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  1. (Nice insight into the both of your characters, and an enjoyable read throughout! And I'm just so relieved that the coffee situation was worked out diplomatically.) 😀 (Deck 15, USS Juneau. Unassigned Science Lab)) Sitting on top of a now-empty transport crate, Geoffrey Teller was wiping his hands and waiting anxiously for the results of his efforts. On the counter nearby, gleaming but irregular pieces of equipment were variously whirring, grinding and beeping away merrily, unaware of their vital importance to the whole project. The work itself had become something of an obsession for Teller in his time aboard the Veritas, and now he had the rare opportunity to share it with another crew. Beyond that, his Captain was counting on him. She’d need what these machines could do in the trying days and weeks ahead. The pressure was enormous and the results far from certain so when the doors to the lab unexpectedly opened, Geoffrey Teller jumped to his feet with a start. Sienelis: What—? The Romulan stopped dead a few paces into the room, the empty space she was expecting to find anything but. Instead, there was a human with a shock of red hair, no taller than the Admiral who'd sent her to the Juneau, and an expression that seemed to be a confused mix of alarm and guilt. And next to him... Sienelis: Explain... ::she waved a slim hand toward the counter and all it supported,:: ...this. He looked around a bit sheepishly. Judging by the woman's blue collar, there was every chance he’d inadvertently taken over a space she was responsible for, but the work he was pursuing was going to be vital to the project. Teller: Happy to — firstly though, introductions — Lieutenant Commander Geoff Teller, from the Veritas. I’ll be serving as the Juneau's Chief Engineer. Teller offered a friendly handshake to the still frowning woman. She looked down at the extended limb and as an expression of vague dismay crept onto her features, physically waved the offending hand away. Sienelis: Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis. Chief Science Officer — and Romulans don't shake hands. ::She arched an elegant brow in his direction, a mote of amusement beginning to glitter in her green eyes.:: Or were you intending to proposition me? Teller withdrew the offered appendage with a grimace. oO Talk about not getting off on the right foot. Maybe I should’ve opened with a joke? A Tellurite, a Gorn and a Human walk into a bar...Oo Teller: Yep, sorry, so this all started back aboard the ‘Tas… ::He was about to continue as one of the odd machines chirped happily, its job complete:: ...actually, it’ll be easier to just show you. Don’t suppose you enjoy a cup of proper coffee? And I’m not talking about that burnt brown water the replicators spit out. Sienelis: Occasionally. Teller: Well then…::Teller walked across to one of the machines and gingerly disconnected a small sample canister filled with newly ground beans.:: Why don’t you crack that open and let me know if you think I’m on the right track. She cast a suspicious glance in his direction, joining him at the counter. Even on the bare plating of the science lab, her footfalls were quiet, and she moved with a feline grace that had completely snared a certain Russian. Taking the canister from him, she lifted it to her nose and took a cautious sniff, as though half-expecting to fill her lungs with poison. Sienelis: It smells like... coffee? Teller: Not just any coffee — this is newly grown, freshly roasted and recently ground full bean coffee, straight from a hydroponic bed to your mug! No replicated junk for this crew once I’m done getting setup. Sienelis: You know there's a point where appreciation turns into obsession, right? Valesha handed the canister back, her eyes pointedly landing on the array of roasting, grinding and brewing equipment in the lab. If not for the smell of fresh grounds, it could almost look like some kind of chemistry experiment. If one squinted. In the dark. Teller smirked, and for a second there was a brief echo of that grin on the Romulan's face. Teller: Oh yeah, I waved at that point as I passed it a while ago. Like the man said, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Sienelis: I've a feeling that's going to explain a lot over the next twelve weeks. ::She thumbed toward his coffee-making set-up.:: Speaking of explanations, still waiting for that one. Teller: Skipper aboard the Veritas took a liking to it and the little shop I put together has become something of a fixture aboard ship. I fully appreciate the conveniences of modern living but there are some things…: :Teller took a deep sniff of the aromatic grounds:: ...that’re just better the old fashioned way, don’t you find? The question caught her by surprise and softened some of the sharp edges in her haughty expression. He didn't know it, but she came from a family of artisan craftsmen that had by-and-large eschewed replicators, preferring the traditional methods of making... well, just about everything. Sienelis: Actually, yeah. I do. Teller: Tell you what, you can have the first cup. After that, you still think this is a waste of time, I’ll get it moved to another compartment — fair? She gave him a long, thoughtful look, a calculation going on behind her eyes. The Romulan glanced from engineer to obsession and then back again, and then with a sly smile tugging at one corner of her mouth, she raised a hand and gestured toward him with two fingers. Sienelis: Let me make you a counter-offer. Keep Petty Officer Johns supplied and I'll not just let you keep the lab, I'll tell you where the coffee plants are. Geoff’s eyes went wide, and her grin widened a little. A negotiation made and an accord reached, even if it had yet to be spoken aloud. She suspected he would have been amenable to the suggestion anyway — he seemed like the friendly, generous type — but a little leverage didn't hurt. Teller: I thought some overeager Ensign ripped them out of the hydroponic beds, how’d you end up with them?! Sienelis: The wisdom of the enlisted. One of my crewmen thought it might be a good idea to put off disposing of them until we actually know who they belonged to. Teller: You’ve got yourself a deal, Lieutenant. You can consider Mr. Johns fully caffeinated from here on out. ::He let out a breath.:: That’s a huge relief. I didn’t bring enough seedlings to start over again and I doubt Captain Oddas would give me a few hours to pop over to Earth and pick up some fresh ones. Sienelis: Well. ::She lifted her shoulders in a light shrug.:: Clearly they were someone's hard work. Seemed wrong to get rid of them instead of just... moving them. Teller: Glad to know there’s at least one officer with a bit of sense aboard this boat. She'd heard a few humans say that common sense was anything but common, and Valesha supposed there was some truth to that. Honestly, she'd been guilty of lacking it herself on a few occasions — a desperate rescue attempt across a ruined shuttlebay came to mind, instead of using the transporters right there in the shuttle she'd been sheltering in. But he didn't need to know. Sienelis: ::Dryly,:: I'll make sure this lab is formally assigned to stop any repeat performances. Commander Teller's "Arabica Project". You can take the empty space next door for your plants, if you need it. Teller: That’d be perfect. And maybe lock the door, just in case. A soft huff of a laugh was her answer as he crossed to the infuser. He loaded the freshly ground beans, enjoying the heady aroma as the machine sputtered to life, the scientist looking on. Teller: Be a few minutes but one of us is having that first cup. If you don’t have anywhere important to be, pull up a crate. Teller slid one of the other empty packing crates across to the woman and sat back down on his own. After a moment's consideration, she joined him and stretched out her long legs in front of her, crossed at the ankles. He seemed happy enough to carry the conversation, and she was content to let him. Teller: Sorry to say, I don’t know many folks from the Gorkon. I’ve heard she’s a fine ship. ::He winked:: Not quite so fine as the Veritas, mind you. The comment was met with a roll of emerald eyes, though if she was inclined first toward a sarcastic retort, it was bitten back. Instead, the Romulan shrugged, glancing over the stark room they were sat in. Sienelis: They all have their charms. I liked the Invicta, though I'm pretty sure my forebears were screaming at me across the void for daring to serve on a ship with a Vulcan warp drive. Teller: Glad you suffered the wrath of your ancestors to the benefit of the fleet. Veritas is the first ship I’ve been posted to, and I love the old gal. Tough and clever in equal measures - ::Teller winked:: bit like those honorable ancestors of yours. She gave him a sidelong glance, the cogs of her mind turning behind her green eyes. There were certain things, certain current events she tried to keep abreast of, and recent reports from his home ship had caught her eye. Valesha dropped her gaze for a moment, taking a breath to summon a little courage, and then looked back toward him. Sienelis: Didn't I hear that the Veritas met with some of my people recently? Geoff thought back to the community of refugees they had nominally aided during their last mission on Ketar V. The Romulans he had met were destitute, but they all possessed a quiet dignity and poise, as if their living conditions were but a temporary inconvenience, their loss of their homeworld merely a minor setback to their grander ambitions. Teller: We did — fine people living in a hard place. We helped a bit around the edges, but the fact is there’s trouble brewing on that planet. The Romulan's gaze was fixed and intent, a flash of guilt and curiosity in her eyes. Sienelis: How do you mean? Teller: It’s a shame. Romulans we met were good folks but that world is grinding them down. The sad thing is, it’s happening to just about everyone who lives there — it’s just happening a little slower for everyone else. Sienelis: I don't imagine the Shoals is often the easiest place to settle. Teller: So how about you? How’d you make your way into the uniform? Sienelis: Oh, ::it was as much a sigh as a word, and she slid her hand into the dark hair on the back of her head, rubbing at her scalp.:: I was a refugee, too. But our caravan ended up on Vulcan. Teller tried to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a home and then to be forced to accept charity from a mortal enemy. He suddenly wondered if the refugees on Ketar V, largely ignored by the population as a whole, were somehow better off. Teller: Can’t imagine that was an easy transition. Vulcans can be about the most irritatingly gracious people I’ve ever met. The description drew a laugh out of Valesha, a grin catching at the corners of her mouth. Her stay on Vulcan had simultaneously proved and disproved a vast swathe of the beliefs she'd been instilled with as a youth. Plunged in the deep waters of the Federation, she'd found that she'd enjoyed swimming in them, afforded freedom and choices that were revelatory to the young Romulan. Sienelis: That's a diplomatic way of putting it. Teller: ::Smiling mischievously:: I’m bucking for a promotion to Ambassador - need to work on my polite phrasing if I’m going to get invited to all those fancy banquets. ::Teller examined some of the fresh burns on the back of his hands:: Doubt a fella ever got plasma burns at one of those things. Sienelis: There's a first time for everything. As he chuckled, the infuser finished its cycle with a gentle ding and began pouring a steaming mug of rich, black coffee. The robust aroma quickly filled the mostly empty room, tickling Teller’s nose. With a sigh, he rose and crossed to the improvised counter, withdrawing the finished mug and loading another. At least one of these needed to make its way to Captain Rahman or he suspected the Juneau wouldn’t move a centimeter. Still though, some testing was in order. Teller: ::He brought the piping mug to his lips.:: Finally, something drinkable aboard this hulk. You sure I can’t make one for you? Seems like the least I can do. Sienelis: Seems rude to say no at this point. Teller smiled wide as he reloaded the machine for its next cycle, merrily humming an off key tune to himself. Teller: Be just a few minutes but it’ll be worth your time, and that’s a Good Job Guarantee. She watched him busy himself, thoughts ticking over in her mind. She'd asked about the refugees that the Veritas had encountered with a purpose in mind, and eventually, she reached into a pocket and pulled out a small PADD. Her thumb flicked over the controls, and once he returned with her coffee, she extended the small device toward him. On the screen there was a picture; a younger Valesha, perhaps in her late teens, with a young man of a similar age and an older woman who bore a resemblance to both. Sienelis: I don't suppose you saw him while you were there? He took the offered PADD and looked at the image. It wasn’t hard to make out the young Lieutenant — her features hadn’t changed much over the years, and her scowl was still a perfect likeness. The young man next to her though... something tickled at his memories. Teller: You know, this fella does look awful familiar. He racked his brain, trying to connect his vague memory to a face and a name. She looked on with all pretence of casual interest gone; mouth dry, mind blank, her hummingbird pulse thrumming in her veins as the tiny flicker of hope she'd carried for nearly ten years exploded into a bonfire. Eventually, he snapped his fingers and she flinched, sucking in a sharp breath. Teller: Oh I remember… quiet kid, didn’t say much, but he worked like an ox. Helped a bunch of us out when we were rebuilding a refugee structure that had burned down. Pretty sure he lived there...or he did before it burned down. Probably worked the Docks like most of the other Romulans. Name was...Tavle? Treble? Her next word was barely more than a whisper, a dream so fragile she wasn't sure she dared speak it aloud. Sienelis: ...Taeval? Teller: Taeval — yep, that’s him — looks a little rougher around the edges, but I’m pretty certain. Why? You two fall out of touch? There was no answer for a while, the Romulan's gaze unfocused as she tried to process the news, retreating along the path of a decade-long journey of grief. The hiss of steam and the bubble of water filled the space between them, the bitter aroma of roasted coffee suffusing the air. So many thoughts had crowded into Valesha's mind at once she could barely pick one out for the white noise they created, and she stumbled over her words as she tried. Sienelis: I— ::She reached over, taking the PADD back to stare at the small image. A memory, given life once again.:: I thought he died. We got separated in the evacuation and— Ten years. I thought he was dead. Teller: Really? Damn. Well, the good news is the Veritas has plenty of contacts with the Romulans and we’ve even know a couple Colonial Marshalls who don’t completely hate us. If the interference in the Shoals is behaving, we could probably even get him on subspace for you. Take a little time to put it all together, but I’m confident we could get it done. Sienelis: I— I have to go. The coffee was left on the crate, the Romulan on her feet and stalking toward the door without any further explanation or apology. But a few steps in, she paused and stood still for a moment, then turned and returned to Teller, stooping to press a kiss to his cheek. Words were wholly inadequate for the sentiment she wanted to express, but alas, words were all she had. Sienelis: Thank you. Geoff was dumbfounded and felt a warmth rushing to his cheeks. Teller: Uhhh...you’re welcome? He watched as the young woman turned and all but sprinted out of the room in a somewhat confused haze. After a moment, he noticed the untouched cup of coffee resting on the crate and took a hesitant sniff before shrugging. Teller: I guess some people really do appreciate a good cup of coffee. fin
  2. ((Officer’s Quarters, Deck 4 - USS Juneau)) @GhantXerix approached his assigned quarters at a slow and methodical pace. With one hand, he was balancing a tray of food, and with the other he was dragging a suitcase which bore the scars of mistreatment at the hands of a brute. At his approach, the doors should have opened. But the Juneau was quickly proving that should means little on a brand new vessel. He used his knee to hit the door chime, and before the doors could part he let out a groan of disappointment upon recognizing the mind behind the door. Xerix: ::dryly:: Good evening, Commander. @Geoffrey Teller smirked as he turned away from the door controls and went back to the lone chair in the mostly featureless room. One wall was dominated by a pair of bunks, a design not much changed in decades and meant for the most spartan of quarters. The other wall featured a fold out chair and desk console for getting a bit of work done, but anyone attempting to dismount the beds would either need to be a qualified gymnast or on very intimate terms with the person sitting down. Teller: Evening there Lieutenant. Xerix: I realize this is a skeleton crew, but man the odds were not in my favor for bunkies Teller: Same here….I’ve been busy in the Engineering bay and didn’t get myself to the quartermaster till almost all the bunk assignments were taken up. Have to say, surprised you’re sleeping alone. Who’d you piss off this time? Teller didn’t have to be an empath to see that he’d struck a nerve. Ghant said nothing to that, sitting down on the floor with his tray of food, appetite suddenly missing. Teller: So how is the Celestial, by the by? Be happy to give it another tuneup in my free time. Xerix: ::Suddenly thrilled with an idea, he ate as he spoke :: Oh it’s fine. I’ve installed a new lock on the hatch and the sound emitter is smashed up beautifully Teller: Oh the speakers? For the shanties? ::Teller chuckled to himself:: Forgot about that one. Guess that means the other thing...well, I’m sure you’ll find it soon enough. Ghant gestured with his fork like it was a weapon, pointing a bite of food at the enemy. Xerix: So help me, Teller. If you’ve messed with my ship again... Teller held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. Teller: Look, the fact of the matter is we’ve got to work together or this closet :Teller extended his arms and was able to touch both walls easily:: will feel even more cramped. So I say truce - we got off on the wrong foot, lets try to put it behind us, at least until this project is wrapped up and we’re both a few lighyears away from one another. Xerix: ..Fine. Truce it is….How’s the Veritas gang? Teller: Good by and large - been a busy few months. How about your new crew? Gorkon’s certainly a pretty ship. Xerix: It’s a great ship...I’ve had a bit of a hard time adjusting to be honest. Geoff gasped in feigned shock. Teller: You? ::He smirked:: But you make friends so easily? Xerix: ::He looked pointedly at the engineer:: I thought a truce meant we stop taking shots at one another. Teller: Sorry sorry, force of habit - last one I swear. Seriously, you always struck me as a competent enough officer - what’s tripping you out? Captain over there have a weird pet or something? Xerix: She has a few. But it’s me, honestly. At the academy and even on the Veritas, I felt like the big boat in the harbor. On the Gorkon, they make certain I know my place. It’s caused me to behave in ways I’m not proud of. Ghant pushed the tray of food away from him, suddenly uninterested in eating. Teller: Well, that’s one good thing at least. Xerix: What is? Teller: You’re thinking about whatever it was you did. Fair few people I know don’t think you’re capable of that. Might be a sign of maturity if you’re not careful. Xerix: Four forbid it. Do you think this ship is going to hold up long enough for it to matter? Teller: Pfft ::Teller rapped the wall with his fist:: I think I can keep the nacelles attached if you don’t bounce us off a planet. Xerix: I doubt I’ll have the opportunity. Tiria Hamasaki seems firmly attached to that helm console. :: He stood and stretched:: I think I’m going to call it a night. Which bed is mine? Teller: Why don’t you take the top, I’ve got a little work left to do before I stretch out. I’ll try to keep the noise to a minimum. Xerix: You sure? I could give you a boost if you need? Teller snorted and rolled his eyes. Teller: If you’re bored up on the bridge I could use someone down in Engineering to help me reach the top shelves. Xerix: I’ll check my schedule. Gnight, dude. Teller: Nighto. Ghant made his way into the top bunk and pulled the privacy partition closed. Teller smiled and went back to his PADDwork, absentmindedly humming a few bars of Roll The Old Chariot Along. Within a few moments, he was tapping his foot on the deck as well. Xerix: As much as you know I love a good musical performance, might be we call an intermission until another time? Teller: Huh? ::Teller looked up with a smile:: Oh sure buddy, sure. Have a pleasant rest. Within a few minutes, the tight quarters were filled with two sounds. The tapping of a jaunty beat on a PADD, and the grinding of Ghant Xerix’s teeth. ((The next morning- zero four thirty)) Ghant woke early, early enough to hear Geoff still snoring underneath him. He rose quietly and dressed, then gathered his belongings, and Teller’s. He schlepped them all down to the unfinished cabin at the end of the corridor, where he had left one space suit the night before . He brought the suit back to the cabin where he was pleased to see his bunk mate still firmly unconscious. Leaving the suit in easy access, he placed a Betazoid chameleon rose next to it. Then he walked smugly towards the mess hall. Coffee and donuts were needed on this morning. =============================== Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller Chief Engineer USS Juneau - NX-99801 Captain Oddas A., Commanding V239509GT0 & Lieutenant JG Ghant Xerix Helm officer USS Juneau V239505GX0
  3. ((Starbase 118 - little Risa - Cabo Breeze.)) Dante watched the pleasant faces around him spin, or maybe that was the room? Hael: Nev’r have I ev’r …. Had a crush on’a teacher... Termine: Ouuh! I have! ::Dante took a big swig of his beer:: Dante's mind was awash with thoughts of one of his first music teachers. The Betazed woman was like a godess of warmth to him at a young age and in hindsight Dante realized she was probably aware of his affection. Dante tried to blush harder, but the alcohol had already done that for him. Hael: I had this one teach - she was younger - thought she was the our first gal I’d ev’r done seen Rustyy took a swig of his drink, and Max grinned at the thought of what a messy evening this was going to turn into. Termine: Thuh Shhtory? As Max answered, Rustyy laughed. Maxwell: True story. Hael: Come’on keep on’a goin’ ::he wanted to know more… and hopefully not reveal as much.:: Termine: Weeeell.. If you inshist…. Maxwell: Never have I ever blown off an Academy class tae go drinking. Termine: Unforshunately, deshpite my curent shtate, I wash never really that fun in the acAdeMyy. But that's what I've goth Friendhs for! Dante laughed and clapped his arms around his compatriots at the table. Hael: Alrigh’y! ::he slammed his hand down.:: Nev’r have I farted round’a group’s strangers! Maxwell: What about loud enough tae drown out the Comandant's speech at your graduation? Dante laughed bawdily, though he wasn't sure if it was a joke or a recollection. Either way, Dante just felt like laughing. This alcohol thing sure was an interesting experience! Termine: I've fhaarted a few times in groups buuut. *burp* mostly it wash to geve me an excush to leave! heheheHehe~ Max chuckled as he went next. Maxwell: Never have I ever been curious enough tae try a pets food. Dante took a big gulp Termine: N'aw look. You think AAAALLL you want, but I'll shay that Targ food looks a LOT like Guacamole. Max was starting to feel really devilish now, and he motioned for the bartender to give them shots instead of their previous drinks. He pointed at a particular bottle. Hael: Nev’r have I ev’r - gone streakin’ in public. Maxwell: It was pretty cold when I did it. ::He laughed at the memory of his drunken and shivering team mates piling into the pub at the top of the street. And the reactions from the people in there.:: Termine: Onshe again, I wasn't that fun! But I wonder that the regulationsh about pubblibic nubditidy are arounb here are! That comment got a rise out of the listening audience. Hael: ::he looked at his latest empty glass.:: We gonna be hur’in’ tomorrow. ::he ungracefully snort laughed.:: I got one! - an’ i’m’a purdy sure I ain’ nev’r done it either. ::uncertainly said.:: Nev’r have I ev’r ::dramatic pause.:: kissed a fella Safe again. Max put his shot back on the bar as he waited for the responses of the others. Dante poured himself a big shot of whatever liquid he had been offered and shot it back in his head. His thoughts were momentarily drawn to the black, bitter stinging sensation in his mouth, but they soon faded to be replaced with the memory of B'larin, one of his first crushes at the academy. It had been a hot romance when they first started seeing each other but cooled quickly as they both realized the heat they felt for each other was more about the newness of the academy life and sexual liberty ( especially in Dante's case who had just escaped a pretty strict home life) Still, you can never completely quell the flames one once had in youth. Termine: O'course I have! ! To Love! ::Dante clutched his heart:: Wha-'ere form it comes in! This proclamation brought with it another great cheer from the crowd, and with it went Dante, over the back of his own bar stool, crashing in amongst the crowd. ___________________________________________ ((OOC: There's definitely still more to be explored here but I'll leave it to Maxwell and Hael to decide if we want to continue the scene. I think with the ceremony it might be time to move ahead!) Lt. JG Dante Termine Diplomatic Corps, Starbase 118 A239503DT0
