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  1. I am enjoying @Ikaia Wong’s journey to become a more confident leader, and the thought of multiple Wongs makes me giggle. ((Dreamscape)) Ikaia glanced around him, rubbing his eyes. He had been trying to decide which flu strain he should vaccinate against in the upcoming flu season. His bets were on either Levodian flu or Kamaraazite flu. He went over the statistics provided to him by Starfleet Medical. It looked to him that it might be Levodian. This wasn’t great. But the duration of the flu was shorter in most humanoids. But it didn’t make it any less contagious. He took a moment to lean back in his chair and just look up at the ceiling. By all appearances, he was in the CMO’s office again. It felt normal. Like home. This was great. This was fantastic. This was too good to be true. At that moment, Ikaia heard a knock on the door. He sat up and brushed himself off. Wong: Come in! The door opened and he saw… exactly TWO different versions of himself. One of them is sporting engineering gold with a wonderful beard. He also had a container of popcorn in his hands. The other was wearing command red with his hair down and…. Did he have coconuts shoved down his shirt?! Ikaia blinked a few times as both Klingons sat down. Wong: Ah! Uh! Greetings! How may I help you today? Gold-Wong: Hello, Lieutenant. It’s not so much as how you can help us…. Red-Wong: ….It's more like how we can help you. Wong: Uh okay. How so--- I’m sorry. Those coconuts are really distracting. Gold-Wong: See? Told you they’d distract him! Red-Wong: He shouldn’t be looking! Gold-Wong: Just ditch them. He already knows who you’re representing anyways! The Wong clad in red just sighed as he removed the coconuts from his shirt. But he did so with an eye roll. Ikaia gave a curious head tilt at his duplicates. They were clearly representing Rahman and Ukinix respectively. In a rare opportunity, he decided to ask a question he wouldn’t ordinarily ask! Wong: Ah! Quick question if you really don’t mind - Is Commander Ukinix’s beard lucky? Does he rub it for luck or something? Gold-Wong: Yes and yes. Every morning. Wong: ::Snaps his fingers:: Knew it! ::A beat:: Er… sorry. Please continue. Red-Wong: Okay. So we know you’ve been following Rahman’s and Ukinix’s advice as well as everything you’ve learned from your studies. Gold-Wong: You may not be thinking the words. But we have heard it - What would Rahman do? What would Ukinix do? What would Sampi do? The Wong in engineering gold tried to toss a piece of popcorn into the air to try to catch it. Instead, it rebounded off the side of his mouth and onto the floor. Wong: I learned a lot from them. Rahman, Ukinix, Toliver, Blake, Sampi… they’ve all taught me so much about leadership and myself. I’ve been working hard. Gold-Wong: In asking what everyone else would do, you also need to keep asking what you would do. You’ve learned so much from everyone else. But who are you as a leader? A tiny bit of dust fell on Ikaia's desk. He looked up and saw no reason for the dust. It had almost distracted him from the question. He was thinking about it. His mind searched for what the answer was. Wong: I….. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’ve never really thought about it before. I’ve been busy applying theories and everything I learned. Some days, I’m not sure I’m even doing this right. There are times I second guess myself. Days I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice. Red-Wong: You’re going to need to figure it out. Everyone in the mine is counting on you. Wong: I know, I know! I just…. Need to think. A touch of rock dust fell onto Ikaia’s desk. Red-Wong: You may want to consider waking up. You fell asleep while meditating again. You’re definitely drooling a little. There was more dust falling onto the desk followed up by rocks. Ikaia looked up and an expression of absolute horror crossed his face as he could see a large boulder about to come straight down on him---- ((Deep within Russell River Mines)) ----Ikaia woke up suddenly with a loud gasp. His hand flew up to his chest and his breathing heavy. He quickly glances up at the roof of the mine and nothing. No boulder threatening to smash him. Nothing. For the moment, Ikaia was safe. Wong: ::A relieved sigh:: It’s just a dream…. He gave himself a moment or two to calm down as he reached up and touched his face. Sure enough, there was a touch of drool at the corner of his mouth. That was unbecoming. He wiped himself off with the back of his hand and picked up the SIMs beacon he had been using as a makeshift meditation candle. Although, he did have it off just to save power. Ikaia had also picked up the PADD with his playlist on it. Something that would have helped him meditate. Apparently, he had nodded off while listening to it. Ikaia paused for a moment. He had the feeling someone had been watching him. S’Ten: Response. Wong: Ah! Mister S’Ten! Sorry! I wasn’t expecting you. S’Ten: Response. Wong: Well, it’s a Vulcan technique. I went to the Academy with quite a few of them and well, I picked up a few things along the way. S’Ten: Response. Wong: How are you feeling? S’Ten: Response. Wong: Ah. So that’s what brought you by? S’Ten: Response Lieutenant JG Ikaia Wong Physician Assistant USS Veritas V239711IW0
  2. OOC: Same scene as Sucky Situation, different perspective, and just as amusing! IC: ((Main Engineering – Pirate Ship Drowning Band)) Secretary Valeria had never been in a real life threatening emergency before. She had only been in things that seemed life threatening or were merely made-up emergencies. And in general she was cool under fire – but she had a black sense of humor and that was her main coping mechanism when things got extremely crazy. Like right now. Lurtz: Defend with what, dear? We have no weapons, and even if we did, if they are shrunk to scale they may as well be toys. She huffed a bit, but didn’t argue. Drevas: Perhaps the best option is to find somewhere we can hide in or to simply keep moving. I think we should all first try and slow down and get our bearings- Valeria: Slow down or calm down? Did she mean that as a dare? A dig? Maaaaybe. Lurtz: Don’t you -dare- tell me to calm down, this is the second time I have had an event going to absolute pot on that forsaken station. Who do you think you are, with your tongue in cheek mannerisms, to address me like some second rate hotel guest. A snap of my fingers and I can bring down entire economies.. I well… I… She stopped, and her face paled and Valeria’s smug expression of defiance turned