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Quinn Reynolds

Executive Council member
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Quinn Reynolds last won the day on July 16

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About Quinn Reynolds

  • Birthday 05/04/1981

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    USS Gorkon
  • Current Post
    Commanding Officer

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  1. I really loved this sim! The insights into Meru's current state of mind completely captured me, and the beautiful and thoughtful world-building around Iyira was just fantastic; so many evocative details that really brought the city to life. Such a wonderful read. 💖 ((Emerald Reef Hotel, Deluvia IV)) Tahna Meru was awake. Tahna Meru was a Starfleet scientist. Tahna Meru was reciting these affirmations over and over in her head as she stared at the colorful schools of fish outside her bedroom window, coming down from the panicked high of another Skarbek nightmare. She counted the affirmations on the seaglass beads on her touristy twine bracelet. Awake. Starfleet. Awake. Her heartrate eventually slowed and she let go of the bracelet. She had planned to do something today, what was it? She pulled up her notes from the night before on her PADD -- explore Iyira, right. On the surface, the idea of exploring an underwater city seemed weird and dangerous, but she reasoned it was no different than living in space and anyway her underwater hotel room hadn't drowned her yet. And hadn't she joined Starfleet to explore strange new worlds? So far the strangest world she'd explored was Earth, everything since then had been a kidnapping or a nightmare. So Iyira it was. Her hair was still braided into a crown from the day before, mostly because she was too lazy to do anything else with it at the moment. She threw on a pair of sandals and a loose green dress she'd bought on Bajor, before the Academy. Before she signed up for a lifetime of trauma. Joining Starfleet was beginning to seem like a pretty bad decision. Iyira wasn't far, close enough for a Selkie or anyone else with the proper skills and gear to swim comfortably. Meru was not equipped with the proper skills or gear, so she had the option of transporting down to the city or taking one of the public submarines that shuttled back and forth from the Lagoon she was staying at to the capitol. She opted for the sub. Maybe she'd take a transporter back to her room, but she might as well take the scenic route to get there. They passed over the reef and dove along a path marked with anchored, floating lights. Just outside of the marked path she saw a colorful group of Selkies swimming -- their equivalent of going on a jog, she supposed. The submarine passed myriad schools of fish eventually stopping at a landing to let its passengers off into part of the city full of breathable air made possible by the force fields holding back tons of salt water. ((Iyira, Deluvia IV)) It was breathtaking. She followed the passengers from her sub down the footpath until it widened to reveal a city. She hadn't been expecting underwater skyscrapers -- what would a skyscraper that doesn't reach into the sky even be called, anyway? -- or as many colors of buildings as there were colors of coral. Where was she going again? She pulled up the map she'd downloaded to her PADD the night before -- Ichiya Market, maybe eight blocks away, though the city architecture flowed so gracefully she wasn't sure "blocks" was the right term either. She oriented herself and set off through the city toward the market, avoiding the roads that dove into water for the amphibious residents. She was nearly there when she saw someone she recognized from the Gorkon. She thought briefly about ducking her head and avoiding her, but her therapist wanted her to try making more friends. He had pointed out that they had all been through the same trauma so there was no need for her to feel different and shut herself off from them, and hopefully she would be on the Gorkon a good while longer and she should know the people she was working and living with. So she took a deep breath, rubbed the bracelet on her wrist, and smiled and waved. Tahna: Hello! Namura: Response Tahna: I was heading to this market-- Ichiya Market? You're welcome to join me. Namura: Response -- Ensign Tahna Meru Science Officer USS Gorkon (NCC-82293) G239801TM4
  2. Thank you to everyone involved for another fantastic ceremony, and another fantastic year! I'm so grateful to be a part of this wonderful community, and here's to another year of adventures and wonder!
