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Toni

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  1. Welcome Jacob! We are happy you found us, and hope you will soon be a part of the best RPG on the Internet!
  2. PART I (Underground Location - Lokesh City) ::The courier from one of the camps had just given her a piece of news she had been waiting for a choice target. A blue woman, the one from the Federation that had just been on the news feeds had been spotted boarding a hover transport leaving the embassy grounds by the streets they were taking the likely destination the press complex in the cities center. She knew time would be short but this was the right moment the right time to strike first blood. The population was starting to calm down but could be railed back up at the slightest provocation. She was going to light the fire of conflict and violent opposition to the aliens and to the regime of their puppet Vail Daysa. After what she had endured being extradited from the federation prison on starbase 118 and given over to brutal Tal’shair who had experimented on her pushing her feilding to the limit for hours on end until the day the facility had been liberated in the uprisings that followed the destruction of Romulans when her people rightfully expelled the Aliens from their world. Only to invite the federation to replace them and instead of open oppression they were doomed to the slow underhanded manipulation of the Federation whose goal is to integrate all under their flag. Forming a plan she darted into the next room a small number of soldiers were always around her.:: Rena: Who here is the best runner? ::Several of her sworn protectors raised their hands. She looked to the three that did not raise theirs.:: Rena: You three which of them is the true fastest runner? ::There three men all pointed to Lorikson a lanky young man with light green coloration on his face. She waved the boy over to her.:: Rena: You have just been chosen to be a martyr my fine man. You are to be the first to strike a blow at the heart of our enemy the federation! Take these. ::She held up two glowing devices roughly the size of a guyver fruit.:: Lorikson: ::His eyes went wide at the grenades his leader had just placed in his hands.:: What am i to do with them? Rena: Throw them at the blue alien woman and at her vehicle then shout Til’ahn for Laudeans again and again until the police arrive then run. Run and never come back to this city go as far as you can and after a years time you can contact a cell to return to us. ::She knew the boy would likely to be gunned down by police or captured.:: If you are captured take this you know what it will do. ::She tucked a pill into a tiny pocket sewn into the inside collar of her soldiers uniforms. She took a handful of blits out of her side pouch and slipped them into his hand as well:: This is for your journey if you can escape. Go now, carry my spirit in your step and may your aim be true. ::The young man tucked the grenades into his vest and bolted out of the room into the catacombs of the lokesh underground. She turned to the others.:: Rena: Send word to my Lieutenants and have them come here we will wait for news of the attack and plan our next moves. I will be awaiting them in my chambers. ::The men in the room looked at her some with awe some with fear at what she had just set in motion other looked eager to start the fight.:: Rena: Today is a great day for the history of our people. The first day of what one day I hope they will call our second revolution! TBC/TAG (Rena’s Lieutenants) PNPC Rena Leader of Til’ahn For Laudeans Lokesh City Cell As Simmed By Brell HCO officer USS Thunder-A Embassy to Duronis II PART II ((Lokesh City Press Complex)) ::Lorikson stood and waited the white colored transport with the federation logo emblazoned on its side was visible ahead nearing the vehicle check point to access the roundabout roadway in front of the press complex building. Those on foot had no such checkpoint to worry about he crossed the street and headed towards one of the stone pillars arranged around the upper curve of the entry way. He cupped one of the grenades in each hand keeping them tucked in his pockets. He watched as the vehicle pulled into drive it came to a halt at the upper center and it’s side door slid open, he had already stood and moved in about twenty feet away at the base of a pillar he stopped and called out at the top of his lungs just as he saw a blue leg emerge.:: Lorikson: TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! ::The sound of a screaming man drew Lyldra’s attention immediately as he got to her feet she could hear the driver’s door opening on the other side of the transport. The screaming man seem to throw something and she heard a thud the sound of something hitting the ground she saw it under the transport and jumped away from the vehicle. He looked back to the Man still shouting. Crewman McKele jumped back into the transport and closed his door. He hailed the embassy.:: Crewman McKele: =/\= This is McKele we could be under attack, returning as soon as i can get everyone back in the transport. =/\= Lorikson: TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! :: He threw the second grenade right at the blue woman, it landed right in front of her, he had held it a moment after pulling the pin. With glee he shouted louder.:: TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! TIL’AHN FOR LAUDEANS! ::Her eyes went wide at her feet was another rapidly flashing bomb that man had thrown it. Thrown it at her. Fear stricken he did the only thing that came to mind she quickly bent down and picked up the grenade and threw it back towards the shouting man, it hit him on his left shin and it bounced behind him right between the man and the stone pillar.:: Lorikson: TIL’AHN F.. ::His cheers interrupted by the unexpected impact.:: What the…… ::She stood there frozen in fear eyes wide and staring at the man who was looking down for the source of what had hit him. She had no clue where the Major was or the young crewman that had driven them here, It was as if the world around her had disappeared. A second later both of the devices exploded. The laudean man was at the center of the blast and so was the base of the twenty foot high pillar behind him, the base was fractured spraying stone debris in all direction and the rest of the pillar came crashing down toppling to one side. Glass in ground floor of the press building shattered to the floor in blast wave. Screams rang out from inside and from the surrounding area. At the same time the hover transport was thrown into the air and landed upside down a few feet away Lyldra was knocked to the ground hard from the blast coming from beneath it. It felt as if a force had just twisted her legs from under her and she landed hard on her head, her blue blood flowed out from a gash at the impact site and her vision went blurry. All she could see ahead was flames and rubble from the collapsed pillar. She struggled to stay awake, and slowly lifted her head and put her hand to the wound. She looked around and could not see Crewman McKele anywhere. She could see the fiery hulk of what was their transport but she could not make out any details it was beginning to hurt to keep hers eyes open.:: Lyldra: Crewman McKele! Major Pavlova! ::No answer came from the crewman. The sounds of sirens could be heard growing closer.:: Pavlova::Picking Lyldra up as though she weighed nothing:: : Time to go babe. ::With that, Irina started the car and completely ignoring her own injury or the crowd, she accelerated hard and made a fast line to the embassy.PNPC Lyldra FDC Attache Embassy to Duronis II & MPNPC Lorikson Til’ahn For Laudeans Lokesh City Cell As simmed by Ensign Brell HCO Officer Uss Thunder-A
  3. I think I hold the record for the shortest winning story. It was a little over 300 words, and two of the judges said there was no way an entry that short could be a winner. After they read it, they both apologized to me. That was way back in Nov/Dec 2005. I hope the archive will stay up for a while to give us a chance to move some of our manuscripts to where they can be read. I have four of them linked right now to my wiki page.
  4. You didn't fail by any means, You created nervous laughter. As I said you did a good job, Marcus.
  5. All of your stories were great! It was a extremely good competition this time around! My hat's off to all of you for a job well done!
  6. Dawn's Early Light by Lt. Commander Hannibal Tiberious Parker (( Late 2373, Fire Base Sierra, Planet TR 144, Tyra System )) ::The planet wasn't much... Class M, smaller than Earth, similar gravity...unremarkable in its natural resources or of much importance other than a beachhead against the Dominion. It was here the 282nd of the Starfleet Marines had engaged Dominion forces for the previous two weeks. Time after time, they drove off the drug-addled monsters, managing to keep their base camp from being overrun. Neither side had managed a clear advantage over the other, and in the skies above, Starfleet and Dominion forces engaged in a deadly cat and mouse game of survival. There had been talk of a major engagement by the fleet, but as far as Sargent Hannibal Parker was concerned, it was all talk. They had supplies, comms, and ammo. Power for the base camp kept the Jem'Haddar out due to the force fields they had put up...but they had to go outside the force fields to engage the enemy.:: ::The Marines held the high ground, with the Jem'Haddar camp three clicks away. The land between them was a rabbit warren of scorched earth, craters, and destroyed foliage. Smoke rose from the gulf between the two camps, and from their vantage point, Hannibal and his men could see the beginnings of some sort of structure. Intelligence told them it was a ketracel white facility, and their job was to eliminate it.:: ::Going into the communications bunker, Hannibal went to speak to the commanding officer, Colonel Sampson. The look on his face never seemed to change...he would have been a good poker player, his grey eyes set into his head with a way that would look right through you. They had been on this rock for three weeks, and he had not ever seen the man smile...but there was not a great deal to smile about. There were once two hundred and fifty Marines here..they were down to one hundred and twenty five. Looking down on the much smaller man, the Colonel spoke, raising his voice over the whine of a fighter squadron swooping down on the Jem'Haddar..:: Sampson: Looks like those fighters are going to do the job for us, Sargent... ::A thunderous explosion, felt more than seen, rumbled through the bunker. Looking outside, four mushroom clouds, flecked with flame and smoke, rode their way ominously skyward, the booms from sympathetic explosions rocking the void between them...:: Parker: We'll see, Sir...those [...]s are proving to be quite hard to kill. Sampson: That should take care of them. Indeed it should. Starfleet at the moment ruled the skies and the space above it, which could only mean one of two things...the Dominion was busy elsewhere, and losing the facility was the cost of doing business, or they really were going to keep a grip on the sector...which meant the Sovereign Class USS Charleston would be back to pick them up in short order. No doubt he could use a shower, as could everyone else in the unit by then. ::Sitting at the Communications console, a Starfleet Lieutenant... Carlson? turned to speak to the General...his flushed face told Hannibal that whatever it was, had to be important...:: Carlson: Sir..this just came in from Admiral Ross. The fleet is engaging the Dominion. The Charleston is recovering their fighters and going to join the fleet. ::Hannibal didn't like that one bit. Sure, the Jem'Haddar had been dealt with for now, but there was always a chance there were survivors, or something would put them back in the fight. Without air cover. Looking back at the Colonel, he spoke..:: Sampson: All we have to do is sit tight till this thing is over, Sargent. ::Turning to a subordinate, Colonel Sampson issued another set of orders...::: Sampson: Stand down from alert status, and lower the shields. Save the power for when we need it. ::The subordinate nodded, and the hum from the shield went away. Something in the back of Hannibals' mind told him it was a very bad idea, and that feeling of dread only increased as the hours passed.:: :: Eating chow in the mess tent four hours later, Hannibals' worst fears were realized as the Starfleet Lieutenant raced out of the command bunker, his face white with fear and