to one of concerned panic and action as she dashed forward to ease the matriarch back to safe ground. Drevas: ::stepping forward:: Your Highness? Is everything alright? Valeria: She’s so pale… and so warm. Linn Valeria was not a doctor. She knew the very basics of first aid to keep a scene safe before doctors could arrive. Lurtz: I… I need to sit. I feel very lightheaded… my chest… Drevas helped move Empress Lurtz back to the wall where she slowly slid downwards. Drevas: Over here, Empress. ::gently taking her by the hand and leading her to the wall:: Here, sit and rest. Is there any other way we can help you? She tried to respond, but her eyes rolled back in her head. Linn pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed at the sweat on Lurtz’s brow. Valeria: She fainted. She just dead fainted. Oh no, not dead. Please don’t be dead. Linn wanted to take that back, just in case it actually happened. At least two sets of footsteps distracted her from her self-admonishment as she looked up, expectantly. Maybe the Major and the Ensign could help? Andrews: So what's our plan now? We can't just wait for whatever's next to find us. Drevas: No, we can’t. We need to keep moving. The Empress needs a moment to rest, though. ::glancing back at the room around then, arms folded:: Ishreth Dal was also not a doctor, but as a search and rescue specialist he was a trained first responder, and was well practiced in basic field and combat medicine. He moved immediately to Empress Lurtz side, checking her vitals and loosening her clothing in several key constriction areas. Now he wished he had a medkit. And they had no idea where Doctor Bailey or Doctor Foster were. But he could lessen airway and chest constriction, get her comfortable and keep her warm. Dal: Either I need a medkit, she needs a doctor or both. Where are we perched? He was so busy tending the injured he hadn’t take the time to inspect the new locale. Andrews: We're above their warp core, right? Can't we use that somehow? What if we got down there and did some sabotage? If we could take their warp capability offline, that would be a big help to anyone coming after us, wouldn't it? Drevas: It would be, yes. Maybe if we got enough people standing on shoulders we could reach and operate the console, what do you think? Dal: I think a person-chain would be very dangerous. We’d be better off forming some sort of rope. He hated to admit it, but he silently wondered how many centimeters of rope would Empress Lurtz’s voluminous skirts make? And how bad would things have to get that she would allow that without tanning his hide. Andrews: ::grimacing:: I freely admit I have no kind of experience with this sort of thing. Maybe somebody in our party ::he indicated the civilians:: has some know-how we could use? Drevas: Maybe. Perhaps there’s a- His antennae spun wildly, his head snapping to one side as he searched for the sudden low buzz that filled the air. Dal: Something’s coming… And then there was a shriek as a large hovering metallic device bumbled into view and sucked up one of the partygoers. It made a horrifying schlooorp sound as the person was just sucked into the nozzle and held in a large spherical chamber. Clearly still alive, pounding on the chamber walls and panicking. It turned and sucked up a second civilian as the rest screamed and ran back towards the tunnels. Emblazoned on its side in large gaudy capital letters and Ferengi script was the brand sticker advert: “SUX-U-LUX 5000, THE BEST AUTOMATED SWEEPER PAST ANTARES!” Andrews: Oh, come *on*. Ishreth Dal had fought many battles in his lifetime, but this was clearly the first time he had faced off against an oversized Roomba. Drevas: Complain later! Help me move the Empress – we need to go. Now. Back to the tunnels. It can’t fit in there, can it? Everyone else, back to the tunnel! Now! Ishreth pushed Valeria out ahead Dal: Valeria, get everyone inside. ::He showed Drevas and Andrews how to safely carry Lurtz:: Take her, I’ll bring up the rear. Andrews: ? Herding panicked civilians was no easy task. Two more were schlorped up before the group was pushed, practically jammed into the tunnel Drevas: Who’s still with us? Valeria: It’s your lucky day, I’m still here. We have a head count of fifteen now, down five. The Sux-U-Lux kept mindlessly schloping and sweeping, heedless of the screaming passengers it had inside its belly. Andrews: ? Dal: In one piece. ::A pause, pointing to the drone.:: Its’ on an automated loop, it will come back. Drevas: ::panting:: Now what? Everyone alright? Valeria: That completely depends on your definition of alright. Andrews: ? He poked his head out, tracking the drone and then gasping. Dal: We have help. ::he jabbed a finger forward towards Commander McLaren and Lieutenant Zel.:: Look over there. Andrews/Drevas: ? Dal: That’s the trick, they’ll never hear us above the racket of the sweeper. How do we get their attention? Andrews/Drevas: ? Dal: We can all work together to get the engines on this ship crippled and then hopefully get Empress Lurtz the medical attention she needs. Too bad their micro-surgeon was currently a mini-micro surgeon. Hopefully the ship had brought someone who was good at medicine on such a small scale. Andrews/Drevas: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Commander Ishreth Dal Marine Liaison Officer StarBase 118 Ops
  3. OOC: We're in the middle of a mission where some of the crew and some civilians have been shrunk to about 8cm in height (around 3 inches). Currently, one group is stuck in a shaft near the warp core and there's a vacuum coming after them (pirates kidnapped them and are trying to get them back after they escaped). Here's the situation from one point of view that I just really enjoyed. IC: ((Pirate Ship Drowning Band)) Matthel felt sick to his stomach. Yet another two of their team were gone, one in foolish bravery and one to rescue that one person. Not that he was one to give up easily, mind, but the thought of never seeing them again made him queasy. Thank the Prophets for the empress’ snooty voice, which cut through the momentary haze that clouded his mind: Lurtz: Where is the Andorian man? Drevas: He… went after Isaiah. Er, ensign Andrews, your Highness. Valeria: Oh no, your tasty blue snack of a Commander went back to save your very heroic Mr. Andrews who ran off to save the bravest Gorn of them all. Hopefully at least two of the three will return to us soon? Uh huh. She clearly wasn’t happy about that. Yay for the best answer he could provide – what was he expecting? Agreement? A sympathetic nod and lamentation