  3. Congratulations, everyone! Thank you all so much for everything you do! 💖
  4. Congratulations @Wes Greaves and @Hutch! You wove a pair of fantastic stories that kept me hooked until the end, and I loved them both. And thank you to our judges and fellow writers! There were so many fantastic entries this year, it really was wonderful reading through them all, and we appreciate the time our judges spent considering each one. 💖
  5. "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.
  6. These are my favourite uniforms! In my opinion, the best uniforms definitely came out of the movies--both the red jackets from Wrath of Khan and the grey-yoked shoulders from First Contact. ❤️
  7. ((Counselling Suite, Deck 7, USS Gorkon)) Trepidation forming like a stone icicle in the pit of her stomach, Jo Marshall, ever the effective evader of most things emotionally explaining, slipped into the Counselling Suite with her hands clasped behind her back. Some while since she’d last had anything that approached near to counselling, despite sending new Ensigns and fellow officers off for their heads to be shrunk, the guilt of that hypocrisy had finally reached a little pinnacle and toppled over, which led to Jo standing there, which led to Jo feeling uncomfortable. An appointment made with the bubbly Counsellor, Jo pressed the button for the contact on the side of the door. Fortune: Come in! Inside was the usual style of Corliss’ office, various colored chairs, her plant at its home on a shelf, and herself settled in a seat with a PADD, one leg slightly bouncing. Fortune: Jo! It’s nice to see you. Marshall: You too, Corliss. Feels like it’s been an age. The blonde took a quick glance around the counselling office, a representation of the internal workings of their unique counsellor. Fortune: Well, it feels like decades between missions sometimes. It’ll take a bit for my internal clock to reset itself. She chuckled, sweeping a loop of pink hair back behind her ear, gesturing at a chair. Fortune: Come, come, sit, sit. Need anything to drink? Leaving the safety of the doorway behind, Jo walked inside and took up a seat where instructed. Ever comfortable on a ship she knew like the back of her hand, coming for an appointed talk was something that set her on a bit of an edge. With a heavy exhale, Jo relaxed into the chair and smiled. Marshall: Coffee would never go amiss, but I think I’ll go for green tea, this time please. Influence of the better half. Fortune: Strangely, I’m not at all surprised Erin drinks tea. Some people have that feel to them, I suppose. Anything added to it? Marshall: I’ll take it how you have it. ::Said with a grin.:: Show me the ways of the tea. Fortune: A roommate showed me the glory of a dab of honey inside, and I’ve never gone back. Corliss happily replicated them a pair of cups of tea, slipping the steaming cup onto the table between them towards Jo. Her own cupped into her hand, the steam warming her face a little as it curled up. Across from her, the blonde picked up the mug and cradled it in her hands; the little warmth was welcome. Fortune: So! Here to chat things out, I take it? Marshall: If you’re willing to have your ear bent in all kinds of directions. I’m not one for sticking to a particular topic when the flood gates open. Fortune: Everyone likes a listening ear, sometimes just as a sounding board, or just to reason things out to themselves. ::she cooled her tea with a breath, taking a sip.:: If walls could talk, I’m sure they’d report me to Quinn for losing my common sense...and, sometimes, a random object. They always end up on the dresser… Marshall: Always the dresser. Or the coffee table. I’m half convinced there’s a blackhole down the back of the sofa that just randomly drops things back onto various bits of furniture from pockets. Sipping at the warm tea, Jo relaxed a little further into the chair. Never one to sit in a chair like a normal person, she tucked a leg underneath her and leaned to one side. This was just a conversation; nothing to worry about, no hidden depths to probe, no hidden meanings to discover. Just a conversation with a friend over tea. Marshall: It’s been a while since I’ve sat down for this, you know. Last time wasn’t long after we came back from Over There. I’m a bit rusty. Fortune: Momentum is a funny thing like that. Once you get going, there’s no stopping. Marshall: I’ve never found it easy to do, not about me anyway. ::She hazarded a smile, motes of nerves threading through it.:: People can be usually persuaded to talk about themselves more. Anyone who does find this kind of