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Everything posted by Yalu

  1. @Kali Nicholotti's recent character arc has given us innumerable great reads. Through a seamless blending of recent IC events and moments from the character's backstory, I feel like I've really gotten to know Kalianna through these sims. This JP, in particular, weaves some particularly elegant narrative into the dialogue, making it a distinct pleasure to read. (OOC - Though he is not on these lists to see this note, I want to thank Steve for writing this up with me and helping me with this part of the arc. We hope everyone enjoys this contribution...) ((The Round Table, USS Excalibur - A)) Sleep in a time other than her own had been just as restless as any other, giving way to nightmares and the reflection of regrets she carried with her in her own time. The concerning part was that no doorway she had walked through as of yet had returned her to her own time again. Still, she continued to try, moving from the diplomatic offices, to the bridge, to engineering, the shuttle bays, and now to the Round Table lounge where a drink, perhaps, would help ease her mind. The doors, like all the others, parted, inviting her in. Stepping through changed nothing, and the nearly empty room told the tale of an ending that needed to happen. Outside the massive transparent aluminum windows at one end, the remnants of the anomaly known now as ‘Kali’s Scar’ drifted beautifully amongst the stardust backdrop. In front of one of those windows, in a seat facing the same, she caught a familiar face. He was older, with edges etched on his face that told of experiences she did not know about, and time she wasn’t there for, but beneath it all he was still the same man. Liam Frost. Stopping to order and grab a drink, she quietly approached the table and slipped into the chair next to him, following his gaze out into the stars. The lights flickered and seemed to brighten. The view outside suddenly shifted. The Scar was gone and in its place, the curvature of the planet below faded off into the darkness of space. It had been a long time since Liam Frost had found himself on board a Starfleet ship. And if he was being honest with himself, it had been a long time since he had been welcome on one. His uniform and pips had long since been put away, and his career as a Starfleet officer closed like a book that often seemed like it had ended too soon. But there was still a familiarity about it. The way the Stars looked through the windows of the lounge of a ship. The hum of the deckplates under his feet. And the energy of a crew going about keeping it working that was unmistakable. Nicholotti: Thank you for coming, Liam. It wasn’t often you got to thank a friend for being there to serve justice for your death. Time was fickle and she didn’t want that opportunity to fade before she’d said it. He didn't need to turn to see who was coming. Even if he wasn't here by her invitation, the voice of Kali Nicholotti was unmistakable to anyone who had spent any significant amount of time with her. And it didn't take much longer than that to pick up on the distinct difference between Command Kali and Casual Kali. He had seen both, and in many ways he was a fan of both. But in this particular moment he was glad to be dealing with the latter. Frost: It's been a long time since I was on a proper Starfleet ship. Nicholotti: I know. Kali nodded, looking down at her drink before looking over at him. It had been a very, very long time. She couldn’t help but smile, however slightly, and however etched with sadness. He looked down at his drink for a moment, reminiscing about all the times he had spent within the similar, but always subtly different corridors of various vessels. The people that he had known along the way. The people he had lost. The people he had left behind. There were entirely too many of them. Some of them he still kept in touch with, but it hadn't been the same. Frost: Not since… well… the funeral to be honest. Andrus Jaxx had been one of Liam's mentors. Along with Kali they were easily the two people most responsible for who he had become as an officer. Whether or not that was a good thing had become a subject of some debate and contention at his own court martial. And even though he wasn't an officer anymore, he felt that he owed a debt to his old friend and mentor to be there despite some of the sideways looks he got when he was there. Kali nodded. She completely understood. Though her own path had taken her back into command, it hadn’t been easy stepping foot on the bridge, let alone the bridge of the Resolution. Echoes of the voices of those long gone haunted her in ways that were more real than ever since the Q. Nicholotti: Do you ever think about returning? They were, at one point, thicker than thieves. From their jaunt in the past in Earth’s 1960’s, to their trip to Echevarria, Kali, Liam, Jaxx, Katy, and so many others...it physically hurt to know that some of those faces she would never see again. Certainly, they would never work together again. Frost: Sometimes. But that assumes they would have me back. Truth be told he missed the life he had built for himself in Starfleet. He believed in what he was doing, and in the people around him. And he was proud of what he had accomplished. Anyone in his position would have been. He was a part of shaping events that would be talked about and used as case studies in the Academy for decades. Some who reported on his last mission in Command of the Gemini would say that he threw it all away. They speculated on his motives from selfishness, cowardice, hubris, and outright malice. There was never any question that he had broken a number of Starfleet regulations. But one thing that remained consistent was his belief that he had done what was right. And as long as he could maintain that belief, he could live with himself. And so far he had done so. The details surrounding what were his final days as a Starfleet captain were a maelstrom of ambiguity. Everyone at the top had an opinion, and as usual, most of them stank. Kali hadn’t been given a say, other than to commission the Apollo with the remains of the crew and carry on. And it might have been one of the hardest things she ever had to do, had she had all of her memories intact at the time. As it were, regret gnawed at her even now, but not for the launch of the Apollo. No, she regretted not being there in the full capacity to save him. Nicholotti: What you do here...it matters too. Frost: It's not quite the same. But I have a good life here. Bajor has been good to me. He took a long sip of his drink as he looked out over the blue-green hues of Bajor's oceans. If you had asked him when he graduated from the Academy where he was going to end up, a flight instructor for the Bajoran Defense Force would probably not have been high up on the list. But it was where he was. And even though it wasn't Starfleet, it still gave him the one thing he wanted most; a sense of purpose. Frost: For what it's worth, you're part of why I'm here. I wasn't sure where I was going to go after I left Starfleet. It was the only life I'd ever known. I didn't have a backup plan. But the fact that you stuck your neck out for me… Her crystalline blues met his browns and she leaned her head to the side slightly as if asking the question. In return, she could see the churning behind his look. He paused for a moment. For a long time there had been a very clear distinction in Liam's mind between the Kali he had known and the Kali that came out of that void. He had very nearly had her arrested as an imposter the first time the blue-eyed version of the woman he had known and admired showed up on his bridge. But he had come to learn that the things that had made her who she was; the passion, the dedication, the determination, and the compassion, they were all still there in spades. She looked a little different, but she was still fundamentally the same person she had been before. And never was that more clear then when she had risked her reputation to speak up for him. And it was probably the biggest reason he wasn't halfway through a ten-year prison sentence. Frost: I figured I owed it to you to find a way to keep going. And here I am. A ghost of a grin, reminiscent of that which she used to often flash to those she knew well, danced across her face. Nicholotti: That, Liam, is a gift. For all you did for me, even after my death, I am glad I could give something back. Besides, the universe would have been a much colder place without the warmth brought to it by old friends. He deserved a fairer shot, perhaps, but fate, and the universe had a strange way of leading you home. She could still remember the young, [...]y pilot on his first days, and a much younger version of herself laughing at one who reminded her very much of her own antics. All told, they had been given something special and time had taken it away. But the end wasn’t always the end. Frost: Luckily for me the Bajorans were happy to bring someone with my experience on board. Nicholotti: Lucky for the Bajorans, someone with your experience was available. For a moment, Kali settled into silence, both comfortable next to one of her oldest and most trusted friends, and uncomfortable in knowing just how much was left unsaid. Nicholotti: For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. He wondered silently what she might have thought she had to be sorry for. Knowing her there were probably a dozen or more things that she thought were her fault, or her responsibility. Regardless of whether or not they actually were. Some of that was a natural part of the burden of command. At the end of the day, the decisions made by those under your command were ultimately your responsibility. If you didn't like the ones they made, the burden was on you to teach them better for the next time. It was a weight he was keenly familiar with. But in a much more real way, this was just Kali being Kali. She had always been the type to carry the weight of others on her own shoulders. Even to her own detriment at times. She was often utterly unable, or unwilling, to let others carry burdens she believed herself to be able to carry for them. Even when she appeared to be overestimating her own abilities. In many ways it garnered her the respect and the trust of those under her command faster than just about any other officer Liam had met. And the value of that trust was immeasurable. But it also meant that it was hard to separate oneself from the inevitable negatives that came with command. Every wound, every tragedy, was felt that much more keenly, cut that much deeper. And Liam was absolutely sure it was that same sense that had led her to sacrifice herself, rather than order a member of her crew to their death. And the uncomfortable truth was that he had at least some idea of how she felt. He had given the order for the Apollo to fire on a ship commanded by a terrorist. There were 1300 people on that ship. He lived with it because just about every regulation in the book said he had been justified in doing so, and the Board of Inquiry had agreed. What was less easy to live with was Vanessa Driscoll. He had ordered a young woman in the prime of her career on an away mission that she would never return from. She was a victim of a civil war that had started long before Liam had even thought of joining Starfleet, left on a planet that few in the Federation had ever even heard of. There was another possibility as well, though. And that was simply that she felt sympathy for him. Frost: Don't be. You did more for me than I could have ever asked. And as bad as it was, the chances of dying in the process were pretty low. The things that everyone had gone through after she had gone into the void, essentially killing herself, had left quite the storm in her wake. The fact that she stood there now was a miracle of time and the thought stream on the other side of the Scar, but it certainly had not been promised, nor part of the plan. Still, she stood by the actions. Nicholotti: I still would have done it, even knowing, but, maybe I would have walked away a little bit differently. The question hadn't been asked explicitly, but it was clearly enough implied, at least between the two of them. There were people that he could say he was closer to in some ways, but it would be a mistake to dismiss the familiarity that serving together the way he had with Kali created. And in a way, being out of the uniform made it that much easier, knowing that there were no protocols and regulations to dance around either. Being able to look back and see things for what they were, her final words to those she loved, those she respected and cared about, for everyone involved...they would have been different. She would have hugged Jaxx a bit tighter that last time, spoken softer and with more understanding to Silveira, and let everyone know just what they meant to her. Frost: Yeah, I know that feeling. Leaving behind someone who had died was never easy. It left wounds that took a long time to heal, if at all. But there was a finality to it. There was time enough to wonder what if, but no amount of wondering would change the way things were. What was often harder was the ones that were still around. He could think of a few names on that list. People that he wanted to reach out to. To explain. To apologize. To say a thousand or more words that he hadn't known how to say before. Or been too frightened to say. And if he was going to be perfectly