as to how they might never see them again? Also not that he doubted the empress’ capacity for sympathy or empathy, but still. What was he expecting, eh? Stop it, he told himself. You’re not here to judge her on what she thinks about the situation. You have something bigger to take care of right now. Drevas: They are resourceful people. They’ll find a way. He raised an eyebrow at the fact that somehow or other, despite their circumstances, the archaeologist that’d followed them found it in herself to grin. Not the kind of grin meant to comfort, mind, but an expression of amusement. Yes, somehow or other she found this entire debacle and the impending sense of danger that constantly pressed down on them like a barbell really very amusing. Prophets, why, he asked himself. Why had it been him that was thrust into this situation? Valeria: Please, we’re eight centimeters tall, watching a disco warp drive. What isn’t funny about that? Lurtz: Your lack of professionalism is neither endearing nor wanted. Wow. Okay, then. He turned away for a brief moment, hiding a snicker of amusement. Drevas: With all due respect – I think we should plan our next move here. Valeria: probably finding a safe defensible space is priority number one. So we can regroup and have the actually combat trained people rescues any kidnapped other people? Lurtz: Defend with what, dear? We have no weapons, and even if we did, if they are shrunk to scale they may as well be toys. Drevas: Perhaps the best option is to find somewhere we can hide in or to simply keep moving. I think we should all first try and slow down and get our bearings- Valeria: ? Lurtz: Don’t you -dare- tell me to calm down, this is the second time I have had an event going to absolute pot on that forsaken station. Who do you think you are, with your tongue in cheek mannerisms, to address me like some second rate hotel guest. A snap of my fingers and I can bring down entire economies.. I well… I… Something changed in her demeanor then; a grimace of something which he could’ve sworn was pain. Oh, goodness. Was she having a heart attack? Or could it be another medical issue? Drevas: ::stepping forward:: Your Highness? Is everything alright? Valeria: ? Lurtz: I… I need to sit. I feel very lightheaded… my chest… Good thing they were on a ledge, raised off the floor, in an empty room save the warp core – and the wall itself wasn’t so far away. Drevas: Over here, Empress. ::gently taking her by the hand and leading her to the wall:: Here, sit and rest. Is there any other way we can help you? Valeria: ? Lurtz: ? Footsteps. Footsteps, sounding from inside the passage from which they’d emerged. Had the commander and Isaiah survived? He turned his head, praying to the Prophets for their safe return – but it seemed that they’d pulled the thought of the prayer from his head and answered it already. The two emerged from the tunnel, alive and seemingly quite well. Now that was a relief. He might’ve grinned, leapt a half foot into the air and embraced his friend had their situation not been quite so serious, along with thanking the Prophets of course. He settled for a wave back at Andrews while they convened – at least, for now. Andrews: So what's our plan now? We can't just wait for whatever's next to find us. Drevas: No, we can’t. We need to keep moving. The Empress needs a moment to rest, though. ::glancing back at the room around then, arms folded:: Dal: ? Andrews: We're above their warp core, right? Can't we use that somehow? What if we got down there and did some sabotage? If we could take their warp capability offline, that would be a big help to anyone coming after us, wouldn't it? Drevas: It would be, yes. Maybe if we got enough people standing on shoulders we could reach and operate the console, what do you think? Dal: ? Andrews: ::grimacing:: I freely admit I have no kind of experience with this sort of thing. Maybe somebody in our party ::he indicated the civilians:: has some know-how we could use? Drevas: Maybe. Perhaps there’s a- Dal: ? There was suddenly a shriek -- probably Empress Lurtz -- and the shouting of several voices that prompted the officers to turn quickly. The sight was horrifying. A giant (to them) floating drone that took up nearly the entire shaft with its chassis had (somehow) silently floated up and -- right as they watched -- was sucking up civilians one-by-one, like they were delectable candies. The panicked civilians were running in the direction of the officers, with the drone following behind, vacuuming them as they went, individuals vanishing into an extended tube shaft with a *ssssshhhhhhooooop!* every time another was taken. Prophets know how and why the pirates had somehow preempted their escape and procured this weird device solely for the purpose of recapturing and recontaining them, but they didn’t have time to dwell on that. Andrews: Oh, come *on*. Drevas: Complain later! Help me move the Empress – we need to go. Now. Back to the tunnels. It can’t fit in there, can it? Everyone else, back to the tunnel! Now! Dal/Andrews/Valeria/Lurtz: ? Well, he hoped that it wasn’t, at least. With the assistance of his fellow security officer he lifted the Empress by the arms, apologizing profusely in the process, and began to walk-jog-kinda-sorta-run her back the way they’d came. Thank the civilians for being fast enough, too; they began to run, albeit several degrees more panicky-ly. Hold on, that wasn’t even a word… He would’ve prayed to the Prophets to once again shield them from danger and grant them safe passage through the blah blah blah make it out alive blah. Too bad the sucking noise began to grow louder and louder behind them, interspersed with the swiftly cut off screams and further sickening ‘shhhhooop!’ noises of those taken disrupted that. All he could do was keep moving and moving.. Drevas: Who’s still with us? Dal/Andrews/Valeria/Lurtz: ? The more significant members of the party, it seemed. So far so good – but they weren’t safe, far from it. One of the civilians latched the opening shut as soon as they disappeared through, leaving the drone to hover outside with its sucking mechanism vibrating the floor and walls round them with a deafening ‘vwooooop’. Drevas: ::panting:: Now what? Everyone alright? Dal/Andrews/Valeria/Lurtz: ? Ensign Drevas Matthel Security Officer Starbase 118 - USS Narendra O239706DM0