  4. [Insert ‘Pink Panther’ theme here] ((Apartment Block, Deck 801, Habitat Zone, Starbase 118)) The three Officers had mostly avoided contact with each other since arriving back at the base, apart from Lt. Cmdr. Hael’s party - which it would have been odd for them to not attend, or to be seen to be avoiding each other all evening. Now though, after finding out the location of Londonderry’s apartment, Gogi had called Malko and Dante and arranged to meet with them outside the block. It was, of course, an unassuming apartment block, one of the many apartment blocks that had been constructed to house Starbase 118’s many, many residents, in the uniform style that they had all been built in. A smooth white building, with nondescript, square windows on each of its several floors. Gogi’s access code had gotten them into the building and up to the 7th floor in the elevator, but as they stepped out onto the landing, their eyes were immediately drawn to the Starfleet Security Officer standing to attention outside apartment number 66. The stocky Bardeezan FO did not recognize the young, light-brown-haired, fresh-faced, Terran-looking man guarding Londonderry’s apartment and nor did he know of any order that had come from Captain Taybrim that the apartment should be guarded. Okay, he didn’t know absolutely everything that the Fleet Captain did, but he guessed he would have heard of something like this. Dante and Malko exchanged a meaningful glance of worry before Gogi frowned deeply as he cracked his knuckles and began to stride up to the guard. Malko and Dante followed, all three of them dressed in their duty uniforms. Fairhug: ::approaching the young man:: Good day to you…::making a show of looking at his pips::...Ensign…? The Ensign’s eyes widened as he took note of three senior officers suddenly standing in front of him. One dressed in a Medical uniform, one a Diplomat and this third, relatively short Officer with the long ginger hair was dressed in a Command uniform with Lt. Cmdr. Pips. Matterface: ::stuttering slightly:: M..Matterface, Sir. Ensign Matterface. Fairhug: Good day, Ensign Matterface. My colleagues and I require access to this apartment. Malko: Thank you for standing watch, who knows what ne'er-do-wells could have been coming around to stick their nose in. Termine: We’ll make sure to inform your superior of your exemplary conduct. :: Dante flipped through a PADD. In reality it just had economic data of the sector, but he knew that seeming like you knew more that you did was often an effective bargaining tool :: Matterface: I...I’m sorry, Sirs, the access has been limited to priority Alpha One. The lines on Gogi’s weather-beaten brow grew even deeper, if that was at all possible, like the grooves of long-dried river beds in a dessert. Fairhug: By whom? Matterface: I...I can’t say, Sir. Malko shared a knowing look with the others - Alpha One? That seems like overkill for an engineer’s quarters. Something wasn’t sitting right with the counsellor. Dante stepped forward, if there was one thing he DID know, it was starfleet code and regulation. Termine: I admire your diligence Ensign, but Priority Alpha One security protocol can only be exercised in starfleet internal security matters. Although it will barr most non-briefed personnel... Without missing a beat Malko stepped in. Malko: Surely that doesn’t apply to the investigating officers... The young Ensign’s eyes were darting between the Officers as beads of sweat began to form on his forehead. He was rattled. Matterface: I’m s...sorry, Sirs. I’ve been given orders. Gogi stepped closer to the man, reaching up to put a calming hand on his shoulder. Dante looked down at his Padd again, presenting a face of irritation. If Malko was going to play the good cop, Dante was going to play bad. Fairhug: Okay, Ensign. It’s okay. The young man tried to calm his breathing. Fairhug: How long have you been on Starbase 118, Mister Matterface? Matterface: This is my third week, Sir. Fairhug: ::nodding knowingly:: Alright. Listen. I am Lieutenant Commander Fairhug, former Chief of Security of the Embassy of Duronis II, former Commanding Officer of the Iron Jaegers and current First Officer of this Starbase. Gogi was never one to pull rank or blow his own trumpet, usually, but occasionally, the situation called for it - and this was one of those situations. Malko held the elevator so no one could enter the floor as Gogi launched into his monologue. Fairhug: Now, I understand that you have been given orders and that you want to be seen to be obeying those orders. That’s a good thing. But let me ask you this; as First Officer of this very Starbase, do you think I would report you for allowing me to do my job? The Ensign’s expression changed to one of confusion, his eyebrows almost knitting together. Matterface: N...No, Sir…? Fairhug: Of course I wouldn’t! Gogi let out a hearty laugh, turning to Dante and Malko, to indicate for them to follow suit. Then he turned back to Ensign Matterface, his expression much more serious again, one of almost parental concern. Fairhug: But...might I report you for obstructing me from doing my job? Malko: It would be your obligation, I’d say. Your hands would be tied. :: to the Ensign :: He’s even reported me before. Termine: :: Dante tapped on his pad a few times before leaning into Gogi’s ear but speaking just loud enough for all to hear:: Need I remind you sir about your upcoming appointment? The ambassador would be insulted if we were late. Once again, Matterface’s eyes began to dart between the Officers. The boy looked like his mind had imploded with the difficulty of making this decision. Fairhug: Okay, let me make this easy for you, Ensign. Stand aside and let me and my colleagues here do what we have to do and nothing more will come of this...little incident. Gogi’s hand had been rested on Matterface’s shoulder this whole time, now he patted the man’s uniform, brushing some dust off of it. Fairhug: How does that sound? The young Officer, who had been standing at attention this entire time, let out a sigh and relaxed his posture. Matterface: Yes, Sir. I understand. Fairhug: ::patting the Ensign’s shoulder again:: You’re doing the right thing, Ensign. He turned to Malko and Dante and indicated with his head. Matterface stepped aside and they made their way into the apartment. Gogi poked his head round the doorframe one last time as he entered. Fairhug: Mister Matterface, inform us immediately if anybody else approaches. Matterface: ::snapping to attention again:: Aye, aye, Commander. ((PO3 Rickard Londonderry’s Apartment, Deck 801, Starbase 118)) Termine: Nicely handled, but how could security be here already, and with such a high clearance level! I’m starting to think we’re not the only ones on the same trail. Gogi huffed through his nose. The Starfleet cover-up was already in full motion. Fairhug: Probably just some Admiral at Command making sure Londonderry’s myth is preserved. Malko: Myth of being loyal? Termine: We can look into who might have placed that order later, Malko and I can give face-of-the-matter back there a debriefing if it comes to it, but let's stay focused and search this room while we can. We might not have much time. Fairhug: Agreed. The three officers started to pace around the room. The quarters were small and sparse with only minimal personalization. This wasn’t uncommon amongst junior officers but something about it felt… off. Gogi looked around, immediately dismayed by the lack of potential evidence, but then, if someone had gotten there first, it was hardly surprising that the apartment had been “sterilised”. Malko: No garbage, no laundry, no spoiled food. After a good long while of searching Malko checked amongst every fold in the closet and Gogi opened every drawer Dante stood staring up at the ceiling. Malko: There’s almost no evidence that Londonderry even lived here anymore. It’s all been passed over. The Bardeezan looked up, unsure of what Dante was so transfixed by. Fairhug: Something caught your eye, Dante? Termine: ...Wha? Oh... No it’s just that… Do you see those bolts holding that ventilation cover on? Malko: With enough force you can open those with a letter opener if you really need to… Just saying… Fairhug: Okay... Termine: They’re wrong. Fairhug: Wrong? Malko: ::quietly:: Not that I’ve had to... Termine: I mean, they’re wrong. It’s only something a refurb crew would notice but those bolts up there… They should be self-sealing stem bolts but they’re not. They’re regular bolts that seem to have been made up to look sealed. Malko: Prophets - you’re right. They’re smaller. Fairhug: What do you think that means? Termine: well, it either means that there were supply issues during this room’s construction or… Somebody has used a blast torch to cut through the original bolts and put their own in so that they could open that cover without any trouble. Malko: Actually that sounds much easier than bending your good letter opener. Gogi stroked his beard in thought as he looked around. The only furniture in the room was bolted down and of course, none of it was near the ventilation cover. Fairhug: Okay, ::he looked at Dante, who stood a foot taller than him:: Dante, you’re the tallest, Malko… He made a gesture with his arm for the Counsellor to follow his lead as he crouched down to get on all fours. Malko: Careful now, Termine. Dante wobbled as he slowly rose into the air, supported on the backs of Malko and Gogi - the human pyramid swayed and lurched. Slowly, Dante brought his hand up to the vent covering having to stretch considerably to reach and began to pry at the bolts holding the panel on. Much to his surprise the panel, bolts and all, came crashing down on him just as he came crashing down on his friends. Rolling away from the heap onto his back, Gogi almost wanted to laugh. Maybe he would have under different circumstances. They must have looked quite the sight. Fairhug: ::standing up, brushing off his uniform:: Well, I hope that was worth it. Malko: And I hope nobody heard the raucous. Termine: Not elegant - but it worked and… what do we have here! Clipped into the back of the vent cover was a small silver tube, less than the length of a PADD stylus, with a blinking red light on it’s end and a single indent on it’s length. Fairhug: Some kind of tracking device...or… Malko: ...beacon. The Counsellor had taken the words out of his mouth. If it was a transponder, evidently whoever had been here before them had not been aware of its presence, as surely they would have removed it. Fairhug: There’s one way to find out, can we activate it? Malko: It looks to me like it’s already been activated... TBC As simmed by Lieutenant Commander Gogigobo Fairhug First Officer Starbase 118 Ops. E239411GF0 And LTJG Malko Counsellor Starbase 118 Ops A239508M10 And Lt. JG Dante Termine Diplomatic Corps, Starbase 118 A239503DT0
  5. Bravo very well written! ((g-loc, above Paldor II)) * The snowflake tumbled, fluttering a zigzag path down through the air, twirling its halted way toward a quiet destiny among the white banks of snow. With careful planning, she positioned herself just below it, adjusting her legs with each pirouette of the flake, her tongue outstretched and ready. Mother: Jo! The Feast is starting! Come inside! She spun around, almost losing her balance. Her stomach growled. The orange lights coming through the windows of her uncle's farmhouse looked impossibly cozy among the trees and white snows. She offered a short koan of gratitude to the Prophets for her life and family, then began to hurry back, at once tripping and falling face-first in the deep snow, then immediately breaking into laughter. * Brother: Something funny, Jojo? Jo looked up from the tangle of circuits and recycled cables before her and toward the entrance of the dim cellar, cutting her laughter short. She had the feeling all eyes were now on her, she was the youngest Bajoran there. Otti: Relax, Prao. We're just joking. Kiliak: Yeah, we're just joking. Prao: ::scoffing:: Just go home, Jojo. You're always poking around in places you shouldn't be. She knew that he thought he was protecting her, but he was being a jerk and she couldn't stand him right now. He was embarrassing her in front of the rest of the resistance cell. She was old enough to make her own decisions. They needed to stand up. And for that matter, who else but her was going to protect him? Kiliak: Why don't you say that to the Gul instead? Otti: May the Prophets spare us from sibling rivalries. That's enough, both of you two. We can use all hands here, and it's already been agreed the girl can join us. Now, Jo. Are you ready for this? ::that damned, rogueish smile:: Is the bomb finished? * She saw the glowing point of a photon torpedo leave the Atlantis, floating like a falling star toward the deuterium tank. From her perspective, the explosion was completely silent, and she shielded her eyes against the beautiful, quavering firework bloom that buoyantly lifted up the falling station. * A blue flare went up from the other side of the spaceport. Otti: That's our signal, it should distract the Cardassians. Time for us to move. The fuel refinery is just there, on the near side. Do you see it? Kiliak wiped the condensation from her breathing mask, then pushed away a drooping fern. She looked through her scope. She tracked the Cardassians guarding the parapet above the refinery, and again she cursed the irony that They didn't require masks to breathe on the surface of Kassäla, a moon colony which the Bajorans had made all of the effort to settle. It wasn't fair. Many things were not fair. A seven-limbed Krinnilak hung from a branch above her with three arms and a silly grin, its beady eyes framed by tufts of orange hair, watching the three of them with great curiousity, small eyes framed by orange tufts of hair. Prao: Let's move. Stay low. * Otti dipped the nose forward, ducking below another passing asteroid, then smoothly eased back on the flightstick. As the ship rolled, the distant sun broke through a hole in the nebula clouds, illuminating the [...]pit in a shock of violet. Kiliak placed a hand on his shoulder, her other held a steaming mug of Deka. Kiliak: It's so beautiful out here. Otti reached up with his free hand, then placed it over her's. * The hand on the gavel came slamming down. The room sat. Magister: For crimes against the Gul of Kassäla, for the charge of arson, for the heinous murder of innocent Cardassians and the unexpected death of Bajorans including a member of the accused's own family, this court intends to deliver a sentence of indefinite imprisonment. ::Gavel:: This trial begins now. Kiliak Jo, on what grounds do you plead guilty? * Kiliak's hands, opening the doors of a golden case. Inside, the Orb of the Prophets shines. It is too bright to believe. For a moment, she is terrified. It draws her in. * Two humanoid creatures, one much larger than the other, stand upon the wooded ridgetop and look up to the sky. The visitors, who normally keep to their own affairs in the distant city, are up to something most unusual. They can smell it on the wind, the early migration of the herds, the ground grumbles in her the language of her own reluctance. Above, strange bodies are burning the heavens. The small one coos and points at the sight of a falling star, the tall one watches silently as one of their silver chariots dives through the ringed clouds to catch the lost piece of the sky like the mighty bird of prey fishes in the great sea. * A man in Black, his face long and grim and turning away, his hand holding a suitcase, he passes before a window, only glancing at the planet below. * Prao: Wait. Change of plans. ::Holding one finger to his ear.:: They were in the tunnels, less than two hundred meters from the fuel refinery now, ducked down behind an electrical transformer before moving to the next door. Otti: I don't like the sound of that. Prao: We've just gotten a tip that a transport is arriving at the spacepad here within the hour. The Gul is on that transport. New target. Kiliak: That's... that's different! I didn't agree to blowing up a transport when I built this for us! Otti: I agree with the girl. It's bad luck to change a plan in the middle of carrying it out. And we don't know who else is on that transport. Prao: Listen. We don't get a shot like this every day. We're talking about Gul Multak. We have to try. For justice, for every Bajoran on Kassäla. An infrastructure run on the refinery, it's nothing in comparison. C'mon. You know I'm right. Otti: ...Damn it. He is right. Kiliak: How far is the spacepad? * The white corridor has countless doors. She is running. She stops suddenly, turns to open one of the doors. A green-eyed Vulcan turns from his mirror and screams. * The eyes of Dr. Magnesium are watching her * Doctors around the table are frantically attempting to save a Bajoran woman's life. She looks just like her. * Fire. The burning heat. They pushed through the smoke and the flames. Something had gone horribly wrong. The explosive. It happened too soon. Low under the smoke, Kiliak spotted a bit of clothing under the rubble and chaos. She choked on her breath under the mask. Kiliak: No... She turned the corner and made out a pantleg. Then a whole leg. It was him. But among the mess, he was too far to reach. Kiliak: ::through tears:: No. No. How did this happen? Voice: ::flashlights in the smoke:: Keep searching! They're in here somewhere! Prao: ...Jojo... Kiliak: Prao! :a hand outstretched:: I'm so sorry. This is my fault. Otti: ::a hand on her shoulder:: Jo! We have to go! Now! Kiliak: I can't just leave him! No! I won't leave my brother here! ::Sobbing:: Otti: Stop it! There is nothing we can do! They will find us! We have to go! ::pulling her hand:: Kiliak: ::only a scream:: NO!! Voice: There! I hear them! Spread out, advance on the terrorists! ::blaster fire through the smoke:: Otti: Prophets damn you! We are not staying here just to die. Take my hand. * The Prophets are waiting for me. They will greet me on the golden shore of an endless sea. We will alight as winged birds and soar over the forests of green. * A heaviness and a lightening. A quickening. The infinite black stretching longer in every direction. The evaporation of time. The thinning of comprehension. A celestial spirit rising away, leaving hollow. And... but wait... something else... * Lieutenant, can you hear me? Kiliak: Wha? I... the Prophets... Her body, heavy. Hot. No, chilled with sweat. Ice cold. Hot again in the exosuit. Something cool on her forehead. Breathing in, an effort. Now, an exhale and... rest...
  6. So, below is actually two related sims. I really appreciated the humour and creativity in this scene. Something I definitely did not expect to read but thoroughly enjoyed. I hope y'all do too. Edited to add a third sim, another in the ongoing, hilarious take of nurse vs snappy toy dog Edited to add a fourth instalment that contains a pretty nifty twist. Didn't see that coming but it was pretty good!
  7. ((OOC - a couple things before we get started: (1) This is in no way connected to our current mission, plot, or story. For the new folks, the [BELOW] tag is something we've been trying out to give players the chance to write off-duty/non-mission-related posts in order to flesh out their character, build descriptions of the ship, etc. (2) This JP is one that Justin and I have been working on for about 2 months now as a special Halloween treat for you all. We hope you enjoy it! (3) It uses the old format, but as we haven't formally adopted the new one until Friday, I pray your indulgence. Now, please enjoy PART ONE!!)) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ((USS Eagle, Deck 3 - outside room 332, Quentin Collins’ room [stardate 239610.31 - Quentin's birthday])) ::Kayla paced in front of Quentin’s door in what she felt was a very impractical dress. She couldn’t figure out why she was so nervous. She’d been preparing this surprise for her friend for weeks now, and was SURE everything was perfect. She knew the details were just right - that had to be priority one. Quentin would know if anything was out of place. Of course he would be too considerate to say if anything was wrong, but she knew, given how much of a classic horror buff he was, that if anything was off … well, she’d done a ridiculous amount of research in preparing this surprise, so everything was as good as it could possibly be.:: ::She came to a stop, still facing down the corridor toward her own quarters. Charlie had Katya over tonight for a sleep-over, so by now they’d probably be giggling about … something. It wasn’t too late for Kayla back out. She could just contact Quen and say she was tired. Or that she wanted to keep an eye on the girls. Or … something. oO Coward. Oo Turning, she faced the door. With a shaking hand, she pressed the intercom button. The answer came almost immediately.:: Collins: Come in! ::Entering the room, Kayla saw Collins dressed in a 3-piece suit from late 19th Century western Europe. The stark black contrasted nicely with the starched, high-collared shirt he wore under his vest.:: ::Quentin Collins was all about an occasion to dress, but he usually liked to know the reason that way he could keep an eye on the social horizon as it were. The whole thing reminded him of one of Mother’s themed costumed affairs, but there was no way Kay could know about those horrors. As she entered, he was fussing with his sleeve cuffs.:: Collins: Hey, are you sure about these costumes? I mean, you look fine, but I feel like I’m being strangled by a very weak person right now. Drex: ::chuckling:: Yes, they’re a must. I don’t know what YOU’RE complaining about. You’re not wearing a bodice. Collins: ::He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it into a tight smile.:: Touche. Fair enough. So what’s this all about? ::A mischievous smile pulled at the corners of Kayla’s painted lips. For some reason it made Quentin the fun kind of nervous.:: Drex: You’ll see. I’m not ruining your birthday surprise by telling you what it is before you’ve even opened it! ::The look on his face was priceless. She almost laughed out loud, but was enjoying the feeling of having the upper hand, so she fought the urge.:: Drex: What? Did you think I didn’t know? What kind of department head do you take me for, Mister Collins? ::To say his birthday was a sore subject with him would have been the understatement of the century and it would take twice as long to get into it fully with her. But now he was free and in open waters, as it were. What was to stop him from finally taking it back. He pulled down his suddenly very comfortable topcoat. And snapped up to look at his friend.:: Collins: Ok, Chief. Lead the way. ((Deck 6 - Holodeck 1)) ::The pair had drawn some raised eyebrows on their trek down to the holodeck, but no one had actually asked about their odd choices of off-duty attire. Now they stood in the familiar setting of yellow grid on black.:: Drex: Ready? Collins: You know I am. Kay, what IS this? Drex: ::ignoring her friend’s question:: Computer, load program “Drexula” and hold visuals at time index 0.01. ::The change was nearly instantaneous. The grid vanished from the walls, floor, and ceiling, changing to a scene completely different. That much typical in the holodeck. Kayla’s special touches to this program however, was a strange hum. It was everywhere yet nowhere but in their ears.:: ::It felt like a light crackling for a second between Quentin’s ears. He worked his jaw a second and felt instant relief. It was like diving a bit too quickly, but the steady hum still buzzed through his mind pleasantly.:: Collins: What’s that hum? Drex: It’s binaural tones. Back in the early 21st Century, there was something of a craze with them. The science behind them is essentially that they can alter the listener's brainwaves. I wanted this particular simulation to be more … immersive than others. Don’t worry too much though, you shouldn’t even notice the sounds after about two or three minutes. ::Quentin just stared, now starting to get the less fun kind of nervous. But the Chief seemed to have everything well in hand. Kayla was pleased that he seemed to appreciate the extra effort this took. Realistically, the setting and plot were simple enough. Syncing the binaural stimulus was the real tricky part.:: ::Now that the binaural shock had passed, it was time to begin. They looked around at their surroundings. They were in a small village or hamlet nestled in a rather austere but lovely range of sharp mountains. Kayla knew them to be the Carpathians, but now was not the time to play the tour guide. A man whose face was so weathered it masked his age with great alacrity walked briskly up to them. His billowing pant legs, tucked into the tops of his tall boots, made a swishing sound with each step. As he drew closer, he stretched out a leathery hand in stiff but genial greeting.:: Popescu: Welcome! You must be the visitors I was told of. I am Popescu Alexandru. Drex: ::whispering to Collins:: Surname first. You should say hi first. Patriarchy, and all that. ::Quentin shuffled awkwardly up to the man, still trying to drink in all the details of their new setting. It was painfully familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it yet. He would get there eventually, but first he had to get through this interaction first.:: Collins: Oh, aye. The name is Collins from up London way and this is my...secretary Miss Drex. Assigned by the firm, you know how it is. But she does good work! Well, her knees are going but STILL! ::He winked over in Kayla’s direction, relishing the sudden pointed scowl she wore. She may have put all this amazing time and effort into this whole charade, but that wasn’t going to stop him having a BIT of fun with her.:: Popescu: Good, good! Yes, I run the inn right up the road, I received word three days ago there would be two visitors. Tell me, what brings you to our quiet village? ::Kayla stepped up to deliver her line, all but shoving Quentin out of the way to do so.:: Drex: We have been invited by the local count has invited us to the castle for the weekend. ::Alexandru’s face turned ash gray so fast, Kayla thought for a second it could have been a glitch in the program. When he crossed himself though, she knew everything was still working properly.:: ::Quentin [...]ed an eyebrow at the sudden display of ancient superstition. Excitement started to rise in his throat. He had a sneaking suspicion as to where they were now. He felt stupid he didn’t get it sooner.:: Propescu: M-may I ask … forgive me, but … why would you go to the castle? Drex: It’s old, we’re curious, and vampires are just a superstition? What more reason do we need? ::Propescu Alexandru crossed himself again at the word “vampire,” and muttered something under his breath the program didn’t bother interpreting. Kay shot him a look again, telegraphing his cue. He beamed and stepped back onto “center stage” through the packed mud of the old way street. Clearing his throat to speak, he tried to do his best impression of his dad. All business.:: Collins: We have been invited by the Count as potential investors in a looming property deal, good sir. We haven’t the time to faff about with ancient superstitions. Please, sir, my associate and I are weary, if you won’t cart us to the Castle, surely you can provide us rooms for the night. We have coin to pay. ::He shrugged a bit toward Kayla, assuming if she took the time to detail all this, surely she gave them some kind of walking around money.:: Propescu: I regret that I have no rooms for to offer you on this evening. Drex: ::noticing his English grew worse with his agitation:: I thought … didn’t you just say you’d been told before that guests would be coming, and that you had made preparations? Propescu: ::looking mildly ascanse at being called out by a woman:: That was a mistake of my own. It has just returned to my mind that those rooms were taken by two other visitors - doubtless the ones about which I was alerted. My deepest apologies. ::Kayla looked at Quentin with a not entirely affected look of annoyance, but shrugged. She’d built in several layers of adaptive programming in this programming. The characters would respond not only to direct stimuli, but to stimuli generated by interactions resulting from the responses of less visible interactions. Right now, it seemed that this innkeeper, with all his words of welcome, was longer interested in playing host - however temporary - to those that had been summoned by the count.:: Drex: Well then, is there a carriage or cart we can hire to take us to the castle early? Propescu: That may be difficult to arrange, but I will talk to some associates of mine to see what can be done for you. Please take in the sights of our village while you wait. ::Quentin huffed, leaning a bit more into the character he was playing with in the early moments of their holo-adventure. The Chief looked like she was having fun too, but he couldn’t help but notice a ripple of annoyance through her face. Was the program not giving up narrative like it should be? That innkeeper certainly turned about weirdly after she mentioned The Count. But that was all part of the fun for Quentin. He knew for sure (mostly maybe) where they were now. Now the real fun of testing the boundaries of the narrative could start.:: Collins: Good DAY, sir. ::He turned away from the now trembling man and finally allowed himself to absorb the rest of the details of their surroundings:: ::The scenery was indeed extremely picturesque. The thatched-roof buildings that lined the streets bore brightly-colored shingle signs advertising a variety of services. A butcher, cobbler, hooper, blacksmith, and several others were among those that lined the main, cobblestone road. Off this way, there were smaller buildings, doubtless the homes of the tradesmen and women that ran these businesses. Though modest, the hamlet appeared to be comfortably prosperous. Nestled between two large mountains, Kayla supposed they were sheltered from the worst of inclement weather conditions. The flora of the immediate region boasted delicate but hardy greenery, mostly short and scrubby. Looking further, around the cluster of buildings, Kayla noted that there were no old growth trees near the town, even though the lower rises of the surrounding mountains were carpeted by trees so ancient they bore heavy mantles of lichen and thick mosses. It was almost as though the people of this township were beating back the very landscape, and were content insofar that this waged war against nature was successful. It gave Kayla a momentary chill, but having no reason or inclination to dwell on such speculation, she brushed it aside as a thought bright on by the strange start to their adventure.:: Drex: Well, it looks like we have a little time before we leave here. What are you in the mood for? Shopping? Sightseeing? ::He turned an instant about face toward his friend with a huge smile on his face. He held out his hands to her.:: Collins: I just have one question. And I really need you to be honest with me. Drex: Always. What’s your question? Collins: Is this Dracula? Did you make me a whole Dracula thing? ::Kayla looked at Quentin somewhat coyly.:: Drex: I’m not saying it’s not, but at the same time … not exactly? It’s based on the book, but I’ve set this some time before Jonathan Harker’s visit. In other words, we’re us - visiting the count per his invitation. ::suddenly nervous that she’d spoiled the present:: Does that sound ok? ::Quentin instinctively clasped her hands and started to, for lack of a better term, freak the eff out, bouncing on the balls of his feet still with his friend’s hands comfortably clasped in his own. His whole history with gifts was horribly spotty, but this? This was…:: Collins: This is everything, Kayla truly. Thank you thank you thank you. Also I’m sorry if I got mud on your dress. Drex: ::laughing:: No, the dress is fine. I’m so glad you like the program, but it’s only just started! Wait till you see … wait, no. You’ll see. ::He unlatched her hands and started to whirl around the village. The detailing of the whole thing was almost intoxicating. Once Quentin found his bearings he started to try and take in the finer details. He spied a few of the more homely structures occupied, faint fires burning behind the curtains. But as he started to look at them, and the peeking occupants found therein, they snapped the curtains back shut as if trying to ward them away. Quentin thought it was a nice touch.:: Collins: I’m guessing it isn’t just Propescu that’s scared… ::Almost as if on cue, a wicked crack of lightning split the darkness of the sky, casting a pallid shadow over the village momentarily. Quentin’s skin goose-pimpled instantly and another grin split his lips.:: ((Short timeskip)) ::The jangle of tack and the clopping of horses’ hooves announced to Kayla and Quentin that their ride had arrived. Turning, Kayla caught her first glimpse of the driver. He wore a billowing rough (but immaculately white) linen shirt, laced up the front instead of buttons for closures. On his legs he wore deerskin trousers tucked into his tall boots, and atop his head sat a very wide-brimmed hat. All-in-all, she assessed him to be an experienced and capable coachman.:: ::When the cart stopped only about a dozen feet from where the pair of scientists stood, the pair of horses motionless - eyeing the strangers, the coachman leapt nimbly from his seat, somehow missing the several mud puddles in the road. He had covered the distance in a trice, greeting them and offering his assistance.:: Coachman: Welcome. My old friend Propescu tell me you are in need of transport to the castle. We must go quickly or not at all. I will not journey after nightfall. Drex: Why’s that? Coachman: There are wolves in the area … and worse. ::A beat passed while he considered the “worse,” but he did not elaborate. Instead, he shook himself and asked after any luggage they had and needed his help with. As neither Kayla nor Quentin had any, they were helped aboard the carriage, and the coachman whipped the horses into a brisk trot. In what felt like seconds, the tiny town was little more than a barely-distinguishable smudge in