honest, one of the biggest reasons he hadn't reached out was that he was still too frightened. Whether it was true or not, he had it in his mind that most of them wouldn't be too thrilled to hear from him. Nicholotti: And we all have our demons that we carry with us to the grave. Sometimes not even that can shed them. Frost: Well that's an uncharacteristically bleak take. Kali nodded. Perhaps it was, but no one really knew what she had been living since the Resolution’s tango with the time loop. The Kali that Liam had first gotten to know could best be described as an optimistic realist. She believed that the best outcomes were possible, but that they wouldn't happen if one wasn't prepared to work for them. She also believed in preparing for the worst outcomes as well. At least to the extent that one could prepare for such a thing. By just about any measure, Kali had been through one of the worst possible outcomes someone could experience. She had, by every existing definition, died. People generally did not come back from that sort of thing. And yet here she was. He had to assume that an experience like that would change a person, though he couldn't begin to truly fathom how. Nicholotti: Let’s just say I’ve been reliving history as of late. Her crystalline blues flicked upwards and met his eyes, holding them for a long moment. For the briefest moment, it seemed that something changed in her. He couldn't quite put into words how it looked, or even be sure if it was something he could actually see. It was as though she were somehow outside herself, as if she were looking in on this moment as an observer, or an audience member, rather than being a part of it. Perhaps that was some sort of leftover effect from what she went through in the rift. He couldn't imagine what it would have been like. He had been unconscious before. And perhaps from her perspective being dead wasn't all that different. You were aware of something one moment, then, all of a sudden, you were aware of something completely different, with little to no memory or understanding of what had happened in between those two moments. It was only the people around you who could tell you exactly what had happened in those intervening moments. And that was where things really hit you. Nicholotti: Or perhaps my sins are haunting me. Either way, it brings me peace to know you’re alright. And it did. With so many connections lost, it was a relief to know that at least one had survived. The once fresh-faced ensign-turned-captain-turned-civilian had quite literally walked through his own hell, but he was there. He was alive. He had survived just like she had, in a way. Frost: I've got more than enough skeletons to fill my closet. There was a long list of names of people he felt like he had done wrong by, that he owed an apology to. He wasn't sure how many of them would be willing to hear one from him. And to say nothing of those that weren't around to hear one even if they would. Frost: Prophets know there's enough people that I owe an apology to. Or at least a better explanation than the one I gave them. He gave her a deliberate look and raised his glass in her direction. Frost: But at least I can cross one name off that list. Kali nodded. She understood and grabbed her own glass, raising it in return. Nicholotti: One of perhaps many. Maybe you should keep going. There was something cathartic in the process of reconnecting, of speaking thoughts that had weighed heavily on the mind for years and years. When you share life, and death, with people the way that a Starfleet crew did, a bond gets built that is difficult to tear down, especially as quickly as some of the transfers come. When things happen, such as her death, that change, that transition becomes even more complicated. Second chances didn’t happen often. Frost: Well considering this one went better than I expected that it might, I might just have to. He had always found it awkward to reach out to someone that he hadn't spoken to in a while. Especially when it got to the point where he had become very aware of how long he had let things go without doing so. And all things considered, it was just about time that he found a way to get over that and start to mend some fences. Or at least offer to. And if they weren't interested in hearing him out, he could at least say that he tried. That got him a smile. The voices in the back of her mind lingered, ever threatening, but for the moment they remained quelled by a very loud, and very real voice from her past sitting right in front of her. And even with the years that had gone by, even with the history that had passed between them, there was still something worth sharing. There was still wisdom, camaraderie, and friendship. Nicholotti: Time is a fickle thing. We never really know when it’s done, but until it is, it’s never too late to start over. Her own advice resonated through her mind as the images of a painted sky danced in her mind. Tiny drops of color shared between two minds, emotions passing between barriers that didn’t really exist save for the non-telepaths reminded her of chances at life, at happiness and at love. She saw the ideas reflected in her friend’s eyes as well. He held up his glass to her once again. Frost: To new beginnings. Kali raised her glass again, this time with a broad smile. Frost: I suppose it's entirely possible I'm just in my own head about how long it's been. Drinking what was left down, Kali shook her head. Nicholotti: No, it’s been that long, but I meant what I said. It’s not too late until it’s over. Liam found it reassuring to know that at least he wasn't starting from scratch. He had begun the process a few times, though he'd done little in the way of follow-through. He had a more or less complete list of names. And had even managed to confirm that most of them were still in Starfleet. Or at least had Starfleet-adjacent careers. But that was the easy part. With eyes that fell on the planet drifting lazily beyond the window, it shocked her when it momentarily disappeared. Replaced, again, by the image of the Scar jutting across the sky, Kali’s eyes narrowed as the voices in her mind suddenly grew louder and the surrounding area grew dimmer and colder. Time was, indeed, a fickle thing. Even she understood the meaning. She closed her eyes for a long moment until the warmth returned. Frost: I hope the folks on my list share that sentiment. And when she opened them, he was there next to her again. She smiled knowingly, looking over at him. Nicholotti: Don’t waste it, Liam. Don’t waste whatever you have left. Find them, tell them. Say what you need to say. And there was the other half. The insightful and sincere Kali. The one who was, when called upon, able to make an emotional appeal that was in every way as convincing as raw Vulcan logic. It was a side of her that he always felt struck a delicate balance. He had seen it often enough to know that it was utterly genuine. But just rare enough to know just how important it was to her. Which only made it that much more convincing. He smiled again. There was a weight, small enough that he had almost forgotten he was carrying it, that seemed to drift out of the room. Frost: Hey, just because you aren't my superior officer anymore doesn't mean I don't know how to follow a sensible order. The dull roar in her head was returning and she knew something was up. The draw to find Addison was real, though she was certainly sure she had no idea what to say when she found her. Kali shook her head. She stood, moved towards him and put a hand on his shoulder. Nicholotti: Promise me you won’t be a stranger? You just need to call. I’ll be there. A whole new level of seriousness flowed through her crystalline blues as she looked at him. Her grip was perhaps a bit too tight, not wanting to let go, but knowing that time itself was messing with her. She did what she could to lock this moment, this memory up tight and keep it safe. And there it was. He knew it was coming, but it still hit him like a punch in the gut. He had told himself at least a hundred times that it was something he needed to do. But he had just as often managed to find a reason to avoid it. But it was a lot harder to ignore it when it was coming from someone else. And even more so when it was someone he admired and respected as much as Kali. They had been through too much together for that, too many times she had trusted his decisions, too many times she had put faith in him to keep everyone under her command safe, to say nothing about what she had been through herself since then. As hard as it was to hear her say it to him, ignoring it at this point would be an insult to everything they had been through together. Frost: I promise. And if you ever find yourself anywhere near Bajor, my door is open. I know a place near my house that serves a Bajoran shrimp stir-fry so good it'll make you want to move here. And then she smiled, loosening her hand slightly just before turning to go. Nicholotti: Good. I look forward to it. She might have left it at that, and walked away, but she took only one step before she stopped and turned back. Nicholotti: Liam. Thank you. For everything. Always. Liam smiled in her direction again. It was odd to have her thanking him. The way he saw it the balance of favour owed leaned heavily in her direction. He knew she would never have made anything of it, but he was quite firm in his belief that he owed her more than he could ever hope to repay. He liked to think that he had become at least a touch more humble since he had first graduated the Academy, full of bravado and with so much to prove. And one of the reasons for it was the selflessness that the crews he served with had shown. Their willingness to put themselves out for others and for who and what they believed in. Frost: it's nothing you wouldn't have done for me. For as much success as he had earned in his life, he still had trouble properly accepting genuine thanks. He made a mental note to try and work on that as well. As he watched her turn to leave, he became very suddenly aware of a weight near his chest. But unlike before, this weight was very much real rather than metaphorical. Frost: Kali? He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small datachip. She leaned her head slightly to the side and offered him a questioning look before her eyes narrowed in on the chip itself. Nicholotti: What’s this? Frost: I'm not sure what right I have to ask for favours, but maybe you could help start this whole process along a bit. The road toward absolution was a rocky one, and it was always better to travel with friends. Kali knew this first hand. Overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness as a result of her own, self-fabricated walls, she envied his strength, and certainly did not spurn his request in any way. Nicholotti: I’d be honored to. What is it? He hesitated a moment before he held out the small chip for her. He knew that once he handed her the chip, there was going to be no going back on this process. And maybe that was what he needed. Frost: It's a message for an old friend that I've been meaning to deliver. There was hesitation, but Kali understood. She gave him his time, despite the flickering of the lights. Time be damned, some things would stand its test. Her boots were planted. She would stand. Nicholotti: Who do I get it to? There was her solid agreement, her promise, to get it to where it needed to go, even before she knew where it was going. Frost: Randal Shayne. Last I checked he was the CO of the USS Arrow. He was assigned to the Gemini out of the Academy. Always took a shine to him. He kind of reminded me of… well… me. Kali couldn’t help but grin. She remembered a very young Ensign Frost, bright eyed, raring to go, confident to the hilt, complete with every bit of swagger that a good pilot should have had - and all of the skills to back it up. The raven-haired command officer had taken a liking to him immediately, having seen perhaps a bit of herself in that reflection. It must have been a pilot thing. The years had tempered him, perhaps, but the skill remained, and the experiences had shaped him into one hell of a man. Nicholotti: Full of life with a side of a pilot’s ostentation? Frost: Yeah. And also with a lot to prove. He handed over the chip, knowing that it was now officially out of his hands. It wasn't too bad. At least he knew that Randal was hoping to hear from him, which made the process easier, though slightly more embarrassing that he hadn't done so sooner. But there was nothing that he could do about it now. Taking the chip, Kali nodded an understanding. The bridges would begin their mending now, at least for him. For her...the lights dimmed slightly, momentarily, as she slipped the chip safely away. Nicholotti: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Frost: Well I gotta start somewhere. Nodding, she offered him one last, knowing smile. Nicholotti: Perhaps today we start together. Her crystalline eyes held his gaze for a moment longer than she meant to, making it hard to turn away, but she knew it was coming. It took work, but she said one final, silent farewell to her old friend and turned away, leaving the lounge and doing her best to make her way to her quarters before she time-jumped again. Or before the tears fell. Whichever came first. TBC -- Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Resolution R238605KN0 And Major Liam Frost Senior Flight Instructor Bajoran Military Academy Former Commanding Officer, USS Gemini
