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  1. I think it would be rather interesting to have a mini series with a Klingon commander and a Bird Of Prey to get more than just a sliver of Klingon life. That would be fun, I think...
    2 points
  2. After Action Report Search and Rescue, Planetary Evacuation Telstrus III Lieutenant JG Piravao sh’Qynallahr Starfleet Rangers I always loved the wind. Howling across the frozen plains of my homeland, bringing with it eerie songs and bitter cold. I felt safe in the clan keep, with its imposing stone walls, hundreds of years old, breaking the wind, defiant against the forces of nature. I would watch from my window as it carried the snow across the world, warm and safe. Filled with childhood wonder. Telstrus III sat on the Federation border. A thriving colony on a lush Class M world, orbiting a white Type A star. Or rather, it was thriving, it was lush, it was Class M. For several months the inhabitants of Telstrus had observed changes in their star, spectral changes slowly shifting it from white to yellow, a shift which grew faster by the day. The USS Amundsen was already in orbit when our team arrived. The spectral changes in the Telstrus star were the result of rapid cooling, which had in turn thrust the colony on Telstrus III into a rapid Ice Age. In the space of three days, the Amundsen had observed a rapid surface temperature drop, and the freezing of much of the planet’s surface. It was now officially a Class P world, the same as Andoria.. The Commanding Officer of the Amundsen, Captain Alexis Widmer, briefed us upon arrival. The Amundsen was an aged Excelsior class, retrofitted for stellar observation and scientific research. They had no experience in Search and Rescue operations, and were not equipped for an evacuation. Transport ships had been diverted from nearby cargo routes, and were arriving day by day to help with the evacuation. Due magnetic interference from the cooling star, transporting the nearly 50,000 colonists off the surface wasn’t possible. With night time surface temperatures at the equator already reaching freezing temperature, there wasn’t much time left before the inhabitants would freeze to death. Our team, consisting of Commander Styvark along with Lieutenants R’Nara and Fessler and myself, took a shuttle to a mountain top observatory on the surface of Telstrus III where we joined three teams of security officers from the Amundsen. I was the junior officer on the team, and the only one with any proper cold weather experience. I will confess to nervousness, while the Commander and Lieutenants knew the theory, as they had received cold weather training, they were all from much warmer worlds than my own. They would be relying on my experience. The plan was simple enough, and had already been communicated to the inhabitants. The observatory sat at the top of a long valley near the equator. The rapid cooling on the surface had created gale force winds that swept across the planet, running North and South as the ice raced down from the poles. The valley faced East, causing the mountains to give it a modicum of shelter from the wind, allowing shuttles to fly up and down it with relative safety. The colonists were to make their way from the settlement to the observatory where a shuttle evacuation point had been set up. By day our team would trek out of the valley and guide any colonists we found back to the observatory for evacuation to a waiting transport. By night, we hunkered down in the observatory and watched as the world froze around us. By the end of our second day on the surface, ice had reached the valley. Only half of the colonists had been evacuated so far. On the morning of day three, when we reached the mouth of the valley, we were greeted by a wall of icy wind. Visibility was reduced to almost nothing, and interference from the star rendered our tricorders useless beyond a couple of meters. Yet still we searched, unwilling to give up on those still making for safety. We found them. In ones and twos, turning blue as the cold took its toll, small families, wrapped in clothes that did little to protect them from the harsh wind. I think that by the end of that day we all knew the truth. There were still thousands of colonists out there, many of whom would never reach the observatory. At the end of the fourth day the wind shifted, blowing up the valley, carrying with it the faint sounds of voices. None of us slept that night. We stood vigil as we listened to the colonists freeze. When dawn broke, the wind shifted South again, leaving us free to walk the trail back to the mouth of the valley. It was a somber journey. The first body was barely a hundred meters from the observatory, a young man, frozen solid with his hand outstretched, as though reaching for a rescuer that would never come. All along the valley we found more of the same. Yet not all was lost, we found a family, huddling together in a small hollow under a fallen tree. They were almost as blue as I am, but they were alive, and they had hope. At the mouth of the valley we entered the wind wall, hoping, praying to all the gods who might listen that we might still find survivors on that frozen, howling plain. Day to night wind shifts were regular now. Every night we struggled to sleep as cries for help were swept up the valley, carried on the mournful song of the wind. It was a haunting melody, one that I will not soon forget. Every day we found less survivors than the last, and more bodies. After a week on the surface, we were ordered to evacuate, lest we too join the dead marking the path to the observatory. On our last day we had found only one survivor in the valley. A baby crying out, swaddled in his mothers coat, buried under her stiff body. She had sacrificed her life to act as a shelter for her son. One last gift, and the hope that he might be found. I always loved the wind. Howling up the valley, bringing with it haunting songs and deadly cold. I knew I was safe in the observatory, with its thick glass and solid steel, the height of federation technology, breaking the wind, defiant against the forces of nature. I watched from the window as it carried the snow across the world, warm and safe. Filled with sorrow that we could not save them all. I always loved the wind... ...until that mission on Telstrus III.
    1 point
  3. "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." — William Arthur Ward > CONNECTING... > CONNECTING... > CONNECTING... > ERROR 503522: CONNECTION TIMED OUT. PLEASE TRY AGAIN OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL SUBSPACE NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR IF THE ERROR CONTINUES. "Come on!" Nnenna thwapped the side of the display screen and threw her hands up in the air, sinking down into her seat with an exaggerated pout. The outcome was the same as it had been for weeks, as she knew it would be, yet at the end of each shift she made the attempt. To what end, she wasn't sure. "I don't know why you keep trying." Bex said. "It's not as if—" "I'm not having this conversion again." Her reply was a whip crack through the quiet of her office. Nnenna looked away from her reflection, frowning back at her from the depths of the gloss black console, to see her Denobulan friend leaning against the doorframe. Where she was gangling limbs and sharp edges, Bex was all curves and softness, from her figure to the spun gold curls of her hair. "You always have to have the last word. Stubbornness isn't a virtue, you know." "I thought you were a meteorologist, not a counsellor." The Denobulan shrugged off the grumble with a smile and sip from the mug she carried, blue like the tunic of her uniform, emblazoned with Starfleet's emblem. The petrichor scent of umoya tea drifted on the recycled air, and for one blissful moment, Nnenna was back home. Standing by the river in New Oslo, bundled up like an arctic explorer, watching the aurora haunt the rain clouds. Then it was back to reality, to the glare of technology and the stark walls of their insulated underground bunker. "Heliophysicist. If the weather's not in space, I'm not interested." Uncurling a finger from her mug, she pointed across the room toward Nnenna. "Speaking of which, it's another night of strong winds, so we're going up top to watch the lights. You coming?" "I'll think about it." "Come on, it's your favourite thing. Plus Caedan's going to be there." She wiggled her flared eyebrows, and there was no attempt to disguise the impishness in her smile. "He likes you." Nnenna rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I'm married, Bex." "Sure, sure. Whatever you say." The blonde chuckled, her blue eyes sparkling with a joke she wasn't sharing. "I'll see you there." * * * * * The door closed, and the thud of the magnetic clamps rang out across the valley. A cool night drew goosebumps across Nnenna's skin, instantly calling her toward the bonfire burning nearby, where laughter played between the snap and crackle of burning wood. She took a deep breath and filled her lungs with fresh air, the scent of smoke mixing with the crisp, sweet smell of alien conifers, their fine leaves whispering secrets in the breeze. "Hey, you made it." Caedan accompanied his greeting with a cheeky, boyish smile, and a gentle bump of his shoulder to hers. Trying to ignore the sudden crash of her heart against her ribs, Nnenna smiled back, and the evening chill vanished in a rush of warmth across her skin. "It's the one good thing about being stuck in this place." She held his gaze until it felt as though her heart would beat itself clear of her chest, and then pointed up at the sky. "The storm puts on a good show." He looked up. Above them, the aurora folded through the sky, ribbons of ethereal light dancing between the stars. Usually, the lights were brilliant shades of ruby and emerald, but tonight they danced in amethyst and sapphire. Perhaps later she'd ask Bex why that was, and do her best to follow the physicist's animated explanations of excited elements, molecular transitions and atmospheric composition. Right then, Nnenna was far more interested in the rosy-cheeked Rodulan, and the way the auroral flare reflected in the depths of his featureless midnight eyes. Metallic pings and plinks echoed through the valley, and Nnenna looked toward the creaking hulk that was the Tanaka Maru, cooling after a long day in the sun. The freighter's stubby nose was buried in a mound of rich, dark soil, the roots of broken trees erupting from the dirt like witch's claws. Behind the ship, a deep furrow scored across nearly a kilometre of earth, damage that would take nature years to repair. "Not exactly what you signed up for, is it?" she said. Her question invited his gaze to join hers, and the colour fled from his skin, smile faltering. She could guess why; it was a wonder any of them had survived the abrupt plunge from orbit, their ship left for dead by a sudden lash of solar winds. The terror they must have felt in those few minutes was unimaginable. But as quickly as his expression had wobbled, it settled. Back to his amiable smile and generous cheer, as if he hadn't a care in the world and everything was as it should be. "Are you kidding?" He chuckled. "It was right there in the brochure. Become a Merchant Marine: see the galaxy, meet interesting people and crash land on their outposts." "How are the repairs going?" "It's hard to