  4. And now, for an entirely different kind of Sandwich... (( Hamsan & Sirin’s Quarters, Deck 4, USS Resolution )) Dwich hated the chair he was sitting in. It was awkward and made him feel like he was leaning halfway back to the floor, with nowhere to put his legs or rest his arms. After Dr. Genkos Adea’s experimental treatment failed to produce any results, he had taken some additional scans and sent Dwich home. Home. These quarters, which he’d never seen before today, were his. And Meidra’s. He felt like an interloper, having been given access to a stranger’s residence. The idea that he’d be sent back to the quarters he shared with a woman he’d never met before today struck him as a tad inappropriate, for both of them. He wondered whether the familiar setting was by design, to shock his system with the comforts of home and “fix” him. He didn’t like it. Everyone he had encountered on this ship so far made it seem like it was just a failure of memory, an amnesia from which he would one day awaken. That wasn’t it. He wasn’t the person they were looking for. He wasn’t their Hamsan Dwich. But, he did have their Hamsan Dwich’s DNA and voiceprint, which gave him access to the library computer and allowed him to read up on himself. It was fascinating reading, and after scanning his biography in detail, Dwich was able to pinpoint the exact moment when they went from being the same person, to diverging. In the summer of 2388, Dwich was just 19 years old, spending his fifth summer in a row living and working with the ranjens at Kaiett Monastery. At the end of his stay, he was told that his pagh was meant to walk this path, and he was welcomed into the brotherhood of the faithful. He had remained on the property ever since, a decade of study and meditation and prayer, of devoting his life to the service of the Prophets. The other Dwich had not been so lucky. Evidently, even though they were the same person, the other Dwich’s pagh was not meant for a life of religious contemplation, and he was sent away from the Monastery, never to return. After a period of drifting, working various odd jobs in tourist traps all across the Quadrant, he had somehow ended up on Earth’s moon, working at a hospital before beginning a career in Starfleet. After arriving on Resolution, he met Meidra Sirin and the two began a relationship. They dated, they fell in love, they moved in together. She even broke his arm once. Dwich was processing all of this when the doors opened and Meidra entered their shared living space. He had helped many people deal with their grief, and he could tell that Meidra was still in the “not handling it well” phase. She put on a smile and greeted him, her pleasant tone of voice an ill-fitting mask. Sirin: How are you feeling? Hamsan: As well as can be expected. ::beat:: I know this must be difficult for you. Dr. Adea sent me here, but I can easily go somewhere else if–– Sirin: No, these are still your quarters unless you intend to see Lieutenant Yalu to be reassigned. There is another bedroom on the other side of our bathroom. I can move into that one and you’ll have your privacy. Dwich resisted the urge to shake his head. These are still your quarters. Everyone was still expecting him to awaken from this ordeal, as if it were a dream. It was more like a nightmare. Dwich had spent his entire adult life studying the words of the Prophets, but there was nothing he could think of that would soothe the pain she was feeling. The silence needed to be filled with something, and Dwich could only form an apology. Hamsan: Meidra, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I don’t know you. And I’m sorry that Dwich, your Dwich, isn’t here. Dwich’s apology was sincere, but it also served a secondary, more calculated purpose: he felt a responsibility to himself not to be bound by the expectation to be everyone else’s Hamsan Dwich. Yes, they had been the same person up to a point, but after a decade of diverging paths and paghs, they were completely different individuals. Even if he tried, every day for the rest of his life, he could never be Meidra’s Hamsan Dwich. Sirin: I’ll be around if you would like to talk, but forgive me. I need to meditate before this headache makes me ill. Meidra moved quickly away, saying nothing more, and Dwich knelt on the floor to pray for guidance as the soft sounds of a stranger crying in the next room carried over the stale, recycled air. End scene for Hamsan PNPC Vedek Hamsan Dwich Vedek, Kaiett Monastery Dakhur Province, Bajor simmed by Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145
  5. Ensign Vossti frequently posts these little letters to people her academy buddy, and I have really enjoyed reading them. Keep up the great work, Doctor! ----- To Ensign Navoth, c/o USS Wyoming, The first ship I remember living on was the Ruby Star II. Then when it was retired in 238312, my family along with almost everyone else I knew moved over to the Crystal Star III. They were both civilian passenger liners which ran a regular route from Betazed to Starbase 12 to Risa and then back to Betazed. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time at the two planets, but there was some difference of opinion about Starbase 12. My parents were never all that fond of the starbase and I don't remember them looking forward to anything to do with the place except for a single human restaurant called The Poutine Experience. It took me a long time to figure out why my folks were so nonplussed about Starbase 12, but when I was about thirteen years old, I decided to find out. The three of us were in The Poutine Experience one day; we had ordered and were waiting for our food to be delivered, and I could feel the low, subtle emotional tension in my parents, so I asked them what was wrong. My mother projected her answer directly into my mind: “Open your eyes, Mallora. Resio isn't here today.” At my confusion, she clarified, “Resio, the only Betazoid server in this restaurant? Haven't you noticed that there aren't any other Betazoids on this gods-forsaken starbase?” I guess I hadn't noticed that before, but when I looked around, I could see that it was apparently true. There were lots of Humans and Vulcans and Tellarites and Andorians and Risians, but I couldn't spot any Betazoids. That revelation stuck with me and bothered me since almost 25% of the crew of the Crystal Star III were Betazoids. The following month when the ship returned to Starbase 12, I went onto the station on my own to explore. I didn't see any Betazoids then either, but I was caught by a Risian security crewman when I was sneaking around in a crew only area. He was far kinder than I expected a Starfleet security guard to be, so I mustered up my courage and asked him why there were no Betazoids on the starbase. “Who told you that?” he asked