  2. Yes yes yes and yes. Beautifully written, and very well-deserving of a nod here. Nicely done @Genkos Adea.
  3. @Hallia Yellir combines scientific curiosity with overactive imagination and unquenchable optimism. It makes her a joy to read, and reminds all of us that there's more than enough room in Starfleet for FUN. ((Security Control, Deck 3, USS Resolution)) Yellir: Oh! Perfect! I need… ::checking her PADD:: two type one phase— wait, make that three, three type two phasers and fi…— no, six! power cells. I need them for an experiment. Aine's eyes went wide. oO That's quite a requisition for a science experiment. Oo Aine wondered what kind of experiment it was, and with scientists the way they were, who really knew? Sometimes it was better not to ask. Luckily, part of their resupply was included phasers because of the worry the effect the Skarn homeworld may have had on them...and one was missing. And being still docked, they could always get more. Hallia tilted her head slightly. A little alarmed by Aine’s reaction, she looked down, wondering if she’d said something wrong. The security officer seemed a little caught off guard by the request. But then again, not many science officers request directed energy weapons for an experiment. Part of her felt a little bad, but then again, it was either this or try and make one out of lab equipment. Which probably wouldn’t go well, as Hallia was all thumbs when it came to engineering. Perhaps actually learning more about the subject might benefit her. Sherlock: Um, yeah, that should be no problem. :: gesturing towards the weapons locker :: Standing, Aine made her way across the room. Pressing her finger onto an access panel, the door to the weapons locker slid open with a quiet hiss. Hallia grabbed the phasers one by one, and held them in her free hand. Sherlock: So, what kind of experiment is this? Yellir: ::smiling, Hallia mumbled quietly, almost unable to contain her voice to such a volume:: I made a chunk of what I call synthflesh. Sherlock: A what? Yellir: ::Nearly yelling:: Fake skin! ::covering her mouth and quieting herself:: Well… not exactly. It’s a layer of… skin really. It’s not real in the sense that it’s a part of someone’s body. However! I replicated it from leftover protein samples I found. Sherlock: What's it used for? Yellir: Oh, I’m SO glad you asked. It’s a regenerative layer of skin that can be easily grafted onto a patient. It skips the proliferative phase of the humanoid body’s natural healing ability. Ensuring that, potentially, in a matter of seconds and or minutes, depending on wound severity, it can knit back ripped open flesh and allow the immune system to focus solely on clearing out bacteria. It’s a little redundant, given we have dermal regenerators and whatnot, but I thought it could be fun. Maybe useful in the rare case someone is intolerant to the devices or something. As Aine grabbed for powercells, Hallia rambled on and on, explaining her process behind the idea as well as the parts she found most interesting in her mind. The Yelikan nodded, thinking of the security officer as such an amazing listener. Sherlock: That's fascinating. :: handing the power cells to Hallia :: So :: beat :: what do you need the phaser for? Yellir: Well, you see, in non-scientific terms, I’m going to shoot it and see what happens. I want to see if it offers any resistance to directed energy weapons. Hallia’s arms carried the lump of items. Using her chin to steady the pile, she continued talking. Sherlock: Response? Yellir: I mean, my hypothesis is that anything above stun is probably going to absolutely smoulder it. But, you never know! Maybe it’s somehow resistant to particle weaponry? ::jokingly:: We could outfit the ship with ablative skin in that case. Sherlock: Response? TAG/TBC ______________________ Lieutenant JG Hallia Yellir Science Officer USS Resolution G239409EK0
  4. A nod to the great @Lephi who dropped in on Resolution just long enough to grace us with this gem:
  5. I cannot take the credit, I'm afraid. That particular bit of genius is the IP of @Meidra Sirin!
  6. Pure poetry from our esteemed captain @Kali Nicholotti. The combination of rich metaphors and the character's personal history woven effortlessly into the narrative made this delightful to read. Cheers, Cap'n! ((Bridge, USS Resolution)) Nicholotti: Engage thrusters, and make for the stars. The stars. In the root of all of her dreams, the stars had been central. No matter what collar she wore, or what role she filled, the dark Cimmerian shade of an endless night, accentuated by the pin[...]s of immolation, were the resounding voices that called to her. They were the hands that pulled her towards the future. And in the long, unending days in which she followed, she found herself ever more drawn into the infinite maw. All while finding herself more and more alone. Yalu: Aye, Captain. Taking her up. Liftoff in five. The voice of David Cody resonated in her head. 'It was lonely in the center chair, but Kay, you are never, ever alone.' There was a warmth there that she had not felt for a long time, and in his absence, she might have moved on. Yet, like with all of the others who had called her friend, lover, sister, daughter...she never had been able to fully let go. Words echoed through the annuls of history, leaving her with memories and an ache deep within that never quite went away. Nicholotti: Steady speed, prepare for transition to the nebula. All of the proper words spilled out of the mouth of a seasoned commanding officer. There were steps to take and things to do and she would execute without flaw. The state of her inner thoughts and the hole that the losses she bore over the years would never make themselves known to the outside. Perhaps it was a good thing that those who knew were long gone. MacKenzie: Any abnormal readings? Yellir: Scanners functioning normally, sir. Etan: response Two pools of crystalline blue locked on to the images on the screen, never betraying the churning thoughts within. Yellir: Shall we brace for impact? Just in case? Yalu: ::gasps in theatrical, mock offence:: How very dare you. MacKenzie: Oh, I’m sure we’ll be just fine… Kali smiled one of her typical grins, a slight bit impish, as Makal had once described it. Etan: response Nicholotti: I don't think our helmsman would crash us twice in one day. Her eyes moved from the screen just as the swirling nebula rose to meet them at the edge of the planet's atmosphere and settled on the Trill at the helm. Pilot to pilot, he had the makings of something great. Sierra Hotel, as her grandfather might have once said. It was what she'd aspired to as a teen behind the controls of the antique jet that she'd inherited upon his death. Yalu: We’re clearing the planet’s atmosphere, Captain. I’m plotting a course out of the Briar Patch at one-third impulse. They were on their way, and Kali turned her attention back to the screen. There were only a few stars that could be seen between the ever coalescing and dispersing colors of the nebula just outside. Yellir: I’m certain we’ll arrive by then in one piece. MacKenzie: There’s that positive thinking! Lieutenant Sherlock, status of the shields? Sherlock: Shields are currently at one hundred percent and holding. MacKenzie: Power levels look stable, Captain… I think we’re good to fire up the engines whenever Mr. Yalu feels comfortable… Everything still stood on a razors edge. At a half impulse, it was going to take some time to get out of the nebula, but she had faith in the little ship that could. Nicholotti: Whenever you're ready, Mister Yalu. Yalu: I’d be delighted, Captain. Bringing the coolant modifications online and increasing speed to one-half impulse. We’ll clear the Patch in just under twenty minutes. After that, warp seven. After that, stars. The sounds of an active bridge were almost music to her ears as they moved further and further from the world that had almost become their grave. Sherlock: Shields holding steady. Nicholotti: Very well, continue our path. MacKenzie: response Yalu: At this rate, we’ll be back in familiar territory by this time tomorrow. ::beat, smirks:: I think that means someone owes me some sapphire wine, but I can’t remember who. Kali smirked towards the back of his head. Apparently she wasn't the only one who wanted to buy him a drink after the hotshot flying he'd done. Sherlock: response Yalu: I’m afraid I will have to insist on collecting it in person. Nicholotti: I am certain you'll have plenty of time to do just that when we are back at 224. MacKenzie / Any: response Yalu: As soon as we’re back in normal space, I’ll contact Deep Space 224 and send them a list of the survivors. Who knows where Starfleet will reassign Hanno’s crew, but I’m sure the Romulans will want to be repatriated as soon as possible. The whole thing was going to be a sticky situation. From her words with the Senator, she knew that there would be little for this group back where they once called home, save for the debris left behind by a sun-gone-nova and the burnt remains of what was their lives. Nicholotti: I am sure the Senator will assist, but their future is likely unknown. We can hope the Federation will help. Any: response Kali nodded. History had a funny way of dictating much of what came after. It echoed in the ears of those who had lived it long enough to make decisions and build whatever kind of future to avoid the trials of the past. She could only hope that the Federation had an eye and the feelings of humanity, even for those who once were enemies. For those who once were not to be trusted. As for her own history, there were walls which kept the tears well hidden behind an ocean of memories never reflected in the crystalline blues. A blanket of calm coolness and a commanding stature that came from having lived, and died, at the hands of time governed her motions, her moves. No matter how much she wanted that to change, time seemed to simply burn hotter. As it was said, time was the fire in which they all burned. Kali's fire burned endlessly, fueled by the severed connections with so many she had loved and lost. Hope, the fighter of such flames, dwindled as she learned of deaths and the continued missing, and as those she had once been close to had faded into their new lives on another side of the galaxy. Time was no friend to her, at least not here and now. Chatter around her continued, and the minutes ticked by until finally, with little fanfare, the swirling colors of the Briar Patch started to thin. As they faded, the points of light shone brighter against an inky blackness that reflected the darker parts of her soul. MacKenzie/Any: Response? Nicholotti: Set course for 224, best speed. Let's go home. Yalu/Any: Responses? ((OOC - With this, we can assume arrival to 224 and the start of some well deserved shore leave!) TAG/TBC -- Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Resolution R238605KN0
  7. @Etan Iljor is a master of the language. The narrative is so wonderfully descriptive and fully presents the character's point of view in three dimensions. It's always a joy to read your writing, friend! ((Deck 2, U.S.S. Resolution)) As a scientist, Iljor was used to the official terms and designations for things and found the concept of nonclematures to be wildly inaccurate albeit a necessity. He was prone to getting swept up in scientific tangents and to his somewhat mild embarrassment, he would often forget that not everybody learned or understood things in the way that he did. He found himself in one such moment walking down the primary corridor of Deck 2, following Doctor Adea in search of the missing crew of the probably ill-fated S.S. Hanno. Sherlock: I heard you mention that before, what is it? The ‘that’ to which the security officer was referring to was ‘non-baryonic matter’. To Iljor it was simply non-baryonic matter, something that did not interact with an electromagnetic field and did not reflect or absorb such radiation- which made its detection extremely difficult, even by the advanced technologies employed throughout the Federation. It had another designation, derived from humans who tended to label anything they could not see or interact with as something ominous. In truth, there was nothing ominous about non-baryonic matter but Iljor had decided not let the predilection for dramatics get to him. With a smirk, he looked at Aine. Etan: I think the layman’s term for it is: dark matter. Sirin: That binds galaxies together so they don’t just ::shrugs:: spin off into space. If the planet has some connection to it, the gravitational fields would be strong enough to pull in passing ships. Iljor nodded at his best friend’s summation of the topic. Broadly speaking, she was correct and while her definition lacked nuance and scientific oversight- that was by the by. The presence of non-baryonic matter on the planet would certain explain the variable gravity as well as the strange force that hurled hundreds of thousands of rocks at the Resolution and drawn it down into it’s well. Given that it happened quickly and just as the ship begun its approach, Iljor could not help but wonder if there was intelligence at work. He considered the possibility once more, suppressing a shiver that wanted to run from the nape of his neck to the base of his spine. An intelligence that could access and manipulate non-baryonic matter would undoubtedly be powerful- and dangerous. Fortunately, such musings were interrupted by Aine’s welcome change of topic. Sherlock: We need to get to Deck 8, ramp’s there. We can grab whatever supplies we need on the way