cause, maybe he could appreciate it, in a demented sort of way. Assumption three- Shayne wouldn’t want to be a part of whatever information was about to be revealed. Any way he looked at it, this was beginning to feel a little...frightening.:: ::Naturally, Charlie then spoke, putting the neurotic helmsman slightly more at ease.:: Farnsworth: What he means to say Randal, is that his best man was intending to stand with him...but with Starfleet being Starfleet and all Sarjak was suddenly called away… Shayne: oO Sorry, Charlie- you’re no better at this. Oo ::Nate completed Charlie’s thought, he wanted the request to come from him directly.:: Wilmer: ...well, I just heard about how you handled the situation with Charlie and her embarrassment in space, and...I was just wondering, from one helmsman to another… Shayne: oO I’m going to kill someone if I don’t get an explanation, from one helmsman to another...Oo ::Charlotte grinned as if someone had engaged a gaggle of transporter beams full of happiness inside her brain.:: Wilmer: ...I was just wondering if you’d be willing to stand in as my best man. ::Shayne’s world stopped for a full two seconds. It was as if his mind simply shut down. “Sorry, we’re closed.”:: ::Did that just happen? Had he been asked to be someone’s best man? His eyes widened slowly, in a daze. All the irritation, the uncomfortable sensations...they melted away. In their place, a single, sparkling surge of energy and happiness. The smile that quickly enveloped his face must have made him appear as a madman would.:: Shayne: Fan-tastic! Oh! I would be honored! ::Now it was Shayne’s turn to be giddy- a rarity for someone as restrained as him. His hands clasped together and he gave an odd little cackle. This was astonishing! He couldn’t get his mind quite round what had just occurred.:: Farnsworth: ::slightly giggling:: Wonderful! Wilmer: Absolutely! Top man! Shayne: This is...I mean, I can’t- I’ve never… Best man! Whew! ::Electric excitement enlivened his veins, and in the back of his mind, the slightest shadows of doubts slipped betwixt his hemispheres. It was almost like they were acknowledging his right to be unfettered in this moment. Later...later, they would return with a vengeance. But for now, maybe even the devil’s musings had some scrap of mercy in them after all.:: ::With an accepting praise and warm smile, Nate clapped Shayne on the shoulder, and shook his hand.:: Wilmer: It’ll be great! You won’t regret it. And after all, I’m sure you’ve already got some great ideas for planning the bachelor party! Shayne: Hmm? Yes, of course! I’ve- Shayne: oO -never actually been to...a bachelor party. Oo ::That was his job? Why didn’t he know things like this? Single people probably understood the nature of this role- why did it elude him so? A curious feeling of dread was whisked into the already churned mix of joy and surprise.:: Shayne: oO Add some onions and I’ll be an omlette. Oo Shayne: Bachelor party. ::He repeated it, trying not to display the doubts cropping up.:: ::Charlotte’s smile was infectious.:: Farnsworth: Well yes, as the best man, naturally it will be your job to plan something truly astonishing for Nate’s last day as a single man…. ::Charlotte wasn’t joking and neither was Nate. The commitment to stand had suddenly developed into a social event extraordinaire with Randal Shayne as its newly appointed ringmaster. There was no backing out now. It was do or die time, and Nate had firm confidence that the cracking young helmsman had the chops for the job.:: ::No pressure for him, then. Just the hopes, and the marriage ceremony, of two close friends hanging in the balance.:: Wilmer: Oh, and did I mention you have about 17 hours to make this happen??? ::He felt his head beginning to spin.:: Shayne: oO Don’t tell me! You also want this to take place on an active Borg cube, right? Oo ::He felt utterly inadequate, but he had rarely looked forward to putting on a good show more.:: Shayne: Well, then, I’d best get cracking- Shayne: oO Under the pressure. Oo Shayne: oO Shut up! Oo Shayne: oO You don’t have to shout! Oo ::He stepped out, smiling all the way, and as soon as the doors closed, proceeded to sprint to the nearest computer console. He had some work to do!:: An awkwardly exciting JP as crafted by... Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer Helm Officer USS Blackwell (NCC-58999) E239107NW0 And Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  6. @Randal Shayne I do love a Ferentis sim! Especially one as well crafted as this! ---------------------- ((Corridor on Deck 6, USS Blackwell)) ::The shimmering colors played against his eyes. Robust bronze, golden ochre, electric blues and every shade in between rebounded within the cramped confines of his working area. His eyesight was not quite up to par with most of the other members of the ship, but in such a feast for the cones as this, his visual inadequacy was hardly relevant. It was merely the reflective nature of the metals and their interaction with the light emitted by the transparent plasma conduit above him, but the rustic beauty it provided was undeniable. The tight EPS access, already a squeeze for most humanoids, proved positively stifling to his considerable bulk. Yet he toiled away regardless.:: ::He loved Gamma Shift.:: ::Ferentis knew how the majority of his fellow Gamma Shifters saw their assignment; as punishment. To any sane, social creature, what else could being relegated to the graveyard shift represent? For many, there was a certain, restrained resentment. Ferentis did not join them in this respect.:: ::Where his comrades complained of their isolation, he reveled in it. Being able to move without running aground on some poor ensign’s face was a tremendous relief. Even he, a Pahkwa’thanh- a race famed for their stringent and ubiquitous codes of etiquette- had begun to grow tired of the word “sorry”. You would too if you had to repeat it forty times a day for crashing into people. He fancied himself as graceful, and blamed these collisions on his natural physical bulk. Maybe he needed to consider the option that he was a genuine clutz.:: ::But not now. Now, he would bask in the lack of interaction, and fix things. In this case, an EPS manifold cut-off.:: ::As his massive talons nimbly provided the dexterity required for such a fragile job, his eyes drifted to a particularly vibrant blue hue out of the corner of his eye. Flecks of green appeared as he focused on it, and his mind immediately took him to the one place he was denied.:: ::Home.:: ::Flashes of forested swaths of contenant passed before his eyes. Great azure oceans and standing swamps pooling around tree trunks the size of warp nacelles. He missed the hot sun spilling against his thick hide, missed the hunt, longed for the stench of decaying plant life and fresh soil. He shut his eyes. Not only was that paradise hundreds of lightyears away, but inaccessible to him as a person. It had been months since the word had come in. Somehow, his family- for it could only have been his family- had maneuvered the Ministry to declare him persona non grata. His name, whatever title he may have inadvertently earned, any chance of returning...gone in single claw print.:: ::And why? Ferentis knew his family loathed him. They were a tiny minority on Pahkwa’thanh had always maintained an isolated viewpoint, and when he had first left their planet to explore, and to learn, he knew he was about as good as dead to virtually all of his immediate family, and probably beyond as well. He hadn’t always expected the relationship to be so...finalized. And now, the perpetual misfit- not welcome at home, not built for a starship, not young enough to start again- wondered what to look forward to.:: ::Even for him, a reserved, dignified individual, found that particular question too painful to dwell on. And so he dived back into his work. But after a few minutes of his brain refusing to clear itself of the loneliness, he realized he would need some additional help.:: Ferentis: Computer, recognize voice print. ::the computer bleeped its acknowledgement.:: Give me something good. ::The codeword was accepted, and he was instantly rewarded. A hard piano entry, accompanied by a bass and a resounding brass chorus gently echoed in his ears. Without meaning to, he began to hum along to the words.:: Computer: =/\= Father wears his Sunday best Mother’s tired, she needs a rest The kids are playing up downstairs Sister’s sighing in her sleep Brother’s got a date to keep, he can’t hang around… =/\= ::It was a harmless little program he’d designed to feed his ever-growing addiction to Earth music. His planet had little interest, and even less invention, when it came to music. Ferentis, ever an outsider, couldn’t imagine life without his tunes close at hand. At his command, the computer would lock onto his combadge and have the nearest ceiling speaker play something random from Earth’s past. Any sort of other communication, such as a ship wide message, would overrule the program- he wasn’t there to create problems. But, as the humans said, if he had it, flaunt it. He had the tech know-how to create what he wanted without massive ramifications. What was stopping him?:: ::The unusual nature of his hearing also helped him, allowing him to receive the full musical experience without cranking up the volume. Should anyone human stride up to him as he labored away at his little impromptu worksite, they’d find a dinosaur with his torso in a hole in the wall, jamming to a whisper.:: ::Suddenly he stopped as thoughts pooled into his mind, unbidden. His body froze, leathery skin and taught scales motionless. Images of the last shore leave, and his raktajino-fueled explosion of bad dancing assaulted him. In the moment he’d enjoyed it. In hindsight, the fact that an entire restaurant had seen him flailing about to music made him seriously consider the airlock. Though he was somewhat confident that no Starfleet personnel besides Anath G’Renn had seen him, even that was enough to make him blush hard. His control had been disrupted- a violation that would be difficult to forget.:: ::Now was not the best time for distractions, as was proven by the startling pain in his claw a moment later. A careless movement had left his now tender hand exposed to a breaker of some sort. He gave a quick, brutal roar, and sucked on the stinging, smoking digit hard.:: Crewman: =/\= Harper to Ensign Ferentis. =/\= ::Ferentis rolled his eyes, trying to keep himself under the most rigid control.:: Ferentis: =/\= Ferentis here. =/\= Crewman: =/\=Sir, I have a message here for you, marked personal. =/\= ::That stopped him. Slowly, he extracted his claw from his mouth. Who would send him a personal message? Certainly no one on Pahkwa’thanh. Nor was it likely to originate from someone he knew during his days on the rim. So who could possibly…:: ::Suddenly he realized the crewman was waiting on him.:: Ferentis: =/\= Thank you, Mr. Harper. Please send it to the terminal in my quarters. Ferentis out. =/\= ::The channel closed, and he found himself more preoccupied than ever. As the whirling thoughts and possibilities fought for ground inside his mind, he forced them down. The message could wait, as much as he craved to see who it was. Too often lately he had let his emotions guide him. He was disciplined individual. He would not yield to the cravings of curiosity when there was work to be done.:: ::And speaking of work, it looked like his little accident had disrupted power on Deck 7. He sighed, the music now a parody of his former decent mood. It would take some time to repair the faults.:: ((Some time later, another junction on Deck 7.)) ::His face was placid, but his mood was quickly dissolving. No one would ever know it, though. Years of control came in handy occasionally. He’d been working for hours, and finally, everything was beginning to approach tip-top shape. He flexed his thick neck, trying to relieve the kink that had found its way there as a result of odd angle he’d been holding it in. Once again, he was reminded of why so few of his people ever left their homeworld.:: Thoran: response. ::The voice startled him slightly, but even that minimal movement caused him to smash his head on the edge of the opening he now worked inside. A low groan escaped his lips before he moved to extricate himself.:: Ferentis: Yes, sir. I apologize for the difficulties- I’ve been working to correct them. I hope there have been no other problems? ::He was afraid that something like this would happen. His error was far from deadly- a minor blunder, at best. But he knew of this individual’s reputation for scrutiny, and excellence in his duties. He should have figured the security chief would have noticed.:: Thoran: response ::He caught the sight of his reflection in a shiny piece of bulkhead. His eyes were a little more red than usual. How long had he been going at this?:: Tag/TBC… PNPC Ensign Ferentis Engineer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 =======as simmed by======= Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  7. (( Intensive Care Unit - Hospital Complex )) (( StarBase 118 )) :: Commander Theo Whittaker was not a man who did things by half. He discharged his duties with careful precision, honed from a childhood filled with study and an aristocratic upbringing. In his personal life, he was much the same- a staunch friend who would gladly go to hell and back for those closest to him. He had fought the Starfleet JAG officer for Lieutenant Maxwell after his assault on the traitorous scientist, Martantathru, he had stood by Lieutenant Aitas when she had revealed his pregnancy, and at some point or another he had put himself in harm's way for most- if not all- of his friends. However, when it came to matters of the heart, he was completely hopeless. :: :: Baylen Anders had swept Theo off of his feet and into a whirlwind romance that had been as intense as it had been loving. Through it, the young XO- so innocent in affairs of the heart- had learned to drop his carefully built walls that kept people at bay and he had begun to mellow, stripping away layers of the aristocratic and academic aloofness that his father had so rigidly insisted upon. From their first meeting aboard the late U.S.S. Albion- in the heat of battle- there had been a spark between the two of them, a frisson of chemistry that was undeniable. Even though Baylen had a tendency to be impulsive by virtue of his Risian nature, Theo had been charmed almost from the first moment. :: :: Which was why Theo was so completely devastated by the relationship’s sudden and unannounced end. He had been discharged from medical care to find a message from Baylen informing him that he had resigned his commision from Starfleet and was returning to Risa, along with his ward- a young Tilanni boy, Mace. There had been no warning, no problems in their relationship. It was a bolt out of the blue and one which had shaken Theo to his core. It had taken months to fully recover and even longer to open himself up to the possibility of another romantic relationship- this time with the now Lieutenant Commander Taelon. He had been drawn to the El-Aurian’s quiet and contemplative nature, a world away from what he had been used to. Part of it, Theo suspected, had been born out of their shared experiences with the resurgent Orion Syndicate. Taelon was a sensitive soul and that appealed to Theo. Their relationship was less intense and more gentle, as each enjoyed the others companionship and outlook on life. It was a simple, uncomplicated romance. :: :: Baylen Anders’ unannounced return to StarBase 118 had opened old wounds that Theo had believed had healed. Perhaps, because of this, it was the reason that he walked unsteadily down the corridor towards the room where the Risian had been recuperating from his extensive injuries. It was also the reason why he had put off visiting him for several days. He had considered turning back more than once, hoping that by ignoring the fact that Anders was here he would prevent those old wounds from tearing even more. But instead, he walked onwards, towards the unassuming grey door at the end of the unassuming hospital corridor. He had no idea what he was going to say to Baylen- no, Lieutenant Commander Anders- but he was unable to deny the fact that his emotional walls were raised once again. :: :: Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Theo reached the unassuming door and hesitated for a moment- one last delaying tactic, as he contemplated walking away yet again. Then with a deep breath and stiffening of his back, he tapped the panel by the doorframe. The doors swished open with a low, hydraulic hiss and Theo stood there, looking at Anders with a carefully, neutral expression. :: Whittaker: :: deliberate, controlled, almost emotionless. Almost. :: Hello. Anders: ::barely able to speak, from both his wounds and his feelings at seeing Theo. A part of him thought that he would never see him again. He gave up hope of ever seeing anyone he cared about again a long time ago. But other than Mace, the thing that got Baylen through the long endless nights was the face of his loving partner Theo. It was one of the few memories he held on to in that cruel and unjust place. :: Hello old friend. ::trying to force a smile through the pain and finally gave up.:: I think there is a chair in the corner. ::Pointing over to the other side of the door.:: :: Theo took a step into the room- he did not even glance at the chair- hovering just beyond the doorway, but not so far that the doors closed. Instead, they remained parted. The symbolism was not lost on him- just as Anders had left unannounced, so to could Theo. :: :: Baylen… no, Lieutenant Commander Anders, he chided himself (feeling the need to remain professional so as to keep a clear head), looked a great deal different to the last time the two had seen each other. There was a gaunt quality to the man, likely from the months he spent malnourished and from the biological weapon that he had been struck with prior to his collapse in The Hub. Gone was the larger-than-life, magnetic man that he had known, replaced instead with a poor approximation. His eyes no longer sparkled, his lips looked thin and his jaw had been hidden by a large, matted beard that resembled one could find adorning a Klingon drunked. :: Whittaker: I’d… prefer to stand, thank you. :: he almost referred to Anders by his given name, stopping himself only at the last second. He felt supremely uncomfortable and he suspected that it showed. His father, had been present, would have no doubt approved at Theo’s restrained and almost emotionless inflections.:: oO It would be the first time. Oo :: he thought with no small amount of bitterness. :: Anders: ::eyes lowering a bit:: Ah yes, of course. I understand. I must be the last person you expected to see? ::He had meant in general but his ability to say anything was hard a mixture of the drugs, pain and emotions that ran through him. He wanted nothing more than to jump from bed and run to Theo and hug him and hold him tight and be embraced by him in return. Of course he knew that Theo had his own emotions to deal with. He knew of the communication that was sent to him and how shocking it must have been for Theo. That pain made Baylen feel all the worst.:: :: A rebuttal sprang into Theo’s mind. He had known precisely where to find Anders- he would have been more shocked had somebody else occupied the room. It was a sarcastic retort, one that would have stung with any luck. He held his tongue through sheer force of will, however, knowing that a low blow would only make things a great deal worse. Instead Theo replied blandly. :: Whittaker: I would ask how you are doing, but Doctor Nijil has already briefed me on your circumstances. I’m not a physician- but I got the gist of it. :: he knew he was grasping at straws, not knowing what to say. On some level, he was aware of the emotional battle being fought within his psyche- but he ignored it, pushed it deeper into its recesses. Just as he had been taught as a child. oO Show them no trace of emotion. It is a weakness. You do not show weakness to others, Theo. Oo:: Anders: That is more than I know to be honest. I still have not been briefed on what they did in surgery. ::It was true, the doctors had been rather tight lipped about it, but he knew that he was not doing well with physical therapy at all, he was down right failing it, or at least in his mind. He still could not walk yet. But in his mind he should be able to, it was just simple will. Yet the will was not enough it seemed.:: Whittaker: :: he nodded, his lips pursed. :: Well I am sure that you will be informed in due course. I expect Nijil would rather you focus on your recovery. Which is… understandable. :: he hesitated anew, wondering what else there was to possibly say to a man who he had not seen for eighteen months. Finally, he decided to observe formalities. In situations such as the one Anders now found himself, there were protocols that the Commanding and First Officers had to follow. :: I have some questions for you, if you feel up to them. :: a short pause. :: Lieutenant Commander. :: It was the first time that Theo had referred to Anders by his rank and not his given name in so long that he couldn't remember a time that he had done so before. As soon as he had said it, he knew that it had come off more hurtful than he had intended. But what was done was done. An apology would be a sign of weakness. oO How strange that I am so keen to follow my father’s example after years of doing everything I can not to do so. Oo. :: Anders: I have no other place to be ::seeing the third pip was now gold:: Commander sir. ::adjusting in his bed and pulling his blanket up suddenly feeling more exposed and more uncomfortable with the ice that hung in the air like a pal. :: ask away. ::trying to stay as friendly and upbeat as possible. By no means were Risians as skilled in reading emotions as that of a Betazoid, but you really had no need of a Betazoid in this room. Baylen was able to get a general feeling of emotions as were most all Risians but the feelings he got now were so confused and jumbled. They were all over the spectrum.:: Whittaker: Very well. :: he retrieved the ever present PADD from the back pocket of his trousers and opened a blank document on it, replacing the location of Anders’ room and the latest medical update he had had access to. :: This will be preliminary and I will not go into too much detail. Our Chief of Intelligence, Commander Aitas, will no doubt be visiting you with questions of her own. As will a representative of Starfleet Security, I imagine:: he cleared his throat and looked down at the PADD, grateful for the opportunity to look away from the man who he still blamed for the dissolution of their relationship, even if- deep down- he knew he had had no say in the matter. :: I understand you were captured by the Relexians along with your son? :: Theo did not refer to Mace by his name. He had been one of Anders’ more impulsive decision- extreme, even for him, rescuing him from a life of poverty and abuse on the formerly neutral world of Tilanna V. He had not consulted with the relevant authorities before deciding to raise the boy as his own. Nevertheless, he had been granted custody of the boy shortly before their departure from StarBase 118. Theo had agreed to help Anders raise him, but his name was never added to the guardianship. :: :: As cold-hearted as some might of viewed it, Theo clung to that detail in that particular moment. oO One less thing to worry about. Oo. :: Anders: Yes, Mace! ::adding an emphasis to the name. :: Right after my birthday party I decided I should try and take him camping as my dad did for me and my brother as boys. I had a few days off and I thought we could go to a nearby moon and camp under the stars. That night we were beamed onto a transport ship. ::Baylen hid the pain of recalling that night, but he knew he was going to have to tell this story