say. Half the time the tools won't power on with all the geomagnetic interference, and we don't dare try to bring any systems online in case we fry them worse than they were before." He lifted his shoulders in a shrug and grinned. "Afraid you're stuck with us for a while longer." As if she'd heard the conversation—and Nnenna suspected the Denobulan had, the nosy little minx—Bex made a suggestive gesture from across the fire and then pointed toward them both, finishing with an obvious thumbs up and a beaming, wide-eyed smile. Caedan bit down on his lip, trying to keep a straight face and failing cheerfully. "She's not subtle, is she?" "It is not a word in her dictionary." Bex had three husbands, no expectation of exclusivity, no hesitation in pursuing anyone she wanted, and a distinct sense of confusion over why anyone would do things differently. Life was too short, said the ridiculously long-lived Denobulan, the galaxy too big to limit yourself to just one person. Why waste love when you found it? Perhaps she was on to something. Her heart thrumming, Nnenna brushed the back of her hand against his. Lightning charged across her skin, arcing up her arm and into her chest, crackling through her veins. For a single moment, she was conscious of how naked her ring finger felt, of the gold band hidden at the bottom of her trinket box, and then it was forgotten when she slid her fingers through his. His smile blazed into brilliance, even more beautiful than the aurora dancing among the stars. * * * * * He'd laughed at her the first time she lit candles, asking why she didn't just ask the computer to dim the lights and shouldn't a Starfleet officer know naked flames were a fire hazard. She'd retaliated with an upholstery missile, throwing a cushion in his face, and declared romance dead. It had, of course, only made him laugh more. But over the weeks and months as the star continued to rage in the sky, the candles had become a part of their ritual, lighting them together before falling into bed. That night, like so many others, they laid there in a tangle of limbs and sheets, basking in a cocoon of gentle light and soft caresses. A world away from research outposts and broken freighters, from solar storms and absent husbands. Usually. That night, she couldn't get them out of her mind. They were a growing shadow, casting a veil across the small parcel of happiness she'd found in Caedan's arms. "I'm married," she said. He froze. Leaned back. His eyes locked on hers, and she shrunk under the dark weight of his gaze, unable to look away. Goosebumps shivered on her neck where his lips had been a moment ago. She remained silent, wishing she'd said nothing at all, knowing it had been unfair to say nothing for so long. "What does that mean?" he asked quietly. "You don't know?" "No." His hand dropped to her waist, a perfect fit for the slight flare of her hips, and he shook his head. "I know it's important for some, but my people don't marry. I don't really understand it." Nnenna laughed and immediately felt cruel, but he answered it with a small smile and a tilt of his head. The advantage of sleeping with a telepath; she rarely had to explain herself. He knew when a retort came from anger and when it came from insecurity, he could tell a self-deprecating laugh from a mocking one. No one had ever understood her so intuitively before. "For what it's worth, I don't understand it either." "Fair enough." He nodded, his smile giving away nothing, and she felt a brief flare of frustration that the intuition didn't flow both ways. "Why are you telling me now?" "Bex said the storm's subsiding." She reached for him, brushing the backs of her fingers across his cheek, and he dipped his chin to press a kiss to the heel of her hand. "We'll be able to get comms again soon, and you..." "I'll be leaving." He paused. "I don't have to." Her heart thudded deep inside her chest, and Nnenna couldn't deny she'd hoped he would answer that way. But what they had was a fiction, a storybook that lasted only as long as the solar winds barricading them from the rest of the universe. Her mind was made up, her course set. "I owe it to my husband to try again." "You don't love him." "You don't know that." He drew in the air to answer, then exhaled it with a resigned smile and a shake of his head. Whatever he was thinking, he kept it to himself, and instead slipped his arm under her shoulders, drawing her against his chest. Nnenna curled into him, breathing in the earthen scent of his skin, trying to chase away the small seeds of doubt his embrace sowed. "You've got me for a little while longer," his voice was a low rumble, pouring shivers down her spine, "should you change your mind." * * * * * > CONNECTING... > CONNECTION ESTABLISHED. > HAILING USS RAMANUJAN. > HAIL ACKNOWLEDGED. ROUTING TO: LIEUTENANT MAKANI KAHELE. > CHANNEL OPEN. "Oh. Nnenna." Two words. Two benign little words, but they screamed their meaning across the stars. It was there in his face. In the clench of his smooth jaw. In the bob of his Adam's apple. In the way he leaned back in his chair. "Hello Makani." She took a breath, words jostling on her tongue. I still love you, but I'm not in love with you. It's not you, it's me. I've had an affair. It's over. Nnenna swallowed them down. That wasn't what she wanted to say, it wasn't why she'd called. She forced a smile to her lips, but instead of a smile, her reflection wore a rictus grin, taut and hollow-eyed. Makani flinched upon seeing it. "How are you?" she asked, starting with the safe and banal. "Yeah. I'm... Good." "Good. That's good. Me too." He hadn't asked, she realised. Indeed, he barely seemed to know what to say at all, and that wasn't like him. Her next question fell from her lips on reflex, though the answer was obvious. "Is everything all right?" "It's been months, Nnenna. I haven't heard from you in months." "That's not my fault. Telstrus was at solar maximum and the storms cut us off." "I know." He shifted in his seat; a schoolboy sat in front of head teacher. She knew the look. He'd worn it the time he'd dropped and broken her grandfather's Agbogho Mmuo mask. When he'd volunteered them to look after his delinquent nephew for a year. When they'd booked a holiday on Deluvia, and at the last minute he cancelled his leave to fly the captain to a conference. She'd gone on her own. Instead of hating every minute, she'd never felt so free. "But," he continued softly, "it's been a lot of time to think. About us, about what I want, and... I'm sorry, Nnenna, I don't want this." "What?" It was barely a croak. She cleared her throat and tried again with an unsteady voice. "Can we talk about this?" "No. No, I don't think so. I'm..." He shook his head, looking at her with hangdog eyes. "I'm done." Nnenna's pulse beat a tattoo in her ears. This was not how the conversation was supposed to go. It was not how she'd rehearsed it. Not the outcome she had prepared for. Heat rose under the piped collar of her uniform, eyes narrowed, muscles grew rigid and dense, and blood thundered through her veins. How dare he. "Out of sight, out of mind, is that the way it is?" A frown chased away the apologetic guilt on his face, and she noticed that he'd taken down her favourite Rewa portrait and replaced it with the Roth piece she hated. Too bright and too cartoonish, too Makani, it looked all wrong in their living room. How long had he waited before removing all signs of her from their quarters? Had he been living as a singleton all this time? "You were the one who said you needed space. It's why you accepted the assignment on Telstrus. Don't come at me because you got what you asked for." "I asked for some time. I didn't ask you to decide we're over before I had a chance to—" "Come on, Nnenna. We both know it's over. You're only sore I said it first." "Don't be ridiculous." "Why do you always have to be so stubborn? We hadn't been happy for a long time, that's why you left." He shook his head, and his braids swung across his shoulders. "What's the problem here? It seems like you're only mad because I figured out the same thing you did." He stopped. Stared at her. And laughed. Much as Caedan could intuit her inner workings, she knew what was behind Makani's sudden mirth. A flush laid siege to her cheeks, heat stabbed behind her eyes, and as he continued, she clamped her jaw shut to keep her bottom lip from wobbling. "That's it, isn't it? You expected to clear out for a year, have your me time in the arse-end of the galaxy, and come back to your dolt of a husband who'd been so lonely he'd fall over himself to change all those things you don't like about him." He snorted. "I hate to break it to you, but you're the one who ran off. No one blew the chance to fix our marriage but you." "You're an ass, Makani!" "It takes one to—" He vanished at the slap of hand, the smack of her palm against the controls not nearly as satisfying as it would have been against his cheek. * * * * * A tiny flash of light in the sky, barely more than a pinprick spark, and the Tanaka Maru disappeared into warp. Nnenna stared helplessly at the dark spot between the stars, then her gaze dropped to the scar in the earth where the freighter had sat for so many months. Grass already seeded in the disturbed earth, wildflowers sprouting in all the colours of the aurora she'd spent so many months watching. With him. "It's not too late. You could call him." For once, there was no tease or mischief in Bex's voice, but the quiet concern of a loyal friend. She stopped beside Nnenna, offering a gentle squeeze of support to her arm, and peered up at her. Unable to tear her gaze away from the space where Caedan's freighter had languished for months, Nnenna shook her head. "And say what? 'Hey, so it turns out my husband doesn't want me after all. How would you like to be my consolation prize'?" "Well, maybe something a little more—" "This is your fault." With no warning or preamble, Nnenna snarled the accusation in a fierce whisper, snatching her arm away as she rounded on her friend. Bex took a step back and stared in return, jaw slack, curls bouncing with the dumbfounded shake of her head. "Come again?" the Denobulan finally spluttered. "You didn't spot the gigantic solar storm that made the Tanaka Maru crash—" "That's not—" "—then you didn't warn me it as going to trap us here for months—" "I couldn't—" "—then you pushed me to chase Caedan when I'm married—" "You were—" "—and if you'd spent half the time doing your job properly instead of being an interfering busybody, I wouldn't be in this mess!" A Telstrun owl hooted in the silence that fell between them, gliding otherwise silently on its nocturnal hunt. "It must be so hard being you. All those terrible decisions people force you to make." Bex glared, red-faced, tiny fists rigid at her side. Her voice strung as tight as piano wire, the small woman vibrated just like one. "Get over yourself, Nnenna. It's no one's mess but yours." Her hand came up, finger stabbing with more to say, and then she thought better of it. Bex turned on her heel and stalked back toward the bunker, vanishing into its depths. Nnenna clamped a hand over her mouth, stifling a sob, and looked back up at the sky. There, the solar winds once again ignited the sky, arcs and rays of garnet in tsavorite and pyrope, reminding her of what she'd lost. Of what she'd thrown away. Of how much she hated herself. And she watched them. Alone.