there. Only problem is, I’m not sure the turbolifts will work. Anyone know the Jeffries Tubes well enough to get us there? Adea: Straight down the next one on the left. Should take us right there. In that moment, Iljor was grateful for the Chief Medical Officer’s intimate knowledge of the diminutive Nova-class ship. While he had built up a working knowledge of the ship’s interior layout, it did not extend to its crawlspaces and maintenance tubes. Sirin: I have been in one, but if we need assistance I’m certain Gnaxac could guide us. Sherlock: Great. Doctor, I recommend we take just medical supplies and phaser rifles. The nearest duranium scan was only a few clicks west of here. Aine made it sound like it just over a ridge, but in reality- it would be a trek over a nigh-inhospitable planet that seemed determined to keep its secret. Iljor harboured no illusion that the journey would be easy. On the contrary, he was expecting to be arduous. Adea: Sounds eminently sensible. Sirin: I suppose we are as prepared as we can be. Still, I have an odd feeling about this place. Sherlock: Response. Etan: Given what we’ve experienced so far, I’m inclined to feel the same as Meid- uh, Counselor Sirin. He chastised himself, remembering that while he and Meidra had formed a close bond in the months since his assignment to Resolution- she was still the ship’s counselor and outranked him. He had been cautioned that it was not unusual for junior officers to befriend those who held seniority- but that they had to remember that fact at all times. Adea: I’m not surprised; how often is a ship literally knocked out of the sky by hundreds of thousands of rocks? What do they have down here? A plethora of catapults? The thought made Iljor snort out a chuckle despite the seriousness of their current predicament. He had come to value the Doctor’s ability to defuse a difficult or grave situation with a humorous comment. Sherlock/Sirin: Response. The Jeffries Tubes beckoned, in all its dark and gloomy majesty. They made their way down it in relative silence, Iljor concentrating on landing on each rung of the ladder cleanly. The last thing he wanted was to misstep and send his friends and colleagues plummeting down the tube to their certain deaths. Given how small the Resolution was, the descent through the tubes to Deck 8 was relatively brief. Iljor stepped off the final rung and onto the decking and went to collect his equipment; a phaser (something he was loathe to use unless he absolutely had to), a palm held flashlight, a visual recording device that fitted across the top of his unruly mop of hair like a band and felt comfortable against his right temple and a tricorder. He checked that the phaser and tricorder were fully charged (they were) and then activated the recording device by pressing a small button behind the small high definition camera. Adea: Right, shall we be off then? Etan: Begin recording, Lieutenant Etan Iljor, Science Officer, U.S.S. Resolution. Location: uncharted planet near outer boundaries of the Briar Patch. ::he looked to Doctor Adea.:: Given the apparent unreliability of the sensors here, I thought this might be a good idea. ::he pointed to the device.:: Adea/Sherlock/Sirin: Response. Iljor holstered his phaser and tricorder, tugged the bottom of his uniform jacket and marshalled his wits about him as the outer airlock opened. As the ramp descended to the ground, they got their first look at the strange new world that lay before them. Underneath a thick blanket of black clouds lay a barren wasteland of rocky spires of dark brown stone. In the near darkness, they looked intimidating and imposing. Iljor activated the flashlight and stepped down the ramp carefully and deliberately. Stepping onto the wasteland he felt a crunching beneath his feet and he looked down, brittle looking plants snaked in vines across the ground that exuded a strange warmth. Etan: Plants. ::he said, a trace of amazement bled into his voice.:: The ground is also warm. Might be geothermal in nature. That would certainly make sense, geothermal and volcanic activity on a sunless world could lead to an atmosphere conducive to life, even if it was not intelligent. Adea/Sherlock/Sirin: Response. Taking a few more steps- and making an effort not to crush any more of the plants- Iljor looked about the stygian vista. Steep cliffs of stone rose on either side of them, towering at least a kilometer or more above them. Resolution had apparently come down in a wide, but unmistakable gorge that was probably ten of millions of years old. He unclipped his tricorder and set about scanning the nearest rocky spire. Unsurprisingly, the tricorder did not want to cooperate, the effects of the Patch obfuscating the readings a great deal. Etan: Readings are patchy but I think this is composed of calcite and aragonite- and it’s natural. ::he turned to look at his colleagues.:: Not crafted. Adea/Sherlock/Sirin: Response. Etan: I wonder if we are the first people to visit this area of the planet. ::the idea took his breath for a moment.:: This is quite something. ::he whispered.:: Adea/Sherlock/Sirin: Response. -- tag/tbc -- Lieutenant (J.G.) Etan Iljor Science Officer U.S.S. Resolution C239203TW0
  8. DS9 had some real tear-jerkers. In addition to the ones already named, I thought The Sound of Her Voice, The Siege of AR-558, and It's Only a Paper Moon really packed a punch in the emotion department. I also cried watching Sub Rosa. Tears of pure, unadulterated joy.
  9. @LtJG Aine Olive Sherlock does a smashing job as a security officer in this sim, thoughtfully working through the intricacies of an upcoming diplomatic negotiation and offering inventive, yet actionable, suggestions for ship's security. Very nicely done! ((Conference Room 'B', Deck 7, USS Resolution)) She hadn't been down on the lower decks much, and if it hadn't been for this meeting, she'd almost have forgotten that Engineering had its own conference room. Walking in a little early with her PADD in one hand and tea number three in the other, two officers were already present. Sherlock: Lieutenant Commander Ilsam ::giving him a wry smile::, good morning. ::turing to Chandra:: Commander Amari, slipping her PADD under her left arm and extending her hand:: it's a pleasure to meet you. Welcome aboard the Resolution. Ilsam: Response Aine returned the Commanders smile as they shook hands. Amari: Thank you. It’s been a wild ride so far. I can’t wait to see what happens when you guys get going. Just then the door to the conference room hissed opened and in walked Dr. T'Suran. Amari: Doctor T’Suran I presume? T'Suran: Response Sherlock: Yes, let's get started. They took their seats around the table and Commander Amari began to lay out what was in store for them. A blue glow fell unto her face as Commander Amari queued up a holo display of a planet of which Aine had never heard of. A brief pause gave everyone just enough time to read the name as Chandra started her brief. Amari: This is Vionus IV, currently disputed territory of two races, the Thama and the Nascaik. Both want it for different reasons, and neither is willing to share. Given that, we’re going to provide mediation and hopefully a peaceful solution. Ilsam/T'Suran: Response Amari: Ah, but that is the question. As the commander put it, to get them to talk, we’ve got to get them in the same room, which might be difficult given that the Thama’s homeworld is smaller than Earth, so they are going to feel mighty heavy when they arrive here. And the Nascaik breathe a methane mixture apparently, so our air will likely end the talks before they begin since they can’t breathe it. Sherlock: ::raising an eyebrow:: At least that will limit their movement on the ship. But then when we need to move them, well, that's going to be tough. Ilsam/T'Suran: Response Sherlock: Adaptations in their quarters will be easy enough. The real question will be where do we put them? Where will the meeting be? And how do we get them there under guard? Any: Response Thinking back to her earlier statement, Aine tried to imagine herself as one of these visiting diplomats. Even with certain, and understandable, restrictions, feeling caged wasn't something she imagined anyone would want. Sherlock: This idea may sound strange ::bites lower lip briefly:: but maybe their escorts onboard could be in EV suits? I know it will look strange, but allowing them some freedom of movement in adapted areas, may feel a little more welcoming. (OOC: Feel free to continue the conversation concerning the needs of our guests.) Chandra looked over at the security officer then. Amari: And of course there’s a security wrench to throw into all of these moving gears. The ends of Aine's mouth curled slightly at the image in her head. Large lumbering gears like in an old clock tower, but instead of a wrench a phaser gets tossed in. She tucked away the childish thought and refocused. Amari: There’s inevitably some who think these talks aren’t worth it and that they should just take what is perceived as theirs. Thus, we are also tasked with making certain this ship, and those aboard in any capacity, are protected. Sherlock: Yes, I skimmed over the briefs on the Thama and Nascaik that Commander Ilsam forwarded to me ::giving Tai a nod::. With some ideas about how to deal with the environmental needs and our limitations with them, I think if we shut down the science labs while they're here, that will give us extra power we may need for adaptations. We could also lock down the ship. Confine all non-essential personnel to quarters, keep the Bridge and Engineering staffed. We could have the extra science personnel working deck patrols, that would allow my security teams and the Marines to focus on our guests. Externally, I'm most worried about the Nascaik. Any: Response Sherlock: If there is indeed disagreement in the higher ranks of the Nascaik, it wouldn't be far out to assume even one of them would want to stop these talks. If we do power down the science labs, we can keep the sensors maxed out. We could also raise shields once everyone's on board to prevent transporting and be ready for an attack. I think even at 20%, they'd do the job. Any: Response Tag/TBC Lieutenant Junior Grade Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0
  10. There have been some really solid JPs coming out of Resolution lately, but this one I thought was particularly well-crafted by both @Meidra Sirin and @Ensign Aine Olive Sherlock. Dialogue and narrative are nicely balanced and each seemed to effortlessly build upon the other. A great read, crewmates! ((Counseling Office, Deck Two, USS Resolution)) Meidra led the commander out of her office and saw that her next appointment was already there, ready to see her. That was refreshing, and appreciated. So many times, she’d had to track down officers who didn’t see the need to come to required appointments. The ensign seemed to light up at the sight of Ilsam and Meidra wondered if there was a mutual attraction between the two, because he seemed quite happy to see Sherlock. Sherlock: Commander! Good to see you again. Meidra gave them a few moments to converse, while she did a quick check on the captain, whose vitals were still stable. She couldn’t hear anything from her now, and hoped that meant that Nicholotti’s mind was currently at ease. The commander left, and Meidra turned to greet her latest patient. The woman seemed a bit nervous, which was normal in any circumstances, but having just left the scene of such destruction, the emotions were all the more intense, She led her back into the office, gesturing to the well used antique chairs off to one side of the office. Sirin: Ensign Sherlock, please come in. Sherlock: Sorry, Counselor. I'm ready. Sirin: No need to apologize, Ensign. And you can call me Meidra - I don’t really go for formality during sessions. Meidra’s reply brought some ease to Aine. Being fresh out of the Academy, formality being drilled into them as cadets, it was nice to have a semblance of friendliness from a fellow officer. The counselor sat back into her recently vacated seat and picked up her ever present PADD to begin noting the ensign’s concerns. She’d read the reports, but was curious on how the events had played out in Sherlock’s opinion. Sirin: Shall I replicate some tea for you? Barry's, hot, no sugar, splash of milk, correct? Sherlock: :: raising her right eyebrow :: oO Meidra sure did some digging Oo Yes, please. That’d be very nice. Meidra enjoyed the faint look of surprise on Aine’s face. It was always fun shaking up a new visitor a bit, if only to get them out of their own head for a moment and relax. Sirin: Apologies if that seemed too omnipresent of me, I saw you order it recently at the cafe.::smiles as she sips her own tea:: So - I usually use the first session as a way for us to get to know each other a bit. I find that it helps establish a sense of trust. :takes a sip of her tea: Tell me a little about how you became part of Star Fleet. What drew you to this path? Aine accepted the tea from the counselor and pondered the question for a moment, taking a sip.Meidra found that giving people something to hold, like a cup of tea, often helped them center their emotions and focus on their responses more. At times, simple psychology often worked better than complex analysis. Sherlock: Well, to be perfectly honest, it was never an option growing up. I was fairly sheltered. I’d met a couple Star Fleet officers briefly in school. I mean, my parents and I rarely even left Ireland. So...when I was finishing up school...I guess I just wanted to see more. Earth