shock. The Colonel, sitting at the head of one of the mess tables, stood up as the man approached.::: Carlson: Colonel! The fleets' gone! :: All conversation stopped dead with the news. If what he was saying was true, they were marooned, behind enemy lines...:: Sampson: What the hell are you talking about? There were over a hundred ships in that fleet! Confirm that last report.. Carlson: I did Sir...I'm only getting ID's from ten ships. Ten out of 112......... :: Their worst nightmare was coming true. They were trapped, behind enemy lines, and it was only just beginning. One hundred and twenty five Marines on the verge of being slaughtered by a relentless enemy. The Jem'Haddar were not interested in taking Marines as prisoners, and everyone in that tent knew it. Colonel Sampson stood up, his face resolute, his voice calm..:: Sampson: Hannibal, get your men ready to fight. Set the perimeter. Carlson, get those shields back up and get an inventory of our supplies. Make sure our sensors can track incoming ships, friend or foe. ::Before Hannibal could answer, Carlson spoke again, his voice tinged with fear...:: Carlson: General...should I send a distress signal? :: With a finality as solid as permacrete, he spoke...:: Sampson: The only one who will hear it will be the Jem'Haddar, Lieutenant....on your way...Hannibal, you too. Lock this place down. Parker: Aye, Sir... Carlson: Will do, Colonel. :: Picking up his rifle, making sure it had a fresh power cell, he spoke to the Marines in the room...:: Parker: Get all the water, ammo, rations and grenades you can carry. You know the drill. We got company coming. Pass the word. Move it! :: The scraping of boots and clang of weapons as the Marines gathered their weapons and made their way over to the makeshift armory, all the while passing the word to the other Marines on watch. Marines took extra ammo, food and water to their compatriots on the line. Hannibal took his position forward, looking out over the now burned out Jem'Haddar position. The waiting game had now begun..::: :: Day turned to night, and with no moon and no lighting, the Marine camp was black as a tomb. The occasional shimmering from the shields was the only light, its brief illumination just enough to temporarily ruin his night vision. A light on the horizon, too low to be a ship, arched high into the sky, followed by a shriek that sounded like ripping heavy burlap...:: Parker: INCOMING!!!! :: The warhead slammed into the shields, the sound of the explosion cracking against his ears. Another. Then another. Screams from the Marines, holding their ears as those closest to the impact point had their eardrums shattered by the impacts. With each succeeding blast, the shields flared less and less blue, and began to flare red. The shields were failing, until one final fusillade took them down for good. The sounds of explosions now replaced by darkness and calls for medics, who rushed from the command bunker to treat the injured.Hannibal could hear the Colonel calling for status reports, wanting to know how fast they could get the shields back up. The reply was cut off as the assault began anew, this time the first shell slammed into the command bunker, the concussion knocking Hannibal off his feet, debris raining down upon the besieged Marines.:: :: Hannibal was furious. They were being methodically chewed to pieces by long range artillery they somehow managed to get to the surface. The command bunker, along with Colonel Sampson, was gone, consumed in the fire started by the artillery barrage. The power supply was gone. So far, their stocks of food and water were unscathed. They still had plenty of ammo, but no one to shoot at. The surviving medics did what they could, patching up the wounded, and those who could not be saved were given a lethal dose of painkiller. Fortunately, they still had medical supplies, so they could at least survive until the bitter end, which Hannibal knew was coming.:: :: A quick survey of the medics and surviving Marines told the tale. Hannibal and one other Sergeant, Thompson, were the only surviving officers. Twenty nine Marines, including the Colonell, were dead, with another nineteen wounded. That left only seventy seven fully whole Marines out of two hundred and fifty they hit the rock with. He didn't know if any would be left by morning:: :: There was no place to hide, no place for cover. Those who could fight stayed on the line, phaser rifles at the ready. Others were collecting weapons and supplies from the dead, and placing the dead in body bags.. They worked quickly, never knowing when incoming fire would interrupt the process of collecting the dead. Hannibal knew only one thing...if he was going to die on this rock, he was going to die like a Marine. He didn't fear it...he embraced it...The only possible good news was that they knew that they were facing Cardassian artillery, thanks to a few fragments they found...which meant that this part of the system the Dominion allowed the Cardassians to control. Now, if they would only come out and fight. Cardassians were brutal, but at least you could see them coming and they stayed down when shot.:: :: Working his way around the camp, Hannibal found one man, a Starfleet Ensign. He had dove into a shell crater to escape the bombardment. Curled into a fetal position, he was almost hysterical, shaking as though he was being electrocuted. Babbling to himself, Hannibal first felt pity for the man...then anger. Kneeling down into the crater, Hannibal jerked the man up, the Ensigns' eyes filled with terror..:: Parker: Ensign...ENSIGN! PULL IT TOGETHER! :: The young man tried to pull away, but Hannibals' grip only tightened on the mans’ uniform.::: Ensign: THE FLEETS' GONE! WE'RE GOING TO DIE HERE! THEY ARE GOING TO COME IN HERE AND KILL US ALL! WE GOTTA… :: Before he knew it, Hannibal backhanded the Ensign, then slapped him again, splitting his lip. Drawing his Bowie knife and placing it under his chin, Hannibal spoke to him in a voice more chilling than the enemy itself…:: Parker: WE are going to fight until we can’t. To the last man. WE are going to stay here and DO OUR JOB! If you try to run, I will kill you myself. IS THAT CLEAR!!! :: The young man was still shaking, but the haunted look in his eyes began to fade. Hannibals’ lip was quivering in anger, and only then did he realize his outburst had drawn a crowd. With Sergeant Thompson watching him from a distance, Hannibal continued…::: Parker: Fear is a choice, Ensign. Choose to live. Choose to fight. Choose to die. Now. :: Hannibal had no use for cowards, and he had decided if the young man wanted to die, his knife would make quick work of him right here and right now. Slightly moving the knife away from his chin, the man nodded..:: Parker: Good. Now get your [...] on the line. When they come over that hill, just keep pulling that trigger until you’re dry, then snap in a new clip. Can you do that? Ensign::nodding:: Yes sir…… :: Watching the young man take his place, Hannibal took his, and waited for daybreak. It wasn’t long before the sounds of incoming fire drew their attention…:: Parker: HERE WE GO MARINES!!!!!! :: Checking his combat tricorder, he could see it was being jammed. As the rounds began to fall around the compound, the explosions were smaller,which meant mortars..which meant a ground assault was imminent. They still had mortars, but because they could not see exactly where their enemy was, they could only guess in the darkness before dawn. The Marines lit the sky with their mortars, pounding the positions they thought the enemy was located. A bright flash from the former hilltop held by the Jem’Haddar told them they had hit paydirt. Round after round dropped on the enemy position, fanning out from that position, until enemy fire stopped falling. Lighting off a tracer round, they found what they were looking for as dawn broke above the embattled forces. Cardassian soldiers were moving through the no mans land between the two positions. This was the moment of truth. There were at least three hundred Cardassians moving towards them, spreading out so they were not such easy targets. Surprised by being lit up, they began to run towards the Marines. Thompsons’ voice rang out…:: Thompson: Wait for my signal. Make every shot count! Grenades at the ready! Let ‘em have it! :: The thump of grenade launchers put up a wall of shrapnel, slicing into the Cardassians, but they were not enough against them. Inside phaser range, Thompson sang out again…:: Thompson: It’s been an honor...FIRE AT WILL!!!! Parker: YES SIR! :: From behind their sandbag barricades, the Marines cut loose, the blue beams from their rifles contrasting the the red beams from Cardassian weaponry. It seemed like the more they dropped, more took their place. Shots hit the sandbags around Hannibal, one slicing through and catching him in the hip. He was grazed pretty deeply, but he ignored the pain and fought on. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Ensign who had been cowering in a shell crater, drop his rifle and began to run away..:: Parker: ENSIGN! GET YOUR… :: It was too late. A disruptor blast caught him in the back, and as he spun around, another caught him in the head. He was finished..:: :: Only seventy five yards separated the Cardassians from the Marines. Most of the Marines had grenade launchers attached to their rifles, but once they had expended them, the fire was too intense to reload them. Throwing them from behind the wall blind was their only option as the enemy crept even closer. A Marine next to Hannibal went down, a perfect hole blown in his chest. Running between positions, Thompson was cut down. It was now only a matter of time before the Cardassians would move to outflank them...they still had superior numbers, and if they managed to accomplish it, game over. The Cardassians would pay dearly, but the Marines would lose the battle. Slapping another clip into his rifle, Hannibal was making his superior marksmanship work for him, cutting down the reptilian troops with abandon. Above the din of dead and dying men and women, a flash of light and heat blew Hannibal back off the line..:: Parker:Oo This is it..Oo :: Hannibals’ greatest fear was to die a dishonorable death. When he was younger, his father told him the greatest thing a warrior could do was to die with honor. There was nothing more honorable than dying in a last stand against innumerable odds , and he only wished that his day to honor his father would come a little later than today. If anyone found his body, there would be no doubt about how he died, facing his enemies, gun or knife in hand.:: :: Another blast..then another. Either the rounds were falling short and the Cardassians were cutting down their own men, or...hope beyond hope, there was a Federation starship up there providing fire support. Whatever it was, the rate of fire from the Cardassians was easing, and the Marines poured it on between the blasts. In another ten seconds, all firing had stopped coming from the Cardassians... the battle for Fire Base Sierra was over. An eerie quiet settled over the battlefield, and as the smoke cleared, it revealed a sea of dead Cardassians mingled with the previously killed Jem’ Haddar. Out of that quiet, a voice Hannibal thought he would never hear again came over his commbadge..it was Captain Taylor of the USS Charleston.:: Taylor: =/\= This is Captain Taylor of the USS Charleston. Any commanding officer please respond.=/\= :: Thinking it was a trap, Hannibal responded, and asked a question only the captain would know…:: Parker: =/\= This is Sargeant Parker, Captain. How many days did I get in the brig for drunk and disorderly at Starbase One?=/\= Taylor: =/\= None. The charges were dropped. You’ve got ten minutes to get your people together and get off that rock before we need to bug out. We’ll destroy what you can’t take from orbit.=/\= Parker:=/\ Copy that, Captain, and thanks for the air strike. Parker out.=/\= :: It was indeed Captain Taylor all right. Looking around at his spent Marines, he yelled out to them..:: Parker: We’re bugging out! Get the wounded ready to travel! :: In short order, the wounded, the dead, and the surviving Marines were back on board the Charleston. His first stop was Sick Bay, where he could get his hip tended to. They still had to make it out of the occupied area and into Federation space, but he felt confident that if Captain Taylor could escape the carnage of the battle, he could certainly get them home…:: Sargeant Hannibal Tiberious Parker Starfleet Marines Lt. Commander Hannibal Tiberious Parker First Officer Embassy, Duronis II/USS Thunder