thing easy to do are right up there with those who eat salad for breakfast. Fortune: ::she wrinkled her nose at that thought.:: Salad? I’m more of a waffle person. ::she grinned.:: Actually, a lot of people find it hard to talk about themselves. They’re not sure what to say, or how to say it, until they’re asked questions or something pertains to their interests. Nodding, Jo dropped her gaze to the tea in her mug, floating there without a care in the world. Marshall: What do you suggest? Fortune: Well, your bike...or talking about Erin...oooorrr maybe something you’ve done on shift lately? Maybe anything with the recent mission…? Jo pursed her lips for a moment, teeth chewing on the inside of her cheek, mind revolving around several things simultaneously. Despite the appearance of being as shallow as a teaspoon sometimes, there were hidden depths in there, as deep as the oceans of the planet revolving beneath them, as expansive as the space around them. Marshall: I’m finding it harder to… ::The false start didn’t help and she rolled her eyes at herself.:: Do you ever find yourself so angry with someone it just sits there? Fortune: Ah, stewing anger? ::she popped her lips in thought.:: Sometimes, if I’m frustrated. It’s a normal response to certain events, but it’s not healthy to keep it rolling around like a hot ball in a pan, you know? Marshall: I’m aware completely ignoring these issues is an unhealthy coping mechanism, ::she took a sip of tea and exhaled,:: so I’m ignoring that fact, too. Fortune: Ignorance may be bliss, but only up until whatever it is sideswipes us across the face. The young blonde exhaled again, this time through her nose as the tea mug came down away from her lips and rested in her lap. On the out breath, her shoulders relaxed and she willed her heart to stop beating so fast, like a drum behind her ribs, solid and consistent. Marshall: I— ::She bit her lip at the false start again and closed her eyes.:: When we were trapped in the dreamworld, ‘Kos and Erin did a mind meld to get back and wake the Admiral up. They… I don’t know, merged minds? Is that a thing Betazoids can do? Fortune: Not…::she paused, as if trying to work through her words.:: Not...really...in a way. Marshall: It’s a difficult one to explain, ::she exhaled with a self-deprecating smile,:: I’ve thought about this in so many ways. Is it like how Vulcans share their melds? Like how Deltans do? Or something else entirely. Fortune: Not like Vulcan melding, in...a way. So. ::She sighed, raising her hand up, then placing it back down in thought.:: So there is something, like bonding, but it’s not something any one Betazoid can do on their own. A blonde eyebrow raised as Jo took a sip of warm, fragrant tea, enjoying the soothing effects of it more than anything else, though still surprised she hadn’t tried to drown in the contents of the mug. Marshall: You guys do this in groups? Fortune: Oh you need priestesses, some people from the Houses to stand over and ensure all goes well. ::she flittered her fingers in the air.:: But not like how Vulcans can...reach in and grab someone’s mind. I...suppose our difference would be like...well, like a river. ::she placed her cup down, lacing her fingers together.:: With Vulcans, they’re fisherman. They can reach in, grab up someone’s thoughts, and physically touch them. With us, or rather, in my experience, it’s like...grazing the river. You can touch the river, but not the fish. Marshall: And you make a bond with the river or the fish? ::She scratched at her cheek with a slender finger, confusion bouncing around on her features.:: I’m not sure I understand. Fortune: There’s not a bond as much, unless a familial link of course. Is...there something you’re worried about for the both of them? Wrinkling her nose, Jo looked down at the liquid in the mug sloshing around as she held the vessel in her hands. That was the Skarbek; this simmering layer of viscous liquid and the rest of it beneath the surface. They were different people in there, leading different lives under different circumstances, but out of it… She chewed her lips as she looked back up at the lively counsellor and her shoulders deflated. Marshall: Yes and no, with a hefty dose of I don’t know in there, too. ::Her tongue stuck in her cheek and she exhaled heavily.:: Erin says it’s like a library in her mind; there are all these books there dedicated to Kos’ life and she could choose to read whatever she wanted, but she doesn’t. It’s a choice not to. Fortune: How intriguing to think of it like a library...and kind of her not to intrude in on his privacy. Is