with a chuckle. “Of course there are Betazoids here; there just don't happen to be any in the operations division. I think most of them are in sciences or medical. I think there's also a Betazoid ensign down in engineering. Do you want to meet one?” I could feel his honesty and good humor, so I went with him to one of the science labs that day. I met two Betazoids who were working on a botany project of some kind, and they were kind enough to answer my ignorant teenage questions. When I returned to the Crystal Star that evening, I realized that there was a rift beginning to form between my parents and myself. I was reminded of all this because there is no shortage of Betazoids on the USS Gorkon. It is a very diverse ship, but I'd guess that close to 10% of the personnel aboard the ship are Betazoids, an a similarly healthy percent are Vulcans. My first reaction to this was abject joy, but then I started wondering where that emotion came from, and that led me to recall my experience on Starbase 12. I hope that you are finding your work on the USS Wyoming fulfilling and your coworkers eager and companionable. Your friend always, Ensign Mallora Vossti ---- Ensign Mallora Vossti Junior Medical Officer USS Gorkon G239805MV4
  6. @German Galven I wanted to post this sim here because it shows a great deal of willingness to improve and translate others descriptions and actions into those of your own, from your own character's point of view. Keep up the great work, always love reading sims from German. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ((Pirate Ship Drowning Band - Captain Farrow’s Quarters)) Bailey: Now about that plan. I was thinking we could use our own momentum to knock this container over and pop the lid off. Unless you actually wanted to stay. Galven: I think not staying would be ideal. A. Harper: Could not agree more, I don’t see any other option. Galven: Would it be better if I stood here and then I can lift one of you on my shoulders, then the other climbs up the two of us? A. Harper: That makes sense, hitting the top of the cage should have more of the effect we want. Galven: ::glancing upward to survey the situation:: The top of the box is still pretty high up there. ::sets his hands on both sides of himself:: I'm not sure if the three of us would still be able to make it up there. Bailey: Response A Harper: Galven I think you’re strongest, you think you can climb on us? Galven: ::scratches his ridged chin:: Perhaps, but there's still a lot of distance from where I'd be. A Harper: Shiela do you think can help hold his weight, we don’t want to cause you any injury. Bailey: Response German was so focused on the task at hand and listening to the others when all of a sudden the cage they were in rattled a bit. Falling over the force of the small quake, German expected the worst as he turned towards his attention over the direction of a faint sound. Galven: What was that? Did anyone else hear something? Bailey/A. Harper: Response Another sound came from outside the box. He didn't know what or who it might’ve belonged to, but it was very animalistic. Galven: Such a strange animal. Bailey/A. Harper: Response What happened next was so random that even German was caught by bewilderment and surprise since he was usually the most random person in the science department. Something launched itself at beneath the box, then darted back as the box only settled right side up once more. As all this was happening, German grabbed Sheila and put her over his shoulder awkwardly, then held out his other hand for Alex to take, and ran to the other side of the box to grab hold of anything sturdy. When the bottom was lifted among the commotion, the box tumbled onto its side. German wrapped both arms around Sheila and Alex, falling on his back so they wouldn't get hurt. Galven: Yo ho! A pirate’s life for us in these crazy waters! Bailey/A. Harper: Response Once the fiasco settled down, German let go of the others and tried to regain control, noticing movement again to the other side of the box. He was worried whatever was happening might do more harm to them. He saw a head push through a gap, causing the lid to finally fall off the box. Sachiko sat down and curled her tail around her, the tip slowly lifting then dropping, her eyes closed into thin slits, and purred. Galven: Well, looks like we don't have to climb out the top now. Are you guys okay? Bailey/A. Harper: Response Galven: ::to Sachiko:: Could you give us a warning next time you're about to do something like that again? Sachiko: Response Galven: You've got to be kitten me right meow. ::smirks:: Bailey/A. Harper: Response Galven: Let's get out of this box now. I'm not sure if we should ride Sachiko again or not. Who knows what she'll do. Bailey/A. Harper/Sachiko: Response ---- Ensign German Galven Science Officer StarBase Ops V239507GG0
  7. (OOC: @Alvarez is going on a LOA for a few months, but I wanted to show my appreciation for writing this JP with me. It was lots of fun. I hope you all enjoy it.) ((Gymnasium, Deck 2, USS Arrow)) Serinus: Let's step right over there. ::Nodding towards an empty mat:: Maria let a small smile form. If nothing else, this encounter would certainly be an interesting one. She couldn’t help but feel like Serinus was a bit of an impregnable monolith in terms of personality. Perhaps meeting him on his own terms, she’d get some kind of insight. Alvarez: Sure thing. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got. The pair of them walked over to the empty mat. Artinus squared up and gazed across at Ensign Maria Alvarez, waiting for her to do the same. Then the dance as it were, began, as he started to circle. Maria carefully re-bound her hands, cautious to keep her hands protected, and made fully certain her hair was secure. But she didn’t let the idle adjustment go to waste. She kept a careful eye on Artinus, her mock opponent, mindful of gait, posture, and poise as if evaluating a stranger on the dance floor - her true comfort zone. Finally, she settled into a comfortable posture: lowered center of gravity, high hands, but not committed to any one style. Not until she had a sense of what she was dealing with. With the chief of security playing the role of the instructor, she threw the first cautious jab. She was probing his defenses, but he was likewise probing her offense. He stayed out of her range with some effort, before counter-attacking with some probing jabs of his own. He was more interested in getting a feel of her movement patterns at this point than landing one. Maria was hardly slow, but she