    1 point
  4. Smoke punctuated the air. Its pungent, acrid scent infused his nostrils and filled his lungs, sent his body shuddering with explosions of hacking coughs in an attempt to clear them of the invading substance. That was what awoke him, the choking fog that tried desperately to vacuum all the air in order to dominate and establish its dominion. Garrett resisted, his eyes opening to a world of chaos, his brain finally cognizant enough to register the blare of alarms and to recognise the blaze of orange that had ignited and began to consume the remnants of the capsule in which he had at one point found refuge. Now it would be his tomb if he could not spur himself to action. As he set his arms and legs into motion, they rebelled, complaining against the pain that flared as he tried to move. Forcing them into submission, Garrett pounded against the clear dome that rose over him, supposedly a protector, it had now become his captor. His fists raged at the barrier between him and freedom, the heat of the flames seeping through. Sweat trickled over his brow, down his neck and salt stung his tongue. Finally, it popped up, but the heat only seemed to slap him in the face as he struggled from the bowels of the capsule only to tumble down off the side and into a mound of sand. Behind him, he could hear the groan of metal and the crackle of the fire as it continued to rage. The small capsule that had rescued him from the fiery hell in space was now consumed with its own raging fire. Almost as soon as he had vacated, tongues of flames licked over the seat he had just abandoned, greedily devouring everything it could, the metal shrieking and twisting under its assault. Stumbling back, the world blurred, then cleared, only to blur again, going in and out of focus as he ordered his legs to move, putting distance between him and the vehicle that had given its life to save his. When the explosion finally came, it was still close enough to feel the blast of hair and heat, the sudden clash of noise in his ears drowning everything else out, then fading away only to be replaced by a high pitched ringing. Debris flew everywhere, flung at him as the dying module raged in anger at his desertion. Falling face first into the sand, he curled up, hands over his heads in desperate hope that none of the makeshift missiles would strike true. A moment later, he cautiously unfurled and attempted to bring into focus the world around him. His breath came in gasps, his chest painfully heaving, but he pushed himself up to a sitting position, hands digging easily into the shifting ground beneath him. His eyes found the same thing around him. Sand. Miles of it. Rolling hills and dunes of pale orange that stretched out as far as he could see. The only break was the burning rubble, a blackened scar on the landscape and the consequences of its dying fury. The ringing faded, and in its place, the whistle of a stark, dry wind that clutched at his throat and slapped at his cheeks taunted him. From above, the sun beat down, and even that rough breeze did little to ease its stifling heat. Eyes turned back to what had been his salvation only to bring him to his doom. Klaxon alarms sounded in his head and his hands clapped at his ears, but they did no good. Closing his eyes only brought into sight chaos. Fear. Shouts and screams as the ship rattled with explosions, bodies writhing as everyone clamored for the escape pods, arms outstretched, hands clutching, tugging, fear driving the mass forward. He had been among the last, his intent to help everyone off the ship before he himself went. The captain...her dark eyes had set upon him. He had insisted she go. Instead, she had used her superior strength to physically place him in a pod and launch it before he had the chance to breathe a protest. Then it had exploded, just like his pod had just done, the force of it sending the few capsules still nearby spinning out of control. Another violent tremor, another scream of alarms, and then...darkness. Darkness and into light, but it was an unwelcome sight, and now that pod was gone. All of them should have landed in the same place. He should be with the others, those who had managed to escape, but the ship’s destruction had only set him off course, and now he was alone. Alone with the sand. His body shuddered with another deep breath, and he once more tried to clear his head. To think. To assess. Strangely enough, he was hardly injured. Bruises, a few cuts, a blow to the head, but nothing terminal. Yet. Lifting his hands, he felt himself all over, but his uniform, torn and bedraggled, had no supplies. All of those would have been in the pod, the one now lost to him. Panic gripped him and his hands began to search through the remains of his uniform, unsnapped the red and black overshirt of his uniform and jerked it open. The sight of a small, rectangular piece of thick, glossy paper remained and immediately he breathed a sigh of relief. A relic, one he’d been teased about, nonetheless he kept it and kept it close. It was there. If it was there, then all was not lost. Leaving the overshirt unbuttoned, Garrett forced himself to his knees, then once more to his feet. Turning around, he tried in vain to ascertain his position, to get a sense of where he was, of where he could go, where he might find others or, if nothing else, water. All that lay before him was the silent, endless view of the dunes. One way, then another, it didn’t matter. It was all the same. Finally, unable to make any accurate assessment of direction, Garrett simply set his eyes forward, his dying chariot at his back, and began to walk. Beneath him, the sand shifted, impeding his progress, forcing his body to exert more energy as he slipped and slid with every step, sometimes stumbling forward as the ground beneath him gave way. The sand seemed to laugh at his fumbling efforts to make progress, opening its mouth to catch hold, tugg him downward, then repeat as he pressed onward. Above him, the sun arched, rose and fell, then finally passed below the horizon, easing the painful heat that stung at his skin, turning it crimson within even only an hour under its purview. What time of day was it? He had hoped it would be toward evening, that the great orb which hovered low in the sky was on its descent into slumber, giving up its heat and allowing the wind to be cool rather than cruel . He was disappointed. Rather than lose sky, it gained, driving its way upward. Had there been a place to seek shade, to take rest, whether under the long armed, stoic sentinel of the giant cacti that could be found in certain areas of his home or in the sheltering shadows of cliffs that jutted up from the earth. With either of them, water might have been found. Those spiked arms Held life-giving water within, salvation to a man dying of thirst. Cliffs often had vegetation, and while it was no substitute for water itself, it could help stave off the worst of dehydration, even if only for a little while. Neither were present, however, just the endless sweep of sand, of dunes rising to bask in the unrelenting hammer of heat from the sun. His mouth was almost as dry as that which stretched before him, the constant rise and fall of hills, dune after dune, wave after wave, never changing, constant and stark, devoid of life save for his own as he struggled onward. The heat burned at his body and he had already removed his overshirt, removing the treasure from within, sweat staining the paper and stretching across one of the faces it contained. That shirt became something of a shield, for all the good it did. The fiery laugh of the sun was no match for his puny attempts at finding some sort of shade. Little was gained, the barest hint of shelter in a shelterless world. Over the crest of one and down the slope he turned his eyes back to the horizon, seeking, searching, hoping. A shimmer of golden silver glimmered across his sight and he paused, startled by its appearance. A flatness and sparkle indicated something more than just the miles of mindless grains that formed in heaps and piles of a wasteland. His tongue ran over his lips, but after the hours beneath that burning sphere, there was no moisture left. His mouth and throat constricted, desperate to retain moisture, finding none. A gasp of breath escaped and energy surged through him, spurring him forward. Sweat had ceased by that point. How long had it been? He’d forgotten? The fathomless distance he’d crossed, the stretch of hours where the circle of light seemed to barely crawl across the sky held no true sense of time, no indication of how long he’d truly been - only that hours had passed, though he could not gain any more concrete of an answer. Hours beneath the burning hands, under the torment of that laughing, parched wind that only seemed to make things worse rather than provide any sort of relief. It pushed back against him, pressing him away from that shimmer, from the gloriousness of that oasis that surely lay ahead, that surely waited for him if he could just press onward, persevere through, force himself to pass the last distance between himself and its edge. Still it laughs, that shifting breeze. It whipped his face and cackled in his ears, tormenting, slapping grains of sand that stung his skin and drew streaks across them, welts rising in their wake. Still, he pushed on, ducking his head in an effort to cut through the worst of that assault, glancing up to ascertain his direction, striving onward, striving forward. Yet it never drew closer, that distance never grew smaller. The sheen of distant moisture remained just that - distant. Time passed, the heat of the day sweltered and the man dwelt beneath, his steps slowing, his pace unsteady. The wind had changed course, shifting to press from behind, whispering promises into his ears, promises that remained far ahead, enticing, calling, but unreachable. The whistling laughter echoed as he sank to his knees, hovering a moment before another push from that incessant companion set him toppling. He didn't know when, but at some point, he had taken his treasure in hand. His grasp had remained constant, clutching it without any hint of easing, desperate to hold on to that which had spurred him forward, helping him dare to try to cross the vast space that lay ahead. It was a thing of times passed, an item rarely used, but one he had been determined to acquire. Stiff lines and sharp corners of the digital variety were ill suited for carrying upon his person, and he longed to keep it with him, pinned over his heart, until he’d set out on that terrible journey that inspired him to keep it there, clasped in his hand, its presence the only reminder that he was not alone, that he was loved, that he had a reason to live, a reason to hope. That hoped dwindled, and where it once dwelt, sorrow replaced it. Pain had long ago ceased to plague him. Now he was merely numb, the lashing of the sand by that ineradicable gale. All that remained were the dying embers of a man, cooked beneath an uncaring sun. Slowly, he drew his hands upward, trembling fingers attempting to smooth out the glossy paper. The sweat had dried, leaving only the stains behind, crossing over the face of a woman, her dark hair tumbling over her shoulders in a cascade of undulating waves. Darker eyes sparkled with the smile that lit her face, and in her arms she cradled a child, the bundle of cloth only parting enough to reveal the round, wide-eyed gaze with similar dark eyes, and a soft, downy head covered in wispy curls. One sand crusted finger traces the lines of that smile, then of the sweet innocence of the other. The pain that ravaged him then was not of the tormented body that had suffered under the abuse of the elements, but that of a heart, clenching and writhing within, twisting and finally bursting in grief as he could bear no more. The hand that held the picture dropped as his body went slack. The desert wasted no time, utilizing the rush of the gusts, closing in over him. For a few moments, the photographs remained, pinched between his fingertips, but in the end, the wind took hold and wrenched it free, the piece of paper fluttering helplessly away as the sands consumed their victim.