it the fact she’s able to access those memories…? Marshall: That she’s in that position in the first place. That she’s walking around with someone else’s every thought and memory in her head. It didn’t do anything, it didn’t change anything, it just implanted this in her head and her in his. She leaned forward and placed the mug down on the table, fingers threading into her hair as she sat back, curling one leg beneath her. Visible agitation wasn’t in Jo’s litany of behaviours and she didn’t know what to do with herself while every cell tried to vibrate on an unfamiliar wavelength. To Corliss, it was like watching sparks of electricity around a statue, shifting and crackling in equal measure. Marshall: He knows more about her than I ever will, and he knows more about me than I want anyone but her to know. Fortune: And...you don’t like that. Jo chewed the inside of her cheek as blue eyes unfocused somewhere around where the table was; the serious side of the middle Marshall brimming up to the surface through those deep layers where she kept it as buried as possible. It made her heart hurt to think about, and had done for the longest time; tarred on the inside, set aflame and left to burn. She bit her lips as the rolling urge to burst into tears in a hot ball of rage melted and stemmed. Marshall: I can’t be mad about it and I can’t even begin to talk to Erin about it. She’s the one with all of this to deal with, not me. What kind of person feels like this is anything to do with me? Fortune: A private person. A concerned one. And, it makes you human, Jo. Marshall: Does it have to? Fortune: Well, mortal, human, same? ::she laughed, shaking her head.:: All the same, it makes you a person. If there’s something besides ‘just a feeling’ that’s making you worried, for instance, some new habit she has or the like, then I’d suggest encouraging her to talk to someone about it. With a shake of her head, the young blonde lifted the mug to take a drink, thinking through the year since. Erin hadn’t changed; still as funny, unassuming and genius as ever. Jo had lost countless hours watching her talk, laugh and frown and so much love had given her the strength to seek counselling for all the anger with nowhere to go. Marshall: And if there’s not, what do you suggest? Fortune: Well...I suppose you should think about your view on privacy. A frown crested for a second and Jo leaned forward, elbows on her knees as she looked at Corliss as though self-reflection were a foreign concept. Her hand found the back of her neck, feeling coming in waves like fluctuations in temperature. Growing up in a Federation colony, the majority population Bajoran, the sharing of telepathic and empathic thoughts and feelings was a near foreign concept to her until she started seeing more of the galaxy. Perhaps picking up on the fact she didn’t know quite what to say, Corliss continued. Fortune: It wasn’t until I went to Academy that the foreign thought of someone not knowing what I was thinking, or about to do, had settled into my mind, and made me feel...alone. For some of my friends, the thought of their families being able to access and stroll through their mind like a walk in the park made them cringe. ::she shrugged, lacing her fingers together as she watched the other.:: Every feeling someone feels is valid. I do think you need to talk to Erin about this. It’s about her, and about Genkos, and about your relationship as well, and being open and honest in a relationship is something I always encourage. Nodding, as though the information had filtered through her mind and wrapped in vines around her heart, her lips disappeared behind her teeth for a second as she thought on it, then exhaled again slumping back into the chair, hands on the arms of it, fingers drumming. Talking to Genkos would be difficult, talking to Erin doubly so. Pinpricks of tears started at the corner of her eyes as her jaw clenched at the back, one long breath exhaled and she smiled; a fleeting thing that barely remained. Marshall: How are you, Corliss? I’m sorry I haven’t asked. ::Picking up her mug again, she smiled.:: Your hair looks good, as always. Fortune: Ah, do you think? ::she slipped a hand up to a stray curl, winding the pink hair in a small circle.:: I gave it all a good scrubbing on my shift off, it’s my own form of stress-relief, I suppose. ::she cracked a grin, tilting her head.:: Would you like to talk about my wigs, I take it? Marshall: I can only take so much talking about me. ::Her lips thinned into a smile that verged on the self-deprecating, or mawkish, certainly nothing