the otherwise unbroken landscape - impossible to spot unless you knew where to look.:: Drex: ::to the coachman:: How far is it to the castle? Coachman: Approximately 4 hours’ at a gentle pace for the horses. Today we go a bit faster. I do not wish to be travelling late, though tonight I think it may be safer than other nights. Drex: Why’s that? ::It took the driver a full minute to respond to this. Kayla wasn’t sure if he was trying to formulate a response, overcoming the language barrier, or hiding something. When he finally spoke, it did nothing to assuage these fears.:: Coachman: The dangers will be preoccupied. ::Quentin almost blanched at the comment. At first he was completely delighted by the off putting old-world detailing of the simulation. The mysticism, the ritual of it. It was some of the same things that drew him to his hometown’s lore. But then the odder instances started to bug him. And in the sort of anxiety inducing way, not into the “solve this puzzle” sort of way. In the time it took them to hitch up to this coach and travel a ways, Quentin Collins decided he was going to start taking this seriously. Not that he wasn’t before mind you, since this was a dear and thoughtful gift from an even dearer and even more thoughtful friend. But even she seemed like something was off. And when the two of them worked a problem, the cosmos itself would reveal its secrets. He shifted across to Kayla’s seat, finally able to see the Coachman a bit. Raising his voice above the thundering hooves of the horses, he started prodding.:: Collins: What could possibly preoccupy danger? Coachman: I’m afraid I do not understand. Collins: You said they would be preoccupied, what could occupy dangers? Something even more dangerous perhaps? ::a Sudden icy burst of wind shot through the carriage windows, catching Quentin right through the arms, where his topcoat sleeve met his vest. It chilled him to the bone, so much so he automatically tightened his leather gloves at the wrist. An ancient physical tic from back in Maine. Gazing out of the window at the rushing, seemingly endless woods whizzing past them along the path. He blinked against the biting wind. The dark seemed to...blink back. Dozens of blazing red eyes bared themselves through the woods. He blinked again and they remained. He felt his throat start to dry.:: Collins: Kay...did you program this? Drex: Sort of? ::She wasn’t trying to be cryptic. It was the truth. She’d only programmed the parameters and constraints of the characters and environment of the simulation. After that, she let the AI drive the particulars. Not wanting to betray her own unease to Quentin, she shrugged in what she hoped was a nonchalant way.:: Drex: I’m sure it’ll be fine. The safety protocols are in place. ::Still, the binaural tones (now completely forgotten consciously and no longer recognized by either of them) continued entwining their way into the minds of both Kayla and Quentin. The chill blast through the carriage window was accompanied by a shift in tone. The shift in tone was accompanied by a sensation deep in the most primitive corners of Kayla’s mind. There was a predator nearby, and her very survival depended on her staying alert.:: ((timeskip - 2 hours later)) ::The carriage came to a fairly abrupt halt in front of the massive, iron-banded, oaken-timber double doors as though the horses were loathe to stop moving. Even at a halt, they stamped their hooves and champed their bits, anxious to be moving away. The coachman leapt from his perch almost before the carriage had stopped moving, and was now holding the door open. It was less a gesture of civility than it was an unspoken plea for a quick exit. The two obliged, though something in them said it was the opposite direction they ought to be moving - back toward the town.:: Coachman: ::driving away as soon as he was back in the seat:: Fare well. I will say a prayer for you both. ::Before they could answer, the coach had rattled away at a gallop, and was now out of the reach of their voices.:: Drex: Well that was ominous. ::Quentin gave a snorting guffaw at Kayla’s stating of the obvious. He pulled his topcoat tighter around them as more wind howled through the trees and cobblestones of door stop they now stood upon. The stones looked impossibly old, matching the immaculately shone wood of the doors, which somehow looked older still. Quentin’s mind flashed quickly to The Old House, tucked away in the rising vines and brambles of the Collins Estate. That house scared him then and this one scared him now. Gooseflesh pimpled on the back of his neck. As if someone...or something was watching them.:: Collins: Oh REALLY? Whatever gave you that idea? Now what? Drex: ::shrugging:: Shall we knock? ::It was of course, rhetorical. Kayla steeled her resolve fighting down the irrational urge to run after the carriage, and knocked three times loudly on the front door. They waited for an answer for a full minute before knocking again. Still no answer. Quentin tried then, pounding on the door as the fear of what it would mean to be locked out in the open at night settled into Kayla’s heart, chilling her to the bone.:: ::As the sun sank below the crest of the western mountain ridge, the pair heard a heavy scraping sound from within - as though a great bolt were being drawn. Following that was the groaning creak of the massive hinges were brought into service. The ground around them was suddenly flooded with quavering yellow light from a candelabra held in the left hand of the tall man who had opened the door. The light was such a welcome sight to Kayla that she rushed forward toward it as though she were a moth.:: ???: Good evening. I apologize for the delay. My … staff is otherwise detained. I am your host. Please do enter my home. ::Quentin carefully followed Kayla and their new host into the cavernous hall. It looked to be the height of opulence, if the whole hall wasn’t covered in thick, milky cobwebs. Quentin almost had to step around them as to not be tangled in them. Their host seemed to float through them with ease though, still holding aloft the ornate golden candelabra. As the light bathed them all, he got a closer look at the man’s clothing. Which was a perfectly put together old style tuxedo, adorned with a lavish, possibly silken cape clasped with a heavy jeweled clasp. But there was something about his eyes. Though his demeanor seemed warm and inviting, his eyes reflected...none of that. Instead they looked empty, vacuous...hungry almost. Quentin tried to shake away the feeling, clearing his throat and finally speaking.:: Collins: T-Thank you for your hospitality… ???: It is my pleasure, I assure you. You have no doubt ascertained that I am the lord of this house. I am Dracula. ::not hesitating:: Please, my friends, leave any baggage you may have here, and it will be attended to. You must be hungry after your journey? ::In response to this suggestion, Kayla’s stomach made a sound somewhere between a cranky weasel and an annoyed stock investor. She looked briefly to Collins, then to their host.:: Drex: I am actually. Dracula: Then let us not waste another moment. You will I pray, forgive me for not dining with you, but I have supped already, having business to attend to this evening. ::The elegant man led them to a long room off the main foyer (if in fact it could be called that - the proportions put some cathedrals to shame), where a banquet table lay waiting for them. Two places were lavishly set with covered dishes. These, their host lifted by his own hand, revealing a sumptuous feast of roasted meats, root vegetables, and a steaming soup that looked deeper and richer than anything Kayla had ever eaten. Her stomach gave another excited “gruggle” at the sight of it all.:: Dracula: ::beckoning with a long-fingered hand for them to take the prepared seats:: Please come and eat to your hearts’ content. I will return when you have finished and show you to your rooms. ::And with that, the Count swept from the room, leaving Kayla and Quentin to the meal before them. She was famished, but Kayla hesitated, looking at her friend. Her conscious mind knew she was in the holodeck - that none of this was real, but the primitive parts of her brain were screaming at her. Some yet unforeseen danger or threat lurked within these walls. It couldn’t be the food though, right?:: Drex: What do you think? Shall we eat? ::Quentin gave a hearty exhale of breath and picked up a yeasty and somehow still warm roll from the sumptuous spread.:: Collins: I suppose we have to, right? ::Even though his mind told him that the only thing he was holding was a lovingly created patch of photons, the warmth and smell wafting off of it told another, more vivid story. It was almost intoxicating. He was about to give up the ghost and take a bite when he saw something else even more intoxicating. In an entirely different way. In the darkness of a room housed in the balcony above he saw three sets of gleaming, dreamy eyes. One a deep blue. The other a warm hazel. The last a glittering emerald. He started to open his mouth to speak, but he was...moving somehow. Floating almost, just above the dusty stonework of the flooring. As he got closer (though through no real will of his own), more and more smells replaced the musty odor of the main hall. Lilac, jazmine, and rosemary. He didn’t even notice when he crossed the threshold into the darkened room. He started to turn, seeing Kayla still standing a level below. He opened his mouth to speak but the door slammed shut before he could. Six strong hands then grabbed him roughly, pulling him into the void.:: ::Kayla panicked. Quentin had just been … abducted? Captured? At any rate, she didn’t like to think what those three had ultimately in mind for her friend. She scanned the table in a fevered attempt to find something that could be used as a weapon. ::Grabbing a long, thin-bladed carving knife, she sprang from the table and sprinted in the direction her friend had been dragged.:: Drex: QUENTIN! ::Her voice broke as she called out over and over. There was no sound for what seemed to her an eternity, but which was in reality, merely five seconds. At the far end of the dimly-lit hallway, Kayla heard the soft click of an old door latch catching. Without thinking, she turned and ran, gathering up her skirts as she went so she wouldn’t trip. ::When she reached the door, she grabbed at the handle. It was either stuck or locked. She banged on the heavy door with the butt of the knife, screaming for the door to be opened. She stopped abruptly though, when is swung smoothly on its hinge. ::What was even more alarming was the room she now saw. It was completely empty. She took one tentative step into the dark and drafty room. The gauzy curtains swayed gently in the draft from the partially opened window. This was the only movement in the room. Other than the dark, undulating fabric, the room seemed to resent her mobility. ::Thoughts of her friends peril tried to push their way into her mind, but Kayla was powerless to look away from the curtains … the Count. Had he been standing by the window the whole time? She didn’t remember seeing him when she first opened the door to the room.:: Dracula: I trust you … dined well? Drex: ::dreamily:: Quite well. Thank you. ::The count moved smoothly - so smoothly in fact, it could have been called a glide - toward the young blonde woman.:: Dracula: That is good. It would not do to have you … malnourished. Drex: ::Her head swimming:: You’re too kind. ::A yell from somewhere else in the castle snapped Kayla back to herself as effectively as a bucket of ice water. Before her still stood the striking form of her host, but now she was aware of the immediacy of the danger. She struck out with the knife still in her hand, but hit nothing but air. Smoke? Where the Count had been an instant before was now an already-dissipating cloud of black smoke. Kayla didn’t need to think twice. She turned on her heel and ran toward the sound of Collins’ voice.:: ::Quentin wasn’t sure how much time had passed. An hour? A day? A week? There was only the women and the sickly sweet taste of their lips upon his. Though he was dragged into the darkness, soon the antechamber was bathed in an amber-gris glow. A glow that had eliminated from the lit braziers that lined the stone walls. The smell of fresh earth also cut through the intoxicating scents of the women. But it didn’t jibe the visuals of the chamber, which suggested that they were at least a few stories up. At least that’s what the gleaming moonbeams and pockmarked starry sky provided in evidence. As soon as he started to think about it, however, more lips were on his again, tossing his mind back down the dark well of passion. One that he assumed had been paved over long ago. The women seemed to speak with one voice, vibrating through his mind like a psychic drawl.:: The Brides: Do you desire, Quentin Collins? ::He was momentarily stunned. He hadn’t spoken to them. Hell, he barely had a chance to speak. But his voice was parched with the earthy smell. Lips chapped with...repeated contact.:: Collins: I...w-what’s happening? ::He was turned again, peering directly into the eyes of the amber haired woman, who seemed to be their...leader? Or at least the center of the triumvirate.:: The Brides: Do you ache, Quentin Collins? ::Sudden cold bit through his now lessened layers. Somehow his topcoat and cravat had been shed and now his sleeves hung open, as well as his vest. He tried to button it back but it appeared that the buttons had been torn away. How? And Why?:: Collins: I can’t….why can’t I feel my hands? ::He looked down, his fingertips were starting to turn blue and as sort of streaky liquid dripped from one...drip drip dropping...onto the stone floor. Which was at least twelve feet above him. He was free-floating, hands still exploring his body lewdly and in a way that made him increasingly uncomfortable.:: The Brides: We can make you feel, Quentin Collins. Feel everything and nothing. Far more than the seer you pine for. Collins: What are you- ::He finally blinked hard and saw the liquid for what it actually was. Blood. HIS blood. Dripping from various punctures from around his arm...and neck...and chest. He looked up again and finally saw the women for what they really were. Monsters, with fangs bared, swimming amid gauzey, dusty nightclothes. Someone was screaming and Quentin thought it might have been him, but he couldn’t be sure. His head swam with the bloodloss and his sudden, hard drop to the stones below. The now hissing women whirled in mid-air about to bare down on him. Had it not been for the sudden entrance of the equally harried Kayla Drex, they would have surely swept him up again. She turned a confused eye to the floating women and back to him.:: Drex: WHAT THE F- Collins: I DON’T KNOW! ::He quickly snatched one of the braziers off the wall and started to wield it drunkenly at the still advancing women.:: Collins: I t-think I’ve had enough fun for one night, haven’t you? Drex: ::holding the carving knife out toward the three “women”:: Absolutely. Let’s get the heck out of here. ::They backed out of the room. It didn’t appear as though the women had followed - at least not as far as Kayla could see. There was no one chasing them through the halls of Castle Dracula, but each and every door they passed (and there were many in the ancient house) blew open as if some unseen pursuer was in an adjoining hall, and repeatedly wrenched door after door open, hoping to be just one step ahead.:: ::Kayla and Quentin at last, in a flop sweat and both panting hard, gained the open air of the main foyer. This place, with its grand sweeping staircase had seemed so grand and rich. Now it felt cold, abandoned, dangerous - a trap now seen. Carefully but swift as hares, the duo raced down the stairs. Kayla felt certain more than once she was going to tread on her damnable period-accurate skirts and break her neck falling down the hewn stone staircase. Thankfully, she and Quentin reached the floor level, and flew to the foreboding oak doors.:: Drex: ::panting:: Help me open the door. It’s too heavy for just one of us to open. ::Collins positioned himself in a way that allowed Kayla to grab hold of the wrought iron handle while he pulled against the frame. He gave a quick three-count, and they pulled. For an instant that felt like a lifetime, the door did not budge. Kayla’s heart sank, but then soared when the oaken barrier yielded to their efforts. They widened the opening just large enough for them to slip through, and ran with all their might.:: ::She never could say afterwards what compelled her to look back as they ran, but what she saw would haunt her dreams for some time to come. The Count, robed in a black travelling cloak came after them. In her haste, she couldn’t be certain, but at the moment she would have sworn he was … FLYING. His bat-like shape moved smoothly and swiftly toward them, narrowing the distance between him and the two humans.:: ::Kayla’s foot was suddenly soaked, and she felt her ankle roll as the ridiculously impractical shoes she wore slipped on the river rock. She cried out in pain, but the primary thought in her mind was that her foot was wet.:: Drex: Quen! We’re in a stream! Collins: ::pulling up short:: What? Yeah, I guess so. Let’s go! Drex: I can’t run, Quen, my ankle. We have to get to the other side of the stream. Collins: Why the stream? ::Then the penny dropped. In his terror, he had forgotten everything he’d known about vampire lore. They had to stop and count small items thrown in their path. They had no reflections. THEY COULDN’T CROSS RUNNING WATER!:: Collins: Kay, you’re a genius! Drex: Stow that, sailor; help me get across! ::He jerked back to his senses and draped one of Kayla’s arms over his shoulders. He helped (half-carried) her to the far side of the stream, where they collapsed, feeling safe for the first time in what felt like years. On the far side of the water, they saw the shape of Dracula darting upstream and down, looking for a way to cross … but he was trapped. They truly were safe - at least for a while.:: Collins: You bloody genius, Kay. Drex: … Oh for crying out LOUD! Collins: ::confused:: What? What’d I say? Drex: I’m no genius! I’m a freaking MORON! Collins: What are you talking about? Drex: I just remembered something else. ::Collins just looked at her, waiting for the revelation.:: Drex: Computer, end program. ::The countryside vanished, to be replaced by the yellow grid on sterile black.:: Drex: We were in the holodeck the whole time. ::blushing:: Maybe I overdid it a bit with the binaural waves. I was completely sure it was all real. Collins: … me too Drex: I won’t tell anybody if you don’t? Collins: Deal. Drex: Happy birthday, Quen. Now can you help me get to sickbay? I think I sprained my ankle in these ridiculous boots. END ((OOC - Thanks for reading! We really hope you enjoyed it. Happy Halloween, everyone!)) Lt Kayla Drex CSO, USS Eagle E239510KD0 ~ and ~ LT jg. QUENTIN COLLINS III SCIENCE OFFICER U.S.S. EAGLE NCC-74659 E239512QC0
  8. ((Some ooc backstory, the Columbia is being decommissioned. I have included @Jona ch'Ranni's ooc note regarding that. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, tragic, personal story with the crew. I think the whole fleet deserves a chance to see it.))I ((OOC Note: This series of sims was something I was holding on to for our next shore leave. I'm altering it a bit setting-wise to have played out during our last shore leave because I wanted to share it with you all before Columbia is decommissioned. Hope you enjoy.)) ((Observation Deck, Freighter Bion J. Arnold)) ch'Ranni: Look there's Talar! That means the bluish one over there is Gamma Trianguli and the orange one is Kappa Persei. ::Jona pointed to each star point in succession as Vexa looked on. She was not as enthusiastic as the former helmsman but she tried desperately to feign interest in what was unmistakably an obsession with her counterpart.:: zh'Lev: Wonderful. And how much longer will it be? ch'Ranni: We should dock at Starbase 47 within two hours. After that we will board the USS Abilene who is traveling at high warp to Pollux. And from there three more days to Andoria aboard the IKS Chang'Kza. zh'Lev: Ok. I think I can manage that. ch'Ranni: ::peeling his eyes from the starscape:: What's wrong, Vexa? zh'Lev: Nothing. ::beat:: I'm bored. ch'Ranni: Well, just wait til you see the Betreka Nebula! ((Timeskip: Nine days later)) ((Transporter Room, IKS Chang'Kza)) ::The two Andorians stood atop the transporter pads awaiting their final departure approval. The Klingon male at the console leered at them as if he'd drunk some bad prune juice. A high-pitched beep signaled on his board and the operator barked at the passengers.:: Veng'tuk: Your departure has been approved! I will transport you to the surface now! :: He tapped a key combination on his controls but nothing happened. The Klingon quickly lost his temper and slammed his hand on the side of the station.:: ch'Ranni: Did you remember to engage the primary energizing coil? Veng'tuk: Do not tell me how to do my job! zh'Lev: Hey! Don't yell at him! :: A low growl began in Veng'tuk's throat as his voice grew quieter.:: Veng'tuk: Control your woman, pet'Q. ch'Ranni: Vexa, step back on the pad. zh'Lev: But he ... ch'Ranni: It's alright. Step back on the pad, please. ::The two Andorians returned to their positions as the Klingon operated the console once again. Jona was quite satisfied to see the Klingon engage the primary energizing coil and then felt the slight pull as they dematerialized in a swirl of reddish-gold.:: ((Spaceport, New Sheras, Andoria)) ::The two Andorians rematerialized in the bustling Arrival Sector of the New Sheras Spaceport. People milled about them on their way to their own individual destinations.:: ch'Ranni: Come on. This way. ::Jona grabbed Vexa's hand and lead her to the left. They advanced to a large waiting lobby. Above the expansive room, a glass ceiling kept the frigid temperatures and snowy wind at bay, yet still seemed to let the starkness of Andoria's surface shine through.:: ::Weaving their way through the crowded terminal, Jona spotted his destination. A tea cart that always seemed to be set up in the same spot every time he visited stood in an offset corner of the building. Jona ordered each of them some srjula tea and gratefully accepted the steaming cups of bright yellow liquid from a wizened Andorian woman.:: zh'Lev: How long must we wait? ch'Ranni: Not long I think. ::Jona proved correct as he heard his name shouted by someone from far behind them. He turned and broke into a wide grin as he spotted his shreva waving wildly from across the spacious room.:: ch'Ranni: There she is. ((TBC)) -- Lt. Jona ch'Ranni Assistant Chief of Operations USS Columbia (NCC-85279) C239510JC0 ((Spaceport, New Sheras, Andoria)) zh'Lev: How long must we wait? ch'Ranni: Not long I think. ::Jona proved correct as he heard his name shouted by someone from far behind them. He turned and broke into a wide grin as he spotted his shreva waving wildly from across the spacious room.:: ch'Ranni: There she is. :: The middle-aged Andorian woman jogged toward them and threw her arms around Jona's neck, hugging him close. Vexa stayed a few steps back letting mother and son have a private moment in the crowded terminal.:: Nota: I've missed you, Jona. ch'Ranni: ::tears welling up in his eyes:: Me too. ::The older woman took a step back and touched her forehead to Jona's until her eye caught sight of the petite girl standing a few feet away.:: Nota: Who's this? ch'Ranni: My shreva, this is Vexa zh'Lev. Vexa, please meet Nota sh'Ranni. Vexa is a scientist assigned to a research base in the region that my ship is assigned to explore. ::beat:: She's my girlfriend. ::Nota raised her eyebrows for a second and then her face softened. She held her arms out to Vexa and embraced her lightly.:: Nota: Welcome. We're so glad you could come. Please, let's gather your things. Mir is preparing a meal back at the house. We shouldn't keep her waiting. ((Ranni Clan, New Sheras, Andoria)) ((Time Index: An hour later)) ::The winding tunnels leading to Jona's boyhood home were as familiar as they were worn. These particular passages were hundreds of years old. Where they occasionally broke through the ice and rock to the surface, forcefields kept the inclement weather away. Jumping thalaas frogs licked up ice mites along the walls of the spacious corridor, unconcerned as people came and went.:: Nota: So tell me about your work, Vexa. Jona said you are a scientist? zh'Lev: Oh my, yes. My specialty is in energy fields. At Dehner Base we are studying the long and short-term effects of the Galactic Barrier on living tissue. We have some very promising results we have discovered recently. What with the Barrier contracting over the last few years, we may have a whole new region that could potentially be opened for habitation. Nota: That's very interesting. Sh'letha sren granta lullsla. ((Andorian Graalen for "You are quite talented.")) zh'Lev: Thank you, Nota. And Jona tells me you are a linguist in the Andorian Guard? Nota: Yes. Aboard the Marvassi. Vorka, Jona's charan, also serves aboard as the helmsman. That's probably where Jona got his love of piloting. ch'Ranni: And you are the one I got my love of languages from. vImuSHa' SoS ((Klingon for "Love you, mom")) :: As they continued conversing, Jona noted the recent construction that had taken place around the clan settlement. Impressively reinforced structures stretched upward a hundred meters to the ice cave ceiling above. Small patches of vegetation with artificial overhead lighting provided micro park-like areas that broke up the more austere surroundings.:: ch'Ranni: When did all of this happen? Nota: Oh, there have been lots of changes in the past two years. We received a grant to protect the clan holdings from icequakes and the resources have gone a long way to modernizing the Ranni clan. ch'Ranni: That's great! ::pause:: How does Spel feel about it? ::The mention of ch'Ranni's thaven, one of Nota's co-husbands, made Nota's face darken ever so slightly and the smile on her face faded away slowly.:: Nota: You know your father. He's set in his ways. ::Jona shook his head at his father's stubborness. He was a history professor but he himself was stuck in the past, just like the clay artifacts he proudly displayed in his office.:: ch'Ranni: Yes, that's Spel. I assume he's at the Military College. Nota: You know he is. He'll be home late tonight. ch'Ranni: oO He couldn't come home early to see us. Figures. Oo ::The trio turned left down the worn path and Jona's boyhood home came into view. Jona took a breath and let it out slowly. He turned to Vexa and grabbed her hand.:: ch'Ranni: Home. ((TBC)) -- Lt. Jona ch'Ranni Assistant Chief of Operations USS Columbia (NCC-85279) C239510JC0 ((Ranni Clan, New Sheras, Andoria)) ((Three days after arriving on Andoria)) ::Jona padded barefoot into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He stretched his lanky frame to work out the kinks of sleeping on an unfamiliar bed and smiled at Vexa who was sitting at the table with a steaming cup of srjula tea. He poured himself a cup and sat next to her.:: ch'Ranni: Morning. Been up long? zh'Lev: About an hour. ::smiling impishly:: Mir had some wonderfully embarrassing stories to tell about you. ch'Ranni: ::in mock horror:: Surely not! zh'Lev: Your first day of school. ch'Ranni: She loves telling that one. Gods, that was the worst day. zh'Lev: And the time you fell from the ice sculpture in the clan square? How did you manage to end up naked? ch'Ranni: That was not my fault. It was ... unavoidable. zh'Lev: ::patting his cheek:: I'm sure it was, Jona. Now, what's on the schedule for today? ch'Ranni: Lunch with Nota and Vorka. And then I thought I might show you one of my favorite museums in the city. zh'Lev: Sounds nice. I can't wait. ((Timeskip: Two hours later)) Vorka: So there we were, facing the business end of a Nausicaan warship. I banked the ship hard to port and cut behind a slew of asteroids. We used a modified tractor beam to scoop up one of the large ones. ::The aging Andorian used his fork, in-between bites of food, to illustrate the path of the ship:: Then we slung it around in a wide arc, accelerating it as it went. Smashed those pirates right in the engineering deck. COM-pletely destroyed their ability to manuever. Let me tell you something, Little Miss, they were a lot nicer when Nota re-established the comm-link with them. zh'Lev: ::patiently:: I can imagine. Vorka: And then there was the time we had a Tholian cruiser try to tear through our supply convoy... ch'Ranni: Dad? Dad ... hold on a minute. I think Vexa has heard enough of your stories for right now. There will be time later to talk more. Vorka: Hmmph. zh'Lev: ::grinning:: Vorka, tonight I promise. I want to hear about those Tholians. Vorka: Fine, fine. ::He stopped to look at his son before taking another bite from his plate.:: So, Jona, still in Starfleet? ch'Ranni: Yes. A full lieutenant now. I'm serving as the Assistant Chief of Operations aboard the USS Columbia. Vorka: Lieutenant? Took me three years to make that rank. And Operations you say? Well, its close to piloting at least. ch'Ranni: I served as the Helmsman for nearly a year before taking on this assignment. ::beat:: Starfleet's been good to me. I've learned a lot. Vorka: ::grunting:: Well, you were always one to make your own choices. ::turning to Vexa:: Wouldn't listen to a word we said. ch'Ranni: I'm happy with my choices. ::looking sideways to Vexa:: All of them. Vorka: Well, I suppose ... if you hadn't run off to Starfleet you wouldn't have brought this pretty young thing home for a visit. Here, have some more tuber root. zh'Lev: Thank you. Your family has been so hospitable these last few days. I can't believe we have to head back to the Sagittarius Reach tomorrow. It feels like we just got here. ::Jona smiled sadly and looked at his two parents sitting across the table from them.:: ch'Ranni: Listen you two. I know that you may not have always agreed with my pursuing a Starfleet career. But