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Toryn Raga

Captains Council observer
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Toryn Raga last won the day on April 9

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About Toryn Raga

  • Birthday 09/10/1980

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  • Location
    Orlando, Florida
  • Player's Pronouns
  • Interests
    Sci-fi/Fantasy genre; LOTR; Game of Thrones; Star Trek (obviously ;) ); Star Wars; Blade Runner; Firefly; Battlestar Galacticas; Babylon 5; The Wheel of Time; Metal; Rock; Classical; Pop; Mountains and Cold climates; Hiking; Camping; Movies; Board Games; I'm an avid D&D player and Dungeon Master and the list goes on and on and on.

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  • Current Vessel
    USS Ronin
  • Current Post
    First Officer

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  1. Congrats to you all! @Karrod Niac Not surprised in the slightest. I see it every day.
  2. Woohoo! Mad respect to everyone and congrats!!!! Well deserved!
  3. Absolutely wonderful and heart wrenching sim. Had to share the love for such a well written viewpoint. #roninstrong ((Captain's Ready Room, Deck 3 Primary Hull, U.S.S. Ronin)) Kirsty took jumbled, laconically painful stock (thanks to her still throbbing head and bone-deep sore limbs) of their situation as her and the new command structure of the damaged, listing, but still in the fight Ronin made their beeline into the Ready Room. Kirsty deferrently allowed Alieth and Raga the use of the middle of the room. The whole energy of the compartment, hell the whole deck around them, was sour and tense. She could taste it, alongside the coppery bitter taste of her own blood. Checking her weapon, miraculously still functional from the fracas and thudding improvised explosions of the defence of the Bridge, she set it at an angle beside her, barrel pointed downward. She eased into one of the seating sections toward the far end of the room, her body somewhat sighing with obvious and instant relief as she did. But her mind was still constantly going. As were her eyes, dancing madly over the two officers in front of her. Both of whom she had come to quickly respect, but now...something akin to a love flooded her heart and busted up body. Love and a profound feeling of sadness and disappointment. Mostly directed toward herself. A decade ago she would have been able to clock that trap a dozen lightyears away. Wouldn't have been so slow on the draw when the RoLF landing spears, spider-bots, and their compatriots had violently invaded their home. Would have engaged in the same savagery and focused (albeit...perhaps a bit TOO focused, if she was thinking about it) attack that the Captain had. But now, in the relative calm of the space and the dark, pitched glow of her heart and knocked-around-mind, she could see just how...her battered and slightly muddy-feeling brains reacted for the right word and feeling. Coming up short as she chanced a lean to hear what her superiors were about to say. It felt like...when Ma would dress her down for doing something she wasn't supposed to. But obviously, with a lot more import and stakes behind it. The situation they were hip deep in at the moment was a damn sight more dire than skipped school and stolen jars of white corn liquor. Kirsty had never felt the sort of heat that seemed to bake from Alieth...and on the other side of the coin, had never once seen Raga this unsettled, this...rollicked. His cool winds and steely-eyes had provided a lot of unspoken steel of Kirsty's own in the days before. Not today. His hands flexed bloodily and his breath returned as Alieth finally took her moment, her usually implacably charming pate replaced with something much, much different. Alieth: You should know, Mister Raga, that I am deeply disappointed by your performance in this matter. You… WE should do better from now on. Kirsty found herself sitting ramrod straight in her seat, even despite the pain of her body and mind. That was...not what she was expecting the New XO to say. Expected even less the New Captain's response, which seemed to hover just around being told to put down that cookie and being slapped. But Kirsty herself winced against the memory of what had transpired on the Bridge. The pitched sound of his shouting, the disregard he seemed to display for his own body in the engagement. More chilling memories started to flood her creaking body. Her own short slide into...feral. Feral was always the word she came back to. Seeing even a little of that starting to bleed (quite literally in this case) from her Captain...it made her sadder than she was willing to admit. She tried to steady her own breath, leaning heavily on her least borked arm (the left) and listening intently to the scene unfolding around her. Raga: First thing’s first we both will have to go through sickbay. You’re injured as well and regardless of what medical experience you have, Commander. I’ve heard numerous times from physicians about how their colleagues make for the worst patients. Everyone should and will go through Sickbay. For I’d be surprised if anyone made it through the last half hour without some injury That was...prudent enough, sure. But Kirsty was well aware that he had avoided the assessment from his second, quite deftly actually. XO Alieth seemed to have clocked that sidestep too, deploying a sharpened, well-practiced eyebrow at the comment. Kirsty could feel warmth and feeling coming back into her limbs, but kept down for a bit longer. She didn't know when the next time she would get even minor kip so she took advantage. But even from her seat, she couldn't keep her eye from the way Captain Raga was nursing his shredded knuckles. She thought of actually punching one of those things, doing more than holding the line against them...the very idea of it set her teeth on edge. And he had done it...again...and again...and again. HIs hands had to feel like a bag of chipped marbles at this point. Suddenly, Kirsty's own pain didn't seem quite so bad. She had XO Alieth to thank for a lot of that, but...her ship, her home, and her crew were hurting. Some likely even lost entirely. She couldn't help but take some of that on herself. But The Captain's shockingly even tempered voice brought her back (along with her soreness and creaky movements). Raga: I agree with you that I am emotionally impacted by what just happened and the Consortium. I dare say this whole thing feels like a targeted attack just to spite me. So, please explain why you feel disappointed? Yes, I led us into a trap, a very intricate one. And every life lost before this is done is on my shoulders. I accept that. It comes with this uniform. What is it that we should do better? Alieth stood her ground. Kirsty's heart continued to both grow and ache at the same time. Alieth obviously had a point she was building to, and knowing her, it would be a good one. Chief Alieth didn't speak unless she had something to say. But the feeling of them all being at odds with each other at the moment. Kirsty's mostly self-inflicted, the