struggled to find a way to gain any purchase in Serinus’ well-practiced defense. She figured that was just as well, since the point was to find a way to improve. She made a tiny adjustment in her stance, and tried a new combination of strikes. As he dodged and blocked the latest blows, he stepped in even closer, past her striking range, preparing to engage in the grapple, his specialty. Maria felt the change in spacing between them even before she saw it, and found instinct helping her melt out of the way with surprising delicacy. She flashed a white smile. Alvarez: Almost had me there. She certainly had the footwork down, but he had seen how she had held her own quite well, for a while at least, against Ghant. Serinus: You do fight like a dancer. Alvarez: Aww, thanks! You fight like a damn computer… She cautiously let the range close again. This time she chose to mix in a sprinkling of longer-range strikes to see if the reach those moves gave her would help connect a blow. Serinus: You say that as if it were a bad thing. Alvarez: It’s annoying is what it is. But I suppose you’ve been doing this a lot longer than me. He had been. He had started wrestling at the tender age of four or five, his parents finding that the sport took the boy boy’s mind off of the newly gaping hole in his life. Serinus: As much as a fight has in common with a dance, it’s even more like 3D chess. Plan, anticipate, goad, direct, misdirect. Always be five steps ahead. It was good to think like a chess champion, or a computer, as it were. He pressed his advantage, feinted retreat, then hooked her ribs when she took the bait, quickly resetting to a defensive stance. Maria found herself on the defensive again, this time raw intuition not operating quite fast enough against Serinus’ honed skills. She opened the gap and nursed a painful bruise for only a fleeting second. She’d had far worse. Alvarez: Damn! :: She wiped her hand. :: Just how much practice do you have at this anyway? She made another adjustment to her stance, and made a mental note to pay more attention to Serinus’ left shoulder. She could have caught that one if she’d been looking for it. She started in again, looking for the rhythm to the combat they were locked in. Serinus: As far as striking, I picked most of that up at the Academy. But I’ve been wrestling since I was a very young boy. My real advantage here is situational awareness, and the tendency to plan. And, if it were most anyone else, conditioning. If another soul on the Arrow had a similar amount of stamina, endurance, balance, and flexibility to either of them, their name certainly was not coming to his mind at the moment. Artinus circled around slowly, and deliberately, dipping in and out, and changing course when needed until it happened. Serinus: ::flatly:: You see, I’ve herded you onto the corner of the mat. ::break:: Let’s reset. Maria’s eyes shot to her surroundings and scowled. She knew better than to be herded like that, but she’d gotten caught up thinking about Serinus’ response. Her problem wasn’t lack of planning, but more often not following through on that plan as intended. She wasn’t totally convinced her situation was untenable, but there was little reason to argue when she knew she could do better. Alvarez: Well I guess I take it as a compliment it took long enough to get stuck back here. :: She smirked. :: The Security Chief strode back to the middle of the mat and reset once more. Once Maria had done the same he counted down. Serinus: In 3, 2, 1. Go. Maria settled back into a neutral stance and began again. She did her best not to let Artinus’ veiled pride in his superior skills irritate her, but it did serve as something of motivation to improve. Alvarez: Right - don’t go easy on me now… She opened up with a slight modification in pattern, keeping her positioning options more open this time. It was somewhat uncharacteristically conservative for her, but she had the sneaking sense she was about to learn a new trick or two. He threw another hook, very purposefully telegraphed. He knew most of the common blocks and evasions, and was interested to see which one she would utilize. He had handcapped himself thus far by sticking with the back and forth exchange of strikes, but it was time to show off a bit. Whatever her response, he knew exactly how to transfer into a grapple. Maria found herself on the floor, sprawling in an attempt to keep any semblance of control on the situation. The entanglement was hardly a surprise, but she struggled to respond against Artinus’ practice and skill. To her credit, the downward spiral to defeat didn’t spin out of control as fast as she’d expected. Finally, she tapped out when the outcome was obvious. Serinus: You gave it a good go. Alvarez: Well, that was hardly unexpected. But the point of this wasn’t to win, the point was to learn. She shook her limbs out and readied herself again. She smiled despite the situation. Alvarez: Alright, alright. :: beat. :: Again. The Security Chief pulled away and offered a hand up, before going back to the center of the mat and resetting. Serinus: Ready when you are. Maria forced herself to relax and not let her attention wander or focus on any one thing too much. Sparring Serinus was almost like trying to meditate. She didn’t particularly enjoy meditation either, however useful it was. Alvarez: You know what the problem is with fighting like a computer is, right? Someone as famously, or infamously stubborn as Maria Alvarez must have an ego to back it up with, and perhaps a witty riposte would be just what he needed to throw her off of her game. Serinus: Not off of the top of my head, but I'm sure that you'll tell me. Maria let the flow of the fight continue, not seeking any particular advantage, hoping to see where Serinus would take her. She worked to keep her breath settled, in case she’d need it later. Alvarez: There’s always a boundary to the program. You just have to find it… Serinus: We'll see. It was never a good idea to underestimate one's opponent. Not on her end, and he certainly would not allow himself the same error. However, the sparring mat took away some of the complexity of actual combat, namely concerns of wildly variable terrain, along with the fact that one’s partner wasn't trying to kill them. Allowing him to focus on the limited movement and positional capabilities of the standard humanoid body type. Artinus stepped in quickly, and locked up. This time she slid into the grapple, allowing it to happen around her. At the critical moment, she wound together a technique inspired by the unlikely