already seemed like a big place to me, but something inside me just wanted even more than that. So I found the nearest Academy recruiter :: gesturing with one hand upwards :: here I am. Meidra nodded. The ensign was a very open and honest individual, and it made sense that they saw things in such a clear way. Later, after a few more missions, that clarity might fade, but for right now - she still had a strong sense of good versus evil. She wondered about their childhood, if their family had also had a love of adventure. Sirin: How did your parents take the news that you wished to enter the Academy? I’d imagine that it was a bit of a surprise to them. Aine felt a bit of a sinking feeling with this one and began to bite her lower lip nervously. Sherlock: At first, not so great. I hadn’t committed to the Academy yet, only talked to the recruiter. I told them and it seemed like all they could ask was “why?” My father, especially, was not happy about it. He definitely wanted me to stay. I don’t know what changed, but for the next month the house seemed really quiet. I barely spoke to them. I’m guessing they talked it over. And one night just sat me down and told me that they were worried. They didn’t feel it was safe. But they understood that it was what I wanted. They never really held me back ever. This was the first time that had ever happened y’know? But, ultimately, they did support my choice. Sirin: Do you have family other than your parents? Sherlock: A couple of uncles, but I rarely ever saw them. No siblings. My fathers parents passed away before I was born and my mother doesn’t speak with her parents. Sirin: Families can be a mosaic of many personalities, sometimes in direct opposition to your own. It can either be a helpful push to change our circumstances, or a hindrance to keep us from our best choices. ::sips drink to keep from mentioning her family:: The journey of self is never a finished endeavor, and my role is partly to assist you as you discover new paths. Aine nodded her head in agreeance. Her own family preferred tradition and the sheltering now seemed like an attempt at forcing it. In turn, she began to understand a little more as to why her parents may have opposed her choice to join Starfleet. Meidra felt a sort of protectiveness over the ensign. Being so far from everything familiar and safe was stressful even for seasoned officers at times. She resolved to do what she could going forward to pay special attention to the onboarding ensigns. Not all of them had a strong sense of independence yet. She glanced down at her PADD, nodding to herself. Sirin: I see this was your first mission - tell me how you see it unfolding. ::pauses:: Do you feel that it was handled correctly? Sherlock: If I were to be completely objective, I would say that we did everything we could. :: bites lower lip, pausing briefly :: Personally, I don’t feel we did. I think we were completely unprepared for what happened. I understand that the Borderlands is where we’re assigned and that we were the ship available :: beat :: well, I guess Star Fleet had no way of knowing either. I don’t know, I guess I feel conflicted. Also, I feel like I let the team down. Ensign Treetus was severely injured. On an away team in which I was the Security Officer. I don’t feel like I lived up to my duties, I guess. As often happens when one thinks of their failure at hand, flashes on previous ones began to creep up. This one was different. This one got someone else hurt. In a way, she felt guilty it was someone else and not her. Sirin: It seems that you know that there was little more you could do to improve the outcome of the mission. ::pause:: Guilt over Ensign Treetus is misplaced. His choices do not reflect on your abilities. Imagine if you had jumped to save him as he did for Commander MacKenzie. What do you think would have happened? Sherlock: I mean :: beat :: well :: staring down, thinking about the situation :: you’re not wrong. It could have been worse, there could have been more team members injured or even killed. I guess it is just guilt, and guilt isn’t always...logical. Sirin: Exactly - you would have run the risk of getting injured yourself and we may have had another lost limb to contend with - your actions in this mission seem justified. Guilt is often portrayed as a negative emotion - something to be avoided. ::pause:: There are no bad emotions, Ensign, they all have a purpose. It is what you choose to do with those emotions that matter. Use your guilt to guide your other feelings. Accept that feeling of helplessness, and you will find that you discover a way to build up the more positive emotions. Aine realized in talking to someone who is half Vulcan, when it came to emotions and how she perceived them compared to the reality of a situation, the Vulcan would be right. A lesson she also realized may be helpful in the future. Guilt had always been a self-punishing system in her life that didn’t always seem logical or practical. Meidra watched the ensign’s reaction to her words, hopeful that they would take root and build into a stronger sense of self. There would be many challenges ahead for the young woman, and having a grasp of her self worth and yes, limitations, would serve her well in her career - and in her life. Sherlock: :: nodding her head generously :: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. :: taking a deep breath :: That’s something I’ve always needed to work on. And I will. Thank you. Sirin : I am always here when you need someone to listen. I may be the counselor, but I hope that you remember that talking things out doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Feel free to call on me if you need an unofficial ear sometime in the future. With their session over, Aine rose from the chair and gave Meidra a smile and a nod. When she walked out into Sickbay, she realized she was still a little nervous when she noticed the cup of tea still in her hands. She looked around at the nursing staff present, gave a nod, took a sip, and strode of back to her quarters. Ensign Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0 And Lt JG Meidra Sirin Counseling officer USS Resolution R239707MS0
  11. @Meidra Sinir wrote this, and I thought it was outstanding. (( Prime ministerial offices, Vman – Da’al capital city )) Zeneth watched as the Prime Minister deftly spun his diplomatic web, inwardly rolling her eyes at his use of existential crisis. Always the showman, but was he really in tune with this new audience? StarFleet, from what she’d understood from her research, was not just humans, but many other species. What worked with one species might not be accepted by another. Still, she remained silent as her friend played the benevolent leader, only concerned with the safety of his people. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, of course, but the years in office had shaped him into someone who knew how to work a crowd. Sometimes, she wondered if he realized he was almost two different beings, one being a politician eager to keep his job, and the other, who she saw less and less of lately, the man she’d come to care for as a close friend and mentor. She frowned off camera, and listened to the conversation continue. Ypartin: =/\= Both the Federation and the Klingon Empire have attempted to establish closer relations with us, and you have both received the same answer. Thank you, but no. You have respected our wishes. The Klingons are not. We wish for our neutrality to be respected. =/\= Nicholotti: =/\= Prime minister, I believe that we can work together to attain what you need, though I feel we could do more if we discussed a few things. Would a meeting in person be satisfactory? =/\= Zeneth saw that Ypartin’s skin had turned a deep maroon. He was worried, and he was wondering how to keep the upper hand in a discussion he hadn’t had much time to prepare for; she felt a tinge of guilt at her part in that, but it was too late to reverse their course now. Ypartin: =/\= Fleet Captain, I am amenable to such a request. However, please understand, we are not in the habit of welcoming many visitors. It will take time to make the necessary arrangements for your arrival. I would ask to contact you again on this frequency at the same time tomorrow. =/\= Nicholotti: =/\= Then we shall speak again shortly. Please reach out to us here. =/\= Ypartin: =/\= Thank you, Fleet Captain. =/\= Ypartin cut the transmission and gave Zeneth the full force of his glare. Ypartin: What did I tell you, Zeneth? How are we supposed to claim any kind of moral outrage about a Klingon invasion of our colonies, when I’ve just invited a Federation envoy to set foot on our homeworld? Zeneth: It is hardly the same situation, Ypartin. I don’t see anyone from the Federation laying claim to our homeworld. If we are to survive, we must take risks. I for one, do not wish to risk our people’s lives without allies who understand these Klingons. Ypartin stood up and adjusted his tunic, a nervous tic that came out when he was thinking too much on the things that he could not change. She wanted to reassure him, but what could she say that she hadn’t so far? She could see he was in Prime Minister mode now, and she would treat him as such. Ypartin: We have one day to prepare for this, Zeneth, so we must move quickly. I will address the people tonight. Let them know what is happening. I cannot keep them in the dark any longer. Zeneth: Do you think they will understand? I know this was my idea, but the people have never had to face such a situation before. Ypartin: I know. It is a tremendous risk. But if we’re going to survive this intact, it’s time the people know that the enemy here is the Klingons, not the Federation. Zeneth: I understand. What would you have me do, sir? Ypartin: I am putting my trust in you, my friend. Please see to the preparations. Find a suitable, secure location in the city for us to meet with the Federation representatives. Can you have everything in place by midday tomorrow? There was something going on, Zeneth was sure of it. That nervous tic of adjusting his clothes was a sure giveaway that he was up to something. She couldn’t accuse him of anything, but he had been too accepting of this visit by the Federation and she knew he valued his popularity above all else. It saddened her to think that she really did not know him anymore, but they had chosen their own paths since the election. Zeneth: Of course, the conference hall in Military Unit Three will be sufficient. My generals there are trustworthy, and have trained alongside me in martial arts not well known to the populace. We will be ready. Ypartin: I know I am asking a lot, and I have every confidence in you. ::beat:: I am certain you have plenty to do, and I have a speech to write. Keep me informed. Zeneth made her way out of opulent office, down the hall and through the checkpoint, all the while thinking, planning, getting angrier as she realized that Ypartin was never going to just let the Federation come in and play the hero when he built himself up so carefully over the years. (( Military Unit Three, Zeneth’s office, Vman – Da’al capital city )) A large man with dark purple skin and clear green eyes was waiting for her when she arrived. General Ulner had taught her as a child to fight in the ways of the Vinian elders, knowing that the religion was not followed by many. He had been her grandfather’s greatest friend and had been a stern teacher as she went through the twelve levels of Ha’shar, the Vinian’s fighting technique. Even Ypartin did not know she was a follower of Vinia, and today, she was very grateful for that. Ulnar: You seem troubled. Is that upstart giving you grief again? Zeneth had told the general everything she knew about the Klingons coming closer, the Federation visit, her fears about Ypartin not believing that she could actually be an asset to their cause. He had, of course, offered to simply hang the man over the edge of his office window until he saw sense, but Zeneth had reminded him that was against the law. Zeneth: Ypartin spoke with the captain of the StarFleet vessel. He said all the right things, but they felt wrong. I fear that he is thinking as a politician and not as a leader. She started pacing, muttering prayers under her breath, it was not the same as actual meditation, but if she concentrated, she could still tap into the river of time as she had in her apartment, and try to see what was happening. She let her mind go back fifteen minutes, over the compound, past soldiers and farmers and people come to see the Prime Minister’s favor. Finally her mind focused on Ypartin after she had left him. She saw him watch her leave, she saw him put a chip into his terminal, she saw him - Zeneth’s eyes flew open. He wouldn’t, he would not be so blind! She didn’t know who he had given that order to, but when she found out, as military advisor, she would be certain that one of her generals would be escorting him to the brig once this was over. And as for Ypartin, well, she would just have to wait and see what his plan was. Her heart constricted and she placed a hand below her ribcage, where it sat, betrayed and angry. Her eyes flew to her most trusted general and she shared her vision. The two of them made a pact of secrecy. They would not act until they had all of the facts, but one thing was clear. Ypartin was no longer the friend she had sworn her allegiance to five years ago. End scene for Zeneth MSPNPC Zeneth Da'al Military Advisor as simmed by Ensign Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution Marie R239707MS0