please remember, I'll always love you and nothing will change that. Maybe some day you'll understand my reasons. Nota: ::nudging Vorka in the ribs:: Go on, tell him! ::Vorka gave his wife a dirty look and then stood up from the old belayla wood table. He stepped over to a cabinet and fiddled with the metal latch until it popped open. He retrieved a single PADD and handed it to his waiting son.:: Vorka: Here. You should read it on your trip back to the Columbia. ch'Ranni: What is it? Vorka: The ramblings of an old man. Communiques that I recorded over the last four years but didn't send to you. I was too caught up in what Spel and Mir wanted for you. I couldn't defy them. But now ... I don't care. ::Jona moved his thumb to the activation switch.:: Vorka: I said read it on your way home! Not before. ::Jona's eyes met his father's gaze and for the barest second he could see the pain and regret that filled the man's soul. The younger man gave a short nod of mutual understanding and set the electronic device on the table top.:: Vorka: Well, then. ::beat:: Where are you two off to this cold afternoon? ((TBC)) -- Lt. Jona ch'Ranni Assistant Chief of Operations USS Columbia (NCC-85279) C239510JC0 ((Guest Quarters 5-B7, Freighter Bion J. Arnold)) ((Time Index: Two days into return trip to Dehner Base)) ::Jona sat on the edge of the cot with his thumb hovering over the power button on the PADD. For some reason he felt nervous activating the device. He knew that Vorka wanted him to view its contents but he didn't understand why his father wanted him to wait until they left Andoria.:: ::His finger fell the last few centimeters and the bright screen activated. An image of his white-haired father's face shone on the screen. He looked upset.:: Vorka: Stardate 239111.04. Jona, you've been gone a month now to the Academy and I think it's time I set a few things straight. I don't oppose you joining Starfleet. I think you will make a difference out there among the stars. You are destined for great things. ch'Ranni: oO Then why did you ghost me with all the rest? Oo ::The recording continued despite Jona's musings.:: Vorka: Of course, I would have preferred for you to join me and Nota in the Andorian guard. The things I could have taught you with you by my side at the helm of the Marvassi ... ::shaking his head:: Well, anyway, I know this is what you wanted and I'm proud of you. ::The screen went black and Jona could see his teary-eyed face in the reflection of the transparent aluminum screen. He cycled back to the index and tapped on the next entry.:: Vorka: Stardate 239112.08. Jona, I hope things are going well for you in your studies. I've been opening up to Nota and I think she feels similar to how I do. We both care about you very much. I wish I had been able to say these things in person. Stay safe out there. ::The young Andorian tapped through the list of message. Stardate 239201.02, 239201.30, 239202.15. The list went on and on. Vorka had crafted messages every few weeks to his son and saved them all here. He swiped up on the PADDs screen and activated the final message in the list which was just less than a year old.:: Vorka: Stardate 239510.17. Jona, my boy. Today you have graduated from Starfleet Academy. You have no idea how it broke my heart to not attend your graduation ceremony. You are truly gifted and I'm sure you'll be assigned to the flagship. Steer her right, Jona. You always did have a steady hand. ::beat:: Spel and Mir both continue to refuse my pleadings for them to reconcile with you. Although, Mir is slowly coming around. I know they both miss you terribly. Perhaps one day. ch'Ranni: ::nodding:: oO One day. Oo Vorka: Jona, there's something else. ::pause:: I've been diagnosed with advanced S'sraanian Syndrome. The doctors say they can't do anything. I've lived a long, full life. I'm happy with my choices. ::beat:: All except one. I should have never rejected you, my boy. You deserved better. ch'Ranni: oO Dad? Oo Vorka: The doctors say I have a year at best. I hope to see you again before then, son. Safe travels. ((Timeskip: An hour later)) ::Jona sat despondent on the cold, metal floor. He had tried to hail his father unsuccessfully and he knew the truth. Vorka was gone. Vexa had returned to their shared room and sat slowly patting his mop of unruly hair in between the sobs that wracked his athletic body.:: zh'Lev: He was a good man, Jona. You do your best to turn out like him. ((END)) -- Lt. Jona ch'Ranni Assistant Chief of Operations USS Columbia (NCC-85279) C239510JC0
  9. ((Student Dorms, Starfleet Academy Campus - Starbase 118.)) It was early morning. Very early morning and Mareta really didn't want to get up. She had no classes today, and in theory her schedule was devoid of absolutely any activities – both social and study – save one. One that she couldn't have dreamed of in her studies last year. She lay there for a few moments, and then her alarm went off. A long sigh escaped as she hit the snooze button. It was on old 20th Century-style alarm clock that had been a gift from her cousin Arturo. A bit of an in-joke between the two of them when she had been getting ready to start her first year of study. Mareta was easily the least morning-orientated person in the galaxy and she sighed again as she rolled over and away from the alarm clock. Liva was still asleep, and Mareta snuggled in behind her as she tried to make the most of the ten minutes snooze time she'd given herself. Liva was her dorm-mate, best friend and “secret” partner. The two girls found the student are-they-aren't-they gossip quite amusing, and they ignored it as the free drinks and attention from some of the boys on campus was rather flattering. They had almost everything in common, even down to having relatives on the station. For Mareta, it was Arturo, and for Liva, it was Beatrice, her human half-sister. What felt like barely a heartbeat later, that infernal alarm clock was making its teeth-grinding Bzzt Bzzt Bzzt noise again and Mareta reluctantly rolled over to switch it off. This time, Liva woke up as well, and she sat up. Shuffling backwards, Liva leaned against the headboard and rubbed at her eyes. Liva: What time is it, Bee? Liva's voice carried a strong accent of her home in Kendra Province on Bajor, and Mareta's own voice gave statement to her own birthplace in Italy. It made for a strange yet gentle contrast of tones when they spoke together, although it didn't help whenever the two girls tried to practice the others native language. As a result, there had been many laughter and wine-filled nights in their room as the pair each butchered the pronunciations of a new language. Mareta: Seven thirty. A massive, cheerful smile spread across Mareta's face as she clambered out of bed and disappeared into the small refresher. Liva picked up her PADD from her bedside table and began to scroll aimlessly through the student news pages as she heard the shower start up. You never knew when you'd stumble across an unadvertised – but very useful – seminar by one of the Academy Professors, or even one of the stations senior officers. When she heard the shower cut out, and the sound of damp feet moving about, she put down the PADD and flopped forwards on the bed, chin resting on her hands, feet up and crossed. Liva: So what's got you so smiley this morning? Clad in a wrapped towel, Mareta reappeared, scrubbing away at her teeth and Liva waggled her feet slightly. Mareta: Nrp evry d'capn! Liva: What? Mareta: Mrtern d'capn tdy! Liva began to laugh, and waved Mareta back towards the refresher. A few minutes later she reappeared and sat down beside Liva, who sat up and crossed her legs. Mareta bumped her playfully with her shoulder, her broad smile appearing once more along with an excited sparkle to her eyes. Mareta: It's not every day you get to meet the Captain! Liva: Really!? Your placement was granted? ::She shuffled a touch closer and put her arms around Mareta.:: That's wonderful! Mareta: It's only one full duty shift every other week. Liva: But still, it's a full shift with the captain! Think about all the things you'll get to learn directly from an officer who's really done it all! Mareta smiled, giving Liva a hug in return before standing and heading for the far wall. She replicated a fresh uniform and pulled it on before moving to her bedside table and picking up the four elongated pips that marked her out as a final year Cadet. Liva hopped up and took her hand, before putting the pips on for her. A long hug later, and Mareta was off out of the door and on her way up to deck seven of the command tower, and specifically the office of Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim. As the door closed, Liva sat down on the bed again. What was she going to do with herself today? Her PADD pinged at an incoming message and she reached over for it. Thumbing it to life she raised a curious eyebrow at the screen. Message Received. Text Only. Sender; USS Narendra. Lt-Commander Gogigobo Fairhug. ~*~ Cadet 1st Class Mareta Bianchi. & Cadet 1st Class Liva Jardel. Starfleet Command School. Starbase 118 Academy Campus. Simmed by; Lt-Commander Arturo Maxwell. Chief Tactical Officer. Starbase 118 Operations. O239311AM0.
  10. Absolutely love the feigning the character does! Great job @Kiliak Jo ((en route to Deep Space 26, low orbit over Paldor II)) Absentmindedly ignoring the pratter of the jarheads and sacrificial security drones crowding the small shuttle space, Perkins set his finely-tuned wonder of a mind to the task at hand. How was he going to singlehandedly rescue this station and the planet below from imminent disaster? The uncooperative nature of the Atlantis company of misfits only made clear his burden as the lone champion called to serve in this dark hour. He stared out the window and mused, clasping his hands together wisely, bringing the tips of his index fingers together just beneath his nose to indicate his status of deep contemplation. Just as he was gathering together the last details of a perfect plan, he was snapped from this reverie at the mention of weapons fire. Serala: Remember, check your fire this is a high collateral engagement zone. If it's not shooting at you, don't shoot at it. Not without confirmation. Perkins: Yes, please double-check your "trigger happiness." I have many friends here. They soon disembarked the shuttle and boarded the station. At the sight of the familiar Chon architecture, Perkins felt overwhelmed with relief to finally be back home, at last, he had escaped from the clutches of these Atlantean nincompoops. Though it was true that they desperately needed his help, he would not go back if they dragged him kicking and screaming. Solana: Contact, four o'clock. Looks like a dozen all scrambling to get those support craft off the deck. I don't see any Valcarians. oO These idiots can't even keep proper time! It's still morning by the standard Federation clock. Simply unbelievable. Oo Kiax: I wouldn’t be surprised if they were controlling more critical areas of the station. Operations, Engineering, Fusion Cores, Auxiliary Fire Control, Central Damage Control… With direct access to the computer core I can probably get us a significant foothold. Perkins: That can be arranged. I can direct you through some of the more basic processes, get you a username and a password, before we ultimately get to the more complex stuff at which point I will naturally take- Calasio: =/\= Welcome to the newly acquired Imperial Relief Station Alpha-One. =/\= oO Excuse me? Oo Kiax: =/\= You mean the Federation Starbase Deep Space Twenty-Six? =/\= oO Hmpfh. Indeed. Oo Calasio: =/\= I wish to speak to the one in charge of your team. =/\= Perkins: =/\= Yes of course, I am-- =/\= Serala: =/\= This is Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis. I am in command of this team. =/\= oO Rude! Fine. I'll let her believe she's in charge if its so important to her. Oo Calasio: =/\= This is Commander Yanek Calasio of the Imperial Navy. I am sure you are aware of the situation we all find ourselves in. I wish to make an arrangement. =/\= Serala: =/\= Well, Commander. I’m actually not fully aware of the situation. I know this station is plummeting to the planet below it and unless we can find a way to stop it, everyone onboard, not to mention millions on the planet, will be killed. But I have no idea what has been happening here for the last several months. Without a debriefing, I am afraid I am at a disadvantage in any sort of bargaining or decisions to make agreements. Of course, we did bring a substantial combat force and I would image that some of the Starfleet personnel that didn’t make it off are still here somewhere. I could always fight my way to them, join forces, then retake the station from you. =/\= Calasio: =/\= Now, Commander...you are in no real position to do anything but listen to me. You have just arrived. I have been here for weeks. Do you really think we have not created a battlefield prepared to our advantage? I assure you this is not a fight you want to wage. The station is already falling apart. On top of that, we've rigged bulkheads with explosives, set snares throughout the access tubes, prepared tricks and traps level by level. I've read up on your ship, the Atlantis. I know your Captain Brell is a man of peace. Of discourse. He would listen. I suggest you do the same... =/\= Perkins: =/\= Ha! Brell isn't even- =/\= Serala: =/\= Captain Brell is not here. I am. And I do things my way. I will answer to Captain Brell later, if needs be. If he wanted a peaceful resolution, he should have come himself instead of sending his Chief Security and Tactical Officer. =/\= oO Ahh ha, I see. The Romulan wants to keep my presence here covert, her secret Ace in the Hole. The Ringer. The Showstopper. Got it. All right, okay, I'll play along with your little gambit, Miss Siracha. Oo Serala: =/\= Still, there is something to be said for a peaceful solution. Fighting our way through could be costly. You haven’t held your position as long as you have by being unprepared. So, what is your proposal. =/\= Calasio: =/\= It’s quite simple, really. This station is plummeting to its doom. We have seized control of this station at quite at high cost and have no intention of losing it now. I propose to allow you and your ship to assist with evacuating all non-Valcarian personnel from the station. You can use this landing bay for those purposes. We will also coordinate with Atlantis to find a way to stop the station from hitting the planet below, possibly even relocate away from the planet a distance. Once everyone is cleared out and the station is safe, we will take full control of the station and the space around it. Assuming the station doesn’t get destroyed before then, I estimate you should be able to get everyone off in about 36 hours time. Anyone remaining onboard after that forfeits their life and will become subjects of the Empire. =/\= Perkins mind began to wander. oO Say, where did that infernal marine with the attitude problem get off to? Oo Serala: =/\= A very well thought out request, Commander. I have a request of my own first. I need to speak to the Starfleet Officer in charge here on the station. I need to get a sitrep before I can make any decisions which might affect them. I am sure you can understand that? =/\= Calasio: =/\= Your request is understandable, Commander. However, we have no direct communications established with the Starfleet personnel. In fact, station communications are down, which is why I have had to rig this form of communication for us. Still, I will try to get a message through and have them come down to you. =/\= Siracha spoke quietly into her commset, then pointed now to another marine, the big one who had yelled at the problematic one earlier. Perkins didn't understand why she was pointing. Was his fly unzipped or something? He held up his hands to indicate the ineffectiveness of her communication. She pointed again, more pointedly, as the others gathered behind the marine. Perkins narrowed his eyes. Did she want him to keep an eye on this goon to make sure he didn't shoot any bystanders? Yes, that must be it. Good call. Perkins tailed the big monkey, ready to disarm him in a flash if the day's duties came to that. Serala: =/\= Commander Perkins. You know this station better than anyone here. I want you on lead. Get us to Operations. We’re taking that back one way or another. That might give us a better position to bargain from. =/\= Perkins: =/\= Ah, I see. Of course, of course. I will lead the way. ::pushing himself to the fore of the others:: Company, aa-t-tention! Follow me! And-a march one two hut one two, that's it, lively now! =/\= (( Short timeskip )) oO Wait. No, it's the other way. Oo Hardly his fault. He was only rarely down in these sections. He turned around and doubled back, offering the others his charming smile as they continued to follow his lead. This sublevel was really more of a Lieutenant Junior kind of working environment. And all these corridors look the same anyways. Soon they reached a corner, and Perkins was sure that this time it would lead them into Operations. Birmor: Halt. Who goes there? Serala: Lieutenant Commander Serala, Federation Starship Atlantis. Birmor: Sorry friend. This area is off limits to non Valcarians. Serala: We’re here with permission of Commander Calasio. Birmor: Really? Serala: We have some things to discuss and the form of communication we were using was insufficient. Since we’re here under a truce, perhaps you would be kind enough to escort us to him so we can speak in person? Birmor: Sorry Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis. Standing orders are to only allow Valcarians past this point. ::She made an obvious effort to look at the group of Starfleet Officers.:: And you don’t much look like Valcarians. Serala: And would he be less pleased if his favorite :: quickly checking her rank :: corporal failed to let us past and it resulted in a full-scale invasion from our ship? Just because of a misunderstanding? Wouldn’t it be better to take us to him and let him decide what to do with us? Birmor: Excuse me a moment. ::he momentarily vanished:: Perkins: Do you want me to talk to him? I'm great with people. Serala: Birmor: Well Lieutenant Commander Serala of the Federation Starship Atlantis, it seems you have been granted passage. oO Hmpfh! Could at least get her name right. I'll let it slide though, in the name of diplomacy. Oo Perkins: Took you long enough. Let's head out, troops. McKnight: Let's move. Serala / Toh’jak: Response Birmor: It was my absolute pleasure. Commander Calasio is down in the Engineering Section on Level 46. As this used to be your station, I’m sure you know the way. Perkins: Er, yes of course. That's, uhm, fastest way is those stairs back there, or...? Serala / Toh’jak: Response Out of nowhere, bolts of blaster fire. One blast struck Perkins right in his good shoulder. He went down, collapsing into a crumpled pile immediately, a tactic to shield himself from possible continued fire as his eyes wetted with sudden tears. McKnight: AMBUSH! oO Is this it? Am I going to die? Here? Just in my moment of liberation? Who will help all these people if I must perish now? Oo Birmor: STAND DOWN! CEASE FIRE. CEASE FIRE. Perkins: It's a trick! I'm hit! They shot me! Ambush! Betrayal! Shoot back, you worthless imbeciles! McKnight: Cease fire! Cease fire! Secure the area! Serala / Toh’jak: Response Clutching his wound, likely a mortal wound, Perkins heard a disembodied voice nearby. His vision was blurry. Was it... his father? The voice of God? McKnight: You alright, Commander? Perkins: I'm so sorry. ::coughing:: I don't know if I'll make it. You must go on... without me... ---------------------------------------------- Lt. Commander Perkins Engineer at Large Deep Space 26 A239509KJ0 ---------------------------------------------- courtesy of ---------------------------------------------- Lieutenant Kiliak Jo Asst. Chief Engineer USS Atlantis A239509KJ0 -----------------------------------------------
  11. ((Starbase 118 - Crew Quarters - Malko’s Room)) As if led by his nose like a bloodhound, the commander went straight for the replicator service panel. No doubt he smelled the slightly sweet odour. Malko began to panic, clasping his hands together in an attempt to compose the anxiety flitting across his skin. Hael: You ain’ has no issues with the replicator either has ya? Malko: Issues? None. Hael: You-uh ::he pointed at the signs of tinkering on the wall.:: doin’ yer own maintenance? The Denobulan was sweating through his grin. Hael was onto him. How did he know? Malko had lost his cool less than an hour ago and not a soul had been witness. And he was about to lose it again. Malko: Oh. Oh, that? I had to reboot the thing once or twice, and I didn't have a screwdriver. I'm a counsellor, not an engineer! ::he chuckled nervously:: Hael: Ya’know Therr be folks stationed ‘ere to do jus’ this kind’a thing. Tha’n ways you ain’ gotta do it. ::he chuckled as he began to take scans.:: Malko: Is, that against the law? Hael: No’ real’y. Folk always try’na fix their own stuff. Jus’ mentionin’ tha’ therr be folks ‘ere to do jus’ this thing, so you ain’ inconveincin’ anyone, none. Malko: ::gulp:: Commander, I... I have a confession to make… Hael: ::he leaned to one side.:: Real’y ani’ no thing. If’n sumthin’ broke we can fix’r no problem. Malko: I'm the one you're looking for. Hael: I’m’a sor’y Doc… You wanna run tha’ past me one more time - only.. ::he put his hands up.:: a bit slower, eh? oO Is he coercing a confession out of me? Oo Malko: I made a mistake and I was too ashamed to tell anyone, I'm sure you know - why else would you be here? Hael took a few seconds to retrace the words Malko had spilled forth. Hael: Well’s.. Uh… We can ge’ through tha’ .. ::he mumbled.:: mos’ likely. Malko: Yeah? What sort of trouble am I facing? Hael: ? Malko sat in his office chair, facing the Commander who was kneeled in front of the panel. This was a different counselling that what usually occurred in Malko's office. Malko: Well, you see... I was trying to research recipes - to make a dessert I could bring to the crew that would wow everyone. I did a preliminary search for some award-winning cakes, and was having the replicator make me some samples. He covered his forehead in embarrassment. Malko: And when I asked for Chocolate Infinity Cake, the replicator must have misunderstood -because it began making 'infinite chocolate cake'. I attempted to verbally cancel the process, but it was locked in some sort of request loop - leeching energy from the floor. The pot-lights dimmed in my office menacingly. At first I tried catching the fountain of cake in whatever empty vessels I had around the office, but they quickly filled. By that time the cake had begun spreading across the floor. I rolled my pant legs and waded through the molten flow, armed with a decorative letter opener. By the time I got the access panel open, well, the cake was threatening breaching the room. I wasn't sure what I was looking at in there, but I steeled myself and flipped a bunch of breakers until I saw the cook light die out - and finally the cascade of cake ceased. Shovel by shovel, I packed the viscous maroon sludge into the refuse chute - and attempted to scrub any traces out of my office and skin with diluted cleaners I stole from the sanitation closet. Ultimately, I was able to dispose of the cake batter, but I could not disguise the incident or my shame. Please - have mercy. Hael: ? Malko: Pardon? Hael: ? Malko: Sir? I - I don't understand. Hael: ? Malko: Then how? Hael: ? TBC
  12. ((OCC: This is the start of a mystery. The first 8 posts will set it up. After that, anyone who wants to join in can do so. This is Part 1 of 8 Flashback Scenes)) Alone ((Epsilon Argyros, Scylanthia, Alastriona’s Office – 239606.10 – Four Months Ago)) ::And she finally stopped playing their song when she realized that she was dancing alone. – Anonymous:: ::Like a dying firestorm, the red star Epsilon Argyros began to set below the horizon, bathing the room with fading passion. Alastriona looked up at her long bare legs, which were perched up on top of the glass table of her office, high above her homeworld, Scylanthia. It was summer outside, and she had chosen a pair of jean shorts, a red t-shirt and sandals to wear. Her pale skin warmed up nicely, even though the large glass windows were tinted.:: ::The building hovered over two thousand feet in the air above the city Cleeia. Outside, hundreds of multicolored balloon-like people – Scylanthian’s – drifted about. She could see the beaches far below, near her house. The ocean, tinted with a rainbow of colors cast down from the exotic atmosphere of the planet, turned cherry red as the sun fell into the sea. A scattering of stars came out: Theta Tauri, Gamma Tauri and Delta Tauri were first, followed by Epsilon Tauri and Aldebaran.:: ::Alatriona leaned back in her chair, stretched out her arms, and yawned.:: ::The computer was undeterred by her behavior.:: Computer: The mass segregation of the star cluster is consistent with the observed distribution of stellar types – DeTroyes: Ordinateur, arrêt. :: Another yawn filled her face. ::I’ve studied long enough today, ::she grumbled.:: ::The computer’s refusal was simple.:: Computer: Negative. ::The machine continued to drone on.:: Stellar evaporation occurs in the cluster halo as matter. . . ::Irritated, she dropped into English.:: DeTroyes: Computer, halt! ::In a condescending tone, the computer argued,:: Computer: The study schedule, programmed by YOU, continues for another two hours. DeTroyes: What’s with the attitude? Ten hours is enough for today! ::she complained:: If I can’t pass the science exams when I get to earth, maybe I’ll quit Starfleet altogether! :: She was grumbling, but knew the computer was right, or rather, she was right to have programmed the computer to try to force her to continue on. She was a hundred and twenty years out of date. It had been nearly a year since she’d asked for a leave of absence from Starfleet, so that she could study the current scientific theories. It was so embarrassing to ask people such simple things as how to use a modern tricorder.:: Computer: Starfleet re-certification exams begin in 56 Earth days. Since you’re scheduled to leave on the transport La Fayette in thirty six hours, and it takes 53 days at warp 8 to reach Sol, it is advisable to . . . DeTroyes: I know! ::Exasperated, she reached over to shut the thing off, but she hit the wrong button and it triggered a very old message buried inside the computer. Whispers came out of time, bringing back old memories. It was the voice of her sister, Genevieve.:: Genevieve: Alastriona, I don’t know if you’ll ever hear this message – Starfleet tells us that you’re science station at the edge of the milky way was destroyed, but I had a dream about you. . . . and I know that you’re still alive. . . . ::There was a pause where Alastriona thought she heard her sister crying. Then Genevieve continued,:: Genevieve: I have some terrible news to tell you. Everyone in our family is dead. Both of our parents, our cousins – everyone – are gone. They say that a curse killed them. I’m leaving Scylanthia and moving to a planet called Bijou Bleu, which is in the Gliese 777A star system. Hopefully, I’ll be okay there. I wanted you to know so that you’ll be careful if . . . I mean, *when* you get back. I hope this message really does reach you. I love you. ::Her sister’s words hit her like a thunderbolt. Alastriona felt a cold tingling sensation dribbling over her body. Her parents, Telfour and Chantel were both dead. All the rest of her family were gone too. She knew that they were dead of course, since they lived a hundred years ago, but to hear the news that they had died prematurely, that they had never had a full life, was too terrible to bear. The shock of it filled her with silence.:: ::Occasionally, she had entertained the thought of trying to contact the descendants of her family, but never did so, feeling uncomfortable at the idea of getting to know her great-great-great-grandchildren. But they had never been born. Or had they?:: DeTroyes: Computer, locate the DeTroyes family on Scylanthia. Computer: There is no one with that surname on Scylanthia. ::Alastriona put her feet on the floor and whirled to face the computer monitor, as if it was another person, listening to her shock and grief. She shook her head. :: DeTroyes: Let’s make it simple. Computer, take my Starfleet file and extrapolate all data for my relations and descendants. Locate any of my living relatives in the Federation. Computer: Working. . . :: Alastriona leaned back in her chair, and looked down on the coastline near the city of Cleeia. She had walked those beaches with her sister, so long ago. . . :: Computer: There are no matches to be found anywhere within the worlds of the Federation. :: It felt like someone had punched her hard in the stomach. Alastriona felt dizziness whirling around and around. Getting up, she grabbed the computer and threw it at the window. :: DeTroyes: NO! ::The monitor bounced off the glass, which had been reinforced against the storms of Scylanthia, to keep out the sometimes poisonous gasses that drifted down from the more dangerous bio-zones above.:: DeTroyes: What happened to them? :: But the computer was silent. It lay in ruin on the floor of her office. :: ::Genevieve’s message had been like a death knell. Was it some kind of disease or was it really some kind of curse, laid onto their family by some angry mystic? Alastriona walked over to a white couch and dropped onto it.:: DeTroyes: Superstition and nonsense. ::If it was some kind of familial plague, was she infected? Could she become infected? How long did she have? Shaking her head, Alastriona didn’t really care if she died. She began to cry. All that her family was, all that her family could have been today, all that they might have been, were gone.:: ::Truly, Alastriona was alone.:: ~*~ Ensign Alastriona De Troyes Science Officer Starbase 118 Ops O239609AD0 ((Disclaimer: All wicked, evil, dastardly comments by Alastriona are purely IC.))