many times. He better get use to it.:: We never got through the first night. ::Baylen made a fake cough sound just so he could move his hand to his face and discreetly wipe away a tear that was forming in the corner of the eye. :: We were transported up to some kind of transport and cargo ship. Locked into cells and scanned and tattooed. I tried to resist and they have very effective shock sticks and I found one thrust up into my side and felt the full effects. :: Theo nodded, not immediately responding. He knew Anders well enough to know that the man was becoming emotional which was perfectly understandable. In fact he could not deny that the facts were also causing himself emotional distress- a lump had begun to form in his throat. He swallowed once, not wishing to focus on it. :: :: He did not look at Anders when he spoke again. :: Whittaker: I see. And you were taken to Relexis VI in the Archanis sector? Anders: I don't know where it was. It was a planet with four suns. I guess that would be right, was the data from the flight recorder recovered? :: He thought about the run through the fields and over the flight way. Being hit in the leg with the energy beam and climbing up into the short Range Shuttle. He then wondered if there was anything left of the shuttle at all after the ways he had to fly to escape the interceptors. He did not think much could be left of the small ship.:: Whittaker: :: he nodded again. :: Yes, we recovered your shuttle and the flight recorder confirmed that. You were also pursued by Relexian interceptors. The Starfleet Intelligence section for that sector are investigating how you went unnoticed for so long. :: beat :: Do you know why the Orion Syndicate wanted you and your son? :: A part of Theo wanted to take the Columbia and close the labour camp down with extreme prejudice. He had come to despise the Orion Syndicate over the past two years for all that they had wrought against the Federation- and the crew of StarBase 118 in particular. Of course, Relexis VI was more than fifty light years distant and under the purview of another sector command. For now, all StarBase 118 could do was question Anders and pass the information along while the U.S.S. Avalon-A investigated further. :: Anders: ::He thought of the many days spent in those volcanic pockets with old tools beating rocks drilling into the ground. Carrying Ore to processing chambers and so much more, so much worse stuff.. :: they wanted free labor for their fuel mines and they found extra benefits with a Starfleet officer. They would beat you for days at time to get cargo transportation protocols from you. ::Baylen looked at the scarred hands from holding tools that Theo once bandaged after being burned while escaping a rather large plasma fire. Another emotion hit his gut, at least what was left of it.:: They wanted so much to hijack high-value cargo transports. :: For the first time since he stepped into the room, Theo displayed an overt sign of emotion- a frown. He abhorred slave labour in any form and there was absolutely no excuse for it. He also glanced up from his PADD, memory guiding his hands across the keyboard on the screen. :: Whittaker: I don’t need to ask you whether you gave them any information. :: he already knew that the man would never do so. :: Anders: ::frowning as he thought of all those beating and days with no food and all those times in the sun pits lying in the heat or in a hot box praying for death. :: No I never gave any information, but there were days, more than a few I regret, that I came close to it. :: now his eyes, cheeks and face were full of tears and his voice was cracking and there was no hiding it:: They made poor Mace work as well. Of course he was too small for any hardcore manual labor but he was required to shuttle tools back and forth or push the ore carts. The day before I escaped with him I was told that if I did not start cooperating they were going to kill him slowly and painfully ::His voice had a full break in it and the words were hard to get out.:: In front of me. ::Baylen turned to wipe his eyes. :: Whittaker: They put Mace to work in the labour camp? :: he had said the boy’s name before he could stop himself and he was also unable to keep the revulsion he felt creeping into his voice. Child labour was the worst kind of enforced work he could imagine- and threatening the life of a defenceless young boy- one who had already endured a lifetime of horror- was even worse. He could feel the bile rising from his stomach. Once again, the urge to glass the surface of Relexis VI blossomed in his mind. :: :: He could feel the first crack in his emotional walls. He took a deep breath, imagining plastering over it- but still, he knew that it was there. oO Perhaps it is time to leave. I should never have come. Oo. He could not deny how disgusted he was at himself for being cold with Anders. oO I can’t even bring myself to say his given name. Oo. :: Anders: As I said ::still wiping away tears. :: it was a truly unbearable hell. One I could never wish on the worst person, EVER… It was like an endless nightmare that one woke up to find he was still in the nightmare. Whittaker: :: a sad nod. :: I should leave you be. This has clearly been a traumatic experience for you. I’m sorry to have disturbed you, Lieutenant Commander. :: He turned to leave, a sense of relief taking hold. However, Anders’ voice caused to stop mid turn. He looked back around. :: Anders: Theo ::The hell with it, I may now be Lt. Commander, but he was still Theo. Someone he cared deeply about.:: it was good to see you, I only wish this could have been under better circumstances. And you have never been a bother nor will you ever be. I know this is hard on you I've been gone for 18 months and you received a faked communication from me I can imagine how that felt. All I can say is I'm sorry. As soon as I'm recovered and back on my feet I can ask for a transfer if you would like me to? I don’t want to keep disrupting your life. :: Theo’s first instinct was to accept the offer and he almost did so, reigning in the impulse when he realised how unprofessional it would have been- and he prided himself on his professionalism. He chewed out Anders’ words for several seconds in his head, biting his lower lip as he did so. There was no need for the Commander to apologise, Theo knew that he was not responsible for his or the boy’s capture. The anger that he was feeling was irrational and completely unnecessary- yet he could not stop himself. oO Oh to be a Vulcan. Oo he mused, sorrowfully. :: :: He turned around, facing Anders and shook his head. :: Whittaker: You need time to heal, physically and psychologically. Being in familiar surroundings such as 118 will help with your recovery. :: he hesitated, unsure of whether to proceed. :: If Captain Taybrim wishes you to stay on then I will not challenge him. However, I think it would be best if you and I kept our relationship strictly professional for the time being. :: beat :: There has been a lot of anguish, on both sides. It is for the best if we do complicate your recovery. :: He wondered whether he should tell Anders’ about his relationship with Taelon, but decided against doing so. The Risian was already anguished, having to relive whatever horrors the Orion Syndicate inflicted upon him on Relexis VI, and Theo saw no sense in adding to it. He would simply have to wait for a more opportune time. :: Anders: ::He understood exactly what Theo was saying to be logical, but those words cut deeper into Baylen than any whip of his cruel captors had used. He waited a moment for his nerves to calm. The unclinching of his gut so he could speak, the time it would take to talk without his voice breaking into a thousand little shards of emothions :: I understand completely. ::forcing a half smile.:: You know best. Whittaker: Very well then. :: he lingered in the still open doorway, wondering whether to wish the man well. :: I shall be in contact if I have any further questions, Lieutenant Commander. Take care of yourself. :: And with that he turned and left the room. As the door finally swished shut behind him, Theo let out a long, deep sigh. He knew that their reunion could have been a lot worse, had he indulged in his emotions and lashed out at Anders. He had kept things professional and at a remove from his personal feelings. :: :: Yet he could not escape the fact that he felt like the worst person in the quadrant at that moment in time. By the time he had left the hospital, he had already checked to see when the next available counselling appointment with Counsellor Lyndsay was. :: -- Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer StarBase 118 Ops/USS Columbia C239203TW0 & Lieutenant Commander Baylen M. Anders Mission Specialist Fleet Operations 118th Fleet StarBase 118 Ops/USS Columbia R238606GH0 --
  8. ((Ilsam’s Quarters, USS Blackwell)) ::Looking around his quarters, he smiled softly. With his duties having calmed, he had at last been able to unpack. On a tall bookshelf near the sofa sat hard copies of his favorite collected literature works, a bin containing various PADDs, as well as a few unique artifacts he’d collected over the years. Most were reproductions, of course, with their original counterparts sitting in museums across the quadrant. But even the facsimiles offered a measure of connection to the histories behind them. His passion for art covered the walls of his quarters, a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and many other classics, as well as a couple of his own paintings.:: ::On the desk in the far opposite corner with his monitor sat various images of his parents and his sister as well as one particularly good image of himself, Usatt, and Ilara. It had been taken on their first trip together. Until meeting his partners, he’d never been outside his home province. They’d travelled the world together, mostly for Usatt’s business conferences. Tai had often kept Ilara entertained with various museum visits, both sharing a passion for art and culture.:: ::A nostalgic smile touched his lips as he lifted the image and framed Ilara’s face gently with the edge of his thumb. She’d been so beautiful...so full of life. Even now, he could hear her laughter ringing out like bells as they danced under the clear, starry skies. The three had been seriously discussing conceiving a child when Usatt and Ilara had been killed. Tai had imagined a thousand times over the wife of his heart cradling the child in her arms after its birth, singing a soft melody in that perfect, lyrical voice of hers. His smile faded, replaced by an implacable longing to hold her in his arms again one last time, if only to tell her how much he loved her and how much she meant to him. How much she’d changed his life.:: ::Setting the image aside, he slid into the chair in front of his monitor, his gaze flickering to the image of himself and his sister, Prielle. His work had kept him rather busy, preventing him from contacting his sister for their daily communique. Given that he was on assignment, those calls were, unfortunately, likely to become fewer. He was uncertain how he’d cope with this drastic change in his life. Prielle had been a source of strength for him since he’d made the difficult choice to leave Bactrica and had kept him going when he’d wanted nothing more than to return home. He entered a series of commands into the panel, calling up the screen he was looking for.::
  9. @KriJBa @Randal Shayne you guys, made me have feels
  10. (( Land of Malex, [datafrag] the Dread’s Mountain ))Processor: Initializing Turing 547, “The Red Dragon’s Hoard,” program index Summersend Fairgrounds, program paused. Data integration failure. Runtime error: data corruption, files 55.57894, 55.57897, 55.57899, 55.57901, [DATA FRAGMENTATION], 55.57907, 55.57911. Initiating default protocols: military training unit. Exit protocols: off. Initializing Turing 547, “The Red Dragon’s Hoard,” program index Summersend Fairgrounds, program paused. Program initializing. Initialization success.::Smoke billowed out of the dragon’s nostrils. She had slumbered for so long, luxuriating in the comfort of her mountain of gold gathered in the great halls of the dragon’s mountain. Now she was awake again after a bracing, regenerative rest. The gold gleamed bright as she ran a claw sensuously through it, knocking huge piles of coins over, tinkling a thousand beautiful songs across the treasure hoard.::[datafrag]: Ah, so long it’s been since a mortal hasApproached. My mountain of gold is modest, and yetMethinks its time to add more jewels, topaz,Emerald, ruby, and, yes, more gold. LetMe take to the summit and see what thoseLittle fools are preparing for [datafrag] the dread.Processor: Data integration failure. Runtime error: data corruption, files 78.75562, 78.75563, 78.75565, 78.75575, [FILE MISSING], [FILE MISSING], [FILE CORRUPT]. Recontextualizing: utilizing present information. Recompiling program parameters. Solution match. Reinitializing.::As she prepared to climb up through the caverns to the summit, she realized something was very, very wrong.::::A pedestal with her most treasured possession sat empty at the end of her hall, a small beam of light shining through the dragon’s cavern showing the absence of what had once sat proudly in a place of covetousness.::[datafrag]: ::smoke puffing furiously:: What’s this?! The Tiara of Wisdom?! GONE?!A THIEF! A thief has snuck into the hallOf terrible [datafrag] the Dread! DawnHas now come for mankind’s doom if so smallA race can steal from a red dragon withImpunity! Who?! Who has stolen fromThe great, terrible [datafrag] of myth?!No offering hence from the human scumCan slate my desire for death and fire!::As she spoke the great, terrible red dragon crawled through the ancient tunnels beneath the mountain, remembered from the last time she’d awoken. She had grown to a gargantuan size in that time, and her scrambling crawl upwards, wings tucked against her scaly, ruby back, simply cleaved new depth to the tunnels.::::The dragon blinked in the sunlight atop the mountain of [datafrag] the Dread. The sky seemed bluer than she remembered, the grass greener, even the stone of the mountainside more vibrant. A dragon’s eyes are keener than any animal of the world, and she turned her gaze over the realm of humans before her. Villages had sprung up below the mountains, farms and mills. They had forgotten her as she’d slumbered, but now they would remember.::::Through it all, she could see something stranger yet. The very sinews of the world, a binary of the absence of power and pure, unadulterated, worldly essence, as if the very fabric of the universe was arrayed before her in ones and naughts. She found this strange new understanding of the world exhilarating, as if she could barely peer into an entirely new realm of stars and darkness. She felt a power over it.::::Then her attention was drawn out of the stars she could see beyond. In the distance she saw a golden gleam, familiar, tantalizing, infuriating. Just outside of the human city, in a teeming, disgusting display of human insolence, the tiara of wisdom sat upon the head of the Queen, the most beautiful woman in all the land. [datafrag] the Dread would collect her prize, but with interest. She would not be satisfied in merely reclaiming her tiara. She would own the beloved queen, and if any challenged her she would embroil the land in fire and death.::[datafrag]: I WILL HAVE MY PRIZE!Processor: Default program status: active. Users: recognized. Program designation: live fire military training. Safety protocols: off.END*****MSNPC [datafrag] the DreadAs simmed by:Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-huEngineering OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239402CJ0
  11. ((USS Blackwell, Deck 1, Bridge)) Renos: We were on our way to investigate some strange signals detected at a nearby debris field. As we approached the helm console malfunctioned and we lost all control. We -literally- smashed our way through pulling off some insane stunt with the deflector dish. We later discovered a virus in the system was the cause and engineers have been running it down and purging our systems ever since. Doing a great job of it too since we’re nearly ready to depart dry dock once again and get underway. Dirsye: Dear Altha, it’s good the ship is still in one piece. I’m good in security systems, if you don’t mind I’d like to see if I can find any traces of bad coding in the computer once we will be on our way and repairs are done. ::The Admiral wasn’t sure whether or not that would be necessary. Engineering and security had already been tasked with ensuring their systems were completely secure from top to bottom, from the tiniest grains of code and beyond. In nir time here viruses, sabotage and systems bugs had plagued nem. Ne couldn’t stand to see that continue to happen, and to plague this crew the same way. It was beginning to feel like some awful curse ne couldn’t shake, illogical as the notion was. Putting childish paranoia back in its place, ne gave the engineer a small sympathetic smile for ne knew there was a lot of work ahead of the young woman. Her contributions were much needed right now and certainly appreciated.:: Renos: I’m sure it’s not how you imagined your first day would bring. Dirsye: Oh my. What I imagined my life will be and what it turned into are fire and ice, Sir. But the wisdom gained from fire is burning stronger and longer. ::Tya smiled and closed her eyes, apparently lost in thought for a moment.:: I learned to appreciate the pain because every joy is better after that. You know the saying after every rain comes the sun. ::Renos hadn’t heard the saying and didn’t believe it. Weather aside, taking things as ne believed she meant it, nir life had been one long storm. If ne was lucky, it stopped raining for awhile. Sometimes, when ne lay in bed at night ne wondered if happiness was a myth - or maybe just something out of reach for deviants.:: ::Of course, ne loved Asana but ne worried constantly about nem coming to harm during events like this. Nir stomach was always knotted and ne felt ill with worry trying to do what ne could to hold things together, knowing duty kept nem apart from nir baby, who really needed nem in moments like that. Ne worried constantly that Asana would grow to love the nannys - even the holographic one better than nem. They were the ones who cared for nem in times of danger, when ne was occupied with nir duty - which was often. Ne tried to make what little time they got special - but was it enough?:: ::Then there was Poppy. How they had hit it off. Asana had been the unexpected result of their passion. Ne hadn’t even known it was possible for J’naii to reproduce naturally any more! They didn’t do it and hadn’t done for centuries, it was considered too painful and dangerous. Ne had never seen or heard or a pregnant J’naii. Renos certainly wasn’t going out of nir way to break every social taboo in nir culture but was nevertheless well on nir way to achieving it.:: Renos: I’ve heard many sayings all with similar notions. I am fond of the one that goes along the lines of, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. We all have our challenges to overcome. Dirsye: You can’t have everything. I resigned to have a family, I left my babies on Deep Space 26 with a nanny. I know having Family close can make you work better, but their security is more important and I was informed Deep Space 26 is our safe haven after every mission, so I arranged for quarters there. ::Renos could barely imagine how difficult it must be to have a family and then leave them behind. What was strange to nem, was resigning to have a family, and then leaving them behind. Her priorities had taken her away from Starfleet and that was fine but it seemed her priorities had once again shifted. Her family couldn’t be that important to her if she rejoined Starfleet and left them behind in the care of someone else. It wasn’t Renos’s place to judge. Nir baby was aboard and it was a much safer place than Deep Space 26, in nir view. Deep Space 26 was a Chon station. It was alien in design and had a significant Freeworlds presence. They were effectively guests in this region and didn’t yet have significant influence. There were too many people that could be bought, blackmailed or coerced into kidnapping nir child on behalf of deviant hunters who would be every bit as pleased to see nir baby exterminated as to see nem reconditioned - or worse. Asana was definitely safer here. Not to mention Renos couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing nir baby for an extended period. The ship had already been away from Deep Space 26 for many months and would not be returning there for a great many more either.:: Renos: I think you’ve been misinformed. We will not be returning to Deep Space 26 after every mission. It’s a secure station but in a region like this, no place is a safe haven. It’s not for me to tell you what to do but you might want to consider whether you’ve made the best choice for you and your family there. Dirsye: Whatever you say, Sir. I’ll follow your orders, but I have to be honest and say I’d love to see engineering. It’s heart and soul of every vessel and to every engineer dearest place aboard. ::Obviously nir advise as a parent and someone with more experience in Starfleet was not particularly welcome. Maybe ne had touched on a nerve? This new Ensign seemed really nice and there seemed a certainty bubbliness about her personality that was endearing. It as certainly clear she loved her job. Perhaps ne was overthinking things. After all, if ne knew there was a medical emergency going on, ne would want to be in the middle if sickbay mucking in. Dirsye knew the ship was in trouble, so it was natural that her drive to get in there and put things to rights would be at its peak.:: Renos: Of course, I understand. Welcome aboard Ensign. Go ahead and report to Ensign Yesna in engineering. ::The Admiral hoped to catch up with Dirsye again later. Maybe it would be nice for a couple of parents to compare notes about the highs and lows of being a parent in Starfleet. With Brell having been given command of the Atlanis, he and family members Lyldra and Hars had moved on. Ne really missed them but was sure they would stay in touch. He had relied a lot on Lyldra in particular and her experience bringing up twins Renu and Lianu who were a little older than Asana. The kids would certainly miss each other but as the same time ne couldn’t hold back great officers for nir own selfish needs.:: ::Stepping onto the bridge around the same time as the Ensign left it, was Commander Wilmer and Ensign Tu’Peq.:: Wilmer: Admiral Renos, we’re back from the Burellion cultural exchange, ner. We have some interesting findings to report. Renos: That’s wonderful. I’d love to hear all about it. Wilmer/Tu’Peq: Response ::The trio talked about all that had happened, with Renos wishing ne could have been there. Nir own trip to Burellion had been interesting in its own way and hopefully they would get something solid to use from the Consortium from it. Engineering reported the ship’s condition was sufficient to allow them to leave dry dock. It was still take weeks to get to the frontline where the Valcarians were aggressively expanding and they were well behind their targeted arrival date but there was nothing they could do. The ship would be operating on skeleton crews as they travelled the busy trade lane because it was the only rest they would get before an intense mission.:: Rear Admiral Renos - Commanding Officer, Andaris Task Force * Executive Council & Captain's Council Member A238805EB0
