Jump to content

Ayiana Sevo

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Ayiana Sevo

  1. WHERE YOU BEEN, MAN?! Miss you on Discord! The timeline just isn't the same! (But in good hands).
  2. Ayiana looking beautiful as always in a sparkling red, backless dress.
  3. Agree on both points. Need more FAITH OF THE HEART.
  4. (( Mandatory @Alieth @Meidra Sirin terrorist tags! )) ------ "you know, probably could be AWESOME let the story roll and the details being not exactly accurate or greatly exaggerated, due this is how legends born XD" - Alieth, unwisely. (( Outside the Vulcan Science Academy, Deck 231, Deep Space 224 )) He had a whole space station to explore, and Serren wasn't about to waste the opportunity. The food areas were given a cursory look—everything smelled delicious and no doubt he would have the chance to confirm his suspicions at a later date—and eventually, he found himself down on Deck 231. Home of the famous Vulcan Science Academy. The Vulcan Science Academy was a highly prestigious, quadrant renowned institution and Serren found his curiosity piqued. There might be a bit to learn... or at least, maybe brush up on the latest scientific developments. Read something interesting. The possibilities were endless. As he approached the main entrance, though, something caught his attention: a small metal sign hung to one side of the door, small but insistent, consisting of a metal plate embossed with neat Vulcan script. A pair of holographic images hovering below it. Inscribed were simple words in the written form of Vulcan. DO NOT PERMIT ENTRY TO THESE VULCANS: REPORT ALL INFRACTIONS Serren scratched his chin thoughtfully, studying the two faces. He did not recognise either of the women. The sign had either been there for a while, with great care had been taken to ensure that the power supply for the holographic emitter was maintained and the metal plaque appeared to be brushed every day... or it was new. Since it was impossible to tell, whoever was in charge of maintenance of this particular piece of station hardware evidently took their job seriously. Tan: ::To himself,:: No idea what that's about. Shrugging helplessly, he walked up to the door, expecting it to open automatically. It did not, the computer emitting a mournful chime. A voice echoed from the plaque, stern and male, flat and Vulcanoid judging by the accent. Voice: Unrecognised entry attempt. State your business. Vulcans were not well known for their hospitality, but this was something else. The voice was almost trying to tell him to go away. There were many entirely legitimate reasons why the academy might not want visitors at any given point, but he had seen no evidence of any kind of dangerous research, maintenance or the like. Curiosity overtook him and he wandered over to the plaque. Tan: Uh, hi. Hello there. My name is Lieutenant Serren Tan. I'm with Starfleet Security on the Gorkon. I was just wanting to visit the famous Vulcan Science Academy. The voice audibly bristled, sucking in air on the other end of the line. Voice: A junior officer. Are you a Vulcan? Serren squinted, eyebrows raising. He reached up and felt his ears. Definitely rounded. Tan: Not to my knowledge. The voice paused, considering. Serren wondered if he was being watched through some remote camera. Voice: Then entry is possible. Your profile will need to be verified. That surely wouldn't be a problem. His eyes lingered on the holographic image of the two Vulcans. Tan: Sooo... had some problems with, um. I wanna say... "unwanted visitors"...? A long, pregnant pause came down the line. Voice: Yes. Tan: Anything I can do to help? Voice: Certainly. Assist us in keeping the two identified individuals away from this facility. He had no idea who the two were, but if they were being asked not to enter, there was probably a good reason. A good reason he was determined to find out. Tan: I mean sure, if I see them. But... why? Voice: They are terrorists. Now that he had difficulty believing. Tan: Terrorists? They're wearing Starfleet uniforms. Voice: Apparently that does not, a distinction, make. Suppose not. Serren felt vaguely silly talking to a plaque. Tan: So they blew up the place? What did they do? Voice: ::The voice took a breath, his composure immaculate and perfectly Vulcan.:: There were noise complaints. Significant disorder. Several experiments had to be restarted or abandoned outright. Suffice it to say, the cats were not pleased— Tan: Wait, cats? Voice: Yes. They were disturbed. Fed out of schedule. Tan: You have cats in there? Voice: We have many scientific experiments here. Serren squinted. Tan: I'm not an expert on cats, but surely that's... not really a huge problem. Is that a huge problem? Another long, uncomfortable silence. Serren glanced over his shoulder, unable to shake the profound feeling that he was being watched. Possibly from the plaque itself, possibly from somewhere else, but regardless he felt eyes upon him, watching him, evaluating him. A vague sense of absurdity hung in the air, as though the whole thing was a giant prank and Jona was going to jump out of a cake any second and shout, "Surprise!". Voice: Upon consideration, your access to this facility has been denied. Please vacate the area. The abrupt change of tone and intention startled him. His jaw fell open. Tan: Wait, huh? Voice: Please vacate the area. You are disturbing our scientific experiments. Serren stared in confusion at the voice, then just shrugged helplessly and straightened up. Tan: Okay, well... good luck with the cats I guess. Voice: And to you as well. The voice crackled slightly and the connection ended. What a weird moment. Serren scratched his head as he wandered away, trying to process what kind of nightmarish sequence of events could have possibly caused a blow-up of this magnitude. It was tempting to investigate, but... no. The truth was probably confusing, and he only had a day more left on the station before shore leave ended. Some mysteries were better off undisturbed. fin -- Lieutenant (j.g.) Serren Tan Security/Tactical USS Gorkon O238704AT0
  5. I'm kinda partial to Jadzia and Worf. It's not real romance if bones didn't break.
  6. Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part VIII) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) Yawning into midair, Chris wandered through the open door onto the bridge, his hand stuck in the back of his growing hair already sticking up at all angles like some confused starfish, and a countenance like someone who rolled out of bed only mere moments before. Sitting there, feet up on the bridge console, nursing a steaming cup was who he expected, but judging by the look on the blond's face, Chris was not. O. Marshall: You're not Lena. Johns: Not today. Diverting himself to the replicator at the rear of the bridge, Chris input the command in for the strongest of coffees the galaxy knew that wouldn't set his kidneys aflame and crossed his arms as it materialised on the pad. He sighed deeply, fingers delving into the corners of his eyes where the deposits of sleep had taken residence, and when the replicator announced the completion of the request, slid his fingers through the mug's handle. When he dropped into the copilot chair with all the weight of an anchor into the ocean, Marshall looked his way with a gruff frown, beard moving like he was trying hard to dislodge words stuck between his teeth. O. Marshall: What was it this time? Canasta? Cardassian pinochle? Amusement flared in hazel eyes as Chris swallowed his mouthful of coffee and placed it on the console. His eyes widened with acceptance of his fate and he shrugged a shoulder, his fingers drumming a ballet beat. Johns: Rag-sen with the round cards. O. Marshall: You shouldn't let her choose the game, you know. Pick something you're good at. The dancer looked up from watching his ankle roll and calf muscle tense to the profile of the intelligence officer, querying the lack of bristling attitude. Chris settled back into the chair and scratched the underside of his chin where the stubble had grown through. Johns: That would involve me being good at cards, and Lena not cheating. O. Marshall: When she's got marks like you, why would she? Turning toward the ops console, Chris gave the sensors a cursory check over, if only to make sure they weren't about to fly headlong into an unexpected planetoid. Satisfied their longevity was safe for the time being, he glanced to Marshall. Johns: You get six hours of uninterrupted wife time, I get extra bridge duty while Vee sleeps. Who really wins here? O. Marshall: Sounds like Vee to me. Chris huffed a laugh with the flicker of an eye roll as his fingers slipped through the handle of his mug, while Marshall patted the arms of his chair, as though he would move at any moment, leaving Chris to his own devices for six hours of extended boredom. The bearded blond sat there for a long minute, dragging out his leaving a little more than necessary. Chris nearly prompted him, wondering if the man had forgotten to do something important. Only when the cerulean gaze, usually so armour piercing, darted briefly to the closed door leading to the rest of the ship and found its way to the dancer did Chris realise what was about to happen. O. Marshall: You're not a stupid man, Chris. Hazel eyes narrowed at the sentence, not quite expecting it. Johns: Thank… you? O. Marshall: I mean it. You're an idiot sometimes, but you're far from stupid. Again, Chris' eyes narrowed as he looked sidelong at Marshall. They had never seen eye to eye; Operations with the two of them was a hotbed of powerful silence and derision at any given moment, especially in the run-up before Valesha and Marshall had escaped from the Gorkon's brig cell following her arrest for a string of alleged offences against the Federation. Murder ranking not inconsiderably among them. Eventually, it had worked out, the Admiral worked in Valesha's favour to secure dismissed charges, the Orion Syndicate stopped breathing down the neck of the blond sitting beside him, and she'd come back, albeit with a nasty case of the touching death with her fingertips. It was that look in blue eyes Chris remembered, when Orson had carried his Romulan from the shuttlepod to the waiting medical team, and it echoed along similar lines now. O. Marshall: She loves you. Johns: Valesha? ::He frowned, unsure.:: I know she does, I— Orson held up his hand and shook his head, forestalling the rest of Chris' declaration mid-word. O. Marshall: If you hadn't made it clear in the Brig, it's been crystal since. ::He took a breath, exhaling curtly like it was a full stop on that train of thought.:: No, just... just listen for a minute. There are very few people left alive that she does. Chris sat there silently, holding his mug, his hand fixed around the ceramic-like a vice. Like a sledgehammer in his sternum it struck hard, wrapped piano wire around his heart and pulled down toward the deck. O. Marshall: You'll be dead and gone in a hundred years, if you're lucky. If you have kids, she'll likely outlive them, if not come very close to it. Her brother might not even be on Ketar V. ::His gaze moved from Chris to the viewscreen and space hurtling outside.:: So, you really need to consider what you're asking her to do. What kind of life are you asking her to live? She's suffered enough, don't you think? He had considered it; he'd gone through those motions time and time again, and they'd done so together, talking it through over and over until there was little else left to say other than the remaining feeling that this was what they wanted. Death was inevitable. Everything ends. Chris diverted his gaze to the console as his jaw tightened, his elbow stuck in the arm of the copilot chair, forefinger and thumb pulling at his lower lip. Johns: I don't see what this has to do with you. What any part of our life has to do with you. Voice calm and collected, and internally vibrating, Chris looked up to Marshall as the man stood up, ready to make his exit off the bridge and leave the young dancer to stew with the words. O. Marshall: I saw how broken she was when we left. I had to convince her to come back. For whatever reason, the thought of losing you hit her hard. Imagine building a family just to lose them again in a few short decades. Chris watched him slide the empty coffee mug onto the pad of the replicator, watched in silence as it disintegrated, pulled apart at the atom framework and then ceased to exist in a matter of seconds. When he looked up to Marshall, the door was already closing behind him. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis & PO Johns - Road Trip (Part IX) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) The door opened again a few hours later, this time to admit a sleep-tousled Romulan. Padding across the carpet in bare feet, Valesha spared a moment to wryly observe that she seemed to spend as much time on the bridge in the shorts and vest she slept in as she did her uniform. She yawned into her palm and ignored the replicator for now, coming to a stop beside the pilot's chair. There, she slipped an arm around Chris' shoulders and bent to press a kiss to the crown of his head, his growing mop of dark hair tickling her nose. Sienelis: Lena? Johns: No doubt snoozing soundly, revelling in her victory. Wrapping his arm around Valesha's waist, Chris leaned into her constant thrum of warmth. In the hours between Marshall leaving and fiancee arriving, his heart had twisted in spirals and drilled holes. Left alone with nothing but the endless stretch of space in front of them, and Orson's commentary on their life, sent drumming ceaseless worries on a cavalcade of gloom around his innards, and were hard to ignore. However, he grinned when he noticed the condition of her dress and those legs which sent his pulse rocketing. Johns: Trouble sleeping, or reminding me what I'm missing by playing cards with a sharp? Sienelis: When we were on the Scream, I thought I'd be clever and play her at the most obscure Romulan game I could think of. Something no one else I've met has even heard of, let alone played. ::She sighed.:: Still ended up owing her a week's worth of foot massages. So let's call it solidarity. Johns: And to think, you didn't know how to do it like a dancer then, either. ::He grinned, with no small amount of enjoyment in that particular fact.:: She let me off easy. Cover her shift and we're square, until the next time. Being officers of a different kind in Starfleet, the two rarely found themselves on the bridge together, and when they had spent a considerable time in a small space controlling a ship, it was the Skarbek. An unsteady inhale accompanied as Chris recalled the events of the last time they were there — a night to remember, tension they could slice with a bat'leth, the soft clink of a Cardassian grenade — and he summoned a smile to get rid of those lingering ghosts, tugging Valesha down into the copilot chair with him. Sienelis: She must have been feeling generous. With a twist of a grin, she pressed a kiss to his cheek and settled in his lap. The truth of it was that she'd woken from a restless sleep to a lonely bed, and months after their Q-induced second outing to the Skarbek, that was still something that left her hollowed out and uneasy. A reminder that the inevitable could always come too soon. But at least this time she didn't have to grimace and bear it, leaving the feeling simmering under the surface to poison her mood. One quick trip up empty corridors to the bridge, and here was her antidote. Sienelis: Everything all right? Johns: Yeah. ::The response was a bit too quick, a bit too unsure of himself.:: Yeah, fine. Contemplating, ::he raised a hand to the viewscreen and dropped it down,:: space. Time. Life. All with coffee and what routine I can put you through in the morning. She leaned back to look at him, a small frown creasing above her nose, scepticism clear. The swiftness of his reply, the tenor he had spoken in; neither had gone unnoticed. Years in the Skarbek and their time together afterwards made a woman who knew him well enough to spot the tells. Given the situation, the cause seemed obvious. Sienelis: Bear again? Johns: No, it's… As hazel eyes and emerald met, as though she'd caught him in that split second decision between omitting the truth and not, Chris felt the weight on it on his chest. Putting into words how accurate a shot Marshall had levelled his way took him a moment, and the young dancer shifted his attention to the curve of Valesha's knee, following the bumps of the muscle and bone with his thumb. Johns: He made me think, that's all. ::He marshaled a smile, albeit a thin one, and traced her kneecap with his fingertip.:: He thinks a lot about you. A frown lifted into raised eyebrows, the rest of her face creasing into something between surprised, perturbed and bewildered. Of all the people to occupy Bear's thoughts, she'd never assumed she was near the top of the list. Then again, now that she considered it, he was in hers more often that she cared to admit. Mutual affection wrapped in jibes and sarcasm, a genuine care easily hidden under glares and rapid-fire retorts. Sienelis: That's a dubious honour. ::Her gaze flicked across his face, down to the finger drawing across olive skin, and then back.:: Do I want to know why? The question fired in his mind before he could think about it; was he asking too much of her? It was not the main event dwelling since their conversation, but the one that cut the deepest. She told him of her trepidation in coming back, that there might not be something to come back to, but that their joint decision to wrap their lives around one another until his is over has a significant bearing on hers. Johns: Probably not. ::He smiled with an exhale and felt his arms hold her a little tighter.:: Concerned I'm treating you right and not subjecting you to rigorous ballet regimes. Sienelis: He's worried about my practice schedule. ::The prosaic intonation, the corner of her mouth tugged upward, a dark eyebrow arched; all evidenced her disbelief.:: If you don't want to talk about it, you can just say. His lips twitched with a smile at how easily Valesha read him, with little effort involved at all. As gossamer as a force field, not with everything, and it wasn't always the case, but a convincing liar Chris wasn't. He let his forehead touch to her temple, felt the grip of it around his ribs like it was hooked into them. Johns: Later, when I've slept on it. When you're snoring and I can tell it to your shoulders. She nodded, squeezing his shoulder, and leaned into him. That feeling she'd had in the Gorkon's Ready Room — that something wasn't quite right, their little universe shifting