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Lt Cmdrs Kaitlyn Falcon & Trellis Vondaryan -- The Chess Game


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((Black Hole Bar, Deck 9 -- USS Za))

::Drinks in hand Trellis walked back over to the table where Kaitlyn sat waiting. In one hand he held what he hoped was a lovely new Ktarian merlot, vintage 2367 -- he’d heard good things about that year but had never tried it -- and in the other a chai tea. The different scents from the wine and tea were mixing in odd ways. The merlot was fruity, nutty and woody; the tea a bit sweet.

::He placed the tea down in front of Kaitlyn before sitting down. She had moved her piece after a prolonged analysis of the situation. He tilted his head as he looked at the chess board.::

Vondaryan: ::smirking:: Ah, I see you’re using the Roskarian gambit.

::Right.  THAT was the name.::

::Kaitlyn had actually spent pretty much the entire time Trellis had been up trying to remember how the pattern went.  Given her level of experience with chess (just shy of nil), she had looked up a thing or two prior to this long awaited duel of wits.::

::The result?  Well…  she had not lost horribly.  Yet.::

Falcon: Ah, noticed that, huh?

::Kaitlyn took a sip of the chai, giving Trellis a grateful nod.::

Vondaryan: ::he sniffed his wine but didn’t sip it yet, letting the tannins flow free:: Of course I recognized you were heading that way a few moves ago.

::Kaitlyn smirked.::

Falcon: Heh.  No surprise, there.

Vondaryan: ::he lifted his own piece, putting on another level of the board:: But you didn’t seem to notice my own incorporation of the Mimolotian Tactic.

::The redhead looked carefully at his pieces, trying to analyse what he was up to…  However, strategy had never really been Kaitlyn’s strong suit; she was usually one for the straight-up approach.::

Falcon: The what?

Vondaryan: ::he chuckled:: The Mimolotion Tactic. Named after the famed Zakdorn tactician who invented it.

Falcon: ::Moving her white bishop forward in counter.::  And that means…?

Vondaryan: ::he grinned, then chuckled:: That means you’ll be losing your knight at the moment.

::Kaitlyn watched as he effortlessly swooped a piece in and relieved her of one of her knights.::

Falcon: Oh…  Well, then, he should just be embarrassed to get snuck up on, like that.  Right?

::Trellis had to admit, that was funny. He laughed while Kaitlyn continue to contemplate her move.::

::She tried to put a bit of dry wit into her tone.  Admittedly, she did not much care for losing, but this WAS Trellis’s thing more than hers.  And she got to win in their last thing, so it was only fair.::

::...is what she kept telling herself, at least.  She took another sip of her chai, studying the board before moving a pawn up.::

Vondaryan: And now you’ve lost a rook, too.

::He moved a bishop down a level to take the rook. It left his own knight open, but that was a trap. Take it and it’d be mate in three moves. Leave it and he could use it to make mate in seven. The game was more or less over but it’d be an excellent training tool. Kaitlyn had been very patient with him in their previous exercises, so the least he could do was show the same patience.::

::Kaitlyn squinted her eyes slightly as the rook was removed from the board::

Falcon: Why hast thou forsaken me, traitorous tower…

::While intended as a funny quip, Kaitlyn’s irritation at losing was starting to come forth.::

Vondaryan: I understand your frustration. It can be a complicated game sometimes. ::he smiled:: But you’re definitely getting better.

::Kaitlyn took a breath, and a sip of chai, before looking at Trellis with a renewed smile.::

Falcon: Hey, I can take this in stride… after griping about it for a bit.  ::Smirks.::

Vondaryan: Ah, but that was the trap I had set. No way out of it, I’m afraid. A no-win scenario for you.

::Another analysis of the board… really told Kaitlyn little.  She guessed it was the newly vulnerable knight. A look around its general area revealed at least one other piece covering it.::

::She could not quite keep the slight twitch of grimace from the corner of her lip.::

Falcon: I’ve never really liked no-win scenarios.

::He pursed his lips as he listened. That was a very Kaitlyn thing to say.::

Vondaryan: So not a fan of the Kobyashi Maru, then? ::he smirked::

Falcon: ::Smirks back, giving a slight shake of her head.::  Not particularly, no.  ::Chuckles.::  Haven’t met many who were.

Vondaryan: ::he tilted his head:: Oh, I don’t know. It’s a good learning experience if nothing else. Want to talk about it?

Falcon: Sure, why not?  ::Smiles.::  I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

Vondaryan: ::he couldn’t help but chuckle. A very human phrase, that ‘mine’ and ‘yours’.:: Good, I can learn from your test.