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  5. We’re pleased to announce new branding and logos today! After 27 years in the business, we’re undergoing a slight renaming: You used to know us as “UFOP: StarBase 118,” but going forward we’ll be known as “StarBase 118 PBEM RPG.” While our original moniker “UFOP” will remain in our community Constitution – first enacted in December 17th, 2000 – for all public purposes we’ll use the StarBase 118 name that we’re now more widely known for. Moreover, thanks to the incredible diligence, creativity, and efforts of our creative team, especially Lt. Alieth of the USS Thor, we’re launching new branding across the board! Our previous crest, reminiscent of the United Federation of Planets logo, is being retired in favor of a new Starfleet delta: The post New branding and logos as “UFOP: StarBase 118” becomes “StarBase 118 PBEM RPG” appeared first on StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/ufopsb118?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/ufopsb118?i=OZjIoGSmutg:uIHmgClAelU:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/ufopsb118?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ufopsb118/~4/OZjIoGSmutgView the full article
    1 point
  6. Telstrus 3 had been home. It had also been hell, a prison, a betrayal. What it was now, Zill Tomox wondered, was an unknown. Her azure skin glowed as the sun sank lower in the sky, bathing the vast grass plains of Telstrus in golden light. Zill followed the old path, the steps familiar even after all this time, as it wound up the hill. Zill had been just twenty years old when she’d left Bolus in order to become a colonist. The thought of expanding the borders of the Federation, building a new world from the ground up, sowing the first seeds of something that would one day, far in the future long after she was gone, be a planet of billions taking its place in the UFoP – it was exciting. And they’d done so much. The planet had been home for ten years. The work had been hard but fulfilling. And when war had broken out between the Federation and Cardassion Union they’d not been important enough to be worried about it. But when the war ended the peace that followed destroyed everything. Zill reached the hilltop and sat on the bare rock, finding her old comfortable spot and gazing out at the view. The plains stretched for as far as she could see in every direction. She knew it went on for hundreds of miles, an unchanging sea of grass, gently undulating in the ever-present breeze. Waves forming, flowing, breaking. That constantly moving air was a feature of Telstrus 3, more so than on any other planet she’d visited. It was so prevalent, blowing across the vast open plains, it factored into every aspect of daily life here. The colonists had used it to help with their terraforming work and harnessed it for both power and play. But it had always seemed to have a mind of its own – usually playful, often stubborn, sometimes malevolent. She gave a little shiver and pulled her jacket a little tighter at that though. The wind. The traitor. “Why did you do it, Zill?” The voice came from behind her and she gave a sad smile, speaking without turning. “Aaron. I knew you’d be here. Nothing ever happened in this place without your knowledge. And I did it because I had to, you know that.” “Yes, but I want to hear you say it.” Zill sighed and nodded. Behind her there was the scrape of metal and the sound of a spark. A moment later and the familiar floral scent of Aaron’s cigarette drifted past her on the breeze. She could imagine the wind tousling his untidy blond hair and she smiled. “You see out there?” Zill pointed at some brightly-coloured specks in the distance. “Sail carts. Remember racing them?” “I remember you nearly killing us both.” His deep voice carried a sense of mirth. “Me?!” Zill laughed. “That was your fault and you know it. You’re the one who turned in front of me, there was no way I could avoid you!” “It wasn’t my fault, Zill, there was a sudden gust. You know what’s it’s like out there, how quickly the wind can change.” Zill nodded silently. Ah yes, the wind. Always the wind. She watched the sail carts for a while, watching them tacking across the plains for all the worlds like sailboats on a sea. And those winds! Sometimes they would play along, filling you with joy, almost taking your breath away with the intense speed, racing across the open, grassy oceans until all she could do was laugh at the sheer exhilaration. And other times the wind was sullen, needing to be coaxed to help, but that was better than the times it turned on you suddenly, that sudden burst of adrenaline as you had to fight it. Still, racing those sail carts had been part of Zill’s life here and she’d loved it as much as she’d loved Aaron. Sometimes the wind that filled their sails had left her as breathless as he had done on many a night. “I missed the wind, you know.” She was speaking to herself now. “It was one of the things that brought me back here, why I joined the Marquis. When the Cardassians came and took our colony, our homes, it was the wind that I missed the most. It has always made this place feel so free, yet they took it from us and the Federation let them.” Aaron remained silent as she continued. “So when you came to me and said we could fight to take it back, you knew I would never say no. I just didn’t realise how long it would take.” “The Marquis needed us to do other things first, Zill. There were a lot more places more important than Telstrus, more strategic targets, and they needed to use everyone they had.” “I know, I know.” The Bolian sighed. “And I expected it to take time, but three years? That was a long wait…” Again, silence fell over the hilltop as the wind rippled the grass around them. The sail carts were out of sight now, vanishing in the direction of the buildings of the new colony. “Three years was long enough to make this planet a home for the Cardassians that came after us. Time enough for them to make families here.” Zill paused. “I wonder if they raced the wind like we did?” “Doubtful.” Aaron’s voice was darker now, angry. “And this was our home, not theirs. Everything they built was on top of our foundations.” “That didn’t mean they should die!” “They weren’t supposed to die, Zill! Nobody was. They were just supposed to… leave.” There was a deep sigh. It could have been regret, or it could have just been a gust over the exposed stones. “It was an accident, you know that as well as I do. The fire was only supposed to destroy their crops and with the Marquis disrupting supplies, they would have been forced to leave the planet. And then we could just come home.” “I know what the plan was, Aaron. I know what was supposed to happen. But we didn’t account for the wind, did we? Ten years living here we should have known.” She gestured to the air around them. “It has always been capricious, and it turned on us that night. It betrayed us.” She didn’t have to explain further, they both knew what had happened then. The Marquis team, all former Telstrus colonists, had landed in the middle of the night with a mission to raze the fields and burn the food stores in order to force the Cardassian interlopers out. They’d planted incendiary explosives and set them off, the flames spreading across the fields and everything was going as planned. But then the wind changed. It was if the planet had decided to get involved - a sudden strong wave front came up from the south, completely unexpected, and had fanned the flames straight into the colony. The high winds created a firestorm that had lit up the place like daylight in hell. Zill, Aaron and the others had watched helplessly from this very hill as the place burned. They watched some Cardassians try to fight the fire, others try to flee from it. They watched them all die as their cries fluttered across the landscape. Zill had refused to move after that. Aaron had tried to convince her, of course, pleading for over an hour until the sky started to glow with the dawn light and it was too dangerous for them to remain. They could have stunned her or overpowered her but Aaron had seen the look in her eyes and knew. And so he had led the others back to the shuttle and Zill had stayed here, watching the smoke drift over the plains in the morning sun. The Cardassian military patrol found her a day later when they arrived. She was arrested immediately and imprisoned in one of the burnt-out buildings, having to endure the scent of the smoke and feel the wind blow through the ruined walls, as if it was mocking her. She told the Cardassians everything, then. They didn’t even have to threaten her, she volunteered it all, everything she knew about the Marquis and about their mission. Anything that could prevent something like this from happening again. She betrayed her friends just as the wind of Telstrus 3 had betrayed them. “I’m not proud of it Aaron. I wasn’t praised, or treated as a hero, if that’s what you thought. They still found me responsible for the deaths and they kept me imprisoned here. In fact they added a cell just for me when they rebuilt the place so I could serve my time here, on this planet, looking out on these plains and remembering everything I saw that night.” She gave a bitter laugh. “There was no glass on the window, only bars, so the wind was always there, always present. Always reminding me.” Zill ran a blue hand over her bare scalp before continuing. “And I served my sentence the same as everyone else in this prison that was once home.” There was another sound from behind her then, one she knew well. Aaron’s phaser was a battered old Federation type-2, the sort of Starfleet surplus that always made its way to colonists, and it made a distinctive sound as he drew it from his holster. “You know what has to happen now, Zill. And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry.” Zill nodded sadly and closed her eyes. But of course he didn’t shoot her. He couldn’t. Aaron Duncan had died when Cardassian soldiers had raided the hideout of his Marquis cell, acting on information Zill had given them. She’d heard that they were taken by surprise, nobody even had a chance to draw a weapon let alone use it. So they’d surrendered. And then the Cardassians had executed Aaron as an example, a disruptor to the back while he was on his knees. She often wondered if he’d known how they’d been discovered – likely he had, not much escaped his attention. The sun was down past the horizon now and it was getting darker. The wind blowing across the hilltop had taken on a distinct chill. Zill sighed as she reached into her coat pocket and wrapped her hand around the cold metal object within, pulling it out and holding it up in the last light of dusk. It was an old phaser, Aaron’s phaser. Getting hold of it had not been easy, in fact it had taken her all the time since she’d been released from prison just to track it down. But she knew what had to happen now. Darkness fell on the colony of Telstrus 3. Darkness that was briefly lit by the flare of an energy weapon. And then there was nothing but the wind.