off-axis — pooled again, knotting lead weights inside her belly. The Romulan fought a quiet war inside her head, a battle over whether to push him for more. But he'd said later and she knew she had little patience for people prodding answers she wasn't yet ready to give. Sienelis: What secrets have those shoulders heard, I wonder. He kissed her olive-skinned cheek as the questions seeded inside, cultivated with earth and grew sprigs of greenery smaller than a thumbnail. It occurred it was likely meant with some kind of good intentions, but Chris thrummed between dejected and angry, knowing the sentiments held truth in them, and finding himself unable to admit it quite yet. Johns: You'd have to ask them, though I don't think they're so forthcoming. They only communicate in shrugs and drops. ::He touched between her shoulder blades and dropped his voice in her ear.:: Though, when here hears secrets, your hips m— A warning trill from the tactical computer sounded, breaking through the quiet with a thunderous roll of chirps similar to the bridge of their Sovereign class home. A second ticked by as disbelief high-kicked through the bridge like a chorus song of tango dancers, until the alert flashed up onto the viewscreen in front of them. When Chris spoke, it was with some measure of incredulity threading through. Johns: Two incoming signals showing on their sensor data and they're heading right for us. Valesha stared at the warning for the space of a few heartbeats. Then in an explosion of movement she scrambled out of his lap and threw herself into the seat accompanying the nearby tactical station. Slender fingers grazed over the controls, the wail of the ship's red alert answering her command. Power surged into the Azetbur's shields and phaser banks, micro-torpedoes loaded into the tubes, armed and ready to fire. Sienelis: =/\= Bear, put Lena down and both of you get up to the bridge. And before you ask, this isn't revenge, it's real. =/\= ::She glanced over toward her partner, heart in her throat, the situation an uncomfortable mirror to an illusion they'd once lived.:: Have they tried to hail us? Any active transponders? Likewise, on the other side, Chris quickly scanned the targeting information coming through their sensors, breaking the ship out of their already limited warp speed to give some breathing space before the inevitable interception, however the two vessels were coming up faster than he anticipated, cutting through the limited speed in the Shoals like a scythe through grass. He looked to Valesha as she asked, heart ticking up a few notches on the fibrillation scale. Johns: Orion ships, Wanderer-class. Two of the old style blockade runners heading right for us. ::His head tilted with the additional information as his fingers ran over the console.:: Serial numbers filed off though. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, PO Johns, Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part X) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) The communications chirped, lighting up the small bridge with the ragged breathlessness of the eldest Marshall sibling, however instead of the biting retort Chris expected from the disturbed, it was a short and clipped message. O. Marshall: =/\= On our way. =/\= The Romulan nodded, glad that the pair would be on the bridge sooner rather than later. She didn't know the Shoals, she hadn't the faintest idea of how the ships were closing on them so fast, and she didn't know what they were capable of once they did. All she could say was that the two ships were more than twice the size of the Azetbur and running with their shields up and weapons charged. Sienelis: We're in the middle of nowhere. Either they've just been waiting for a likely target to pass, or they've been following us for a while. ::She frowned.:: They haven't tried to hail us? Johns: Not yet, communications can't stretch that far, they need to be closer. ::Said while checking the channels to be on the safe side, as if the reclining Marshall could've knocked them out.:: They'll be on top of us before they'll be able to transmit at Federation frequencies without th— Orion Ship: =/\= Federation starship, you are in violation of the territory belonging to Le Seau Rouillés. Surrender now and we will not open fire. =/\= The clear booming voice of an Orion on the other end echoed through the bridge while Chris felt his stomach sink. Bringing up the tactical situation map on the display to the left of the viewscreen, their position showed with the small silhouette of the Azetbur in the centre of the indicator, the two Orion vessels closing in. Johns: They must've got hold of some of our communications equipment and hooking into the frequencies. ::He spat out a Russian expletive Valesha could translate easily following years together, and slammed the heel of his palm into the console display.:: Can we outrun them? Sienelis: Maybe? In open space we could jump to warp nine, no problem. But we're not supposed to go past six on the Mother Road. Johns: And that's not getting a ticket consequences, it's rip the ship apart consequences. She breathed a small sound of agreement and her Russian looked across the small space between the two chairs to his Romulan. Space was their problem and this section of space, regardless of the size of it, wasn't their stomping ground either. They didn't know what capabilities the blockade runners had, only their intentions. The door behind swished open and Lena appeared, the blond in tow. He didn't look impressed, but Chris could count on no fingers how much he cared. O. Marshall: I leave you alone for two hours and you find pirates? Have you got a homing beacon shoved up your— Sienelis: No, we went looking for some specifically to annoy you. An amused chortle formed Lena's contribution to the conversation, and she loped up to the pilot's chair wearing a t-shirt so oversized it hung off one shoulder and functioned as a (mini) dress. Skin flushed and glowing, she grinned at Chris and patted his shoulder, her intentions to take over the flight of the Starfleet yacht clear. Josett: Budge up, handsome. As instructed, Chris shifted out of the pilot seat, happy to vacate said responsibility for someone with exceedingly more skill in helm. Shifting to the communications console beside, he flipped through the systems for some more information on their incoming aggressors, but coming up short. Whoever they were, they kept tight reins on their signatures and patterns. Across the short bridge, Bear dropped into the seat beside Valesha and continued their conversation. O. Marshall: You know, somehow I'd believe it. ::Refocusing his attention on the task at hand, his eyebrow [...]ed.:: What've we got weapons wise? Sienelis: Five Type-Five arrays, two micro-torpedo launchers... that's it, unless you count the tractor beam as well. Johns: Maybe avoid flinging an asteroid at anyone. Seeing as it had gone so well last time someone had tried to do that, setting a chain reaction off in an asteroid field so massive, it caused the destruction of the Ascent Vine and Vorin still hadn't quite forgiven Valesha, despite it having nothing to do with her. Chris felt the drop in his stomach as the thought flared and focused on the comms, missing the tense hunch of his partner's shoulders at the mention of those events. O. Marshall: Have they said anything else? Given terms? Johns: Just to surrender. ::He scratched his beard and frowned at the wavering issues.:: They're not attempting to keep the channel open and the link keeps dropping, so they're not used to using the technology they've acquired. I still say we try and outrun them. Josett: I can do it. ::She grinned.:: But I can't guarantee the nacelles won't shear off in the attempt. On her opposite side, Chris shook his head with a growing grin on his face. She might not have been with them in their Skarbek dreamworld, but Lena was just as Maquis in her delivery. Sienelis: I don't think we can fight them off, can we? O. Marshall: Not with those peashooters. ::The tactical assessment of the runners flashed onto the display console beside the viewscreen.:: They're built to be fast and hard as nails. One good hit might take them out but you're talking… Bear trailed off, unable or unwilling to commit the mental effort to the probability arithmetic there and then. Instead, he started delving into what tactical information he could get from the computer, and anything sensors picked up they could shoot at. Johns: What if we sent a few knocks to their engines? ::He looked over to his partner and his heart gave a painful throb.:: Is it possible to stretch the sensors to get us subsystem information through this mud field? Slim olive fingers danced across multicoloured controls, her console singing — and occasionally blowing raspberries — in response. Her brow wrinkled in concentration, trying to pull the pieces of a puzzle together, Starfleet technology and training versus the shifting, unstable tachyon fields of the Shoals. Sienelis: I think so, but they'll need to be closer. ::She shook her head.:: The tachyons are chewing up the data and spitting it out again. Stay and fight, hope to win or at least get a few pot shots in to slow them down so the Azetbur could make the escape, or put the pedal to the metal and gun it. The choice wasn't an easy one. Fleeing exposed their engines, their nacelles open season for a torpedo to come on hurtling on the warpath. Johns: They're hailing us again, it's coming through. Orion Ship: =/\= Federation starship, you are in violation of the territory belonging to Le Seau Rouillés. Surrender now and we will not open fire. =/\= Johns: Yeah, you said that already. ::He grumbled and hit the control with the palm of his hand to shut down the channel, then he frowned.:: Was it just me, or did that sound exactly the same as the last time? O. Marshall: You've had that before? ::The man snapped back, eyes flaring to the dancer across the bridge.:: And now was a good time to mention it? Johns: We've got Orions incoming, it wasn't the first thing on my mind when they can fly faster than us! Sienelis: Will you two stop it! ::She exhaled through thinned lips, not taking her eyes off her console.:: It did sound the same. What does that even mean? Josett: It means they're full of pled. The hybrid grinned as the Cardassian curse rolled off her tongue, amused by either the situation, the antics inside the bridge, or perhaps both. Her deft fingers performed a familiar dance with the ship's control systems, pushing and pulling, dragging them along with what she wanted. Redirecting power away from life support, bringing inertial dampeners down to the bare minimum, even stealing power from spare capacity in the nacelles, speed-limited as they were. She shunted it into the shields and structural integrity, preparing the yacht for a rough flight. Josett: They're closer; check their profile again. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, PO Johns, Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part XI) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) Bear took that task, their tactical sensors straining to get a read on the two vessels on a collision course. In the middle of the Shoals soup, it seemed their technological capacity amounted to eight eyeballs and tactical projections of a flight path of the incoming ships relative to their position… but only for one vessel. O. Marshall: There's only one of them, not two. One and a probe it's bouncing a signal off. Johns: That's a Starfleet probe. ::He interjected, the realisation acting like a lightbulb flash for the comms specialist who dove back into his console.:: I'm sending a diagnostic routine to it, chances are they won't know how to break it. O. Marshall: You do that and the other will open fire. ::Grunting his exhale, he looked to Valesha.:: What were they expecting you to do? Stop and let them board? Take all the best china? A retort on the tip of her tongue — something about letting them take him — was forgotten. The question slammed into the forefront of her mind, what were they expecting you to do? What else was a little Starfleet ship going to do, when outnumbered, outmanned and outgunned? Sienelis: You think they're trying to make us run? Herd us somewhere? Johns: Filter us into a place where their reinforcements are, or somewhere we can't get out of. Beam aboard, take the ship, be gone before we know it. ::The dancer tongued his cheek as he sat back in the chair, looking over to his wife to be.:: It is a pretty slick business strategy. A fancy prize, if only for the bragging rights it'd bring along with it. Captain's yachts usually had Captains on board, meaning a substantial ransom if they played their cards right and a hefty dose of honour among thieves to carve up the ship. It was easy to forget that this wasn't their stomping ground, and as Bear ran his hand over his face to wake himself up, he remembered the more things changed out there in the Shoals, the more they stayed the same. O. Marshall: How often is a Starfleet Captain's yacht spotted in the Shoals? They're after who they think we've got on board. ::He [...]ed an eyebrow to Lena.:: Unless you've got a pirate homing signal. Josett: Not this week. ::She flung an amused grin his way, enjoying the thrill of the chase.:: The pirates here usually have better maps of the fields than anyone else. My money would be on them trying to drive us into a tetryon pocket and disable our warp drive. Sienelis: So... we change course? Head off the Mother Road in some random direction and try to shake them off? O. Marshall: They'll figure that out in no time. One wrong move out here and we'll find ourselves ripped apart at the rivets and seams. ::He ran a hand into his short crop of still damp hair and exhaled tersely through his nose.:: I'm not about to get blown up our first five minutes in here, so we need a plan and we need one quickly. The chime and chirp of the console in front of Chris set to life as the diagnostic routine on the projection probe finished, feeding back data at a rate of knots. Even through the muddy soup of the Shoals on the Mother Road, the readings were coming through just fine for him to reinterpret. Only the flash of inspired thought kicking around in his brain needed more than his communication knowhow. No sooner had it burst through the brick walls of his brain, the ship rocked from side to side beneath them, sending a cascade of churn across their exterior hull. Like a ripple effect, the hammer blow sent a grinding metal sound their way and the added bonus of a damage report. The Russian's heart gave a thick thump behind his sternum as he sent his probe data through to Valesha and jumped out of his seat to lean onto the console beside her. Johns: Can we set up a sensor mask on the probe? Enough to feed them back duff data of where we are? If we take that out entirely, they might abandon the chase on us. Green eyes flicked up toward him, not daring to linger on his features for too long, even as her heart pounded low in her chest. Her brow pinched in concentration, she filtered and assessed the probe data and its onboard sensors. Much like the ship it was slaved to, the probe wasn't the newest off the production line, the protocols it was using were just a little out of date. Sienelis: I think so. ::She nodded, still manipulating and page through the reams of information from the probe.:: It won't be an immediate change, it'll be a cumulative error, their read of our position will drift. Johns: Clever. Makes it seem like a natural problem rather than a manufactured one. Despite the pressing situation, Chris smiled in preemptive triumph; the last time they'd done this had felt entirely different, and a year later, Valesha was in sleeping shorts on the bridge of a Starfleet ship and they were a them. A strange thought to have in the middle of a crisis, but the young couple never were for convention. As though sensing the switch in mood from desperate to plan, Bear's authoritative bass drummed. O. Marshall: Better than the whole lot of nothing we've got now. ::He huffed and ran his hand over his beard. The yacht wasn't a peashooter, but one word from the Orion ship and who knew what would come running.:: Get it done. Lena, don't let them gain an inch on us. Can you keep up the pace while it works? While Valesha allowed herself a quick roll of the eyes and a small shake of her head, Lena just chuckled. Her curls bounced with her nod, hands moving quickly and easily across the flight controls of the yacht. The small ship shuddered again, indicators on her console flicking from green to amber — some holding there, others flicking back as the ship's automated systems compensated — and the hybrid's pulse beat a little faster, her grin widening. Josett: It's going to be a rough ride. Sienelis: Why does this always happen when I'm in a ship with you? Josett: I lead a charmed life. ::Another soft chuckle,:: Or a cursed one, depending on your point of view. Johns: Charmed. ::Said with a quick grin to Valesha as he moved back to his seat.:: Most definitely charmed. Space stretched out in front of them, taking them faster on their tunnel through the Mother Road, though whether that was the Orion's plan was another thing. If anything, they were adding time to their journey in how easy they'd have to take it later, and that annoyed the blond one no end. Mines, that's what this small ship needed. Mines they could shove out the back ramp. Orion Ship: =/\= Federation starship, you are in violation of the territory belonging to Le Seau Rouillés. Surrender now and we will not open fire. =/\= O. Marshall: =/\= On behalf of this Federation starship, bite our shiny, metal nacelle. =/\= ::His fist slammed down hard on the cut off command controls, ceasing the hailing frequency and channel the Orion ship used.:: Their hull would look a whole lot better with a torpedo-shaped hole in it. No sooner had the words left his mouth, the familiar lance of a forward phaser blast grazed their outer hull, rocking the yacht to the port side and the occupants along with it. Valesha cursed under her breath, catching hold of her console to steady herself, and quickly returned to the business of trying to interfere with the probe's inner workings. Josett: Seems the feeling's mutual. Sienelis: I'm almost done. ::Her teeth dug into the corner of her lip,:: If you are going to fire back, just remember they might spot the weapons aren't coming from where they think the shuttle is. O.Marshall: Then we'll not risk it. Give them no reason to think we're anywhere but where the sensors say we are. How's that phaser blast looking? Chris blew out a steady sigh as he compensated for Lena's compensating, throwing some of the power around into the shields and bolstering up their flank. It didn't need it; the blast was a glancing blow at best but a few more of them and the cracks would start. Johns: Superficial damage sustained, nothing major. ::Glancing to Lena, he sat back in the Ops chair and chuckled.:: Try and steer us away from the incoming fire trying to shave off a nacelle. Josett: It's fine, we've got two. She grinned back at the Russian, amber eyes sparkling, attitude as irreverent as ever. Still, when her gaze returned to the console in front of her, that Cardassian brow pulled together in concentration. Reduced power to the inertial dampeners translated into coordinated lurch of stomachs, an abrupt deceleration as she banked into a hard turn. More manoeuvrable than the heavier starship in pursuit, she led them into overshooting and forced a time-consuming course correction. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, PO Johns, Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part XII) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) Blasts from Orion phaser banks scattered across their hull, glancing off rather than searing through, and Bear could only imagine the cursing the Orions must be doing when faced with a pilot giving them a run for their money in the quite literal sense. They shot past them on the monitor, overshooting their mark for turning by a wide margin, Lena forcing them into a wider arc to regain ground and following once more. However, their angle was off, heading toward their bearing but at a twenty-degree angle away. O. Marshall: Whatever you're doing, keep doing it. It's working. The trill of another alert sounded from the ops console and Chris looked to it, moving his left hand over the controls as his right silenced the incoming communication from the Orion ship again. Information coming through from their operational sensors brought a cavalcade of feeling into his stomach and up through his chest. Johns: We've got a second incoming, considerably larger than our Orion friend and no signature yet. Valesha met the news with a sharp exhale, a flash of a memory from an unreal world where she sat on a bridge with Chris and another tall, broad blond. Outnumbered and outgunned, trying to avoid capture — and failing. She pushed the tension out of her shoulders, heart ricocheting off her ribs, her focus shifting from the probe to the new guest at their unwanted party. Sienelis: I'll see if I can pull something up. Josett: Who are they heading for, us or the Orions? Johns: Trajectory looks like it's… ::Consulting the computer rendering of the space available on their sensors, Chris frowned.:: In between us and them. Are they expecting us to launch a broadside or what? Bear leaned over, his hand running across the back of Valesha's chair as he peered at the operational targeting display, giving the outline of the ship in question. While it looked like another blockade runner, there was something distinctly Starfleet about it. Groaning, he palmed his face. O. Marshall: It's a cutter. Knowing our luck, it's the f— Cutter: =/\= USS Azetbur, this is CMC Cassowary. ::A tenor voice as cool as a cucumber rode the communication waves like a surfer.:: Welcome to the Shoals. Can we lend you a hand here? =/\= O. Marshall: —king Cassowary. Sienelis: Friends of yours? O. Marshall: Would you believe me if I said no? Johns: Easily. The blond scowled across the bridge toward the Russian, who looked to his side and grinned to Lena with a flicker of his eyebrows. Unfortunately for the blond, his wife was entirely on the side of whatever was most amusing, and grinned along with the dancer. Bear exhaled a gruff noise of frustration as he turned to Valesha with what could only be described as a measure of pleading in his eyes. O. Marshall: Just don't mention me. CMC Cassowary: =/\= Azetbur, is everything alright over there? Do you need assistance? =/\= Sienelis: What's it worth? A peal of laughter erupted from the pilot, still flying as though the legions of multiple hells were biting at their heels. Valesha grinned, just a little, and raised her eyebrows toward the blond. She hadn't expected her question to meet with Lena's approval, but having spent some time with the woman, the Romulan realised she really should have. Josett: I'm so proud of you right now. O. Marshall: This is an absolute betrayal, you realise. Johns: I don't think she cares all that much somehow. Rolling his lips in on themselves didn't stop the laughter shaking at Chris' shoulders as he tried, so damn hard, not to crease up. On the other side of the Russian's wife to be, Bear looked as though he might just pop a blood vessel in his temple, considered how much of a pain it would be to finish the journey to Ketar V with Romulan and Russian confined to torpedo casings, and relented. O. Marshall: Fine. What do you want? Valesha grinned at him, almost feeling sorry for the outnumbered blond. Almost. With mirth glittering in emerald eyes, she offered him a lackadaisical shrug and a careless answer. It was entirely the wrong time to be having a conversation like this, inappropriate to delay a distress call to negotiate terms with a fellow officer, and yet there she was — and being egged on by Chris and Lena, no less. Sienelis: Oh, let's just call it a favour for now. CMC Cassowary: =/\= Azetbur, this is the CMC Cassowary. Do you need assistance? Failure to communicate will result in intervention. =/\= The screens beneath Chris' fingertips lit up and he bent back in his chair to look over at the blond and his Romulan staring one another down over less than metre. Blue and green in a battle for the win, while their communications and sensors glared with the obvious transmission. Johns: While Lena's driving it like she stole it, ::said with a quick flash of a cheeky grin to the pirate, receiving an equally cheeky one in return,:: the cutter is powering up weapons as we speak. They're targeting our shield generators. O. Marshall: I see our time spent on the Scream had some affect. ::He tongued his cheek, not surprised, and considering who he'd married, not entirely unamused by it either.:: Fine. A favour it is. With a quiet snicker, she shooed him out of sight of the communication screen. Once clear, Valesha opened the channel with a tap of a finger, while Chris sat back to watch, the thrill of the chase in his heart, quite enamoured with his wife to be baiting the Bear, as it were. Sienelis: =/\= Cassowary, this is Lieutenant Sienelis of the Azetbur, we could use the assist. =/\= A moment of silence came from the other end as the Marshal did a double take to the screen, then looked down at the display screen beneath his hands. Dressed in the gear of the CMC, with the badge to go with and gold lapels shining, the dusty-haired older Trill officer looked back up at the screen, raising a questioning eyebrow and the Shoals twang to his accent. CMC Cassowary: =/\= Lieutenant, has Starfleet uniform standards changed recently, or am I just behind the times with what you crazy kids are wearing these days? =/\= Valesha squinted at the man, then looked down at herself, an olive flush rushing across her cheeks as she remembered she was sitting there in her pyjamas. She resisted the temptation to pull her robe across her vest, and instead ran a hand through tousled dark hair, smoothing it out. Sienelis: ::Flatly,:: =/\= Pirates have no respect for sleeping schedules, it seems. =/\= CMC Cassowary: =/\= That they do not, ma'am. ::He made some adjustments off screen and nodded to his co-pilot.:: Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis, assigned to the USS Gorkon. ::He paused for a second before frowning to her.:: You've got authorization to use this craft? =/\= Johns: Sure we do. ::Her Russian arched an eyebrow over to her, a smile curving on his lips.:: This time. Valesha's expression had pulled into confusion at the Marshal's question. Realisation broke, and then with a downturn to her lips, a sigh and slump of her shoulders, she nodded. Loose threads of her reputation had made their way out as far as the Shoals, it seemed. Maybe one day she'd shake them off. Sienelis: =/\= Yes. =/\= He nodded on the other end, satisfied with the answer and if he could shuffle papers, or ruffle his moustache he would do. The Marshal nodded to the copilot and leaned into the arm of his chair, epaulettes gleaming under the lights in gold, and Bear huffed a chuckle that the only one of them wearing a uniform - four Starfleet officers notwithstanding - was a Shoals Marshal. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, PO Johns, Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part XIII) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) CMC Cassowary: =/\= You can tell your pilot to move away, we'll take this from here. Where are you heading to? =/\= Johns: Along the Mother Road to the outpost past Meridian. From there, we're deviating through the Shoals to Ketar V. That's the course we were on before they showed up. Valesha glanced toward Lena, who grinned back, finding the whole situation (as ever) amusing. The stomach-lurching shifts of the Azetbur smoothed out, evasive manoeuvres settling into a more stable flight path. The Romulan gestured toward her partner, his answer a neat summary of their intentions without excessive details. Sienelis: =/\= Did you catch that? =/\= CMC Cassowary: =/\= Fully acknowledged, Azetbur, thanks for the update. If you send us your signature, we'll make a note on our logs and transmit it to the CMC. They should keep an eye on you from here on out. Make sure you report to the post on Ketar V when you get there. =/\= Visibly fed up with the line of questions, Bear groaned audibly and wiped his hand across his face, gripping his blond beard at his chin as the thought of being face to face with the law enforcement of the Shoals sent spirals through his spine. On the other side, Chris shook his head at the impatient blond, and transmitted their signature information over to the Marshal service as he flicked an eyebrow to Lena. Johns: And there I was, starting to get used to the g-force keeping me in the chair. Josett: I'd offer to do something else to keep you pinned to your chair, but there are members of the audience who might take exception. She grinned at the Russian, while Valesha's emerald gaze flicked skyward, Bear's frustration and annoyance echoing through her — albeit for different reasons. Looking back toward Marshal Shiny Shoulders on screen, she ran her hand a hand through her hair and suppressed a sigh. Meanwhile, Chris flicked an eyebrow to the hybrid pirate with an amused grin, receiving an equally unamused glare from the bearded blond. How the tables turned. Sienelis: =/\= If that's all, we'll sign off. Thanks for the help, Cassowary. =/\= CMC Cassowary: =/\= Keep your nose clean, Azetbur. Cassowary out. =/\= The communication line ceased as the former Starfleet ship drifted off their starboard bow, heading for the Orion ship and probe deviating away from them at a steep angle. Valesha grumbled to herself and Chris slumped back into his chair as his hand wrestled through growing tresses, quite relieved their derriere remained unmolested by Orion torpedoes. Across the small bridge, Bear rocked up out of his with a gruff exhale. It was only then Chris realised the blond wasn't wearing a shirt. Johns: That, ::he shot a finger bullet at his beautiful Romulan,:: was a close call. O. Marshall: Too close. The blond found his hips beneath all the layers of manliness, clear definition between pectoral muscles showing with a little too much flair to be anything other than a dominance tactic and Chris looked over at Valesha in her nightclothes, the Russian's eyebrow escaping toward his scruffy hairline. Johns: I think this is perfect swap over time, don't y— O. Marshall: Over my dead body. Sienelis: ::Mildly,:: Don't you owe me a favour? Bear stared at her incredulously for a second, eyebrow tilting upwards. Valesha graced him with a smug, lazy smile, her eyebrows performing a victory twitch. In the background, Chris rolled his lips between his teeth to stop from chuckling. Lena was not so circumspect and chortled to herself — whatever the outcome of their negotiation, she was going back to bed. O. Marshall: Of all the things you could ask for, of all the favours I could grant, this is what you want to spend it on? Sienelis: A few hours in bed with my Russian and the bonus of irritating you. Sounds like a win-win scenario to me. ::She paused, just long enough to seem like she was intent on that course of action, then grinned.:: Go on, get lost. Let the universe imprint on, ::she circled her palm toward his bare chest, echoing words last spoken on the Labyrinth's Scream,:: your canvas. Remember this day, when Valesha ir-Jhianhre t'Sienelis was merciful. O. Marshall: Thank you, kindest of Romulan empresses. ::Hard as he tried, he couldn't be angry with the woman and a brief tick of a smile crested one side of his lips. He wasn't even sure if Romulans had emperors. Glaring blue eyes pinned on Chris.:: Try not to [...] it up. The Russian saluted from his forehead, dramatically over the top, accompanied by the grin he'd failed to suppress at Valesha's antics as he settled back into the chair. Once they were back on course from Lena's creative flying mechanics, it'd be coffee and kicking back again. Johns: Understood, Captain. Bear pointed two fingers at his eyes then toward Valesha as he scowled through barely contained amusement, before he bent down beside Lena's ear, whispered something probably scandalous with a pressed kiss to her hybrid cheek, and left. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, PO Johns & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part XIV) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) The doors hissed shut behind him and with a lingering grin, the Romulan slumped back in her chair. She spun around to face Chris, poking him in the knee with an outstretched foot. He grinned at her, his hand dropping from messing up the scruff of his growing hair. Sienelis: Nothing ever goes smoothly, does it? Johns: Honestly, I'd be concerned if it did for once. Snagging her foot in his hand, her ballerino applied pressure to the points across her dancer's arch and ankle, turning enough in his chair to balance said ankle on his thigh. Skin soft and light as always, the thrum of green blood coursing through her veins, visible on the top of her foot; skin he ran his fingertips over gently as his thumbs pushed and massaged into muscle and sinew. His head rolled to the side and he looked at Lena in the pilot's seat, making her adjustments and doing whatever it was pilots of small craft did. Johns: That was some fancy flying, pirate. ::An exhaled chuckle lifted through him as he grinned.:: Drawing out that conversation with the Cassowary any longer and they'd have thought we stole it. With intentional flair, Lena entered the last of the commands on her console and stood up. A stretch rippling through her from head to toe, as though she were some big cat finally finished basking in the sun. She grinned at the pair, amber eyes sparkling, and put her hands on her hips in a fashion not entirely unlike a certain tall blond, minutes ago. Josett: Got the blood flowing, didn't it? ::She chuckled, a mischievous twist to her smile.:: I'll leave you two alone. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. The hybrid made for the door, curls bouncing, bare feet padding across the bridge carpet, the healing bruise on her thigh peeping out from under the hem of her (or more likely, Bear's) t-shirt as she walked. A scrape with piracy and peril and her mood wasn't the least bit dimmed, cheerful and irreverent as always. Valesha wondered how she managed it — if the woman genuinely took all the twists and turns of life in her stride, or if she used her cheerfulness as armour. Either way, the Romulan rolled her eyes, calling over her shoulder. Sienelis: That doesn't eliminate much. Spinning her heel and completing her journey off the bridge in reverse, Lena grinned at the pair as she passed through the doors, arms wide. Josett: Such is the wonder that is me. And then she was gone, leaving Chris and Valesha alone, just as they had been before the untimely arrival of pirates and colonial marshals. The Romulan sank down a little further in her chair, exhaling a long breath and wiggling her toes under her partner's ministrations. Taking that as a sign, Chris threaded his fingers between said Romulan toes and flexed the upper part of her foot back and forth, amusement and affection clear on his features beneath the scruff of his beard. Johns: I can't believe you answered a Marshal communication in your pyjamas. Sienelis: The things I do for that man. ::She breathed out a quiet groan, though it was unclear whether it was her own inner monologue or the foot massage that prompted it.:: What are the odds when we get to Ketar V I'll already be "The Romulan in PJs"? Johns: Considering he says he's filing a report, I wouldn't be surprised. ::His thumb moved in circles along her arch as he kicked up his feet onto the console, crossing one leg over the other.:: Starfleet does like to do the uniform shuffle every so often. Maybe they'll think they're reverting back to those heady days of skants. Valesha's dark eyebrows lifted and she tilted her head to the side, mossy eyes travelling along the full length of his outstretched legs from toes to hip. She exhaled a sound of contentment, grinned, and her gaze flicked back up to meet his. Sienelis: I could live with that. Chris' hazel eyes sparked as he grinned in response. A rare blush sparked from beneath his sternum and crept up around his throat as he looked at her, followed the line of her leg, dropped his head to the headrest of the chair and felt those striking matches. Being under her gaze shot a thrill through his spine and kicked his heart around inside his ribs. Johns: Are you objectifying a subordinate, Lieutenant? Sienelis: Every day. Johns: Is that so? ::His eyebrow curved and Chris ran his fingers underneath her foot. Her leg twitched, and she breathed a laugh.:: Is it Peek? He has incredible thighs. Sienelis: It's his thighs you look at, is it? Johns: Have you seen them? ::He made a shape with his hands like that of a side of ham.:: That foundation support there for his lifts, for his jetes and pirouettes. I could train him. His tongue poked into his cheek as he thought about it — Rob would definitely make for a more astute student than the Betazoid, at least he'd listen — then what Valesha said clicked with him and eyes brimming with [...] suspicion slid to her. Johns: Why, what do you look at? Sienelis: I only