  13. ((Secondary Sickbay – USS Narendra)) Malko: First thing's first, we need to find out how much Fairhug knows - and what the situation is on the bridge. For all we know they could be locked in combat with them now. Termine: Malko, Are you thinking what I'm thinking? ((Deck 2, Jefferies tube – USS Narendra)) Termine: Oh quit your whining, neither of us are equipped for a battle and we seem to have good luck in small tubes. Malko: I hope you know where you're going, the last time I followed you into a Jeffries I landed in hazardous material disposal. Prophets - I sound like B character in a fantasy movie. Also, do we need to crawl? Termine: That's true, it does make me feel a bit like a hamster… But it's our best shot at seeing if Fairhug is on the bridge and keeping safe — Ah! Here it is, the ladder to deck one. come on, keep it up doc, Malko: Why don't you let me peek first, you're still wearing a diplomat uniform - they'd take you hostage on sight. Termine: That's not a bad idea - But hold up one second I think we're nearing the bridge! They were thankfully only a few feet from the bottom of the ladder when the explosion pitched the ship sideways and the two slid off the slick aluminum alloy and into the catwalk below. Geysers of steam puffed intermittently as pressurized energy sources were damaged and diverted. Termine: Holy hell!! they're shooting at us. We need to get out of here! Malko: Stay down - and look for an access panel. Almost galloping on all fours, the counsellor scrambled behind Dante as he combed the well of the tube for some blades of light peeking in from the exterior. Dante swivelled and plunged his boots into the screws of a panel - it's bent form gave way and the officer slid out the hatch. Termine: *cough cough* Err…. Lietuenant JG Dante Termine reporting for duty. sir. Malko could hear Dante speaking to someone, but couldn't make out who it was. Fairhug: ? Termine: Well, just trying to play catch up sir - it looks as if you've got everything sorted out here. Sliding face first out of the hatch onto the bridge carpet, Malko did his best to hold his medical gown shut with one hand and salute with the other. If he only had a third to keep a grasp on his composure... Malko: Ha ha! Yes, sir - we came to make sure you're OK. And now that we see all is fine... Termine: Ah! Sorry, Malko is here too. Not exactly the entrance I wanted to make but, I guess the team's all back together again huh? Fairhug: ? Malko: Yes, it had dawned us we had been infiltrated, too. We had some theories about isolating the breach and getting to the bottom of how this all happened. Termine/Fairhug: ? Malko: With some cross-referencing of ship registry timelines pre and post intervention on the cult attack of Gorn, as we as some more detailed information about the status of the Narendra's Sickbay and its patients at the time of the... incident... we believe we can move to a better understanding of todays' events. Termine/Fairhug: ? Malko nodded at Dante, maybe their shore leave wasn't going to be a break from work after all... Malko: Understandable, we are eager to help anytime. Termine/Fairhug: ? Malko: Thank you, sir. We will leave you be... Termine, we can use my office - I need a change of clothes, anyway. Malko half bowed and gestured to the turbolift, backing out of the controlled chaos that was the bridge. Even in the midst of a crisis, the bridge crew volleyed tasks like a professional sports team - beginning to rebuild Malko's sense of safety he hadn't felt since the crash. ((OOC: wrapping up for shore leave, but we can continue this subject later!) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ LTJG Malko Counsellor Starbase 118 Ops A239508M10
  14. ((Deck 14 – Secondary Sickbay– USS Narendra)) ::How odd it felt for Ariwyn Vananth, to go from holding a person at arm’s length because she felt the green color of his uniform meant he would be a mindless soldier to speaking at length about trust and violence. She didn’t usually misjudge people – but she also focused her considerable telepathic and empathic intentions on those she negotiated with. This incident made her realize how often she overlooked those who stood beside her, worked behind the scenes or played a side role in each diplomatic affair. Even those she might have dismissed as insignificant she found had a vibrance, depth and intelligence she would not have initially assumed. And somehow she and Daniel Cain had come to an understanding – formed a mutual respect. Each was vulnerable, each was complex and each was strong in different ways. Ariwyn had learned something, and despite the pain she felt she had a calm sense about her, satisfied with her own thoughts.:: Glebben: Oh my, look at you both! Let’s get you inside and patched up! We have open beds for wounded. Come, come! Vananth: Looks like we have an open invitation. Cain: I didn't even know a Ferengi was on board. ::The Ferengi nurse bustled around, generally treating everyone like she was their grandmother and they all needed band-aids, milk and cookies. That was not especially unusual for female Ferengi, especially ones old enough to remember the cultural status quo before Grand Nagus Rom started social reforms.:: Vananth: Well,. I hadn’t expected a Cardassian onboard either. You seem to have a very cosmopolitan crew. ::pause:: She seems nice enough… ::Ariwyn was trying to keep an open mind.:: Cain: There's a Klingon over there. ::That there was. And yet no one was shooting at him. Ariwyn took in a deep breath and closed her eyes.:: Vananth: I do not sense any murder in his mind or heart. There is anger but not hostility. ::Maybe it was one of the diplomatic crew? Or maybe they had Klingon allies? She didn’t know.:: Cain: I'm going to see what's going on. Are you gonna be ok? Vananth: I’ll be OK. Seems like a nice place, they have beds and meds. Cain: I'll be back soon. ::Ariwyn nodded and leaned back, letting the nurse tend her wounds, lost in her own thoughts. How long was she lost? She honestly had no clue, but she must have fallen asleep because when she opened her eyes it was dim and quiet in the sickbay. She sat up gingerly, finding her shoulder was bandaged and there were regeneration patches stuck to the still healing flesh. It burned, but the searing pain from before was gone. Slowly her eyes focused, and her telepathy reached out. There was someone else in the vicinity. For a moment she was startled.:: Taybrim: ~Careful, the new doctor will come and scold you if you get out of bed…~ ::The thoughts were warm and calming, steady and resolute. She found that surprising for a male.:: Vananth: ~Will you scold me, too?~ Taybrim: ~No.~ ::He moved gingerly inside and sat nearby. He looked tired and she could see regeneration patches on the backs of his hands and the skin by his neck, likely to repair areas kissed by frostbite.:: Taybrim: ~I heard you wanted to see me?~ ::She chuckled a bit in a dry, sarcastic tone:: Vananth: ~I’ve been trying to reach you for a week, Captain. You’re a hard man to reach.~ Taybrim: ~Next time I’ll try not to crash-land before a diplomatic conference.~ ::The two Betazoids locked gazes. Sal had some humor in his eyes as if he was gently teasing her while Ariwyn manged to look admonishing despite the fuzz in her mind from the painkillers.:: Vananth: ~I had wanted to talk with you about the conference, but there is now something far more pressing.~ Taybrim: ~And what is that?~ ::She paused, drawing in a long, slow breath before she reached out a hand towards him.:: Vananth: ~I should not have done it, but as I watched an innocent man fall, blood spilling on the floor, watched others in the line of fire and felt my own shoulder tear open I entered the kind of the cult leader – Klempeth his name was.~ ::Her cheeks burned hot with embarrassment.:: Taybrim: ~Honestly you know I cannot judge you. Your role as a daughter of the sixth house is far higher than my role as a Starfleet Captain when matters of telepathy are concerned.~ ::he paused and gently took her hand.:: ~But for what it is worth, I understand what you did.~ Vananth: ~Then will you allow me to share with you what I learned?~ Taybrim: ~What did you learn?~ ::Another deep breath as she steadied herself.:: Vananth: ~I took everything from him. Every thought, every plan, every detail I could grab… I know every infiltrator.~ ::Sal’s gaze hardened. What Ariwyn had done wasn’t considered ethical by Betazoid standards of telepathy. He understood exactly why someone in duress would reach out and crush a mind like Ariwyn had done – her telepathy was far more powerful that Sal’s. Actually it was far more powerful than most of his species, most would not have been able to do so much damage or sift so much from Klempeth’s mind. And now she tempted him with forbidden knowledge. Part of Sal Taybrim wanted to turn her down, to take the moral high ground and reject the ill-gotten information. And yet in doing so he would condemn her after he had already admitted understanding. Part of him would do anything and everything to ensure the safety of his ship, and she was offering him a very tempting key to unlock a passage towards that safety. And he was curious. Dangerously curious.:: Taybrim: ~And now what?~ Vananth: ~I offer to share it with you~ ::And there it was, the devil’s bargain. Sal was not the sort of person to waver on a decision. He picked a course and moved forward.:: Taybrim: ~I accept.~ ::She nodded, understanding the risks, while drawing him closer.:: Vananth: ~prepare your mind for the flood.~ ::Sal Taybrim very rarely dropped his telepathic defenses. He kept his damaged telepathy in check, and even among others of his own species he rarely used telepathy and certainly never lowered his mental shields. But desperate times called for desperate measures. If there was one thing that he would risk the sanctity of his own mind for, it would be a chance to protect his crew. As his mental guards dropped, images flooded in. The thoughts and mind of Klempeth in his last moments poured into his consciousness. Only Ariwyn’s control pulled the floor back to a manageable flow. Sal drew a breath in through his teeth as his mind struggled with the onrush of information and when it was done, both of them were gasping for breath.:: Taybrim: ::after a long pause:: ~I do not envy you, touching this mind firsthand.~ Vananth: ~The sheer hatred and murderous intentions were hard to pierce through. I tried to filter it for you.~ Taybrim: ~for that I thank you.~ ::The sat in silence for several long moments before she releashed his hand.:: Vananth: ~You are tired. You should sleep.~ Taybrim: ~I have too much to process.~ Vananth: ~You should try.~ ::He offered her a faint, hollow smile.:: Taybrim: ~So should you.~ Vananth: ~Then together we will try. Goodnight Captain Sal.~ Taybrim: ~Goodnight Ambassador.~ ~*~ tbc ~*~ Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim Commanding Officer StarBase 118 Ops ~and~ MSNPC Ambassador Ariwyn Vananth Head of Klingon Affairs, Trinity Sector First Daughter of the Sixth House of Betazed "Why do we fly? Because we have dreamt of it for so long that we must" ~Julian Beck E239010ST0
  15. ((Peshkova Colony, Demilitarised Zone)) ::The upbeat tunes of a whistled song joined the nature sounds, as Graham walked next to the antigrav unit, his eyes on the road, making sure there weren’t any obstacles for the unit to pass. It would be a huge shame if the cart would tumble and all the food stored on it would fall on the dirt road.:: ::In his own personal opinion, he was a bit late, courtesy to his Andorian misses who had insisted to add a few more particular dishes on the cart. But he was lucky, the ship was still there, the silhouette of the Condor Class ship clearly visible. It wasn’t the first time he lay eyes on the ship and as long as the ship was space worthy it wouldn’t be the last.:: ::He kicked a little stone, before he pushed a button on the unit, picking up the pace a bit. He started whistling another merrily song as he approached the open spot in front of the ship, clearing his throat as he looked at the people sitting nearby the remainder of what had been a large campfire last night.:: ::Seeing the flames in the distance the night before had been his and his misses cue to get up early this morning and started preparing breakfast for these folks. They were fighting for a cause he supported and he figured it was the least he could do.:: Graham: Breakfast is served ladies and gentlemen. ::He called out to those at the campfire, already sipping something that was being kept warm at a smaller campfire, looking at their faces and as expected, he recognized a couple of them but there was also at least one new recruit. Not that he bothered to learn their names. Graham knew full well the next time the ship would land, part of the crew would already have been replaced by other faces, other species.:: Graham: We’ve got fresh baked bread, rolls and whatnot. ::Nodding towards the baskets on the side of the cart.:: Take your pick. ::He lifted the different lids from the different food warmers, revealing all different kind of dishes. Baked sausages, bacon and eggs, made from fresh collected goose eggs that very same morning, for those who had to wash away a hangover. A few more lighter and veggie based dishes for the non-carnivores. Yogurt and fresh cheese for those who had a rather sensitive stomach after all the drinking they had done the night before. There was something for everyone.:: ::A loud siren suddenly sounded as he pushed a button on the cart, once he was done with his preparations, a call to those inside the ship, to come and get some non-replicated food in to them, before they went on their way again. Who knew when would be their next well cooked meal.:: ::He took a few steps back and sat down on a big boulder, nodding here and there towards those coming from inside the ship, as he recognized a few faces from people traversing his fields as they went up to the Memorial Rock each time they visited the Colony. They left his crops and fields alone and he respected them for that, while in return he made sure no one was doing any harm upon the shrines setup on Memorial Rock in their absence.:: ::Graham leaned back, he felt like he owed these people something. It was only thanks to them, he knew what had happened with his son. Contrary to many others who had children out there fighting for the cause, he knew what had become of him, while other parents would never find out their offspring were still alive or not. And ever since that day he and his misses had promised each other to serve breakfast to the crew each time they visited. As if he was paying off a debt, he knew he didn't have.:: Farmer Graham Food/Breakfast Provider Sympathiser to the Cause Simmed by: Lieutenant Samira Neathler Assistant Chief of Security USS Gorkon G239508SN0
  16. Just have to say, I think I speak for all of us Atlanteans when I say he's never been more deserving of a punch in the face. Or being beamed into space. Great job as always @Kiliak Jo ((ooc: I offered to write for the incomparable Mr. Perkins some months ago, so I figure I'm up. Uh, obviously I love you all, but I'm writing as Mr. Perkins below, so... rest assured it's all in good fun... I recommend you go easy on the tags ahead though, I'm not trying to upstage your mission with 'local knowledge' if you get my drift)) ((Guest Quarters, USS Atlantis)) Out the window of his cramped, temporary quarters, Lt. Commander Perkins stared at the broken shape of the place he called home and watched the flurry of frantic traffic buzzing away from it. He sipped his water, then shook his head and rubbed at his shoulder, rotating the cuff -- at times it still ached from the heroic shot he had suffered in the line of duty on that fateful day months ago. That nurse they employed on board, the insufferably bubbly Avy or whatever, kept saying she could find nothing wrong with it now, but what did that prove besides a distinct inability to do her job? Serala: =/\= Serala to Lieutenant Commander Perkins. Report to Main Shuttlebay on the double. And bring standard equipment for an away mission, including a Type II Phaser. We launch in 30 minutes. =/\= Perkins: =/\= I am at your service and so pleased to be invited. And I'm even to be allowed a phaser. Capital. =/\= It only further proved his case of how fundamentally lazy, how abundantly incompetent the Atlantis crew was that they could be expected to layabout for half an hour before embarking on such a crucial mission as saving his home station. He endeavored therefore to arrive in half the allotted time just to make a point, and of course, he succeeded. Perkins: First assigned to live under Romulan space and now here I am serving under a Romulan. Never thought I'd see the day, but life is full of surprises, isn't it? Serala: Let me be perfectly clear. I don’t like you and I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you - and trust me I would like to find out how far that is - but you did serve on this station and so your knowledge of it is going to be important to me. You’re coming with us, but I will be keeping a very close eye on you. Be careful, Commander. I am just looking for a reason to throw you in the brig. I still think you have been involved with almost everything that has happened to us since even before the bot attack. Perkins maintained the inscrutable yet undeniably attractive expression he preferred to wear. He had already been confined to quarters twice since arriving aboard, once on some trumped-up charges from a jealous officer and later due to the impossibly-thin skin of an Atlantis crewmember after all he had tried to do was offer some helpful and constructive criticism. Such frequent and flagrant displays of Atlantean stupidity reminded him of a conversation he had once shared with a colleague, that perhaps incompetence was the most perfect cover-up for acts against the Federation. Perkins: My oh my. Serious charges. I'm sure that such a professional and... charming Starfleet officer such as yourself would not offer these creative conspiracy theories without a substantial body of -::ahem:: proof? Serala: No, I can’t prove anything. And that is why you are still walking free and wearing that uniform. And as long as you are, you will conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to a Starfleet officer. And for now, that means helping us on this mission. Perkins: Despite your personal attacks, I will of course be the better man and offer you my full and invaluable support, ::he counted her pips:: ...Lieutenant Commander? oO Really? Starfleet isn't the organization it used to be. Oo Serala: Very good. How many times had he and his team helpfully gone the extra light-year to patch up this sorry excuse of a ship after the merry band aboard saw fit to go gallivanting off into another speck of trouble? This was his thanks. He rubbed the nose of his bridge to stave off another of the headaches he'd been suffering since unceremoniously being forced aboard. He couldn't decide whether the problem here was either a shallow-minded ingratitude or an utter lack of discipline, probably both. Honestly, he wouldn't be all too surprised if these "rescue operations" ended with his station being blown to smithereens. More space trash to float about the Expanse. At that moment, the rest of the assault team entered the bay and he could hear the heavy thumping footprints of some neanderthal stomping over from the shuttle area. Logan: What is he doing here ? Perkins turned and looked over the somewhat-smaller-than-expected marine-clad buffoon, scanning him up and down as he puffed out his chest like a gorilla and pointed. He couldn't recall if they had ever met before. He also couldn't particularly care. Perkins: A little thing called "my duty." Perhaps you've heard of the concept, Mr...? Logan: QUIET! You lost the right to speak a long time ago ! oO And you seem to have rather lost the ability. Oo Serala: As you were, Captain Logan! He’s coming with us. Logan: I'd trust a first year cadet more than him any day. Perkins: That's little cause to behave like one. Logan: I SAID QUIET !!! Serala: ENARRAIN LOGAN, FAEHOR IUT’FEHILL TEMOHRIE AIHR’RRHAAREVHA!! (CAPTAIN ...STAND DOWN AND THAT IS AN ORDER!!) The grumpy Romulan and the Marine with the loose screw stared each other down for a moment. Perkins checked the time. Was this how the new Captain Torham intended to run a ship? Brell was not ideal, but this... Perkins could not understand why Starfleet Command had not elected to select his own commission from the pool of applicants to serve as the new Atlantis Captain and whip these fools into shape at last. But looking around, he considered now whether he had been in fact blessed by being passed over. oO Honestly, they can hardly board a shuttle without a fight breaking out. Oo Serala: He is coming with us, Captain and that is final. I trust this will not be a problem for you? Logan:: Turning his gaze back to the Engineer:: No Ma'am. I won’t let the cause of our problem prevent me from helping to fix it. Kiax: Apologies for my tardiness. I had to show our new crewmate here the way to the shuttlebay… ::She said, jokingly.:: Whatever he did or did not do isn’t our problem right now. Let’s just get underway and sort the blame later. We’ve got a planet to save… The Marine Captain pushed his way through the pair of hot tempers and turned on the unhinged soldier, who didn't seem inclined to back down. McKnight: Captain Logan, stand down. You're speaking to a superior officer. Perkins: And so at last, welcome Miss Kix. Do you have no need to voice a problem against my presence here as well? ::Perkins remembered Shadydust from her role cross-examining him as Killiak's Advocate, and he had read in the crew sheets about the transfer of the Kix symbiont into this young, supposedly "brilliant" Trill. But if Durrmont was any indication, "brilliant" had an entirely different meaning aboard this ship.:: Kiax: No Sir, I’m just eager to get underway. The longer we spend arguing about what got us here, the less time we have to get myself, and SOUL here, to the station’s computer core and figure out a way to get it back to where it belongs. Logan: Response Captain McKnight turned back to Serala. McKnight: Commander, we have a mission to get started on. Best not to keep my men antsy Serala: You’re correct, Captain. I just needed to make sure everyone here understands were all on the same team. If anyone...anyone! … feels that they can’t work within those guidelines they should leave now. Anyone? No? Good. The two Marines had a little talk, probably about what exactly the process of a court martial would look like after assaulting a superior. The paranoid Romulan gave them a few minutes to finish, then decided they had waited long enough. Serala: ALRIGHT! LOAD UP! DEPARTURE IN TWO MINUTES. YHFEV! (MOVE IT!) Perkins: Finally. After you, gentlemen. Chop chop. Hero-work to do. ---------------------------------------------- Lt. Commander Perkins Engineer at Large Deep Space 26 A239509KJ0 ---------------------------------------------- courtesy of ---------------------------------------------- Lieutenant Kiliak Jo Asst. Chief Engineer USS Atlantis A239509KJ0 -----------------------------------------------