::Kaitlyn leaned back, taking a slight break from the game as she took another sip of her chai.::

Falcon: Well, I pretty much knew what to expect of it going in.  Both my parents AND both of my sisters are ‘Fleet, after all, though my older sister didn’t take the test, herself.  Anyway; I was given an Intrepid for the test, so I tried to use speed and agility to my advantage.  ::Using her hands to pantomime as all pilots did.::  Run straight between the Romulan Warbirds they put me against, keeping my velocity high enough for them to miss me and hit each other.

::Trellis nodded in understanding. It was a fairly good plan, tactically speaking. But, being the Kobyashi Maru of course there was more than just that.::

Vondaryan: It couldn’t have been that easy.

Falcon: ::Shakes her head.::  Not really, but it was worth a shot.  But I think I was able to take at least one of them with me into photonic oblivion.  ::Smirks.::  Thing is; most traps depend on the target not knowing they’re there.  So, I’ve always had a bit of a policy.  If I see a trap…

::Kaitlyn reached out to the board, taking hold of her remaining bishop and taking out Trellis’s vulnerable knight.::

Falcon: ...I spring it.  ::Smiles.::

::Not that she had any expectations of winning, at that point.  But for something like this, Kaitlyn was okay with Operation: Blaze of Glory.::

::Trellis laughed out loud. He knew very few people who actually enjoyed getting into traps. Oddly, it was one of the things he liked about Kaitlyn. He would never willingly spring a trap. He’d try to figure out some way around, or to turn it against the trapper. But she went right ahead, her two guns blazing. Sometimes he needed that recklessness in his life. Haylie was like that, too -- a real adrenaline fiend. It was probably why he liked both women so much.::

Vondaryan: Okay, so what happened then? ::he idly picked up a pawn, pushing the game forward.:: Mate in three, by the way.

Falcon: Oh, I made it barely thirty seconds past that.  ::Smiles.::  That ‘one-in-a-million’ shield failure that’ll always happen in the worst-case scenario.  The instructor liked my guts, but suggested I might want to try something a bit more defensive ‘next time’.  ::Smiles.::  How about you?

::Kaitlyn reached for her queen, pulling it back to cover the gap left by her bishop.::

Vondaryan: Mine was on a Galaxy-class. I knew I wouldn’t be able to outgun the Warbirds, even with all the enhancements they’ve had in the last thirty years. But it’s too big to be maneuverable, so anything quick and fast was out of the question. So I tried subterfuge. Had myself disguised as a Romulan, claimed I was a hostage and somehow get them to fire upon themselves.

::He moved a rook, threatening the queen and king at the same time.::

::While Kaitlyn had typically been the one to think up crazy plans needing a lot of luck to succeed, Trellis had always countered her with a well thought out idea with far greater chances of success.  Kaitlyn might usually quip that his ideas sounded ‘less fun’, she knew he was right.  It was one of the reasons she had enjoyed working with him; he kept her from getting shot at more than she might like.::

Falcon: Interesting idea.  ::Smiles.::  They buy it?

::She looked over the board, seeing both her queen and king at risk.  Tracking back from his rook, Kaitlyn spotted his other knight in position to eliminate her queen should she take it out.::

::So, which piece would she trade?::

::While an unbalanced swap, Kaitlyn wanted to at least take a piece with hers.  She slid her queen over, taking the rook.::

Vondaryan: Of course they didn’t believe me. ::he chuckled:: They were holograms, of course, and programmed not to. But I thought it might be interesting to see their reaction. ::he frowned:: I did manage to save the hostage ship, but lost my own in the process. I’m not sure it was worth it, in the end…

::He tilted his head, thinking about the situation. Would it really have been better to save the hostages and not engage the Romulans? Would it have been better to let the hostages die and somehow destroy the Romulans? There really wasn’t a good answer to that question. Which, he supposed, was the point.::

::He smiled at the board, moving his other bishop to place the King in check. Two more moves.::

Falcon: Well…  The way my father put it; it’s not just what you do in the Kobiyashi Maru test.  It’s why you do it.  How you justify your actions, for good or for ill.  Hell, I’ve even heard of folks who decided the whole thing was a trap, and refused to respond to the distress call at all.  I’m not sure there’s really a ‘wrong’ answer.

Vondaryan: ::he nodded:: Yes, I suppose. Part of me wanted to take it again just to see a different outcome. Haylie thought I would be a glutton for punishment if I did, though. Besides, I had plenty of other finals to study for.

Falcon: ::Chuckles.::  Didn’t we all?