ghosts of her own failures and core traumas spilling dangerously into the present. But this seemed...far, far more urgent and likely more explosive than the charges they had peppered into the turbolift shaft. Alieth: You knew it was a trap, the whole bridge knew it, and yet you rushed us into it without taking the necessary measures to counter it. You did not adopt a cautious approach that would have prevented deaths, you rushed us straight into it without any further consideration, nor listened to your crew. Indeed, we had received a distress call and by procedure we needed to respond, but not so recklessly: a brief delay could have been enough time to warn us of the instability of the system and what awaited us. A few minutes could have changed everything. She paused, but despite the heaviness of the silence, it didn't feel unkind to Kirsty. It felt decidedly the opposite, finally divorcing it completely from the feelings and experiences she would remember forever from her mother. The slitted, disappointed eyes. The crestfallen resignation in her voice. No, no, this was...warmer, somehow, even with the pointed terseness of her voice. The way her calculated, but keen eyes swept across them all just proved that all the further to Kirsty. Silently, redrawing her tricorder, she started to give them another examination, Raga first, obviously as his ruined hands continued to flex and reflex between them. Kirsty dared now to rise, taking a few tentative steps toward her superiors (oO Family Oo). As Kirsty found a comfortable stance near them (and less than a pace and a half away from her weapon), she witnessed Alieth's eyes catching Raga's once more. She held her tongue for a moment longer, almost eager to hear what else the New XO had to say. Alieth: Not to mention your choice to leave your command to attack these things directly when there were officers :: extending a hand towards Kirsty, which she greeted with surprised eyebrows her own.:: who could have dealt with them. Not only that, but you decided to do so in a way that has caused you unnecessary injury and physical harm as you chose an emotionally driven strategy such as an attack with your bare fists against brikarian alloys, not only seriously putting your life in danger, but preventing the rest of the crew from being able to take effective action against the attackers as many would have involved more damage to your person. You have put your own desires and feelings above a general strategy, indulging in almost self-destructive impulses, which has resulted in damage to the Ronin and, worse, casualties and fatalities. She paused once more, something clear and clean and decidedly un-Vulcan rising in her voice as she came to a momentarily close. But then, shocking Kirsty further into a grim (almost crushing) admiration for the officer, she gingerly plucked up one of the Captain's uniform sleeves and Alieth: If there are any unbroken bones left in your hand, it would be a statistical anomaly. Kirsty's tongue felt thick and awkward in her skull, but she spoke anyway. Carpenter: I won't say you don't have a point, sir. But sometimes...sometimes, the points don't matter. Cap did what he had to. If anybody deserves blame, it's me. I shoulda saw the trap too. But we cain't- Cap Raga cut her off carefully, tactfully. Raga: You’re right. I didn’t even consider a diplomatic avenue for dealing with the Consortium based on my numerous past dealings with them. I won’t deny that that stems from personal bias, what we just went through was on par and worse than what the Atlantis went through six years ago. Those experiences are why I didn’t, based on their modus. Diplomacy is not always an option, as the participants of Wolf Three Five Nine can attest. ::A long, defeated sigh later:: You saw who orchestrated this, Alieth. Whoever this new boss is, he’s far more cunning than any I’ve encountered before in their organization. Do you think that with such a trap in place, that we wouldn’t have suffered a similar fate? Alieth: This is not the Borg and this is not 359. This Consortium, this Wrath, is something more akin to the Orion than the Collective: they want something, something more than they told us, and they have enough ego to show up here to taunt you. You could have taken that opportunity to get information out of them, what they wanted, where they were meeting, extend the talk while we recovered the systems to try to locate them. :: She let out the smallest sketch of a sight:: To buy time for something, but even there you refused to negotiate, when he had us in his hand. We are alive only because that Wrath chose to, not because you worked actively to protect us from them. You are no longer a tactical officer, Toryn, you are a commanding officer. And the sooner you realize that, fewer people will die under your command. You need to be better. Kirsty stiffened with the silence. Carpenter: You saw what they did to that freighter, Alieth. Do you REALLY think they would have came to the table in good faith? That the people who control those monsters would even consider anything else than open attack? I'll admit, this whole thing stinks. ::she turns to Cap, obvious effort on her face:: and Chief's right, sir, you didn't tell us everything. That ain't somethin' I'll forget soon. But I also...I think we are going to need to break a few rules of engagement if we wanna survive today. Another heavy silence echoed through the room like a sunset. Kirsty adored the officers around her. Further would do anything and everything for the ship around her. But the sentiments of the New XO's counsel drummed madly through the bottom of her thoughts. If they completely lost who they were in the attempt...what would be left? Not the first time the question had faced her, but she had much, much more to lose this time. With even further implications for the Isles beyond... Gooseflesh prickled underneath her uniform. Raga: Part of me wants to take a shuttle and hunt him down, so the only life left to risk is my own. And tear him apart rock by rock. The younger me would have. And that’s precisely why I can’t and won’t. I’m not that person anymore. ::He met the Vulcan’s gaze:: I know that your emotions are far stronger than many tend to recall or credit your species for. So I know that you’re feeling every bit as much as the rest of us who don’t have generational mental discipline to rely on. Just as I know my own emotions blinded me to the trap we just sprung, but believe me when I say that unless we acquiesce to their demands and leave we’re going to have more losses before this is through. ::He quickly added:: Which is not an option. We should do whatever we can to minimize it. Another momentary storm passed across Alieth's face. But as quickly, her alert, keenly focused countenance returned just as quickly. But the iron in her voice remained firm. Kirsty momentarily wondered what she would have been like, having met her in another life. Alieth: My emotions or lack thereof have no bearing on this, Mister Raga. What is relevant, for the sake of the crew that we have left, is that you pause and ponder a