    1 point
  7. Scotty was getting ready for what was a big day. He was being re-assigned as Captain to the USS Artemis, a newly retrofitted Sovereign-class vessel. He was to meet his new crew today at Starbase 20 as he was walking towards the XO's room on the base. He arrived outside the XO's cabin. He did a gentle knock on the door. "John! You ready to go to the briefing?" said Scotty. John replied, "Yes! One second." The door opened, and John appeared. They both walked to the briefing room, where they met the commanding officer of Starbase 20. They were going to go over some briefing items before they were allowed on the ship. "Welcome, All!" said the CO. Scotty and John both took their seats. After a few minutes of introductions, the discussion went into operations. The first thing that was brought up in the debate on how the ship design was changed to reflect the issues of the previous Sovereign-class vessels. These changes were mainly intended to overcome the problems that were present during the visit to Telstrus 3. Scotty remembers this well as he was the XO at the time on the USS Galway. Scotty was asked by the CO of Starbase 20 to provide a brief response to what happened on Telstrus 3. Scotty started his flashback into why he hated that mission so much. The crew of the USS Galway was on a routine patrol mission when they received a distress signal coming from Telstrus 3. The Captain musted an away team from the Galway that would beam down to assist. The away party consisted of me, an engineer officer, a science officer, and one security officer. I oversaw the away team. After gathering our gear, we beamed down to the surface. The first thing that we noticed was a heavy dust storm on the planet's surface. This severely impeded our vision and made our tricorter useless due to the dust in the air. The team started walking towards the colony. The first thing that we noticed was the colony looked like it had been abandoned for a long time. "Phasers on the alert team!" said Scotty. He was nervous that they might be walking into a trap as they walked into the colony. Scotty decided to radio the Galway bridge give them an update. "Bridge, Scotty here do you Copy," said Scotty. "Loud and clear, Scotty, what do you have?" replied the bridge. "The colony seems abandoned; looks like no one has been here for years," said Scotty. "Copy Scotty, look around, but preceded with… "replied the Galway bridge. "Bridge, message was choppy, say again," said Scotty. Suddenly, a bunch of people started firing their phasers at us. "Take cover! Fire back!" said Scotty. The teams started to shoot the intruders. They managed to subdue all the intruders. One of the security officers took a phaser shot but was expected to survive. "Bridge! What the hell, we were shot at!" replied Scotty. "Beam us back up!" said Scotty. "Beaming up now!" replied the transporter team. As we resurfaced on the vessel, we noticed that the ship was on a red alert. I asked what was going on. "What's happening!" said Scotty. "Were under attack! They were hiding in the clouds of Telstrus 3." Replied the transport officer. Scotty ran immediately to the bridge. He walked into the bridge and noticed there was a bulkhead breach on the bridge. Luckily the forcefield had engaged in containing the breach. It seemed the Captain got injured from the debris field. "Scotty! I am transferring the conn to you." Replied the Captain. "Copy! Commander, I will get us out of here," replied Scotty. Scotty asked the helm to warp us out. But the damage to the ship was so severe that it knocked out the warp drive. "How've shields?" asked Scotty. "10%, sir. Failure eminent," replied the tactical officer. "Copy! Fire all we have got into that ship; I want it destroyed," replied Scotty. After a few moments of tense fighting, the team was able to destroy the enemy vessel. "Vessel destroyed!" replied the tactical officer. "Good! Damage report please," replied Scotty. "Major hull damage. Breaches on Decks 1,6,7 and 10. We have no warp drive/impulse engines now as well. Engineering is working on getting the warp drive back online. 15 casualties." Replied the tactical officer. Scotty felt his heart sink, they were lured into a trap, and it almost got the ship destroyed. After a few hours passed, engineering was able to get the warp drive online. The only downside is we could only go max Warp 3 due to the damage done to the warp core. "Starbase 20, this is Scotty, acting captain of the USS Galway. We have sustained major damage from a rouge vessel in orbit near Telstrus 3. We are limping our way back to base. Request immediate medical and engineering teams on hand." Stated Scotty. "Copy! Glad you guys were able to make it out!" replied Starbase 20. Scotty was relieved that they made it back, but the Sovereign-class starships needed serious upgrades, he stated.
    1 point
  8. The water was calm, its gentle waves lapping softly against the shore. Even the sky overhead contributed to the calm of the place. A secluded little lake tucked away in the mountains. Tall trees stood like sentinels around the water, reaching nearly to the shore. Aspen and pine alike reached up and painted the horizon in hues of greens beneath a blue sky. The dark wood of a small log cabin peaked out from the treeline before a thin wooden dock, a single figure sitting alone at the end. Wes Greaves relaxed in a cheap folding chair, fishing line in the water, and a cool drink in hand. It was a warm day at his little hideaway, and he let out a deep breath. A breath he felt like he'd been holding for months. He'd needed this break from real life. A break from the doctors, from the counselors, and from Starfleet. They thought he was crazy; he knew it. No one believed him, but it didn't matter. Wes heard it before he felt it. His breath caught in his throat as a deep chill ran the entire length of his spine. The sort of chill that comes from deep fear and unspeakable terror. The sound was rushing through the trees behind him. The subtle rustling of leaves in a thick forest. A warm wind blew past the man and ruffled his short hair. The Marine turned his thoughts inward, just like the counselors had taught him. He'd always loved the wind; after all, he'd grown up sailing where the wind was his lifeblood. He tried to focus on that, but failed. After Telstrus III, that love had turned into something else. Something dark and foreboding. That mission had started like any other—a mystery that needed solving, a starship and crew nearby eager to solve it. Wes had even led the away team himself. Six young men and women, including himself. Just the sensation of the breeze took him right back to that terrible day... The surface was cool and rocky, with wide-open plains to the north and quickly steepening mountains to the south. They'd materialized at the base of a rocky cliff and immediately had set about their scans. He took stock of his small team, each a fine young officer. In no time at all they were spread out in a search pattern looking for the strange life sign that was the source of the mystery. A smile crossed his face at the team's proficiency, and Wes did his best to help their science officer with his scans. An hour into the mission was when he’d first begun to realize something was amiss. The ship wasn’t answering any check in calls. Their communicators still worked, but the guardian angel in orbit wasn't responding. Nothing on the tricorder that could determine why. That was about the time Wes heard it for the first time. A light breeze, nothing out of the ordinary except for the fact it was the first indication of wind he'd experienced since they'd beamed in. Ever so faintly, hidden in the sound of the breeze, Wes could make out a whisper. It was a scratchy voice, dry and worn with age, but he couldn't make out the words. The Marine rallied his team and began searching in the direction the wind to no avail. No one else had even heard the voice, but with each new breeze came another whisper, just barely audible. They searched for another hour, and the wind grew stronger by the minute. No one would say anything, but Wes could tell they all heard it. The wind would roll in, someone would look surprised, searching for the source of a sound, but when he would ask about it, the officer would simply wave him off and say it was nothing. The day dragged on, each new search pattern resulting in more questions with no answers in sight. By the time the sun was beginning to set Wes was getting concerned. Surly, the ship would send a relief team or a shuttle to extract them. He’d only planned on being down there for a few hours. As the horizon darkened Wes finally made the decision to seek shelter near the rock face. In minutes the team found a small alcove that allowed a respite from the still-growing wind. He could still hear the hint of the whisper in that breeze, but now the man was sure he wasn't the only one. The eagerness of the small team had been replaced with something darker. They all looked at each other with narrow eyes and suspicious glances. As the evening faded away into blackness they turned in for the night. One by one, each person found a comfortable position and curled up to sleep. For what seemed like hours Wes laid awake, trying to fight for rest while inaudible whispers in the wind kept his mind spinning. He was nearly asleep when the wind changed direction and whipped into the alcove. "They're killers…" This whisper was stronger. The dry raspy voice spoke as if directly into his ear. Wes snapped up and looked around in the dark, his hand reflexively reaching for a phaser. No one was there. Not even his team. He was alone with the wind. "Hello? Who's there?" the Marine called out. "You won't survive the night… They'll find you…" With a flourish Wes was on his feet, phaser in one hand, tricorder in the other. For a moment, the wind died down, and the voice relented, but Wes couldn't detect anything with the device. He took a hesitant step out of the alcove and scanned in an arc for the rest of his team. "You can't run from them…" A shiver ran down the Marine's back as the wind and the whisper seemed to whip around him. There was no explanation for it all. His tricorder detected no life signs, not even his own team. The Marine tried his communicator again, but there was no response. The darkness of the planet seemed to consume him. Wes could see no more than ten feet in front of himself, and the wind dominated his senses. With as much gusto as he could muster, he called out and challenged the wind. "I'm Captain Wes Greaves of the United Federation of Planets; identify yourself!" The wind, already blasting and strong, seemed to snap at his clothes in response. A whirlwind of dust spun around him, and with it a raspy cackle. "Find them first. Before they find you…" He snapped his tricorder shut in frustration and the spinning, cackling wind blew around him again. Without hesitation, Wes pushed forward, directly into the gust. It was like walking through water. Every motion took extra effort. Every move was resisted by the howling wind. He wasn't sure how long he marched through the dark, but when he finally stopped he wished that he hadn’t. Wes found the first two bodies together. Their security and science officers lay on the ground no more than a few feet apart. The distinct dark color beneath their bodies was a muddy, gore-soaked, mess. The sight of a blood-stained rock and the crushed skull of one turned Wes's stomach. Deep bite marks in the other's neck spoke to clear causes of death. For a time, Wes tried to talk himself out of the obvious, but he came to no other conclusion. They'd killed each other. The bloody rock still lay at the feet of their security officer, and the blood soaked mouth of the science officer was testament to their final actions. "They found each other at the same time…" whispered the wind. "Who are you!" the Marine cried out in anger, and the swirling wind laughed at him in response. "Find them first. Before they find you…" Again he trudged along, searching for the rest. One by one, he came across each of his team members. Their doctor, stabbed to death. Another science officer strangled, the bruises on her neck evident, even in the dark. Each time the wind had laughed in its dry, evil, whisper of a voice. Each time it had told him to find the others first. Each time he'd marched deeper into the night. Until the last one. Wes's tricorder beeped with a lifesign ahead, and even as his spirits lifted, the wind laughed at him again. "They found you first..." Before he could react, a giant rock whistled past his head, narrowly missing him. The Marine spun to find their chief of security standing near a boulder, reaching for another rock to throw. The look in the woman's eyes was crazed, and she cackled with delight as another rock was hurled, this one hitting Wes in the left arm with a sickly crack as his forearm broke. A burst of adrenaline carried him through the pain and the man dove for cover, drawing a phaser in response. "Dianna, what the hell are you doing?" he shouted. "I’ll get you first! Just like the rest of them!” came the woman’s chilling reply. The wind snapped and swirled and laughed as another rock narrowly missed Wes’s head. “Stop! It’s me, Wes!” he screamed across the now roaring gale. His words were stolen by the wind and the man watched in horror as the chief of security drew a long slender piece of metal and charged him. A bright beam of light crossed the distance between the two in a split second, illuminating the ground in a bath of orange hues. When darkness once again engulfed them, it was quiet. The gale stopped, and the plains were deadly silent. Rushing to the fallen woman, Wes scanned her. Not believing the tricorder he reached trembling hands to the woman’s neck. Her pulse was gone. It didn’t make sense. None of it did. His phaser was on stun, he triple checked the setting. “Is this what you wanted?” he shouted up to the sky. “Show yourself, whatever you are!” Despite his pleas, there was no response. No wind. Not even a gentle breeze to answer. Just the cool hum and the faint blue shimmer of a transporter beam taking hold and whisking the Marine off to saftey. The XO told him he’d only been on the surface for an hour. They said that there was no evidence of strong winds on the surface, let alone a gale. The ship’s captain was adamant that they’d beamed him back as soon as they had realized that communications weren't working. For months, he’d undergone tests. The doctors couldn’t find a thing wrong with his head. The counselors did the best to reconcile his memories and feelings. It was all chaulked up to stress induced hallucinations. No one believed his story. No one believed that the wind spoke to them. That it told them to kill. The only thing they all could agree on was that Wes Greaves was the only survivor of Telstrus III. The gentle warm breeze ruffled his hair again and Wes stood from the chair on the dock. The faint sound of whistling wind through the trees terrified him. Not bothering to reel in his line, the man left the fishing pole and retreated into the cabin. Away from the wind. Away from its insidious whisper.