joyful.:: And it’s a rare occasion we see each other; not properly since we were on Nassau playing pirates. Fortune: It’s hard talking about oneself, it’s true. We tend to prey upon our own fears and embolden them in ways that others don’t tend to see them. ::she hummed, shrugging.:: Plus, I think I made a convincing pirate captain. A chuckle through a mouthful of tea shook Jo’s shoulders and she nodded, remembering full well the destructive force that was the Captain persona Corliss had undertaken on their Nassau journey. It wasn’t the most welcoming of places; even when they’d first touched down, it was touch and go whether they would be able to stay or not, and Jo recalled trying to think of an easy escape route should it go south. Marshall: The fact that you pulled the character out of the hat with a seconds’ notice was incredible; that you kept it up while an Andorian with a mohawk asked for the docking fee was something else. I can just about remember you talking to the docking agents when we were trying to leave. Fortune: Well, I think had they pressured more questions, I might have cracked. I do like the name Marisol however, it’s very...rolls off the tongue, hm? Marshall: It does. Maybe she’ll make a reappearance one day. Their trip there had been anything but simple, and resulted in the near-death of not only the Orion trying to prevent their escape, but Jo had almost tripped the light fantastic too; sitting in the back of that shuttlecraft, preparing for the eventuality that seemed a little too inevitable. With Corliss’ quick thinking, they’d finally got free of the asteroid and back into space to meet up with the Triumphant, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Fortune: How are you and Erin? Beyond the…::she wiggled her fingers in the air.:: with Genkos, how are things when you’re together? Anything new? Any sentient plants I might need to warn the Admiral about?? ::she teased.:: Marshall: There’s always sentient plants to warn the Admiral about. ::She grinned at the mention of her partner and settled a bit further into the chair, not quite the live wire she’d walked in as.:: We’re fine, at least I think we are. She’s met my parents recently, she seems to get along with my younger brother fairly well, through a mutual love of adrenaline rushes and building things. Fortune: Ah, a pair, are they? ::she chuckled.:: It’s good they’re getting along, I know some feel anxiety over if their family will care for someone they are in a relationship with. ::she took a sip of her tea again, humming.:: Mm. So...what’s brought all this on then? Marshall: Guilt, I think. ::Her teeth chewed around on the inside of her lips, the feeling like a warm stone sinking from heart downwards.:: She’s empathic; I know she can feel it when I’m… ::Her hands made a gesture as though she were holding a lump of energy between her palms.:: A tiny ball of rage. Corliss nodded. People in a rage tended to sit like a stone around her, feeling like they were about to burn to a crisp should they continue to smoulder. It certainly was an odd feeling. Fortune: Yes. She’s most likely waiting for you to come to her about whatever it is. I’m told it’s improper to bring up someone else’s emotions if they don’t talk about it first. Jo chewed the soft fleshy bit of her cheek as she nodded slowly, trying not to imagine how hard it would be if their roles were reversed, knowing she’d be afraid of asking the question in case the answer shattered them like glass. But they were made of stronger stuff than melted sand, sustained heavier blows than an internalised quarry over a Betazoid/Deltan mind warp. As if knowing Jo needed an explanation from the part of a Betazoid, Corliss continued. Fortune: Thoughts, emotions, they’re all kept tight under lock and key. Those of us who can easily feel or read them, we try not to step into the pitfalls of privacy that others may have. ::she paused.:: It can be hard, especially if you care for them, but can’t bring it up under the pretence of privacy. Marshall: You're right. I haven't really... ::she sighed with the words,:: thought about how it feels for her. You'd think an operations officer would be half decent at communicating. ::Swallowing down a swell of emotion and ran a hand into her hair, she exhaled a laugh.:: Selfish in more ways than one. Fortune: Not selfish...well...::she gave a helpless shrug.:: It's so much easier to read someone's mind than to talk it out that speaking can oft seem straining. Speaking was often straining, especially about the tumultuous warp core performing the fusion reaction every day. Jo felt selfish, and that was the issue; at the core of herself, where her internal M/ARA drive pumped fluid around her vitals. Erin — the ichor and nectar of her life as they tried to navigate being together — was different. Part of her wasn’t human, and it was that part which made Jo’s spine tingle and flesh goose and read from her skin that crosscurrent of emotions. It was selfish that Jo had tried to hide it for so long while Erin could feel it simmering beneath. Fortune: Lots of couples dance the dance of 'do I or don't I?'