  12. My vote goes to Winn Adami, for seven years of slow burns.
  13. I'm torn between something with quintessential Star Trek anthemic melancholy... and a straight up bop.
  14. My goodness, can @Randal Shayne ever capture the immediacy of a moment!
  15. @Anath G'Renn wrote this. ((Duty Doctor’s Office - Deck 18, USS Blackwell)) ::Sleepwalking would be the best way to describe Anath the entire day of the memorial service for the lost members of the Blackwell crew who had been lost when the ship had run into that minefield. It was strange, every time she thought that her feelings of grief and anger couldn’t get any worse they always managed to.:: ::When the disaster first happened there was so much raw fury and grief mixed in with the fear and confusion of being caught in the moment, fueled by adrenaline and anxiety. It couldn’t get worse than that. Then came the aftermath and the autopsies. Those hazy memories clouded by stress and a storm of feelings almost felt like one long and very dark nightmare. Having to perform the gruesome task of verifying just how each one had died hit home how very real everything had been. The barely contained despair, the flashes of anger whenever her thoughts turned towards those responsible. It couldn’t get worse than that. Then there was their shore leave on Oscion, a time for relaxation and time with friends. But in the back of her mind she kept remembering the names on the casualty list, whenever she was finding herself enjoying their shore leave. She always drifted back to the people who would have no more shore leaves, and no more missions either. No matter what she did she couldn’t escape that nagging feeling. It couldn’t get worse than that.:: Nurse: Doctor G’Renn, it is time for shift change! The rest of us are going to the memorial service. ::She looked up from her desk, pulled back into the present from her world of introspection by the nurse’s voice. Anath nodded quietly and motioned for the sickbay staff to switch out with their replacements. She had tried to build the schedule that day to allow as many people as possible could have the option to attend the memorial service. The massive sickbay felt somewhat off with a meager skeleton crew on watch as was always often the case during shore leave.:: Nurse: Will you be joining us, doctor? G’Renn: Go ahead, I’ll catch up with you… ::Anath handed over the reigns to sickbay to the next doctor on duty before hanging up her lab coat and heading towards the turbolift. As she walked, memories of one of the autopsies played back in her mind.:: ((Flashback - USS Blackwell, Morgue - Two days after the minefield encounter)) ::Anath keyed a sequence of commands into the wall panel, causing the morgue cold chamber to seal back shut. She had just finished the formal set of scans and tests that protocol dictated were done to confirm what she already knew. Ensign Kalto had died of multiple internal injuries caused by a piece of ceiling falling on her. Anath knew very well what had happened as she had been the one to drag the debris off of the ensign and have her moved to sickbay.:: Nurse: Subject scans are being uploaded to the file now. Autopsy report just needs you to sign off on it. G’Renn: Thank you for your help, I’ll handle it from here. ::After the nurse left Anath approached the desk where the autopsy report was open on a desktop monitor. She scrolled through the report to make sure they hadn’t missed anything or filled in any information incorrectly.:: G’Renn: Everything seems right… ::But it wasn’t. Nothing about the situation she was in was right! The autopsy report was filled out correctly and it was not an unusual situation for a doctor to find themselves in, but the whole encounter with the minefield and the alien ships were just all wrong. The damage to the ship, the destruction of the other alien vessel, and the deaths of her crewmates. What for, what meaning did their losses have? Starfleet officers knew the risks of their chosen profession well. The threat of death was omnipresent when exploring the final frontier and defending the Federation from threats. But there was no heroic death or even a meaningful sacrifice for the crewmembers that now occupied the cold chambers in the morgue. Just casualties lost in a tragic accident all caused by some coward’s minefield.:: G’Renn: Computer, confirming details for autopsy report Kalto, Alyssa. Authorization G’Renn Omega 4-5. ::The computer beeped to confirm that it had saved the autopsy report. She sighed and sunk deeper into the chair before glancing around the morgue. There were still autopsies to be done, too many. She never wanted to see the room so full ever again if she could help it.:: ((End Flashback)) ((Corridor - Deck 18, USS Blackwell)) G’Renn: oO Yes, her too! Oo ::When an inquisitive child had asked whether or not their substitute teacher was going to be saved as well that had been her answer. Ensign Kalto had not been dead upon discovery. She was still fighting for life when they found her under a piece of ceiling in the schoolroom. But even getting there in time hadn’t been enough to save her. Anath had promised that she would be safe too, and now she was dead. Names and faces came to mind as she walked down the corridor.:: G’Renn: oO Alyssa Kalto. Ensign. Found in the schoolroom. Oo G’Renn: oO Nigel Buchanan. Ensign. Found in his quarters Oo G’Renn: oO Robert Smith. Petty Officer, 3rd Class. Found in the gymnasium. Oo ::The fire of feelings spread through her, boiling away any sense of tranquility and order in her mind left as she stepped into the turbolift. She couldn’t face it! Growing up on Vulcan had made it hard to find ways to express her emotions, and it was coming back to haunt her now especially. She couldn’t take it, or let the others see her in such a state.:: G’Renn: Deck 12 ((G’Renn’s Quarters - Deck 12, USS Blackwell)) ::Once she was in her quarters she stepped into the small bedroom off of the common area in her quarters and let out a long sigh. She pulled off her uniform jacket and the teal shirt beneath it, untucking her gray undershirt before falling onto the bed and letting out a long sigh. The grief was driving her up the wall, and she felt powerless to stop it. Only making things worse was the realization of how poorly prepared she was revealing herself to be.:: ::The uniform shirt now laying on the foot of the bed was teal. The color of the Science department in Starfleet, as well as the Medical department. She was a doctor, first and foremost! While she might like to focus on the good she did, having studied medicine to keep as many people as possible from experiencing the same experience of a loved one’s death that she had gone through so many years before. She always assumed that she could handle the inevitable times when she would lose patients. It wasn’t her fault, she had done everything that she could to save them. But that thought did little to calm the whirlwind of emotions inside. Part of her wondered if she really had what it took to be a doctor at all if she couldn’t deal with the inevitable downside of being a healer. Questions kept popping up as Anath set her head on her pillow and let the exhaustion win. Could she truly expect to never lose a patient? How was she going to cope when she did? If she couldn’t handle that fact, did she have any business wearing that uniform?:: ::Those were questions she had to answer, but she didn’t have to answer them right away.:: Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Anath G'Renn Medical Officer, USS Blackwell - Andaris Task Force A239402AG0
  16. ((DS26, Level 4, Conference Room 1)) ::Ren snored loudly from his seat at the conference table, supremely unaware of the presence of his hard-working crewmates in the room. He was completely at ease, snuggled onto a captain he barely knew, his mouth hanging open carelessly, all the better to drool from.:: ((Ren’s Dream)) ::Arnmere was shining a little brighter than usual in this dream, this vision, this radiant, vivid experience.:: ::Ren strode across a field, headed home to the house he and Navin had built for themselves, far across the opposite side of Tro’Arn. It was a happy place, because it had cheerful rooms and bright, airy windows, but most of all because they were there together. No matter the day, Navin and Ren always came home to each other.:: ::As Ren came in the front door and kicked off his boots, a voice he loved called out from upstairs, and made his heart squirm pleasantly.:: Navin: Ren! How was work? Did you pick up dinner? ::Ren squirmed in a different way. He had not remembered to pick up dinner, and this was the week the replicator was out for repair.:: Rennyn: Uhhhh….. ::Ren’s conversational contribution faded out as Navin came into view, making his way down the stairs. The breath went out of Ren, and his lips curled up in a smile. It was like a conditioned response with him. The sight of his husband never failed to make Ren smile. Navin was impossibly handsome, and the smile he gave in return lit up the room. Dark-skinned, strong-jawed and kind-eyed, he’d captured Ren’s attention at first sight, and Ren hadn’t wanted to look away since. Even when he was in trouble.:: Navin: Dinner, sweetie? Don’t tell me we have to walk all the way back to the village. ::Ren’s smile disappeared, replaced with a falsely casual posture and a poorly masked look of stress as he tried to think his way out of this quickly.:: Rennyn: Well… We could walk part way there and use my mom’s replicator? ::Navin finished his descent and came to plant a kiss on his husband, despite the irritation Ren caused him. Navin stood an inch taller, the only man who could make the very tall Ren feel sort of safe and protected.:: Navin: Is that what you want to do? You want to make us have dinner with your mom? I mean, I like your mom a whole lot, but we live on this side of the field for a reason. So that’s what you want? You want to make us have dinner with your mom right now? ::Ren gulped. Was it a trick question?:: Rennyn: I don’t… ::He reached for the right word.:: ...know? Navin: I need a definite answer, Ren. ::It was a little teasing, but a little serious. Ren had this answer in the bag.:: Rennyn: I am definitely not sure. ::This was the life. This was the dream. Together, for the rest of their lives. Relying on each other, leaning on each other, being there through thick and thin. People weren’t meant to be alone. Ren wasn’t. He was so happy to have found Navin. There was no one better for him. Even their little spat was a comfort. It let Ren know they were in it together.:: Navin: You are always just all about any excuse to hang with your mom, aren’t you? ::Ren feigned shock.:: Rennyn: I never! Navin: Ohhh, yes you do. ::The scolding banter came with a hug, so Ren was okay with it. This was just the way things should be. Like they always were. Like they always would be. He leaned his head on Navin’s shoulder.:: Rennyn: I’m in trouble, aren’t I? Navin: You’re not in the doghouse yet, but we can say you’re not exactly allowed up on the furniture. ::Ren chuckled softly, and leaned in tighter. He would fix it. He would make the walk himself. He would fire up the old hovercraft if he needed to. Dinner was a very minor hurdle. They’d faced bigger, and there was no hurdle big or small they couldn’t handle together.:: ::Ren didn’t want to let go. He could search the universe over and never find a man like this again. This was how it always was with them. This was just how it always would be.:: ::At the same time, it wasn’t. It began to dawn on Ren, a creeping feeling at first, then real knowledge of another life he’d lived, one without Navin in it. A life where Ren was almost lost to grief. A life where he joined Starfleet, made wonderful friends, had crazy adventures, and never could explain to anyone just what it was that was missing from his life. The man standing before him