    1 point
  9. Cheldon ch'Doro sat quietly reading at his desk. The standard issue office chair was sized for a regular sized Andorian, and buckled under his 350 pounds of bulky musculature. It barely came past the middle of his back when his 7'5" frame sat upright. He was busy studying a tome on Vulcan meditation, handily ported to a PADD for the convenience of the modern reader. He had become something of a spirtual seeker in the last several months. He had never been a spiritual person before Theta 122, when the Brotherhood of Thet had saved his life. He had spent much of his life in animalistic survival mode. Competing with others for scraps in the orphanage, on the streets, or in the fighting pits. The scars that decorated his blue body like a tapestry laid bare tales of violence for all to see. On the opposite side of the scale, a fortunate encounter had put him into excess and luxury body guarding a local crime lord. That too vanished, and the ensuing gang war, and prison sentence had brought him back to a more primal survival mode. His path to salvation had begun during a prison riot, which afforded him a chance at escape. A month later the cult had found him in the desert (no place for an Andorian, and much too reminiscent of his time on Telstrus 3) near the wreckage of his stolen cargo shuttle. They had saved his life. And he had thought, for a time, saved his soul. Their ascetic lifestyle actively embraced the destitution that marked his formative years, but traded the struggle against others for a real family. It likewise revealed to him how foolish and wasteful the hedonistic lifestyle he later had embraced was, and the futility of the revenge plot that had followed. The Brotherhood was gone now, it's gods proven false, but it had made an indelible mark on his soul. He would forever more be a seeker of truth. The behemoth Andorian had read more books in the last months than the rest of his life combined, each one about some spiritual tradition. He had studied dozens of them by this point. Cheldon had bought passage on this Andorian freighter to his ancestral home planet from Star Base 812. The Captain didn't seem too curious when he was handed the Latinum. ch'Doro had earned it over several months of bouncing bar. The job had been a natural fit for a man of build, skill set, and now much calmer personality. Some fortuitous gambling had added to his nest egg, and he would be comfortable for the foreseeable future, especially with the monk like lifestyle he had continued to embrace. His belly rumbled, and he ignored it, favoring his contemplation of this particular passage. When it protested more vehemently, he acquiesced, and slowly pulled his massive form into an upright standing position. Ducking low, he stepped through the door into the corridors. The mess hall was not that far away. From his own quarters he turned right and walked about 15 meters, before taking a right down a t-intersection. On the left, another 40 meters were the doors that opened into the mess hall. It seemed more crowded than usual, and after replicating a very simple plate of Andorian tubers and bread, he was forced to set at an already occupied table. Not only did his unusual size make him stand out, but the fact that he was a passenger. Everyone else at this table were wearing their navy blue work jumpsuits, while he was in black leather boots, blue jeans, and a white tank top. Worse yet, the Andorians at this particular table might even be an established quadruple, as there were two masculine, and two feminine ones, and they each acted very familiar with the rest. Cheldon spoke up "I hate to interrupt, but mind if I take a few of the empty seats?" There really was no other place to sit for someone his size. The four looked between themselves, and finally, one of the feminine ones spoke, the taller of the two. "I think we can make room." The masculine ones scooted closer together and let the stranger in. The shorter male, with his round face, decided that he wanted to befriend the mysterious giant stranger. "We've all heard about the tall passenger. But this is the first time any of us have ever seen you." Cheldon looked over, and down, craining his head. "You've probably heard that I only come out of my quarters to eat, and that I always sit alone, then," the giant retorted. The other male, several inches taller, with a pointier chin, chimed in "Our husband didn't mean to be rude, he's just a friendly, and curious type." Cheldon shaked his head "Yeah. Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude, either. I'm Cheldon." The taller male replied again "My name is Vart, he's Raf, she is Dagy, and she is Sinena. It's nice to meet you, Cheldon. So you are going home?" The big blue monstrosity shrugged "I guess you could call it that. I've never been to Andoria." Simena, the shorter of the women spoke "You grew up on a colony?" Cheldon simply shrugged heavily "Who I was before us dead. I don't like to talk about him, sorry." It was true, the Brotherhood, false as it turned out to be, had fundamentally changed him. Seeing as he wasn't contributing much to the conversation, his new acquaintances went back to conversing amongst themselves. This was fine by Cheldon, and it gave him time to return to his meal. He paced himself, eating his humble plate in a manner that was befitting of an ascetic. He let them talk, hut his thoughts returned inward, until one particular phrase caught his ear. Telstrus 3. He looked up, suddenly, as if he been violently roused from a deep slumber. "Telstrus 3?" He asked, in a startled tone. His visit there had been unbearable. Dagy, responded "Yeah. A family friend of my parents is moving there." Cheldon frowned deeply, his huge face full of disapproval. It had been 14 years ago. In the middle of the violent gang war that had ultimately landed him in prison. The cousin of the man who had tried to kill his employer ran a drug ring there. The targeted assassination at his remote outpost went smoothly, and they began their trek back to the shuttle. They had stashed their landing shuttle in the desert, a desert, and a cave that he would be reminded of later, when he joined The Brotherhood. They were a mere mile out, and Cheldon, with his artic loving physiology, was already miserable. Sweat flooded his body, and ran down his face, stinging his eyes like an angry hornet. A breeze kicked up from over some far off dunes, and it seemed to bring respite, but it did not in fact bring respite. The wind continued growing in intensity, and they had walked directly into a sandstorm. Fine particles of eroded rocks flew against every exposed millimeter of skin, sand blasting each of them. To make all of this worse, it was blowing in from the direction of their destination, trying to push them backwards. The sand was so thick that they could no longer see, and Cheldon chided himself for not packing sunglasses. He heard a voice shouting, it was Ving, a former Romulan soldier that had joined his former employer half a decade before he had. "Role call!" "Here," Cheldon called out when he heard his name. They pushed on, taking role on the fives. Each of them being constantly set upon by blasts of sand trying to strip their skin. Cheldon couldn't see, but as it grew even louder, and the atmospheric pressure changed noticeably, he was sure that a dirt devil was passing near them. This had to be the most miserable experience he had had since he almost died in the fire, and began thinking about the Hell the Nuns had preached at him in the orphanage. He almost didn't hear the role call. When the wind did die down, the cave was no where in sight, and it took them hours of back tracking to locate it. Fortunately, no one seemed to have found them to make them answer for the killing. Cheldon looked askance at the woman named Dagy. "It's no place for an Andorian." She quirked a brow at the stranger. "Is that so?" He nodded "It's enough to make an Andorian hate a cool breeze in the desert."