. People, in general, do that as well. They don't want to talk about something, but at the same time, wish the other party just...knew what they were thinking. If you...want, there's also mediation you two could do. Marshall: As in diplomatic mediation? Fortune: Mostly I sit here as you two talk to one another, and fill the silences in-between with compliments to your uniforms for the day. ::she cracked a grin, chuckling.:: But no, some people find a serious talk daunting and having someone they can rely on, a little, to help get their words across, helpful. The thought had some merit as Jo’s blonde eyebrows furrowed in thought, winding her way through how that would work between them when a red blush caught her cheeks as she remembered how Deltans usually took their diplomatic mediation. With a grin, she shook her head. Marshall: I errr, I think it might be best if I do this one alone, Counselor if you don’t mind. Fortune: Ah, no insult taken, but it’s there if you’d like it to be. Has our talk panned out like you thought it would? ::she smiled.:: I’m told counselling can be…’an experience’. Not sure what that could entail. Marshall: An experience. ::She smiled with an exhaled laugh, heart feeling a little lighter for the moment, even if it wouldn’t last long.:: I haven’t had counselling like this for anything other than work and myself for a long time, and I’m glad it was with you. Fortune: You’re kind, Jo. ::she chuckled.:: So, what’ve you got in mind then? Marshall: Some kind of an action plan, I think. ::That was the best way she worked, after all. Give her a task list and it would all be done in no time; let her mind wander and she’d be thinking of new bike parts.:: Erin deserves an explanation and I… ::she forced the words out as they tried to stop in her throat,:: need to talk about this with her. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth having ever is, is it? Fortune: That’s how the saying goes, I believe. So! ::she clapped her hands, looking excited.:: Action plan it is! Some people find writing out what they want to say easier so that they can let it all out at once. The blonde nodded again, the process of getting her thoughts down onto a PADD to make sense of them seemed like a good idea. Seeing everything in a line would give it a priority, give it purpose, let her refine her thoughts before they came tumbling out into her partner’s lap like tribbles from an overhead storage locker. Fortune: There’s no guessing how she’ll respond, but you can take the time to craft out your beginning explanation, that way there’s no...hesitation, or fumbling for words. And then, from there, the conversation flows. Marshall: I think I might just have to do that, Corliss, thank you. ::She smiled and let out a breath to relax her shoulders again; armed with a plan, it would be easier. Armed with a plan, she could do next to anything. It was only two steps. Two steps she could do. It filled the inner cavity with a motivation; a need to press on and do it now.:: Would you… would you mind if we cut the session here and I go do just that? Fortune: Oh! Not a problem at all! ::her hands fluttered a bit in the air, although she figured Jo would want to go and get started now that she had a starting point.:: It’s always as long or as short as you prefer. If you need me, I’ll be here! Filled with the inspiration to do just that, Jo deposited the empty mug into the recycling pad of the replicator and when she returned to Corliss, it was with a growing sense of gratitude, perhaps a little bit of a high now they were finding a way through those mental blockages like her brain had started to speak in a language she understood instead of strings of curses. Fortune: As my great-grandmother would say, may fortune be with you! And probably an admonishment on not visiting more often. Marshall: Then, I’ll definitely try to. Next time, I’ll bring danishes and we can talk about my parents. ::Her lips twinged in a smile, definitely finding its way to her eyes this time.:: Thank you, Corliss. I was dreading this and… you’ve actually made me feel a lot better about it. Like I can try and do this. Fortune: I’ve never doubted you, Jo. Danishes sound very good! I’ll look forward to it. ::she grinned, pleased with how relaxed Jo looked now.:: There was a slight moment of hesitation, as if Jo wanted to say something else and just couldn’t quite bring herself to, then she smiled and shook her head. Another time, perhaps. She had other things to worry about. fin -- Lieutenant Corliss Fortune Highest Quality Counsellor Brain USS Gorkon G239510CF0 & Lt. Commander Jo Marshall First Officer USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 G239304JM0