combination of jiu jitsu and mok’bara to reverse the advantage. In a flash, she nearly had him in a submission hold. It was an unconventional combo, a hard swatting block into a standing arm drag, threatening to pull him under. The much taller of the two winced for a second then squatted low, setting his weight against the downward momentum, bracing himself as his attacker took them both closer to the mat. With a low center of gravity, he turned into his attacker and used his free arm to rip her grip away. In a fluid, predatory sweep his arms flew outward, pinning her wrists as he positioned his torso, sitting on her abdomen to pin her hips. Once he distributed his weight properly, it was all about waiting, unless she were able to roll out. He, of course, was already planning for that contingency. Maria shot an incongruous doe-eyed look at him, then laughed. She knew perfectly well the situation she was in: in a real fight, it may have been retrievable, but the gambit was over without risking serious harm to herself or Serinus. Alvarez: You’d love it if I tried to roll out, wouldn’t you? He nodded and disengaged standing and backing away. He leaned down offering a hand up to the Ensign. She took it and rebounded back up to her feet. Alvarez: Almost got you at your own game there, too. :: She gave him a squinty grin. :: Maybe next time. Serinus: Very clever. Was that a Mok'Bara block? Alvarez: Indeed. Dance isn’t the same as it was hundreds of years ago. You have to study all kinds of movement, from all kinds of cultures. Makes for a much more dynamic and capable dancer. :: Beat. :: And person... Serinus: I've read more about Mok'Bara than practiced it. Some Terran commentator called it Klingon Tai Chi, Dat'r, son of Gur, a pretty important Klingon Martial Arts master in turn called Tai Chi Cowardly old man Mok'bara. ::He cracked the slightest grin at this joke.:: Maria laughed in reply - that sounded like a Klingon thing to say if ever there was one. Before the woman could reply, he heard his combadge ring out. Ops:=/\= Ops to Commander Serinus. =/\= Serinus: One second. Artinus quick-walked to his gym bag and rang the device. Serinus: =/\= Go ahead Ops. =/\= Ops: =/\= Yes sir, you have an incoming subspace call. =/\= Serinus: =/\= Thank you Ops, I'll take it in my quarters in five. =/\= He looked up from the bag and back toward Ensign Alvarez. Then he slung the bag over his shoulder and walked her way. Serinus: Thanks so much, it was the best sparring match I've had in a while. Really kept me on my toes. ::He gave another slight, wholly professional this time, smile.:: Alvarez: Of course. Happy to provide a challenge. We’ll have to do this again sometime - no way to get better without some bruises. With that, the Magna Roman started towards his quarters so that he could see to this call of his. More importantly, he left with enough time to ponder the contradictory enigma of one Maria Alvarez. Competent in many ways, but complacent in others. Seemingly wise one moment, foolhardy the next. Maria popped a [...]eyed grin as Serinus left, and she returned to practicing on her own. She pondered the stoic security chief. For the list of commonalities they shared on paper, they were maybe the most dissimilar people on the whole ship. She wondered if there was something underneath all that seriousness, or if it struck all the way to his core. NT/End - Lieutenant Commander Artinus Serinus Chief of Security USS Arrow, NCC-69829 Publicity Team/Social Media Team C239607AS0 - And: Ensign Maria Alvarez Ops Officer, USS Arrow A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  8. @Tatash, this was so beautiful I was crying. Or...laughing so hard I was crying...:-D ((Smeagle the Pirates Quarters -- Effie's Section)) Effie: I don't think he should get anything after what he did. It was a fair point at least. He wasn’t remorseful about it either, despite being in those pudgy and strangely sticky fingers. He was not trained to be a child carer, and all this situation was doing was intensifying his hatred of the snot nosed little runts. Blackwell: - yes. Does your ship have a replicator? Effie: Yeah, we do. But I'm not supposed to touch it. Tatash: But.. Hnggh.. ::he struggled in that grip:: all the most… fun things are naughty. Blackwell:::she sympathized:: Weelllllllll…. I can understand it...but if you like.., ::She said gently:: I can help you with the measurements, that way we know the clothes will fit perfectly. Yael: ::loudly again, playing along so Effie would hear him:: You know, I *could* use a new suit. This jacket’s gotten dirty. Traitors. The pair of them, absolute traitors. Bad children needed scolding, not coddling and placating. He thought back to when he was a child, his backside suddenly stinging with a phantom pain. Proper discipline. Effie: I don't know...my dad is really really strict about not going places on the ship without asking. Tatash: I’m sure… he won’t mind… Blackwell: I do actually do some sewing, and knitting, and art things...so...I should be able to help ::And she glanced to Yael and Tatash to play along:: Even balancing at this precarious angle, Tatash could fix Blackwell with a look that was the equivalent of a verbal sigh. Fine. If that’s what it would take. Yael: If you could get us access to the replicator, we could help you make a completely new collection. ::calling up to their captured crewmate in an insistently friendly tone:: And Tatash PROMISES he won’t burn the new ones! DON’T you, Tatash? All he could elicit was an annoyed grumble from somewhere in his throat. Tatash: Oh… absolutely…. Can’t wait. Effie: You'd better not do that ever again. Blackwell: I’m sure we can avoid that happening again. Yael: ::still loudly for Effie to hear:: He's a good guy! He's just *grumpy* because he's not had any lunch! Let's get him something to snack on, okay? The first thing he was going to do when he was back to normal size was tan this young girls hide. The second would be tanning Yaels to match. Tatash: Oh yes… so grumpy… If his teeth could grit anymore, they would shatter into tiny little Gorn shards. Grumpy was an understatement, utterly incredulous about how he was having to act to amuse a pirates satanic off spawn was more about right. Blackwell: And then we can talk about outfits..::she offered:: Effie: No. No. No. We can't go play with the replicator. I'll get in trouble and they'll take you all away from me. But don't worry, I know where we can get new clothes! But first… Tatash was carried away, still clutched in that mitt, faced with an angry little sausage waggling at him