    1 point
  10. Standing on the cliffs East of Kinsale, Aine looked out over the Celtic Sea. This was the first time visiting since leaving Starfleet just two months earlier. She loved visiting this place as a child, but after all she'd been through, those memories seemed as though they belonged to someone else. The sea was rough and near black from the thick grey clouds that hovered low. Her black hair, now with a few streaks of grey, was much longer now and whipped about by the heavy winds. She used to love standing in this very spot, smiling when looking out into that same wind. It was hard to imagine that feeling now. The wind once felt like adventure. Like those tall ships she'd read about as a child. Wind was what was out there in the distance, calling to you. But now it felt like the darkness. Confusion. Fear. It felt cold. Not the cold you feel on your skin, but the cold that cuts deep to your core. From her first assignment on, danger seemed to be a common theme in Aine's career. Many times she'd been in situations that seemed hopeless. Often outnumbered and pinned down, they narrowly escaped, time and again. They were nothing if not resourceful. She'd seen fellow crewmen injured and killed, but that wasn’t what finally did it. She closed her eyes as the wind seemed to howl louder in her ears. On this last mission, the small team had been called upon to rescue another lost team. It wasn't the first time, rescues seemed routine anymore. But when they arrived, things were not as they seemed. It was not a rescue as much as a recovery. The team they had been sent to rescue had been killed in ambush. And the same awaited them. By the time “contact” had been called, two of their six team members were down and the rest were scrambling for cover. Seconds later, two more were dead and Ranlard, the fresh ensign, lay injured. Aine opened her eyes and looked out to the sea again, it had grown darker. She thought about Starfleet. How when she was a new Ensign, the idea of adventure, discovery, and exploration was everything. With war looming, things changed. Starfleet changed. She could feel the weight of that change in her chest now. She closed her eyes again, taking in the cold air. Aine had been fortunate. She was able to retrieve Ranlard and they made their way into the trees. They found a small hide. They were surrounded. They could hear the sounds all around them. An unknown and unseen enemy in the night who wanted nothing more than to kill them all. Footsteps on leaves and crackling sticks. Whispers in a language they couldn't understand. Before the sounds of around could disappear in the distance, they disappeared with the wind. A storm was brewing. The night seemed to last forever and there was no way of knowing now if the threat was gone. Aine and Ranlard hunkered down and tried to keep each other warm. Every time he tried to speak, she hushed him. Neither dared use their communicators for risk of being heard. The best they could hope for was that Starfleet would send help. Time wore on and soon the storm was passing, the wind died down. But it seemed as though her teammate’s fate was tied to the wind. By the time the calm came for the storm, he had died, right there in her arms. It wasn’t until morning that help came. Time was moving fast now. On the shuttle going back, Aine couldn’t look anyone in the eye. She felt as though someone had been careless with their lives. Her eyes opened, her hair whipped across her face as she once more looked out to the ever darkening sea. The solace she was seeking wasn't here, in this place. She turned to go back down the path. She couldn’t let herself wait for the winds to die down.
    1 point
  11. It was a routine arrest mission - Tiria's squad, sometimes nicknamed the Flying Squad for how often it traveled across the sector, was sent to Telstrus 3 to arrest a rogue scientist. Dr. Alfred VanBuren, a weapons scientist, had been trading weapons with the Cardassians, which was fine, if he had a license and was trading export-approved weapons. He was not, and some of the weapons were illegal even to own in the Federation for *Starfleet*. The black haired woman looked at the planet, and was frowning. Telstrus 3, an older Federation world, had a standard climate control system, and she looked at the Constable handling the sensor readout. "Constable Lain, that weather looks.. unusual. Can you check the functioning of the climate control system and if it'd be safe to fly through it?" She requested, the precise Federation Standard accent still unusual in her ears, no matter how long she had practiced to arrive at it. "Yes, Detective-Inspector." The petite Andorian worked the panel, then frowned. "Ma'am, there's an odd interference. There-" A flash in the screen distracted the five man squad, and a beam from somewhere in the southeastern archipelago struck a satellite, then another, then another. The pilot of the shuttle, a Benzite, cursed, and rapidly moved away from orbit, but Tiria only had eyes for a rapidly forming mega hurricane, dominating the southern continent and spreading, with a gigantic eye. Another, Kazri, an Andorian sergeant sitting at the comm panel, cleared his throat, with a bit of a shaky voice. "We're detecting a message from the archipelago. It's our scientist, and this is apparently a test of a new weapon he's developing - one that can devastate worlds. If we don't guarantee him safe passage to neutral space, he says he placed a virus in another world that would do the same. Distress signals are spreading across the planet." Tiria took a deep breath, as she was the commanding officer on scene, and needed to prune a few options. "Send a signal to the USS Illinois, with a status report and include the message. Can we destroy the climate control system?" While that wasn't technically normal operations for Federation Security, she was trained - especially after the Siege of Resilion IV - to take more aggressive actions. Lain shook her head. "The interference would scatter our phasers - we'd need the power of a starship. Also, we can't destroy enough before the hurricane would reach the size of a continent. Whatever he's done.. we'll need a science ship to figure out." Tiria suspected that was the only reasonable explanation, but she could see with the magnification the sensors were providing them, the *350 km/h* winds tearing apart even reinforced structures. And sensors were suggesting that it was still increasing. Lain frowned. "But.. it looks like this requires a constant signal, and if we can cut it off.." The Andorian paled Tiria took a deep breath. "He'd likely trigger the second system, and without knowing where it is, we can't act." The words were ashes in her mouth. "Priority One distress signal, get Starfleet on scene now, and alert Federation Security." She looked at the strengthening hurricane destroying towns and houses across the continent and had to fight to keep her voice steady. "If anything comes up where we can stop this madness, tell me." The shuttle fell into deathly silence, as all of them silently witnessed the destruction.
    1 point
  12. Mercifully alone after hours in sickbay, Geoffrey John Teller stood in his quarters and wept openly for the first time in his adult memory. Wracking sobs shook his torso as he supported himself with one hand against the bulkhead, peering through tears at the indifferent stars beyond the viewport. He’d maintained his composure through all the debriefings and the mandatory counseling sessions but now, in the safety of solitude, Geoff let the feelings he’d been tamping down pour out unfiltered. Tears ran down his face and onto his uniform unchecked as the events replayed in his mind once again. It started, as it always started...with the children. Their smiling, delighted faces. Their giggles and laughter. Their pure, innocent wonder. Their screams of terror. Geoff tried to shake the memory away but it would not be restrained anymore and he collapsed to his couch, hunched over with head in hands. A renewed series of sobs made his entire body shudder. It was several minutes before he could compose himself, and even then he was far from settled. His mourning had given way to a fierce anger every bit as unrestrained as his grief. With a hoarse bark he called out to the computer, his mind growing dark with increasingly violent thoughts. “Give me all the atmospheric surveys conducted on Telstrus 3 prior to beam down, along with the names of every officer and crewman responsible for their research. Someone is going to pay for this if it’s the last thing I do.” The computer's polite request to have him restate his query led to a shattered display and four broken bones in Teller’s right hand, although he didn’t know that. At the moment, the pain was strangely satisfying and helped focus his incoherent rage down to a fine, precise edge. He dug into the research for almost two hours as his hand throbbed and discolored, subsisting on a diet of cold coffee and even colder rage, but he came away with his answer. “Lieutenant Kowalski, report to my quarters, now!” The comm successfully conveyed the acid in his words because moments later his door chime rang. “Get in here and stand at attention, Mister.” Geoff’s tone was harsh, his quarters a mess and his own appearance far from uniform standard, but none of that mattered to him at the moment. The sole thing on Geoff’s mind was justice but at this point he’d happily settle for a violent measure of revenge. “Lieutenant Koawlski reporting as ordered. Sir, may I speak freely?” The tension in Koawlski’s voice was thick enough to land a shuttle on, but Geoff wasn’t in a mood to be compassionate. “No you damn well may not, Lieutenant. And I thought I told you to stand at attention!” Kowalski’s already rigid posture became ramrod straight, their unblinking eyes fixed on a far off point on the bulkhead. Geoff finally turned his attention away from the console and stood, closing the distance to Koawlski until they were nose to nose. Geoff’s eyes were frantic, red and bulging. A passing medical officer could have checked his blood pressure from the hallway. “Lieutenant, I am going to ask you a series of questions and you are going to respond Yes Sir, Commander Sir or No Sir, Commander Sir. Is that absolutely clear?” Geoff’s tone made it clear what answer he expected. “Yes Sir, Commander Sir.” To Koawlski’s credit, they weathered this volcano of rage without flinching. “Good. Were you the planetary meteorological officer on duty when we arrived at Telstrus 3?” Geoff knew the answer but he needed to hear the man say it to his face. To admit it was him and not some incomprehensible computer error. “Yes Sir, Commander Sir.” Again, it was the answer Geoff had expected, and it did nothing to quell his anger. “Were you responsible for preparing the atmospheric survey the Captain used to judge the coordinates of our beam down?” “Yes Sir, Commander Sir.” “When the Captain asked you to prepare that survey, were his instructions in any way unclear or subject to misinterpretation?” “No Sir, Commander Sir!” “Do you consider yourself competent at your duties, Lieutenant?” “Yes Sir, Commander Sir!” “In that case, Lieutenant, perhaps you’d like to explain why the Thor’s first children's kite flying contest was such a massive disaster?!” “Sir, I...the wind...it was supposed to be gentle...favorable...nothing in our models suggested hurricane force wind gusts!” “Perhaps you’d like to explain that to seventy-three primary school children who just saw two months of their hard work turned into high altitude confetti while they suffered scrapes and boo-boos the likes of which I’ve never seen!” “Sir, I can’t...I...I’ll resign...or...or you can file charges...you can’t possibly….” “Oh yes I damn well can, Lieutenant. As of now, you are assigned to serve as a class mascot until such time as I feel you’ve learned an important lesson.” Kowalski’s voice went up several octaves in shock. “But Sir!.....” “But nothing, Mister. Now get into that Flotter costume and get down to Deck 12. Those kids are getting blankies and juice boxes and they expect a visit from their new pal real soon....” Kowalski sputtered in incoherent shock but retreated in defeat, leaving Geoff alone again in his quarters. He’d always loved the wind but after today...he’d never be able to think of it without remembering Telstrus 3.