right now. The love of his life. Ren pulled away, stepped back in shock, and his face fell in horror.:: Rennyn: You’re not real. ::That was the tragic answer. This perfect world only existed in a dream. Ren whipped around, searching for that pesky rascal Arnom. Ren’s symbiont guide to the afterlife was nowhere to be found, but the Trill man’s eyes landed on something else. A spot of that brightness, and another gate, different from the first, an ornate solid gold thing that belonged to a faraway fairytale palace. But it was just as final, just as insistent as the first. Ren knew he had to leave.:: ::Navin grabbed Ren’s arm, pulled him back, and held him, wrapping him in a hold Ren didn’t want to break.:: Navin: You don’t have to go. You could stay here. We could have our happy ending. ::Something in that closeness almost made Ren stay. It was a scary world out there without Navin. Ren often felt alone. In moments of triumph, he couldn’t share his success with the person he wanted to. In moments of sadness, he couldn’t lay his pain on the one who would understand it best. Most of all, it was hard to make friends and new relationships, and be known as only Ren, and not as half of Ren and Navin. That was the hardest part of loss. Ren was the only one who knew what the relationship had meant, who could see who he was as part of the pair. No one else would ever see him that way, and there was no way to explain it to them. You didn’t just lose the person you loved, you also lost a part of your own identity, and as each new adventure brought you new memories and introduced new people into your life, you only moved farther away from the person you once wanted to be. Ren was a very different man than he would have been with Navin in his life, and he was never sure if he could be his best self on his own.:: ::Ren wanted Navin back so he could be himself again, but a dream of Navin just wouldn’t cut it. Ren had made a decision in Arnmere, to let Navin go, despite the lingering questions about his supposed death at the hands of the Borg. It was time to move forward with finding out who Ren Rennyn could be on his own. Caught in the dream of an embrace, Ren forced himself to follow through on that decision. Even though it wasn’t easy to let go.:: Rennyn: I’m sorry. I wanted to say that for a long time, but I couldn’t, because you were gone. The last thing I said to you was that I was mad at you for leaving on your mission, and that wasn’t fair. And I know we would have made up and it would have been something we didn’t even remember happened. But then the Borg happened. And it became the last thing I ever said to you. And I’m so sorry I sent you off that way. ::He clung to Navin one last time, knowing it wasn’t the real Navin, but grateful that he got to look into those eyes and finally say what he’d always wanted to say. It would help him move on. Tenderly, Navin pulled tighter, planted a kiss on Ren’s cheek, then rested his forehead on Ren’s own.:: Navin: Whatever comes, I’ll always wish we could have faced it together. But I know you can face it on your own. ::The strangely linear dream at last had mercy, and Ren found himself standing at the gold gate, 100 meters from the house and Navin. Through tear-drenched eyes, he looked back on what might have been, as brightly lit clouds rolled in across Arnmere.:: ::Ren half expected Navin to turn into a Borg, and flip this dream into a nightmare. That didn’t happen. Navin waved from the door until the clouds drifted in across him, obscuring him from view. Their happy ending was lost in the mists of a dream, just exactly how it always felt in Ren’s heart.:: ::He was wearing boots again, and they felt like led. Ren forced his feet to obey. Through the gold gate he marched, and hoped he would awake from this nonsense soon.:: TBC LtCmdr Ren Rennyn First Officer USS Blackwell, Andaris Task Force A239102RR0
  17. ((Deck 7, Shayne and Pond's Quarters, USS Darwin-A)) ::Shayne wished he was knitting.:: ::It was a peaceful, productive, time consuming activity that offered a level relaxation could sometimes border on catatonic meditation. As one became more practiced and skilled, new projects and more difficult goals could be sought and completed. One's dexterity might also improve with prolonged execution of the art form, and, when all was said and done, everyone enjoyed receiving a fuzzy sweater from a loved one or friend.:: ::And apart from all these wonderful benefits, the act of knitting had one very important feature; unless you screwed up, the quality and size of a project is directly proportional to the work and time put into it. You could earn progress. The more you worked, the more you achieved. If only every activity in the universe could be that fair.:: ::But, of course, there were a multitude of exceptions, and as Shayne glowered at the computer terminal before him, he rued this fact. After all, he'd been sitting there for nearly an hour, straining to think of something to say, and what had he to show for his valiant effort? An empty data packet, a bad mood, and a pulsing headache.:: ::How could it be this difficult to send a simple communiqué to someone? He wasn't informing a family about a death, or anything like that. For god's sake, all he wanted to do was talk to family. How long had it been? A year? Longer?:: Shayne: Computer, start recording. ::Beep. It was as if the computer were saying, you're on.:: Shayne: Hi, Dad. It's been awhile. I, uh...I hope you're doing okay. I'm sorry I haven't contacted you for so long- things have been pretty intense out here. ::Growling in frustration.:: No, no, that's terrible. Computer, pause. Delete that last sentence. ::Dad wouldn't want to be reminded of the fact that he was not in the service anymore, or that his eldest was stationed in the line of fire of a hundred different alien threats. Shayne knew that his father's love for him conflicted with his desire to keep the young helmsman out of harm's way. The contradiction put a constant strain on the retired admiral, and Shayne was loathe to add to that worry any more than absolutely necessary.:: Shayne: Computer, continue. ::Beep.:: Shayne: The Delta Quadrant has held some...interesting surprises. ::Perfect. It was simple, informative without suggesting that most of the interesting surprises in particular were dangerous and even life threatening. The second thing that his father had ever taught him, long before he'd been indoctrinated into the Academy, was that honesty was paramount, and the truth was far too important a thing to be omitted or tampered with.:: Shayne: I just came back from a bit of an explore inside the Dyson Sphere I'm stationed near. You should've seen it. I've seen some weird stuff in my time, but few things compared to this. Holographic technology beyond anything anyone's ever seen! ::Pointedly omitting the more dangerous aspects of the last mission, and the one before it (and the one before that...), he moved on.:: Shayne: I'm, uh... I'm with someone. ::Here he smiled.:: Name's Isabel. A Trill doctor serving on the same ship as me. It's... pretty serious. ::Smiling awkwardly.:: We've moved in together. Yeah. She's wonderful. Kind and compassionate. A hell of a medical officer, and a talented dancer to boot. I'm beyond lucky to have her. Next time we're within distance of Earth, I have to introduce y'all. ::He pinched the bridge of his nose. What else did he have to say? So, so much. What was he going to say? Not much else. He'd wanted to, perhaps without even realizing it. So much he wanted to confront, to get off his chest.:: ::There is a certain point that a person reaches, where they have subjected themselves to so much self-ridicule and hatred and disgust, that they're mind becomes accustomed to it. From then on, each reminder of the reason for that hatred does not illicit a feeling. Rather, it manifests itself as a shape, a sound, a color. It passes through the back of your mind like an unholy shade traversing a graveyard. All the memories and feelings associated with it wrapped up into one dreaded totem.:: ::Now that shade passed behind his eyes. Grey and lingering, it obscured his thoughts and tainted his joy. Dad, he knew, forgave him his trespass. Mom did, as well. And Zach, ironically, was perhaps the most eager to forgive, the most willing. In fact, the only person in the universe that seemed to be unwilling to forgive was himself. This was why he didn't want to contact his father, or anyone who knew. Out here in the wilderness of unexplored space, he could run, and hide, and forget. By contacting his family, he was awakening those memories, those not-quite-feelings. And that was something that had to be avoided.:: Shayne: I'll talk to you... Shayne: oO When? Oo Shayne: Sometime. Love to you and....everyone. Be safe. ::With that, Shayne ended the message, and transmitted it to the Endeavor, which would carry it to the Alpha Quadrant. He hesitated before hitting the send command, but only for a moment. It would be good to catch up with family, he told himself. Very good.:: END Lieutenant Randal Shayne Helmsman USS Darwin NCC 99312-A G239202RS0
  18. ((Corridor, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) ::The clouds were following him.:: ::They seemed to snake their metaphorical, wispy ways just behind Shayne’s striding body. He paid them no more mind than he had in the holodeck. Of course, passersby would be unable to see them. They existed purely as a figure of his imagination.:: ::But he’d always had an overactive imagination.:: ::Somewhere, long ago, he’d heard that when an angry, panicked, or trapped individual ever becomes calm and controlled suddenly, under their own volition, that individual was more dangerous than ever before. They will have accepted their fate, and come what may, they are prepared for desperate actions.:: ::And Shayne was so... very...calm.:: ::He was going to walk into that man’s quarters. And he was going to tell Traenor what he felt. There would be no stopping him.: ::He finally arrived in front of the door, and without any hesitation, he pressed the doorbell.:: ((Inside Traenor’s Quarters, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) ::Maxwell was sitting at his piano in casual clothes, idly picking away at a tune that he could not resolve in his head. He had been at it for an hour with no success, but the rote activity was soothing all the same. Barque was lying contentedly on the couch napping, happy to have the quiet companionship of his master, but he perked up at the sound of the chime with a quiet woof. Not expecting the summons at the door, Maxwell took a moment to assure his beagle before calling out an acceptance.:: Traenor: Come in? ::Shayne walked in a few feet, stopped, and stood at ease, hands clasped behind his back. He was going to tell the First Officer exactly what was going through his head. But he was going to do it by the book. It would do no good to loose his career over this. He couldn’t bear that.:: Shayne: Sir. ::Randal was the last person that Maxwell had been expecting to see, and yet all the same he knew that a meeting like this would have to occur eventually. He had not exactly been avoiding the helmsman, but neither had he gone out of his way to seek him out. The events of the past mission still played large in his head, and the eventual results of that mission had led to Maxwell to be uncomfortable with how Randal would react to him and his part in it. Subtle cues from Shayne’s stance and demeanor informed him that this was likely not to be a friendly social call.:: Traenor: ::forced geniality:: Mr Shayne, a pleasure! What brings you by today? Shayne: ::Keeping his smile friendly, instead of allowing it to turn into a snarl.:: I was wondering if I might have a word with you, sir. ::Leaning forward slightly.:: May I have permission to...speak freely? ::Barque let out an almost inaudible, low growl. Shocked