  17. Sensational sim and world building @Tahlin Alse. //Begin Message: Recipient: Lieutenant Commander Chambui Lkhagvasuren, USS Shinano I did not have the best introduction to Ketar V. As I'm sure you've now read about or seen on the news the local liaison officer was murdered and by one of his own officers. That's a major scandal in of itself but alas it didn't end or even start there. Commander Armin Illanos was not what you'd call a model officer, the list of his crimes is so long that one might wonder if his murder in the end was justifiable but I have neither the time nor the inclination to recount his misdeeds here. After that though, it hardly got better. Lieutenant Teller decided to try and remedy the situation of the Romulan refugees in one of their slums, their tenement having caught fire before my arrival during a CCMS raid that nearly devolved into a riot. Chambui I thought Meridian was bad but seeing children, children! in the shadows of burned out buildings with so much... dust in the air it reminded me of what I've been forced to see before. They're trapped, hopelessly so. Yes, after a few days we were able to do a little urban renewal, which is more than I could say happened on Meridian but it feels altogether different here. What happens on Meridian is a tragedy, what's going on, on Ketar V seems... criminal. We take care of refugees in the Federation. My parents, the Bajorans on Maravel, so many others, they didn't have it easy and of course they faced discrimination but I don't think I'd ever see a group of people just... abandoned to the elements, content to let whatever illness they see in what these people represent fester until it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I don't... I don't know. I'm amazed that's all I have to say at the end of it but there it is. It's enough to make you question a lot though. I've seen what happens when the might of the Federation's humanitarian largess comes to bear on a problem, how much concerted effort can achieve on such a massive scale and yet here, in one little corner on one little planet, they are content in their apathy, sufficed to surrender their responsibility to their fellow man. Unfortunately I've come to learn how many resources such charity requires, even on a small scale. Lieutenant Teller cleaned out the cargo bays, what was left of them, with his scheme, which of course in my sentimental state I allowed. Yes, let's call it sentiment, let's say that was my motivation. Of course we're light years away from the nearest Starbase or supply depot so guess who had the task of securing, individually, all of the quantities of supplies we needed? That's right? This guy, yours truly. Please don't think I'm complaining though, well I am but not in the way you think. It was daunting sure and as it turns out organizing accurate shipping and receiving times in the Shoals is almost impossible but I kind of liked it as my first challenge onboard. I know you're going to say that's hindsight, nostalgia always has been a fatal flaw of mine, but I actually came to enjoy it, crossing off items on the list and hey I have staff to help me carry and unload it. I also got to meet some really interesting people, do a bit of networking that I'm sure will be useful in future. One of these encounters I'm sure you'll appreciate. Do you remember that trip to New Zealand we took for spring-break my sophmore year to practice our Maori? Well as it turns out like Esperance most of the Humans on Ketar V come from Oceania. In Ketar V's western hemisphere Maori and other Polynesian languages are dominant, alongside English of course, just like New Zealand but it was nice to understand both halves of a bilingual society. Still, my cultural literacy didn't help me much in this case... (( Te Ranga, Te Ranga Authority, Selwyna Region, Ketar V )) Tahlin looked out the window over the Te Ranga cityscape, like most of Ketar V it was dominated by megalithic pre-fab colonial structures but here visaged in a striking alabaster white, which against the deep blue of the ocean and the vibrant greens of the rolling hills of the shoreline of the Bay made it a paradise compared to the dry desert steppe of Centennial City, or anywhere else Tahlin could think of for that matter. Such a striking landscape was worthy of the place so many of these men and women's ancestors had left centuries ago and having seen the motherland for himself, Tahlin could see why so many of the colonists from New Zealand opted for the lush, continental atmosphere of western Ketar V, in contrast to the vastness of the east which knew only the suffocating humidity of the tropics or the dry wisps of the desert plains. It reminded him of where he had been born on Maravel. Aixa was more truly Continental, Te Ranga was pleasantly Maritime all year round but all things considered it was a convincing facsimile. Turei: Prince Tahlin Aiolande Alse, blood of Vytogoreds and Iseldt, of the blood of Vertomacher and Bondochar, Panna of Phraatia and Grandee of all the Isles, bearer of the Seventh Coat of Arms and the Bordered Blue Banner and now a Starfleet Officer, tell me where does "Ensign" fit in to your menagerie of titles? Tahlin's face was marble. All life had slowly peeled away from it as he was addressed by names and titles he had never once used altogether. Most of those styles weren't even in his Starfleet record, you would need an almanac of El-Aurian royalty and high nobility for them and somehow Tahlin didn't think they were being printed, much less updated anymore. Lifelessly and mechanically his head turned towards the dusky skinned man in a sharp suit to match his selfsame tongue. Instinctively he smiled, as he had trained himself to do, though he was nowhere near at ease. Alse: Military honors and rank usually come first but etiquette and protocol vary of course. At the other end of the room was Ransom Turei, perhaps the second wealthiest man on Ketar V, though he was sure to attain the prime position before the year was out. He was the owner of the Torutaimana Group, a conglomerate of banks, trading groups, light and heavy industries and even a notable entertainment concern. But despite the... impressive introduction he had lavished on Tahlin, this was not a social call. Located in one of those many holding companies, divisions and myriad subsidiaries was the Chokonu corporation, which manufactured bio-neural gel-packs. Civilian Grade though they were, they were rated for Starfleet use and Tahlin needed them, only there had been... complications in securing his request for the parts. Turei: :: Pressing his lips into a bemused smile.:: Quite... He looked Tahlin up and down for a moment, sizing up his counterpart like he would in any business negotiation or so Tahlin assumed, he had the unnerving feeling that Mr. Turei knew a great deal more about him than was typically possible, or appropriate. Alse: I thank you for taking the time to see me Mr. Turei, though I admit I was surprise that... :: Tahlin walked closer to the man as he rounded his desk before he put a silencing hand up.:: Turei: You've been busy Ensign Alse, and it's not everyday we get a request from Starfleet to supply them. You're bound to make a similar request at some point in the future and with the recent unpleasantness involving your people :: He made a tsking noise.:: I thought we should meet in person. :: He took a seat but did not gesture for Tahlin to take one.:: Alse: Well, I'm flattered by such personal interest in our supply matters. Turei leaned back in his chair and tented his hands as he lifted his feet to rest on the top of his desk. Turei: Don't be. :: He said curtly but with a smile.:: Tahlin stood there for a moment, a smile turning on his own face, unable to come up with a response to the man's attitude. Alse: I don't mean to presume or offend... Turei: Let me be straight with you. :: He cut off Tahlin once again, this time without his dismissive hand raising.:: I don't like Starfleet. I think you're a bunch of overactive priers despite you're policy of 'non-interference'. That was hardly an uncommon attitude, especially here in the Shoals, one Tahlin had braced himself for, he just hadn't expected to come up against it being displayed so brazenly in the civilized, sanitized halls of a corporate office. Turei: You play at being explorers, peacekeepers, humanitarians. the military and yet you fail at being all of them, and the rest of us have to make up for your mistakes and the gaps in your... interests. Tahlin merely pursed his lips and raised his eyebrows, trying to seem intrigued or at the very least bemused at the man's pontificating he would no doubt need to suffer through. Turei: It's why we don't take military contracts, though of course you're just asking for a single shipment of supplies. Bio-neural gel packs, something you can't replicate and yet are essential to the operations of your starship's systems, part of me wonders what happens when a starship runs out but the Federation has a reputation for technical prowess, it's probably nothing but a minor inconvenience to you. Still I'm at a loss as to why I should break my principles and supply you with these gel packs when one stop at one of your Starbases could clear everything up. Tahlin moved to speak but Turei cut him off again. He seemed intent on this being a monologue, not a conversation. Turei: Right, right we're isolated out here and I'm guessing you don't have time to drudge back and forth across our little region of space, especially when the supplies you need happen to be here already. Solution seems obvious doesn't it? Only instead of just fulfilling your request and sending you on to whatever gaseous anomaly or kittens-stuck-in-trees your Command deems more pressing you're dragged half-way across the planet to meet with me. :: He pulled his hands apart and tilted his head back.:: Now that you're here though I'm still forced to ask the question, why should I help you? Tahlin knew better than to try and formulate a response and Turei smirked. Turei: Austerity, such a refreshing emotion here on Ketar V. :: Leaning back in his chair, making a show of searching his mind.:: Aguda Township, Aixa Autonomous Banner that's on Maravel right? You know how to kow-tow? The pause was longer than before but Tahlin still wasn't going to take the bait and try to answer. Turei: Seems a little medieval if you ask me. // Oh he likes the sound of his own voice, Mr. Turei, though I don't suppose you get to where he is without the slightest bit of megalomania. It was interesting, growing up on Cardassia, living among a people who love to talk and being from a race of listeners. You tend to learn a lot, you learn that there's no such thing as idle conversation. Not that my encounter with Mr. Turei was a conversation but as much as he seemed to know about me he seemed to forget that El-Aurians are a race of listeners and whatever he was trying to subject me to by his sermon was nothing I wasn't equipped to deal with. While I entered the meeting at a supreme disadvantage, just by hearing him talk I was able to level the field, learn more about him than what he was so freely offering to me. Turei: Well you've been a good enough sport and It's getting late so why don't you and I make a deal yeah? I'll give you your bio-neural gel packs, call it generosity or whatever you like, for me it's just a tax credit. Tahlin merely nodded and smiled in appreciation. Turei: Practice, practice, can't imagine what discipline silence takes. :: He smiled and pulled his feet down from his desk.:: You're gel packs should be awaiting transport to your ship Ensign Alse, why don't you go see to it. Tahlin bowed from the neck in both agreement and deference to Mr. Turei's largess, briskly turning on his heel to walk to the end of the room and be done with this encounter. Turei: Oh Ensign! Tahlin stopped but did not turn around. Turei: Make sure you've ordered enough yeah? They might not be in stock next time you ask. Tahlin merely exhaled and walked through the office doors, letting his footfalls clamor against the floor as he made his way towards the lift. He would be happy to not see anything or anyone in this building ever again, but that left the question of where he was going to get supplies the next time. // On Ketar V the thing that seems to drive people, strange as it may sound seems to be their complacency, their apathy, their need to have things exactly as they are or as they were. It's not nostalgia for the past exactly it's like nostalgia for the present, only no one seems to see it exactly how it is. The planet has fallen behind the other colonies, social problems abound and yet everyone seems placated. On Meridian there was a reason for this: prosperity elsewise. On Ketar V there is none of that and yet there is an impetus for things to remain exactly how they were or are and everything that doesn't figure into that image of the way things are is ignored. It's a curious place, and not one I'm keen to see again for a good long while. END Ensign Tahlin Alse Operations Officer USS Veritas Writer ID: C239305TA0
  18. ((OOC: My sincere compliments to @Wil Ukinix !)) ((Room 04-3417 – G’var/Ukinix quarters, USS Veritas)) Standing in the mirror with only a towel wrapped around his waist, Wil rubbed his fingers over his jawline to ensure his skin was completely smooth after shaving. As he observed the deep blue eyes that were staring back it him, he came to a realisation. ((Flashback - Terra Tanunda Vineyard, Barossa Valley, Australia, Earth – Stardate 237312.10)) Little Wil was sitting on his grandfather’s lap, shielded from the hot dry sun under the back veranda of the refurbished estate cottage. Astrad: So, young Wil, what do you want to be when you grow up? Ukinix: Ummmm… Starfleet occifer. In space! Astrad dropped his jaw and smiled in pretend shock, while tickling Wil’s chest. Astrad: (Giggling) In Space, just like Mummy was! (Cheekily) Are you sure? Ukinix: Ummmm… Wil clasped his little hands together, and looked up at the veranda roof, before nodding and looking at his grandfather’s perfectly black irises again. Ukinix: (Excitedly) Yeah! His grandmother who was sitting nearby sipping a glass of cold Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris spoke up. Hayley: But Wil, it might get dangerous in space! (Teasingly) What if you fall out of a starship? He clasped his hands together again and turned his head to look at Hayley. Ukinix: Buuuuuuuut, naaaah, but, it’s OK, cos, cos, you might have to wear a special suit, a viralmental suit, and (shrugging) it means you can do breaving! So you can do breaving, OK?! Mummy said that’s what occifers on a starship do, OK Grandma? Hayley: I’d be worried about you, Wil! You’re my grandson, I want you to be safe. Ukinix: (Hand on cheeks, half laughing) Grandmaaaaaaa, I’ll be safe in my viralmental suit! She leaned forward and tickled him under his chin, which made him move his head down and lean back to avoid her hand. Hayley: You’d better be, Master Ukinix! Wil squirmed on his grandfather’s lap, giggling and squealing in delight. ((End Flashback)) He watched himself smile in the mirror at the fleeting memory of that moment. He was now a lieutenant, and becoming an experienced Starfleet officer. The one thing he had set out to do from a young age had actually *happened*. He had overcome the huge speed bump of becoming strongly empathic in his teenage years which had threatened to derail that goal. And there he was, staring back at himself on a starship, that contained a full crew, some of which he considered his good and close friends. One of which who, despite being in many ways the opposite of him, shared quarters with him. And he adored her immensely. As he moved back into the bedroom to get dressed for the day, he realised he’d been through a hell of a lot since he joined the Veritas. So had many of the crew, which meant he wasn’t alone. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… After getting dressed, he picked up his combadge, and breathed on it before giving it a polish against his gold uniform. He placed it on his chest, then lifted it up slightly to inspect it. As big smile came to his face. Ukinix: (Quietly, smiling) I bloody did it. Every day brought new challenges and new opportunities to smile. Even on the “bad” days, deep down he knew he loved being part of Starfleet. And being part of the Veritas was the huge layer of chocolate icing on top of the already impressive rich chocolate cake. As he left his quarters and entered the corridor, his smile got bigger as he made his way down a corridor towards the turbo lift entrance on Deck 4, still singing very quietly to himself. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… (interrupting himself)- wait Before a few seconds later back tracking, and then turning the other way instead, towards the turbo lift entrance on Deck 4…. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) dun-dun-duuuuun… (inhaling) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun - (interrupting himself, looking back)- hang on. …only to stop himself, gently slap his forehead, and back track *again* to turn back the way he was originally going towards the turbo lift. ((Main Engineering, USS Veritas, about an hour later)) The “ear worm” that he had given himself several hours earlier while he was getting dressed wouldn’t go away. Not that he minded, it was a song from his collection that he liked fondly. The lyrics were depressing, and he thought reflective of a time on Earth that, by all accounts, wasn’t great. There were even some dark were times in his life when he identified with elements of the song. Thankfully not anymore - he even felt a little guilty for even still liking it. But damn, the tune was good. And the classical string instruments made for a catchy intro riff. Which he kept repeating quietly over and over as he stood at the impulse monitoring board. Ukinix: (Under his breath, singing) Dun-dun-dun dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… dun-dun-duuuuun… In fact, the riff was so good he reached for his nearby PADD, and made a few taps to access his personal files. After a few more taps music started playing quietly out of the device’s crystal-clear speakers, enough for him to hear it but not enough to distract everyone else. As the beat started, he tapped his hands on the board in front of him in perfect time as he monitored the impulse engine’s diagnostic readouts. PADD: // ‘Cause it’s-a bitter-sweeet… sym-pho-nyy-yy, that’s liiii-hiiife… // A smile came to his face as his friend and Chief, Lieutenant Geoffrey Teller, entered main engineering and gave him a nod. When Wil realised Teller was possibly heading towards him, he reached up to the PADD and tapped it to stop the playing song. But instead of walking towards him, Geoffrey simply gestured with his head in the direction of the office while still walking. Wil got the message, and left the monitoring board to walk behind him, following him inside. As the doors closed behind him, his Chief hurriedly sat down at his desk, working his fingers at the console that was mounted there, while somehow also managing to gesture for Wil to sit down. Wil could strongly feel Geoff’s sense of urgency, as he seemed to be flicking between different screens on the LCARS display. Teller: Sorry Wil, just a minute, need to do this before we talk. I promise it's important. Ukinix: No worries. Wil placed his elbow on the desk, then rested his chin on his palm. He looked up at the small shelf on the wall behind Geoffrey, and the unsealed bottles of Romulan Kali-fal sitting on it. The brightness of the blue liquid inside was mesmerising. Teller: Well, that's done...but now I'm in the wrong chair. Wil eyes darted back to look at Geoffrey, who leaned forward to rest against his side of the desk. There was a small smile on his Chief’s face, which made Wil furrow his brow. Ukinix: Huh? Teller: Wil, you know you have my complete trust, right? Ukinix: (Quizzically, confused)…. Yyyyyyeah… where is this going…. Teller: Good. Do you know that every man and woman in this department respects the hell out of you, both as an officer, and as a colleague? Wil’s face brightened as a smile came to his face. Ukinix: Ah! That’s because (raising finger) I slip them latinum every now and then. When his Chief ignored his joke and just kept looking at him, Wil furrowed his brow, this time squinting his eyes. He still didn’t know where the conversation was going. He rested his chin on his fist. Ukinix: Okaaaay…. Teller: Well, they do. A lot. They know you're fun to work with when things are calm, and a rock solid professional when things have gone pear shaped. They trust you. You're going to find that valuable. Ukinix: Thank you. (Smiling, sitting up) Sorry I didn’t realise it was performance review day. That’s valuable information for when the time comes- Teller: When you're leading them. Which starts the minute those doors ::Teller nodded towards the closed office doors:: open. As of about 15 seconds ago, you're acting Chief Engineer of the Veritas. Ukinix: You what? Wil’s face turned to one of concern. Ukinix: Wait, are you OK? Chief, you’re my friend, is something going on? Teller: Don't go getting all sappy on me, this is just temporary. Commander Delano asked me to join him for a few weeks at the shipyards here, working on some new ship that's still mostly in the transport crates. Apparently everything that's gone on lately has impacted productivity at the Livernois Shipyards....who could've guessed? He swivelled in his seat, and looked at the adjacent wall with a neutral expression, apart from his widened eyes. What Geoffrey had said had half sunk in, but so had the shock. Ukinix: Oh. Teller: Look, I know it's a lot to take in. When I got promoted to the acting Chief role, I was still an Ensign. You had barely been off the shuttle five minutes and we had just finished getting shot at by a bunch of grouchy windchimes. I had no idea what I was doing, but between you and I, we've forged a hell of a department in the last year. He nodded slowly in agreement, looking at a lower part of the wall he was staring at. Ukinix: (Quietly) We have. Slowly, a smile formed on Wil’s face, before he swivelled back to look at Teller, and stood up. Ukinix: (Nodding) Yes, we have! Teller: More than that, Wil. You're my best friend, and there's nobody in the galaxy who I hold in higher regard. You're ready for this. You have been for a long time. Congratulations, Chief Ukinix. ::Teller stood and offered his friend a hearty handshake which quickly turned into a fierce hug:: Wil put his hand in Geoffrey’s and shook it vigorously, before he found himself wrapping his other arm around him, giving him several firm slaps on his back. Ukinix: (Muffled) Mate, thank you, I don’t know what to say! (Cheekily) Except that I promise not to blow anything up… And I consider you my best mate too. Teller: Alright, alright. ::Teller turned away and surreptitiously wiped at his eyes.:: A beaming Wil took a step back to pat Geoffrey’s shoulder, while shaking his head in disbelief at two pieces of news that he didn’t expect. He was now the acting Chief Engineer of a Starfleet Starship, and his Chief considered him his best mate. Wil wasn’t always great with words, and there were times he wished he could project his emotions on to others, so they knew how he felt. This was one of those times. Ukinix: (Still patting Goeffrey’s shoulder) You’re a legend, Chief. (Chuckling) Wow, this came out of the blue. There was a moment of happy silence between the two. Teller: Well, back to business - Skipper told the XO that he'll have pick of the litter if we end up needing more staff, so I may have to poach a few people from you for a few weeks, but I won't know who till I get there. I'll keep it to a bare minimum. Ukinix: (Playfully rolling eyes) Chief, they’re your people, I’m just minding them. You take who you need, we’ve got things covered here. (Lifting finger, smiling) Except for Char, she’s awesome. She stays. Teller: Other than that, you know the shop status as well as I do, so there's no sense going over that. As for standing orders - Take care of the crew, take care of the ship, and take care of yourself. In that order. Beyond that - it's your department to run, Chief - enjoy yourself. I know I have. Wil stood up straight, and placed his hands behind his back, giving Geoffrey a nod. Ukinix: Aye sir. Good luck, mate. Turning his head to watch his Chief leave, Wil looked around the office before he almost jumped as the doors shut. He looked out of the window and watched the crewmembers of the engineering department diligently working away, blissfully unaware of the temporary personnel change that had just happened. The gravity of what he had just been told sunk in. He placed his hand over his mouth, and felt a wave of excitement and fear roll over his body. He slowly let out a breath through his lips, before adrenalin coursed through his veins. Ukinix: (Quietly) Oh boy. He leaned forward and placed his hands on his knees, to regain his composure. He was now a department head. Even if it was only temporary, he was now charged with a responsibility he didn’t think he’d have for a long time. Ukinix: oO Am I ready? Oo His thought was broken by a voice over the office’s speakers. Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Hello Lieutenant Ukinix? =/\= Wil closed his eyes, and exhaled through his nose, before tapping his combadge. Ukinix: =/\= Yes, Crewman, can I help you? =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Not really, I’ve got some information for you. =/\= Ukinix: =/\= (Sigh) OK… =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Can you hear me? =/\= Wil stood up straight, and placed his hands on his hips. Ukinix: =/\= Yes, C’lem, actually I can hear you, and in fact, looking out the window of the Chief’s office, I can even see you a few metres away across the other side of engineering, looking at a console! =/\= Without turning to look back at Wil, C’lem continued speaking. Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Well that’s good, because there’s been a personnel change. Apparently, you’re now Acting Chief Engineer of the (console beeping sounds)… USS Veritas. =/\= Ukinix: =/\= Funny that. Chief Teller just told me about a minute ago. =/\= Phan'ta'Go: =/\= Do you mean Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller, First Officer aboard the USS Diligent? How could he have told you. =/\= Wil closed his eyes and placed his hands on his temples, before smiling. There was nothing bitter about this moment. It was just “sweet”. [End] Lieutenant Wil Ukinix Acting Chief Engineer USS Veritas V239511WU0
  19. @Quinn Reynolds Got to love Brunsig's insight on the Gorkon's crew. 🙂 ((Courtyard, Reichsburg Cochem, Earth)) ::On her own for a few minutes, Quinn searched the crowd for her absent partner. She spied him after a short while; talking to Stoyer and Tereen and looking none too pleased about it. Like her, he wasn't someone who ever felt particularly at ease in large gatherings — and unlike her, he tended to express that in a very particular way. She considered wandering over to rescue him from the well-wishers, but he was perfectly capable of extracting himself if that was indeed what he wanted to do. ::That, and her attention had been captured by another of their guests. The Trill approaching her was a lovely woman, tall like her father, with his kind brown eyes and gentle smile. Falls of copper hair flowed, the tan of her markings stark against pale skin across her bare shoulders and shins. The knee-length blue dress was lovely, simple in design with beaded accents on the bodice and near the hemline.:: Reynolds: I wasn't sure you'd come. Tam: I think Dad would haunt me if I didn't. ::Quinn smiled at her, the expression coloured with a touch of sorrow, one that was echoed in the other woman's eyes. Kael had been gone for years now, and every once in a while, that wound felt as raw as the first day. Times like this, when she would have loved to shared her happiness with a dear friend. Instead, she was sharing it with his daughter.:: Reynolds: I think that's a distinct possibility. ::Aimi laughed, a smile coming as easily to her as it always had her father. Warm brown eyes travelled across the reception, the guests and then back to Quinn.:: Tam: He would have liked to have been here. Reynolds: I'm very pleased that you are. ::Quinn hadn't know the girl well, prior to the Gorkon's misadventure into another universe. She'd known of her, of course, but it was only after their return and Kael's death that she'd come to know Aimi. They'd kept in contact; at first just exchanging memories of Kael to help one another with their grief, but over time it had evolved into conversations about what they were doing in the there and now.:: Reynolds: How's the academy going? Tam: Hard work, but you already know that. ::She smiled.:: Graduation seems altogether too close and too far away. ::Having parted ways from Tereen and Stoyer — who, Quinn observed, had left the conversation with a face filled with thunder — Walter drew up beside her, his hand touching briefly to the small of her back and then coming to rest on her hip. He eyed the Trill Quinn was speaking to, then dipped his head in a curt nod of greeting.:: Brunsig: Aimi. ::She smiled back at him, and there in her eyes was the knowing look of good humour that Kael had so often worn. It pinched at Quinn's heart, and the hybrid couldn't quite tell if she liked or loathed it.:: Tam: Good to see you outside of a cell. ::He huffed, a rare and quiet sound of wry amusement, one corner of his mouth tugging upward. Walter regarded her for a long moment, then shook his head.:: Brunsig: You are annoyingly like your father. Tam: ::She smiled warmly at him.:: Thank you. Brunsig: Case in point. ::Cutting in to their repartee, Quinn nudged Walter with her shoulder. Tall as he was, she could still see her mission specialist through the crowds, and from his taut body language she got the sense he was still stewing over whatever had been exchanged between the two.:: Reynolds: What did you say to Stoyer? Brunsig: "For what", "now that tedious social obligation is completed, off you trot", "disperse". ::He ticked off each of the sentences with an extended thumb and fingers. Quinn sighed, shaking her head. On the Brunsig Scale of Rude that was relatively mild, but she could see how Stoyer might have been embarrassed by it.:: Reynolds: You infuriated him in three sentences. That must be a record. Brunsig: I'm a high achiever, Cupcake. ::He shrugged, not caring in the least.:: But my personal best is one. ::Of that she had no doubt. He smirked at her, his steel-blue gaze flickering out among the crowd, locating Stoyer and Tereen. They'd been joined by Neathler, and given the glances sent in his direction, it seemed for at least for a time the topic of conversation was Walter. He did have a tendency to set himself up for it, sometimes even delighted doing so, but the idea he was being sniped about at his own wedding reception made a leaden stone settle in her stomach.:: Brunsig: He knows exactly who I am, Quinn, he knew exactly what to expect. It wasn't about me, that was all for the