    1 point
  13. "I always loved the wind… ...until that mission on Telstrus 3." They were visiting Betazed this shore leave, an unexpected treat for sure. Her father was pleased to hear about her surprise visit, and while she knew her mother would be busy back on Earth, there was still a twinge of regret there, along with her brother out on his own mission amongst the stars. As such, she dressed in her favorite pink summer dress, her blonde hair flowing free today, under a beige wicker hat with a bow on it. The walk to the greenhouse was never long, just enough to get the mind wandering about, but not enough to tire her out. At least not now that she was older and no longer smaller than her kneecap whose steps equaled to that of three adult ones. A knock at the door before she pushed it open. "Dad?" "Corliss!" She heard a distant crashing and couldn't help but let out a small sigh of a laugh, shutting the glass door behind her. Plants upon plants upon plants surrounded her, creating their own version of a rainforest, one might say. One ivy crept along the top of the roof, and a tall tree bearing fruit that glowed blue caught her eye as her father appeared. "You've grown!" "You say that every time!" He had his arms open and she couldn't help to walk into the hug being gifted, both of them squeezing as hard as possible, feeling her ribs creak and she had to smack his back, laughing. "Let go, hah!" "Fine, fine!" He did, albeit one hand remained on her shoulder, a happy goofy grin remaining on his face that was echoed back on hers. "My, it has been a long time, hasn't it? Oh, where's that boy you wanted me to meet?" And there it was. It made her face heat up and she sighed, shaking her head, arms crossed. "Dad, I'm not a little girl anymore. He's not a boy. He's a Starfleet officer as well, you know. Medical." "What a field to go into! Mind you, I can't say anything," he laughed, his hands now on his hips, looking as always over the top, his glasses shining in the light like one of those cartoony villains. "I remember taking that course of study for half a semester! Never could wrap my mind into the whozits and whatsits, so good show on him!" She couldn't help rolling her eyes, snickering. That was just her dad, being his usual self really. She'd been told they were so alike it was scary but she didn't see it. She had no green thumb and he was all green thumbs...so, yeah, she didn't see it. "Anyway, we thought we'd go into town and eat, it's kind of our thing," she grinned. "There's a place I promised to take him that has that sweet tea that's a bright green, remember? The uttaberry chai." "Yes yes, your mother adores it, although I think she likes it more for the decorations, I think," he nodded. "Well, let me finish up here and we'll get our wheels rolling!" With a tap to her shoulder, he was off back to wherever the crashing had come from. She shook her head with a laugh, leaning against the doorframe for a moment with a sigh. It was colder than she remembered, or maybe, she was used to the ship being warmer. In fact, she regretted not lugging along a thin jacket. The mountains made everything feel just that much...heavier? Plus the snow in the winter, the sadness when the plants would inevitably die, the refreshing spring or fall weather... The sun was beaming down now, warming her up through the glass of the greenhouse. Honestly, it was such a beautiful day. Perhaps she could convince both of them to go out and walk around the central plaza, the hedges always made such a wonderful maze... "And I am ready, dear daughter!" He skidded back into view with a grin, this time wearing a checkered shirt and slacks, plus his mirrored glasses of course. She shook her head, smiling. "Way to make an impression, Dad." "Why of course! Who did you think you got your sense of fashion from?" ...she was not going to answer that. Instead, she opened the door with a sweeping arm. "After you, dear father." "Why thank you, dear daughter," he playfully bowed, she bowing back, both of them cracking up in laughter. Two steps out the door, the wind picked up. "And you see, I thought I could make-Corliss?" The wind whistled around the greenhouse, her hair picking up along with it like fingers sliding through the strands, her hat tilting as she froze in place. "Corliss?" The wind whistled angrily, more a shriek of anger than a simple whistle, the rain pelting on them from the clouds above. "To the cave!" came a voice, she knew the voice, she did, but she couldn't place them amongst the terror of the storm. "We'll be safe there, go, go!" "I..." She could feel her breath pick up, catch in her throat like someone reaching out and squeezing it tightly, her heart hammering behind the bones that kept it safe. She fell in the mud, one hand sinking lower than what she felt was safe, shouting out in pain from the jerk of her wrist. Lightning cracked across the sky, the wind gearing up into the shrieking crescendo that only toddlers could ever seem to reach, and just as she pushed herself up, her eyesight swinging up, a large tree branch was sent flying her way. "COR-" "-liss?" A touch to her shoulder had her jerking, blinking furiously as she stared at her dad, who frowned back at her. "Are you alright? You've got your net up," he tapped at his temple. "...just....habit," she mumbled, staring up at the blue, empty sky. "Lots of people onboard value their privacy." It took a moment, but he pulled his hand away, nodding quickly, a simple smile on his face. "Right! Right, yes, that whole...keeping to oneself thing." "..." she shook her head quickly, pretending to brush a stray hair away from her cheek and clearing her throat before smiling. "Well, we're late, I suspect, we should go." He sighed, doing that full-body sag as animatedly as he did every action that continuously surprised her. "You and your mother are so very alike, do you know that?" "What!" she squeaked out, for a moment brought out of those dark, painful memories. "We are not!" "You are indeed!" He laughed, turning around to start down the path once more, and her jogging after him huffing and puffing. "Neither of you are very good about talking about yourselves." Oh. Well. He had her there. She winced, looking away, the hat tilting as if to hide her face from him. "There's not much to talk about. Just the usual...death-defying missions and all," she laughed uneasily, letting it trail off as the soft wind died down, leaving her arms covered in bumps of skin. "I'm not so sure why everyone is so okay with that," he said, lightly. "I've never enjoyed my children close to death, after all." "It's just how Starfleet is, Dad. Traveling...seeing things...doing things..." dying a few times, being yanked into an alternate reality where everyone she knew and loved was de- "How exhausting," he sighed, a hand touching his temples as he shook his head, grimacing again and making her laugh. "And to think, you've not told me about a single mission so far! Here I am, left to float about the days, alone as ever," he sighed louder, his arms dangling like a dramatic teenager, and her face hurt from smiling so hard. "Aw, Dad, don't be like that," she bumped his shoulder playfully, smiling. "I tell you things. Boss, on the other hand..." "Your brother is so secretive, shhh!" He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, a finger to his lips with a giant grin. "Wouldn't want the neighbor boy to hear his dastardly plans and reveal them to the cats!" She burst out into a laugh, swatting at him and they both started to laugh harder, their eyes clouding over from their joy as she leaned on him again, wheezing with laughter. "That's horrible and you know it! It's protocol!" "It's mildly ridiculous!" he grumbled, his hand making motions in the air before he let it dropped, letting them walk in the easy silence for a moment. "But that's what it was, right?" "...huh?" "A mission," he said. "Something happened last time, yes? Your face turned white, and normally you do that around blood." How could he know her so well? He did raise her, after all, so maybe that was part of it. She let out a very long sigh, the kind that leaves one exhausted but weightless, as if the suitcases of stress were let down and they could lie on the ground for a little while. "...yeah. A mission." He nodded, but didn't continue. They walked some more, turning the corner of the trail onto the concrete of the road. She cleared her throat, the small hubbub of the town echoing around them. "Remember when I was little, and I liked storms?" "Yes!" he laughed. "You were such an interesting child! You'd open your window at night and your room would be soaked but you loved the chaos of the night!" he laughed harder, patting her back almost a little too heavily. "Your brother told you one day you'd be taken away by the wind, and you believed him for a little while." "Mmhmm." There had always been something about storms that entranced her, the way the rain poured, the way the wind howled and squealed, arching around the mountains and bringing blasts of cold with it. "I always loved the wind... ...until that mission on Telstrus 3." The tree limb smashing into her, the wind giving it enough gust to force her back, her feet scrambling at the ground for purchase. All she could do was hold onto the tree branch as it continued to fly, the wind giving it assistance, her heart nearly smashing its way out of her chest from fear and adrenaline mixing together- "I guess the mountain wind just...it made me think of it," she shifted her hat back a little, smoothing out her bangs fussily. "But I'll be fine. Like always." "Hmm," he had his hand on his chin in thought. "You should-" "Dad," she interrupted with a flat glance, "if you say 'talk to your mother', I will tell them not to let you have cake." "So cruel!" he groaned, shaking his head with a sigh. "No, not your mother. You should talk to the counselor." "I am the counselor," she laughed. "Remember? I called you all and told you? It's been what, three years? You can't-" "That's not what I mean," he set his hand on her shoulder again, that soft half-smile where he was trying very hard not to insult her or hurt her feelings, while at the same time telling her something that she probably didn't want to hear, "that Carys woman, she's onboard too? And Vatta?" "Vaala, Dad." "Ah, her! The enthusiastic learning protégé!" He sighed, still smiling. "They're not just there to exist around you, dear. They're there to help as well, even if Vaala is only just stepping into the profession." He...also had a point, although she didn't want to accept it. Perhaps he was right, she and her mother were quite similar in that. Corliss didn't bring up anything, and her mother acted like everything was okay with herself. Or, she'd never told Corliss if she'd ever had counseling herself. Rather, it was always a storm of mystery about her, an outsider with only the most distant of relations. She rubbed her neck, smiling. "Yeah, Dad. I'll do that." "Alright then, now let's go see this boy that's so taken your eye!" She let out a very low sigh, an amused smile on her face. He just could not help calling Loxley a 'boy', could he? Then again, Dad was at least three times their own age, so it wasn't too weird for him to see them all as children. The wind picked up again, a few crinkly leaves skittering down the road, a few small children laughing as they ran by them. Her hair ruffled with it, slipping over her shoulders, the bumps of skin ghosting about her shoulders fast as wildfire. She clenched her hands, swallowed, and started walking again, content to once again ignore the behemoth waiting in the wings.
    1 point
  14. While I went with one of the choices, I wouldn't mind seeing a spin-off type series told from the perspective of one of the other races (Romulans, anyone? - big surprise I would go that way, I know). It might be interesting to see the other side of the story.
    1 point
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