strategy, that you listen to your crew and outsmart Wrath and your past self. Kirsty dared another step forward. Hoping she could find some happy medium here that could get them moving again. Her internal clock was all but smashed into oblivion, but she knew enough to know that they had stayed here too long. Even with the obvious activity and motion on the Bridge beyond where Is'Kah and O'Connor continued to work in tandem with Tucker's team below. At least, that had been the case when this "meeting" had started, and comms were patchy at best. There was no real telling what kind of progress had really been made since the eerie break-off of the RoLFs' attack Carpenter: We are here for ya', Captain. This is a #$^*storm, no question about it. And one that's caught us flush. But this short-stack of dynamite is right. We can't do this without ya', sir. All this smoke, all the "makin' it personal"...it's tryin' to take you away from us. We can't...I won't let them. Toryn Raga stood up, crossing carefully to the cosmic storm outside the ready room window. Kirsty wished more than anything she could hear what he was thinking, could feel what Alieth so deeply felt (but worked diligently to keep from her face). If only to take it away from them. To allow them to focus their minds and considerable skills, to hone their experience down to simply tools to save lives like they had been before this hellish day. But as the beleaguered Captain crossed the energy of the room seemed to...shift. Maybe break would be the better term. Kirsty was no empath, but she wasn't completely stupid either. Something was changing around them. Something HAD to change around them if they were going to turn this around. She crossed her arms expectantly, ignoring the deep pain in her shoulders as she did so. Raga: These things were a nightmare before the Briktanium, so we can only hope that they didn’t have enough to upgrade all of their machines. Everything about them and their tactics, psychological warfare at its most despicable. ::He considered for a moment and glanced back at the two women:: And to cover their true purpose. So, what was the true purpose of this trap? I’m not so conceited to think this was just to teach me a lesson. His goading, baiting me the way he did. Make it feel personal. Which suggests that we should take inventory of everything and everyone on board to see if they remain true to form, wouldn’t you agree? Alieth: They have made it personal to divert your attention from what is important. What they have looked for in the other freighters and what they have taken from us may be relevant. As well as what they do not want us to notice. She closed the medkit with a loud click. Kirsty nodded, grateful for the New XO's concise eloquence and clear delivery. Alieth: Think about it Toryn, but now, the three of us need to head to the sickbay. This conversation can wait a few more minutes. Carpenter: This fight ain't going nowhere. And neither are we. She gave the collection of officers, her superiors and peers all the same, a wan, but direct smirking nod. Pain returned behind her eyes, sharp and clear like a cold bolt of ice that seemed to stab her skull through the middle. She blinked it away, crossing back to her rifle and gingerly picking it up and nestling it into a comfortable heft in her hands. Turning back to her companion with a nod and quickened step as she started to take point on the slow, but sure journey to get them patched up. oO V'Len...Oo It had been a long day, one that was only standing to get longer as she would get more and more reports and updates on their way to Sickbay (which had also seen its fair share of the conflict, it would turn out). But for the first time in years, walking in tandem with officers she would die for gladly, she remembered what hope felt like. -- (Long Overdue) End of Act 2 for Kirsty! -- Lieutenant Commander Kirsty L. Carpenter //\\ Chief of Security & Tactical Starfleet SAR (Marine Rank: Major) //\\ U.S.S. RONIN NCC-34523 ID: E239512QC0 //\\ F.N.S. Contributor
  4. ((Observation Room, Brig, Deck 11, USS Ronin)) Behind a section of the adjoining bulkhead where a one way hologram concealed a level ten forcefield, Karrod watched, listened and scowled. After wrestling with it for days, he’d decided B’ek’s immediate value to the Ronin outweighed the nagging doubts he simply couldn’t dispel. To his surprise, Starfleet Command agreed with his assessment and put up little struggle to keep Karrod from retaining custody. That fed his anxiety as well, sensing something more and more wrong with his recent interactions with Command but still unable to decipher what was going on in the minds of the fleet's bureaucracy, hundreds of light years away. He mulled it for a moment, but the startling appearance of B’ek, seemingly close enough to touch, pulled his mind back towards the present. Behind him, there was a hissing sound. A door opened and closed briskly. Light footsteps of padded-soled boots approached the commanding figure of the Trill. After a few seconds, the CSO stood at his side, dark eyes locked on the same spot as the Captain. Alieth: Satisfied with that information, sir? She held out the PADD with the data the defector had provided, and she studied the Trill's stern face as he took it. He’d glanced over the list of potential target systems while B’ek had input them, but his scowl remained fixed firmly in place. Niac: He gave us a lot of information without actually telling us much useful…that list of planets he spat out could’ve just been a database search of ‘class M planets with ample biodiversity.’ Got to give him credit…he’s not making this easy. And that suggestion about the Gorn…I just don’t know. The petite Vulcan suppressed a grimace, which nevertheless plucked slightly at her lips. Then she shook her head, long strands of untamed hair swaying with the subtle movement of her head. Alieth: ::with a minute sigh:: He will not tell us anything useful. There was a hint of anger and frustration hidden in the soft wrinkle between her tilted eyebrows, in the tension of the elegant muscles of the diminutive Vulcan's angular jaw. He’d worked with the intense, diminutive Vulcan long enough to pick up on the small shift in her mood…a frustration with the situation that was coming close to outright anger. He pitched his voice down and fixed her with a sympathetic look. Niac: It’s not your fault…we knew this was a long shot. If it helps, I doubt the SFI people would’ve gotten even that much out of him. It was a sour solace, but a solace nonetheless. At the end, she turned to face the Captain, and held his gaze for a moment, a dangerous spark in her eyes. Alieth: ::with a deliberately even tone:: If it were up to my advice, I would encourage dropping him off at the nearest Klingon penal colony. Favouring a very frigid one. A soft curl appeared at one corner of her mouth for a split second, then a pondering frown settled in her strong features Alieth:: Tetra, on the other hand... you pointed out weeks ago that she could be considered a born in the Ronin, and therefore a full Federation citizen… That was a puzzle that the