  12. (( Nugra's Office - USS Gorkon )) :: Anyone that had spent any time around him knew that Nugra preferred everything ordered and in its place. The vacuum cleaner stood proudly in the corner by the potted plant and a 3 foot black triangle case that housed a secret that he was not yet ready to boot up. The Gorn had finally had time to clean up on their voyage back to a place known as Iana Station and also get access to subspace again. :: :: The place he spent more time than his own quarters were filled with screens that either displayed the lazily spinning logo of Starfleet or had the face of a commander or a captain on it. There was even a commodore on the far panel listening quietly to the conversation. :: Stoker: That's pretty much it, Captain Nugra. We've been tracking Orion movements through the northern part of the sector. Starbase 173 picked up a small cluster of cruisers making their way towards the general direction of Khazara. :: A Bolian commander wearing the yellow of a tactical officer ran his hand across his bald head. :: Gresk: And you think that Sicarian ship picked up by the Pakled freighters has nothing to do with it. We can't have the Orions in bed with Sicarius. :: For the first time, Nugra spoke up, his gravely voice silencing everyone. It was not like he did it on purpose, it was just the deep, raspy growl kicked some sort of defensive mechanism in mammalian species. :: Nugra: Sicarian presence in the Tyrellian sector is almost non-existent. The data shows that it is too heavily trafficked for them to want to use as a base. Everything we have found about them shows a tendency to live in outlying systems away from prying eyes. I think the Orion are simply sifting their fleets to handle the Romulan Empire which has been re-gaining their strength in recent years. :: Bother Stoker and Gresk nodded. They were both Chiefs of their respective vessels as as the Taskforce Security Liaison, it had been made his job to coordinate and keep the data flowing. The position was a new idea and the idea was that having such a freeflow of tactical and security minded people could help provide the right data at the right time for anyone functioning in the Tyrellian sector. :: Nugra: Anything else? Stoker: That's it for me. Same time next month? Nugra: Unless something comes up. :: The channels all clicked to the Starfleet symbol and Nugra turned to the Commodore who had remained silent for most of the time. :: Nugra: I hope you are doing well, Commodore Westhaven. :: The human woman with red hair smiled at him and gave him a friendly nod. :: Westhaven: I am Captain. Thank you for the opportunity to listen in. I'm hoping that with the information you provided, Starfleet Sciences & Technologies can consider moving a contingent in to examine and be available in case of an encounter with a hazardous object. :: Starfleet Sciences & Technologies or more commonly referred to as the SST was a special team of Starfleet personnel trained in the retrieval and clean up of powerful and alien technology. They made a name for themselves cleaning up the Borg cube at the Battle of Wolf 359 and saving seven of the wrecked Federation vessels. They had risked their lives to board a breaching ship and use their expertise to save the hull from destruction. :: Nugra: I am glad. I hope to see you here personally one day so I may show you around. Westhaven: I might take you up on that, Nugra. You have a good rest of your evening. :: Nugra remained silent at the use of his name. As a Gorn, to show respect was to use the properly earned title. That was why he had a tendency to use Mister or a persons rank, even though they were friends. Like Alucard Vess. He only called the man by his first name in private or close knit group of friends. He was still referred to as Commander or Mister Vess in front of juniors. It was his appropriately earned title. Now, when it came to his superiors, he forgave it as a sign of respect to their authority. :: :: The chime at his door rang and he turned wondering what was next on his list. He did not expect the buxom but willowy woman who strode in with arms clasped in front of her and a PADD held against her stomach. Her blond hair cascaded down her shoulders which looked strange against her green skin. Her blue eyes were even more striking as Orions were never supposed to have that color. The glittering insignia of a Petty Officer 1st Class. :: Nugra: Petty Officer Shedet. :: She shifted uncomfortably and glanced down at her feet. Shedet was a carefree and happy Orion woman that sometimes made Nugra sick to his stomach. She just moved too much at times. To see her quiet and respectful was not normally her stye. In a way, she seemed older since the last time they spoke. :: Shedet: Permission to enter? Nugra: ::motioning to a chair:: Please. :: She walked in and the Gorn caught a few crewman passing by take a quick peek at her. He had heard Orions could be provocative but that was something outside his understanding. :: Nugra: Mister Shedet. Do you know why you are here? :: Her skinned lightened slightly as she paled from his words. The Gorn did not blame her. The last time he had said something like that did not end well for her. :: (( FLASHBACK - 239202.15 - Ready Room - USS Victory )) Nugra: Enter. :: The door hissed open and Shedet's eyes immediately found the massive lizard that was working behind the mahogany desk. He was busy tapping on the computer. Shedet entered, but remained quiet. :: Nugra: Sit. :: Obeying, she immediate moved over to the chair across from his desk and sat down. For the next five minutes, the room was only filled with the sound of his razor sharp claws tapping away. Nugra finally clicked off the screen and turned to her, hands folded in front of him. :: Nugra: Mr. Shedet. Do you know why you are here? Shedet: I would assume it has to do with the invasion of the Victory while we were in the nebula? :: The Orion was not going to just walk into his waiting claws. There was no escape, but she was going to wiggle as much as possible. :: Nugra: Yes. Your actions, in the long run, saved the ship, but I am extremely angry about your hack of the Victory's computer systems. Only command grade officers are allowed to have the access you decided to give yourself and the intrusion could have weakened the system as a whole. Lieutenant Commander Sharpe's office has wound up having to go through each part of the whole ship's database to make sure there are no other surprises. You have cost this crew quite a number of credits. :: Shedet remained silent. It was standard procedure and there were probably a bunch of programmers cursing her name at the moment. :: Nugra: Furthermore, you threatened a non-commissioned officer and that is unacceptable. :: Shedet's left eyebrow shot up. She threatened somebody?:: Shedet: Sir? Nugra: You threatened Sergeant Major Kildare with your....::reading PADD::...brassier. Shedet: ::snickering:: Oh, yes. :: The cold stare from the Gorn stole any humor from the situation. :: Nugra: Now, it is time to deal with all of your issues, Miss Shedet. oO Ouch, he used my proper title. Oo Nugra: Your actions did save this ship and for that I am grateful. The ends do not justify the means and so I am hereby removing you from the chain of command. Shedet: Excuse me, sir? Nugra: Under Article 15 of the Orders of Court Martial, I am going to offer you the following administrative discipline. In an effort to improve your attitude and standing as a starfleet officer, you are going to be added to a 'Re-education' program of my own. You will temporarily loose all rank and privilege, you will be on 12 hour shifts 6 days a week with 1 day for a planned rest period. You will be assigned whatever job I see fit to improve your understanding on the procedures, and this will last as long as I am sure of your re-integration in to starfleet. Upon your successful graduation, you will be restored as a full lieutenant. oO Where there is a silver lining to this hell. Oo Nugra: Though you must voluntarily accept this discipline, I should advise you that my official action in a court martial will be to send you to a maximum security penal colony for 20 or more years. :: Shedet's heart was in her shoes. She was offered a hell on earth for an unknown amount of time, or a definitive hell in a penal colony for twenty plus years. Standing, Shedet spoke quietly. :: Shedet: I'll accept the article 15, sir. Nugra: Remove your rank. :: Taking off the jacket so she only was wearing her black T-shirt, she distinctively knew what that meant. She wasn't allowed to even wear the uniform till he decided. :: Nugra: Return to your post. Your new regimen starts tomorrow. Dismissed. (( END FLASHBACK )) Shedet: No, sir. I do not know why I'm here. Nugra: Because, Petty Officer. I'd like you to consider a position change. :: That had caught her off guard. He had looked into her history when he heard she was aboard and found that while aboard the USS Darwin-A helping then Captain Renos, she had voluntarily given up her commission to become enlisted. Since they she had a rather storied career with no blemishes. :: Shedet: Sir? Nugra: I'd like you to consider becoming my Aide in the Taskforce Security Liaison position. I need someone to help me with the administrative and someone who can think on their feet. There are some excellent candidates onboard but I want someone I know. Shedet: ::surprised:: I'm...I'm honored, Captain but I don't know with our past.... Nugra: I'm willing to move forward if you are. I was harsh on you and for that I do apologize. :: The apology seemed to be more stunning than the job offer. He was such a hard nosed and arrogant officer so many years before. His experience with the crew of the Hatsheput had taught him a lot. :: Shedet: ::beaming:: Apology accepted, Captain, though you were not out of line. I did hack the Victory's system and if Victoria had found out, I'd be in a hell of a mess. :: Nugra nodded to the triangle box and she glanced over at it. :: Shedet: No...You don't have her... Nugra: That's for another time, Petty Officer. If you want time to think about the position-- Shedet: No, sir. I'll take it. I'm honored you'd ask me. :: She stood and they both shook hands. A very human gesture that the Gorn and Orion had settled on as a way to communicate. She held his clawed hand for a moment and then patted it with the other. :: Shedet: I think she would be very proud of what you have become, Sir. Nugra: ::confused:: Who? Nugra: Talia Kaji. She did ask me to watch out for you if we were ever together. I'll be able to do what I promised. :: Nugra's stomach dropped slightly and then he gave a forlorn smile. His heart ached for a woman that he realized that he loved only after she had left. She was serving on the Obsidian Colony with a grant and from what he could tell, doing it happily. :: Nugra: Dismissed, Shedet...and thank you. :: She turned to leave and he went back to his desk. :: Nugra: Just please...don't strangle anyone with your brassier. I don't want to explain that one to the Admiral. Shedet: ::Grinning: Well, you've got to wear one to use one. :: The dead serious look made Shedet quickly clarify. :: Shedet: It's a joke, sir. I am fully aware of the clothing regulations. :: With that, she left. :: -- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Captain Nugra Taskforce Security Liaison Publicity Facilitator The Archivist USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 V238008N10 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  13. My goodness, can @Randal Shayne ever capture the immediacy of a moment!
  14. ((Corridor, USS Atlantis)) :: Por’kus waddled down the corridor with his arms piled high with packages and bags, so high in fact that he could barely see over them. Not that he really cared. All that mattered was that he not drop anything. :: :: It did not take long before he reached the door to his room and he was grateful for the door sensors that automatically opened the door to let him enter. It had taken him forever it seemed to figure out how to carry all of this stuff and he was glad that he did not have to set it down and then pick it up again. :: ((His quarters)) :: Once inside his quarters he started to walk across his room when he stumbled and tripped on a pile of dirty laundry, he fell, arms flying wide and bags and boxes went everywhere. :: :: It took him a moment but he pushed himself up and rolled over to sit on the floor, reaching up with one hand to rub his snout where he had banged it on the floor. It felt ok, no blood so he got the rest of the way up and started to pick up stuff. He had a large self-contained fridge in the corner of his room that had its own power source so he did not need worry if the ship lost power. He opened boxes and bags and put over half of the contents in the fridge, restocking his midnight snack supply. :: :: It was an advantage being an engineer, as a result he knew how to build, maintain and customize just about anything, like the fridge and microwave. A replicator would have been more efficient but only officers had those in their quarters and they had to be hard wired into the ships systems in order to operate. The next best thing was his fridge and microwave. :: :: When he started to pick up one of the bags it was soggy and easily ripped open. All of the congealed liquid from the Otherian squid soup gushed out making a mess on the floor. He tossed what was left of the bag and the container towards his garbage can and they bounced off the mound of empty food containers and fell onto the floor. :: :: Looking around he spotted an empty bowl and near it his dustpan. Picking up the dustpan he scooped up as much of the soup as he could making sure that he got all of the chunks of squid then dumped the mess into the bowl. Then he kicked the dirty laundry over the puddle that was left and picked up the bowl and stuffed it into the microwave. :: :: While the soup was heating up he finished putting away the rest of his food and snacks. :: BEEEEP :: At the sound he stopped, opened the microwave and took out the bowl. It smelled fantastic. Looking around he spotted a large spoon sticking out from under his pillow and walked over to grab it. He pushed a half-eaten sandwich out of the way and sat on his bed, bowl in one hand spoon in the other. :: :: As he ate, enjoying one of his favourite soups he wondered what kinds of foods they had on this Devron planet they were going to visit. Maybe he would get a chance to visit it and sample some of the local cuisine. He hoped so. The only think he liked more than eating was drinking and being a member of Starfleet gave him the opportunity to try lots of new and unusual dishes, foods and drinks. :: :: Finished eating he tossed the bowl to land on top of the dirty laundry, stood up and stripped out of his dirty clothes, tossing them onto the pile. As he did he glanced over at his open closet. He had 3 more clean uniforms, then he would have to wash this stuff. :: :: He yawned, scratched his butt through the huge hole in his underwear then sat back down on the sandwich. He rolled to the side enough for him to reach under himself and grab it, then he took a big bite and started to chew as he leaned back and rolled over to lay down on his bed. He fell asleep in moments with the remnants of the sandwich scattered all over him and the bed. :: *********************************** PNPC – Junis Kov Por’kus Petty Officer, 3rd class Engineer USS Atlantis, NCC-74682 As simmed by Cmdr. Tal Tel-ar Chief Security & Tactical Officer USS Atlantis, NCC-74682 Tal Tel-ar’s Writer’s ID: T237708TT0
  15. Lieutenant Commander Ayiana Sevo Chief Science Officer’s Log Stardate 239411.02 Regarding the U.S.S. Gorkon’s entrapment within the dangerous Roman Expanse and its encounter with its denizens. Roman Expanse The Gorkon was en route to our port-of-call in the Tyrellian System within slipstream. Suddenly, without warning, the slipstream cut out, sending the Gorkon into an uncontrolled maneuver. Many power conduits and subsystems were taken out with this initial failure. It was a miracle the ship didn’t explode when the waveform collapsed altogether. As we got our bearings, we determined that the Gorkon had been pulled off-course. Instead of staying clear of the well-known and dangerous Roman Nebula, we had somehow been pulled into its boundaries. Throughout our stay within the nebula, the Gorkon’s astrometrics team assembled as much information as they could of the environment, spearheaded by Ensign Sienelis. The Roman Nebula is approximately 20 LY in diameter. The heart of the nebula is the pulsar PSR 2130, a 4 billion year-old supernova remnant which no doubt created the nebula. What is unique about this star is what it did to the surrounding spacetime. I believe the supernova explosion created a rupture into a subspace domain, as well as weakening the barrier between n-space and subspace within several light-years. This caused a sort of “overlap” of subspace onto n-space. Consequently, the environment within the nebula is extremely unstable. Numerous electrokinetic storms and plasma eddies make it extremely difficult to map; the environment is saturated with tetryons; and tachyon eddies and gravitational slipstreams continually alter the shape, making charting the nebula nearly impossible. Preliminary analysis suggests that the pulsar regularly emits gravimetric pulses that ripple through subspace beyond the borders of the nebula. It was one of these that destabilized the quantum slipstream. After the ship lost the slipstream, we essentially “fell” towards the nebula at superluminal speeds. I believe this phenomena, along with the constantly-shifting boundaries of the Expanse, contributed to the collection of derelict ships from across the quadrant. With further analysis, I believe it may be possible to “seal” the barrier between n-space and subspace, returning the environment to normal. However, I don’t think it is ethically viable. See below for details. [Attached files: U.S.S. Gorkon Sensor Analysis - Roman Expanse Environmental Data] I have forwarded to Admiral Reynolds recommendations of commendations for the entire astrographic department, as well as Ensign Sienelis for their exceptional work on mapping the area. “Seraphim” The nebula is inhabited by two heretofore unknown life forms. The first are what has been dubbed “Seraphim” by Ensign Elias Burke, one of three crewmembers who had direct telepathic connection with the creatures. I don’t know how he came up with the name, but my research indicates “Seraphim” are mythological beings from one of Earth’s ancient religions. The Seraphim are shapeshifters. However, unlike familiar shapeshifters like the Dominion Founders, the Seraphim have more limited abilities. They seem to only be able to shapeshift within a limited range of mass, roughly no more than 100kg. At one point, the Seraphim were being seen attempting to mimic a Pahkwa-Thanh but only ended up mimicking portions of the crewman’s body. They attempt to mimic the appearance of a person, right down to their clothing, however they don’t seem to be able to mimic details such as facial features, instead appearing as faceless beings, quickly earning the name the “Faceless Intruders” during the incursion. At one point, a Seraphim was contained and I was able to get brief but detailed sensor readings of its’ anatomy. I have no doubt the creatures evolved and originated in a subspace domain. They are solanogen-based lifeforms, not the first subspace beings Starfleet has discovered with this chemical makeup, which can only exist in a subspace environment. Their bodies emanate tetryon particles as a byproduct of their metabolism, similar to thermal emissions in normal humanoids. Preliminary analysis suggests their cognitive processes are based on tetryons rather than electrons, giving them the potential to have superluminal cognitive functions. This may also lend to their telepathic abilities, able to maintain connection across vast distances. [Attached files: Seraphim Anatomical Study] “Subspace Starfish” The second lifeform encountered in the Expanse was not immediately detected. There was no formal name communicated to us by the Seraphim, and numerous colorful nicknames quickly sprouted among the crew, including “Subspace Devilfish,” and “Subspace Starfish.” After the incident, Xenobiology quickly got ahold of our sensor data and categorized it as “Romanus Spatium Satanum.” I personally prefer the term “Starfish” due to its similarity to an aquatic lifeform common to the oceans of many planets. The Starfish was massive; over 30 km in diameter! It’s main body took the shape of a five-armed starfish. Uncommonly, however, were the massive kilometer-long tentacles, several of which sprouted from the ends of each arm. I believe it uses these tentacles to latch onto its food sources. The Starfish is a dark matter solanogen-based lifeform. The “dark matter” is what made it initially impossible to detect without some engineering miracle I can’t explain. Please refer to Ensign Elias’ Burke’s and Chief Engineer Stoyer’s logs for details. More interestingly, it is able to selectively phase parts of its body through solid matter in normal space. Once we were able to “light” the creature, we were able to see its feeding tentacles phase through the hull of the ship. They latched themselves onto the power conduits and voraciously fed on every watt of power in the ship. It was only through the telepathic bond the Seraphim created with Admiral Reynolds that we were able to devise a way to “detach” the Starfish using the ship’s phasers. The pulsar normally emits more than enough tetryons to satisfy the lifeforms, and solanogen has been “leaking” into n-space for millions of years. A starship passing through is simply like a dessert for the Starfish - a lot of power in a compact form. [Attached files: Romanus Spatium Satanum Anatomical Study] Environmental Symbiosis Subsequent analysis of sensor data leads me to conclude that both the Seraphim and Starfish live in a sort of symbiotic relationship. Further reports from Admiral Reynolds, Ensign Nohx and Ensign Burk, who engaged in telepathic connection with the Seraphim, suggest a more complex relationship. I believe that the Seraphim act as “zookeepers” to the Starfish. They keep the Starfish from leaving the Expanse. Neither the Seraphim or Starfish could exist in a wholly n-space environment. The unique “layering” of subspace and n-space in the Expanse is what keeps the beings alive. The Seraphim try to keep outside ships from getting caught or consumed by the Starfish; a job not always successful according to the remains of numerous starships littering the Expanse. In return, the Starfish emanates an extreme amount of tetryons as waste, providing nutrition which the Seraphim’s biology uses as fuel. Ethics of Cosmoforming As I stated earlier in my report, I believe it may be possible to reverse the overlapping of subspace and n-space in the Expanse, and return the region to a normal class 3 nebula. However, I don’t think it would be ethical to do so. Senor analysis suggests the Seraphim and Starfish have been living in the Expanse for millions of years. As stated above, they can only exist in a subspace environment rich in solanogen and tetryons, neither of which can exist in normal space. Though they did not originate in our universe, they have adapted to the unique conditions of the Expanse and have thrived for millions of years. They are as part of the ecology as mitochondria are to humanoid cells. To cosmoform the Expanse and return it to a purely n-space state could have unforeseen consequences on the Starfish and Seraphim, the latter of which are clearly intelligent beings. I therefore recommend to Starfleet Command to set up a permanent quarantine zone around the Expanse, with a 2 LY buffer between the edge of the zone and the Expanse, to account for its’ regular shifting and navigational hazard. Further scientific analysis should only be conducted via long-range probes. End Log ---------------------------- Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo Chief Science Officer U.S.S. Gorkon Image Collective Co-Facilitator Wiki Ops Training Team V239109AS0