have eyes for you, my sahe'lagge. Hand over her heart, she delivered the statement with just the right touch of Romulan haughtiness and affectionate sincerity. The only thing ruining it was the stubborn, impish grin she couldn't quite banish, pulling at the corner of her lips and creasing the corners of her eyes. Johns: Well saved, h'levreinnye. A flick of the eyebrow at the term of endearment, a flutter in his belly like the beating of butterfly wings, and her betrothed echoed her grin with the ever strengthening pronunciation of his Romulan vocabulary. Running his fingers up the back of her ankle, Chris nodded to the console with Russian devilry. Johns: Autopilot is on. Valesha held his gaze, her grin slowly returning as mischief sparkled in emerald. Her gaze flicked toward the bridge door, back to him, and then she pushed herself out of her chair to join him in his. Arms around his shoulders, back in his lap, she stole a lingering kiss, heat spreading over her shoulders and curling down her spine in defiance of the ship's cool air. Sienelis: Shall we lock the door? Johns: Wiser words never spoken. As he drew her in for another kiss, the spark ignited like fireworks shooting into a dark sky. His hands ran over her hips, one up her back beneath her vest touching warm Romulan skin, the other reaching blindly for the console controls. The door latched into place, a tiny alert sounding as the light colour changed, not that either of them noticed as the Azetbur slipped through space and stars, lost as they were in one another. fin ---- Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis Science Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0 & Lieutenant Orson Marshall Intelligence Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0 & PO First-Class Christopher Johns Operations Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0 & Lieutenant (JG) Lena Josett Intelligence Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  7. Lt. Sienelis & Lt. Marshall - Road Trip (Part I) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) Sat in the pilot's chair on the bridge, Bear had angled the ergonomically designed seat back as far as it would go, enough to kick his crossed boots up onto the console. A cup of coffee in his hand held to his chest, his mind was elsewhere as he stared out of the viewscreen, watching the space tunnel created by warp as the yacht sped ever forward through the dark. Memories of the last time he'd done this played on his mind, drumming a beat on his heart like a timpani. Only Lena had been within reach, recently married, indulging in a chunk of wedded hilarity while on their way back to the Gorkon. Scratching the underside of his chin, Bear inhaled heavily, deep chest rising and falling as he listened to the hum of the ship, that rhythmic undulation of the engine underneath, the faint sound of the deflector shield vibrating and pulsing containing them in their own little bubble. What he missed was Lena's voice; singing as she did in that breathy conversational low range, the power behind it, dream-like and beautiful, effortlessly flowing through those atmospheric tones he could listen to for hours. The husband might have received a summons to where his wife was, but he wanted her on his skin and his bones, alone together with no rush in it, wrapped up in one another and taking their time. The door swished open and Bear jumped out of his skin, leaping up from his relaxed composure and straight into what the hell mode, sending his mug of coffee splattering to the floor in a clang of enamel on corrugated metal. He rolled his lips between his teeth, [...]s of beard tickling his skin as he did so, a terse exhale through his nose and looked to the interloper. O. Marshall: Aren't you supposed to be asleep? It looked like she had been; hair askew, a tank top and loose pyjama shorts under a light robe. She took a moment to regard him in his startled predicament with a glimmer of sly amusement in her eyes, rarely failing to find amusement in catching people by surprise. Observation concluded, Valesha padded barefoot toward the replicator at the back of the bridge. Sienelis: I was. Do you want another? O. Marshall: That would be great. ::Enunciating every word, he scooped the mug up from the floor and tossed it up to deft Romulan hands.:: Black, like my heart, with a five percent sucrose factor for the spirit. Bear slumped back down into the pilot's chair as the small scurrying floor cleaner came whizzing out of a slot in the surrounding bridge bulkhead. Within a matter of seconds, the device had cleaned up the spill, beeped a merry tune, and flitted back into the alcove it came from. With a roll of his eyes, Bear groaned. The technically minded Admiral would have some kind of device to clean up after her five-year-old… and swiftly ignored the fact it had to clean up after him. O. Marshall: What's got you up? I'm not due to play the 1812 Overture in your quarters for another few hours. I thought ballet boy would get a kick out of it. He received a scowl for his intentions. A muttered request to the replicator followed by a whirl of energy into matter and the Romulan was walking toward him with a mug in each hand. She handed the black-hearted sunbeard his coffee and planted herself cross-legged in the chair beside him, pulling her robe around her. Hunched over the spices evaporating from her drink, she was tired and she looked it, yet sleep was proving evasive. Sienelis: What's with you two, anyway? You're like a pair of strutting viyssae, hissing at each other every time you catch sight. O. Marshall: Entirely professional reasons. ::Said with a quick flash of a grin as he resumed the position, kicking up his boots to the console, relaxing back, mug on his knee.:: Did he ever tell you how he got that black eye? Sienelis: Not really. ::She shrugged, eyeing him across the floor space between them.:: We'd not long woken up from the Skarbek. We were still trying to figure out if we were friends or strangers at that point. ::Mug held in both hands, she took a sip, tapping her thumbs against the replicated ceramic.:: So how was it your fault, then? A blond eyebrow arched upwards as Bear took a drink from the coffee mug, tilting his head toward his Romulan friend. O. Marshall: What makes you think it was my fault? Sienelis: I've met you. O. Marshall: Point taken. ::He tapped the outside of the cup with a clipped fingernail.:: If you want to get technical about it, it wasn't me; it was Ollie. Your Russian worked out a bit too much and got himself slung in the Brig with me. The Iotian ensured it didn't go any further. One delicious shiner for the trouble. Valesha closed her eyes, a procession of conflicted emotions marching across her face: understanding, anger, resignation. She unclenched her jaw a moment later and ran a hand through her tousled hair, slumping back in the seat and narrowly avoiding slopping hot tea over her hands. No wonder Chris had said nothing at the time, how dare Bear be complicit in the whole thing, the next time she saw that bloody pirate he'd best be grateful that she didn't throw punches herself. Then she sighed, too tired to maintain a temper for any length of time. And what was the point? It was closing on two years since it had happened; there was no changing or undoing it now. Sienelis: That would do it. Bear's lips thinned as he nodded, eyebrows lifting, recalling all too well the events of the evening which ensured his release from the confines of the brig cell, while Chris received a talking to. Looking back at the orchestration of it, he could have intervened, stopped the Russian taking a blow to the face to keep his mouth shut, explained the nuances of keeping his nose out of others' business, but that was hardly as satisfying. O. Marshall: Added to what happened in the brig the second time we were in there together and, ::he sucked in air through his teeth as his head bobbed from side to side,:: turns a simmering grievance to a raging grudge. A quiet, disgruntled noise ground in Valesha's throat, not needing or wanting any reminders of exactly how that scene had played out. The whole affair — from its origins in conspiracy and false accusations to an ending written in a poison which left her sliding into the grave — was a series of events she tried her hardest not to think about. Sienelis: Which you're content to prod. O. Marshall: Not maliciously. He just makes it so easy, especially when you're there. Like a red flag to a bull. ::He chuckled, taking a sip from the mug and shrugged a shoulder up as the mug came back to rest on his knee.:: How are you, anyway? Recovered from your pounding on death's door? Lena's copilot seat still has your fingerprints in the arm. Sienelis: Something to remember me by. ::Her eyebrows twitched upward.:: I'm recovered. If you're going to almost get pollened to death, do it when the Admiral plans shore leave on Earth. You get the finest Starfleet Medical has to offer, and the opportunity to fend off a dozen requests to write papers on your case because apparently Melanth poisoning isn't a thing they get to see very often. O. Marshall: I can't imagine it is, strangely enough, being a wonder product of Romulan assassination. ::He took another drink and his jaw stiffened some, enough to take note it was his teeth clenching.:: I should've seen it coming. That was the kicker he'd carried around with him, even when Valesha had come around and recovered. Taking the case back to their temporary quarters and opening it was asking for issues from the start; then again, a secure and sterile environment with environmental suits were scarce. One couldn't just sling one out of a pocket like a pop-up hologram screen. The bearded one lifted his mug to her. O. Marshall: I'm glad you didn't die. ::Deliberate or not, a note of affection was there.:: I didn't want to have to explain that to everyone. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, Lt. Marshall & PO Johns - Road Trip (Part II) ((Bridge, USS Azetbur)) The thought of Chris keeping secrets was still spinning around in her head, turning and whirling as the dancer himself did in their studio time. She could understand him choosing not to disclose back then — they had been trying to figure out what they were to one another, and what point was there talking about it months later? — but it had reminded her of other secrets he'd kept. That Christopher Johns was an assumed name, how long he'd held on to a belief instilled under the Moscow sky... Sienelis: "Fired her sarcasm at the wrong person." Simple. Believable. Probable. O. Marshall: Definitely not unlikely. I'll take note for future reference. Supping another mouthful of sweetened black coffee, Bear glanced up at the lights of space in front of them, taking the pair — and the sleeping dancer — toward the Shoals. When he looked back to his shuttle theft partner, the glint of a midnight blue solitaire caught his eye; one with a constellation baked inside, as though a relief of space itself. Settling a little further into his chair, Bear pointed a finger to the band. O. Marshall: I heard you'd got engaged. Going back was worth it after all. Her gaze darted down to the ring, currently worn on its "proper" hand and finger, at least according to the human custom, though she did tend to swap it around when the mood took her. A sliver of frost slipped into her belly, the guilt that it was a promise left unfulfilled because of this very trip. There was nothing in the universe she wanted more than to be Chris' wife — except find her beloved brother. It wasn't as though she was choosing between them, after all. Just prioritising one event over another. Sienelis: It was. ::Her green eyes flicked back up toward him, with a wry glint behind them.:: I heard you got married. O. Marshall: A terrible idea, really. Bear chucked as he echoed Lena's words following his proposal in the [...]pit of her shuttlepod. It was amusing; two people who shouldn't be married — to anyone, let alone one another — but there they were. He moved the ring on his finger in a slow circle with his thumb as he thought about her, then covered the small smile inching onto his lips with a drink from the mug. She knew what she wanted, he knew what he did, and for the time being, it fit. That was all. O. Marshall: Planning the big day? Do I get to wear a big hat and tell everyone how I knew you when you were a Starfleet fugitive? Sienelis: You make that request after cheating me of the opportunity. ::She shot a smirk at him.:: Why did you get married? O. Marshall: Her voice. ::The answer is quick, delivered with a sigh and a small nod.:: She was singing in the [...]pit when I woke up and it was the first time I've ever felt like I wanted to marry anyone. ::His shoulder shrugged up and with the slight realisation he'd been a touch too soft, Bear raised his mug for a drink.:: Her hips are great, too. Sienelis: Yes, the most important trait of a life partner. A fantastic pair of hips. ::She sent the droll barb back, then found a flare of amusement in the irony that she, of all people, said it.:: Though it explains Chris. O. Marshall: If only more species judged by the curve of an iliac crest. Divorce rate would decrease exponentially. ::Drink finished with a loud exhale, Bear looked to Valesha for a long moment, his eyes narrowing just slightly.:: Why are you getting married? Sienelis: Are you really asking me why I'm marrying the man I was pining for while we were risking our lives playing pirates? He smiled with a tilt of his head and ruffle of the blond beard, remembering all too well the forlorn Romulan he had to drag into the shuttlebay and onto the Unicorn, and try not to spontaneously combust under the glare burning through the back of his head. There were things he would do differently if they could; though the way they left wasn't one of them. He still believed, now more firmly than ever, that the sodding Russian would've stopped the universe where it was to get her back if they hadn't sold it like a lover's escape. O. Marshall: Yes, I am. Her ring finger tapped against the ceramic of her mug in a soft chime of a rhythm, ticking away the time as she debated her answer. It seemed obvious enough and she couldn't quite figure out why he wanted to hear it. Sienelis: Because I love him. ::She lifted her shoulders and shook her head.:: I want to be with him. Her answer brought a small smile to Bear's face — not that he'd ever admit it, ever — for the simple knowledge he hadn't hashed it up for them. He had enough riding on his conscience at any given moment, he didn't need their future on there, too. Deciding he'd had enough of thinking about his own feelings for the night, he rolled his shoulders back and exhaled. O. Marshall: And now you're off to pick your brother up in the Shoals. ::His eyebrows flicked up.:: Big changes since we were on the Scream. Sienelis: Doesn't seem like a year ago. ::She thought on that, sipping from her tea.:: I wonder where we'll be in a year from now. The door to the bridge swished open, revealing a tired and barely awake Russian, pyjama pants hung around his waist and hair in a kind of disarray it hadn't seen while short. Weary fingers rubbed the sleep from his eye socket and he looked through bleary eyes at Bear and Vee. Leaning his shoulder against the doorframe, he scratched his stomach. Whatever prejudices he held against the blond one while conscious didn't telegraph to that in-between time of awake and asleep. Johns: Did I… ::He yawned silently but widely into his fist.:: Did I miss the alarm? A faint flush of olive colour crept into the Romulan's cheeks at the sight of her Russian, flicking a scowl toward Bear as if to warn him against comment. Bear, taking the hint, rolled his lips in on themselves and said nothing, though the act of which included his eyes opening a little wider and attention shifting to the viewscreen. A small mercy, but one his friend appreciated nonetheless. Sienelis: No, it's still early. I couldn't sleep. Her Russian nodded slowly, some semblance of life coming back into him bit by bit, but not by much Fingers brushed in his growing fluff of sleep tousled hair. As he spoke, the soft rumble of his tenor sounded broken and gruff through sleepy vocal cords. Johns: Is everything okay? Sienelis: Just one of those nights. She unfolded her legs, rising from the chair, and scooped up Bear's empty mug. Depositing both in the replicator, she padded over to her fiancé and pressed a kiss to his cheek, sliding her hand into his. Chris smiled lazily in return, eyes refusing to open any more than they absolutely had to, and his stubbled cheek nuzzled against her temple. Sienelis: We can go back to bed. Johns: Mmkay. A sleepy hand raised from Chris' shoulder to Bear in the most languid wave anyone could muster and Bear sent one back; a salute of two fingers from his forehead. With a deep sigh as the couple headed out, the blond bearded one threw a grin to Valesha of the absolutely incorrigible as he hummed the 1812 Overture, complete with cannonade in a flourish of composer's hands. Her answer was silent, a finger pointed in warning, eyebrows raised in a death glare. Both vanished from sight a moment later as she tugged her sleepy Russian from the bridge and the door sighed shut behind them. Bear turned back to the helm console and relaxed into the chair, thinking about the next few hours until he could go to bed, and trying not to think about who he wanted to be there. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis & PO Johns - Road Trip (Part III) ((Conference Room, USS Azetbur)) Sat with his dancer's backside perched on the edge of the expansive conference table, in the middle to get a full view of what was taking place outside the ship, Chris gazed out of the observational windows. The huge red freighter — like a massive rectangle of metal and instruments — moved off slowly into space. It didn't bank or turn; just slid away backwards, heading in the other direction as the Admiral's Yacht slipped out from the vibrating wake of the enclosing tractor beam. They'd hitched a ride with one of the Red Carrier cargo ships courtesy of YanCo — for all your conglomerate needs — as it headed out into the Shoals on the Mother Road. Meridian was apparently the destination where the freighter would make a drop off or pick up and return to their location now, at Esperance, where it would once again break out into the regular swim lanes of the galaxy and head back to whence it came. A life sitting at the helm of that empire. What would it be like? For a moment, sitting there, Chris imagined it. Endless nights of parties and hedonism, without a care in the universe for what went on outside of the fashioned bubble. If he questioned any of the beliefs, he would keep quiet, live on the luxury of a family entrenched in everything around the galactic atlas. He'd never have known the sense of adventure that came with an enlistment in Starfleet Academy in his tender formative years, content instead to cruise around on a yacht built for having a good time. Maybe he would've stayed in Russia and carried on dancing for the troupes, seen the new wave in artistic revolution, spent the better part of his years introducing new age techniques or sticking to the old rules. Perhaps he could've one day taken on the roles of a Principal Dancer; twirled around the best Primas of his time, looked longingly into faces of ballerinas as the orchestral music played on, concerto after concerto, each enticing the dancers to act on conjured feelings and emotions. It was no small wonder why their world was rife with broken hearts and unrequited love; each headliner out to get what they wanted and hell hath no fury like a dancer scorned. It felt it like a process of evolution; as though breaking free from that life had come like a blinding flash of inspired thought. Chris took a breath of recycled starship air, considering how different his life would be if he had stayed under the wing of the family, if such journeys like the one he was now standing on the deck of the Azetbur for would have ever taken place, if he'd ever have met Valesha and in what context, if there was a set path in life to follow and he'd just pick it up again at some random point. He wanted to believe that was the case, and as he watched the red freighter move away into the darkness of space — where the whorls and constellations dazzled in an array of colours that only reminded him of the Romulan he shared his life with — Chris allowed himself to. Wherever he was on that journey, in the masses amounts of parallel universes there were out there in timeless mists of spacial entities, there was one where he had stayed behind. With a small smile on his face and a glint in his hazel eyes, the young Russian slipped off the edge of the conference table and headed for wherever his fiancee was. Tension needed a release and tempting her into a dance was the way forward. ((Guest Quarters, USS Azetbur)) The door to the small cabin slid open and the couple stumbled inside, already grinning to one another as though they'd never quite been able to stop. A sweet tang of sweat hung in the air from their drilled routine; their movements on their makeshift dance floor, the close proximity to one another, the rapid ascension of hearts beating fast, deep breaths and flushed faces looking into pupils dilated with the heady sense of want. A need for skin to be on skin, moans swallowed by chasing lips, whispers to entice groans, hands to roam flesh and find one another in the sheets. With a murmur, the door closed. Chris reached for Valesha, his hand slipping to her nape to bring them back together, never content to be too far. Under the edge of her ballet top, his fingers slipped, finding abdominal muscles flexing in exertion. His palms found her waist, then the small of her back, her hands running through his hair and across his shoulders, crashing and pulling, anchoring one another to the moment as each passionate kiss only sent them spiralling further. O. Marshall: =/\= Attention, passengers. This is Captain Marshall speaking. =/\= Chris groaned into Valesha's shoulder, though he didn't move, remaining suspended with his hands climbing her back as the disembodied voice continued from the ceiling. She was less restrained and grumbled a Rihan vendetta, her eyes narrowed and taut. O. Marshall: =/\= We're cruising at an altitude of not very far from Esperance. The temperature is a cool absolute zero, and if you look to your left, you'll see the edge of the Shoals in the distance. All crew please report to the bridge as we're about to experience some turbulence on entry to the station zone and I've only got one pair of hands. Bridge out. =/\= The one-way announcement communication cut off, allowing the sound of laboured breath to fill the air again. Chris dropped his head back to look at the ceiling and, licking lips still tasting like his Romulan, he grinned to Valesha, a sense of humour lingering. Her expression remained flat and unimpressed for a few seconds, then she sighed and shook her head, unable to stop the corners of her mouth ticking upward in turn. Johns: Was it good for you, too? Sienelis: If he survives this trip, it's going to be a miracle. Mood utterly murdered by the blond [...] on the bridge, and dopamine hormones yet to dissipate, Chris smiled in amusement and leaned down to steal a slow kiss from his wife-to-be; a contrast to their breathless embrace of moments before. A small noise of frustration rumbled in her throat as they parted, pinching the fabric of his dance top between forefinger and thumb, pulling it toward her a short distance before letting it fall back into place. Johns: Later? Sienelis: Oh, you can count on it. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, Lt. Marshall, & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part IV) ((Promenade Section, Star Station Esperance)) Much time had passed by since Bear had been on that station, looking through those windows, down at the expansive planet beneath them. The transport hub stuck up out of the surface like a needle and accompanying spinning top, ships coming and going all the time, staying for no longer than they needed to. They'd reached there in less than twenty-four hours, hitching a ride with a cargo transporter, depositing them less than a few hours from the station. This was the Gateway to the Federation, or in their particular case, the gateway to long voyages confined on the Admiral's Yacht. His arms folded across his chest as he looked down on the swirling marble of green and blue, beard fluffing each time his jaw moved from one side to the other as if chewing on something invisible. Mustache moving with every terse exhale. O. Marshall: She said the station, not the planet, right? Valesha twitched into a frown, throwing Bear a look askance. It grew into something else in a few heartbeats; amusement glimmered in her eyes, a corner of her mouth tugged up as the sentiment spread. It was a side of him she'd hardly seen, the heart under the swagger, and she couldn't stop grinning. Sienelis: Who knew that adorably anxious waiting for your wife was a mood you could channel. Narrowing his eyes at her, he shook his head with a mocking sneer. Not exactly the picture of someone refuting the claim. His arms crossed a little tighter over his chest as he returned his gaze to the planet and the reflection of the lithe Romulan in the giant window, expecting to see the small shuttlepod belonging to Lena zipping past to warp. O. Marshall: I'm being diligent about the rendezvous location. ::He glanced at the reflection of the pointy-eared devil.:: Where's ballet boy? Didn't want to stretch his legs out here? Sienelis: Not in your vicinity. It's almost like you're really annoying and I only put up with you because of that one time you saved my life. O. Marshall: Almost. If it wasn't for my winning personality and undeniable charm, I'd believe you. She rolled her eyes, valiantly keeping a grin from surfacing. Amused she might be, aware of that fact he might also be, but Valesha had no intention of being obvious about it. Bear, in turn, tried not to smile, once again tightening those arms like a drawbridge. Sienelis: What ship is she coming in on, anyway? O. Marshall: That's the other thing. ::He ran a hand through his short crop of blond hair and sniffed.:: She didn't mention it. Last communication was from the Veritas and she'll have cargo. Sienelis: What was she doing on the Veritas? O. Marshall: We're married, what makes you think I know? The Romulan opened her mouth, inhaling to reply, only to find that she had no immediate answer to that. Instead she shrugged, hands wide, shaking her head. She could hardly imagine a scenario where Chris would leave her with only shreds of information, guessing as much as knowing what was going on. Sienelis: You and I are going to have very different marriages. The blond annoyance flicked an eyebrow up to her as he glanced to the side and Bear let that roll around in his mind for a second before the corner of his mouth turned upwards. There were elements of her work Lena couldn't tell him; things it was easier to not talk about, even as colleagues in Intelligence. She had her way of living and he had his. Marriage didn't mean they were beholden to one another. Their marriage at least. O. Marshall: Not so much. They're both of convenience in one way or another. Sienelis: What's that supposed to mean? O. Marshall: Mine will be fun until one of us leaves, and there's no questions asked. Convenient until it's not. ::He thinned his lips as he gave her a long look.:: You're going to outlive him by what, two-hundred-fifty years? A frown carved its way onto a Romulan brow, the reminder of their mismatched mortalities unwanted at the best of times. Here, she couldn't quite wrap her mind around the point Bear was trying to make, except for the fact she was fairly sure she didn't like it. What was convenient about having to watch Chris grow old and pass on? Sienelis: That's the opposite of convenient. O. Marshall: Not for you. ::His shoulder shrugged up.:: You get a whole second life after. Can't be bad. Sienelis: You get that I've already outlived most of the people I love, right? It's not an experience I'm looking forward to repeating. Conceding the point, Bear tilted his head and grunted his agreement. There they were, in the [...] end of nowhere, about to go looking for her brother further out in the [...] end of nowhere, made him think of his own family. Whether Jo would go to such lengths do the same for him stuck in his gut. O. Marshall: Can't change those genes, kid. ::He caught her reflection in the window and tongued his cheek.:: Enjoy it while it lasts. Sienelis: That's the plan. ::She looked at his reflection in turn.:: I guess we have that part in common, at least. O. Marshall: And we'll always have Hai Tac. Amusement flicked on his lips as he leaned to her, bumping her shoulder with his, content to change the subject before he dug an even deeper hole and she let him take a long walk out of a short airlock. Lips pursed in an attempt to contain a sigh or a smile, perhaps both, she started to look toward him — until something in the window caught her gaze. O. Marshall: Speaking of, she did mention that bloody Iotian was with her. Sienelis: So I see. Her inflection flat, Valesha pointed at the reflection, past their shoulders where a familiar pair approached. She turned and there they were, the pirate duo advancing upon them and somewhat worse for wear. The Cardassian-Bajoran hybrid was walking with noticeable limp, a healing cut over one eye and bruises grazed across her knuckles... and of course, that infernal eternal grin. Josett: If it isn't my favourite pair of spoons. Zuccaro: We do have to stop meeting like this, in the strangest of places. Said bloody Iotian didn't look too clever either; a thick bandage wrapped around his upper arm somehow making him look even more dashing for it, and bearing a large shiner around one eye, which Bear couldn't say he was sorry to see. Ignoring him with a creased brow for Lena, Bear looked her up and down with an incredulous look adorning his face, marred only by the concern in blue eyes. O. Marshall: This is that quaint little job you talked about. She breathed out a chuckle, letting her momentum carry her forward until she stood between Bear and Valesha, spinning around to slide an arm around each of their waists. Bear got a kiss on the cheek, the Romulan ducked away from an attempt to land one on hers — although it was quite remarkable that she saw it coming at all, given the intensity of the glare she was directing toward the other pirate. Josett: Like sipping [...]tails on Risa. ::She grinned, quirking her head to the side as she acknowledged the state of them.:: Well, maybe Qo'noS. Zuccaro: With a slight detour through Rura Penthe, and safely we return. His smile didn't lose any of the effortless heroic intensity, coat swishing with natural swagger, catching the look from both laundry loads as he greeted Bear with a slap on the shoulder and avoided touching Valesha lest he lose a limb he liked. Jaw tightening, Bear gave the pirate a momentary flicker of a scowl and wrapped his arm around Lena's waist to aid the limping hybrid in her endeavour to walk. O. Marshall: Sounds like you both had the time of your lives out there. What pleasure cruise vessel did you roll into port on? TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part V) ((Promenade Section, Star Station Esperance)) Josett: She's a beauty, the good ship Swishbuckle. ::She paused, and then added with a grin,:: The second. A continuing source of amusement, Lena threw a laughing smile toward Ollie. It was a tale for later, of how two pirates had come to work with the crew of the Veritas in tracking down another pirate. Stories of seedy space stations, corrupt watchmen, angry Orions, determinedly sour Starfleet officers, heroic boarding actions and a close shave with a warp core breach. Stories that the Romulan had no interest in hearing, extracting herself from Lena's embrace and squinting in disbelief at the pair. Sienelis: Swish..? Josett: —buckle. Zuccaro: The second. The Iotian repeated the addition while holding a relevant number of fingers up. Bear exhaled a terse breath from his nose, unimpressed by the particular brand of nonchalance Ollie exuded like a cologne, while the Iotian could do no more than simply be himself, avoiding spontaneous combustion under Valesha's molten glare. It took Bear a second or two to remember why the annoyed Romulan might wish the man would crumple like a barn in a hurricane. O. Marshall: Can I assume you're coming with us? Or disappearing into the night on the… Swishbuckle. Amusing as the name might be, it didn't conjure up any kind of reliable mental image, instead it made the blond think of a small boat in the middle of a large ocean, rocking back and forth, one raindrop away from plummeting beneath the waves. Or, in Ollie's case, from slipping into a black hole of his own creation. With a shake of his head and the dark locks of his hair on the invisible wind, Ollie sighed heavily. Zuccaro: Unfortunately, my newest vessel has acquired more holes than I can plug alone, so Esperance is where we part ways. ::Throwing a glance to Lena, he chuckled.:: Then, back to Hai Tac. Investments to look after, frothy vodka to drink, and a bunk or two to free up. Josett: Until the next time, love. ::She grinned.:: Look after Charger, won't you? Zuccaro: I will, but Charger cannot replace you in my affections, darling. A brief flicker of the pirate's eyes darted to Bear with a knowing grin growing on his features, then with a blown kiss from his fingers to his hybrid pirate in arms — both arms open widely to Valesha, a flushing face of deeds done recently and flourishing bow from his waist — Ollie strode off toward the port authority. Bear couldn't say he was sad to see him go, memories of receiving a fist to a glass jaw as poignant as any, and his eyebrow curved up to the hybrid pirate with his arm wrapped around her. O. Marshall: Charger? Josett: Charger. ::She smiled cheerfully at him.:: Kept me company on some cold, lonely nights, at least when Ollie didn't steal him. A flicker of an amused smile was there as the cogs worked behind blue eyes, trying to discern whether Charger was their new code word for a bottle of good rum, a pillow or a person. Even if he asked, he doubted Lena would give him a straight answer, and then he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Rolling his eyes to a chuckle from his wife, Bear inhaled the fresh, clinical smell of a station in the midst of a torrential influx of visitors, and forged ahead. O. Marshall: Is there anything else we need to pick up from here before we go? Aside from a limping pirate, ::he sent a tiny smile her way, then to Valesha,,:: and wherever your dancer got to. Josett: Maybe a crate of that Meadows whisky. ::Then as an afterthought, tonguing a cut on the inside of her cheek,:: And a good first aid kit. It was Valesha's turn to roll her eyes at the request for booze, though she had to admit she was a little jealous of Lena's indomitable good cheer. Part Cardassian, the pirate had to run into the same kind of suspicions and prejudices that the Romulan did — perhaps more so, given that there were plenty of people still alive who remembered the Dominion War and the conflicts that preceded it — and yet she never seemed to care. And where was Chris, anyway? As much as she'd needled Bear about it earlier, she realised she wasn't entirely sure where her Russian had scampered off to. Sienelis: Just the whisky, then. The Azetbur's got a small medical station. Josett: The captain's yacht? We are travelling in style. O. Marshall: Who knew the Admiral had a soft spot for this science officer. ::From around Lena, Bear reached to prod Valesha's shoulder.:: It'll still take the best part of a week to get to Ketar V and the Shoals isn't the most forgiving of places. If only he was just speaking about the many, many dangers in space. Time spent there in his early days of Rangerdom had brought him into contact with the less savoury occupants of the region, not limited to colonists, and more than his fair share of pirates. His own arrest hadn't occurred far from the station, either. TBC ---- Lt. Sienelis, Lt. Marshall, PO Johns & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part VI) ((Promenade Section, Star Station Esperance)) As if he'd heard his name on the wind, Valesha's dark-haired dancer appeared when a crowd of Bolian traders moved, one hand hooked into his pocket then other on the strap of his bag, and wouldn't have looked amiss as a backpacker making his way around the Shoals. Whatever he'd got into in his brief separation from the pack had involved food, and whatever he'd found was tart enough to make him wince as he chewed on it. Falling into step with Valesha, Chris held out the small dessert, a wrapped candied fruit peel resembling the head of a rose, only considerably bluer. Johns: I found osol twists. First one made me tear up, the second made my tongue tingle. His Romulan met the offer with a grin, the change in her mood swift and apparent. Valesha took the sweet with a faint tug of nostalgia, memories of her and her brother daring each other to eat the most sour twist as quickly as they could. The faces that came about as the result of the dare were