diminutive Vulcan had been pondering ever since, and one that had come up more than once in her conversations with Saros. Neither the discussions nor the conundrum had come to a conclusion that fully satisfied the Vulcan. During that brief pause, Karrod sighed, preparing himself to deliver more frustrating news to someone who’d already had more than their share. Niac: I’ve spoken to representatives from the JAG Corp, three xeno-cultural legal specialists and even Ambassador Buford on DS33…nobody wants to touch this one. As of this moment, Tetra is classified as a ‘stateless being,’ having no specific point of origin, allegiance or culture. My understanding is that there were even communications sent out to the Tholian Assembly to determine if they wanted to take custody…they haven’t responded. I doubt they will. For all intents and purposes…Tetra’s home is this ship. Which makes me her legal guardian. The frown on her face deepened, and a soft crease appeared between the two slanted eyebrows. Alieth: While I rely on your judgment, Karrod, this is no place for her. We have no facilities where it can fully develop, and this :: motioning a hand slightly towards the nearest bulk plate:: is a heavy cruiser in a looming war. What was left unsaid, but plain in her words, was that the decision was substandard, to say the least. Niac: I know it’s not what you wanted to hear…and it’s less than I had hoped for. But the Alliance is still a ‘developing threat’ as far as Starfleet Command is concerned and while they’ve told me they’ll look into this matter with “all due urgency” I got the impression I was getting the brushoff. Alieth: They had abandoned her, then.:: oO All we are Oo was left unsaid, once more. An eerie, dense and ominous silence spread through the tiny room. After a while, Karrod looked through the transparent forcefield and felt a shudder as he caught B’ek’s glowing eyes. For a moment he got the impression the Tholian was watching them, but then B’ek’s attention returned to the datastream coming from Tetra’s habitat. Niac: I don’t give one single damn what happens to that Tholian, but when you and your team decided to try to keep Tetra alive you took on a responsibility, and it’s not one I intend to shrink from…even if it seems like the Federation wouldn’t mind if I did. I’ve written orders for you and for the whole science department that state, among other things, that you are to take all measures appropriate and necessary to preserve this beings' life to the best of your ability. That will give your people all the latitude and cover I can provide. She allowed herself to break her dignified façade briefly in the privacy of that quiet room and pinched the bridge of her nose, shutting her eyes. Alieth: You see, I asked Miss Lorana not to get attached to her, but she never listens. She shook her head and once again folded her arms behind her back, the brief loss of composure past and forgotten. Alieth: We will find a cure for her affliction, but we need a place for her ::looking at B'ek through the one-way window toward the cell:: and for him long-term, and it cannot be the Ronin. Tugging at his beard in frustration as he considered the endlessly thorny problem, Karrod jabbed an angry finger towards the forcefield. Niac: I agree with you that the easiest solution would be dropping that guy off on Rura Penthe in a t-shirt, but we both know that won’t solve our problems…even if it does make us briefly feel much better about them. Alieth: ::with a slight impish tone:: Is it possible to leave him there for just a little while? It would be a very formative experience for him, for sure. Possibly one that would make him a little more chatty. Karrod crossed his arms and his expression hardened. Niac: Alieth… She let out a short huff of air through her nose, not a chuckle, but something that if one listened very carefully could be interpreted as such. Alieth: All right, no penal colonies. :: She looked at Karrod, one eyebrow raised:: Do not even consider telling Mister Raga that I suggested it, or I will disarm you again, and this time for two weeks. Putting his arms up in mock surrender, Karrod shook his head in frustration. Niac: I’ll keep that in mind. The simple fact of the matter is that once I transfer either of them off this ship, I lose all ability to influence what happens to them. I realize this environment isn’t…ideal by any means but I don’t think there’s ‘better’ available at the moment. Our options consist entirely of bad and worse. The brief moment of levity passed, the Vulcan's slanted brows darkened her eyes once more and her gaze turned, again, to the prisoner. Alieth: About the Gorn joining the Alliance... What's your opinion? I do not trust him, but somehow, the way he said it... it seemed genuine. Karrod felt his shoulders tighten as he considered the prospect of the Lattice Alliance welcoming yet another antagonistic, xenophobic species that ranked most of the Federation by how well they’d taste at a buffet. Niac: It’s...an incredibly disturbing prospect. And one we can’t ignore, even if he is just trying to rattle us. The Gorn have a lot of resources and almost no contact with the Federation, so our knowledge of their capabilities is incredibly limited. She gave a small nod. Alieth: We have to try to find out how much truth there is in this. He felt a decision clicking together in his mind and grabbed a nearby PADD, transferring the recording of the entire interrogation and beginning to make notes. Niac: Starfleet Command can’t keep ignoring this…and I’m not going to let them. If I can’t get someone on subspace who will actually act on this, I’m taking a runabout and throwing this PADD on their desk until they pay attention. I can be…very convincing in person. Karrod’s grip on the PADD tightened until his knuckles popped. The petite CSO turned to the captain and raised one hand just a bit, then paused and lowered it again, palm formally against her side. Alieth: Your orders, sir? Niac: Keep the good Doctor here in containment till I can figure out what to do with him. You have my authorization to leverage any resources you need to help Tetra…you might even ask around while we’re still in orbit of Ferenginar. You can pick up a lot of…exotic materials here that might not be part of standard Starfleet equipment. Alieth: Understood. I will get in touch with... people I know there. They might have something that can help us. ::once again she had to hold her expression tighter than she usually did, control over her emotions, thin:: I am confident that Lieutenant Lorana will find a way to put it to good use. She is very invested with Tetra. Karrod let out a long breath and focused on Alieth, his expression softening for a moment. Niac: Good work on this, Commander. Make sure your team knows they’ve got my full confidence. If anyone can figure this problem out…it’s you. While you’re doing that, I’ll go take on a much more complex mystery….Starfleet Command’s hearing problem. Sparing one final glance towards the viewport, Karrod’s jaw tightened as he made his way to the door, already planning the opening salvo of the tirade he’d be sending Command’s way. He hoped it would be enough to get their attention before it was too late to matter. Alieth stood back and watched him go, before she turned back to the chamber where their uncooperative guest dwelt. There, in the solitude of the concealed room, she let her mask crack into a grimace of disdain and disgust at the abject creature that stood before her. [[End]] ================================ Commander Karrod Niac Commanding Officer USS Ronin - NCC-34523 V239509GT0 & Lieutenant Commander Alieth Chief Science Officer & 2O USS Ronin USS-34523 E239702A10