  16. I've never had so much fun reading about somebody throwing up! ------------------------------------------ ((Main Engineering, Deck 21, USS Blackwell)) Thoran: Nothing so far Commander. If there is a virus in the system, it’s an elusive little thing. It may be this device is related in some way. Shayne: As much as I hate to simply abandon the computer like this, we have a clear and present danger on the hull of this ship. The Blackwell isn’t getting underway without our collective approval, so the threat of the virus is lessened, as long as we keep an eye on it. Who knows- if it reaches anything more, we might be able to identify it when we return. Something like that can’t hide forever. ::Charlotte regrettably did not know much about computer viruses. That was more her fiancées speed. Once, aboard the Cardassian freighter Razbu, she had helped isolate a particularly nasty recursive line of code which began making all the replicators speak in fluent Romulan. But the malfunction had been the result of bad programming, not an incursive program. Either way, she could add very little to the moment.:: Farnsworth: I suppose I see your point. ::Charlotte turned to notice Yesna’s approach. She could tell that the white haired engineer seemed giddy and excited about something, as was evident from her beaming grin.:: Yesna: I’m Ready!! :: Her smile still ear to ear and her teeth shining white. :: Shayne: Spacewalk. We’ve got to get whatever it is off the hull. And we’re not splitting up- I assume you are cleared for EVA activity? ::Charlotte froze in her tracks, turning ghastly pale white on her skin. She had never anticipated during her application to the engineering department, that she might have to one day operate outside the vessel. Outer space EVA work made her sick…very sick. And yet, how could she say no? She responded with a nervous and stuttered half-hearted smile.:: Farnsworth: Sure…? ::Charlotte began to pray as they headed for the airlock that her mag-boots would not demagnetize and have her spiraling out of control into the deep, deep depths of uncharted space.:: ((Timeskip)) ((Airlock, Deck 13, USS Blackwell)) ::Charlotte had never prayed before, and yet, as the airlock began to depressurize, she quickly found herself in touch with the almighty.:: Farnsworth: oO Keep your eyes on the hull… keep your eyes on the hull… Oo ::Following the leader, Charlotte stuck in tight formation with those around her, using them as a sort of anchoring point, so that she might not concentrate on where she was walking. One misstep in space, and one could find themselves floating free and unceremoniously away.::: Yesna: Don’t worry you’ll be fine. ::Charlotte couldn’t tell if her nauseated state could be so easily seen through the Starfleet issue spacesuit. For a moment, she thought about addressing the statement, until Thoran spoke up instead.:: Thoran: ::Resigned smile.:: I know. Just like to make sure these ::pointing to the boots:: work and aren’t going to suddenly disengage. Especially given the quality of engineers we have on board. ::Charlotte felt somehow at ease with Thoran’s joking statement. She was glad to know she wasn’t the only one with butterflies in her stomach.:: Shayne: Mag boots ready. Oxygen ready. Tools ready. ::The room started to depressurise.:: ::The doors parted to reveal the great void.:: ::Charlotte’s heart began to pump as though she were running a marathon. In the infinite quiet of the internalized world of her own spacesuit, she could hear only her own breathing, the quiet release of marginally warmed oxygen, and deafening beat of her own fearful heart.:: ::If she suffocated in space, her last thoughts would be of Nate, but the sound she would hear was her own heart drumming out anxiety.:: Shayne: Sound off, please. Yesna: Response Thoran: All good here commander. ::Charlotte separated herself from the hull, allowing the great miasma of nothingness to embrace her. Her stomach released from its grounded perch inside her, and did somersaults. Still she did her best to reply.:: Farnsworth: I…am…. ::fighting queasiness.:: …alive… ::She stayed in focus on the backside of Shayne. He would have to be her focal point. To look anywhere else was to invite still more fear and nausea.:: Shayne: Tricorder readings. Yesna: Response ::Time slowed to a crawl with every breath. Charlotte imagined herself in her wedding dress, to try and calm herself. The wedding was not far away now. She had something to live for, she would not die in space.:: Shayne: Very well. Let’s head out. ::Charlotte again responded.:: Farnsworth: Head… ::fighting the tumbling of her ever approaching lunch.:: …heading out…. Thoran: After you. I insist. ::Free floating in space, to Charlotte’s estimation, was not like reentering the womb, as some had so artistically put it. It was more like riding the tilta-whirl cup at Disneyworld, but with no motion suppression system engaged. Charlotte felt woozy, but pressed on.:: Yesna: Response Farnsworth: We’re not…..::she hiccupped, feeling the acrid taste of her own stomach contents in the back of her throat:: …we’re not…far…from it now… ::She was becoming disoriented, unfocused, she didn’t know how much longer she could hold out.:: Shayne: Response ::Charlotte’s eyes focused on the box. However, all her stomach could focus on was emptying its contents.:: Thoran: ::Looking to the group.:: So uh, now we’ve found it, how do we get rid of it? ::Charlotte did not how to respond. She suddenly hated all of her ambitions. She hated that she had volunteered for this mission, hated her space suit, hated this stupid box and its stupid contents. She hated space. She hated the fact that she had Mexican food for lunch.:: Farnsworth: I… uhm…::choking back her nausea:: I… uhhhhhh….. I’m going to be…. ::At once, an explosive cavalcade of partially digested materials projected from her mouth and into the helmet of her spacesuit. The sounds of regurgitation filled the commline, and Charlotte could not help but feel intense embarrassment as no doubt every member of the team knew what was happening.:: ::Lunch had been officially lost.:: ::Her vision now was obscured, as the material and mess free floated in front of her transparent helmet faceplate. She couldn’t see and how no idea how she might get back to the ship, with reduced vision.:: Yesna/ Response Shayne: Response ::Charlotte felt immediate embarrassment. She hoped that Nate would not learn of this fiasco, for he would never let her live it down.:: Farnsworth: Sorry… I’m sorry…. ::Now beginning to feel better:: What should I do? Is there a way to clear this out easily? Or am I just going to have to hope it doesn’t float into my hair and eyes??? ::Charlotte was beyond saving face at this point. There was no aristocratic way to vomit, no stately way to upheave in front of ones coworkers. This was about pure damage control now, in more ways than one.:: Shayne: Response Thoran: Response PNPC Charlotte Farnsworth as simmed by Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer Helm Officer USS Blackwell (NCC-58999) E239107NW0
  17. @Sal Taybrim ((Hallways - Starliner Meredia)) ::Sal Taybrim had been headed towards the bridge. At least he had intended to head to the bridge. Then the ship went holographically lopsided and Sal had to admit he was hopelessly lost. That was quite unlike him - he had a fairly good sense of direction and he knew his beloved Starbase forwards, backwards and upside down. But this wasn't his base and when each hallway and passageway kept shift both in aesthetics and arrangement... it was enough to get the even best navigator lost. When one was simply a Captain with no special navigation skills... Yep, he had no clue where he was. Turning another hallways that looked like it came directly out of an ancient sailing vessel he heard a splash. And another. And... His entire body jerked to one side, wrapped up in a bear hug.:: Taybrim: Alia, if that's you-- ::Oh. Oh no. It was not Alia Anders. It was a giant octopus. Oooops. A giant octopus with an old woman riding upon it. Or caught in it. What? WHACK! The tentacled beast whipped the ginger Captain down the hallway and he slid on the wet floor until he came to an uncomfortable stop at a T-junction. Well, that was really not how he wanted this evening to go. Sal picked himself up, half sopping wet, which did little to improve his mood or his appearance. His traditional Betazoid garb of a long wrapped tunic and soft pants were now stuck to him like some sort of strange cold weather swimwear and half of his hair was sodden and plastered to his face. The octopus, however, cared little for appearances and long tentacles moved in for another hug, forcing Sal to scramble to his feet and slide down the hallway with an anguished gasp.:: Doreln: ::The Elyasian's Captain's voice was somewhere nearby, but Sal couldn't pinpoint it:: Captain Taybrim?! Is that you? Are you OK? Taybrim: I'm alive and you have an octopus on your ship, is this normal? ::Which might not be the best conversation starter, but it was painfully true.:: Doreln: What? No! What do you... ::She rounded the corner and screamed:: How did that get here? Taybrim: I was about to ask you the same thing! Doreln: This way! ::She grabbed Sal's arm and pulled him down the hallway as a wave of water followed them. For a few moments he wondered if that odl lady was alright, caught in the embrace of a giant holographic octopus. He didn't have much time to worry about that.:: Doreln: If we continue this way we'll get to a higher deck near the escape pods. That's a no-hologram zone for safety. We should be able to sort things out from there. ::Escape pods? A faint alarm bell rang in Sal's mind, not quite enough to connect the dots, but enough that he was on alert.:: Taybrim: No-hologram zone sounds perfect right about now. Doreln: Just down this path... ::She took a sharp turn and started heading for a ladder when the lights flashed off again. When they came back on the ship's interior and the water were (thankfully) gone, and the octopus with it - but replaced by dark mahogany wood panels, creepy candelabras and looming shadows. and a dead end where a ladder should be.:: Doreln: Oh, I hate this! ::She said under her breath. Taybrim: What setting is this? ::He queried, almost afraid to ask. Doreln: We did a horror cruise last month... ::She trailed off.:: Come on, I think there's secret passages in this one. ::A low howl filled the air.:: Doreln: I hope that's background noise. ::She frowned, searching for an escape route.:: Taybrim: Sounds awfully close. ::He started to peer around the corner when he saw a massive black wolf with red eyes loping towards them. With... was that the same old lady on it?:: Taybrim: Are you OK? ::He yelled towards the lady.:: Ardel: ? Doreln: Get out of the way! ::She pulled the Starfleet Captain backwards as the wolf charged through skidding to a stop in the dead-end:: ::There was a soft 'click' and something unlocked. A bookshelf tilted backwards, dumping Elana into a darkened secret passage. She disappeared with a cry and the bookshelf slid back into place as smoothly as it unlocked. Sal, meanwhile picked himself up off the ground to find a wolf on one side and... nothing on the other side.:: Taybrim: Elana? Where are you? ::No answer:: Ardel: ? Taybrim: Who are you? ::He asked of the older lady, his ginger brows furrowing trying to figure out if she was in danger or enjoying herself.:: ::Truth be told he was trying to figure out if he was in danger or if the massive black wolf was just a spooky apparition.:: Ardel: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Captain Sal Taybrim Commanding officer StarBase 118 Ops "Why do we fly? Because we have dreamt of it for so long that we must" ~Julian Beck E239010ST0
  18. ((Training facility, deck 4, USS Atlantis, a day before the mission starts)) Williams: And so you should… But never hide behind them. If you don’t agree, speak up your mind and offer someone your insights. You might not always get what you want, but speaking up is better then holding your breath. Cattan: ::to Williams:: I was thinking about doing a warm up first if that's okay with you? Williams: That would be the best way to get started. You can do that in your sport gea if you want. But after that you should take your Judogi . ::he pointed at the suits that he prepared:: ((Time skip)) :: The warm up had taken the women a good 30 minutes. It would become fairly evident that despite Rev'ya's commitment, she was clearly far from happy to be here.:: Cattan: So how do we start :: she looked at Alex :: Williams: We shall start with the basics. :: She watched the Senior officer deploy a punching bag:: Williams: Let’s see what you can do with that. Give it a few punches and kicks. Remember its not about strength but technique Cattan/: Response? T'vete: oO Yeah, that's what get's me through this stuff. Technique, and trying to get that down. There's no pleasure in learning to fight Oo ::She kept any commentary that she might have to herself however, instead just making sure she was going through the proper motions:: Williams: Ensign ::looking at T’Vete:: I see you know what your doing. Try to get a steady rhythm. Cattan, try to deliver a few punches on this one. ::Williams held up the cushion :: Cattan: Response? T’Vete: ::She nodded in response to that, sighing internally:: oO Hmm, I wonder if I should speak to the Legal Sciences Officer, Perhaps with my role as Counselor, I can see if there's any loophole to get out of this kind of stuff. Starfleet is a peaceful organization...I have a duty to object to orders that violate my morality. I'm a pacifist, and yet, here I am. This alone almost violates what it means to be a Counselor, and what it means to me Oo ::This was almost enough to bring her to tears, but she hid that well enough. She repeated the Therapist's Oath under her breath, to reassure herself:: T'vete: ::Whispered::I will, first, do no harm...I will strive to be wise, compassionate and contained with those in my care. I will speak up against torture, exploitation and violence, and tolerate none of these. I will protect those who are vulnerable, and cannot speak up for themselves.I will be silent when it is time to be silent, protecting the sacred oath of confidentiality.I will speak the truth.I will be respectful. I will know my abilities, my limits and myself.I will ask for help when I need it, and acknowledge when I don't know something.I will give back, and strive to make my presence be a healing one in the world.I will take care of myself, so that I can take care of others. Anyone: Response? =========================== Ensign Rev'ya T'vete - Ship's CounselorUSS - AtlantisA239410RT0
  19. ((Corridor - Deck 2, USS Blackwell)) ::With their team assembled, it was time to track down the telepathic affliction spreading aboard the Blackwell and drive it away. But before they began, there was a matter of disclosure to take care of. It was better to get it out of the way at the start than after her symptoms chose to resurface.:: G’Renn: Commander ::Turning to look at R’Ven:: It would also be neglectful on my part if I did not mention that the symptoms have begun to affect me as well. R’Ven: I have been told that different individuals have been presenting the illness in different ways. How is your presenting. G’Renn: I have found myself losing discretion over which thoughts I share with others. Counselor Sindrana and I shared unintended telepathic communication multiple times earlier today in sickbay. I also suffered one episode where I temporarily lost consciousness and, “relived” a memory, for want of a better term. ::The vivid recall of Jolash’s birthday had not just been a dream or a reflection. She had been there in her mind. Every last detail, not a single sensory input left out. The slight creak of the floor in her room had been right where it should have been and the cool desert dawn before the sun had risen made her feel homesick. She had been back home that day, somehow. She just couldn’t easily explain it.:: R’Ven: I understand. I thank you for sharing. We will do everything we can to help you. Have you found that it is impacting your ability to work? G’Renn: I… ::momentary pause of reflection:: I do not believe it has impacted my ability to perform research as of yet. Surgery or other sensitive procedures where each millisecond counts might be another matter. ::She looked over at Stennes as he began speaking, wondering what he thought of what all he had seen. Did he still trust her judgement? Did he still find her competent of working with them after the events between her and Sindrana?:: Stennes: My observation of Dr. G’Renn indicated that despite a momentary disorientation during her... episode... she maintained control over her judgment and her faculties throughout. In my opinion, she is fit for duty. ::So, he trusted her for the time being. That was excellent and immediately boosted Anath’s confidence. The momentary rush of confidence was quickly pushed aside when Captain Zaekia arrived behind them, causing Anath to involuntarily straighten up slightly at the sight of their commanding officer.:: R’Ven: ::turning to face Zaekia:: Greetings Captain. I have been discussing with Doctor G’Renn and Counselor Zaekia the effect that this virus has had on Doctor’s G’Renn. ::slight tilt of the head:: You are telepathic. Have you noticed any adverse effects? Zaekia: Response ::As the captain spoke Anath began compiling mental notes of what he said, comparing it to what other telepaths had reported in the interviews with Stennes, Sindrana, and Ilsam. There would be time to write it all down later. For the moment, her brain was just as reliable as any PADD.:: G’Renn: oO Well, my brain’s reliable assuming this… affliction isn’t slowly eating away at it Oo Stennes: We have collected a great deal of data from our current patients. It may take some time to isolate the cause, but I wonder if we could identify some chemical or biological or physiological changes that accompany one of these telepathic episodes. G’Renn: I would like to run some more detailed neural scans in the lab. If possible, for a patient currently expressing symptoms. It could be possible that the biological component is most visible or only enters an active phase when symptoms are active. ::Anath didn’t envy the idea of scanning and testing disoriented, confused, or possibly terrified patients eager only to return to duty or otherwise regain control of their abilities. Were she in the same position she probably wouldn’t enjoy being a lab rat for the medical department either, but if they didn’t run their tests they couldn’t get a cure for their patients any faster.:: Zaekia/R’Ven: Responses Stennes: If we knew what happens in the body when an episode begins, we might be able to predict when one is coming. Then–with all due respect, of course, Captain–the medical computer could monitor whoever is in command, and should that person suffer an episode, it could transfer command codes automatically to the highest ranking officer who is not afflicted. It’s not a cure, but at least it is a backup plan to keep the ship safe. Zaekia/R’Ven: Responses ::Before any safety procedures could be planned out and put in place, they would need to find a way to predict the somewhat episodic symptoms before they struck. As the group neared the turbolift, she began working on the logistics of research aloud.:: G’Renn: We will need to decide on which patients to bring to the research lab from the recovery areas on Deck 20. Perhaps looking over the interviews conducted by our counselors would- ::There was little warning, nothing to indicate any meaningful change. No key to predicting the onset of symptoms. One moment she was there in the real world with the captain, R’Ven, and Stennes. The next moment, she was again swept from the present and taken back through her memories.:: ((Flashback - Outside the First City, Qo’noS - April 2nd, 2382)) ::According to the indicator along the bottom of her datapad, there were only a few pages left in the current chapter of her biology textbook. It was fascinating, moving past the basic building blocks of cells and proteins to the more complex topics of biological systems and specialized tissues. If she could, Anath would have been more than happy to read until it was time for bed. Her uncle O’Trel, however, had very different plans.:: O’Trel: Anath, the front door is this way. There is a Bat’leth tournament being held in the Old Quarter shortly, and we don’t want to be late! ::The sword fight wasn’t something that Anath was particularly eager to see. As a very young doctor in training, all she could think of when she saw such tournaments were all the health risks involved. She never understood what enjoyment anyone could get out of watching them.:: G’Renn: Is there, any way I could remain here father? Bat’leth tournaments are not enjoyable for me, and I find them painful to watch. The casual disregard for safety is terrifying. Did you know that a T’Gha maneuver of sufficient strength could… O’Trel: Listen to her, brother! A true warrior would worry not about the possibility of minor injury. A Klingon instead focuses on honing their skills so they need not worry about being struck by their enemy. You aren’t raising two Klingons. You’re raising a Klingon ::shifting his gaze from Jolash to Anath:: and a Vulcan! T’Shol: Anath may not have the same respect for our culture as- ::No, that was not the answer either. She was Klingon! It was in her blood, in her heart, in all the stories she had heard as a child. She bolted up from the chair she had been reading in and dropped the datapad before retorting.:: G’Renn: But I do respect Klingon culture! I love the poems and operas! I could spend hours working with the artisans in one of the workshops or listening to the songs of great battles of the past. O’Trel: Yes, you can stand our customs like any other alien. You can appreciate the beauty of our arts but you don’t have the heart to embrace the warrior spirit! G’Renn: So I have to embrace senseless violence to be a true Klingon in your eyes! I cannot show my honor through healing and using my mind as warriors use muscle? Go see two sentient beings with so much potential bludgeon each other to near-death with swords for no reason if you want! I will stay here and continue reading so that I can improve myself, and enrich my spirit through healing. ::A silence filled the foyer, as everyone processed what she had said. Anath looked to her father for support, only to see T’Shol looking conflicted. There was no way that he was doubting her, was there? O’Trel on the other hand only scoffed and continued along towards the front door with his back to her. For him the conversation was over.:: O’Trel: Stay here if you wish. ::Pausing in front of the door:: Perhaps when you are a doctor you can remove those forehead ridges. They’re unbecoming on a Vulcan. ((End flashback)) ::She immediately noticed that the group had gotten a few paces ahead while her feet remained rooted to the floor right where they were when the memory struck her. She couldn’t believe it! Again, she was again taking leave of reality to instead wallow in unpleasant memories of the past. As she realized what had just happened she squeezed down on the PADDs in her hand, surprising herself by not breaking the screen of the topmost PADD with the force of her grip.:: R’Ven: Response ::Such a display in front of the captain and her research teammates was the last thing she needed. But it was unavoidable, clearly something had distracted her. Simply lying wouldn’t do her any good, and at least she could take comfort in the fact that this time she had remained upright and not had a second close encounter with the floor.:: G’Renn: I just suffered another temporary lapse into memory. How long was I non-responsive? Zaekia/R’Ven/Stennes: Response(s)? ::While glancing at Zaekia, Anath felt a momentary panic. What about his telepathy? There were so many unknowns in the situation, too many unanswered questions about the specifics of the affliction. How much control did each telepath still have? What were the flashbacks to memories long past? Could other telepaths sense such memories? It made her both somewhat self-conscious, and more importantly much more eager to find whatever was causing all the problems and wipe it out.:: G’Renn: If such lapses continue, we may have a promising candidate for help in tracing a physiological cause for these symptoms. Zaekia/R’Ven/Stennes: Response(s)? Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Anath G'Renn Medical Officer, USS Blackwell - Andaris Task Force A239402AG0