  7. I love to Sim at UFOP: Starbase 118!

  8. Ambassador Della Vetri - Extreme Babysitting ((ZSC Supreme Vigilance, Turbolift)) :: Having left the bridge, Della was using the ride in the turbolift to indulge in what were by this point probably at least fourth thoughts about what she was about to do. Her comment about her mental shielding hadn't been an idle one, and now here she was about to shove herself head-first into what promised to be the emotional equivalent of a fusion reactor.:: :: Not, all in all, one of the things she would have put on her list of "things I'd love to do today".:: :: On the other hand, she wasn't doing it for her *own* sake, and if there was one thing she was reasonably sure of, it was that a horde of children, fresh from whatever nightmare experience they'd just been living, were going to need someone around that quite plainly *wasn't* involved in the business of hurting people.:: :: She had no doubt that at least some of the marines they had around would be utterly brilliant when dealing with kids - it was just not the time to start experimenting along those lines.:: :: The lift doors opened, and she took a deep breath to try and steady herself, shoving every ounce of mental effort she could summon into shoring up the barriers between her psionic senses and the outside world as she started heading down the corridor the short distance needed to reach the lounge.:: :: It didn't help as much as she might have liked.:: :: Even before she'd reached the door, she could feel the emotional blaze on the other side, and it took a concerted effort of will to force herself through. What greeted her on the other side of the door was about what she'd expected, though in far more luxurious surroundings than she might have counted on. It seemed senior Suzerainty officers got to enjoy quite a bit of the high life when off duty...:: :: Far more important than that, though, was the fact that there were quite plainly two groups of people here. Near the door, trying to look as unthreatening as possible, were a pair of Starfleet marines who gave the impression that they'd much rather be a lot of other places. Occupying a large portion of the rest of the room was a, well, horde of Zalkonian children of various ages, giving off an almost living aura of fear, distrust, and perhaps more tellingly, almost totally hopeless resignation.:: :: Another thing that struck her was the fact that apart from the sounds of breathing and the occasional rustle of movement, the room was utterly silent.:: :: Time to bite the bullet...:: Vetri: Okay, first thing I need to ask - is anyone hurt? :: She kept her tone brisk and businesslike, with none of the exaggerated cheer or cuteness that people often put on when talking to children. The merest glance was enough to tell anyone with half a brain cell that these kids had seen too much of the dren life could throw out to be impressed by such a tack.:: :: There was no answer from anyone, but it was impossible to miss the way attention shifted to focus on her even more than it already had. being on the receiving end of that much scrutiny was... uncomfortable, but she pressed on.:: Vetri: No? Good. In that case, we can try and skip forward to the nicer bits. :: She made a deliberate show of shooing the two marines into a corner, away from the kids and hopefully making the point that the guys with guns were not the ones in charge around here. Somehow, and she had *no* idea how it happened, what resulted was an odd little pantomime that had both of the marines sloping off into the corner looking sheepish and for all the world like they were being sent to sit on the naughty step. For that matter, the Caitian one of the pair managed to make his eras and tail droop in a truly spectacular display of fake dejection. :: :: Given the flare of amusement - grim as it was - she sensed from a couple of the kids, the fact the pair of them were playing along without any sort of hesitation at all was definitely helping.:: Vetri: Right, you two sit there, be quiet, and behave yourselves. ::turning back to the children:: Just so you all know, my name is Della, and I'm here to make sure that you are all as comfortable and looked after as we can get. I'll apologise straight away for the fact that things are a little... unsettled, right now, but we're working on fixing that. :: No response at all, which she pretty much expected. At least they seemed to be *listening* to her, though.:: Vetri: Somewhere in this room, I know we have one of these... ::pointing at the commbadge pinned to her jacket:: ...that one of you was given. Now, I'm not wanting it back, I'd just like to know where it is - my friend Hella would probably like it back eventually. :: A subtle shift in the group drew her eye, and she was a little disappointed to see that it was a few of the kids pulling away slightly from one of their number. The reason for it was easy enough to spot, though, glinting in the child's hand. Just as easy to see was the rather disturbing fact that apart from the commbadge the only thing the little girl had was a Starfleet uniform jacket wrapped tightly around her - one she strongly suspected had been donated by one of the Marines, given the colouring.:: :: Any thought at all as to *why* such a donation might have been necessary ws ruthlessly shoved aside, and Della made her tone stay casual as she addressed the little female.:: Vetri: You have it? Great. Keep hold of it for me, would you? You've kept it safe so far, so I think we can trust you to keep doing it. ::looking around:: Also, I think I should say thank you for taking such good care of it. After all, if you hadn't kept hold of it, I wouldn't have been able to scoop you all up and get you here. :: This time, when she looked around the room, she made a bit of a show of just how tacky she thought the overblown decoration really was.:: Vetri: And just as soon as I can, I think I'll see about getting the bits together for you to redecorate in here. I know *my* girls love doing it... especially the littlest. ::smiling at the smallest of the children she could see:: She's about your age, actually. Child: What are you going to do with us. :: Outwardly, Della just glanced at the boy, one of the eldest in the group, as she listened to his question. Inside, however, she practically jumped for joy at the fact that his challenging demand for answers was coming her way at all.:: Vetri: You got a name, kid? Doesn't matter much if you don't want to give it to me, just thought I'd ask. :: With a stubborn set to his jaw, he stayed silent, and Della just shrugged amiably once again.:: Vetri: Probably wouldn't answer that myself, if I were you. No worries, was just being curious. To answer your question, though... ::she pointed at the replicator on the wall:: I'm declaring open season on that thing, just don't make yourselves sick. I'm also going to see about getting some stuff in here to make it a little more homey, so if there's anything you want then let me know and I'll see what I can do. We're not planning to be on this ship for long, though, so I apologise in advance if I can get everything done for you. :: There was some quiet muttering among the group, and Della waited for a minute or so before speaking up again.:: Vetri: I *am* going to need to start getting names soon, I'm afraid. *But*, that's so I can arrange something else for you. You know how grown-ups always seem to be the ones in charge? Well, *this* time, it's the other way around - we have a cargo bay full of adults, and I would *very* much like to be able to find some kids they belong to. That way, I can put them in the care of people who have a decent grip on what the next little while is supposed to be about for you guys. Child: Which is what? :: Somewhere along the line, either she'd gotten used to it or the emotional pressure around her had actually eased. Either way, Della felt a lot less buffeted than she had been when she walked in, and that in turn let the laugh that came out of her mouth sound smooth and easy as she wandered over to the replicator.:: Vetri: You tell me, kiddo. I'm just here to make sure you stay safe. :: Calling up the menu listing on the replicator, she browsed it for a moment, then looked over her shoulder at the children.:: Vetri: Could someone tell me what the heck Vethaberry caramel pie is, and whether it's as tooth-rottingly cakey as it sounds? Girl: It's really nice... but we never get anything more than boring plastic dinners. :: With a sly grin, Della pointed at the young girl and beckoned her over. With obvious reluctance, she obeyed, looking more than a little nervous about what opening her mouth had let her in for. As a matter of fact, that turned out to be far less daunting than she might have feared.:: Vetri: You just volunteered to be in charge of cakes. Go nuts. ::to the rest:: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we need to at least *pretend* to be organised around here, or this is going to get horribly messy. ::pausing, and pretending to think about it:: Actually, who cares about the mess. Turner: =/\= Turner to Vetri, is everything alright?=/\= :: At the sound of the voice over the comm, everything went still again, apart from Della, who tapped her commbadge to respond.:: Vetri: =/\= That depends. We seem to be trying to decide whether we should work the replicator into a meltdown. =/\= Turner: =/\= We will be leaving soon to rendezvous with the Thunder. =/\= Vetri: =/\= Good. The sooner we're not here, the happier I'll be. I didn't go to all the time and trouble of arranging a planet for these guys to take over just because I was bored. The sooner we get them on their way there, the sooner they can get to the serious business of being *kids*. =/\= :: And the mention of the planet had been quite deliberate. A whole other kind of stillness settled over the children as the import of what she'd said started to sink in, and she could only imagine what the response of the *adults* was going to be.:: Turner: =/\= Do you think you can go organize the adults soon? =/\= Vetri: =/\= Hell no, I'm staying here. Get someone else to organise the grown-ups. I'm staying with the important people. ::pausing for a beat as she gave the children a thoroughly cheeky grin:: They have cake. =/\= :: Or at least they would do if she could get them to actually start raiding the replicator. She'd given them enough hints that it was fine to do so, but so far there had been little sign they really trusted her enough to follow through.:: :: Hardly surprising, really.:: Vetri: =/\= Oh, speaking of cake. If you could arrange for a medic to show their face at some point, that'd be nice. *Someone* is going to make themselves sick, probably me, so having a little help on hand when that happens would be appreciated. =/\= :: And, whilst they were at it, maybe that medic could take a few moments to discretely check the kids for any problems that would need attention...:: :: Actually, that thought triggered another one - one that made use of some very large blunt instruments to get her attention. Given just how raggedy and malnourished these kids looked, what she'd been trying to get them to do was probably a truly idiotic idea. Possibly the very *worst* thing she could do to a bunch of kids so drastically underfed was put rich food into them.:: Vetri: ::muttering:: Crap... Turner: =/\= I'll send the Marine medic. He should be able to take care of them until we can get them to the Thunder's sickbay. =/\= Vetri: =/\= Something just occurred to me. Look, I need to try and figure out what needs doing around here. If you'll excuse the method, I'll just give you a peek at why... =/\= :: Closing her eyes, she concentrated, filtering her way past the various auras the clouded her sense of the ship around her until she locked in on the one she was after. Carefully, she reached out to it in a particular special way, and slipped an image of the children as she'd first seen them into Toni's awareness.:: ::Toni soon envisioned the images of hollow-eyed terror, gastric distension, lethargy, and malnourished and bruised bodies. Tears blurred her eyes, and her medical training kicked in.:: Turner:=/\= Yes, stay with them, but take cake off the menu. Start them on a nourishing broth. It will be easier for them to tolerate food better. I'll be down to check them as soon as the teams are beamed aboard. =/\= Tag Ambassador Della Vetri Diplomatic Officer Embassy of Duronis II