long forgotten, but not the hilarity and laughter that ensued, especially once the twins had got their mother in on the game. Sienelis: Sounds like you started with a green one. Bold. Johns: Green has always been my favourite colour. He smiled brightly despite the sour-sweet revolt taking place on his taste buds. The bag slung over his shoulder contained more of the prize haul from the station, for later snacking while they did their bridge shift. The station managed to surprise the Russian with its diversity. A transport hub without a doubt, it seemed to try to cater to all tastes coming and going, with several small cylindrical stores dedicated to souvenirs of the Shoals. Johns: There was also a strange conversation going on about cross-pollination with citrus fruits. An attempt to make them less sour. ::He shrugged a shoulder up, then noticed Lena had joined them, finally a distraction for the loneliest Bear; a phrase he kept in his head for later use.:: It's good to see you, Lena, but what the hell happened and why do you look like you've been fed through the customs door backwards? Josett: Introduced a rhinoceros to a Nausicaan. ::She grinned at the dancer, endlessly amused by the twitches the sour snack impressed upon his expression.:: It went about as well as you could expect. That earned her another screwed-up look from the Romulan, trying to determine exactly what that was supposed to mean. Given that she had no idea what a rhinoceros was, her attempt met with little success. Meanwhile, Chris chuckled at the thought of it, the inside of his cheek decidedly aflame. Johns: Now the limp makes sense. O. Marshall: None of that sentence makes sense. ::Grumpy as ever, Bear frowned, looking around.:: We'll get some information on Ketar V while we're here. Starfleet libraries don't give you the real feel. Sienelis: Is that code for you'd like to be alone with your wife? The green-eyed Romulan received no small amount of side-eye from the blue-eyed blond, though whether it was annoyance that she'd said it aloud or annoyance that it had hit on a nerve was up for debate. Bear didn't know himself. Chris suppressed a snicker by biting on his lips and slipping his hand into Valesha's with a gentle squeeze of a proud partner. Bear sighed and rubbed his forehead. O. Marshall: I'm saying we'd cover more ground if we split up. Four of us together look like an Andorian family going on a sightseeing vacation. Help with the effort, go find us the necessities, scamper off to the ship to get it ready to go… Sienelis: Alright, the necessary local whisky and warming the engines up while you... ::She shot a sly smile in his direction,:: gather information. Narrowed eyes shot back at her and Bear grumbled with a shake of his head, clearly not winning the battle taking place between words. He had peace and quiet in his Ranger days, none of the smartassery. Accept it or don't, there was no middle ground to be had. Tightening his arm around Lena's waist, he leaned across to kiss her cheek, perhaps the smallest hint of pink touching skin beneath his beard, and whispered something terribly scandalous in her ear. O. Marshall: ::Low,:: Please, save me. She laughed, leaning into the feel of breath and beard against her skin, inhaling the scent of him while he was close. Stealing a kiss right back, sending a flurry of feeling down his neck, she sighed into his ear and murmured back. Josett: Seems to be a theme. ::Patting Bear's chest, she grinned at him and then the Romulan, her voice returning to normal volume.:: The whisky's easy to find and I'm sure you know how to rev up his engine. ::She grinned, shamelessly correcting herself.:: The engines. The flush was quick and obvious, blossoming like an olive dawn Valesha's cheeks, her amused grin turned into a scowl. In sharp contrast, Chris' boyish grin only widened, laugh bubbling up in good humour, mind casting back to the situation they were faced with only hours before. He bit his lip and squeezed her hand, tilting his head toward the rows of vendors where the confectionery came from. Johns: Come on, before he abandons us here. O. Marshall: Oh, you know it'll happen. Sienelis: Fine. See you back at the ship. Valesha's lips thinned with a last glance toward Bear and Lena. It reminded her of their time on the Labyrinth's Scream, the back and forth between Romulan and human which often left the hybrid woman s[...]ing into a mug or glass of something. Only this time Lena had picked a side instead of simply enjoying the show. With a final huff, she stepped away with Chris, the pair heading toward the stalls and shops he'd indicated. Lena breathed out a chuckle as she watched them go, turning to grin at Bear. Josett: Best wife. He grinned back, hand slipping into waves of curls, and kissed her crown. O. Marshall: The very best. TBC ---- Lt. Marshall & Lt. JG Josett - Road Trip (Part VII) ((Small Medical Station, USS Azetbur)) Boots cast aside on the floor, jacket tossed over the back of a chair, trousers left in an untidy pool of cloth, Lena sat back on the small medical couch and hitched her t-shirt up over one hip. There was the source of her limp, a deep, ugly bruise in violent shades of midnight and wine, skimming across the curve of her iliac crest, down to the middle of her thigh. A palette of bruises littered the rest of her skin, angry shades of ruby around the cut on her brow, healing green across her knuckles, fading honey on her arm and collarbones. None of which dimmed her mood in the least. The hybrid grinned, extending a finger toward the most impressive of her collection, with no small amount of amusement. Josett: Stings a bit. O. Marshall: Not much though. A disbelieving eyebrow arched in blond toward the hybrid as Bear's jacket joined hers over the back of a chair. The hint of a smile appearing, he crouched down beside her. The medical kit made a dull thump on the deck, the hinged lid springing open on command, giving access to a small selection of analgesics and anti-inflammatories, and all the fun mild narcotics and stimulants. Retrieving the hypospray from the inlay, he clicked a vial of metorapan — five-hundred milligrams of — into the receptacle. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Bear patted Lena's leg with the back of his fingers for her to roll a little further to her opposite side, and pressed the hypospray into the dip of her hip. The drug seeped through veins and capillaries, silencing razored nerves, and pulled a long sigh of relief out of her lungs. A lazy smile took up residence and she ran her hand through his blond hair, letting it come to rest on the back of his neck. Josett: Ollie did have to pick the one shuttle without a first aid kit. O. Marshall: Judging by the state of you both, he picked the one without a decent deflector, too. With a smile and a soft exhale, Bear brushed the back of his fingers over the skin of her thigh, lightly touching one of Lena's darkest bruises with no small amount of reverence behind it; the tug of concern slipping through his innards. Gaze pulled at the corners, they dropped to the dermal regenerator and he reached for it, adjusting the setting with his thumb, and began the slow process of running the red light over the painter's palette she'd thrown together in skin and bone. Josett: Getting caught up in a warp core breach within the designated blast area is not an experience I intend to repeat. ::She grinned, absently slipping her fingers under his collar.:: Then again, I said that after the Scream as well. O. Marshall: You did. ::Despite the lingering concern there, he echoed her grin.:: Where you orchestrated the explosion, if memory serves. Josett: Broke my heart, too. Grin still clinging on, hard to dislodge even with the itching burn crawling through her skin courtesy of the dermal regenerator, Lena watched him work. An odd feeling curled through her chest, flowers blooming on vines that wrapped between ribs, and Bear moved his neck beneath her fingers, into their gentle press as though he'd missed it. Josett: What have you been up to while I was charming the terminally humourless, dodging core breaches and upsetting Nausicaans? O. Marshall: Sounds like it was just a run of the mill mission for you. The dermal regenerator moved slowly in small circles around the bruised skin of maroon and mauve, yellow around the dulled edges of some but not all. Bear made an effort to be soft with each pass of the device, watching the array of colour peppering her hybrid skin melt and change, concerned blue eyes watching small cuts knit back together. O. Marshall: I ate far too much Romulan food and caught up with an old friend from my Ranger days over some Romulan ale. ::He dipped his head to place a kiss on her bent knee.:: Who was terminally humourless? Not that bloody pirate, surely. Josett: It seems dealing with pirates makes some Starfleet officers very [...]ly. ::Her gaze darted down, amusement dancing through her copper eyes and she grinned.:: Thankfully others are a touch more... friendly. O. Marshall: Infinitely more so than “[...]ly”. ::His smile turned sly as he cupped her calf in his hand, clearly examining the length of her leg for added contusions.:: Something tells me you'd get to Captain, have your own ship, and still be running around the quadrant wearing the pirate cloak for the kicks. Her grin broadened, both at the idea she could ever be a captain and that he was absolutely right if she ever was. As often as she delighted in being unpredictable and unknown, her motives and goals obfuscated by good cheer and an irreverent attitude, she found she didn't mind that Bear had a sense of who lurked underneath. Josett: Did you save any of that Romulan food? I've been eating ration packs for days. O. Marshall: I might have saved you an osol twist or two. We've got a perfectly working replicator on the bridge, and seeing as we've got a good week now between here and Ketar IV, it's going to be worth its weight in latinum. As the dermal regenerator finished on the smaller bruises and cuts, with a gentle touch, Bear moved his fingertips over the larger wound adorning her hip and down to the middle of her thigh, barely skimming the surface. He frowned at the sight of it, how her skin changed with the mottling of the blood beneath, and it drummed like a torpedo misfire inside. It would've hurt, though he suspected a great deal of rum had passed through those lips in the time between. Shaking his head with a deep sigh and a thinned smile flecking in amusement, he looked up to amber eyes. O. Marshall: Damaging these hips is grounds for divorce, you realise. Josett: That too? It's such a long list I didn't bother reading it all. O. Marshall: I'm sure that one was somewhere near the top. She shifted on the couch and instantly regretted it, the movement overcoming the dulling efforts of the metorapan. A grimace twitched around her eyes, fingers pressed into the back of his neck for a half-second. Her teeth dug into the corner of her lip and with a little more effort than usual, she recalled her grin. Josett: Ah well. Divorce it is. Just let me get some food and sleep first. O. Marshall: Seems inevitable. I'll have the forms drawn up while you're napping. Like an intricate spider web of capillaries and blood beneath her skin, the large and wam bruise began to fade with the tingling application of the regenerative properties of the tool. Bear stroked down her leg with one hand with unconscious reassurance as he watched her skin repair, bit by bit, but the thick bruise wouldn't be entirely removed; the body needed to do some healing of its own. When the tricorder decided what could be repaired in stimulated nerves and epidermis, Bear moved his attention to the cut above her eye, and smiled as he brushed his fingers through her hair to move the dark curls out of the way. She continued grinning, ignoring the shivers that trickled down her temple and neck as his fingers grazed against skin. O. Marshall: Or maybe we'll let this one slide. First time offence, hardly seems worth it. Josett: It'd be a [...] to file them in the middle of the Shoals, after all. O. Marshall: Would take weeks to get back, better just to wait until the opportune moment. Amusement sparked in his blue as Bear looked into Lena's amber eyes, affection wrapping around his core, and he couldn't quite hide it. Held in that gaze, it softened her smile and sent a thud echoing through her chest. With a hand curling into the fabric of his shirt, she pulled him close for a kiss, fingers sliding into his hair, and Bear let himself get lost in her. Lovers coming back to one another, mutual need, tender connection, unsaid sentiments slipping through, stolen in a second. O. Marshall: ::Quietly,:: You were gone forever. I know. I counted. She exhaled a soft, short laugh and stole another kiss, brushing her nose against his. Her reply was just as low, whispered like secrets not meant to be spoken, and the ripples it sent down Bear's spine were felt in his kidneys. Josett: Next time you'll just have to come with me. O. Marshall: While I'd love to, ::he shook his head gently with a smile, nose to Bajoran nose, inhaling her again,:: I'd be depriving you of your pirate time. It just makes you coming home worth it. Josett: So you're saying I should leave more often? ::Her forefinger ran along the length of his jaw, gently catching the hair on his chin between finger and thumb.:: Give you more opportunities to appreciate my return? O. Marshall: To give you more opportunities to thoroughly, ::he pressed his lips just beneath her jaw,:: appreciate coming back, I think. The hybrid pulled in a sharp breath, sparks surging down her neck and past the soft chuckle that rumbled in her throat. She pulled him closer, seeking his warmth, a zerak to a flame, and wrapped her legs around his waist. Lips brushing against his ear, Lena murmured a response, feeling the thrum of her heart ricocheting through her chest. Josett: Mutual appreciation. I can live with that. Her husband hummed his agreement into the hollow of his wife's throat where the soft ridges of her Cardassian markings started, lips fought between grinning and kissing skin, hand moving down her bruised thigh to bruised hip, and the familiar intoxicating fire creeping over his shoulders as he lifted her up from the couch. O. Marshall: Let's mutually appreciate those two being out. Her response was a wordless one, any notion of further conversation lost with the press of lips against lips, fingers sliding beneath clothes to hunt bare skin. Wrapped up in one another, muscles and tendons ready to dance, burning and surrendering to a longing, colliding back together as though neither had left. TBC ---- Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis Science Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0 & Lieutenant Orson Marshall Intelligence Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0 & PO First-Class Christopher Johns Operations Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0 & Lieutenant (JG) Lena Josett Intelligence Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  8. (( Bunker under Predator Paddocks, Asteroid Trueno, Bratax System )) Quinn Reynolds had crept up on them -- or perhaps he just wasn't listening -- with a grace that should not have been surprising. She rounded the corner with one hand wrapped around her chest, shoulders hunched. Splattered in mud from head to foot, soaked with rain, sweat, injured and bleeding, having been in an overturned car and then chased down by a dinosaur, yet seemingly escaped mostly unharmed. Emphasis on the mostly. Reynolds was probably in the worst shape that any of the three Tans had ever seen her in. He couldn't imagine her looking worse; she seemed as though she'd been thrown in a tumble-drier full of rocks, pulled out by wild horses who had subsequently dragged her through the galaxy's muddiest paddock and unceremoniously dumped in a drinking trough. Her hair stuck to her uniform, weighed down with mud, the dark brown making stark contrast against her skin. Her arm wrapped around her side. He could, once more, smell blood, a new source that made his nostrils twitch. For someone he'd never spoken to before, nor seen much of during the ride in the car except for a view of the back of her head, hair blown about by the breeze, she was as much a stranger as to him as she was an old, familiar friend. Someone who had been there for him during... (( FLASHBACK: Sickbay, USS Garuda, Six Years Ago )) A light chemical push. Alleran felt it as a real, physical thing; an intrusion into his sleep, forcing him awake. Forcing him to live. Open his eyes. It wasn't truly living with half a mind -- unjoined Trills were perfectly capable at any task they set their minds to, really -- but after years of having two brains, it certainly felt that way. The world was sluggish, dull, and had a strange unrealness to it; as though the dream, and the Otherplace was the reality. A shadowy figure stood above him. Alleran's eyes had not yet adjusted to the light. Alleran: Mum? Reynolds: Not quite. Oh. Through the fog came emotions; strong and raw. Embarrassment was one of them. Alleran: Hey. Perched on a stool by his bedside, she smiled at him, an expression worn and ragged around the edges. She looked pale and tired, strands of mousy brown hair falling limply about her face. Reynolds: How are you doing? Alleran: Oh... you know. Stuff. ::he managed a lopsided smile:: Dying. ::She tried to reply, but there seemed no words to express what she was feeling. Instead, she breathed a deep sigh, and nodded.:: Alleran: It's not so bad, really. I dunno. I'd always imagined I'd go in a... some kind of crash. Something dramatic. Lots of fire. Not like this. I don't think anyone really imagines it this way either. Just sort of... slowly fading away, and then one day, falling right over. Not everyone gets a dramatic send-off, I suppose. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: No, they don't. He smiled -- strongly, more genuinely now. Alleran: I'm glad you're here. From the academy to the end, huh. There's a... pleasant symmetry to all this. I like symmetry. Reynolds: It's symmetrical for you, Alleran. Me, I just get to watch another friend die. Her voice cracked toward the end, and she looked away, taking a slow, deep breath. Yeah. He had buried friends too. It was never easy. Alleran: Yeah. She shook her head, looking back at him and forcing a smile. Reynolds: I'm going to miss you. That felt good. To know he was going to be missed. Alleran: I’m going to miss you too. A lot. ::a pause:: And I mean, well... I’ll still be here. Kind of. It’s complicated. Reynolds:: :She nodded.::I can imagine. I have a hard enough time just dealing with my own crap, let alone a couple of extra lifetime's worth from other people. Alleran: It would depend on the wants and desires of the new host, although it won’t be just up to them. There’s a whole host of emotions and feelings in there all mixed in together. Sometimes there’s a really desperate need to reconnect with the past host’s life -- something that’s very problematic and fraught with all manner of risk -- and sometimes... well. Sometimes they just want to get away from it all. I can’t promise anything. Reynolds: Is there anything you need? Anyone I can contact for you? It sounded really stupid, but Alleran had really only one request. Alleran: Make sure you come to my funeral. It sounds stupid, but Marlee -- my previous host -- well, she was something of a bitter workaholic misanthrope, which is easy for me to say now that she’s killing me. Accordingly, well, it was pretty empty when they put her in the ground. Couple of her old students. Some distant family members there because that was expected of them, just boredly waiting for the service to end. She winced. He reconsidered. Alleran: Actually, hell with that. No service. Just a big party. Lots of booze. Fun. Reynolds: One drunken wake on short notice. I'm sure I can organise that. He managed a little laugh. Alleran: Thanks. I’ll be kicking around for a while yet. Couple of days, maybe, on the outside. She nodded, her gaze dropping. He seemed to remember something. Alleran: Oh. And if the new host gets here, make sure that you check that they’re not crazy first. Who knows who they’ll send this far out. They might not have that many options. Reynolds: You might not want me vetting potential hosts. ::Her smile briefly returned.:: I suspect none of them would be good enough. That actually made him feel really, so much better about the whole thing. Just the idea that someone was going to look out for him. Alleran: Okay. I know you’re busy. I think I’m good here. Biobed’s nice and comfy. ::he smiled:: Take care, okay? I’ll be back soon... more or less. Reynolds: Call me, if you need anything. Anything at all, alright? Alleran: Yeah. Will do, for sure. She tried to say something else as she slid off the stool -- a goodbye, perhaps -- but for the second time in short while, words failed her. Instead, her hand found his, and after a brief, firm squeeze, she was on her way. (( Present )) It was not his memory. The symbiont had been extracted by that point. Unlike every other interaction they'd had, the words they had shared at that moment, on Alleran's deathbed, were something of a mystery to him. Serren had only the third-hand knowledge that she had seen him post-extraction as his body was dying, that they had talked as long as Federation medical science had let them, and that the decks of the Garuda had shaken with one hell of a wake. The rest... The rest was now only known to Quinn Reynolds. A little piece of Alleran Tan that she, and only she, possessed. From the first moment he had been joined, the symbiont had absorbed the entire life experience of Alleran Mapak until that point. The symbiont knew Alleran as a baby. Saw him grow up. The symbiont had felt its first host, Marlee Tan, die and seen her body with Alleran's eyes. It knew everything he knew, everything he had ever known. For every other moment since had been a wiggly little tape recorder in his belly, dutifully noting down everything he saw and said, everything he'd felt, and making those experiences part of its own -- etching them into the permanent history of the Trill species, a living cultural artifact of his species. Trill understood the value of memories. The Tan symbiont had so many, a lifetime of memories in Marlee, and everything Alleran had known was now part of Serren. Each was precious. He had memories of Idril Mar, that bold Trill Engineer turned Fleet-Captain. Of Jhen Thelev, that tea drinking mentor and idol, who once let him sit in the command chair of the USS Tiger. Of Karynn Brice, the friend who had helped him through so much pain. Of Danny Wilde, his friend on the Independence-A. Of Della Vetri, the bold Trill Captain for much of his career, who he missed so much. Of Kira Venroe, who he had loved so hard for so long, and entertained wild notions of getting married to. Of T'Lea, the fiery half-Romulan who he thought of as a dear friend. Of sh'Shar, that idiot Andorian he felt so strangely about. Of Tenzin Zhou, the Trill who might well, one day, have become Tenzin Tan. Of Doctor Skyfire, who had tried so hard to save Alleran's life. Of Tracey Townson, the one-handed Canadian who could kick harder than anyone he'd never known. Of Zinna, who had helped him adjust to life on DS-17. Of Toni Turner and Tallis Rhul, friends on the Ronin, who had helped him on Devinon V. Of David Whale, who had sheared off one of the nacelles on the Indy during Operation: Bright Star. Of S'Acul, his helmsman friend and drinking buddy. Of Marari, the half-borg Vaadwaur who had become, in the end, after crossing blades with him more than once... one of his friends. And all of the absolute mountains of everything that had happened with Sidney Riley. The joyous love and a child shared between them, the latter lost, the former turned to bitter ashes. The best of times and the worst of times. Life and love, loss and hate. All dutifully recorded, stored, integrated. And others. Everyone in Alleran's life was shared. From his earliest childhood memories to dying in a turbolift. Every kiss he'd ever shared, every punch he'd thrown, every time he'd ever loved or hated or laughed or cried, recorded forever, an eternal record that could potentially last a thousand years. It would be there long after everyone he had ever known had turned to dust. Those memories were part of Serren now. Everything except those few scant minutes aboard the Garuda. Alleran's death had been the only private conversation that host had ever truly had. Serran hadn't experienced it. Safine hadn't experienced it. Nobody else ever would. Only Quinn. Now here she was. Shorter than he remembered -- Alleran was a foot shorter than Serren, and taller than Safine too -- although not in any way diminished. She still carried the same strength, the same presence, filling a room. He was seeing her now through three sets of eyes, three lives, three opinions, three sets of memories and personalities all with their biases and complications and twists and preferences and tastes and opinions and thoughts. Despite their current predicament, and her current condition, Serren could only think one thing. Quinn Reynolds looked as strong, as brave, as wickedly intelligent, and as blindingly beautiful as the day he had met her. Symbionts had no ears. No eyes. No senses at all. They were just gross worms in a little pouch, nestled in amongst other organs, parasiting nutrients and providing cognitive function in return. In their natural state, they could only communicate through electro-static discharges, transmitting vague emotions and thoughts through the sacred Caves of Mak'ala. They had no eyes. Symbionts couldn't cry. But if they could... Reynolds pressed a kiss to the top of her son's damp head, a simple action that bought him back to the moment. No time to reminisce about the past. About lives lived and gone. There were still stompy-chewy-eat-y things out there. He still had a job to do. Reynolds: A hug? Things must be dire. He tried, so very hard to keep his voice professional, to maintain a business-y air, one that belied the tumultuous writing in his mind. But his voice came out with a little crack in it that betrayed him. Tan: It's... very good to see you again, sir. A sentiment the others might well have shared, but one which, to him, carried with it the weight of a lifetime of friendship. And fortunately, this time, Alleran didn't... betray him as he had with Safine. Quinn was "sir". Safine had called Quinn "ma'am" when they had first met. Because the treacherous worm in her belly, the part of it that was Alleran, had withheld that information. She blamed the neural blocker, of course, but Serren knew better. For some reason, chemical or otherwise, the symbiont had not liked Safine. It liked Serran. Picky little grub. Marshall/Cayne: Response Dylan clung to his mother and Serren could hardly blame her. He gave a little nod the kid's way, just enough to say, you did good, you did real good. Reynolds: I think I have T-Rex scales debossed on my ribs, but otherwise I'm all right. ::Hazel eyes travelled over them.:: What about you three? What's this about someone passing out? Serren smiled Cayne's way. He didn't want to speak for her, but he also understood she was still a bit shakey. Tan: The good doctor was more injured than originally suspected when the vehicle rolled over. She lost consciousness for a moment, but not to worry, Marshall's patched her up. Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds: Response Reynolds: We have to move, but we can take it slow for a while. There's some doors and a crossroads up ahead, helpfully without any signage whatsoever. If this is an emergency bunker, there should be some supplies and if we're particularly lucky, a map. Let's see what we can find? Tan: My thoughts exactly, sir. Mister Pointy and I will take the lead, with your permission. Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds/Reynolds: Response A moment was spent picking up their medical supplies, and he threw his bloody, mud-splattered jacket over his shoulder. With the spear held snug in both hands, keeping an alert eye as he moved into the indicated corridor, Serren carefully stepped through the dank, musty tunnels, glad to be ahead. It meant he couldn't smell the blood. Forward, forward. Carefully but not too slowly, Serren strode through the corridors at a somewhat-slower than normal pace. They didn't have a dinosaur at their back any more, and they were all various states of wounded. He had landed on something, or someone, who had cushioned his fall. Now the adrenaline had faded, he suspected it was Cayne. A minor little stab of guilt, one best distracted with a snide comment. He turned and regarded Quinn over his shoulder, the ghost of a smile on his face, as though sharing an in-joke. Tan: So. "Frank Reynolds", huh. ::beat:: Really? Reynolds: Response He only smiled and went back to his job. Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds: Response It wasn't far until they came upon a door, as promised. Serren leaned in to inspect it. Ferengi had been known to sometimes booby-trap their precious goods or private areas, but rarely their unsigned escape bunkers. Still, he gave it a once over, just to be sure. Not that there was much to see. A steel door, flecked with rust, and a glowing pad beside it. Tan: Ready? Anyone: Response He touched the open button. The door creaked and shuddered, as though it had not been opened in some time, then slid into the floor, retracting away with the high-pitched whine of metal on metal. The corridor beyond stretched into the promised crossroads. A passage to the left, to the right, and straight ahead, that one similarly with a door. Serren looked to the ranking officers. Tan: Which way, sirs? Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds/Reynolds: Response Nodding his acknowledgement, Tan headed to the left, speartip leading the way. The tunnel curved at right angles, as though navigating around some subterranean obstacle--maybe a huge rock that was too big to move--then it broadened, coming out to a small area with two sets of bunk beds built into the corridor, and a number of small cupboards, similarly unmarked. A quick once-over found nothing amiss. Tan: Clear. Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds/Reynolds: Response Something caught his nose. More blood. But this was different... older. Rustier. It did not carry the scent of any of their group. Tan: Wait. Wait... Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds/Reynolds: Response He crouched by one of the bunks, pulling back the sheets. The lower sheet was stained with dark Ferengi blood, right about where the heart would be on a person sleeping on it. The centre of the stain was burned in, as though someone had shot an energy weapon right-- Tan flinched and looked away. At least there were no bodies. But that did raise the question... where did the bodies go? Tan: I think this is a...medical station. Of some sort. Or possibly a rest area for the staff, I don't know. Either way something terrible happened here. ::he thought for a moment:: Still. Could be something useful in those cupboards, though? Marshall/Cayne/D. Reynolds/Reynolds: Response -- Ensign Serren Tan Security/Tactical USS Gorkon O238704AT0
  9. OOC: Part 1 was just Genkos leaving the away team he was on. Part 2 here is where it hit me in the feels. We'll miss you on the Gorkon, @Genkos Adea, but I know you'll have a great time on the Resolution! ---------- ((TIMESKIP - a few days later)) ((Main Shuttlebay, USS Gorkon)) Genkos stood in the Executive Transport Shuttle that they had sent him from Starbase 118 to bring him to his new commission. He looked at the reflective surface of the inactive station, the black mirror reflecting his face back at him. He touched at his forelock, the reason for his transfer. After being brought back from the Brantax asteroid to deal with Gnaxac’s mysterious ailment, Genkos had retired to his quarters and heavily launched himself into a fitful sleep. A stressful series of dreams forced him to relive some the absolute worst moments of his career; causing a riot on Sikuna, fighting for his life on the USS Unpronounceable, the repeated jaunts to an alternate universe where he was a grizzled, alcoholic psychopath and savagely attacking people he had thought were friends on Væron. He had tossed and turned all night, and was finally awoken by Toto’s loud yapping. The littlest pup had clearly been affected by Genkos’ dreams as well, although Genkos wasn’t sure if that was because of telepathic projection or because he’d just been flailing around so much. Either way, as he had stepped into the bathroom and washed his face, he had made a startling discover. The curl of hair above his right eye had gone silver overnight, completely drained of the dark brown of the rest of his hair. Genkos remembered he had stumbled backwards from the mirror in shock. He’d broken his vow of abstinence that night, drinking several glasses of sapphire wine that he had hidden in the bottom drawer of his desk in his office. He had composed a request for reassignment, and then hovered over sending it for a few hours. He had weighed up the positives and negatives for what felt like an absolute age, and in the end, he had concluded that the only reason he had for staying were the friends he had on board. Without really realising it, he had grown afraid of the ship, every away mission was a chance for more death and psychological trauma and he was still reeling from revelations from years ago. He had not more room for new ones, and was in danger of shutting down. But even so, the Gorkon was his home. It was the first ship he had been assigned to, and he would miss so much about it. Drinks in Sto’Vo’Kor, laughing in his office with his fellow medical officers, and being sharked in games of pool by the command staff. He had known, as soon as he had pressed send, that it was the camaraderie and friendship aboard the Gorkon that he would miss the most. He had eschewed having a party in farewell, but instead had met up with those he would miss the most individually. Naturally he had started with Quinn, his request for reassignment soon turning into a personal conversation. Breakfast with Jo and Erin, croissants and some tears from the Betazoid, much like that breakfast so many months ago after his world had been shattered for the upteenth time. A meeting in his office with Cait and Loxley, where he’d toasted them and their abilities. A quick session of tassa’akai with ‘liss, in which he told her, if she did marry Loxley, Genkos would be on the first shuttle back. Finally he’d had a small round of drinks in Sto’Vo’Kor with Arlo, Samira and the rest of the crew. He didn’t tell them he was leaving, he just used it as an excuse to see them all one last time. As someone once said “when I leave, there will be no cake in the break room, I’ll just be gone”. As he piloted the shuttle out of the ship and into the darkness of space, he turned it around for one long last lingering look at the ship that he’d known and loved for the best part of three years, the best (and worst) part of his life. Adea: ::quietly:: Goodbye. Toto raised his head from the makeshift bed that Genkos had made him for the journey, and the Betazoid ruffled his fur. Adea: Good boy. ::Pause:: Computer. Set a course for Starbase 118. Engage. ----------------------- Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Chief Medical Officer & Second Officer USS Gorkon G239502GS0