  20. JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 1 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep From the mountains of faith To a river so deep I must be looking for something Something sacred I lost But the river is wide And it's too hard to cross” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Vulcan - Sutek Monastery )) ::Thunder rumbled distantly over the Voroth Sea, little more than a murmur by the time it reached the shore. The Sutek monastery had stood for a millennium, an airy structure, with a number of arches and plateaus open to the wind and the salt spray of the ocean below below as it dashed against the crags.:: ::Ji-hu watched lightning skein across the dark purple sky on the horizon, sitting on the highest plateau, his knees pulled up to his chest. He couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there. He’d been in San Francisco a moment before… or was it the San Francisco district on Starbase 118? He kept blinking, hoping the images of the Vulcan man hemmoraghing before his eyes would go away.:: ::A monarch butterfly flew by.:: Choi: Can anyone hear me?! ::Light footsteps sounded behind him. Between two pillars came the glimpse of a dark-haired child in blue robes before she disappeared again, her footfalls echoing into the distance.:: ::Ji-hu sat up and turned towards the sound. The child was familiar, he wanted to follow her.:: Choi: T’Reshik, is that you? :: Rows upon rows of tiny zeroes and ones flashed under his feet with the distant lightning, bright beneath the stone for a moment before disappearing. The Vulcan child slipped into view again, a small, determined-looking girl with a stack of papers in her arms that looked almost too bulky for her to carry. Then she turned and ran, dropping sheets of paper in her wake that turned into butterflies and skittered toward the sea before Choi had a chance to read them. :: Tirak: They are moving toward the storm. Choi: ::spinning around:: Wait… I… know you? :: Sutek’s lab assistant caught one in his hand, and it lingered there for a moment before fluttering on its way again. He was a tall, graceful-looking man, with an auburn tint to his hair that was uncommon in Vulcans of T’Reshik’s ethnicity.:: Tirak: You humans call them “moths”, do you not? Choi: Butterfly. Danaus plexippus. Monarch. Notable for their annual southward late-summer or autumn migration from northern and central United States and southern Canada to... Florida and... Mexico. ::Ji-hu blinked again, not sure why he was spouting off scientific facts. Didn’t he have better things to do? He should get out of the monastery, get back to… wherever he had been…:: Choi: Do you know where that little girl went? It’s like she’s… hiding from me or something. Tirak: Interesting. I do not believe it is you she is hiding from. Most likely she does not realize she is hiding at all. Choi: I should look for her. Can you give me directions to the lab? ::Why he had to go to the lab he couldn’t say, but he had a problem he’d find her there, or maybe some answers.:: Tirak: Unlikely, but deductive reasoning would suggest that moving in the opposite direction to the butterflies will lead you there, if that is where she is headed. Choi: That is logical… ::Was it?:: Thank you. Are you… going to be okay? Tirak: Negative. I have been dead for some time now. Choi: Of… course. I’m so sorry. ::Ji-hu’s hand formed the ta'al, though it felt a perverse symbol given what he knew about Tirak, somewhere deep inside of him. What would happen to the man, or what had already happened. He turned and began down the steps of the monastery, monarch’s passing by in the opposite direction as they danced up the winding staircase, on their way out of the monastery. Flying out to sea. Hopefully they would land somewhere and reproduce so their children could carry on the journey.:: ::The sky seemed to progressively darken as Choi descended, not only a result of the approaching storm or the surrounding walls but also of the strange architectural shifts that seemed to happen in dreams. Ancient bricks became ancient cliffsides, then twisted arcs of metal, with butterflies dancing ever upward through the gaps into the distant grey clouds. The sight that greeted him at the bottom was darkly familiar.:: ::It was the ESPO, and yet it wasn’t; piles of paper and ancient scrolls had been stacked up at one end, as if forming a flimsy sort of barricade; the consoles around him glowed with unfamiliar colour, bled out into arteries of wire leading to ancient machinery, almost biological in its construction. The girl was standing at the opposite end. She looked to be between nine and eleven years old, but the cast of her face and the determination in her eyes was unmistakable - he was looking at T’Reshik. :: Choi: T’hy’la? What are you doing? T’Reshik: You should not be here. ::She looked at the parchment barricade behind her.:: I tried to keep it out. This hurricane will not lose traction when it hits land, and we are too close to the shore. Choi: What’s… what is it? ::The child-T’Reshik moved to a console, pulled out a wire; blood the colour of emeralds flowed from the empty port, trickling onto the floor in unsettling quantity, staining the girl’s bare feet. She replaced the plug elsewhere, ignoring the bleeding. A low rumbling, the sound of thunder, or wind hitting stone, sent shivers through the building.:: T’Reshik: This? A solution. Ultimately fruitless, but it kept the wolf from the door for a few years. ::She looked at him, her eyes chilling and empty.:: That is the phrase, is it not? The wolf from the door? These new memories are… chaotic. Choi: Memories? Is that what these are? Last I remember I was… sick… something bad had happened, someone was hurt… Do you know what I’m talking about? I… can’t remember... ::The great stone structure creaked. Papers fluttered to the ground, shrunk and grew wings. Butterflies tried to emerge, but faltered in their flight, weighed down by the thin layer of green blood they were now soaked in.:: T’Reshik: I do not know you. I suspect it is a shame that you must die here. So many have died to this. ::She moved to the next console, grabbing a sheaf of papers and stuffing them into a recess, and blood seeped out from around them, the air smelling of sweet verdigris now, organic and damp.:: ::Ji-hu felt queasy from the copper tang in the air, the way the butterflies flapped, caught in the blood. He reached down and scooped one up, the warm blood sticking to his hand, but the monarch came away easy enough, wings twitching, attempting to dry.:: Choi: ::to himself:: I can at least protect you. T’Reshik: Do you hear that? The oceans on this part of Vulcan are turbulent. The hurricanes can last for days. Perhaps you might find it beautiful. ::She looked up as a crash sounded and the whole building shook.:: It is destroying the monastery. I expected as much. Choi: ::cupping the monarch in his hand:: What is it? Can we save the monastery? Can we get away? T’Reshik: It is in here too. ::The wind kicked up around her feet, battering at the bloodsoaked hem of her robe, the discarded papers, the remaining butterflies on the ground. The air seemed to become warmer.:: It always was. ::There was a chilling kind of maturity to the way she enunciated those words. The air picked up further, buffeting at Choi’s form.:: Choi: T’Reshik… you need to help me… I need to get out of here I was... ???: T’hy’la! ::A patter of feet, heavier, and fast. T’Reshik appeared in the doorway - not a child, this time, but an adult, wearing the same lab coat he had seen her in during their mind meld.:: ::Ji-hu blinked, as the storm began to wrench apart the laboratory, the winds seemed to muddle his mind. They were chilling, but he felt too hot. His mind was muddled, he could barely think.:: Choi: If you’re… but... T’Reshik-2: That is not me. Come with me, now. ::She reached out her hand.:: ::Ji-hu recoiled away. If he uncupped his hand the butterfly would get torn away by the howling wind as it continued to tear apart the structures around them before it could fly again.:: Choi: No… I’m not g-g-going with you! You… you did something... ::T’Reshik began to physically drag him, and it seemed as if the ground crumbled away behind him at every step. Girders creaked and bricks fell at either side of the staircase, and the wind howled far above.:: Choi: ::shouting:: Help me, I’m so scared, t’hy’la… I feel so lost… Where are we? Are these memories? T’Reshik-2: ::shouting over the sound:: Unsure. Some kind of shared hallucination. The last I recall, I was about to mind-meld with you. Did that occur? ::Bright green butterflies the colour of blood flooded up around them as they ascended.:: Choi: Mind… meld… yes… we merged, I could remember… too much… T’Reshik: Ji-hu, this is important. Can you remember anything about what followed? ::prompting:: We were in sickbay, we were initiating a mind meld, and then... Choi: And then… ::They were in the surgery, but it was more Vulcan in design than anything in Starfleet, parts of the wall were exposed and beyond they could see a hurricane cycling around them, the blazing hot sun of Vulcan cutting through the tendrils of storm.:: ::Wyn stood over the operating table, though he was far away, somehow, he wasn’t coming through. T’Reshik lay there, only they were operating on the T’Reshik that had watched her husband die, they could both tell instinctually. Ji-hu was there as well, though he seemed to burn with darkness.:: Foster: ... not ready... withdrawing the probe… ::The other Ji-hu reached a dark, blazing hand out, which found the console.:: Choi: No… no! ::He reached out his hand to stop him, and as he feared the butterfly was whipped away. The room seemed to twist and scream around them, metal screeching against metal, stone grinding against stone. Ji-hu and T’Reshik were cocooned in the structure, obscuring the scene without, protecting them from the storm.:: ::Ji-hu glanced down at his hands. They were quite literally covered in warm, oxidizing greenish blood.:: Choi: I… killed you… Wyn wanted to s-s-stop and I… T’Reshik: ::abruptly:: No. I remember now. That was my influence. You are not to blame. Choi: No… you don’t understand. I wanted to keep going. It wasn’t just you. I could have stopped but I… wanted to… and now you’re dead… all that’s left is your… katra… I killed you... ::T’Reshik’s eyes widened a little, as if in realization. She spoke rapidly.:: T’Reshik: Choi. If this is true, and I am dead, you need to listen to me, and you need to focus. Something is wrong here. I cannot yet ascertain- ::Ji-hu pushed her away and the cocoon separated them, pushing her out and pulling him in deeper and darker. It was quieter here, calmer.:: Choi: Computer, begin encryption process for a three-tiered firewall security system. I don’t want anyone getting in or out. Computer: Acknowledged. ::Outside, T’Reshik was joined with the Choi who burned darkly. He smiled at her and took her hand in his own.:: Choi: We make a much more logical pair, wouldn’t you say t’hy’la? ::T’Reshik spun round as the storm battered at her lab coat, jerking her hand out of his. It had seemed natural to offer Choi her hand earlier, despite the intimacy of the gesture - like siblings huddling close against the cold - but the version who had taken it now sent warning tingles up the back of her neck, or the memory of it. If T’Reshik was dead now, it was reasonable to assume that she no longer had a physical form, and that quiet realization felt less important than the idea that her katra was actively endangering its host somehow.:: ::It was reasonable also to assume that this dark-burning Choi who seemed to wholly lack the… the humanity of the original was an extension of that problem.:: T’Reshik: What are you? Choi: I’m Lieutenant Choi Ji-hu, the better parts, anyway. The ambition, the cunning, the intellect. The parts you saw a reflection of yourself in, I’d guess. ::T’Reshik flared her nostrils disapprovingly.:: T’Reshik: I always knew psychoanalysis was a pointless discipline. ::She closed her eyes, attempting to assert some order on the situation; felt the raging torrent of their clashing minds resist, and pushed further. The ground cracked. Walls formed, then were swept away into the whirling chaos; wires unfurled from beneath her feet and spread into the distance, heralded by streaming lines of bright code, and one by one the hurricane tore them up again and dragged them into the distance.:: Choi: ::smiling:: Perhaps you might find it beautiful. T’Reshik: I am not impressed by you. On the contrary. Now that I have a vague idea of what you are, this should make my task easier. Choi: There is no task, t’hy’la, there’s no problem to be solved. We were working for the same purpose. To survive and overcome. If that means killing the weaker part of myself… what are you doing? ::T’Reshik turned back to the twisted stone-and-metal cocoon, and started to wrench one of the girders from the outside, her muscles straining implausibly from the exertion - how could one ache in a body that was not there?:: Choi: Why are you hurting yourself to get at… ::motioning at the cocoon:: … that. I’m right here. T’Reshik: ::straining:: If I am forced to guess, you are some kind of subconscious manifestation of negative emotion, possibly fear. Given that mine is conveniently elsewhere, subduing you should present no difficulty. Choi: ::amused:: Subduing me. I guess I should know that about you by now. You have a hard time admitting when it’s time to give up. ::She tore the metal away and swung at him.:: ::Choi ducked once, then again, bringing his hand up to stop the jagged metal bit.:: Choi: Huh, I’m much better at hand-to-hand without pesky anxiety getting in the way. Though I don’t know why you’re fighting me, t’hy’la. We should be embracing. Oh well... ::The ground shuddered and parted, and she was thrown sideways, her hands scrabbling to keep herself away from the the edge of what was now a deep precipice, nothing visible beyond but the raging sandstorm which smelt of blood. The weapon tumbled out of her grip and fell away.:: Choi: You can’t fix this, there’s no solution. It’s a decision I’ve made myself. T’Reshik: ::picking herself up:: No. There is always a solution. ::She gave the not-Choi one last, determined look, and ran for the edge.:: TBC “And even though I know the river is wide I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore And try to cross to the opposite side So I can finally find out what I've been looking for” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10 JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 2 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep Through the valley of fear To a river so deep And I've been searching for something Taken out of my soul Something I would never lose Something somebody stole” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Mindscape - unknown )) T’Reshik: ::picking herself up:: No. There is always a solution. ::She gave the not-Choi one last, determined look, and ran for the edge.:: Choi: Computer, activate program Choi-88. ::The mindscape began to reconstitute itself, metal fragments and stone whipping about in the storm to reform a new space. An amalgam of monastery, laboratory and starship. Choi-88 was a starship bridge simulation. T’Reshik was placed on a ship that was half-Suurok class, half temple, while Choi remained behind on an obsidian black Galaxy-class vessel. He ran his hand over the cocoon, which sat at the centre of the vessel’s.:: Choi: Shields up, red alert. ::T’Reshik stared at her surroundings with disbelief. Something itched at the back of her mind, but she ignored it. What did this… this whatever it was gain by trying to engage her in a simulation? And why did it seem to have so much control? Was she going to have to start trying to think on some kind of symbolic level in order to correct the situation?:: T’Reshik: Computer. Hail enemy vessel. Choi: =/\= Go ahead, t’hy’la. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= What do you want? =/\= Choi: =/\= I want you to play a game with me! I do love my starship simulators. Although I’m not sure if I’m the computer core, or the captain of this vessel. Why don’t you fire on me and find out? =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= I will not ‘play your game’ and I refuse to become complicit in harming my friend. Computer, initiate self-destruct-=/\= Saveron: =/\= Belay that, T’Reshik. =/\= ::The bland voice sounded over the comms as a tiny blip appeared on the sensors, racing impossibly fast towards the confrontation. Vastly smaller than either combative ship, on visual ther vessel featured a crescent-shaped head and rotating drive in the tail, the [...]pit big enough for just one person. It left a streak of green plasma across space, like a comet:: ::Everything of course, was an overlay. A mind’s way to interpreting what was going on underneath, like a dream. But this one was in the control of one part of one mind. Saveron had fought other minds across the shifting sands of Vulcan, but this time he was playing by someone else’s rules. ‘Seated’ in the [...]pit of a simulacrum of the fastest ship ever to come out of the Vulcan Science Academy, he found himself ‘dressed’ in full robes and deep desert suit, the usual manifestation of the mental protection he maintained when accessing the mind of another.:: ::A dark aura flickered around Choi’s ship, menacing in a way only diseased thought processes could be. And he’d seen something similar before.:: Choi: =/\= Identify yourself, unmarked vessel. =/\= Saveron: =/\= This is Commander Saveron. Lieutenants, stand down. =/\= ::Not that he expected the order to be obeyed, but the possibility warranted the attempt.:: ::T’Reshik almost experienced relief. She sat back in her chair, letting out a long breath. So that was the source of the odd feeling - another mind, one she had in fact encountered before, and perhaps the very person who could help.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Your presence is fortunate, Commander. What is your assessment of the situation? =/\= Saveron: =/\= It is a pathological personality; such cannot be permitted to return to consciousness. =/\= ::The tiny ship zipped between the two larger ones, jinking and weaving with agility afforded by it’s size the very latest inertial dampeners.:: Choi: =/\= Commander, this matter does not involve you. If you don’t turn back I’ll be forced to fire on you. =/\= ::The obsidian vessel shimmered menacingly, as if the very thought of opening fire gave it pleasure.:: Saveron: =/\= Incorrect. You will choose to fire on me, and bear the consequences of that choice. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\= Commander Saveron, recommend we avoid engagement with the enemy if possible. He has - =/\= ::a pause. Then, with some disbelief; :: =/\= The real Lieutenant Choi is aboard there with him. =/\= ::Saveron believed it. He’d seen it before. Commander Ross’s personality, bound and gagged, by the pathological implant who, in that mindscape, had shifted from Ross’s face to his own.:: Choi: =/\= As I explained to T’Reshik, I’ve made my choice. I’ve lived two lifetimes and seen what I needed to. We are of one mind on the matter, a sacrifice in the name of discovery is worth it. T’Reshik has been able to proceed with her life, blood on her hands, and I will do the same… with her help. =/\= :: T’Reshik gritted her teeth as her hands began to seep with a thin coating of green blood. Why did this mindscape have to be so literal? It was getting difficult to maintain her grip on the piloting controls.:: ::There was no real point in engaging in argument with ‘Choi’. He wasn’t interested in discussion, only his own ends. From his words it sounded as though Choi’s stifled curiosity and perhaps his self-loathing over his lack of confidence had combined with T’Reshik’s stubornness and lack of principles to create a gestalt that was almost whole. It’s dissolution could benefit both parties.:: Saveron: =/\= T’Reshik will find it difficult to assist you if you destroy her. =/\= ::He pointed out.:: T’Reshik: =/\= I have no intention of assisting it. Recommend that you prioritise Lieutenant Choi’s mental wellbeing over retrieval of my katra. If my consciousness needs to be purged for him to survive, so be it. =/\= Choi: ::to himself:: All that remains is to rid myself of this weaker portion… but it will not simply do to jettison it into space… no... ::The little ship, a replica of a single-purpose vessel known as the ‘Jellyfish’’, wheeled in an impossibly tight turn and came back for another pass between the two ships.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Computer, engage shield. Lieutenant Choi, stand down.=/\= Choi: =/\= Open fire on unidentified Vulcan vessel. Do your worst, Commander. You’ll be doing me a favour. =/\= ::Dark lances of energy blazed out of the obsidian vessel, twisting and turning through the mindscape space towards the strange little vessel of Commander Saveron.:: ::The little ship dodged and wove, looping over it’s own track and skimming the shields of the attacking ship, such that many of the dark blasts of energy barely missed it and impacted not their target but their originator. Of itself however it returned no fire.:: Saveron: =/\= Be careful, Lieutenant. Rash action oft backfires. =/\= Choi: =/\= And no action gets us nowhere. =/\= ::T’Reshik was yelling instructions before Choi was even finished speaking, although she'd barely had enough time for shields to initialize, and wasn't entirely sure if this would work, given that the capabilities of this esoteric artifact-ship were still largely unknown to her. Her hands smeared blood on the controls as she attempted to maneuver alongside the smaller ship.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Computer, end transmission =/\= - extend deflector shield to cover Jellyfish-class vessel! ::As the small vessel rolled back away from Choi’s ship it matched phase and slipped inside the shields of T’Reshik’s ship.:: ::An incoming hail on a closed channel signified to Saveron that T’Reshik was done with diplomacy for now. Neither did she make any attempt to return fire; she seemed to be pouring everything she had into shield strength. :: T'Reshik: =/\= Jellyfish, this is T’Reshik. I believe Lieutenant Choi to be experiencing remorse over my death and recommend the application of… counselling. =/\= ::She even managed to say that without conveying her overall disgust with the profession. Mostly.:: =/\= I repeat, since enemy captain seems to have taken Choi’s consciousness hostage, I do not recommend returning fire. =/\= Saveron: =/\= Understood. Ideal outcome is the retrieval of Lieutenant Choi’s consciousness so that we can return you both to your respective bodies. =/\= T’Reshik: =/\=... repeat that, Commander? =/\= Saveron =/\= You and Lieutenant Choi are to be returned to your respective bodies, and the pathological personality must be excised. =/\= ::He added, in case that wasn’t obvious.:: =/\= That is the reason for my presence. =/\= ::There was silence on the line.:: T'Reshik: =/\= Am I to understand that I am not dead? =/\= Saveron: =/\= Affirmative, though your body is currently in a vegetative state. =/\= ::Pending the installation of a consciousness.:: T'Reshik: =/\= … interesting. In which case, what is your recommendation? =/\= Saveron: ::On the closed line.:: =/\= It is important that you transport Lieutenant Choi’s hostaged personality onto your ship. It must be separated from the pathological personality.