by the uncharacteristic behavior, Maxwell shooed Barque into the sleeping chamber and closed the door, before offering Randal a seat at the small table in the main room. He made his way to the replicator.:: Traenor: Of course. Please, have a seat, can I get you anything? Shayne: Oh, no thank you sir. That won’t be necessary. ::Now his voice was beginning to exhibit some of the cold fury that had run through his veins for weeks. They were cold words. But he wasn’t even getting started yet. He sat, slowly, as if his entire body were made of warped, creaking metal, never taking his eyes off the First Officer.:: ::Taking calm, measured actions, Maxwell summoned a Bajoran coffee for himself and sat down at the table himself. He made sure to keep his posture and expression open and inviting, in contrast to the nerves and apprehension he felt ruminating within.:: Traenor: ::earnestly:: What’s on your mind, Mr Shayne? Shayne: Oh, the usual tribulations of life. I was just wondering...how you were feeling after the...mission. ::The question was not asked in a concerned fashion. No, it was clear that there were fangs behind it. Frankly, Shayne couldn’t give two [...]s what Traenor was feeling at that moment. His anger was starting to boil, and pretty much anything Traenor said would likely feed the fires of his ire.:: Traenor: It has caused me a lot of introspection. It was a difficult mission for all of us. Shayne: oO Introspection, huh? How’s this for “introspection”? Oo Shayne: ::Still keeping a perfectly neutral smile on his face.:: Oh, yes, quite difficult. It’s a miracle we all came back...isn’t it? ::Maxwell wondered how Randal would react if he knew the large role his doppelganger played in his dreams, the vicious, snarling shell of a caricature that loomed large in the nightmares that deprived him of quality sleep. Still working through the portent of the images with counselor Stennes, Traenor had no idea if would be helpful or harmful to himself or to Shayne if the truth of those dreams were revealed to him.:: Traenor: ::trying to stay neutral, professional:: The results of the mission were less than ideal. I find solace that all of our team came back relatively unscathed. Shayne: “All of our team”, hmm? ::Feigning confusion.:: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, sir. It seems, and I may be incorrect, that not all the team came back. Is it possible that we left a member of our team down there to be obliterated? I remember her quite vividly. ::Had Randal reached across the table and slapped him, Maxwell couldn’t have been more caught off guard. Cutting straight to the quick, Shayne had laid bare the root cause of all his own fears and consternations. Vivid images from his dreams flooded forth, paralyzing him with indecision and regret. The hand holding his coffee cup started to shake, from what overload of emotion he was not yet quite sure, and he placed it back on the table with a bit of a clatter.:: Traenor: That was… unfortunate, Randal. I didn’t want to condemn her to death, but circumstances at the time were out of our hands. Shayne:”Unfortunate”? No, no, sir, losing a game of Parrisses Squares is “unfortunate.” What happened down there was murder. Do you DENY IT!?!? ::He’d finally begun to lose his calm. Seething, white hot fury, resonating from his heart, spread to every tendril of his being and threatened to detonate in a fiery explosion of hatred. It was both liberating and sickening. So this was rage. He’d never understood why people got so violent when angry. Now he understood. Perfectly.:: ::A muffled sharp barking emanated from the bedroom. The scent of coffee was overpowering and nauseating. The pulsating sound of the warp engine bore down on his eardrums like a painful percussion. Every slight impetus was enhanced and was contributing to a sensory overload. Head pounding in concert with his racing pulse, Maxwell stared mutely for a long moment at Randal as one word echoed over and over, as it so often did in his recent nightmares... Murder. Murder. Murder.:: Traenor: ::quietly:: That’s taking things a little too far, Lieutenant - Shayne: Really? Really!? We could have saved her! You know that! Don’t deny it! It’s our job! We’ve sworn to preserve life, in whatever form it takes- whether it has skin, feathers, scales, or Borg implants. You...we were wrong! She’s dead because of us! ::The all-consuming fire of Randal’s white-hot rage was spreading, and despite his feeble efforts to resist, Maxwell was being consumed in the conflagration. Face contorting into a matching scowl, he lashed out with his own harsh words.:: Traenor: You think I don’t know that, Randal?! You think I don’t see her face every time I close my eyes, knowing that I let her die? You at least have the comfort of being absolved of responsibility. You were overruled. I don’t get that luxury! ::Chest heaving with gulping breaths that would not draw enough oxygen to keep his vision from swimming, Maxwell regretted his loss of control immediately. He was a senior officer, dammit! He needed to be the one to keep control, to keep his emotions in check. But, exhaustion and - yes, the truth - overwhelmed his professional sensibilities. With sleep deprivation etching deep lines of regret on his face, he sat back spent, sorry anew for all he had inflicted on Randal. The barking in the other room had given way to howling, but Maxwell was so invested in seeing his dreams writ large on the officer before him that he could barely acknowledge it.:: ::Shayne was still embroiled in his own emotions, but something small and potent penetrated his field of rage. Traenor was feeling it too. And he was the one in command at the time, a burden that Shayne did not envy, one that he could barely imagine. It wasn’t enough to end his tantrum, but it did bring it down ever so slightly. The pressures of command were astonishing. Anyone could make a mistake.:: Shayne: oO And he sees her face, too. Oo ::Her face had been practically all that he could see for weeks. Nothing was sweet anymore, nothing hopeful or friendly. Even the joy of being with Isabel was tainted with the knowledge of what had happened.:: Traenor: ::simply:: This is the point where I am supposed to spout the vapid platitudes that have absolutely no meaning and no comfort. “The greater good.” “The responsibility to the crew and the ship.” “Weighing risk versus reward.” But I insulted you with those already, in the heat of the action, and you deserve better than that. I bitterly regret my decision, and it haunts me continually. I feel your pain, and I want to legitimize it and acknowledge it for you. ::Now it is was Shayne’s turn to be surprised. Traenor recognized the the futility of trying to appease Shayne by talking about the usual things. Furthermore, it seemed like he wanted to apologize to Shayne. He said that the helmsman deserved more- hardly the response Shayne was expecting. Was he expecting anything? No, not when he came into the room. Not when this conversation began. He just wanted- needed- to vent. To lambast. But Traenor was a human, too, most likely a better one than Shayne would ever be.:: Shayne: ::Not trying to rub it in his face.:: I think we’re all going to regret the choices each of us made on that day, not just you. Traenor: I can’t take back my decisions. What’s done is done. And I won’t insult your intelligence and lie to you, and tell you that this type of situation will never occur again. Hindsight is a luxury that officers never have the benefit of in the heat of the moment. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t human, and that regret isn’t the burden we bear for those actions. Own your regret, be angry at me. You deserve it. But, don’t think me an unfeeling monster. There’s enough regret for everyone. ::He was still angry enough to fracture transparent aluminum. But...if anyone understood regret, in all its sickening grandeur, it was Shayne. Traenor’s words were so...familiar. They echoed what he’d wanted to say so many times over, regarding his own various regrets. The man wasn’t looking for the easy way out, he wasn’t begging forgiveness- not, at least, that Shayne could tell. He was owning it. He was taking responsibility. And while Shayne still found his actions repulsive, Traenor’s words struck a most potent chord. Almost at once, his burning hatred left his body, and he found himself utterly exhausted. He slumped into the chair. Traenor’s pain was something he was intimately familiar with; the desire to be forgiven, but refusing forgiveness. It was a dangerous slope. And while the helmsman didn’t doubt that Traenor had his fair share of regrets over the years, he might not have the same experience as Shayne. Shayne knew he wanted forgiveness, and he knew that he could never truly have it until he forgive himself. Perhaps that was what he’d need to do; help Traenor to forgive himself. He only wished someone would’ve told him that long before. It would be a long time still before Shayne truly forgave himself. Maybe he could spare Traenor from the same fate.:: Shayne: I still can’t agree with you. ::Maxwell would have dearly cherished absolution from Shayne, but he was not so naive to think that it would be so easily earned. Besides, what reason would Shayne have to grant him what he could not even grant himself? It tore him up inside to think that any other of the crew… his friends… burdened themselves with additional baggage that was not theirs to carry by right. He would be content to allow Shayne to rail at him for hours, days, weeks even, as long as it gave him an outlet to shed some of the pain from actions and decisions that had gone awry. Maxwell would have to come to terms with the situation through his own means, and the expert ministrations of Didrik, but in the meantime this cathartic confrontation stood on its own merits.:: Shayne: ::Very, very quietly, almost as if he was selling his soul.:: But I understand. Traenor: I… don’t know if there’s anything more I can add at this time, other than my sincere apologies for causing you such grief. A hollow sentiment, I’m sure, but I extend it all the same. Shayne: ::Surprised at his own words.:: Then let me make a, perhaps equally, hollow sentiment. Somehow, sometime, not now, not soon, but sometime, forgive yourself. Only then can you live without weight wrapped round your soul. ::Feeling that both men had spent their destructive energy and were, if not at peace, then at least at an uneasy truce over their emotions, Maxwell rose wearily and moved next to the door, signalling an intent to bring this confrontation to a closure… for now. He would make himself available to Randal any time the helmsman needed someone to vent to, and he would respect the sanctity of the honest right to speak freely, and never hold the man’s strong words against him.:: Traenor: This doesn’t have to end here. Anytime you need to revisit this, I’ll be here. ::Shayne stood heavily, and slowly made his way to the door. It opened as he approached, but he stopped, and, hesitatingly, he turned to the First Officer, exhaustion, sadness, and a hundred other sensations apparent in his eyes. Then, without a word, he began to to extend his arm, obviously thinking of shaking Traenor’s hand. But he found that he couldn’t. There were no words, and no gestures that would sufficiently express what he (or Traenor) was feeling. Letting his arm drop to his side, he left Traenor’s quarters, seeking the solitude of his own, if only for a little while. The world looked a little different now.:: LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - First Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A A239111MT0 and Lt Randal Shayne - Helmsman, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A G239202RS0
  19. Though he only got a minute or two of screen time, I always had a crush on Tobin.
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