next ex-wife he had in tow. ::He [...]ed his head to the side, pouting his lips in mock sympathy.:: "Oh, poor Cory. Wasn't the mean, bad man so very mean and bad. Let me kiss your... ego... better." ::He rolled his eyes.:: I only gave him what wanted. ::Aimi bit her lip, though Quinn couldn't quite tell if she was holding back a laugh or disapproval. Quinn was swallowing down a mix of both, knowing she shouldn't find it funny and yet was struggling to keep a straight face. From the sly curl at the corner of Walter's lips, he damn well knew it, too.:: Reynolds: Yes. Well. ::She cleared her throat.:: Now that you're done playing the Curmudgeonly Cupid— ::The music on the stage drew their collective attention. Where there had been the soft melodies of a string quartet, there was now the ring of plucked harp strings accompanying the piano, in a somewhat eerie choice of key; F# Major, if she wasn't mistaken. A few bars in, the harpist's voice joined the instruments, and she heard an impatient sigh erupt from the blonde standing next to her.:: Brunsig: Is there a single member of your crew who isn't determined to make our wedding reception about them? ::Perhaps it was starting to feel a little bit like that, what with congratulations quickly shifting into tales of missing sons, lovers tiffs and outrage at Walter acting like Walter. She absently toyed with the neckline of her dress, recognising the words of the song. They reminded her of Harry, who'd been known to quote Tennyson when they'd been a couple, and that drew out an awkward smile. He was at the party, somewhere, tactfully keeping out of Walter's path as he minded Amelia and Dylan.:: Reynolds: He did ask if he could play something. ::Truth be told, the reception was for just about everyone but them. They were private people, neither of whom enjoyed the fuss. Initially, they'd both been leaning toward a quiet ceremony and dinner to celebrate afterwards — if that. But there were family and friends who expected (and in some cases, demanded) the chance to celebrate. As strident as both could be in command, sometimes it was just easier to take the path of least resistance in personal affairs. Enduring one uncomfortable evening was easier than weeks, months or even years of earache for not having one at all. ::And so they had compromised. A quiet ceremony for them, and a big reception to keep everyone else happy.:: Brunsig: Well, once Boy Wonder up there has finished murdering his harp, would you like to dance? If we're lucky it'll keep the well-wishers away for a few minutes. Reynolds: That's why I married you. Walter Brunsig, the eternal optimist. ::His gaze snapped away from her, toward the copper-haired young woman who was grinning at them both. Holding up a warning finger, he raised an eyebrow in the Trill's direction.:: Brunsig: Don't do it, Tam. Tam: I can't help it. You are kind of adorable together. ::Quinn chuckled, even as Walter let loose an exasperated sigh. At the dying notes of Xerix's song, he dropped his hand from her waist, catching her fingers between his. As their fingers entangled, so too did their thoughts, and she was buffeted by a complicated mix of affection, insecurity, devotion and frustration. Stealing a little while together without interruptions, even if it was only for the length of a song, was something they both needed.:: Reynolds: At the risk of being more adorable, would you excuse us, Aimi? I'd like to dance with my husband. Tam: There's a few people here I'd like to say hello to. ::She just kept grinning at the pair, beginning her retreat.:: Enjoy. ::Quinn breathed a quiet laugh and squeezed Walter's hand, walking alongside him to join the other dancers. With a sly smile, he lifted their hands as they stepped onto the dance floor, turning her in a languid spin before drawing her close, the two musicians finding the rhythm with ease.:: -- Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  20. ((Starbase 118 - Rustyy Hael’s personal Home - Trinity sector - coastline)) ::Rustyy sat idol at the large round table, the mock sunlight just barely gleamed in through the window that faced the waterfront. Today he had woke up unusually early, like something from far away drew him up at the unseemly early hours for the man. Dressed in lose sleep pants and an oversized long sleeve, he sipped slowly from the replicated coffee. Black, no sugars no sweetners. He sat still, slouched back in his self proclaimed chair. The others in the house still slept soundly. Nothing disturbed their peace. In crept a thought… how the coffee here would never taste the same as what his mama made. She always told him it was because she ‘knew how to make it right.’ A distracted smirk slipped onto his features. They had kept him in the loop, his parents that was. About his daddy’s illness. Him mama would try to tell him why was going on but she didn’t understand it very well. So a lot was lost, which left him very much out of the loop and confused. Yellow and orange chased away the dark blue in the sky. It too never would compare to home. Rustyy coughed and stirred in his suddenly uncomfortable chair. Why so sentimental suddenly? How long had been out here - and in all that time how often did he stop to really think about home in a way to cause a ping of pain to his heart. He stretched out his legs and crossed them at the ankle before he took another long sip of the coffee. The console chirped not far from him, but the man was lost to his thoughts. It beeped again for his attention. And again. In what felt like slow motion it registered. Rustyy turned his head to look and sighed before he rose from his chair to answer the incoming call. A sixth sense of dread seeped into his body. The communication console twirled the Starfleet logo for a second before the worn image of his mama filled the screen. Her blonde hair a bit more greasy than normal, the frown creases on her forehead set in a little deeper. But she smiled, loving and warm and just as any mother did. He returned the smile with his own thin lipped smirk.:: Hael: Hiya mama. ::paused.:: It be good ta’be ‘earin’ from ya. Sabrine: An’ you too’s me babe. How be things’a goin’, eh? Yer siblin’s bein’ goo’an’all? ::There was something to be said about the Hael ‘accent’. It was unique to their town. A place that refused to grow with the times or modernize their wilderness. To an outsider it was hard to understand stand them. Though many of the Hael children’s accent had faded through time away from their homeland. Rustyy’s still the thickest of all the children.:: Hael: Ya suppose’n’so’s. ::he chuckled softly.:: they’s’a fine. How’s ya and pa? Sabrine: ::She looked down at her hands a minute before she looked back at her oldest child.:: No’ so goo’ … she stood in a huff and paced just inside the view screen.:: Them’s vodo docs from tha’ therr’s big’ol city talkin’ crazy. I don’ be knowin’ ‘bout what they be sayin’ but it don’ sound like no answer fer us. Ev’r time them claim to be fixin’ one thin’ anoth’r two things be pippin’ up..?! Nah they be don’ knowin’ nuthin’. ::Rustyy sat quietly as the much older woman ranted on. He understood. Almost a child of two worlds he could see why she struggled so much. But also that the doctors knew what they were doing. The life they lived was chosen to be hard. For Terrans anyways. They still hunted their food and moved about by dog sleds. Every few years something would come through and make people sick or some virus in the animals they ate. Always something. He smiled softly and listened, not like an adolescent boy but a young man who had aged and matured in recent years.:: Sabrine: He ain’ nev’r none been sick now them’s wanna be sayin’ therr be nuthin’ righ’ wit’em? ::she sat harshly back down with a distraught expression.:: ::He wanted to hug her. To tell her it would be okay. That in today’s mordant world they could fix so much. He didn’t want her to be alone through all this.:: Hael: Mama? ::pause.:: Mama wha’ really be goin’ on? ::She took a long breath.:: Sabrine: The docs wan’ya to comes ou’ this’a way. Thems be sayin’ you, rus-rus, be gotten somet’in they be needed to be helpin’ yer pa. ::He couldn’t help but notice how hesitant she was to say such a thing. Did she think he wouldn’t come? That he wouldn’t do anything to help. He was slightly hurt by the thought, but chose not to show. After all he didn’t really know that for sure.:: Hael: … An’? … Sabrine: An’ fer ya’ll to be comin’ backs too… jus’ Incase. Thems ain’ able to ge’i’ done in time… ::solomnly.:: ya’know’s. ::The oldest son sat still for a long time. His mind jumbled and emotions tumbled about. He never thought the time when his parents would die…:: Hael: We’ll be there’s. Soon as possible mama. It’s gonna be okay’s. If’n thems docs say so then it be true. ::His dearest friend out this far was a doctor. He knew the man capable of anything. So surely these doctors were the same. The woman offered one last heartfelt smile, blew him a kiss and left him to a dark screen with a lazily twirling Starfleet symbol. Guess that was why he woke so early.:: ((Timeskip - Earth - San Francisco -Main Starfleet Hospital )) ::in anticipation to Rustyy’s arrival, his dad was transferred to a much closer hospital. It was the logical choice and one that would speed up their work. Six Hael siblings stood at the main receptionist desk. The mood was muted and feet shuffled subdued-like by the youngest few. Vivian even seemed downtrodden, in her dreamy like state. Rustyy didn’t bat an eye, he offered information and did his best to fill a role usually filled by their parents. He wasn’t that good at it. Still he had high hopes and optimism on his side. The doctors came, took him away from the herd, and on his way to the labs for better testing he could hear his mama’s pleased voice from afar. To have been separated from those who once filled her home had been a difficult transition. One she for a while blamed to be the cause of the dad's illness. The sterile smells, the to white of walls, the white gowns and long corridors of doors put a heavy pit in the bottom of his gut. But onward he went. He was put in a private room with doctors coming and going, a never end in sight for tests. The doctors spoke gibberish to him and he nodded with little understanding. Only an hour passed but to him it felt like the whole day. He now sat propped up on one of the bio beds The door to his room opened yet again and he tried to hide his discomfort.:: Sabrine: Hiya Rus-rus. ::she spoke kindly.:: how’s my babe doin’s eh? Hael: ::he smiled.:: Good mama. I’m’a good. They be sayin’ every thin’ lookin’ good. They took what thems needed - Sabrine: Yea’ they’d done said same to me. Jus’ be waitin’ now. Hael: It’ll all be fine. You’ll see. ::She offered another smile before she dove into better catching up. How she had missed her babes.:: ((Timeskip - next day)) ::The result looked promising. That’s where they were at. It would still be a day at least before they knew if everything was truly improved. But it looked promising. Rustyy was released after the news was passed along. And he was more than ready to vacate the premises. He slipped out before the release papers were signed and his family bombarded him to early. Dressed in torn up blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt, he headed out. They were on a real world he could see without risk of dangers. Who wouldn’t take advantage of that….:: ((Timeskip - few days later - Private Hospital room)) ::The official results were in - their dad would live! There was a great cheer from the hospital room at the end of the hall. It would take time for a full recovery… but he would recover and continue to have a fulfilling life. However, shortly after this came about one of the few large arguments the family had ever had. Rustyy of course would return to Ops… but Sabrine hadn’t expected any of her other children wanting to too. She didn’t like it, didn’t want it. She argued and sworn, ranted and raved. In the end… Rustyy, Vivian, lily and Sebastion would leave at the end of the week. Their mom threatens to stop speaking with them.:: Hael: Hey pa - Steve: ::he offered a tired smile.:: Eh boy ‘ow ya be’s? ::He shrugged in response before he took the vacant seat next to the bio bed.:: Steve: Ah’s I’s see’s. ::he eye twinkled knowingly.:: She don’ really’s mean’s it Ann’s you know’s i’. Hael: ::long pause.:: yea’ suppose I do… ::another pause.:: She blames me fer it though. Steve: well’s you is the first’s to goes… Hael: ::he crossed his arms and huffed.:: I’m perdy sure I was done sent off’s cause I needed more … displine? Steve: ::he waved his hand.:: You’d had wan’d to goes since the night’s was long and you a wee kiddy and all’s you could’s see’s was them’s stars. Hael: ::another shrug.:: Them’s wanna go… Steve: Yer mam don’ like’s no changes. Bu’ she’ll ::he nodded.:: She’ll be’s okay’s ::Rustyy nodded again. They were little kiddies anymore. And he nor his mama had any control over what they did. He just offered another place to go…:: ((Timeskip - Earth’s port - Leaving for Starbase 118)) ::Sabrine stood a little taller at the gate for departures. Her kids were packed and ready to go. Now all but 2 had left her and their home. They promised to write and call often. And despite the pain and fear of their leaving, she was proud and happy for them.:: Lily: Bye mama! ::she squeezed tightly to her mom.:: Sebastian: Bye ma - ::he also gave their mother a hug.:: Sabrine: Now’s don’ ya’ll be strangers none! ::her voice cracked slightly as she planted motherly kisses on each cheek on each twin.:: ::Rustyy stood back a little, not exactly sure what to do or expect. It wasn’t like any of them to be angry and offer threats. He hated the feeling he’d created a rift. But she approached him after saying her farewells to the twins and Vivian.:: Sabrine: You’s be makin’ me proud… ::she hugged him.:: Ev’ry days. ::He hugged her back and held a minute longer before he stepped back. The last call rang out over the intercoms. One last goodbye. One last hug and they were off…:: -- ~~ Lieutenant Commander Nijil Executive Officer Starbase 118 Ops A239202RH0 ~~
  21. ((OOC: Read Alastriona’s introduction to Starbase 118 here: https://bit.ly/2kiJa3y )) ((Starbase 118, Deck 808, Suite 0200, Alastriona’s Suite)) :: Rising from a bed where she dreamt of long rides past castles and burning embers, the dark starlight lay happily upon her lap. She had suffered and survived the night, bathed in dark water, like any blade of grass.:: ::Alastriona DeTroyes arose, steadily confronting the morning's silence. Her cats, Hansel and Gretel remained sleeping upon soft clouds, drifting through the night's starlight. She glanced at the Hypervision 3D holographic wall, where balloon-like multicolored Scylanthians drifted by in a simulation of the native species on her homeworld. It brought a smile to her face and she jumped out of bed, to the annoyance of her cats, who climbed back on and drifted away again. Alastriona ran a hand down Hansel’s back and the cat stirred, stretched and yawned.:: DeTroyes: Come on, sleepy! Time to get up. :: Her morning was like a dance in the sunshine. After feeding her cats and breakfasting on croissants and mint tea, she put on her Star Fleet uniform for the first time in quite a long time. A teal sweater underneath a tunic, a skirt, and a pair of black boots.:: oO Not as attractive as the old uniform back in my day. Oh well. Oo :: She touched the ensign insignia on her collar, wondering what her new assignment would bring. A smile touched her face.:: oO Probably a boring place. Its just a starbase spinning in the vacuum of space. Oo DeTroyes: I bet nothing ever happens here. No more running around shooting at aliens for me, no. ::Brushing her long blonde hair, she wondered if she should braid it or continue trying to brush it. Her hair always ended up in a wild entanglement, no matter how long she tried to tame it. With a sigh, she put her hair into a ponytail and departed her home.:: ((Starbase 515, Stellar Cartography)) ::Uniformed and refreshed, she entered Stellar Cartography. As soon as she stepped inside, a dome of stars appeared, slowly spinning overhead, like snowflakes drifting down on a quiet day. Alastriona went to stand under the dome, and stared up into the simulation of the Milky Way galaxy. Some distance away from Sol, a star flared bright and emitted a tiny bubble, which expanded into the cold.:: DeTroyes: I knew it. Data verification is such a pretty sight. ::Her assistant, Ensign Eileithyia Sophronia walked into the chamber.:: Sophronia: Alastriona, what are you -? ::Alastriona raised a hand, silencing her assistant.:: DeTroyes: Did you know? ::Eileithyia shook her head.:: DeTroyes: Supernova explosions can break through the galactic disk and inject hot gas into the galactic corona. These drive a series of galactic fountains, wherein the gas cools and condenses, and eventually recycles matter into the galactic disk. Sophronia: Why is it - ? ::Intent on her research, Alastriona wasn’t listening. She interrupted her assistant once again.:: DeTroyes: These hot gas clouds can suppress stellar winds so that interstellar gas and dust can enter star systems in quantities great enough to affect the star and life on any planets surrounding it. Sophronia: Should we tell someone? ::Alastriona giggled.:: DeTroyes: No, silly. These events take thousands of years to manifest. Sophronia. Oh. Alastriona tilted her head in curiosity. DeTroyes: Why have you come? Sophronia: I thought I’d remind you about your appointment. ::A lightning jolt went through her body. Alastriona turned the simulation off.:: DeTroyes: Thank you kindly, Eileithyia. I’d better get down to the Academy. ((Academy Campus Green – StarBase 118)) Stepping out of the turbolift, Alastriona walked over to the campus green where three figures stood. An attractive, tall man stood there, panting slightly, as if he was out of breath.:: oO He may be tall for earthlings, but most of them are short and fat by Scylanthian standards. Hmm, I wonder if he’s from a light gravity planet, like me? Oo :: He wore a beautiful tunic of purple, not what she’d seen very often in uniforms aboard starships. Next to the attractive man was a Caitian woman with reddish brown fur. Alastriona smiled. She liked Caitians. The third was an Andorian, who stood calmly chatting. She noticed that he wore green.:: oO A marine. Joy, joy. What have I gotten myself into now? Oo Dal: Thank you both for joining me. Termine: My pleasure sir, it's nice to be back on duty - although I wish it was under better circumstances. Are there more details available? M’Wash: Hello, sir. Dal: ::looking up.:: Ah, perfect timing. Ensign Alastriona De Troyes? DeTroyes: Yes, sir. Bonjour. Dal: I am Commander Ishreth Dal, acting Commanding Officer while Fleet Captain Taybrim and Commander Fairhug are away. This is Lieutenant Termine and Ensign M’Wash. ::He introduced gently.:: :: Dante bowed at the hip.:: :: Alastriona smiled and nodded towards him while the Caitian greeted him.:: M’Wash: Hello. Dal: I’m tapping all three of you, as well as two more officers as a rescue squad for our support ship, the USS Narendra. Please, come with me and I’ll explain on the way. The information is sensitive, so we can get to know one another until we’re in a secure location. ::They went over to the main turbolift, which took them up and away from the academy. Alastriona hesitated getting into it. Stifling a grin, she shook her head a little and got into the turbolift. The commander told the lift to bring them to the shuttlebay.:: ::Alastriona bit her lip.:: oO I hope Eileithyia remembers to feed my cats. Oo :: The man interrupted her concerns.:: Termine: Do we have any intel about the occupying force of the state of the captives? DeTroyes: Is there any indication that they are even alive, sir? Termine: That's a very good point De Troyes, M'wash the Major said you've dealt with this cult before? Any general insights you can share with us? I'm just new to the sector myself and haven't yet had time to read the briefing material. M’Wash: Well, there was a chaos at this Starbase a few months ago. I am not sure, but the Cult might have been responsible for creating a chaos at this Starbase. Holodecks were reprogrammed at this Starbase. ::Alastrion leaned back in the turbolift until the back of her ponytail struck the wall. She closed her eyes.:: oO Klingons. Why did it have to be Klingons? Millions of light years into space and where do I end up? Next to those animals. Oo ::She whispered to herself,:: DeTroyes: And I was having such a wonderful day. Dal : ? Termine/M’Wash: ? ::Alastriona snapped her head forward and opened her eyes. The others were looking at her with mixed expressions.:: DeTroyes: Oh, nothing. I was just involved in some research this morning. I’ve made a discovery. Dal : ? Termine/M’Wash: ? ::Alastriona tried to make it simple for them.:: DeTroyes: I found that the clustering of extragalactic, extreme ultraviolet sources at high galactic latitudes is consistent with the hypothesis that the Local Bubble may actually be part of a cylindrical cavity that pierces the galactic disk. ::Alastriona made a face and shook her head.:: DeTroyes: Never mind. Dal : ? Termine/M’Wash: ? ((Starbase 118, Deck 44, Shuttlebay)) ::After an interminably long - at least as far as Alastriona was concerned - turbolift ride, the doors opened to a magnificent view. A dozen vessels were docked inside a vast chamber and a row of shuttles stood to one side. People were coming and going everywhere, but one of them motioned for them to approach one shuttle, whose doors were open and, presumably, inviting.:: Dal : ? Termine/M’Wash: ? ::Alastriona stepped inside first. A man with slightly curly dark hair looked up at her as she entered. There was an Andorian there too, and another marine. Wrinkling her nose at the marine, Alastriona sat down and nodded to them.:: DeTroyes: Bonjour. Hael: ? Foster: ? Marime: ? ::As the others entered and took seats, Alastriona muttered to herself,:: DeTroyes: No more running around shooting at aliens, no. Ensign Alastriona De Troyes Science Officer Starbase 118 Ops O239609AD0
  22. (( Mount Forbes, Alberta, SFMC Mountain Warfare Centre Range 7 )) :: Stefan dug his ice axe into a craggy crock and knelt over double. The weight of his rucksack felt bone breaking, and his cold feet, aching back, and sore knees made it feel like this was an eternity. They were only halfway into their hike, so eternity would have to last a little longer. He looked up ahead to the lead line, and saw three of his Marines led by Gunnery Sergeant Kang, the spry yet surly South Korean who was now in a similar position, one hand on his knee and the other holding a climber’s pole. Behind him, Stefan felt a tug, and saw Sgt Wilkinson waving. Stefan paused, and waved him up, his thick puffy glove seeming like it was slow motion in front of him. The frost on his goggles made it hard to focus on his peripheral vision, so he had to stay directly looking at John as he trudged upwards. :: Wilkinson: Hey! Keep an eye on Mwalke! That moron keeps tripping cause he ain’t paying attention! Germanovich: Okay! :: he flashed a thumbs up, and un-thethered himself for a brief moment, connecting to the free line that ran the length of their group :: :: Stefan trudged up the mountain to the young African, and soon found him squatting, nearly keeled over, sucking wind quickly in and out :: Germanovich: Hey dude, are you okay? Mwalke: :: gasping for air through an O2 tank :: Corporal I’m not feeling too great. Germanovich: We’re only three hundred metres until the next stop, then six after that to camp. Come on buddy, just push a little harder. Mwalke: :: nodding :: Okay, I’ll try. :: Stefan tapped his thickly padded shoulder with his free hand :: Germanovich: That’s the spirit! You drinking water? :: Mwalke flashed him a thumbs up, strangely misshapen due to the glove, and Stefan chuckled, shaking his head as he trudged back, feeling the rocks and ice scrape his boots. The wind howled mercilessly, and while there was no storm forecasted, the wind was significantly harsher than they had been briefed. Stefan arrived back at his axe, and slung it around his wrist momentarily, and once he had clipped it to his belt securely with a carabiner, extended a climbing pole and clipped back onto the team’s lead line. :: Wilkinson: No! No! Mwalke N-! :: Stefan turned, and felt the world slow down. Mwalke had stood up too fast, and with his altitude sickness now tripped sideways, the weight of his rucksack pulling him down as gravity fought against him. :: Germanovich: Damnit! :: he felt the tug of the rope as his waist was yanked forward and he cried out :: :: John ran forward and grabbed onto Stefan’s hood, awkwardly suspending him half on the cliff’s ridge and half off. In front, Gunny Kang looked around, and yelled out as some threw themselves to the ground for purchase, and others were pulled off the cliff face :: Germanovich: No! :: He watched Mwalke fall, his tether slamming him into the cliff face twenty metres below them :: First Lieutenant Stefan Germanovich Marine Officer SB-118 Ops D239208KV0 =/\= Navem in Litore =/\=