  8. @Jalana five year buds! Congratulations all our members who achieved long service awards! @Roshanara Rahman, @Dassa Alexander-Dalton, @Nyka Wyss, what a wonderful accomplishment to be a part of our community for 10 and 15 years and how pleased we are to have to you. Well done and here's to the future! @Geoffrey Teller A good job guarantee indeed. You've absolutely earned this and I'm so pleased to see all your enthusiasm and dedication rewarded. Well done, Brian! @Alieth It's been an absolute delight meeting and chatting with you. Seeing all your hard work around the fleet, peeking at your sims and hearing your praises sung by so many others, I know you've earned this award many times over. Congratulations! @Blake I've constantly been astounded by the time, effort and dedication you put into the wiki and I'm delighted to see that it's been noticed and recognised by the fleet at large. Thank you for everything that you do and congratulations on your award! @Samira Neathler I wrote the presentation so I've said a fair bit already, but let me just thank you again for your part making the Academy such a fantastic part of our group, It's very much appreciated! ❤️ @Jo Marshall You do make Discord such a fun place to be! Thank you for all the time and energy you've poured into it all, for making me chuckle with the bots, creating all those wonderful emoji and of course encouraging so many creative efforts to the fore with the writing challenge. Congratulations! Congratulations to Karen Stendhal, @Toryn Raga, @Sheila Bailey and @Noa T'Nessa Levinson. Thank you so much for being a part of our community, bringing your creativity, joy and love for writing and Trek while facing your individual challenges. @FltAdml. Wolf I don't think I can overstate how much I admire you and everything that you do. You've been a mentor, an inspiration and hold a special place in my heart, and I'm so grateful to be a part of the community you created and champion. We owe you more congratulations and appreciations than I could ever put into words. Thank you. ❤️
  9. Quinn's rather partial to genmaicha (or occasionally, chai).
  10. This was such a fantastic mission, and it's thanks to all of you!
  11. Just to echo what others have said, it's mostly a habit/holdover from the past and you're not doing anything wrong if you don't include them in yours. When it comes to other people's, as long as you've read the sim, you aren't missing any vital information if you don't spot it. I generally feel that by the end of the post, it's self-evident when other characters are tagged, and whether the scene's finishing or continuing on -- we don't use tag/TBC on the Gorkon, and the only time I ever use TBC or fin/end is when it's a multi-part post. Putting tags in subject lines is a ship specific thing and you're always best checking with your CO/XO/mentor how to manage that, but your solution sounds reasonable and sensible to me.
  12. Hi T'Katt! You're definitely added to the group, and you should be able to send emails to it from your email address as you have been doing. If you'd like to view and/or post from the group's web interface (which is the provided link), you'll need a Google account. I believe you can create one with your existing email here: https://accounts.google.com/signupwithoutgmail You need to manually add your character's name to the subject line of your sims. So for you, you'd put something like: Cadet Dugoras - The Title of My Sim I think I've sorted your forum issue, but if you have any problems, please let me know.
  13. "Gie him strong drink until he wink,That's sinking in despair;An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,That's prest wi' grief and care:There let him bouse, an' deep carouse,Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,Till he forgets his loves or debts,An' minds his griefs no more."
  14. Andreas Katsulas forever and ever. And ever.
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