  9. Welcome Mr. Riel! We're glad you found us and look forward to simming with you too.
  10. ((Embassy, Ship Yard, USS Akaper)) :: Someone had paid him a favor. An Ambassador had pulled a few strings and arranged for his departure from prison, and the release of his ship from impound.:: :: Why? Was it someone he knew? Someone he owed a favor too? Someone he’d cheated, robbed, or pummeled?:: :: The nine foot tall brute of an alien finished securing the flight station on the bridge, and reached down with his large three-fingered hands to gather his suitcase. Somehow, despite that naturally-occurring lack of appendages within the Shrakian species, he managed to manipulate the fine leather-bound handles between the three huge stumps that were attached to his hands, and then lift the bag with feather-like ease.:: :: As the delicate fabric of the bag bulged more under the weight of the contents, the beautiful flowers sewn into the silken material seemed to stretch out of shape.:: :: Ducking under the low overhang in the doorways, the mammoth creature turned and sealed the bridge one last time. He didn’t know what he was doing on Til’ahn, but he figured it wouldn’t involve transporting cargo, unless it did, and then he’d be happy.:: :: That was usually the extent of his deep thoughts. He was mostly made of muscle, and hide so thick a phaser tickled.:: :: A cold metal hatch of the bridge hissed as it set in place, followed by a “thunk” sound as the heavy lock slipped into its groove.:: :: With a heavy sigh, the pale blue skinned Shrakkian and his giant, flat elephant feet stomped their way through the grates of the deck and toward the exit hatch of the ship.:: :: He may have been sprung from prison, but the work release program was no ticket to freedom, especially with the ankle bracelet strapped to his finger. Why the finger? It was the only limb small enough the device would fit on the ogre beast. He had considered cutting off the finger, but it was difficult enough at times to operate the finer things in life with only three fingers on each hand – two would just make him a klutz.:: :: Speaking of finer things, he lifted his feminine embroidered bag and sniffed the flowers that were hand-stitched into the weave.:: Ceedel: Ahhh… tweely blossoms... :: His voice was baritone and gravely.:: :: And considering that he only took a bath once every two months said a lot about how sensitive his sense of smell *wasn’t*. On a good day the Shrakkian… *all* Shrakkians smelled like foot fungus. Pungent, and ripe with sweat it was natures repellent musk – a natural deterrent to insects, (and most humanoids with a nose).:: :: Those sweet tweely blossoms actually stunk like something rotting on the roadside. He liked it.:: :: Reaching the exit hatch, he rolled it back manually with the strength of one arm, which was astounding considering how much metal screeched in resistance from the weight. The hydraulics to the door had broken a while ago, and the Shrakkian had found that the impossible heft of the outer door was a cheap security system.:: :: Outside of his ship a green skinned beauty was waiting for him. She was armed, Orion, and Ceedel was instantly in love. Or course, he frequently fell in love with every female he laid eyes on.:: :: He smoothed a hand over his big, mostly bald, head, feeling the thick course sprigs of hair prickle under his rough palm, and then he ran a finger along one of the two sharp tusks protruding from his jaw as if that would win the woman’s heart over.:: :: Big, pointy tusks where the pride of all Shrakkians.:: Ceedel: Hello there green goddess. Are you here for me? :: He hoped.:: :: He smiled and his mouthful of latinum capped molars gleamed in the lights. Sadly, she did not seem to be suitably awestruck. Instead, she just looked him over before pointing to the ground a couple of meters in front of her.:: Corsetto: Out. :: As he stepped down from the ship, his sheer mass made the solid ground vibrated a little. One could only imagine what it felt, and sounded like when he ran.:: Ceedel: Happy to do whatever you want. One question… who’s the Ambassador and why am I here? :: It was two questions. He was dumb like that sometimes. He reached back and with a tug from his thick muscled arm, he hulked the hatch closed with a loud clap of metal.:: :: As she watched, Delvia considered whether or not the Ambassador had taken leave of her senses. She could understand the reasons for what the Trill had set in motion, but that didn't mean she thought it was a good idea... and she was even less certain now that she had a good eyefull - and smell - of the result of the Ambassador's machinations.:: Corsetto: She's the reason you're not in lockup. She's sent me here to make sure you don't get... lost. And Ceedel? Ceedel: The Ambassador is a she? She as in female? Mmmm… :: That was the kind of “Mmmm…” that usually accompanied a tasty dish of food that he would soon devour, and dribble down his chin.:: Corsetto: If you try "flirting" with her like you just did with me, she will skin you alive. ::smiling evilly:: And then T'Lea will get to play with what is left. :: The reaction to that name was just plain funny. It was blatantly obvious that of all the things the Shrakkian might have expected, *that* had not been anywhere on the list. And it was a nice little handle for her to play with...:: :: At the name drop, the flat of his feet came to a stuttering stop for a moment, before double-timing it to catch up to the green goddess.:: Ceedel: The Butcheress is here? At the Embassy? Ooo, this may not be so bad after all. Who is this Ambassador female? Will the Butcheress be there? Is this a “job” job? It must be if T’Lea is involved. Is- Corsetto: Perhaps you should stop talking. Answers will come your way faster if you follow me and keep your mouth shut. Ceedel: Heh-heh. I like you, green goddess. And I like watching you from behind. :: He kept his big black eyes on her lovely rear-end, ogling her the entire way.:: :: With a curt gesture, she motioned him to take the lead. She also made no pretence of the fact one hand was resting on her sidearm. Just, you know, casually.:: ((Ambassador's Office)) Corsetto: Your delivery has arrived. :: Behind the desk, the Trill looked up from her console screen and studied Ceedel in silence. He was just as subtle a sight as expected, but she'd known that before he arrived. Sitting back in her seat, she waved him toward the chairs. Not that she expected him to fit into any of them, but the invitation might help him get a little more comfortable.:: :: That was a feeling he was going to need by the time she was done with him.:: :: He wasn’t used to clean rooms unless he was standing in some warden’s office, so it took him a moment to get used to the fancy furniture and decorations. Once his eyes landed on the gorgeous woman with spots it didn’t matter where he was standing, all he could think about was *her*. And then he quickly shook his big horned face free of any naughty thoughts when he remembered the Butcheress was nearby.:: :: He glanced around as if T’Lea would suddenly appear and pull out his tusks for even thinking a single dirty thought about the Ambassador.:: :: After he saw that he was out of danger, he relaxed his big shoulders, and let his frilly bag hang from his fingertips.:: :: Voice all gravel and gruff he spoke.:: Ceedel: Where’s the Butcheress? What do you want from me? Why did you bring me here? Vetri: That's simple enough to answer. You owe T'Lea. :: The Kol-Ma-Ra. It was a promise to T’Lea. It was also his religion to protect and die for the person that had saved his life. And that is exactly what T’Lea had done, knowing full-well what she would get in return. Of course, she didn’t let him know that.:: Ceedel: Yeah… I do. What does that have to do with you? :: He was being aggressive, trying to see if he could rattle the Trill any.:: Vetri: Consider that debt being called in. ::Smiling tightly:: And you may even want to consider what you owe *me* for getting you out of jail. Ceedel: Then where is she? I should be speaking to her, not you, Sprinkles. :: He was referring to her delicious little spots.:: :: Trying to intimidate the Ambassador, he stomped toward her desk, and leaned one of his large fists on the top of the table to lean down toward her. His breathing sounded like a rhino about to charge.:: :: With a shake of her head, she found herself intrigued by the way he was reacting. Owing her, he would cheerfully ignore. Owing T'Lea...?:: Vetri: She's busy. She also doesn't know you are here yet. *I* made the arrangements, and *I* did it for a reason. T'Lea's family needed someone to watch over it, and you... ::smiling slightly again:: You are a criminal, a thug, and a not particularly successful smuggler. You are, however, useful to my fiancée, and I am giving you a chance to earn a little more freedom than you actually have right now. :: Most of what Sprinkles had said didn’t register. After doing so much Peresian crystal dust in his youth, sometimes it took a while for things to get processed in his brain… what was left of it.:: Ceedel: GOFF! You insult me and mine? I could stomp you into the ground and walk out of here with only a stain on my big toe. I am free, tiny little Trill thing. You freed me. That is your mistake. I owe you nothing. Vetri: No, you are out of *jail*. Your ass belongs to me right now, Ceedel. I can have you tossed right back in again if I don't like your attitude. ::her smile turned a lot sharper:: I also hold the rights to that ship of yours, and it's going nowhere at all unless I say so. Just in case you felt the urge to do a little wandering around. Any questions? Ceedel: Wait. What did you say…? :: He had a brainfart – literally if he thought too hard or fast, it caused him to pass gas, which sounded like a dog’s squeaky toy. Something Della could happily live without... and longer, by the smell of it.:: :: This was really not striking her as being as great a plan as she'd thought.:: :: Ceedel dragged his knuckles off the Ambassador’s desk, but the squeaky sound came from elsewhere.:: Ceedel: You and the Butcheress…? You’re doing it? That’s hot! I mean, that’s great. ::he slanted his head:: You are her hoopa then? :: Hoopa was not a flattering term in the Shrakkian language. It meant something along the lines of, “server of pleasure”... Something that Della was aware of thanks to some of the memories she'd carried around on T'Lea's behalf. She might not totally agree with his description... but if it got the idea across to him, without straining that little brain of his too much, then she was willing to go along with it.:: :: For now.:: Vetri: You might say that. Ceedel: Why didn’t you say so! Ha-ha-ha. That changes everything, Sprinkles! We are practically family! :: He walked around the desk to give her a hug and only just stopped short when she pushed her chair back enough to free up some space, one wrist twisting to drop what lay up her sleeve into her hand... and made it abundantly obvious to Ceedel that he now had a small but powerful holdout phaser levelled at his manhood. And above all, she did it with a polite smile.:: Ceedel: Right. No touching the Butcheress’s merchandise. ::he backed off a little frightened:: *Ever*. :: Getting more comfortable with the situation now, he sat his delicately embroidered, stinky, bag on Della’s desk with a loud thump as it’s heavy contents settled inside, and then he sat on the corner of the furniture making it groan under his weight.:: :: Della considered pointing out that she was liable to boot that backside right off of her desk, not to mention the bag that she judged too girly for even T'Sara to want to be anywhere near, but it was obvious that her guest was thinking. This was probably going to take a while.:: Ceedel: Now we can get down to business. What’s the job? Corruption, bribery, blackmail, smuggling, stealing, politics, Oooo… I’m very good at forceful mind-changing applications? :: He balled his fist into the palm of his other hand and cracked is lug-nut knuckles.:: Vetri: Follow me. :: With that, she rose smoothly out of her seat, slipping her holdout back into it's hidden holster, and headed for the office door. Just as smoothly, Corsetto moved to flank her and Ceedel - though she had to wait until the Shrakkian caught up with what was happening.:: :: Off the desk he shot, and grabbed his flowery bag, hugging it to his chest. Clomping his large feet behind Vetri, he ducked under the doorway, and stayed crouched down until he reached the large living area.:: :: Over by the couch was a little girl with blonde hair, pointy-ears and spots. She looked up at all 9-feet of him, and he looked down at all two feet of her. They stared at each other like it was a contest, and then Ceedel blinked and T’Sara laughed.:: Ceedel: Ahh… I get it. Kidnapping. So what’s her ransom? :: Shaking her head, Della shared a look with T'Sara that wondered just how long it was going to take for Ceedel to work out what was actually going on. Images flickered back and forth between