=/\= T’Reshik: =/\= Understood; preparing for transport now. Signal when ready.=/\= Saveron: =/\= The moment will be apparent. =/\= ::The little ship wheeled around and exited the shields of T’Reshik’s ship again, bringing it once more into weapons, and communications, range of Choi’s. T’Reshik was absolutely right, his weaponry was not phasers, but something far more deadly.:: Saveron: =/\= Do you know why I am here, Lieutenant Choi? =/\= ::T’Reshik stayed silent on the general line, simply listening and waiting.:: Choi: =/\= To interfere, I assume. To return things to the status quo, to steal my t’hy’la and the power of will she has given me away. =/\= ::His ‘t’hy’la?:: Saveron: =/\= That is my purpose, but not the cause. I am here to intervene because Wyn Foster requested that I do so. =/\= ::Silence crackled on the line as the obsidian black ship pulled into a new attack pattern. The little ship dodged and dove, staying out of the line of it’s conventional weaponry.:: Choi: =/\= I won’t be swayed, Commander. I have already made my choice. =/\= Saveron: =/\= Do you believe that Wyn will not perceive the change, Lieutenant? =/\= ::He asked rhetorically.:: =/\= He is perceptive, and above all a healer. Do you think he will thank you for what you are doing? That cold ambition will appeal to him? =/\= ::Silence.:: Choi: =/\= You’re not wrong, Commander. Maybe this is a sign that I don’t need Wyn any longer… =/\= ::The voice sounded unsure, for the first time. Something of the iron will the Choi-ship was trying to impose had eroded somewhat.:: Saveron: =/\= Perhaps. But does he still need you? It would hurt him deeply to see you change from the Choi he knew and loved to one with no compassion, all ambition. =/\= ::And he knew Wyn wouldn’t stand for it.:: Choi: =/\= Still, better to live from a position of strength and power, than to fall back on old vulnerabilities and failings. Arm photon torpedoes. Fire when ready. =/\= ::A new series of burning dark lances fanned out from the ship, twisting and screaming through space. Again the little ship twisted and dove, though this time the lances missed it by only the narrowest of margins, and it’s shields flashed as they were grazed.:: Saveron: =/\= A pathological personality will not be permitted to survive. If you will not yield now, you will do so on Vulcan. =/\= ::There were those with far greater skills in such things than he.:: Choi: =/\= And if you excise me, what then? Ji-hu will have to live with what he’s done. =/\= T'Reshik: =/\= Incorrect. I am still alive.=/\= Saveron: =/\= Both T’Reshik and Choi live, as yet. =/\= ::He confirmed.:: ::There was a moment’s silence as the comm line crackled. The shields on the obsidian ship fell.:: Choi: =/\= What the… get those shields back up! Now! =/\= ::T’Reshik activated the transporter hurriedly, still smearing green on the controls as she poured all available resources in attempting to get a lock on the hostage. It might not have been what Saveron had planned, but she knew an opportunity when she saw it.:: ::Saveron hadn’t been certain exactly how he was going to get those shields down; the nature of the dreamscape required constant improvisation. Failure from inside suggested that there was still some internal struggle.:: T’Reshik: =/\=Target locked and energizing.=/\= ::T’Reshik turned her face to the materializing figure behind her, blood-slick hand poised over weapon controls. She wasn't going to fire until she knew Ji-hu was safe, but she didn't trust the other Choi not to turn on her the moment he noticed his leverage was gone.:: Saveron: =/\= T’Reshik; set a distant destination, maximum warp, once you have Choi. =/\= ::The “program” began to break apart the second the stone and metal cocooon-computer core transported onto the Vulcan temple-ship. A nearby red dwarf began to fracture apart, as if being torn to pieces by some invisible hurricane out of space. The starry, dark backdrop began to flicker. Only the ships remained, the minds behind them still stabilizing their projection. The “simulation,” however, was breaking down, tearing itself apart.:: Choi: ::darkly:: =/\= T’hy’la, I thought we were one mind on this, but you’re giving me no choice. If I can’t have your katra, I’ll do my best to carry on our work without you. End transmission. =/\= ::The black Galaxy-class vessel wheeled about, entering an offensive posture towards T’Reshik’s ship, and the same dark lances of energy shot forth in tendrils, twisting and turning, bleeding pixels as they skeined their way through space as it broke down.:: ::The little ship wheeled around again, flying a long arc across the back of Choi’s temple/ship, and as it reached the zenith of the arc, it’s cargo doors opened, and a sphere was ejected from the ship in the direction of the far larger vessel.:: ::In real life the substance had been red; in the dreamscape it was silver and seemed infinitely reflective, yet what it reflected was not the scene before it. Faces came and went; Wyn, Rue, Jalana, Choi’s parents. Scenes familiar and dear, though some were obviously taken from holographs that Saveron had pulled from the computer; others straight from Choi’s memories. The ESPO offices, his messy quarters, Starfleet Academy in summer, Korea in spring. The smell of blossoms and snow on the wind, the taste of hot chips. The friends and family who appreciated Choi for who he was, social anxiety and all.:: ::The little ship zipped away again, towards the smaller ship that held T’Reshik and Choi’s consciousness, and the silver sphere fell inexorably towards the giant, looming ship.:: TBC “I don't know why I go walking at night But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life Until I find what it is that I've been looking for” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10 JP by Choi, T’Reshik and Saveron: River of Dreams - Part 3 “In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep Through the desert of truth To the river so deep We all end in the ocean We all start in the streams We're all carried along By the river of dreams” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams (( Mindscape - unknown )) ::The imposing, black vessel seemed momentarily vexed about continuing the attack pattern against T’Reshik’s ship or pulling away into some kind of defensive maneuver. The momentary hesitation was all it took as the substance hit it. The ship shuddered, went dark and then began to drift, pulled into the gravity well of the black hole’s storm as it tore apart the “simulation.”:: ::T’Reshik, delayed by the dual demands of navigational calculations and making sure Choi’s cocoon had arrived in one piece, jumped to warp, and the stars froze and smeared in place on the viewscreen as she left the disintegrating ship far behind her.:: T’Reshik: Ji-hu? Can you hear me? ::Ji-hu’s eyes fluttered inside the core he had created for himself. A monarch had landed on his eyebrow, it’s wings extending and closing. He felt oddly cool, like a heat wave had broken and a gentle rain had swept through wherever he was. He also felt more tired than he had ever felt in his life.:: Choi: ::exhausted:: Computer, status. Computer: Level 2 encryption b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-broken. Level 2 encr--SYSTEMS ERROR. Choi: Release level 3 encryption. System shutdown. ::The chamber around him began to fall apart as the simulation terminated. Suddenly they were all on the monastery’s plateau overlooking the Voroth Sea. A hurricane raged in the distance, a dark, twisting structure of grey and purple.:: ::Ji-hu was sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest. He glanced up at Saveron and blushed, his eyes falling back down to the violent, churning sea water.:: Choi: You’re the r-r-real Saveron? ::It would be easy to doubt the identity of the tall figure, swathed in heavy robes over a deep desert suit, only the grey eyes visible. But even as it nodded, the cowl fell away and the face mask peeled back, revealing the familiar visage.:: Saveron: Affirmative. Choi: ::to T’Reshik:: And… and you’re alive? I didn’t k-k-k-kill you? ::T’Reshik wiped green smears onto her lab coat.:: T’Reshik: I am. You did not. Saveron: Doctor Foster managed to repair the damage. ::He could have said more, but that could wait until they were all back inside their own heads.:: Choi: I’m so tired. Can we g-go home? T’Reshik: I concur. Commander? Is that possible? Saveron: Theoretically. ::He confirmed.:: I have prepared to perform the Fal-tor-pan. ::Of course, he’d never done it before, nor received the level of training of a Temple Priest, but he’d come this far.:: T’Reshik: ::to Choi:: Are you - :: “Injured”? “Distressed”? Neither of those seemed to make sense in here. T’Reshik settled. :: - alright? Choi: I’m just so tired… and I r-remember everything now... Saveron: And yourself? T’Reshik: ::wiping off more blood (this metaphor was quickly becoming irritating).:: I am unharmed by the experience. Or insofar as I can tell. ::Indeed. The harm that was done to T’Reshik had happened long ago.:: Saveron: Then we should depart. ::He looked at where the simulcrum of Choi was seated, watching the butterflied.:: Once we leave you should regain full possession of your own faculties. Doctor Foster will be summoned for you. ::Just a little added incentive. Then he turned to T’Reshik..:: Saveron: You must come with me. ::Even if he couldn’t return T’Reshik to her own head, she needed to leave Choi’s for him to heal. In a move entirely uncharacteristic for a Vulcan, he stripped off one glove and held out his hand. Here in the dreamscape, that clasp would act as an anchor.:: ::Despite the complete exhaustion he felt in his body, that he now understood wasn’t really his body, Ji-hu managed to clamber to his feet and face the Vulcans. He hoped, despite what he’d experienced in a single day that had felt like… and in some ways, was… an entire lifetime, that Saveron taking away T’Reshik wouldn’t take all of her. He couldn’t imagine life without her memories, her experience, a little piece of her living inside of him. Ji-hu saluted the two with the ta’al.:: Choi: ::in a Da-Leb/Nel-Gathic pidgin:: Peace and long life. ::T’Reshik regarded Saveron’s hand for one long, suspicious moment. Then she returned Choi’s salute, and replied in tentative Korean. :: T’Reshik: Peace and long life, Ji-hu. ::She took Saveron’s hand.:: Saveron: Live long and prosper, Lieutenant Choi. ::Favouring Choi with the ta’al for a moment, he turned and they began to descend the long, winding steps of the monastery. As they did so they faded from view.:: ::Ji-hu sat back down and the plateau and turned to watch the storm as it raged quietly on the horizon. His eyes felt heavy and the world was beginning to soften around him, as if he was going to sleep, but in the wrong direction. Something tickled his eyebrow and he reached up. When he brought his hand back a monarch butterfly perched on his fingers, wings opening and closing. It would be nice to see Wyn again, after so long. He smiled, his head nodding down to his chest.:: ::From Saveron and T’Reshik’s point of view the steps let them out onto a vast expland of rolling sand dunes, and when they looked behind them, the monastery had vanished. Here the sands were more yellow than red, and great jagged teeth of rock stuck out incongruously through it.:: T’Reshik: Intersting. I recognize this landscape, but I cannot name it. Saveron: This is the Goan desert; where I passed my khas-wan. ::He said quietly.:: ::They were suddenly on Vulcan’s western continent. There was no obvious path or direction for them to take, and Saveron sealed up the mask of his desert suit and began to walk in the direction of the sun.:: T’Reshik: Have you performed the fal-tor-pan before? Saveron: Negative. ::And he didn’t want to admit that, whilst the initial phase had been successful, now that he had T’Reshik’s katra, he was uncertain what the next step was.:: ::T’Reshik wiped off her hand on her lab coat again. The one holding Saveron’s seemed to be behaving itself, but the spare was still bleeding away, and the smears on her lab coat were starting to stink. She momentarily envied Saveron his reduced sense of smell.:: ::The two walked in silence for a while. T’Reshik had never held anyone’s hand for so long before, and she was quickly approaching the conclusion that she didn’t like it. T’Reshik: Do you have a physical destination in mind, or are we merely walking until we encounter landmarks? Saveron: The latter. I am searching for a marker whereby we may access the the place where your consciousness should reside. ::But all around them was bare desert and sharp rocks. T’Reshik’s brain was empty of anything even resembling a mind; they needed some anchor for her.:: ::T’Reshik flicked some blood from the free hand as they walked.:: T’Reshik: I assume I am not obligated to converse with you in the meanwhile. Saveron: You are free to converse or not as you choose. ::His tone of voice was dull. Saveron wasn’t feeling particularly chatty himself; he was concentrating and battling increasing mental fatigue. He had access to the whole of the brainscape, but there was no obvious point at which to finalise the transfer.:: T’Reshik: Acknowledged. ::They walked in silence for some time, as non-specific as time was in this place, before curiosity got the better of Saveron. One of the few emotions that Vulcans regularly seemed disinclined to rein in.:: Saveron: Do you recognise the Goan from your own experiences, or my memories? ::He asked.:: T’Reshik: Your memories. I have never been there. My kahs-wan took place on my own continent. The sand has a different chemical composition. Saveron: That is correct. The iron content is lower, and the magnesium and phosphate levels are higher. ::It was one of the things that made the An’ahyaes valley, nearby, so fertile.:: You have retained some of my memories. T’Reshik: Only fragments. Children whom I assume to be your offspring. Unfamiliar landscapes. The sound of wind chimes. The cluttered living quarters of what I assume is an elderly relative in the early stages of Bendii syndrome. ::pause.:: Do you have any of mine? ::Saveron suspected that those were his quarters she was talking about.:: Saveron: Also fragments. Wind in the rocks. Pieces of VSL vocabulary. A child’s science kit Some… interesting perceptions following exposure to certain substances and… a damaged coffee machine? T’Reshik: That is… probably from the Academy. Saveron: An… interesting period in your life. ::The fragments of memory were interesting from a disassociated point of view, but unwanted. With every insight into T’Reshik’s mind he saw greater and greater disassociation, even sociopathic tendencies. The more he knew of her the more he wanted to help her, but the less agreeable he found her. She was hardly innocent in her situation.:: ::T’Reshik looked to her right, then stopped.:: T’Reshik: I believe those are footprints. ::And indeed they were. Small and wide-spaced and slightly heavy, the brisk walk of a child. Saveron followed her gaze.:: Saveron: Affirmative. We should follow them. ::He knew that without having to ask how; this was the sign he’d been looking for.:: ::The footprints trailed off through the sand, a distance far greater than a barefoot child should have survived in this deep desert. Yet this time as they walked the landscape began again to subtly change. The ground grew redder and more coarse, and the rocky outcroppings became more distant, less jagged. The sky darkened and took on a vague, dreamlike quality. T’Reshik stared up at it as they walked, eyebrows furrowed, then directed the same look at the fading prints on the ground. :: Saveron: The scene is familiar? T’Reshik: Unsure. I assumed this was your memory at first. Possibly some kind of transitional terrain… it shares geographical features with my home province. Saveron: It is becoming less like my own, which suggests that we are transitioning from my seat of consciousness to yours. ::Which was what needed to happen, and he’d begun to doubt was achievable.:: ::She reached down and picked up something half-buried in the sand. It looked like a page torn from a chemistry textbook, with a tiny bloodied handprint at the edge. T’Reshik raised her eyebrow at Saveron.:: Saveron: It would appear that we are following the correct trail. T’Reshik: I concur. Let us continue. ::The red sands beneath their feet grew fine again, stretching out into dunes ahead of them. The footprints deepened, weaving between patches of rice grass; T’Reshik caught the scent of salt on the air. By the time they were in sight of the sea, she had accrued a handful of discarded papers in varying languages, green-smeared at the edges and peppered with sand. :: Saveron: This is your home province, is it not? ::It no longer bore any resemblance to the south of Han-Shir.:: T’Reshik: Affirmative. We are in my memories now. ::The maker of the footprints was waiting for them on the beach, a young Vulcan girl with solemn green eyes and a distinctly familiar cast to her features. In what was, for him, an unfamiliar landscape, Saveron regarded the figure cautiously.:: Saveron: Who are you? ::The girl said nothing, but crouched down to lay aside the bundle of scrolls in her arms. She reached her hand out to T’Reshik. Beyond her, they could see dark clouds gathering at the horizon, and the waves lapped quickly against the steep shore as if warning of an oncoming storm.:: ::T’Reshik glanced over at Saveron.:: Saveron: Our guide, perhaps. ::Certainly she had the documents from which the pages had been torn.:: T’Reshik: Actually, I believe this is where our path ends. ::She let go of Saveron’s hand and offered the ta’al, then reached out for the child’s.:: T’Reshik: Live long and prosper, Commander. If I do not awake from this, please ensure that I am still credited in any studies resulting from this experiment. ::Pause:: Also, please inform my father that I regret not contacting him sooner. Saveron: One would question your priorities Lieutenant, but I will do so. ::He raised his hand to return the gesture.:: T’Reshik: My priorities are logical. ::To the girl:: I am ready. ::She didn’t look back at Saveron as the child-T’Reshik led her into the water. When the papers in her hands touched it they dissolved into shreds, but the two Vulcans seemed unharmed. The waves rose to greet them and then they were gone.:: Saveron: Peace and long life. ::And never had he meant that expression more, though perhaps ‘peace or long life’ might have been more accurate.:: ::As the pair disappeared beneath the waves, the tall figure in desert robes faded from view, until there was nothing left but the water lapping at the sand.:: END “I'm not sure about a life after this God knows I've never been a spiritual man Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river That runs to the promised land” ~ Billy Joel, River of Dreams A JP by Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 And Commander Saveron Acting First Officer USS Constitution B R238802S10 And Lt (JG) T'Reshik Science USS Constitution D239311T10
  21. (( USS Constitution - Main Holodeck 01 ))::Ensign Paku couldn’t shake the feeling of imminent death. Of course, that was a constant in his life. A prey species that is biologically determined to sense impending danger and death in an environment where danger and death were all around them meant his threat ganglia had been working overtime since he’d been accepted into Starfleet Academy. That Paku was, perhaps, slightly more anxious and hypersensitive than the average Kelpien had nothing to do with it.::::The fact that his superior officer, little more than a child in the Kelpien’s eyes, was installing military-grade tech into an explorer vessel was likely the cause. His threat ganglia twitched and danced all afternoon.::::After testing the Faust Control Unit and running a series of diagnostics, they were just finishing up and packing it in. Paku was already fantasizing about returning to his quarters where he had the environmental controls and lighting set just right to simulate subterranean Kelpia, when Lieutenant Choi got a call.::Sindri: =/\= Sindri to Choi? =/\=::His threat ganglia had just started to relax and retreat, but at the chilling sound of the voice they shot out again. Lieutenant Choi seemed… put off by the voice, but not terrified like he should. Paku tried to wave to get his attention. Cut communications. Run.::Choi: =/\= Choi here, Lieutenant. =/\=Sindri: =/\= I’m looking for the vermin that usually inhabit this dank office of yours… I got them a customer. =/\=::Ensign Frag, the obnoxious, filthy Tellarite, leaned in close to Choi’s communicator.::Frag: =/\= You promised you’d stop calling Little Dag a customer! He’s a valued member of the crew, Sindri, no matter how short he is! =/\=Choi: ::sighing:: =/\= We’re just finishing up some work on the holodeck, Lieutenant, we can be down in ESPO within an hour or so. =/\=Sindri: =/\= Nice… playing nerd games on company time? You think maybe some actual work might be squeezed into your busy schedule? =/\=Paku: Lieutenant, we need to call security.::Choi turned to him, raising an eyebrow.::Choi: Security?! Why?Paku: Something… bad is happening… or is going to happen. I’m undecided.Frag: ::grumbling:: Isn’t that Kelpia’s planetary motto?::Lieutenant Choi stared at Frag, then Paku, looking exhausted. He hit his communicator, reopening the channel to this Lieutenant.::Choi: =/\= Lieutenant, we’re going to be awhile packing up and submitting documentation to Starfleet R&D. =/\=Tor: =/\= We’re also not a repair shop. If someone has a maintenance request they ca- - =/\=::Lieutenant Choi waved his hands furiously at the J’Naii.::Sindri: =/\= Well, I can wait a few more moments I suppose if you think you’re going to be done? Otherwise we can come back later. =/\=Choi: =/\= Probably better to just come back, sorry for the bother. Choi out. =/\=Frag: That was a little too civil for Dag… something’s up…::Paku’s eyes went wide as he stared at the Tellarite.::Paku: I’m going to have to agree with Ensign Frag.Tor: ::muttering:: I suppose there’s a first time for everything…Frag: ::decided:: He must be leaving me chocolates and flowers! That old romantic!::Paku braced himself against the wall, threat ganglia twitching aggressively. All he wanted to do was save everyone from a violent demise… was that so much to ask?:: (( Brief Timeskip - ESPO ))::If Paku’s threat ganglia were twitching before they’d returned to ESPO, they were practically standing up straight out and thrashing as they entered the Constitution’s office. Something was very, very wrong. Over the usual, overwhelming scent of computer parts and Frag’s body odour, there was another smell, something organic and chemical, that Paku couldn’t trace. No one else seemed to notice it even after he’d pointed it out.::::The Kelpien sat down at his console and immediately began to sanitize everything, as usual, while the others filed their end of duty reports. That’s when things got weird. He felt a hand run over his head and he leapt out of his seat to see Ensign Tor standing behind him, a weird grin on their face, their eyes out of focus.::Tor: ::laughing:: Who let this big bald kitty in here? Here kitty-kitty…::Paku backed up against the console and began to move his way around the corner, away from the Ensign, threat ganglia flopping around in terror. He glanced around the corner where he saw that Frag was sitting on the floor and starring at her hands.::Frag: I can see the entire history of the universe in my palms… and the future, too… wow… I look great in green…Paku: Ensign? What in the name of- -Frag: ::looking up at him, terrified:: Are you Hovah? What happened to all your hair? Do you want me to shave? Is that what you’re telling me, sweet merciful Hovah?::Frag began to cry.::::Paku glanced over her to see the Bynars dancing, although no music was playing, at least not out loud. He’d never seen them move in that way. They were actually… really good. Lieutenant Choi was nowhere to be found, he’d likely, maybe mercifully, returned to his R&D lab.::::Paku sighed. This was just like the Starbase 104 Festival of Gratitude all over again. Why did no one ever listen to him? He reached into the sanitation kit he always wore on his hip and handed a pair of gloves to Tor.::Paku: You can pet the kitty if you wear these medical grade sanitary gloves.::This did the trick. Tor seemed to loose all interest in him and instead was transported by the material.::Tor: So shiny.::Frag continued to sob and whisper prayers to sweet merciful Hovah about how she didn’t want to shave her proud purple mane, before switching at a moment’s notice to a need to satisfy her “munchies.” The Bynars kept dancing.::::Paku’s threat ganglia finally retreated and he sat down at his console, finishing up with the sanitation wipes, before he pulled up the security logs. A Lieutenant Dag Sindri and Cadet 4th Class Kaith had entered and then promptly left, and nothing had been accessed save a single file on Paku’s console, which had been deleted. He pulled up the deleted file’s cache and restored it, hoping it would help make sense of the situation.::::Two men were shown in a crowded room, arms slung over one another. One of them was shirtless and wearing a hat shaped like a humanoid mammary that read, “Risa or bust!” although if this had any significance it was lost on the Kelpien. They each swayed violently, clutching huge glasses of amber liquid. They were screaming some sort of ancient chant, or invocation, that was earsplitting in its volume and intensity. “If I staaaaaayed here with you giiiiiiiiiiiirl… things just couldn’t beeeeeeeee the saaaaaaaaame…” The crowd booed and threw various foodstuffs. Perhaps this was some sort of pagan ritual?::::Paku shuddered and deleted the file, making sure to clear all caches related to it. This was something better left unseen. He turned back to Frag, who was struggling with the industrial replicator to override the settings to give her a “big frakkin’ pizza,” while Tor rubbed the medical gloves against their face, cooing. The Bynars danced. Paku sighed. No one ever listened to him…::ENDThe Engineering Systems Programming Office PNPCsEnsign Frag, Ensign Paku, Ensign Tor and Crewmen Ix & TeAs simmed by:Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-huEngineering OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239402CJ0