  5. ((Special containment cell, Brig, Deck 11, USS Ronin)) The petite Vulcan spun over her heels, slowly, and stared at the Tholian for a very long time, a period carefully calculated to discomfort any non-Vulcan, and then retraced her steps back to the position she had occupied in front of the cell. As if nothing had actually happened. Luxa followed Alieth lead, she observed the changing colours of the Tholian. A ruse? A deceit? He was certainly capable of that. Or was it that he faltered? The reality of the situation had dawned on him. The Caitian suspected that it could be both things. The glowing shifting of colours of his eyes and face were a representation of his hesitation. B’ek: My knowledge of the full extent of the Alliance is limited, as I was not a high-level commander, but I will provide what answers I can. The CSO nodded, slowly but deliberately. Alieth: Questions are simple: what is the Lattice Alliance's organizational structure? Where is located its main HQ? Which forces does it have at its disposal? Whose are its allies? The questions were simple. The answers, not so much. She knew B'ek probably didn't have a tenth of the information they needed, but any detail they could get, any little bit of information, would go a long way toward giving them a slight advantage in this uneven game of cat and mouse they were playing. One in which their enemies knew far more than they did. Lorana: Provide us with a list of the worlds you planned to terraform? She thought of Cait. Her homeworld, and one of the Federations most natural and beautiful planets. At such a perilous location. At present, it was unknown if the wider Tholian Assembly endorsed the Lattice Alliance. Cait was on high alert, with the Caitian Fleet on high alert. The thought of the jungles, the mountains and the seas of Cait being reduced to molten rocks and ash tore at Luxa's heart. She wanted to airlock this Tholian, his brain was the weapon that caused the destruction on GB3. Once, perhaps, she'd have done this. In any other situation, he might have been amused by the Caitian's most obvious concern; while not a stellar cartographer, he had intimate knowledge of the systems they had been exploring that would serve well for their terraforming process. There was a short pause and the captive's eyes flickered briefly, in a way that could only be defined as malevolent. B’ek: You needn't worry - your homeworld has been deemed too dangerous to attempt the process until well after control of the entire region is established. The rest of the quadrant would come eventually, but that would be far down the line. ::pausing:: If you can provide me access to a data unit, I can provide system names and targets planned for immediate testing. There is an extensive list of targets provided the tests are successful, but those would not be attempted for some time yet. Alieth: Note again, we will also need a list of the Alliance's highest ranking officers, affiliates and the location of their headquarters. B’ek: Unfortunately, the Lattice Alliance headquarters remains mobile; rather than being a single installation, it is a modular grouping of multiple crystalline ships. I can provide the names of a few, but not all. They are often on the move, especially with the news of a potential alliance with an offshoot of the Gorn Hegemony. The Gorn? Luxa tried to remain composed yet the shackles on her spine stood on end. Things had just gotten a whole lot worse. He tapped the tips of his fingers together again, a bit less anxious than before. There was something freeing about sharing what was meant to be unknown. B'ek: Supreme Commander F'red is the highest-ranking member of the Lattice Alliance Council. Six members are serving underneath him - High Commanders G'rg, T'rn'r, and Rksirl representing the Tholians, and Commodores B'ahrb, B'hrad, and B'l'n'y representing the Sheliak. There was a slight tremor on the Vulcan's face, a tiny twitch of one of her eyelids as a new threat was named to add to the already considerable menace that was the Laticce Alliance. For a split second, she breathed a hundredth of a second faster than she should have... but she let the defector scientist keep chatting. Alieth: That, at last, is meaningful information. Satisfied, as far as she could be, with the answers, Alieth pulled a small PADD from her sleeve. It was a new model, specially modified by the Ronin engineering team based on the combadges' resistance to extreme temperatures, high pressures and generally unsuitable conditions for technology. She held up the small device for a second in front of the force field that separated her from the prisoner before squeezing the delta pinned to her uniform. Alieth: Transport room four, beam object A-42 to our special invitee's holding cell. A flurry of sparks vanished the PADD from between her fingers, which appeared a moment later between the Tholian scientist's forelegs. As he picked it up, the petite CSO spoke once more. Alieth: Live feed from a camera located in your offspring's ward, with feed from scans of her vitals. She sleeps, as she does most of the time. It was a one-way feed, on a secure line separate from the rest of the ship's systems. B'ek could only observe and read, but any attempt to tamper with the device or access any other information on it would automatically self-destruct. They were not going to take any chances, but she refrained from informing him of this, as the distrust was mutual, and she had no doubt that the smart insectoid would have foreseen such a course of action. B'ek handled the PADD carefully, his hands quite oversized in comparison. He found after some adjustment it would fit in the palm of one hand, and he could use a single sharp-tipped finger to manoeuvre on the screen. Tapping the centre of the screen allowed him to zoom in on the sleeping creature, and he cradled the PADD almost tenderly and traced the tip of his finger over the image of her head. Alieth: In the lower left corner of the screen, you will see that we have provided you with artificial Maleconite crystals, as we informed you in our previous meeting. She is in good condition, as you can see, except for her addiction to the substance, which slows down her development and growth. This time, the petite Vulcan turned to the Caitian, leaving the questioning to her at that point. The lieutenant was, after all, the one who had spent the most time with the creature. From the PADD they could hear that Tetra had begun to sing, in her way, the Caitian lullaby that Luxa had taught her. His