::With a small, thoughtful, sigh, Kaitlyn looked over the mess before her.  Her queen could move to block the bishop, but not in a way that would meaningfully protect her king…  So, she grabbed an as-of-yet unmoved pawn and moved him two spaces up instead.::

Vondaryan: ::he tilted his head at the board:: Interesting. Desperate, but interesting. Still, it won’t keep you from losing in two moves. ::he moved his remaining rook, blocking off all retreat for the King next move.::

::Desperate moves…  For some reason, that was catching in her head…::

::No…  She knew exactly why.  It was hardly her first time doing something desperate.  Granted, this was just a game of chess, but…::

::Some of the edge fell from Kaitlyn’s smirk as she reached out to the board again.  She could see the inevitable loss.  While she knew she could always just go and tip her king, it felt… wrong to go and rob Trellis of his victory.  He had worked for it, after all.::

::Given her level of skill, she did not think Trellis had needed to work particularly hard for the win, but it was the principle of the thing.::

::With a soft sigh she grabbed her queen, pulling it back to stand next to the king.  While it would be unable to protect the king from all angles, it was still something.::

::With Kaitlyn’s queen right where he wanted it, he moved his own queen to position. With the King in check Kaitlyn would be forced to move it in the only space available, leaving the opposite queen for the taking and the king mated.::

Vondaryan: Check.

::Kaitlyn saw.  And heard.  Though some of her mind was not fully there.  When she looked up at Trellis, part of her saw him a few months back…  That uncertainty in his eyes, and the shudder at what he saw.::

Falcon: Trellis…  Are…  Were…  ::Pauses a moment, trying to unjumble her words.::  Were you afraid of me?

::They had never discussed what had happened back on the Marauder…::

::Trellis let out a long, deep sigh. It was a question he suspected might have been coming at some point. It was a perfectly normal question and he’d had plenty of time to think about the answer. Not that he really needed to think about it, per se. It was more about phrasing, than anything.::

Vondaryan: At that particular moment, for that small fraction of time, a little. ::he sighed again:: But it wasn’t being afraid OF you, rather being afraid FOR you.

::He wasn’t sure if that would make complete sense to her. Honestly, he wasn’t sure it made sense to him.::

::To Trellis’s first sentence, Kaitlyn had given a soft sigh and a nod of understanding.  Honestly, she did not blame anyone for it; the sight had been…  But to his second sentence, she looked back at him with a look of slight confusion.::

Falcon: ‘For’ me?

Vondaryan: I think I was worried about what could cause my friend to act in such a matter. I knew you would never do that sort of thing without good reason. You’re not a cold-blooded, heartless, killer ::he smirked, almost forcing a chuckle to lighten the mood:: despite your facade. It would take a lot to push you past a breaking point. Which must have been hard on you. I wasn’t sure you’d be able to get back to being right.

Falcon: Truth be told, what happened there was a surprise to me as well.  ::Sighs.::  It was something that happened a long time ago, something I thought I was well passed.  ::She leaned back in her seat, taking another sip of her chai.::  Honestly, I think the only reason it came back up was because of…  Because of someone we ran into on that ship.

::He nodded in understanding. He knew she’d had troubles with the Syndicate before. He was just sorry to see the outcome in such a… violent… manner.::

Vondaryan: ::he frowned:: I’m sorry I brought it up.

Falcon: No, it’s okay to bring up.  I’ve had a lot of time to process it, and I’m pretty much back to where I was before.  ::She set her hands onto the table, trying to show that she really was calm about it all.::  If you’d like to know more about it, what happened and all, you can ask.  ::Small smile.::

Vondaryan: ::he gave a small smile:: That I’m glad to hear. In case I haven’t said it, I’m glad you’re on my side. ::he blinked:: And that you’re my friend.

::To that, Kaitlyn gave a smile much closer to her typical.::

Falcon: Right back at you.  ::Soft chuckle.::  You’re the best friend I’ve got.

::Not just on Za, either.  At that point, Kaitlyn was not sure how many friends she had left outside the family circle.::

::She finally reached back to the board and slid her king to the only remaining spot he could move.::

::Trellis nodded. While he was tempted to actually leave the match as it was, not completed, he wasn’t sure that would be fair to Kaitlyn. She had tried rather hard this match, after all, and she deserved closure on this.::

::So, with a bit of a heavy hand he moved his queen to its final position threatening the king.::

Vondaryan: That’s game over. ::he sipped his merlot, enjoying the flavors as they reached his senses::

::Kaitlyn reached over to her king, setting him onto his side.  For some she might have pouted, but for Trellis she could be graceful in defeat.::

Falcon: Congratulations.  ::Smiles.::  I hope I was, at least, interesting to watch.

::He chuckled. Without meaning to she could be quite funny.::

Vondaryan: I had fun, thank you. ::he finished his merlot and came away with a smirk:: A game of Velocity?

::Kaitlyn smiled.  Simple target shooting was Kaitlyn’s strong point, as chess was Trellis’s.  Velocity combined shooting with strategy; best of both worlds.::

Falcon: ::Finishing her chai.::  Sounds perfect to me.


--
Lt Commander Kaitlyn Falcon
Chief Helm Officer
U.S.S. Za; NCC-65385
F237507RF0

&

Lieutenant Commander Trellis Vondaryan
First Officer
USS Za
O239208TV0

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