  22. (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Conference Room 1 )) ::The conference room steadily filled with officers as the scheduled time for the meetings crept closer. So many changes had taken place on Blackwell in the recent past, and the new makeup of her senior staff featured a true mix of familiar and new faces.:: ::Some of them, like Shayne, Rhyn, and R'Ven, Didrik had known for some time. He wondered how Shayne was coping with the recent reassignment of Isabel Pond, with whom he'd had a significant relationship and even shared living space, and thought it might be wise to look in after him when the time was mutually right. The thought of Pond, Logan, and Brell, having relocated for new adventures under the latter's command aboard the USS Atlantis, made Didrik a mix of happy and sad. He was pleased that the Bolian CO was moving forward in his career and having new adventures on a ship of his own, but he was dismayed at how he himself had left things; Didrik had put off a proper apology for too long, and now he missed his chance.:: ::The room reached near capacity, and Didrik presumed the meeting ought to begin any moment now. Once the Captain seemed satisfied that anyone who would be in attendance had arrived, he claim the room's attention and began.:: Zaekia: Alright. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. ::Didrik didn't know much about Kalean cultural practices, but if Zaekia were human, Didrik might have ascribed an accusatory tone to the captain's words, as if the real culprit was not the ship, but rather one of them in the room. ‘Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? Who me? Yes, you. Couldn’t be. Then, who?’ It was equally likely, however, that Didrik was just projecting his own thoughts onto Zaekia's words. He did his best to suspend his own judgment until everyone in the room had had his or her say.:: R’Ven: Yes Captain. To that end I have had each of the department chiefs compile reports of the current state of their department and how it applies to the current state of the ship. Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? ::Didrik was not a skilled engineer; in fact, he had always scored below average in engineering aptitude, but today, he was very interested to hear what Blackwell's engineers had to say about the near-breach of the ship's warp core. A core breach is a death sentence for anyone unlucky enough to be within a few kilometers of one, and the story of how Blackwell had come mere seconds to utter destruction, only to miraculously recover, was a story Didrik was eager to hear.:: Yesna: The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Didrik recognized the non-sequitur immediately. It wasn't just the out-of-place bit of conversation, it was the captain's whole demeanor, as if he were having a conversation with someone half verbally, half telepathically, lost the ability to distinguish the two. He saw the same thing happening between Dr. G'Renn and Counselor Sindrana down in Sickbay, and Didrik it seemed Zaekia and Renos were now entangled in a similar thing.:: Zaekia: ::Clearing his throat and turning slightly deeper blue about the cheeks:: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? Shayne: Sirs, so far, the results of the investigation regarding the difficulties at the helm are...less than conclusive. We’ve looked at mechanical fault of all kinds. We’ve even... We’ve even considered pilot error. So far, nothing has turned up. But I’ve got a team on it- they’re going to look until they find the problem. ::As an ex-helm officer himself, Didrik knew that there existed a special bond among those Starfleet officers lucky enough to pilot its vessels across the galaxy. To outsiders, it may seem that starship pilots were cliquish, or uninterested with the workings of the rest of the vessel, but Didrik knew this wasn't true. It's just that most Starfleet pilots considered themselves so unbelievably lucky in a way that non pilots just couldn't understand. It wasn't just flying the ship, it was the privilege of sitting at the head of the bridge and the honor of knowing that no matter where in the universe a ship might go, it is you, the pilot, who gets to take her there. Because of this, Didrik knew that even Shayne's mention of investigating 'pilot error' was delivered reluctantly, and with all the seriousness of a heart attack.:: Thoran: My finding so far concur with Commander Shayne. We have run security sweeps over the main systems and have yet to find anything. R’Ven: Captain, I would like to ask a few question to make the situation a little more clear? Zaekia: Of course, by all means. R’Ven: Thank You. ::Turning his attention to those assembled he posed his first questions:: Commander Shayne, Lieutenant Thoran and Ensign Yesna, your accounts are thorough. Thank you. ::without pause Merrick turned to Yesna:: However to add one additional point. Ensign, I had also asked you to look into any sort of unauthorized access to our systems. Were you able to find anything? Yesna: Yes Sir, There was a strange command-line subroutine in the navigational array, that seemed to be trying to take control of the helm. That was till the dish exploded. R’Ven: And were you able to determine the source? Yesna: Not yet but it was transferred to our systems within the last month. R’Ven: Thank you Ensign I appreciate your efforts in this regard. ::Didrik had only met a handful of Ash'lie in his lifetime, and he found each one as puzzling as the last. When humans were only just beginning to discover agriculture as an alternative to hunting and gathering, the Ash’lie were experiencing a Golden Age of artistic achievement. Millennia beyond humans in nearly every measurable way, it begged the question, why would an Ash’lie choose to spend his time with such ‘primitive’ alien species?:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lietenant Thoran. There was an event that happened on the Atlantis. Is it possible that these events could have been connected? Shayne: ::Murmuring in horror:: Oh, my god. ::A few at the conference table overheard Shayne’s hushed interjection, but no one called attention to it.:: Shayne: When you were chasing that robot on the Atlantis, it was on Deck 6- auxiliary control, correct? Thoran: Correct. Shayne: You said something about it perhaps trying to transmit its data to whoever had designed it. What if you were half right? What if it was transmitting something, but not to its creator? Do you get what I’m saying? ::For his own part, Didrik didn’t get what Shayne was saying. He had never even stepped foot aboard Atlantis, and wasn’t familiar with the events that transpired during the time she and Blackwell had been assigned to work together. Piecing his questions together, however, had Didrik just as worried as others around the table looked. Rogue transmissions from out-of-control robots didn’t sound like something that would just resolve itself.:: Thoran: Rather than transmit the stolen data to its creator, it had instead released some form of signal? ::His brows furrowed in puzzlement.:: Would we or the Atlantis not have detected that? Zaekia: Good question. Tu'Peq: Captain, Commander, if I may? Zaekia: Go ahead Mr Tu’Peq, what’s on your mind? Tu'Peq: The Blackwell and Atlantis has always been in relatively close proximity to each other, on galactic scales. All space-faring vessels vent waste energy into space, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. In addition to waste energy from propulsion, waste energy from the power grid is also vented through the same system. If the robot had access to auxiliary control it could have masked its transmissions in the Atlantis's waste energy. It wouldn't be able to travel far but, knowing Starfleet transmission protocols, the Blackwell's power grid would have acted as a magnet for this robot's...virus. ::Phrases like galactic scale, thermodynamics, and waste energy didn’t exactly fill Didrik with a comfort that nothing was wrong. The science officer’s explanation was reasoned, logical, and if it was true, scary. It was the equivalent of the classic human sneeze-handshake method of disease transmission, and if computer viruses were now communicable through space via a starship’s energy field, it wasn’t just Blackwell, or Starfleet, or even the Alpha Quadrant, that would pay the price.:: Rhyn: Response Zaekia: That’s something we’ll examine moving forward. Thank you for your insight. I think this has been a very productive discussion. I’d like to move on now and get an update from medical. ::If medical was going now, Didrik was certain he’d be next. He finished his glass of water and activated his PADD, using a stylus from his pocket to take notes. He listened carefully to Dr. G’Renn as she informed the rest of the senior crew.:: G’Renn: We have already treated a majority of the injuries caused by the damage to the main deflector. At least two dozen injuries of varying degrees of severity. There were a few serious injuries requiring surgical intervention, while most of the injured have already been cleared to return to duty. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. Stennes: oO Thankfully. It could have been so much worse. Oo G’Renn: There is, also a situation that appears to be developing in regards to the telepaths aboard the ship. I believe that Counselor Stennes has assembled a report on the matter. ::Didrik didn’t expect to be given the floor so quickly, and there were a few seconds of awkward silence as he finished scrawling a note on his PADD.:: Stennes: A worrying number of telepathic crewmembers have reported abnormal experiences related to their telepathy. Episodes vary in duration and intensity, and are somewhat eldritch in nature and highly distracting. ::referencing his PADD:: Some have reported hearing voices, re-living memories, and hallucinating. Somewhat more troubling is what appears to be a breakdown in the ability to control one’s telepathic abilities. We’ve had reports of crewmembers ‘overhearing’ each other telepathically and... having difficulty distinguishing between verbal and telepathic communication. ::Didrik spoke the last words gingerly, because it appeared their captain had just had such an episode only moments before. He didn’t want Zaekia thinking he was singling him out.:: Ilsam: Response(s) Zaekia: I have to say that does explain a few things and before you ask, yes I’ll be visiting sickbay directly after this meeting. For now, I’d like to hear a bit more about the details - how do the symptoms develop? How is it transmitted? What is your plan for dealing with it and how can we help? G’Renn: So far the vector of transmission is unknown, and I have so far been less than successful in locating a physiological cause. I wouldn’t want to rule anything out before we study the affliction in greater detail. Ilsam: Response(s) Stennes: There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that the breakdown in telepathic control, which I spoke about a moment ago, can be exacerbated in moments of extreme stress. During the ship-wide emergency, several of those afflicted experienced significant difficulty in focus while carrying out their duties. ::Didrik didn’t want to ‘rat out’ G’Renn and Sindrana for their telepathic tête-à-têtes in Sickbay and in the convalescent ward, and hoped Zaekia wouldn’t ask to whom in particular Didrik was referring. However, where G’Renn came from a place of wanting to withhold judgment until more could be learned about this mystery, Didrik felt his gut was telling him what he needed to know.:: Zaekia: We’ll ensure you have the resources you need. Here’s the plan - R’Ven, I want you to join Dr G’Renn and Mr Stennes and help them study and understand this virus. We need to eradicate this before anyone has a complete mental breakdown or suffers permanent brain damage. I’ll help in whatever way I can to that end as well. R’Ven: Agreed sir. I will do everything in my power. ::Outwardly, Didrik maintained a professionally neutral expression. Inside, he was worried. Could any of them be trusted to fulfill their duties if push came to shove? Didrik was unaware of the progress R’Ven had made in recovering from his partial assimilation, G’Renn was having telepathic troubles, and Didrik was--:: Stennes: oO Nope, we’re not thinking about that now, Didrik. ::He pushed the thought out of his mind and resolved to find a solution to the crisis with the help of his colleagues’ expertise and professionalism.:: Zaekia: Mr Shayne, head down to engineering with Ms Yesna and Mr Thoran - I want this ship up to spec asap but more than that I want you to investigate this lead we’ve uncovered. If there’s a virus or something infecting our systems I want it purged asap. I understand there was a civilian aboard who pitched in during the crisis as well? Yesna: Yes Sir, A Ms Farnsworth I would like her to help if possible sir? Zaekia: Well we need all hands on this so get her support as well. Shayne: Response Renos: I’ll be heading down to the Burellion capital city of Chloretta to meet with Negrid, an individual we identified at the Consortium HQ as wanting our attention. He has something he’s desperate to tell us, and I believe it related to the Consortium. This could be the big break we’ve been looking for. I’ll be taking Pandorn, Sarjak and Aquilina with me. I don’t want to spook him by approaching with unfamiliar faces. Pandorn: Yes, Admiral. We should be as low profile as we can be though. Sarjak: Response Renos: We’re going to be stuck here for a number of hours while Starfleet and Consortium engineering teams work their magic. We might as well make the best of a bad situation and turn this to our advantage in any way possible. We still have an opportunity to explore, get to know the people of House Larokon, the people of Burellion and how they see themselves. What we learn here today might shape the way we approach diplomatic situations and build a better relationship with the people here in the future. That’s why I would like Mr Wilmer, Rhyn, Illsam and Tu’Peq to head to Chloretta. The cultural museum is said to be the finest in the region. ::Didrik admitted silently that the other team’s assignment sounded a lot more fun his own. Sure, isolating the cause of, subsequently curing, a heretofore unknown malady that affects an ability his people didn’t even possess was fine work if one could get it, but a day trip to a museum sounded... well, cooler.:: Wilmer: Aye Admiral. I’m sure the team and I can dig up all kinds of interesting facts. Zaekia: Please be aware that teams travelling to Burellion outside of HQ property must go by shuttle. Burellion has strict transport regulations and are not in possession or transporter technology. They don’t trust it so you could say it has been effectively banned. ::Didrik pondered Zaekia’s admonition against transporter use within Burellion territory. He wondered if their distrust of the technology, which was based upon converting matter into energy and reconstituting it elsewhere, might have something in common with Tu’Peq’s theory about robotic viruses traveling in waste energy. Didrik scribbled the idea down in his PADD and would bring it up later.:: Zaekia: I really want to personally thank you all for your hard work. These are incredibly high pressure situations and as much as we train and we drill for it, nothing can truly, fully prepare you for the reality of it. Renos: You’ve all performed exceptionally and when you get right down to it, it's because of you and the work of the collective crew that we’re here at all. Zaekia: I’d like to recognise Ensigns Tu’Peq and Yesna in particular, for their exceptional work and dedication. You are both hereby promoted to the rank of Ensign and granted the relevant rights and privileges that go with it. Congratulations. Yesna: Thank you Sir Tu’Peq: Response Pandorn: ::smiling:: Congratulations, you two. Good job. Thoran: Congratulations to you both. Very much deserved. R’Ven: Congratulations Lieutenants Tu’Peq and Yesna. I have had the distinction of working with you both and this is definitely well deserved. Shayne/Anyone: Responses Zaekia: With Commander Rhyn arriving to take up the post of Chief Tactical Officer, Mr Thoran will be able to concentrate specifically on security as the department’s permanent chief. Rhyn: Response Thoran: Thank you Mr Pandorn. Perhaps you would care to give me a heads up? Pandorn: I'll be glad to tell you after this is over. ::grins:: R’Ven/Shayne/Anyone: Responses Zaekia: Thank you everyone. Dismissed. Renos: Thank you captain. Those in my team - grab your away kits and meet me in the shuttlebay. ::Didrik liked Zaekia’s style; it was clever to save the mirth of promotions and crew reassignments to the end, when everyone was already pumped up and ready to take on their respective assignments. It seemed to raise the excitement in the room as the officers filed out of the room; everyone strode into the corridor with as if purpose personified.:: (( USS Blackwell, Deck 2, Corridor outside conference rooms )) ::Didrik timed his movement down the corridor, passing some and allowing others right of way, until he, G’Renn and R’Ven had convened.:: G’Renn: Commander R’Ven, Commander Stennes. While it is practical for temporarily housing those affected, I am afraid that the Convalescent Wards are not very practical as a research area. We could use the Duty Doctor’s Lab in Sickbay, bringing a few patients expressing symptoms at different levels with us as we investigate. R’Ven: That does seem reasonable. ::Craning his head, Merrick turned to stare at Stennes:: What do you think commander? ::Didrik battled with what he was thinking versus what he ought to be saying, and at first, it was a toss-up to see which would arrive on his lips first. By a hair, the more reasonable of the two emerged victorious, and Didrik answered calmly.:: Stennes: I was thinking of the Medical Labs on Deck 23, but your suggestion is better, Doctor. It makes more sense to work out of Sickbay directly. ::Didrik tried to make his sigh of relief as small and unnoticeable as possible. He wondered why was being polite and congenial suddenly so difficult. Actually, he pretended to wonder; he knew the answer, but denial was kindly keeping it from him until he was ready for it.:: G’Renn: Commander ::Turning to look at R’Ven:: It would also be neglectful on my part if I did not mention that the symptoms have begun to affect me as well. R’Ven: I have been told that different individuals have been presenting the illness in different ways. How is your presenting. G’Renn: Response R’Ven: I understand. I thank you for sharing. We will do everything we can to help you. Have you found that it is impacting your ability to work? G’Renn: Response Stennes: My observation of Dr. G’Renn indicated that despite a momentary disorientation during her... episode... she maintained control over her judgment and her faculties throughout. In my opinion, she is fit for duty. ::Didrik was even more flummoxed. Why did that come so easily to him, when just a moment ago, he was in knots about which room on the ship to use? Maybe the irritability and erratic behavior were just momentary blips on his emotional radar and nothing more. He certainly hoped so.:: R’Ven: ::turning to face Zaekia:: Greetings Captain. I have been discussing with Doctor G’Renn and Counselor Zaekia the effect that this virus has had on Doctor’s G’Renn. ::slight tilt of the head:: You are telepathic. Have you noticed any adverse effects? Stennes: oO Well, that’s one way to bring it up. Oo Zaekia: Response ::If the captain were having problems with controlling his telepathy, the entire ship could be in jeopardy. It gave him an idea.:: Stennes: We have collected a great deal of data from our current patients. It may take some time to isolate the cause, but I wonder if we could identify some chemical or biological or physiological changes that accompany one of these telepathic episodes. Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn: responses Stennes: If we knew what happens in the body when an episode begins, we might be able to predict when one is coming. Then–with all due respect, of course, Captain–the medical computer could monitor whoever is in command, and should that person suffer an episode, it could transfer command codes automatically to the highest ranking officer who is not afflicted. It’s not a cure, but at least it is a backup plan to keep the ship safe. Zaekia/R’Ven/G’Renn: responses Lt Cmdr Didrik Stennes Counselor USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Andaris Task Force Justin D238804DS0