colours shifted with surprise at the singing, the lights of his eyes growing wide as his head tipped to the side. Singing was common for Tholian offspring, but not in this manner. He looked to the Caitian as she spoke. Lorana: She grows weaker, her Tholian biology has evolved with the Maleconite and craves it in quantities that we are not able to provide. She is a warrior caste, we believe, and has begun to show signs of her natural instinct. Mostly she … mostly she's confused and tired. She has begun to communicate, in simple terms. Mostly via her colours, and sounds. He zoomed in further to study the structure of her physical form, and he nodded in agreement. B'ek: Warrior, indeed. She must be strong, to have survived this long with this disability. He zoomed back out and studied the artificial Maleconite crystals. B'ek: I would like to see the chemical composition of these crystals. We may be able to make some alterations to wean the cravings and bolster her development. He paused for a moment before looking at Luxa. B'ek: Why 'Tetra'? The petite Vulcan kept a serious face, but when her eyes fell on the Caitian, hidden from the prisoner, they revealed a spark of amusement in them. Alieth: Miss Lorana, would you mind explaining it to the creature's creator? Lorana: Named from the tetradom crystals of her embryo. An accident of her Maleconite DNA :: haughtily :: You wouldn't know that being … less than proficient in the task of creating life. B'ek: ::narrowing his gaze:: What is the phrase oft used by the carbonics called humans? 'Practice makes perfect'? The Tholian flashed again, and the two Starfleet Officers left him with his suffering. The only sound was the haunting siren of Tetra’s lullaby. Luxa was reminded of its lyrics: We sing come little lost cub, come to me, I am your mother, come be free Come little cub, through the trees, I am your mother, come to me Come little lost cub, I am your mother, come be free Somehow the sound was both beautiful and yet simultaneously haunting, and it followed the officers down the corridor towards the exit, and left the Tholian scientist alone, with the music and the image of his creation within his grasp, and yet, at the same time, unreachable. ================================ Lieutenant Commander Alieth Chief Science Officer & 2O USS Ronin USS-34523 E239702A10 & Lieutenant JG Luxa Lorana Science Officer (Astrometrics, Meteorology, Xenobiology) USS Ronin A240004LL2 & Terraforming Specialist V't'r'us B'ek Former Lattice Alliance Territorial Reclaminator as written by Ensign Quentin Beck Medical Officer USS Ronin NCC-34523 A238810SA0
  6. ((Special containment cell, Brig, Deck 11, USS Ronin)) Alieth: Spunau bolayalar t'Wehku bolayalar t'Zamu il t'Veh: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. If you do not prove useful to us, I will make you a useful asset. The Tholian scientist remained silent for an achingly long time. He weighed what he knew of them, the stories he'd heard, what he knew of their actions on the planet's surface. He was… not entirely certain he could take this one at face value, though even among the Tholians it was known that Vulcans did not lie. Likewise, he was also certain he could not simply capitulate without ensuring their survival. B'ek: So easily, you threaten to let her die, to dissect her. What assurances do I have should I cooperate? The knowledge I offer is worth more than any one life - in truth, knowing what I know now, it is worth at least several hundred thousand lives. I will not fail again, I assure you. In this thing … what do you call one with no mortality? Surely sapient or individual was too limited a word for such malice. Luxa could see in it, an ego. A hubris that had no limitations. He truly believed that what he had done on GB3 was the work of a god. In his view, he has become a self-appointed deity to an entire world. Regardless, they had lived mere minutes. She stepped forward, her furred features almost touching with the specially adapted containment shielding. Her whiskers bristled against the heat. It was a well established fact, throughout thousands of civilizations, that there was one enemy to false gods. Ciencia. It was time to offend a god. Lorana: I can assure you pitiful, low caste Tholian B’ek. Traitor to your kind. Failed scientist. We will cure Tetra, she'll go on to live a fulfilled, wondrous life as a miracle, an accident of science. A new subspecies of Tholian, born in spite of your errors and vast theoretical flaws. She'll show you and the rest of the Alliance that we, Starfleet, always win. Your name will be nothing but a footnote in history. :: to Alieth :: This fool has nothing to offer us. I suggest we turn him to the Tholian Assembly. Although he would never admit it out loud, she was… not wrong, in many regards. Her attempts to insult him, at least regarding his standing among his people, didn't work, if only because he had never had a choice in the matter until the Lattice Alliance. He stood by that choice, even amid failure. And he was proud to be a traitor to his kind for the very same reason. Considering the abject failure of his experiment, there seemed to be little choice, or else he lost the only surviving youngling from his brood. Still… This one he felt was easier to read than the Vulcan, at least in the way she presented herself. Her form was… different, however, which still confused matters. He stood tall despite her insults, tipping his head upward defiantly. B’ek: Failure is common and even expected when one is performing experiments, especially of this caliber. One that is not resilient in the face of it is a poor scientist, indeed. ::pausing:: So which is it? Kill or kidnap? I do not believe you can do both. Either way, you lose everything regarding the terraforming process. Alieth: No kill or kidnap, doctor, it is merely an "equivalent exchange". If you do not supply us with adequate information, we will look for alternatives, which, in all likelihood, you will not find agreeable. The slender Caitian turned away, allowing the Vulcan room. They shared a glance that felt like a plan, a change of tact. Alieth: Moreover, you know that knowledge about your so-called terraforming process is ancillary. We are seeking intel on the Lattice Alliance. The lights making up his eyes shifted to follow the Caitian's movements, the tips of his fingers clicking together with only mild anxiety before his gaze flicked back to the Vulcan. B’ek: That stands to reason. The point still stands - if I am unsatisfied with your 'alternatives' regarding my offspring, you lose everything. Lorana: :: growls lightly :: Give him to the Tholians. He knows nothing. The Vulcan's eyes turned away from the Tholian scientist, and at last she moved, a few short steps to one side of the narrow passageway and then back again. At the turn, the Commander's eyes lingered on a very specific spot on the wall for half a second longer than necessary. B’ek: I know more than you, Caitian Lorana. ::to Alieth:: Again, I ask. What assurances do I have should I cooperate? Alieth: Things would be different in that case, indeed. We would work on