  10. (( Part 1)) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) With a dull thud from the internal mechanism, the doors parted. The thick layers of dust that swamped the room they were stood in stopped at that threshold, though powdered footprints faded across the next room as the unknown visitors tracked it through. Quinn swung her rifle back up, heart rate climbing in concert. Whoever it was, they had moved further into the building; minutes ago, an hour ago, it was impossible to tell. But the door beyond was unremarkable, not of the heavy security design that they had just dealt with. She looked toward Neathler, raising her eyebrows. Reynolds: On your lead. ch'Ranni: Darling, I'll follow you anywhere. The Andorian gave a small smile toward Neathler, and stood, falling in behind the human with a hint of swagger in his stride. The charming rogue, smuggling for self-interest. She wondered what he'd do when they got out; whether he'd return to that life or start something anew. It made Neathler shake her hand, and she pulled a dented hand phaser from the inside pocket of her clothing, passing it toward him. Neathler: Just don't point that thing on me, Smuggler. ch'Ranni: Nice. Through the doors they passed, and Quinn glanced over her shoulder as they closed behind her. Now sealed, the air was thicker in here, the atmosphere not being lost through breaches in the outpost's shell. Jona removed his rebreather and smiled, though neither Quinn nor Neathler had the same confidence in the quality of the air. Perhaps the brunette could also hear echoes of Marshall's warning that the Cardassians were as liable to use toxins and poisons as traps, as they were fire. ch'Ranni: Seems like there's power here. Life support's operational too. I guess somebody's home. ::He faced the next doors and turned to Neathler with questioning eyes..:: Maybe we should knock? Neathler: I lost my manners years ago. And maybe you should keep on that rebreather in case the spoons installed some airborne poison or stuff like that. The comment earned them a shrug, but nonetheless, he slipped the rebreather back on. Neathler slipped into position next to the new set of doors, and with the barrel of her rifle raised toward the ceiling, she nodded toward Jona. With a tap of his fingers and without protest or problem, they were granted ingress, and after a heartbeat's pause, the human woman levelled her rifle and stepped through. She swept the revealed corridor and finding nothing except a choice of which direction to proceed. Neathler: Any preference? ch'Ranni: Left. Always choose left. Quinn shrugged, with no obvious indication of which option was more interesting, safest or useful, it was little more than a coin toss. Contrary as ever, Neathler started to move right — until a tiny sound echoed down from the left. Existing on the edges of Quinn's hearing, it was a quiet, rhythmic tick that seemed to be coming from behind the door at the end of that corridor. With something of interest to examine, the decision was remade and the dark-haired woman made in that direction instead, taking up a position beside the door. Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Quinn swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Quinn couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, unreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Quinn found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Shades can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Quinn eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Quinn didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ------ (( Part 2 )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Quinn felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward, clean off her feet. She arced through the air and hit the powdered, grey dirt — and then there was nothing. No pain, no raining debris, no cries from her comrades. Even the wheeze of her breath through her rebreather was gone, yet she was having no trouble breathing. Cautious and slow, she unclasped her hands from the back of her head, peering around as she eased herself back up on to her feet. Neathler and Jona were frozen mid-movement, the bloom of fire as still as though it was a painting. Dust had been thrown out ahead of the blast, sparkling and motionless in the air. Up in the sky, Quinn could see a shuttle silhouetted against the stars. It was a moment frozen in time — except she wasn't. As she looked around, a frown of confusion carving ever deeper into her forehead, Quinn spied a red trim around her cuffs, the belt and tunic of a Starfleet Admiral instead of her jacket. She was a Starfleet Admiral. That was why she couldn't hear her rebreather. She wasn't wearing one. And this was— ???: Hello. She whirled around. The voice came from a fetching woman, with pale skin, feminine curves and tumbling red hair. She wore the same uniform as Quinn, complete with the pips of a rear admiral, and as their eyes met, she gave an amused grin. Stood with her weight over one hip, arms crossed, she chuckled. ???: You must be wondering what's going on. Reynolds: The thought had crossed my mind. ???: Well, you see I'm in a bit of pickle. My little experiment isn't going so well and— Quinn's heart was thumping in her chest, despite her stony exterior. The last thing she remembered was giving the order to spool up the QSD in order to head back to Tyrellia. Xerix had been at the helm, the new operations chief ch'Ranni sat next to him at his station. Beside her, she and Jo had been discussing the quite frankly ridiculous topic of how to get first dibs on Nkai's bakes now that he was in his new post. Then as surely as a scene change in a holonovel, she'd been stood on Peshkova as the sun set, not a Starfleet Admiral but a Starfleet defector, watching Walter eulogise people who most certainly weren't dead. Not dead at all, just moved on to new assignments, alive and hopefully happy in their postings. Reynolds: Your what? Who are you? ???: My experiment. I'm a... what do you call it? Scientist. I'm doing science. Trying to figure out how you tick. Or perhaps it's why you tick. ::She offered a brilliant smile.:: Anyway, you can call me Q. Reynolds: ...Q. Q: Yes. I assume I need no further introduction. Quinn didn't answer, cold radiating across her shoulders and down her back. She'd never encountered a Q before, but there was someone on her crew who had. Was that why this one was here? Whatever the reason, they were in trouble — Starfleet had encountered Q who didn't acknowledge the value of mortal life. Virtually omnipotent and immortal, they simply didn't understand it. Or perhaps didn't care about it. Who paused to think before swatting a fly? Q: Well, come along. Reynolds: Wha— The Q snapped her fingers, and the moon vanished. In its place was stark, cold metal; a corridor lined with cells in the brutal architecture that the Cardassians favoured. The forcefield on the one she was facing was active, though in that frozen moment of time she couldn't hear the tell-tale hum of energy Her gaze, however, was entirely beyond it. All she could see was the tall, broad German sat on a bench, cradling his head in his hands. Her heart banged behind her ribs, even as her eyes told her he was unharmed. Untouched. So far. Q: You see, I let you all make your own choices in my maze, but some of them were... disappointing. What good are you on the moon when he's here? And that other you should be on the moon, don't you think? With the other blonde? ::She paused.:: Why do you have so many blondes? Do you collect them? Quinn turned to deliver the retort forming on her lips. It was lost as the air rushed out of her lungs, as surely as though she'd been punched in the stomach. The cell opposite was also occupied; Valesha, bearing subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, pale to the point of translucence, raw-eyed as she stared vacantly across the corridor, her head on Johns' chest. Oh, Johns. He wore the not-so-subtle signs of Cardassian interrogation, bruises and cuts covering what skin she could see. But he was ashen, the tell-tale pallor of the dead, and ice flooded Quinn's veins. Cheeky, smiling Johns who laughed and loved and managed to make himself worth much more than the trouble he caused. How could he be dead? Why was he dead? The universe could be unfair, but this... this had intention. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: What have you done? Q: Me? Nothing. ::She walked through the forcefield as though it wasn't there, crouching down beside the pair.:: The Cardassians, on the other hand... Well, I'm sure I'd find it simply awful if I cared about it. But I'm a dispassionate observer, ::she waved an elegant, disinterested hand,:: or whatever. Objectivity and all that. Ice became fire, grief turned to anger. She bit down on it, refusing to lose control, but there was a flare in her eyes and a flame in her voice as she answered. Reynolds: You put us here, you're responsible. The Cardassians didn't kill him, you did. Pouting, the Q sprung up to her feet, red hair bouncing around her shoulder. She answered with a petulant tone of voice, as though she was being told off by a parent. Except the Q didn't have parents. Perhaps that explained a lot. Perhaps it explained nothing. Q: I'm not killing anyone! It's not my fault if you're all a bunch of savages. Reynolds: You— The redhead stepped forward and placed a finger on her lips, and suddenly the Starfleet Admiral found she couldn't speak. It was as though her vocal cords had simply vanished — and given she was dealing with a Q, perhaps they had. Q: Shh. ::She smiled and patted Quinn on the head.:: There there. It's all for a worthy cause. Science, remember? I know you love science. Unable to speak, Quinn glared instead. She may as well have not bothered, for all the impact it made. The Q simply stepped back, snapped her fingers and they were aboard the Skarbek in that mad tangle of technology, sweat and elbow grease that MacFarlane called main engineering. Erin was there, a darkening bruise on her forehead and blood matting her blonde hair, up to her elbows in the EPS flow control to the cloak. Q: Here. This is where you should be. Makes more sense, don't you think? Then you can have all your interesting feelings knowing he's up there, ::she swept her hands up,:: and Other You can have all her interesting feelings knowing she's down there, ::she pointed down,:: and it just makes for better results. Reynolds: You can't just change the variables of an experiment half-way through. The words spilled out before she realised she had her voice back. A thought of a tactic, voiced without pause. If the Q considered herself a scientist, maybe she could be convinced to behave like a vaguely decent one. Arguments of morals and ethics were liable to fall on deaf ears, but perhaps if she thought she was being a bad scientist... Q: Can't I? Oh, that's a bother. What can I do? She didn't hold out much hope that the tactic would work, but Quinn had to try. There was no way to brute force a Q into doing what you wanted, words and trickery were the only option and even then it was a limited chance of success. And she was hardly a diplomat. Reynolds: If it's clear you're not going to get usable results, you should abort it. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and resources. Q: Oh, you are clever. :: She chuckled and booped — booped — Quinn on the nose.:: Full marks for the attempt. But we'd best get back to it. Do try to be interesting. She smiled, clicked her fingers, and— TBC... -- Quinn "Shades" Reynolds Starfleet Defector The Skarbek T238401QR0 ----- (( Part 3 )) (( OOC: For clarification — as far as everyone's concerned IC, Erin's always been with the planet away team, and Quinn never left the Skarbek. )) ((Outpost, Omicron Noctae IIIa)) Neathler: Ready? The Andorian answered with a nod, his antenna twitching, and Erin swore she saw a tiny glimmer of amusement dance into Neathler's dark eyes. It was an odd comfort to see, and the hybrid nodded her readiness as well, adjusting her grip on her rifle. A light touch to the control panel, a whisper from the door and it opened. The regular beeping was much more distinct now, though peeking through Erin couldn't see the source — and indeed she could see something distracting in its peculiarity. ch'Ranni: Huh. I guess I wasn't expecting that. Neathler shifted to see what was being stared at. They were looking into a small and cramped space, more of a storage closet than a room. But sat on the floor right in front of them, still and silent, were two Cardassians, nonreactive to the door opening or the armed people pointing large weapons in their direction. They weren't even blinking, and Erin found herself wondering if she was looking at projections, rather than people. Frowning, her hazel eyes flicked across to the side wall, where a console glowed in cool green and warm brown. Neathler, evidently, had seen it too. Neathler: Shoot them if they move. Vines can you get a ground plan or something, or data from that project? We've got a working console here. E. Reynolds: Yeah. ch'Ranni: Response Erin eyed the Cardassians, wary of moving into the same room that had likely incapacitated them. She edged around the two men while Neathler prodded one of them with her rifle. The man swayed at the nudge, but otherwise didn't react. With a faint frown, she started working at the console, paging through screens of Cardassian text as she searched for answers, and it dawned on her that the sound they'd heard in the corridor had not been the idling workstation. Neathler: What do you think, drugged, frozen, paralysed? E. Reynolds: I'm guessing they set off one of their own traps. ::She paused, a dark thought crossing her mind.:: Though that means they were either trying not to kill whoever got in here, or something else has failed to go off. ch'Ranni: Response Working on the console, didn't see Neathler slip inside the room, her dark gaze panning across floor and wall and finally arriving on the barrels stowed in one corner. She knelt down, testing the weight of the lids, inspect their underneath, shining the light of her torch inside. Then— Neathler: Explosives! Get out! Erin didn't need any more incentive than that. She bolted back for the door, only to find that now it wouldn't open — a trap now fully sprung, no doubt. Glancing around the small room, she tried to merge the path they'd travelled with what she'd seen from the outside and what her tricorder her showed as she scanned the interior. Pieces interlocked and she turned, pointing to a nondescript section of the wall. Taking a step toward it, she talked as she adjusted the settings on her phaser. E. Reynolds: The corners of that panel: one each, setting seven, two-second burst. Should blow it clean out. On three, two, one, fire— Their phasers drilled into three of the corners of the building, the differential in pressure between interior and exterior doing the rest of the work for them. The panel screeched and buckled, and while it wasn't quite enough to rip it completely asunder, there was room for them to escape through. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response Then she was running, sprinting out of the building and into the vast, barren expanse of the moon, her breath rasping loud in her ears as it was processed by the rebreather. There was a blast of heat and the roar of flames, and Erin felt the concussion slam into her back, throwing her forward and clean from her feet. Arcing through the air, she hit the powdered, grey dirt with enough force to drive all the air from her lungs, and she felt a lightning strike of pain as ribs snapped where she landed on her rifle. It pulled a strangled cry of pain from her lungs and she rolled onto her back, tears burning in her eyes. Through the mist they created, she could see a shuttle silhouetted against the sky, recognising the familiar shape of the Inayat-Khan. Thank heavens for small mercies, though her sigh of relief was cut off by another guttural moan of pain. E. Reynolds: Is... Is everyone alive? Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response E. Reynolds: Yeah, I— Ribs. Broken. Ouch. ::She grimaced and breathed out a groan.:: Much ouch. Neathler/ch'Ranni: Response -- Erin "Vines" Reynolds Botanist & Sometime Engineer The Skarbek T238401QR0
  11. Yep. Emma's not too thrilled with the culture, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
  12. ((Captain’s Yeoman’s Office, Deck 2, USS Triumphant)) ::Petra Bjarnadottir-Stoyer had suffered through a rough couple of days. When she’d left their shared quarters after tell Cory she was leaving, it took everything not to turn around and go back, but she knew that she couldn’t. It broke her heart. ::With everything that was going on, Cory avoiding her and Ayiana not coming to her to tell her, she couldn't stay. Captain Brunsig had been wanting her for the Triumphant for a while now, so she took him up on the offer. ::A little separation would be good for everyone involved. ::So, she transferred over and settled in. Her quarters were a lot smaller here than onboard the Gorkon. She didn’t plan on staying in there a lot. The short amount of time she stayed in there the madder she got, spending hours pacing back and forth.:: oO What did I do wrong? Oo ::The words crossed her mind several times over the last couple of days. ::She thought she was a good wife, whatever that meant. She risked her life and career following Brunsig in stealing the Yarahla and searching for the Gorkon. ::Things seemed to be great. Weren’t they? ::But after waking up from the dreamscape, everything went downhill. Cory spoke about what happened, waking up in Ayiana’s arms. That shook her, but Cory assured her there was nothing between them. ::She scoffed as she paced in her rooms. What a fool she was.:: ::A day later, it changed. He came to her and told her that there was something between them. It devastated her in ways she didn’t think it could. ::Her husband and friend. The woman she chose as her maid of honor.:: ::So, they avoided one other, when all three of them knew it wasn’t supposed to end that way. ::Petra wanted to go ask why, but decided to see if someone else would come first. She waited. Nothing. The silence was deafening, the hesitation damning. Cory had been actively avoiding her. She had been keeping tabs on him, the perks of being the Flag Aide to the Admiral. After she found out he had been hurt during one of those darn programs she hated, Petra knew it was time. She visited him in medical, made her choice, and packed at home. ::Something inside her wanted to go back to Cory and shake him until he came to his senses, then drag him to the counselor. She could not to that Ayiana, despite a deep longing to. Her friend hadn’t spoken to her. It tugged at her in places she didn’t realise it could. ::Frustrated she threw the stylus back on her desk and stood up. Throwing her braids back over her shoulder, she stretched.:: Bjarnadottir-Stoyer: Why? ::She’d had enough of crying.:: ::She’d cried for the first several days, hiding away inside her quarters on the Triumphant. Brunsig had left her to it; not asking, not disturbing either. But those days were over, buried and forgotten in a mass of pillows and blankets. She refused to shed another tear. She loved Cory; she loved him so much, and this had cut deep and hard, splitting her open. ::Sitting back down, she finished getting everything ready for Captain Brunsig for the morning review.:: ::He’d told her there was a small, impromptu gym set up in the Shuttle Bay. She had to work off this frustration or she would never get to sleep.:: --- (PNPC) Lieutenant Junior Grade Petra Bjarnadottir-Stoyer Captain’s Yeoman USS Triumphant Simmed by Lieutenant @Cory Stoyer Mission Specialist USS Gorkon C239111CS0
  13. This could be one reason. Another is automation. Remember, the Prometheus was designed to be crewed with a minimum of 4 people, with the rest of the ship completely automated. It's possible a lot of space between walls and decks are set aside for extra machinery to accomplish this goal - extra cores, processors, ODN networks, etc. Also, join the Advanced Systems Design Board!
  14. In at least one possible future visited by Archer and Daniels, it is implied (but not confirmed) that the Klingons are Federation members by the 26th century. So it's not out of the realm of possibility.
  15. I will ping @FltAdml. Wolf to look into this.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.