them, and she had to fight back a smile at what she was getting from her daughter. Amongst other things, it turned out she was right about the girl's opinion of the bag.:: Vetri: No, Ceedel. Not kidnapping. :: Something squeaked from behind Ceedel again as another fast moving thought finally processed in his brain.:: Ceedel: That’s outrageous!! ::he stomped and faced off with Vetri:: That’s *my* ship! I own it, not you. How do you expect me to provide for my twenty six children without my ship? :: Yeah, it was just now hitting him that Della was the proprietor of his smelly space craft.:: Vetri: *Do* try and keep up, would you? I'm offering you a chance to do just that, Ceedel, without needing to run around the galaxy dodging the law. Are you willing to listen, or do I simply ship you right back where I found you? T’Sara: She go slow, so you follow. :: Della sent T'Sara a quick little frown, appreciating the sentiment but not necessarily the timing. What she got back was a flicker of a tongue being stuck out at her, but nothing more.:: :: There was an audible growl deep in the Shrakkian’s chest, one that was frustrated and confused.:: Ceedel: I don’t understand. If you don’t need me to break any laws or jaws then what else is there? Despite my fine taste in tapestries ::he hugged his flowery bag:: I have a limited skill set, Sprinkles. Vetri: The job is protection. Not running a racket, but actual safeguarding. You will be paid for your time, with bonuses commensurate to events if things don't stay quiet. Interested? Ceedel: Comensu-- ? :: He wagged his head like the word hurt his brain, and then he paused in thought. This time no squeaky noises were heard. Instead it looked like he had simply stopped working. Like the idea of doing something honest had broken him.:: :: His bare chest rose and fell. His black eyes stared into nothingness. His large arms hugged his floral bag like a soft binky. Finally, his lower jaw moved and so did the tusks that were attached to them.:: Ceedel: Hmm… Hrm… mm-yeah, I don’t know what a comensirate is, but bonuses sound good. Who would be my detail? You? I can *do* you, Sprinkles. :: The laugh that came after the innuendo was suddenly cut short.:: :: Della just nodded toward T'Sara, who looked up at him with a considering expression. It was clear she had no real problem with the Shrakkian, even with the smell, and she *certainly* didn't feel threatened in any way by the giant.:: T'Sara: T'Lea my mommy. She want me looked after. Ceedel: ::flat:: Oh. ::three, two, one:: No. :: Now he was getting it. Now it was sinking in. He was to be a babysitter.:: Vetri: And I think you can do the job. T'Lea should be down soon, and should you wish to turn down my offer, then you are welcome to explain that to her. ::smiling tightly:: I'm sure she'll understand. Ceedel: ::flatter:: Oh. ::three, two, one:: No. :: Suddenly he was a man of few words, and even fewer thoughts.:: :: Della just gave a careless little shrug, then glanced toward the stairs just before the sound of footsteps began working it's way down. Raising her voice enough to be clear to the descending woman, Della let some of her amusement colour her tone.:: Vetri: I've got to head out, meet Toni and see what's going on. T'Lea: What are you doing down there? It smells like a diaper! :: She called down from the staircase.:: Vetri: I've just been interviewing a new babysitter. T’Lea: No, I mean it really stinks. Like something crawled out of the sewer—son of a… :: She saw him.:: Ceedel: Butcheress! :: Ceedel opened his arms wide to encapsulate the woman in a hug as she marched toward him, but he was met with a glare that instantly shrunk him backward a step or two, then three, six, twelve before T’Lea caught his retreat by the back of his pants.:: :: He dropped his flowery bag in pain as T’Lea jerked the waist of his trousers up so high they nearly split him in two. The yowl that emerged from his throat was pathetic, like an animal caught in a bear trap howling in agony.:: :: Out the front door he went with T’Lea man-handling him onto the patio deck where she let go of him by the edge of the pool. She didn’t give him any time to turn around before lifting her foot to kick him into the water.:: :: The splash that occurred was tsunami sized, and even though T’Lea did end up catching some of the spray, she still maintained a glare that could peel the blue-gray skin right off his hide.:: T’Lea: What did I say about thinking too hard in my house, Ceedel? :: He flailed in the water until he found the shallow end, and then he stood there soaking wet like a very bad doggy.:: T’Lea: If you want to *think*, go outside. Not in my house, understand? Ceedel: ::nodding shamefully:: Sorry. :: T’Lea glanced to her side as T’Sara and Vetri emerged. T’Sara was looking at T’Lea rather awe-struck and proud.:: T’Lea: Good. ::at Della:: I think this will work out nicely. Thanks. Was it too much trouble? Vetri: Less than you might think, actually. ::studying Ceedel for a moment:: Good call. I was wonderign how to handle that part of the deal... Okay, I need to head off. Call me if anything comes up? And I'll see you both later. :: As Della headed off, after a quik hug for both of her girls, T’Lea pulled T’Sara over by her leg, and rested a very protective hand on her shoulder. T’Sara was mimicking her mother’s very terrifying demeanor.:: T’Lea: Ground rules. You’re going to take a bath every day, and use deodorant, cologne, something to cover up that smell. Ceedel: But it’s my signature scent. It’s what makes me stand out in a crowd. :: He started to climb out of the pool, but the finger she pointed at him said otherwise. And T’Sara pointed one of her own.:: T’Lea: Stay. Wash it off. Ceedel: Fine. I’ll take a… b-bath. See, I’m washing. :: He lifted his armpit and splashed water into it.:: :: Glancing up at her mother, T’Sara made an uncertain face.:: T’Sara: I don’t thinks I wanna swim in there no mores. T’Lea: The Kol-Ma-Ra you owe me. You don’t any more. :: Bubbles emerged from behind Ceedel in the water. He was thinking hard again, and not following what the Butcheress was saying.:: T’Sara: Yup. Not playing in there no more. :: T’Lea placed a hand on T’Sara’s head.:: T’Lea: The life you are bound to protect has passed on – into her. She’s my offspring, and it’s written in your Holy Shrakar Scrolls that a debt of life can be given to the direct descendant owed. You guard her now, and you do whatever your religion dictates to fulfill that debt. :: Ceedel’s shoulders slumped like a heavy weight had been placed on them.:: T’Lea: What? What’s the problem? :: He waded over to the edge of the pool, and looked from T’Sara to T’Lea. The wave that followed him rose over the edge and onto the patio deck.:: Ceedel: I don’t know how. T’Sara: I teach you. T’Lea: Don’t know how to what? Get out of the pool? :: Apparently T’Sara was one step ahead of her mother on this one.:: Ceedel: I don’t know how to protect a child. I’ve never been around one that I wasn’t kidnapping. T’Lea: What are you talking about, you have twenty-four. T’Sara: Twenny-six. Ceedel: Actually, I don’t have any. I made it up so you’d go easy on me. T’Lea: You stupid son of – :: She moved to kick him in the face for lying to her, but the yank on her arm that T’Sara gave her stopped the assault. The little girl actually kinda felt bad for the big ogre, and since she owned Ceedel now, she didn’t want him to get beat up yet.:: T’Sara: I said I teach him. He watches me, and I watch him. It simple logicals. :: T’Lea looked between Ceedel and T’Sara, worried that this was going to be a huge mistake, given the Shrakkian’s lack of parenting experience. Then again, he didn’t have to a paternal stand-in, he just needed to keep T’Sara safe. *That* she knew he could do.:: T’Lea: All right. We will give it a trial run for a week. ::reaching down she grabbed his chin tusk and pulled him closer:: So help me if you frak this up, I promise I’ll kill you more than once. :: She knew how to do that now. Restart a heart, kill it, restart it, and kill it again and again. All that medical training was good for something other than "good" things.:: :: The wet Shrakkian nodded and glanced at T’Sara.:: Ceedel: I think I’m better off with you anyway. T’Sara: Yup. T’Lea: ::relaxing somewhat:: Get dried off. There’s an apartment for you within walking distance of here. Corsetto can take you there. You start in an hour. And Ceedel… :: As he exited the pool his hulking figure amassed a small pond under his feet.:: T’Lea: Don’t flirt with my bondmate again. :: She hadn't heard him do it, but she didn't need to. He flirted with every adult female.:: :: With a firm nod he fetched his bag and lumbered away to find his new home.:: T’Sara: ::smiling:: He’s funny. I like him. TBC --------------- PNPC Freighter Captain CeedelImport/ExportsUSS Akapersimmed by T’Lea & Ambassador Della Vetri Diplomatic Officer Embassy of Duronis II http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Vetri,_Della & Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Chief Science Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A
  11. (( I'Vortau Bar, Lokesh City )) ::Propping the bar up, the hybrid knocked back a dram of Skagaran whiskey and sucked it from his teeth. It was hard stuff. He remembered last having it on Chertan Prime, a relatively unknown planet where drinking was as traditional as having breakfast. A mining colony lived on liquor and it had been a good money maker for the Ferengi conducting the smugglers run. The bartender slinked over, pouring another into the Marine’s glass and leaving the bottle beside it.:: ::Half of the hybrid couldn’t believe the Kerelian was now back on the planet, let alone still breathing at all. There was a whole host of other problems that this was going to drag up, not least of which the very real memory Dade had of blasting said Major’s body out into the ether of space. It would take a lot of red taped bureaucracy to convince him that Toni’s ex-husband was a living, breathing, blood-flowing member of the meat bag club again.:: ::Knocking back the next dram, he remembered the last time they’d met one another alive.:: (( Flashback – Chertan Prime, Beta Quadrant )) ::He balled his fist, pointing at the Kerelian mess in front of him. He fumed. No, that wasn’t the right word. He was on fire. After everything, all the second chances, saved by the skin of his teeth countless times, dragged back from the edge of the abyss here he was, messing it up again.:: Adarnis: You don’t get to be the White Knight, riding in on your fracking horse to save the day again. You gave up that right the last time you left. West: Don’t be so quick to be sanctimonious, Dade. ::he spoke slowly:: Calm down before you do something you regret. ::The point was made. He was seething. His muscles flared with adrenaline. The green jacket attached to the Kerelian was wrapped around his hand in a second. His fist clenched and he couldn’t stop it from slamming into Heath’s face. Blood spurted as his lip split. Dade didn’t care. Heath wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He didn’t retaliate.:: Adarnis: How many more excuses are you gonna give before you give it up, huh? ::His fist landed in his friend’s face again, causing his knuckles to crack as it found bone.:: Adarnis: She was your goddamn wife, you stupid… ::he drew out the word:: …stupid son of a bitch! ::He grabbed Heath by the front of the Marine uniform and drove his forehead home into the Kerelian’s nose. Claret and crimson gushed. Heath staggered back, dazed, while Dade steadied himself. Anger was boiling in his stomach, acid rising. Inside his chest his heart was pounding, his hands were trembling, everything was collapsing.:: Adarnis: You abandoned her, when she needed you the most! When all she wanted was you, you thoughtless bastard… She trusted you! She gave you EVERYTHING… She… She can’t… ::He stopped, stammering out the last few words. In the depths of his heart, he knew it was all aimed at him; the King of his own catastrophe. Every last bitter word of it was another nail in the thumping coffin inside his ribcage. He stumbled on his feet, comprehension striking home, his jaw tightening until stabs of hot tears started at the corners of his eyes, but he refused to let them spill over. This wasn’t right.:: ::Heath stood, panting, blood and bruised, watching the pain on his friend’s face with the understanding and the sympathy only a close companion could have. The suffering he’d kept bottled up for so long bubbled to the surface. Walls of that ivory tower were being torn down as the hybrid’s core melted into disarray and he finally accepted what had been feasting on him from the inside out.:: West: You let these… ::he searched for the word:: …Admiral cowards control your life. Do you think they care who they send out there? ::he spat a wad of red on the ground:: They push and threaten and chip away at you until there’s nothing left, then they’ll pick the next one out of the Academy, promise him the world and take it all away. ::The Kerelian