  23. Nothing quite like reading about the daily grind of an Operations Officer. Great work @Esa_Darkkdust ((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Atlantis)) ((Final Day of Shore Leave)) Even as the excitement, heartbreak, arguments and joys of Shore Leave began to draw to a close, there was still a reasonable level of ‘holiday buzz’ around the crew, even as they prepared to depart for their impending assignment. Nobody was really any the wiser about what Starfleet had in store for the intrepid crew of Atlantis, except maybe the Intelligence folks, who had probably intercepted every transmission between Starfleet and the Captain by now, despite it being Esa’s job to route incoming signals around the ship. After her conversation with Ishka a few days ago, and no doubt her subsequent conversation with Alex, Esa had found herself posted to the Alpha shift every day for the next month. It was pleasant to not have to constantly swap between the three. Keeping to a routine and forcing her body clock into a normal pattern would certainly do her mental health a world of good. 0700 to 1500 every day, without fail. Esa took pride in the fact that she had been put on the Alpha shift. It made her feel that little bit closer to being chief, without actually holding the title. It also served to keep the cacophony of personalities in her head in check, as the day shift was notoriously busy with so many departments requesting operational support from Esa and the team. She had, much to her dismay, started her day by receiving a request for a janitorial team to make their way to the bathrooms on Deck Ten. The communication had gone something along the lines of a foul stench emanating from one of the pair toward the fore of the ship, just behind the torpedo launch bay. Naturally, this meant a whole world of problems for Esa, who had to report the issue to Engineering, as there was likely going to be fallout in the waste processing and water treatment areas as well. It simply wouldn’t do to have a sewage explosion so close to their departure date. Fortunately, only a mere half-hour later, the janitorial staff had reported that it was simply a blocked lavatory, and that the issue would be fixed as soon as the air purifiers had a chance to work their magic. This would, however, prove to be the most interesting thing that would happen for the next few hours. With many of the ship’s departments working to finalise their prep work before departure, the number of physically actionable requests dwindled steadily toward the middle of the morning, with the majority of requests around this time relating to power management, and system upgrades. The main computer core had to be taken offline for a short while (much to the annoyance of Engineering, as their usually quite responsive secondary engineering core had become bombarded with requests), as Esa had received yet another new LCARS revision from Starfleet. This one was only minor in terms of feature updates, with the bulk of updated material pertaining to bug fixes and UI improvements. Esa was unsure how people on later shifts would react when the layout of their console had changed while they had been sleeping, but it was nothing the seasoned computer engineer couldn’t handle, and the update went by smoothly and quickly. Not only this, but holodeck time requests were still coming in to be allocated amongst the crew, with much of Holodeck 1’s timetable for the day booked up wall to wall; The Marines were using their holodeck down on deck 13 for training scenarios today, so Esa had been unable to assign any overspill from the leisure use decks on deck 6 to it. While all this was happening, Stellar Cartography were fighting it out with Astrometrics over use of the sensor suites, as both were trying to update their star charts and navigational data at the same time; and Evie was asking for yet more power to be routed to Science Lab 01, no doubt to facilitate the development of her AI into the Electronic and Cyberwarfare suites. The proposals that she had looked at seemed to be solid, which wasn’t a surprise, seeing as the woman held four degrees in the subject, but she had advised her to hold off any further integration with the ship until she had had a chance to review the specs with the Captain. Alas, he had been far too busy meeting the other heads of departments to deal with her at the time, so the request had gone unanswered. Esa didn’t mind, but Evie had given her a substantial dressing down for her incompetency and lack of effort. Evie’s words had been quite harsh, but her bark was far worse than her bite, and the threat of having an official complaint written up about Esa had gone unactioned. A few times the mundane routine interactions with the ship had been interrupted by new crewmembers transferring aboard, having finished their meetings with the Captain and XO, now coming straight to Esa for their new quarters assignments. Having never been an enlisted, Esa sometimes wondered what it was like meeting a new roommate for the first time. This was quickly followed by a request to have someone from Logistics help move their belongings from the cargo area on deck 8 up to their new homes. A few departing officers and non-coms were also making several requests of the logistics team, who were obviously in high demand today. Around the middle of the day, mere minutes before Esa had planned to take a quick break to grab some lunch, the quartermaster from the armoury on deck 4 had reported a series of missing explosive charges from one of their storage lockers, and was demanding an explanation. Esa had to explain to them a number of times that they had been taken by the marines for the boarding drill, and were due to be returned at some point later today. Evidently, with the shakeup in the Tactical/Security departments, a few memos had missed their intended recipients. She was still kicking herself for not managing the communications better surrounding the drill, but the thing had happened so quickly that she had little time to inform the right people of the prep work. No doubt Esa would be apologising to Maddi for that one when she got home later tonight. Finally, a good ten minutes of explaining later, Esa managed to flag down a passing colleague to man her post while she grabbed a sandwich. That was the one downside to working the Ops station; The need for it to be constantly manned meant there was very little in the way of flexibility when one needed to take a comfort break. After a quick 30 minute lunch break, Esa was back on the bridge, this time dealing with the request from engineering to divert power away from the main navigational deflector so that they could perform a diagnostic and alignment pass. Naturally, this took priority over the science labs use time, so she had assigned them the secondary deflector while the engineering crews worked. She was met with a less than favourable response to this, as one of the labs had been using it to project a tightly focussed energy beam onto some nearby graviton particles as part of an experiment they were undertaking. Naturally, the need to get the ship ready for departure took priority, and Esa apologised for spoiling their results. She always took the blame for scheduling errors, though most of the time it wasn’t her fault. People liked to have someone to complain to, or about, and as she was the one making the decisions it made sense for it to be her. The remaining two hours of her shift were spent overseeing the delivery of a new spare warp core into the storage tube that ran between decks 10 and 15. The freighter captain had offered no explanation as to why they were receiving a new core, only that a request had come in and his job was to deliver it, not ask questions. Esa had little choice but to agree, instead wondering why the Captain, or Engineering, for that matter, would have put a request in for such a thing. What did their assignment hold in store for them that necessitated such a piece of equipment? Once the delivery and install had been finalised, Esa handed over to Fiorr, who was on the Beta shift for the next few days, and bid him farewell. While on duty, she had managed to slot some R&R time in on Holodeck Two for herself, and planned to spend the rest of the afternoon giving Ishka’s spa recommendations a whirl, before dinner with Maddi. Travelling via her quarters to get dressed, she flopped down on the bed for a moment to deflate, letting her arm hang down to pet Lyra, who was a welcome presence in what had been a rather busy, stressful day. Her small face looked up at Esa, her dark eyes regarding the Trill. She offered a small bark to draw Esa’s attention whose response was to invite her up for a cuddle. Esa: You have no idea what a day I’ve had today. You know, I envy you sometimes, Lyra. Not a care in the world… Lyra let out a small woof in response, seemingly in agreement. Esa laughed slightly and replaced Lyra on the floor so that she could change. Lieutenant Esa Kiax Comm/Ops Officer USS Atlantis – NCC 74682 Community History Team Member A239511ED0
  24. ((Ravenna’s Dorm- Starfleet Academy, San Fransico, Earth- Dream)) Ravenna sat in a pile of books taller than her standing height. Each spine revealed another medical or science-based text and the smell that drifted from them wrapped her in a blanket of comfort. The fire crackled on the opposing wall and the whistle of the tea kettle pulled her from her dream world. Tea for dad and hot cocoa for herself. Daniel had ducked into the library to ask Ravenna if she wanted marshmallows, only to find that she had disappeared in the two minutes he had been gone. It wasn’t uncommon, and though he would never tell her, he always knew right where she had ventured off to. Daniel: Little Blackbird? Where did you wander off to? Ravenna peaked her head out from behind the books in time to see her father walking in with a tray of drinks and nighttime cookies. She ducked back before she thought he could see her, but she hadn’t been quick enough. Daniel sat them on the side table and took up residence in the chair he sat in ever night while he read to Ravenna, or any more, she read to him. I Daniel: Blackbird, whatcha doing in the stacks again? Ravenna: ::giggling:: Picking out a book to read. She carefully climbed out from the tilted stacks and revealed her selection for their bedtime story. Daniel was always perplexed by how Ravenna’s mind worked. It was a true gift and where he knew his wife hated it, he loved it. He could talk to her and have intelligent conversations with her, but since she was so young, she had an innocent and simple way of looking at problems. Some of the problems he had spent all day going over, she had asked one simple question that made everything click. Many of his colleagues had laughed at him, but when he was ever asked about who his best friends was, he would genuinely respond that it was his daughter. Daniel: Are you sure you want to read… ::checking the title page as the name had long worn off the spine:: Gray’s Anatomy? Ravenna stared at her dad. She would have thought that it was obvious. Ravenna: I’m going to be a doctor someday, just like you daddy. Daniel felt the pride swell in his chest. Daniel: You are going to be a fantastic doctor, Blackbird. Now, should I quiz you or are we reading? Ravenna looked at the fireplace for a minute while she contemplated her options. She knew this book pretty well already, but perhaps, for the time being, it would be best if she just read it some more. Ravenna: Reading ::she punctated the decision with a nod:: Daniel smiled at his daughter while she climbed up onto his lap. She was growing like a weed and sooner rather than later he would have to get her her own chair. Maybe a matching one so they could sit side by side in the library. He dreaded the day that she wouldn’t be his little cuddle bug anymore. It broke his heart to even think about it. The rest of the night was spent reading up on bodily functions and looking at anatomical diagrams. Occasionally Ravenna would hop up and inspect the teaching skeleton that stood in the corner. Any other child would have found that eery glow from the fire reflected in the skeleton’s eye sockets creepy, but Ravenna didn’t seem to notice. The fire alarm went off mid skeletal inspection and as Ravenna made her way back to her father, the fire alarm morphed into an alarm clock. ((Ravenna’s Dorm- Morning)) Ravenna woke with tears in her eyes. Sometimes she was thankful that she still remembered her father. Other times, she wished she remembered less because maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. She pinched herself. No, every memory with her father was a cherished memory. Ravenna made her way to the bathroom to get ready for class. The eyes that looked back at her were her father’s. She teared up a little more. Surely, being a first-year, she would get harassed for crying. It wasn’t like she could hide the puffiness. She finished getting ready and walked out the door. This marked the start of a new adventure. ((Memory- Ravenna (five years old))) Daniel was standing next to the front door with his bags all packed. Ravenna sat on the bottom step poking the bags as though they had personally offended her. Elizabeth stood in the doorway with her arms crossed. No one said a word, but the air between the adults was so thick you could feel it in your grasp. Ravenna looked up at her dad and then to her mom. Daniel was hunched over and his usually relaxed demeanor had somehow soured. Elizabeth looked mad. Ravenna could tell something was wrong, but she couldn’t know the extent of it. Ravenna: Why are these out here? ::she poked the bags again for good measure:: Daniel: ::glaring at Elizabeth while Ravenna wasn’t looking:: Well, Blackbird, I have to go away for a little while. You see there are some sick people who need my help. :: he attempted to sound nonchalant about the situation, hoping that if he didn’t sound agitated then maybe Ravenna would be okay.:: Ravenna looked up at Daniel with tears in her eyes. Ravenna loved her mother dearly, but her dad was the one who took care of her. ::her desperate pleas ripped at his heart in a way that no one could ever imagine:: Ravenna: Daddy, no! You can’t go! :: she sprung up and grabbed his legs:: I need you to teach me, please! Daniel moved Ravenna’s little arms so he could kneel down to her level. He whiped away her tears as the fell. Daniel: ::trying to control his voice:: Oh, Birdie, don’t cry. Please! I’ll be back before you know it. Ravenna: Take me with you! ::She was sobbing now:: I can help the people too! He rested his hands on her shoulders as she pled with him. Daniel: I wish I could, but I need you to stay here and keep your mama company He pulled her close just as he felt the tears well up in his own eyes. He looked up at Elizabeth his jaw clamped shut. His tears hit Ravenna’s hair. There was no way he was going to willingly leave his daughter behind, now, he knew Elizabeth would have to pry her away when his taxi arrived. Daniel: Please, Little Blackbird, please don’t cry. :: he was rocking the two of them back and forth.:: He had sat on the ground with Ravenna in his lap and he was still rocking back and forth when the taxi arrived. The elderly driver got out of the car and was putting Daniel’s bags in the car. Sadly, it didn’t take him long enough and it was time to go. Elizabeth: Come on, Ravenna. It’s time for him to go. Ravenna yelled and clung to Daniel tighter as he stood up, still holding Ravenna. He was almost afraid to put her down. Now the thought of his little girl being all grown up before he sees her again came to mind and he wasn’t afraid of showing everyone that he was crying too. Reluctantly, he stood her up and looked his little blackbird in the eyes. Daniel: Now, I want you to behave for your mother while I’m gone. :: he leans over and gives her a kiss on the forehead: Daniel hopes that just like ripping a bandaid off, this will make leaving easier. He knows he’s not fooling anyone. Elizabeth comes down the steps only to snatch Ravenna away and hold her back so that Daniel could leave. Before he turns he says one thing to Elizabeth that haunts Ravenna. Daniel: I hope you’re happy. Elizabeth’s grasp on Ravenna tightens and she yelps. Her shoulder hurts from a mixture of how she is being restrained and struggling to get loose. Daniel turns and opens the car door. He looks back to Ravenna one more time before pulling away. Elizabeth lets go of Ravenna, who bolts into the non-busy street and watches as the car carrying her father fades into the distance. She screams after him and it’s enough to alert the neighbors that there is something going on. Many take to their porches to watch as Elizabeth yanks Ravenna back toward their own house. Ravenna ran inside and locked herself in the library. A mug of hot cocoa and a plate of cookies were set out on the side table with a letter: Little Blackbird, I am so sorry I had to leave you. Just know that I will see you very soon and that I love you more than anything in the universe. I hope that someday you can forgive me for making you stay with your mom. Someday, I hope you can understand why I left. I’ll be back soon. I promise. With All my Love My Dearest Blackbird, Dad Ravenna tucked the letter into her pocket and climbed up into the seat. It was so much bigger without her dad sitting there with her. She ate half of the cookies and drank her hot cocoa, which was still warm. Ravenna stayed locked in there for three days. There was a replicator that she used for food and water and a bathroom was attached. She didn’t want to see her mom. She needed time.
  25. The long awaited marriage on the USS Gorkon! Beautifully written and absolutely draws you in from the off. Now, to the Reception! ---- ((Former Chapel, Reichsburg Cochem, Earth)) ::It was a small gathering of people in the castle's old chapel. Quinn's father, of course, shepherding Dylan and Amelia. Her elder brother and sister were there too, accompanied by their spouses and the small horde that was her nieces and nephews — including the eldest, Ryan, who had elected to wear his dress uniform to the occasion, much to her sister's dismay. Walter's family was smaller; his mother and step-father, and his indomitable grandmother. ::Petra Bjarnadottir was there as Walter's witness, in a sunny yellow dress that befit the season, her hair tumbling over one shoulder in thick curls. Not a surprising choice, all told. He had a soft spot for the fiery administrative officer, as he did for anyone who could legitimately hold their own against him. The pair had met as members of the infamous Yarahla Nine, and it had been to Walter's ship that Petra had first sought refuge on when her marriage had begun to fall apart. ::On the other side was Jo Marshall, who had only managed to stop smiling within the last five minutes. Her hair down for once, the waves of blonde reached her shoulders and flown down over her tea dress, the cut falling just below her knees. A friend to both, this time there solely for the bride; her commanding officer, and a friend through the trials and tribulations weathered together. Hands clasped in the small of her back, unable to fully leave the officer behind, she glanced over at Petra and shot the woman a quick wink. ::Then of course, there was the bride and groom themselves. Walter wore a navy three-piece suit, waistcoat and tie in dove grey, and he wore it well. Neatly pressed, shoes shined to a mirror polish, he was as perfectly turned out as it was possible to be. Quinn stood beside him, her dress in shades of silver and sky blue, the delicate chiffon embroidered and beaded with flowers. Her hair was swept up and away from her face, but otherwise left to fall in loose waves about her shoulders. ::Leading the ceremony was a local officiant, Miriam Schulte. With a head of short, white curls and a twinkle in her grey eyes, she was clearly a woman who loved her job. With the bride and groom stood in front of her, the guests seated and (more or less, in the case of the younger children) settled, she began.:: Schulte: Family and friends of Walter and Quinn; welcome to their wedding ceremony this afternoon at Reichsburg Cochem. In this place, high above the busy town below, we take ourselves out of the usual routines of daily living to witness a unique moment in their lives. Today they join together in the union of marriage and to all their guests, they are happy to share this moment with you. Because you are the ones who love, support and know them so well, it is only fitting that you are the ones to share this once-in-a-lifetime moment with them. ::Her accent was almost identical to Walter's, though stronger for remaining in the lands of her birth. Warmth exuded from her every word, genuine in her delight.:: Schulte: Walter and Quinn are pleased to have their parents and children in the front row, close by for the ceremony. Quinn thanks Stephen for providing her with opportunity possible and for being the best father anyone could ask for. ::Glancing over her shoulder, Quinn saw her father swallow as he smiled at her, his adam's apple bobbing in his throat.:: Walter appreciates all the love and support Annalise and Daniel have given him over the years. ::Where his temperament had come from his grandmother, it was clear where Walter had got his looks from. His mother had a head of luxurious, pale blonde hair, swept into an elegant chignon for the wedding, and the same piercing blue eyes as her son. Annalise smiled at him, squeezing the hand of the man stood beside her, Walter's step-father Daniel Wolff.:: Schulte: A wedding day is often a day when couples miss those no longer with them. For Quinn and Walter, there are family members whose memories they hold dear. Walter's sister Emilie passed away some years ago; he misses her very much and holds her always in his heart and mind. Quinn would like to take a moment to remember her mother; she wishes Sarah could have met Walter, and knows she would have been happy for them both. And so it is that our couple present themselves to be married; with fond memories to brighten the day, and surrounded by the people they love the most. ::If she was honest, when it came to her mother Quinn wasn't sure of any such things. But she knew that the sentiment was something that would delight her father to hear, and so into the ceremony it had gone.:: Schulte: As our couple prepared for this part of this wedding celebration, they reflected on what brought them together, and what keeps them together. A shared career, shared interests, a shared stubbornness, ::a quiet chuckle rippled through the guests, while the bride and groom shot wry grins at one another,:: and through it all, an implicit acceptance of the other as an individual, as well as a partner. It is this mutual respect and understanding for one another that led them to select "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran as the reading for their ceremony, which will be read by Walter's grandmother, Else Brunsig. ::At the mention of her name, a slim, elegant woman stepped up to the lectern. She had a strong jaw, severe blue eyes, ice-white hair and a voice that made everyone sit or stand a little straighter. A formidable woman and a serving judge, Else commanded the attention of the room with ease.:: E. Brunsig: "Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow." ::The sentiment echoed around the former chapel for a few moments, resonating through those in attendance. Else returned to her seat, though first she sent a sly wink in her grandson's direction, and his answer was a wry, crooked smile and a dip of his head.:: Schulte: We come now to the words that take Quinn and Walter across the threshold from being engaged to being married. A marriage, as we here understand it, is a voluntary and full commitment. It is made in the deepest sense to the exclusion of all others, and it is entered into with the desire and hope that it will last for life. Before you declare your vows to one another, I want to hear you confirm that it is indeed your intention to be married today. ::She paused, and smiled first at the bride in blue.:: Quinn, do you come here freely and without reservation to give yourself to Walter in marriage? If so, answer "I do." ::A small grin caught at the corners of Quinn's lips and she glanced up at Walter. Standing there, doing what they were doing, it wasn't something she'd ever really thought would come to pass. And yet, there they were, saying the words and sealing the deal.:: Reynolds: I do. Schulte: Walter, do you come here freely and without reservation to give yourself to Quinn in marriage? If so, answer "I do." Brunsig: I do. ::Quinn's breath caught in her throat, a supernova igniting behind her ribs. There hadn't been a gram of hesitation in his baritone, his answer assured and confident.:: Schulte: Walter and Quinn, having heard that it is your intention to be married to each other, I now ask you to declare your marriage vows. Please face each other and hold hands. ::If there was any part of the ceremony that made her nervous, this was it. Quinn wasn't one for emotional declarations, for putting the fragile parts of her heart in the plain view of others. She turned and reached for his hands, smiling at the warmth of his skin against hers, the light scratch of his calloused fingertips. His thoughts brushed against hers, soft and frictionless, like silk sheets sliding against one another. That sent her mind spiralling, and it was only a gentle tug on her hands that brought her back into the present, a blush on her cheeks and a sly, knowing smile on Walter's lips.:: Reynolds: There are three words that are stronger than I love you. Today I stand in front of you to say "I choose you". I choose you over all others. I choose you to share happiness with. I choose you to care for. I choose you to have a family with. I choose you to grow old with. ::She took a breath.:: Walter Brunsig, I choose you to love for the rest of my days. ::She felt his hands tighten around hers, a faint flush creeping up from under the collar of his white shirt. The effect of her words on him, and the effect of the words he was about to speak.:: Brunsig: Today, Quinn Reynolds, I join my life to yours. From the moment our paths crossed, you’ve fascinated me, challenged me, frustrated me and improved me in ways no person has done before. I have fallen in love with you again and again. I promise to be true to you, to support and encourage you, and to challenge and frustrate you. I know that we're good for each other and that we will continue to grow stronger together. ::Quinns stood there, smiling at him, struck by his vows and the fondness in his gaze as he'd spoken them. Left wordless and quite enraptured, it was a good thing that there was someone there to propel the service along.:: Schulte: Your wedding rings are the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible bond which already unites you. Petra, please give Quinn's ring to Walter. ::The Icelander stepped forward, pressing the simple ring into his palm with a nod and a smile. After a pat on his elbow, Petra stepped away from the broad-shouldered blond, and the officiant continued, still beaming away, her eyes sparkling.:: Schulte: Walter, place the ring on Quinn's finger and repeat after me— ::He took her hand again, echoing the words while he slipped the gold band onto her finger, next to the glittering diamonds of her heirloom engagement ring.:: Brunsig: With this ring, I marry you; with my loving heart, with my willing body, and the promise of all my tomorrows. Schulte: Jo, now please give Walter's ring to Quinn. ::Stowed in a particular place for safe keeping, Jo retrieved the band from the pocket of her dress and smiled at the woman with a small nod of her head as she handed it over.:: Schulte: Quinn, place the ring on Walter's finger and repeat after me— ::One hand curled around his, Quinn eased the ring onto his finger. Nerves dried her throat and slid a tremulous rasp into her voice. For once, she didn't care.:: Reynolds: With this ring, I marry you; with my loving heart, with my willing body, and the promise of all my tomorrows. Schulte: May the wedding rings you exchanged today remind you always that you are surrounded by enduring love. ::The officiant smiled and clearly elated, she clasped her hands together:: Now, by the power vested in me by the town of Cochem, it is my honour and delight to declare you husband and wife. You may seal this declaration with a kiss. ::Their hands still intertwined, Walter dipped to do just that, and Quinn rose up on her toes to meet him part way. Soft, tender and lingering, he left his forehead resting against hers, just long enough to murmur a few words.:: Brunsig: Wife. Reynolds: Husband. ::She grinned.:: We actually did it. Brunsig: Chilly day in hell. ::He smirked at her, the wry observation making her huff a quiet laugh as they parted. Quinn wasn't the only one laughing, and Miriam Schulte chuckled, gesturing open-armed to the pair.:: Schulte: I am pleased to present the newlyweds! Walter, Quinn — your wedding ceremony is over, and it's time to celebrate! -- Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0 & Captain Walter Brunsig Commanding Officer USS Triumphant
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