sustaining the life of their progeny, indefinitely, if possible. We would provide you with the means to get to a neutral location, well away from the Federation and the Lattice Alliance. A neutral ground, transportation and supplies. You can disappear forever if you so desire. Lorana: :: locks eyes with the Tholian :: I know what he wants. What little could be seen of his colours grew muted. B'ek: I wish to see my child. Then I will answer your questions. A dangerous gleam appeared in the Vulcan's dark eyes. The glint of a predator that knows it has its prey cornered. Alieth: Doctor B'ek, you are not in a position to make demands. B'ek: That is what I require to cooperate. If you will not allow me to see 'Tetra', as you call her, I will assume she is dead, and I have no reason to answer your questions. The readings you have shared are old by any standard. Alieth looked at Luxa, but said naught. Lorana: That may be what Tholian B’ek requires. He forgets that he does not have the advantage. An exchange is required. That exchange is information. We receive the information and we provide access. B'ek: A scientist is prepared to face failure, but they also seek proof. The CSO gave a small nod and finally turned away from the Tholian. When he looked at her subordinate, there was fire in her eyes. Alieth: All right, if that is your choice. ::Turning to Lorana:: Shall we go, Lieutenant? Lorana: He gives us nothing because he is for nothing. There was a small nod of agreement from the CSO. Alieth: And therefore, nothing will come of it. A few steps towards the door at the end of the corridor took them away from the prisoner, plain their intention to left him isolated for an undetermined number of days, once more. Behind them, B'ek fumed, his colours growing ever more muted. B’ek: ::indecipherable clicking noises:: Very well. I will provide limited information on the Lattice Alliance for our first exchange. Luxa and Alieth looked at each other, both aware that they had won that small but important breakthrough. It was the first time they got him to consent to something they asked for, the first hint that they could get ANYTHING from him. ================================ Lieutenant Commander Alieth Chief Science Officer & 2O USS Ronin USS-34523 E239702A10 & Lieutenant JG Luxa Lorana Science Officer (Astrometrics, Meteorology, Xenobiology) USS Ronin A240004LL2 & Terraforming Specialist V't'r'us B'ek Former Lattice Alliance Territorial Reclaminator as written by Ensign Quentin Beck Medical Officer USS Ronin NCC-34523 A238810SA0
  7. When you have absolute stellar writers and they drop a 4 part bombshell. You have to show the love. @Karrod Niac @Alieth @LuxaLorana @Quentin Beck ((Special containment cell, Brig, Deck 11, USS Ronin)) The evening was a good time for her work. There were hardly any people in the corridors, nor in the security complex, the officers and NCOs mostly asleep or off duty. And those that remained were silent, the scuff of feet and boots on the grey carpet as loud as the breaths of the two officers, the only moving shapes in a slumbering world. The skeleton crew left on watch in the brig paid little attention to the scientists as they walked across their territory. Mainly because Chief Carpenter had given them clearance. But mostly because it wasn't the first time she had given them access. Alieth glanced at her subordinate as the doors to the maximum security wing stood waiting for their delayed opening cycle. Alieth: Do you have the questions ready? Luxa resisted the urge to sigh. B'ek had not proven to be useful to them at all. He'd danced around the science, in some attempt to grapple control of this failed experiment. She suspected that this was because he knew as much as they knew about the Maleconite’s unique abilities and how it had impacted on the terraforming process on GB3. Which was very little. Lorana: :: nods :: Do you think he'll be any more helpful this time? The petite Vulcan nodded curtly, an unruly lock of hair escaping from her tight ponytail. Alieth: I expect so, he has sat with the last information about Tetra development… : she made a pregnant pause.:: … he seemed unhappy about it. Lorana: He may be unhappy. ::The sidelong glance of the shorter woman made her stop for a second:: What? We don't know. He's not to be trusted. He betrayed his own kind. Luxa, again, resisted the urge to sigh. Her tail twitched several times, before it looped and sunk down as she tried to contain it. It was forever betraying her true feelings. Captain Niac believed that the scientist Tholian may be more forthcoming with fellow scientists. They didn't believe he could provide any real scientific answers to their questions on the Maleconite or Tetra's condition. They hoped he'd provide much needed intel on the LA. She shared in the captain's frustrations. Always having to respond to an unknown crisis left the fur on edge. They needed to gain the upper hand. Luxa couldn't stop her mind from wondering … where was Starfleet? This situation was escalating at an alarming rate, yet no other ships had been assigned to the region. The Ronin and the Arrow, as well as DS33 were the only line of defence against the Lattice Alliance, which they didn't fully understand yet. Yet, despite all of this she had a nagging worry that this Tholian, wanted further access to Tetra. There were too many reasons for her to count as to why this was a bad idea. However, Tetra, the infant, was the only bargaining chip they had. Why else would they allow her to remain on the ship? B'ek do anything to claim his prize. His scientific ego wouldn't allow him to pass on the opportunity to study her up close. His creation, the potential of a whole new subspecies of Tholian. He didn't see her as a victim to his ego. He saw Tetra as proof of concept. Not unlike Kipal, and the USS Kolo. Alieth: humm… The sound sounded almost like an admonishment, the slanted eyebrows drawing further shadows into the dark eyes. Yet the two had worked together enough to know it was a tacit agreement. One that simply should not be said aloud. Just then, the doors opened before them, a loud hiss and a puff of exhaust fumes marking the opening, as a red light flashed above their heads. The area had been modified for this particular inmate. The temperature, even outside the cell, was oppressively hot and absolutely arid. Given the night cycle, there was hardly any light, only the reddish ceiling beams, and a faint orange glow that seemed to come from nowhere in particular. Luxa felt the heat like an assault. The nearer she got to the cell, the more intense the heat. Her skin beneath the fur recoiled, and she felt the hairs along her spine stand on their edges. Her whiskers pulled back and she stopped. She looked at Alieth, this had become a ritual of sorts. The Caitian twisted her mane around her paw and gathered it on top of her head, to allow more ventilation. With a nod, they moved on. At the end of a short corridor laid the cell. It was larger than the high-energy containment field in lab 4, and had some extras that the lab lacked. A bed, for example, that had never been used. A