touched the short hair of the hybrid’s head, then his shoulder. Words would not come easy between them in that moment and there was no reason to force them. Frayed and sore, Heath slid himself onto the ground beside his friend, an unspoken bond of everlasting brotherhood between them, relaying the words neither of them could say.:: ::Heath looked to the ground, wincing as he touched his throbbing nose, smelling only copper. It hurt, though there was no trace of hatred or malice on his face; only understanding. After a few moments of silence had passed between them, he spoke.:: West: Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever walk away. ::he sniffed hard:: You know, settle down, get a proper life away from all this. ::Toni and his children flashed through his mind. They were always there; the reason behind every action he made. He could see his princess, looking up at him with sad eyes, knowing that his promises were hollow. He wondered how smart she was getting. He’d messed it up, burned it all to the ground and one day Garth would despise him as much as he did his own father.:: ::And Toni… His heart constricted. How can one life contain so many mistakes? So many regrets? Would Toni ever know how much he loved her? He dreamt in her voice, anchored himself to the memory of her heart beating. No one had ever looked at him the way she had; as though she stripped back every layer he’d ever erected.:: ::Dade squinted up at the sun, resting his wrists on his raised knees.:: Adarnis: This is the only life I know. ::He’d been so angry at Heath for taking up his Marine regs again and furious when he let them take him back out to the front lines of the Delta Quadrant. The fights they’d had when Heath tried to go home… He shook his head, remembering punching him in the mouth a few times for Toni and the kids. He felt like his guts had been ripped out when Toni had got to him first on Tiberius IV. She wasn’t supposed to. He was supposed to lift him out before she found him.:: ::None of this was supposed to happen. Heath should be dead. Dade looked at his friend’s painful smile. It still looked broken. Heath chuckled, sniffing up copper and wet again, trying to clear his nostrils to breathe. It wasn’t the only thing he knew, but it was the only life he had.:: Adarnis: Disagree? ::he shrugged:: Feel free. You’ll find a bloody army in there who feel the same. ::Silence lay between them again. In all the bedlam they’d suffered through together, finding moments to realign themselves in the uncertain world they lived in was rare. Dade spoke first.:: Adarnis: I keep telling myself that it’s one more drop. One more. Then the next one, it’s one more. I don’t know how many I’ve got left in me. ::he exhaled deeply:: There’s a plasma grenade somewhere with my name on it. West: Always makes me nervous when you say that. ::It was true, though. Maybe that was why it hit home.:: ::The hybrid shrugged.:: Adarnis: Knowing my luck, it would probably miss anyway. ::A Kerelian eyebrow raised amused.:: West: What makes you so sure? Adarnis: ‘Cause I’m a cocky pri- ::Heath cut him short.:: West: That’s a nice façade you’ve got there. Cultivate it all by yourself? ::The sun was already setting on the horizon. Heath looked out over the bay, trying to remember when they had spent time together like this, without laying into each other. It was good to feel normal, even if it wouldn’t last. In another life, they were two friends, relaxing in the warm sun, after a barbecue on the beach with their family and friends, talking about the Kino-Net game.:: Adarnis: It’s not what it was before. I’ve fought hard to give this galaxy a bit of peace… And ground my boots in while Rome burned. ::He’d walked through the scene in his mind a million times. He would’ve stayed, told her everything, and took on the world, defying it to tear them apart. In those moments, he had trouble believing that he was the mess she had chosen to be so defenceless with, when a hurricane met an earthquake, had opened her heart to and watched him burn it all to ashes.:: ::Forgetting wasn’t possible. Every time her hands had touched him, lips had kissed him, pushed him, scratched him, baited him, loved him, screamed at him, created that addictive connective spark that had buried itself in his memory, reminding him why he fought so hard to keep her safe. If he could have turned back the years, the anguish and the heartache, the pain and the fear, he would’ve never let her go. The galaxy could’ve exploded all around them, but he wouldn’t give a toss.:: ::Looking at his friend, Heath wondered why they’d clung to one another in the storm. He looked lost, in his own world, behind locked doors that he didn’t let anyone see. The ivory tower had been rebuilt. There had been a change in him. Ever the self-assured jarhead, he was hurt, fragmented. The Kerelian spoke, rousing Dade from his reverie.:: West: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you give up before. ::Now, she was too far away, in every sense. He looked up to the sun, closed his eyes and smiled slightly.:: Adarnis: Would be nice though, wouldn’t it? Find somewhere away from all this dren. (( Present - I'Vortau Bar, Lokesh City )) ::He took hold of the bottle and poured another shot into the glass, knocking it back with delicate ease until it burned his gullet on the way down. He wanted to erase those memories; those fake memories, the visions of how his life was going to be, buried underneath piles of ash and bone, another forgotten Marine with a name plaque on the Memorial Wall back at Starfleet HQ.:: ::That couldn’t happen. It wouldn’t happen. He’d fought too hard and too long for his corner of the galaxy to be free and peaceful. No, in the morning he would run and fight and jump and crawl, and train the next line of defence against an ever modulating enemy that would not stop until it had enslaved every section of humanoid it could get its nanite hands on.:: ::A shoulder crashed into his from behind, a laugh and his whiskey spilled onto the bar, the bottle sent shattering onto the floor. The hybrid rounded, violet eyes flashing angrily.:: Adarnis: Can you not frelling see – ::He couldn’t finish the question as a fist connected with the side of his face with delicate precision that could only have come from a well-trained Starfleet Officer. It sent him backward into the bar, but without hesitation he pushed himself back off and landed a punch of his own in a very large nose. The bar erupted. The hybrid was almost laughing in the ensuing chaos.:: TBC Major Dade Adarnis Marine Officer USS Thunder-A Embassy, Duronis II
  12. (( I'Vortau Bar, Lokesh City )) ::Propping the bar up, the hybrid knocked back a dram of Skagaran whiskey and sucked it from his teeth. It was hard stuff. He remembered last having it on Chertan Prime, a relatively unknown planet where drinking was as traditional as having breakfast. A mining colony lived on liquor and it had been a good money maker for the Ferengi conducting the smugglers run. The bartender slinked over, pouring another into the Marine’s glass and leaving the bottle beside it.:: ::Half of the hybrid couldn’t believe the Kerelian was now back on the planet, let alone still breathing at all. There was a whole host of other problems that this was going to drag up, not least of which the very real memory Dade had of blasting said Major’s body out into the ether of space. It would take a lot of red taped bureaucracy to convince him that Toni’s ex-husband was a living, breathing, blood-flowing member of the meat bag club again.:: ::Knocking back the next dram, he remembered the last time they’d met one another alive.:: (( Flashback – Chertan Prime, Beta Quadrant )) ::He balled his fist, pointing at the Kerelian mess in front of him. He fumed. No, that wasn’t the right word. He was on fire. After everything, all the second chances, saved by the skin of his teeth countless times, dragged back from the edge of the abyss here he was, messing it up again.:: Adarnis: You don’t get to be the White Knight, riding in on your fracking horse to save the day again. You gave up that right the last time you left. West: Don’t be so quick to be sanctimonious, Dade. ::he spoke slowly:: Calm down before you do something you regret. ::The point was made. He was seething. His muscles flared with adrenaline. The green jacket attached to the Kerelian was wrapped around his hand in a second. His fist clenched and he couldn’t stop it from slamming into Heath’s face. Blood spurted as his lip split. Dade didn’t care. Heath wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He didn’t retaliate.:: Adarnis: How many more excuses are you gonna give before you give it up, huh? ::His fist landed in his friend’s face again, causing his knuckles to crack as it found bone.:: Adarnis: She was your goddamn wife, you stupid… ::he drew out the word:: …stupid son of a bitch! ::He grabbed Heath by the front of the Marine uniform and drove his forehead home into the Kerelian’s nose. Claret and crimson gushed. Heath staggered back, dazed, while Dade steadied himself. Anger was boiling in his stomach, acid rising. Inside his chest his heart was pounding, his hands were trembling, everything was collapsing.:: Adarnis: You abandoned her, when she needed you the most! When all she wanted was you, you thoughtless bastard… She trusted you! She gave you EVERYTHING… She… She can’t… ::He stopped, stammering out the last few words. In the depths of his heart, he knew it was all aimed at him; the King of his own catastrophe. Every last bitter word of it was another nail in the thumping coffin inside his ribcage. He stumbled on his feet, comprehension striking home, his jaw tightening until stabs of hot tears started at the corners of his eyes, but he refused to let them spill over. This wasn’t right.:: ::Heath stood, panting, blood and bruised, watching the pain on his friend’s face with the understanding and the sympathy only a close companion could have. The suffering he’d kept bottled up for so long bubbled to the surface. Walls of that ivory tower were being torn down as the hybrid’s core melted into disarray and he finally accepted what had been feasting on him from the inside out.:: West: You let these… ::he searched for the word:: …Admiral cowards control your life. Do you think they care who they send out there? ::he spat a wad of red on the ground:: They push and threaten and chip away at you until there’s nothing left, then they’ll pick the next one out of the Academy, promise him the world and take it all away. ::The Kerelian touched the short hair of the hybrid’s head, then his shoulder. Words would not come easy between them in that moment and there was no reason to force them. Frayed and sore, Heath slid himself onto the ground beside his friend, an unspoken bond of everlasting brotherhood between them, relaying the words neither of them could say.:: ::Heath looked to the ground, wincing as he touched his throbbing nose, smelling only copper. It hurt, though there was no trace of hatred or malice on his face; only understanding. After a few moments of silence had passed between them, he spoke.:: West: Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever walk away. ::he sniffed hard:: You know, settle down, get a proper life away from all this. ::Toni and his children flashed through his mind. They were always there; the reason behind every action he made. He could see his princess, looking up at him with sad eyes, knowing that his promises were hollow. He wondered how smart she was getting. He’d messed it up, burned it all to the ground and one day Garth would despise him as much as he did his own father.:: ::And Toni… His heart constricted. How can one life contain so many mistakes? So many regrets? Would Toni ever know how much he loved her? He dreamt in her voice, anchored himself to the memory of her heart beating. No one had ever looked at him the way she had; as though she stripped back every layer he’d ever erected.:: ::Dade squinted up at the sun, resting his wrists on his raised knees.:: Adarnis: This is the only life I know. ::He’d been so angry at Heath for taking up his Marine regs again and furious when he let them take him back out to the front lines of the Delta Quadrant. The fights they’d had when Heath tried to go home… He shook his head, remembering punching him in the mouth a few times for Toni and the kids. He felt like his guts had been ripped out when Toni had got to him first on Tiberius IV. She wasn’t supposed to. He was supposed to lift him out before she found him.:: ::None of this was supposed to happen. Heath should be dead. Dade looked at his friend’s painful smile. It still looked broken. Heath chuckled, sniffing up copper and wet again, trying to clear his nostrils to breathe. It wasn’t the only thing he knew, but it was the only life he had.:: Adarnis: Disagree? ::he shrugged:: Feel free. You’ll find a bloody army in there who feel the same. ::Silence lay between them again. In all the bedlam they’d suffered through together, finding moments to realign