  23. ((Conference Room 1, USS Blackwell)) R’Ven: Greetings Commander. ::Shayne’s wide eyes jumped off the PADD he was scouring as Merrick spoke to him. When he was but a boy, the mere mention of his name, in any tone or volume of voice, would elicit a serious startle from him. Even if it was expected, he would snap to attention, face taught and body primed to face the non-existent predators. To the present day, he hated roll calls.:: ::He hadn’t meant to ignore the men already in conversation- chit chat and work rarely mixed well, especially for him. Besides, why intrude upon their discussion? Looking up at Merrick, he realized that no matter how often he saw the first officer, he’d likely never get used to those pitch black orbs of flesh. He was never certain if R’Ven was staring at him directly, and though he hated to admit it, it was subconsciously highly uncomfortable. He seemed blind, and visually able, at the same time. It didn’t help that he considered it only polite to bore into his target of attention with those same unsettling eyes.:: ::He afforded a quick, but respectful nod in R’Ven’s direction.:: Shayne: Hello, sir. ::As the door opened with its characteristic swoosh, and diverted the attention of the officers in the room, Shayne returned to his PADD. He’d insisted that damage control reports regarding not just the helm, but the entire effort, be routed to his device. If there was one thing he craved at the moment, it was a clear picture of the entire vessel- every nook, cranny, EPS conduit, relay, isolinear chip, potted plant. Was he becoming paranoid? It was a valid question- indeed, he had now served on not one, not two, but three starships that had suffered critical failures in crucial moments. The first incident dated back years, to 2392. Aboard the Gemini, he had nearly been relieved of his existence when a subspace rift had utterly deprived the Dakota class medium cruiser of power. Ensign Shayne had barely survived an unfortunate encounter with an open shuttlebay hanger- an experience that haunted him to his core even in the present day. The next incident came in the form of a most malicious computer virus, placed in the Darwin’s systems by the treasonous scumbag Iy in a long game of deception. Just when they’d been needed most, the shields had failed. Shayne had done his best in the ensuing close quarters combat, but he knew that without the now-transferred Logan’s excellent weapon’s skills, they would have all been worse off. Looking back, when the action had been taking place, he was caught between painfully excited and indomitably tranquil. It was the following days, weeks and months that had hit him the hardest. To try your best- to send your starship flinging through the stars in maneuvers so complex and deadly and random that they often defied intention- and to still feel countless groaning shudders as weapons fire smashed through the reinforced tritanium, and realizing that every blow was likely the end of the line for some crewman, technician, officer...it was nightmarish.:: ::He trusted the engineers of Starfleet implicitly, but patterns could not be ignored. Or could it be his fault? Was he simply a magnet for this kind of trouble? Would he forever bring bad luck, on whatever ship he served aboard? His imagination was a wild, mad, even dangerous place, where magic could exist, the Chicago Cubs still played, and the Federation hadn’t lost 39 starships at Wolf 359. But he had only craved a concrete answer to a question more once in his life. Not only was his own burning curiosity unstated, but he would now have to pass on that general lack of fulfilment to a captain that needed just the opposite now.:: ::Every few seconds, his screen updated with the findings of the engineering team, and each time he looked at the changes with a tiny surge of hope. Perhaps this report would explain what had gone wrong. Maybe the next one would shed some light on the subject. Each time, though, he was disappointed.:: ::Whether he wished to admit it or not, he was at least somewhat experienced as an officer of Starfleet. He had racked his brains whenever the mission to retrieve the core had allowed it. What could spontaneously cause an entire subsystem to freeze? Past events had taught him that the symptoms most accurately fitted a computer virus of some sort. But that didn’t follow far. The only other time he’d been involved in such a situation, the assailant had been aboard for more than a year. He refused to point fingers at comrades- that sort of thinking would descend them into chaos with dispatch. But as he strained for answers, he kept coming back to the same conclusion. Perhaps it was entirely wrong. He hoped so. He was really getting sick of sabotage.:: ::Another change on the screen, and as with all the others, Shayne looked at it, not expecting anything of interest or benefit at all. After a moment, he squinted and looked closer. Some ensign belowdecks was reporting an EPS conduit that had been locked off, apparently on its own volition. That was not surprising in and of itself- the devices, so crucial to the functionality of the starship, were programmed to lock down should a surge of electro plasma be detected. Such things had occurred all over the ship as a result of Mr. Wilmer’s inventive solution. What was surprising was that it was the only locked down conduit for four decks in either direction. Conduits most often shut down in packs. So why would this lone device be affected? He resolved to keep an even closer eye on the developing reports.:: ::The ambient conversations and semi-constant opening and closing of the doors had melded into the background of his mind, and he did not realize that the meeting was being called to order until he noticed the lack of white noise, and the standing personnel round the table. Shayne immediately joined his colleagues as Zaekia and Renos took their seats.:: Zaekia: Alight. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. ::Shayne could feel the bitterness in the CO’s voice, and he wondered if the blue-skinned man was really talking about the crew. Or himself. He doubted it, but the resentment was plain, and who could blame him? How unfair was it that the good-intentioned confidant could not act on the unexpressed feelings of another without looking like a fool?:: R’Ven: Yes Captain. To that end I have had each of the department chiefs compile reports of the current state of their department and how it applies to the current state of the ship. ::At that, the helmsman gave a very small cough and rubbed the back of his neck. He rarely enjoyed speaking in large groups, and almost never enjoyed reporting personally to his superior. But even then, he had something to report. The lack of information here would be painfully conspicuous.:: Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? Yesna: The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. ::Shayne agreed with the engineer’s assessment, given the reports he continued to receive. However, the mention of Consortium assistance rankled, and for more reason than simply wounded pride. Being towed back to a drydock by a non-Starfleet vessel had stripped him of much of his already. No, his bigger concern was the ongoing investigation. The Consortium, Shayne felt, was highly untrustworthy. After seeing their conduct during the previous mission, he could not help but dislike them. First, their distaste for life was repulsive. And their robots, which had caused more than their fair share of havoc aboard the Atlantis, were provided to the crew by the Consortium. They seemed...disingenuous. Greasy. And very dangerous. True, the tow had been of great help, and Captain Dar, who Shayne had first considered to be a bit of a schmuck, was eventually highly accommodating. But he knew better than to let a single positive experience color his judgement.:: Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Shayne looked up, confused. It seemed Zaekia was reprising his strange behavior that had first debuted on the bridge before Blackwell had sustained her damage. There, too, he was overheard replying to questions no one had asked. Shayne had inquired about it, but the captain had given every indication that he was perfectly well, and there was a fine line between asking out of concern and doubting the CO’s ability to function. He was careful not to cross that line then, but now, he reconsidered. On the bridge, it had been a little easier to ignore. Now, though, with the entire senior staff hanging onto his words and reactions, it became impossible to hide. Shayne’s eyes flipped to Merrick’s, which, if he was correct, were staring intensely at Zaekia. Good- at least Shayne wasn’t hearing things. But the question was, could the same be said for Zaekia?:: Zaekia: ::Clearing his throat and turning slightly deeper blue about the cheeks:: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? ::Shayne knew that it was his turn to speak. Standing, he cleared his throat.:: Shayne: Sirs, so far, the results of the investigation regarding the difficulties at the helm are...less than conclusive. We’ve looked at mechanical fault of all kinds. We’ve even... ::Here, he gave an apologetic glance over at Wilmer. He hated to say it, but it was a formal report- it was his duty.:: Shayne: oO Forgive me, Nate. Oo Shayne: We’ve even considered pilot error. So far, nothing has turned up. But I’ve got a team on it- they’re going to look until they find the problem. ::In the beginning, they’d had several working theories, each one slightly less likely than the last. But as damage control had made its way through the ship, repairing and reporting, one by one, those possibilities dropped away. It was as frustrating as it was helpful.:: ::He tried to keep a stolid face as he beheld the captain's and admiral’s reaction to the news. This wasn’t a Klingon ship- he wouldn’t be shot for not producing the relevant information, or thrown in the brig. But sometimes, a look of disappointment from someone you admire is worse than any corporal punishment. Thoran then began to speak, and Shayne was grateful to the lieutenant for his timely intervention.:: Thoran: Response(s) ::A pause. Shayne utilized the moment to again check the PADD. It appeared the engineer that had reported the strange EPS conduit was having some difficulty in reopening it. Curious. Though he’d like to know what the problem was, he had more pressing matters to attend to.:: R’Ven: Captain, I would like to ask a few question to make the situation a little more clear? ::Shayne didn’t know which of his thoughts to acknowledge first. Certainly he was not looking forward to more questioning from anyone, but that was a personal failing- one he would overcome by offering whatever information was required. The manner in which R’Ven had asked the question also captured his attention. The executive officer would be exercising his role as the captain’s right-hand man by following up with questions. Maybe he was simply being formal, but Shayne felt there was something more. There was grave respect in Merrick’s bearing. And then it became clear. The opaque-eyed Rodulan was trying to protect an already frazzled Zaekia. Such a subtle attempt to help was his way of letting Zaekia know this was not an attack against his authority, but in fact a protective measure, to take the pressure off his beleaguered superior. He almost smiled in wonder. Human nature in action. Though, since this was taking place between a Kalean and a Rodulan, that term hardly applied. Still, it was fascinating, and most welcome, given the circumstances.:: Zaekia: Response R’Ven: Thank You. ::With a small bow, R’Ven focused back on the officers that remained standing.:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lieutenant Thoran and Ensign Yesna, your accounts are thorough. Thank you. ::without pause Merrick turned to Yesna:: However to add one additional point. Ensign, I had also asked you to look into any sort of unauthorized access to our systems. Were you able to find anything? Yesna: Response ::Shayne’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, though he tried to hide it. As second officer, he no longer had the luxury of appearing dismayed or unsure, no matter how prevalent the feelings might be within him. However, he flicked his gaze about, catching his comrade’s reactions to the news. An unauthorized entry into a system was an enormous deal, and it all but proved that his earlier suspicions had been warranted.:: R’Ven: And were you able to determine the source? ::Shayne listened intently. As Yesna explained, he glanced over at Thoran. This would change the tide of their investigation. At least now they would have a place to base their efforts from.:: Yesna: Response R’Ven: Thank you Ensign I appreciate your efforts in this regard. ::Merrick now turned his never-ending gaze towards Shayne and Thoran. For some reason, even though he’d found the first officer’s eyes exceptionally disconcerting, as he looked back at them now, he realized he didn’t feel quite the same about it. Maybe it was something to do with they eyes themselves- he didn’t see the cornea directed at him. They barely even registered as eyes to him. That, perhaps combined with the fact that Merrick was of slightly lower rank, served to place the helmsman a little more at ease.:: R’Ven: Commander Shayne, Lietenant Thoran. There was an event that happened on the Atlantis. Is it possible that these events could have been connected? ::Shayne froze, mind suddenly leaping a million miles a minute. The memories of that terrible day came flooding back- the robots, springing from their hiding place, the gruesome injuries they imposed on several members of the crew, the subsequent hunt for them. Though he knew better than to underestimate the abilities of the machines, his immediate reaction to R’Ven’s question was “no.” How could there be any relation? The robots had been aboard theAtlantis, and hadn’t had any physical contact with theBlackwell. True, one robot had been found with its probe in a bulkhead, downloading what seemed to be the entirety of the Federation database into its own memory. But, again, how would that connect to theBlackwell?:: ::Unless…:: Shayne: ::Murmuring in horror:: Oh, my god. ::Quickly, he turned to Thoran, realization and terror filling his gaze.:: Shayne: When you were chasing that robot on the Atlantis, it was on Deck 6- auxiliary control, correct? Thoran: response ::The theory was coming together in chunks. It was beautifully insideous.:: Shayne: You said something about it perhaps trying to transmit its data to whoever had designed it. What if you were half right? What if it was transmitting something, but not to its creator? Do you get what I’m saying? ::If his supposition turned out to be in any way true, they were lucky to be alive.:: Thoran: response ::Shayne looked back down at his PADD. The conduit he’d been paying such close attention to was back online- obviously the engineer had finally been successful. But now he had more important matters to consider.:: Zaekia/Renos: Response Rhyn: response Anyone: response Tag/TBC… Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  24. @Theo Whittaker (( Starliner Meridia )) (( Time Index: Approximately 10 minutes after Theo leaves the smoking room. )) :: Commander Theo Whittaker had taken his leave of Kasun, Taelon and the newly arrived Ensign Harper, intent on looking for the Zaldan man that had aroused his and the new counsellor's suspicions. He could not get the man's reserved demeanour in the middle of a room of excitable- and irate- passengers. It didn't make sense. His first idea was to ask the computer for information on the location of any Zaldans aboard the civilian starliner- only to find that there were six, three of which were guests- the other three being assigned to the staff. He then refined his search to identify the one Zaldan who had been in the smoking lounge and to give him his present location. Apparently, he was in a holography lab on the far side of the deck. With the information, he had set out in the direction- only he had failed to remember just how large the Meridia was. It was several minutes before he realised he was lost. Standing a cross roads, he looked down each of the three new corridors before him, stumped. oO It's like my first day aboard the station all over again... although without a renegade Starfleet captain trying to start a war with the Romulans... where on earth is this holo-lab? Oo He was about to ask the computer for directions when he heard a faint sound coming from his right. Giving it his full attention, he turned his head and strained to catch a detail that he could identify. It was faint, but melodic... oO Is that... music? Oo. He was half way down the corridor before he had realised he had begun walking again. The melody was growing louder, but with a distinct echo, as though it was being played in a chamber of some kind. Without warning, he shuddered involuntarily as he realised he was growing colder. Rubbing his arms to generate heat, he pressed on, beginning to hear details of the melody- and a vocal that was accompanying the music... "I just want you for my own, More than you could ever know," oO Sounds like... classical music? Oo he pondered to himself, oO Rather lacking in finesse... not that I'm an expert... Oo. "Make my wish come true," He reached an open doorway, where a list mist- likely holographic mist was spilling out around his feet. He peered into the room to find himself looking at some kind of winter wonderland- a kind of ice palace decorated with ornate icicles hanging from the ceiling and floor, the walls were decorated with snowflake patters. Temporarily blinded by the sheer beauty of the sight in front of him, it took him to several seconds to spot a truly gruesome sight. Somebody had been impaled by a particularly solid icicle, yellow blood dribbling from the wound and pooling on the floor, where the body was laying flat. At that the precise moment, the music came came to some kind of climax, having slowly built in intensity: "All I want for Christmas..... iiiiiiiiiiiiiiis yoooooooooooooou!" The song changed track, bursting into some kind of high-energy, jaunty song as Theo darted forward and crouched down next to the man. He reached out a hand, intending to touch the icicle, but stopped himself- realising that he risked contaminating what he already suspected was the scene of a crime. Standing back up, he realised who he was looking at. The Zaldan he was seeking. oO Wonderful! Bloody wonderful! Oo he thought, the irony of his bitter rebuttal not lost on him. He tapped his comm badge, not looking away from the body. Whittaker: =^= Whittaker to Taybrim. =^= Taybrim: ? Whittaker: =^= We've got another situation. =^= :: they were never going to catch a break. =^= Another body has turned up. A Zaldan male. =^= :: beat :: Computer, identify Zaldan male. Computer: DNA scan identifies Zaldan male as Akal-Teke, guest. Whittaker: =^= Did you get that, sir? =^= Taybrim: ? :: Theo was about to reply to his Captain, when a shrill, piercing scream interrupted him. Whirling around, he saw a Benzite lady stood in the doorway, looking at the sight before her, hands against her blue, tendril-laced cheeks. Judging from her elegant gown that appeared to be made of ice- or a fabric approximation of it- and an outrageously large blonde wig on top of her head, she was a guest. oO Oh no... Oo. :: Whittaker: =^= Sal... I'll be right back, I'm about to become a murder suspect. =^= :: he tapped his badge again and started walking towards the Benzite. =^= Ma'am, this is not what it looks- =^= :: The rest of his sentence was drowned out by another high pitch scream as the Benzite fled down the corridor in terror, her wig slipping off her bald head and landing on the floor in an unceremonious heap. :: Whittaker: =^= Whittaker to Taybrim. Sal, I'm going to need a lawyer.... =^= Taybrim: ? TAG -- Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer Starbase 118 Operations/USS Columbia C239203TW0
  25. ((USS Blackwell, Conference Room 1)) ::Ensign Verato Sarjak sat up straight in his chair, hands clasped before him on top of the table in the Conference Room aboard the USS Blackwell. Around him all the officers sat, waiting for the Admiral and Captain to show up and address them. It was a dicey situation they all found themselves in. One in which he himself was admittedly curious to see how it all played out.:: Verato: oOIt’s a deadly game we all play out here on the outskirts of space, isn’t it Verato? It’s a dangerous balancing act of the will and mind, of truth and lies, of war and peace out here on the frontier of it all? So much more exciting than playing it safe wouldn’t you think Verato?Oo ::Just then the conference room doors finally slid open, snapping him back to reality as Captain Zaekia and Admiral Renos entered the briefing room together. As they sat at the head of the table, Verato shifted his full attention away from his personal demons back to the grim matters at hand.:: Zaekia: Alight. Thank you all for attending. I appreciate we’ve all just been through quite the ordeal but we need answers. We need to know this vessel is fit for purpose and won’t let us down again like it has here today. R’Ven: response Zaekia: Engineering, let’s start with you. How bad is the damage and how long will it take us to complete repairs? Yesna: ::Studying her notes::The damage is not as bad as first thought engines can be back up within the next couple of hours and the deflector will take around five hours to get it back up and running, but when we do return to a space dock I would recommend a full replacement. The power systems will need a few tweaks and bypass as we fix the dish. We could do all this with the help of the Consortium within 12 hours and we can be underway again. ::Verato did not think highly of the Consortium. Truly, he never had. But no matter how swift and charitable the Consortium might prove to be in helping repair the Blackwell, even the vaguest whiffs of undesirable intent he and the others had experienced thus far, was enough to put him on edge. Afterall, it was in Verato’s experience that such gestures, though sometimes noble enough in appearance, often times came with much more costly and unspoken price tags than one could easily afford.:: Verato: oOThen again, when one makes a deal with the ‘devil,’ it often doesn’t end well for the soul. Isn’t that right ,‘Old Friend?’Oo ::A grumble in his gut and a sour taste in his mouth were the only responses he received or needed.:: ::The Admiral appeared to sour at this news slightly, but then Captain Zaekia peculiarly responded, as if somehow aware of nirs thinking on the matter.:: Zaekia: I know but we need their help, Admiral. ::Looking around slightly at some of the other officer's faces, he wondered if any others had found this a bit odd. He wasn’t sure what to make of it frankly. There was a beat of silence between the two highest ranking officers, before the Captain cleared his throat again and carried on with the briefing, perhaps a bit bluer ‘around the gills’ for whatever had just transpired.:: Zaekia: Sorry. Alright, let’s move on. I think we have a pretty good sense of where the ship is at right now and what sort of repairs timeline we’re looking at. Thank you, Ensign Yesna. How are things going with regards to the investigation into what happened? ::As he listened, Verato nevertheless felt that same gently irreverent tug at the back of his own craw that reminded him of the events at the product launch. He had not heard back from the mysterious young researcher Shalena yet. In truth, he wondered if he ever would. Perhaps she was not as eager to speak with Starfleet as he had surmised. Or, worse yet, maybe something unpleasant had happened once they had been summoned back by the Captain to regroup. Either way, he had seen no sign of her and his personal comm had had no message awaiting him. It was something deeply troubling to him nonetheless.:: Shayne/Thoran: Response(s) R’Ven: Response ::Listening to the others report, Verato wondered even more than ever what the next plan of attack would be moving forward. Suddenly, blinking his eyes at that last notion, he realized the thought struck him too as a bit odd. Verato: oOHere you are Verato, a diplomat, an envoy of peace, sitting here awaiting a new strategy of ‘attack,’ a new angle to work and win over your enemy. Maybe there really is more of Sar Jonn to your personality now than you realize. Perhaps one way or another, no matter what we truly desire, we always find ourselves casting lots for our fortune and grasping at scraps of fate like spare rags. Perhaps you are no longer your own Verato. perhaps you never were. Perhaps none of us ever truly are.Oo TAGS ANY TBC ---------------------------------------- Ensign Verato Sarjak Diplomatic Officer USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Andaris Task Force A239403LA0
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