desk and a chair. A small waste disposal shaft that had required a really awkward explanation and possibly given the Tholian scientist too much information about carbon-based beings. Little else. The Tholian was… sleeping. Sort of. His body didn't consume energy in the same way Alieth or Luxa's bodies might, but especially in this sort of environment, he still needed a chance to rest and recharge, so to speak. While they had done a fine job fulfilling most of his environmental needs, he still required an EV suit to interact with them or any of the tools they could provide. The suit he'd been wearing originally had been damaged too severely to function indefinitely. Thankfully, the Medical and Engineering departments had been able to cobble together a suitable replacement, one that seemed to put the Starfleeters more at ease because the glow of his abdomen and thorax was no longer visible at all times. It looked almost like one of their standard uniforms, jet black in colour, with the Starfleet delta emblazoned on what would be his right breast pocket, if he'd had either. Only the glowing eyes betrayed his nature. Luxa hated that those eyes were the same as Tetra. Their arrival was enough to wake him. He stirred briefly, the pointed tips of his feet tapping against the deck plating, and the colours and lights in his head grew much brighter and more solid as they approached. He didn't raise his abdomen from his prone position yet, but he observed their arrival with a curious look. Alieth: Good Evening, Doctor B’ek. The petite Vulcan stopped just inches from the glowing force field that isolated the defector, bright orange hexagons rippling across its surface almost as if it were a pond. She folded her arms behind her back, firm and stiff, in that posture so typical of her people. B’ek: Vulcan Alieth. Has it been three cycles? I find it impossible to keep track of time in this ship… The diminutive humanoid gave a silent nod, a small twitch between her slanted eyebrows. Alieth: Miss Lorana and I have come to ask you a few questions, if you would like to answer us this time. She made a deferential gesture towards her companion, before resuming her statuesque posture. Lorana: I trust you have reviewed the data on :: She locked fierce amber eyes on the Tholian:: your progeny, as you call her? :: angered :: I hope that you've reconsidered your position. It would make sense for you to help us. We want the same outcomes. As the Caitian spoke, B'ek stretched out his arms and legs before lifting his abdomen from the deck. With arms and legs fully expanded, he took up over half of the room behind the forcefield, and it was… uncomfortable to get around. Even to turn much. So he just stood there, half listening, until she finished. Then he shook his head. B’ek: That is decidedly incorrect, Caitian Lorana. I want the freedom to leave this cell and take, yes indeed, my progeny, to a safe, new home. ::pausing:: However, I have, indeed, reviewed your data and I applaud you for getting this far. I am not fully convinced you can make any good use of it. The Commander stifled the curl that threatened to take hold at the corner of her mouth. Alieth: Your kind does not monopolize industriousness. He chittered and drew his limbs closer to his body so he could turn to approach his computer. B'ek: You wish to develop a workaround for the reliance on Maleconite. Would you find it acceptable to require a different source of nutrition, assuming one could be developed? Alieth: It is an option, but we will not pursue it. We will keep your progeny alive, and nothing else, until we get answers to our questions. The Caitian held her position, as still as a rock. The Tholian had no need to know what she really thought about this tactic. Luxa wanted to pursue all avenues. She had spent hours with Tetra. She'd communicate on a basic level with them, seemingly adapting knowledge from the surrounding environment. Luxa had told her about the galaxy around her, where they are, who she is and her species home planet. She also told her about the Federation, and Starfleet. What it means to be a part of that family. This monster in front of her couldn't conceive of family. He saw an experiment that could be salvaged. Just like any egotistical scientist, he was unwilling to share what he knew. The lights that made up his eyes drew to narrow slits as he studied the duo, and not for the first time was he annoyed at their lack of illumination. It was so difficult to read carbonic expression and body language, he had very little frame of reference. Still, considering what he'd heard of Starfleet in the past, he believed they were fully capable of killing his youngling without a moment's hesitation. B'ek: I grow tired of this conversation, Vulcan Alieth. I have told you what is required to provide you any answers. The petite Vulcan took a small step. So close to the energy screen that a few strands of hair frizzed, electrically charged. Alieth: If your response is deficient or absent, I will let your "progeny" die. A natural death, of course, without the substance to which you have made her reliant. Dissecting her will make an impressive research paper. You will go next. She didn't blink during her speech, her voice flat, her face hieratic. The only thing animated on her face was a dangerous, determined spark in her eyes. The heat of the room seemed to rise a notch or two, Luxa felt her body shift to regulate her temperature more effectively. Subtle changes in the configuration of her fur, and a slight variance in her breathing, that made her breaths quicken, increased the absorption of oxygen. She refused to admit that these changes were brought on by the heightened anxiety she felt at the prospect of Tetra's demise. It simply, for Luxa, was not an option. [[TBC]] ================================ Lieutenant Commander Alieth Chief Science Officer & 2O USS Ronin USS-34523 E239702A10 & Lieutenant JG Luxa Lorana Science Officer (Astrometrics, Meteorology, Xenobiology) USS Ronin A240004LL2 & Terraforming Specialist V't'r'us B'ek Former Lattice Alliance Territorial Reclaminator as written by Ensign Quentin Beck Medical Officer USS Ronin NCC-34523 A238810SA0
  8. "I am Sailor Boskia! Reckless Guardian and Namer of Things! Now with .50% Cybernetics!" ~ Sailor Boskia
  9. Congrats everyone!!!! Love this time of year because y'all are absolutely the best and inspire me to keep up with you. Which is hard. cause ya'll are just so durned fabulous. Especial congrats to our newbies @Wyatt Ral and Kahla Hixma!!!
  10. Huzzah!!! Congrats to you all!! Wholeheartedly well earned!
  11. Congratulations to all of you wonderful and beautiful people! It's always humbling to be awarded along side y'all because we've got an entire fleet of incredible writers who make every day here a joy! Huzzah!!
  12. Congratulations and welcome to the fleet!! It was a pleasure to be the First Officer for your training. I hope you had fun, and look forward to simming with you in the future!
  13. The Conny crew presents, their newest rendition of Nausicaan the Musical!
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