themselves in the uncertain world they lived in was rare. Dade spoke first.:: Adarnis: I keep telling myself that it’s one more drop. One more. Then the next one, it’s one more. I don’t know how many I’ve got left in me. ::he exhaled deeply:: There’s a plasma grenade somewhere with my name on it. West: Always makes me nervous when you say that. ::It was true, though. Maybe that was why it hit home.:: ::The hybrid shrugged.:: Adarnis: Knowing my luck, it would probably miss anyway. ::A Kerelian eyebrow raised amused.:: West: What makes you so sure? Adarnis: ‘Cause I’m a cocky pri- ::Heath cut him short.:: West: That’s a nice façade you’ve got there. Cultivate it all by yourself? ::The sun was already setting on the horizon. Heath looked out over the bay, trying to remember when they had spent time together like this, without laying into each other. It was good to feel normal, even if it wouldn’t last. In another life, they were two friends, relaxing in the warm sun, after a barbecue on the beach with their family and friends, talking about the Kino-Net game.:: Adarnis: It’s not what it was before. I’ve fought hard to give this galaxy a bit of peace… And ground my boots in while Rome burned. ::He’d walked through the scene in his mind a million times. He would’ve stayed, told her everything, and took on the world, defying it to tear them apart. In those moments, he had trouble believing that he was the mess she had chosen to be so defenceless with, when a hurricane met an earthquake, had opened her heart to and watched him burn it all to ashes.:: ::Forgetting wasn’t possible. Every time her hands had touched him, lips had kissed him, pushed him, scratched him, baited him, loved him, screamed at him, created that addictive connective spark that had buried itself in his memory, reminding him why he fought so hard to keep her safe. If he could have turned back the years, the anguish and the heartache, the pain and the fear, he would’ve never let her go. The galaxy could’ve exploded all around them, but he wouldn’t give a toss.:: ::Looking at his friend, Heath wondered why they’d clung to one another in the storm. He looked lost, in his own world, behind locked doors that he didn’t let anyone see. The ivory tower had been rebuilt. There had been a change in him. Ever the self-assured jarhead, he was hurt, fragmented. The Kerelian spoke, rousing Dade from his reverie.:: West: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you give up before. ::Now, she was too far away, in every sense. He looked up to the sun, closed his eyes and smiled slightly.:: Adarnis: Would be nice though, wouldn’t it? Find somewhere away from all this dren. (( Present - I'Vortau Bar, Lokesh City )) ::He took hold of the bottle and poured another shot into the glass, knocking it back with delicate ease until it burned his gullet on the way down. He wanted to erase those memories; those fake memories, the visions of how his life was going to be, buried underneath piles of ash and bone, another forgotten Marine with a name plaque on the Memorial Wall back at Starfleet HQ.:: ::That couldn’t happen. It wouldn’t happen. He’d fought too hard and too long for his corner of the galaxy to be free and peaceful. No, in the morning he would run and fight and jump and crawl, and train the next line of defence against an ever modulating enemy that would not stop until it had enslaved every section of humanoid it could get its nanite hands on.:: ::A shoulder crashed into his from behind, a laugh and his whiskey spilled onto the bar, the bottle sent shattering onto the floor. The hybrid rounded, violet eyes flashing angrily.:: Adarnis: Can you not frelling see – ::He couldn’t finish the question as a fist connected with the side of his face with delicate precision that could only have come from a well-trained Starfleet Officer. It sent him backward into the bar, but without hesitation he pushed himself back off and landed a punch of his own in a very large nose. The bar erupted. The hybrid was almost laughing in the ensuing chaos.:: TBC Major Dade Adarnis Marine Officer USS Thunder-A Embassy, Duronis II
  13. (( Outside Mishai Resort Restaurant, Til'ahn )) :: The evening sun was pressing into the horizon as Heath stood outside the entrance to the resort, nervously waiting for Toni. He leaned against a low stone wall, slipping his hands into his pockets, his hand reaching up to the back of his neck to hold it. It was the most formal he had dressed in a long time. Being on the fringes of space, at the beck and call of Starfleet didn’t leave much time for society dinners and dress uniform celebrations. His white shirt was bought from the city earlier, his slate grey suit matching the flecks of grey that had started to speckle the short hair above his ears.:: :: His stomach tied itself in knots. He hadn’t worn a tie for fear of choking himself to death. He told himself he was fine, that it had been far too long for Toni to feel anything for him, and if she didn’t come then… Well, he hadn’t thought of that yet. Every ounce of him hoped she did. Even if it was just to jump him with an armed guard.:: :: With the typical flourish of the transporter, Toni’s form shimmered into being.:: Turner: ::materializing a few feet away from him:: oO Good, he showed up.Oo ::quietly:: Hi. :: He stood up. His defence was paper thin. She looked perfect. For a moment he couldn’t speak. Then, he simply smiled.:: West: Hi. Turner: You look. . . oO Should I tell him he looks distinguished and handsome? Oo ...nice. Very nice as a matter of fact. Since when did you give up cargo pants? :: The grin hadn’t dropped from his features yet.:: West: Oh, somewhere around the last moon of Jupiter. They were cramping my style. :: He took her in. Black dress, showing her legs off beautifully, her hair up, looking as professional and formal as possible. Memories of her getting up, getting dressed, tugging on her uniform danced across his mind and he tucked them away.:: West: You look incredible. Turner: Oh, it's nothing special. I just didn't have much time to look for something else. ::pulling at her earring nervously:: I.. I guess we should go in, or do you have a later reservation? :: Ever the modest Human. He nodded and opened his hand out to the large glass double doors, and they walked together. Out of habit, even after however many years it had been, he pressed his hand into the small of her back as they stood.:: ::Feeling the warmth of his hand on her back as he escorted her inside, sent a chill all over her body. It was like the first time he touched her. Somehow time had preserved all those little feelings he brought out in her. She smiled, hating to see the waiter coming to seat them.:: West: Anywhere you’d like to sit? I think they have balcony seating. Turner: See if he has a table out on the veranda. The view of the beach is beautiful this time of night, and it's peaceful out there. West: Beautiful we have already; peaceful I can appreciate. :: Having a quick word with the waiter, he showed them to a two seated table on the veranda of the restaurant. Toni was right, it was beautiful. The sun was kissing the horizon line and the sea lapped at the beach as the tide came in. They weren’t alone out there, but they were separated enough to talk without being heard.:: :: Heath pulled out her chair, a gentlemanly glint in his eye.:: :: She felt him push the chair gently to the back of her knees, seating her comfortably near the table.:: Turner: ::smiling:: Thank you. :: He sat down in his own, the waiter bringing them wine and the menus for the different kinds of food they served, catering to a variety of races at any given time. Heath knew what he wanted, without looking, and set it down on the table, looking over the flickering candle under the glass dome in the centre.:: West: You seem really settled here. ::She really hadn't thought about it, but he was right.:: Turner: Yes, I suppose I am after nearly four years on the planet. West: It’s a lovely place. I can’t see why anyone would want to leave. ::his hint of a smile returned:: How do the children like it? Turner: Well really, this is the only home that Garth has known. As you know, he was born shortly before I was sent here. And Vee had only known life on the Challenger, so being grounded on Til'ahn was an easy adjustment for them as their first honest to goodness home. :: His fingers found the base of the wine glass, lifting it in his hand and taking some down. It was good. He debated whether it was Bajoran, made from the fruit of their flowering summer trees. Bajoran. The word stuck in his mind.:: West: How are you? Turner: I like being assigned to the Embassy. It's a great place to work, and .... ::He cut her off mid-sentence.:: West: Not the Embassy, Toni. ::his head tilted slightly:: Are you alright? ::After a small quiet gasp of frustration, she saw his point, but was it his way of trying to sound like he was really interested, or just making conversation?.:: Turner: I...I'm fine. Reasonably happy,...well, not as happy .. ::looking away from him her voice dropped to a whisper:: as I could be if we could get together. ::Feeling she had said too much, she added as she faced him again:: on what to tell the children about you being back without hurting them. :: That he did know. They were far too used to him not being around, to knowing he was gone, not that he knew what Toni had told them. He imagined it was what SFI had told her. He was dead, most of the time.:: Waiter: And have you decided what you would like to eat? :: Heath took a meaningful look at Toni, his former wife, and searched his memory for what she enjoyed. :: West: It's a nice night for white wine. ::he smiled, at Toni, then looked up to the waiter:: Chicken, cooked well infused with jumba sauce. Light on the spice. Please. ::Toni was fine with him ordering for her. He had always known what she wanted better than she did.:: oO Too bad that only applied to food. Oo Turner: Sounds good...So do you still cook? West: It's been a long time since I have. I could probably still find my way around a pan. I can't believe you remember it. Turner: ::smiles:: Vee often asks me to make "Booberry Pancakes" but you know what a bad cook I am. Maybe one morning soon you and she can make some. She would love that, and I'm sure Garth would too. West: I'd love to. :: He leant forward slightly, covering her hand with his on the table. The movement was a familiar one, and Heath thought on the fact that she was the only woman he'd touched in that way for years. She was the last he would.:: West: I have this memory I've hung onto. One morning, years ago, when you got out of bed and I watched you. I remember thinking you were the most beautiful woman I'd ever set eyes on. :: he smiled, quite sadly:: I still think about it every time I wake up. ::She had a sudden compulsion to ask what she really wanted to know... Did he think they had a chance of getting back together? But at the last moment she got cold feet.:: Turner: We were happy back then. What happened to us? :: He sat back in his chair and took hold of the wine glass again, taking a long drink then placed it back down on the wooden table. :: West: I joined the Marines again. I thought I could handle it but the truth ia I can't. ::he looked up to her eyes and smiled:: I can't, Toni. It's all about to change. Turner: What kind of change? West: Starfleet. I don't want it anymore. Turner: But why? West: Because all I've ever wanted us you. ::he looked up at her:: You, me and the kids. Away from all of this. And I can't have that being dragged from each end of the quadrant. ::This was what she wanted to hear from him, but her head was telling her he was toying with her emotions again, and her heart was telling her he was telling the truth. This time she decided to take a chance with her heart.:: Turner: ::contentment showing on her face:: Oh, Heath, that's what I've always wanted too. You, me, and the children. ::She wanted to ask if he thought they had a chance to actually having what they wanted, but the waiter came with their food, and the moment was broken.:: ::Their food, in scorching plates, arrived steaming and was set down in front of them. The waiter refilled their glasses from the bottle, emptied it and took it away with him, returning seconds later with a fresh one.:: Turner: ::smiling:: After we eat, we should go to the Parker's for the celebration. We could walk along the beach to get there if you want to. ::A new arrival on the base, blessed to Hannibal and his wife. Now that would be a child Heath wanted to see. He thought of a present to get the expectant parents and decided it would be better to send it afterward. He smiled up at Toni.:: West: We’ve picked a nice night for it. (( Beach, Mishai Resort )) :: Dinner had been sweet, with conversation turning to work and the kids, back to the working of the Embassy and jumped from topic to topic that they had both missed conversing about until they were back in the open air and away from the restaurant. Now, the sun had dipped below the horizon and night had settled in, highlighting the sky with glittering stars of distant worlds. Hearing the sea lap lazily at the beach was comforting and almost poetic.:: West: So, Tallis… I really am sorry about what happened. If there was anyone I could have trusted to look after our kids in my place it was him. Turner: Yes, I'm sorry too. He was a good man, and tried his best to do right by them, but when all was said and done, he could have never replaced you. ::Lifting her foot, she reached down taking off first one shoe, then the other, preferring to walk barefooted in the sand.:: Turner: ::holding her shoes in one hand, she leaned her head on his shoulder.:: Did I tell you that we will be moving into our new house in a couple of days? Would you like to help us get moved in? We've been staying with T'Lea and Della since they came to the Embassy, and although I enjoy their company, I just think they need the privacy of their own house. ::He interlaced her fingers with his and smiled gently. He remembered T’Lea and Della. Dade had made him promise he would keep an eye on them, from his lofty tower on the Starbase.:: West: They need their own space… and so do we. Turner: Yes, we do. It will be like beginning over again for our family. :: He hoped so. He’d spent too long without them. The mornings Vee had woken him up, the evenings watching Toni watching him, a gentle rhythm that would be hard to slide back into.:: West: Nice and slow. ::Reaching the back of the Embassy grounds, they took a short cut through the garden. Toni remembered how they use to steal kisses among the trees, and wondered if he remembered as well.:: ::The garden had grown exponentially in the time he’d been away. It was cultivated, nurtured, not the sprawling mess it had been when they’d first arrived all those years ago. He remembered the little things, the times spent walking through it together. Although, he didn’t recall the painted rocks…:: West: Where’s Parker living now? Turner: It's right up ahead, in Marine Barracks, but I suppose he will be moving to the First Officer's house soon with a baby coming. :: He breathed out a laugh. Babies were everywhere.:: :: From outside the barracks they could hear the voices of the large group that had gathered.:: Turner: This must be the place. ::laughs:: ::It didn't take long for them to reach the door, pulling the lever to announce their arrival.:: TBC JP by... PNPC Major Heath West Marine Officer, Honour Guard USS Nautilus, Temporaryand Fleet Captain Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A
  14. (( Captain’s Office, Starfleet Embassy )) :: Dressed in the green uniform of the Marines, Heath surveyed the Captain’s Office, his hands tucked neatly behind his back. It had been a long time since he had been in there, or been granted access. Unlike Toni, she had used a code familiar to both of them and getting entry had been simple. He looked around the room for anything that might indicate a personal touch, but the Captain had been keeping it rather sparse. Pictures of their children were notably missing.:: :: Fresh flowers, from the gardens of the Embassy, were flowing from a vase on her desk. They filled the room with a delightful smell that invaded the senses. Yet, behind that, the room carried her scent, her smile - everything that a young Kerelian bartender had come to admire, love and cherish.:: :: However, the Embassy was a mausoleum to him. He would tear it down brick by brick if he could.:: ::Before going home to the children, Toni decided to stop by her office to pick up her messages. As she approached the door, she had a strange feeling that she was not alone, but looking around the outer office, she dismissed it, and opened the door.:: :: His ear twitched, listening for the sliding of the door and turned his head toward it. His hand slipped into his pocket as the door opened, revealing the Fleet Captain in the red collared uniform on the other side of it. His heart skipped a beat. A reminder of the love that permeated his every fibre for this woman..:: West: Captain. ::At first glance, the memories of their last mission played tricks on her. Surely she had died, and he had come to escort her to the other side. Tears threatened, thinking of the children and having to leave them, but when she rubbed her eyes to keep them from falling to her cheek, she realized it was only a romantic notion that someone she loved would come for her. It was him, the man she had never stopped loving, and he was alive, looking as fit and handsome as she remembered.:: Turner: Major, I... I thought you were dead. Why didn't you let me know? :: The corner of his lips curved into a gentle smile.:: West: I thought this might be… ::he toyed for the word:: ...easier. ::Tossing her padd on the desk, it was all she could do to keep from running to him, hugging him, kissing him, and never letting him go.:: Turner: Easier? Easier for who? West: Easier for Vee. For Garth. ::Steadying her urges, she leaned back against her desk and braced her hands on each side of her.:: Turner: I suppose you're right, it would have been a shock to them. You should see them, Vee has become quite the little lady, and Garth... well, he's just like you. :: He looked back to the vase of flowers, the difference of colour in the room predominantly the colours of Starfleet. He remembered finding her asleep on the Resolution. His beautiful, passionate and ferocious in the right doses partner. Memories filtered through. Dancing in their Quarters, falling asleep wrapped up in her. Those had been special days. Before the onslaught of everything else had taken over.:: West: I’ve seen them. You can see a lot when someone isn’t looking for you in a sea of faces. Turner: ::dropping her head as she nodded:: Yes, that's true, but I'm not so sure Vee doesn't still look for you. Like her mother, she tends to believe in the impossible... ::raising her eyes to his:: that love overcomes everything. :: They shared a look for a brief moment, then Heath dropped his gaze back to the desk. Love tried. Sometimes it didn’t win. Sometimes it did. Often it had to patch up wounds that were greater than chasms.:: :: Visions of him in the kitchen teaching Vee how to cook her favourite "Booberry Pancakes," entered her mind, along with making up stories to put her to sleep... and she had been privileged of witnessing the perfect father for the child they had adopted as their own.:: Turner: ::smiling:: You were a wonderful father to her. :: He hadn’t been. He’d been a ghost, or a shadow.:: West: You’re a better one. Turner: Garth needs a father. I can't teach him all he needs to know. He is eager to please and misses a man he can look up to in his life. :: He looked at Toni, a slight frown of disbelief creasing his Kerelian forehead. Garth didn’t need a father like him. He needed a strong, stable man that wouldn’t be bowing to the needs of a Starfleet he didn’t trust.:: :: Then, there was something else. A shadow of a love, of an emotion, floating in the background behind her eyes. She looked at him as though she could see right through him; past the façade of a Starfleet puppet and into his soul, much deeper than anyone had ever uncovered.:: ::She wanted to tell him she still loved him, needed him, worshipped the ground he walked on, but she wasn't sure that is what he wanted to hear.:: Turner: I wouldn't be adverse to you being a part of their life. ::moving closer:: But I'll tell you right now, if you die on them again, I'll hunt you down and kill you myself. :: He laughed. She’d defused the moment. The blonde man picked up his PADD from balancing on the edge of her desk and handed it to her. However, he didn’t doubt her threat. She probably would, disembowel him from aft to stern. He caught her blue eyes with his, then smiled, a boyish grin, completely thrown by her and awkward, in a strange way.:: West: I’d like that. Turner: ::ignoring his jest:: So how long will you be here at the Embassy? West: Temporarily. I don’t want to cause you any disruptions. ::She returned to her perch on the desk certain that he had no love for her, and had only come to warn her that he would be around for awhile. There was no use to get her hopes up so she changed the subject.:: Turner: Have you seen Dade? He thinks you are dead too. :: He hadn’t let Dade know. Their last meeting had been less than friendly.:: West: Only you. I wanted to make sure you weren’t going to murder me first. Turner: Why would I? The only reason I would is if you hurt my children, and I don't think you would knowingly do that... not Vee, nor Garth, or... ::she caught herself as she didn't know if he knew about the baby.:: :: His eyes shot up to hers.:: West: Or…? Turner: Yes, another child... Breeana, and fathered by Tallis Rhul and born after he died. :: He’d heard. It had taken all he had not to come rushing back to the Embassy and pick up the pieces, but how could he do so when Rhul had picked them up after him. He searched her face, finding the hurt had sank deeply.:: West: I’m sorry. He was a good man. He didn’t deserve that. Turner: That's okay, the marriage was ill fated from the beginning, just like us. He knew my heart lay elsewhere, but he was a willing father to Vee and Garth. :: For a moment, he dropped his gaze from hers and ran his hand through his darkening hair. His heart was still with hers, wherever she had put it, or locked it away somewhere.:: Turner: I can only hope to find someone who will love all three, doing for his as he was willing to do for yours. ::She was hitting below the belt and she knew it, but something within her wanted to hurt him as he had hurt her. Truth be told, she wanted to rip his heart out, like he had done to hers... But as hard as that was to bear, knowing now how much he hated her, she still loved him.:: ::Now she was boxing with bricks instead of gloves. He felt that swing hit, and it would bruise, but it wasn’t uncalled for. They had swung between lovers and fighters for so long; it was hard to tell what the other was thinking any more. The Kerelian returned his brown-eyed gaze to hers and a thought struck him that hadn’t in years.:: West: I forgot how blue your eyes are. Turner: oO What was that? He's toying with me.Oo ::glancing straight at him:: I'm surprised you remember anything about me. :: Time suspended for a second or two, a moment caught between worlds that had been on the brink of passing one another in the night.:: West: Meet me for dinner later. Turner: ::curtly:: No! West: Come on, there’s got to be something you used to like about me still here. ::he smiled:: Just you and me. I can remind you of why you don’t miss me. ::She gazed at him for a long moment, taking in that boyish grin that taunted her, the flicker in his eyes that teased her, and that baritone voice that lulled her into submission. The moment was no different. She gave into him:: Turner: ::swallowing hard as if expecting him to spurn her again:: Alright, where and what time? :: His last visit to the Embassy had been under different circumstances and he hadn't had chance to discover the place properly, but he had heard mention of a resort on the coast from his sources. He fought to suppress the smile, fighting a losing battle.:: West: This evening, that resort on the beach... Mishai, is it? ::he exhaled a laugh gently:: I could always cook you something if you promise to wear that dress again. ::Remembering their first date, the yellow eyelet dress he had liked so much, and the first time he had cooked Lamb for her, but that meant being alone in his quarters with him, and she didn't think she could take the pain of rejection under those circumstances.:: Turner: Mishai will do fine. Say around 1800 hours? The children will be asleep by then. Speaking of them, I have to go to spend some time with them. I've been away on a Mission and I've missed them. West: I'm looking forward to it. :: He smiled, leaving his PADD on her desk, amidst the rest of them mounting up. The night would progress from there, but fearing she was planning his poisoning, he went back to professional mode.:: West: My temporary arrangements from Starfleet. I hope I won't get in the way too much. Turner: You won't. TBC Fleet Captain Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Deputy Commandant UFOP SB118 Academy - Executive Council Member & PNPC Major Heath West Marine Officer, Honour Guard USS Nautilus, Temporary
  15. I notice that the sims that Hannibal Parker nominated were out of whack with form. I can assure you that they weren't simed that way and wonder if I posted them correctly under his nomination if they would count in Round 16?
  16. That's what I like, players who are eager. We won't be calling for your bio until later in the week in the form we need, but it is always good to have the basics handy.
  17. Congratulations to our winners! All the stories were terrific, and difficult to judge. You guys didn't make it easy for us.
  18. Hi Mr. Stonestreet, we are glad to have you with us! Hope you enjoy siming with us as much a I do!
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