again clutching some sort of tape. Effie: You were *bad*, Mr. Lizard, so I have to make sure you behave this time. Oh no. He couldn’t do anything to resist as that tape started to wrap around him, even when full size that sort of tape was used for holding wires together and had a strength that held most old starships together. There wasn’t even any point in trying to struggle. Blackwell: Wait, Effie, what are you doing? ::She called:: Tatash: Not.. so tight… Effie Yael: ? By the time he was plopped back down in the lunchbox all he could do was wiggle a little like a sausage on a frying pan, his yellow eyes glowering with a firey rage. Effie: There! If you're feeling grumpy, Mr. Lizard, you can eat something. You're supposed to eat anyhow. Now! I have something that will help us so we can still play! Tatash couldn’t see what was coming next, but he could at least still hear the others. Blackwell: What do you have there Effie? Yael: ? Effie: My daddy brought this back for me! Let me show you how it works! A new toy? He grunted as he was lifted up again, wiggling his feet slightly in a vague attempt to resist. Blackwell: Effie, what does this do exactly? Tatash: What the hell is happening... Yael: ? Effie: It won't hurt at all! Just hold still, okay? He was lowered again into some machine, spindly arms spinning wildly around him with a mechanical hum as something was… wrapped around him, threads, tiny threads weaving and creating until he felt the gentle, soft fabric pressed against his neck. What was it, what was it that had happened. He tried to move his neck down and look, but the tape made it impossible. Blackwell: Effie! That’s wonderful. ::She was not talking about the Dress, staring at the device:: Tatash: What? What’s wonderful? What’s she done to me? Yael: ? Perhaps it was better that he was placed back into the lunchbox, considering the words that were on the tip of his tongue that were certainly not suitable for a young audience. Effie: It worked! It worked! Yay! ::She looked at the woman and the purple man.:: Who wants to go next? Blackwell: Well, Yael’s outfit is so dirty. Could you maybe try it on him and let me watch? Yael: ? Blackwell: Oh I just love how interesting that toy is. I didn’t have one like it when I was a child. Yael: ? While the others continued he did what he could, leaning his head down to nip at the corner of the tape near his neck, pulling at it with his teeth experimentally before gagging as he got a mouth full of foul tasting adhesive. Blackwell: I did have a dollhouse, but and dolls with clothes, but nothing like this. ::She smiled:: When did your father get this for you? Again he tugged at it, forcing himself to tear a little, then a little more. It was enough to loosen up his right shoulder, enough to start to shimmy it off just enough to work on getting that arm free. Yael/Effie: ? Blackwell: Well, Yael does look good in Purple. Finally, he managed to pull, yank, twist his right arm free leaving him able to work on the other. His scales, thankfully non porous, at least giving him a slight advantage in freeing himself up from that tape even if most of it still clung to him. He looked down over himself, pushing his arms through the holes, only now suddenly realising exactly what he was wearing. A dress. A pretty dress. Fine. That, he could deal with, but blue on green was a decidedly disgusting colour choice. That offended him far more. Tatash: Oh wow I bet it could make us… all kinds of accessories too! Maybe a matching handbag or heels for me, that would be swell! Please don’t make those items, he thought to himself. But if it can make that sort of thing, it could theoretically make far more with the right buttons pressed. Yael/Effie ? Blackwell: That is perfect Again he was grabbed and pulled out, making a point of keeping his arms by his side hopefully unnoticed. He stood as proudly as a veteran Gorn could, while wearing a stunning blue gown. Blackwell/Yael/Effie: ? Tatash: Yes, I know I’m pretty. Hey Effie, you know what would be fun? You should give him a makeover! Oh wow I bet you have all sorts of grown up makeup. He pointed a finger to Yael. A cruel, damning claw, condemning him to a face full of lipstick and terrible foundation. That’ll teach you to laugh at my dress. He looked at the other too as Effie wandered off to no doubt find the instruments of torture. Tatash: What’s the plan? Blackwell/Yael: ? Tatash nodded, lifting up the hem of his dress with both hands to take a few steps closer. He didn’t want to risk fraying the edge of course. He might fall over. Tatash: Alright. I’m not going to do anything to harm the girl, even if she’s absolutely awful. That means we need to distract her when we make our get away. What you thinking of using that dress-o-matic thing for? Blackwell/Yael: ? Tatash: Back when we were in the cargo bay, there was a pet, some sort of Lizard running around causing havoc with the guests. Bet if we could lure that here somehow, Effie would have to deal with it. Maybe its hers, maybe it’s someone elses but kids love small animals. Blackwell/Yael: ? --- Major Tatash Military Intelligence Starbase 118 Ops C239108T10
  9. OK, I couldn't let out the second part of the "Ham Sandwich" situation that T'Lea created for Wyss. Beat you again Doc Oh and no relation to the Dwich from the Res IC (( USS Grace Hopper - Sickbay, Deck 10)) Walked back to the bio bed, Wyss didn’t want to let go of Indobri’s helpful arms, but eventually was pried free. She flopped back on the bed, and got all glassy eyed about something thoughtful and warming. Wyss: Hey, Karise? Indobri: Mmm? Wyss: I might puke little. Indobri: You puke in my sickbay … well, it’s not my sickbay. :: turning to the nurse :: We need a puke tray here. I’ll get her a dose of promethazine. Nurse: Yes, Doctor. Over the next little while sleep took hold, and Wyss dreamed about many things, one of which was eating a ham sandwich. ((Dreamscape)) Nyka sat on her bed with a giant ham sandwich sleeping next to her. It was everything she wanted in a ham sandwich. Soft rye bread with a crusty, chewy top. Mayonnaise lathered between the slices. Golden cheese peeking out of the corners. And it was piled high with thin slices honey smoked ham. The sandwich slumbered and softly snored in the more adorable way. Flaps of bread fluttered with each purr of sleep. It looked so peaceful, so sweet and so very, very delicious. Rolling onto her side, the Red Head delicately caressed her hand across the spongy bread, and then dipped a finger in the mayo for a taste. Wyss: Mm… I could just eat you up. With a scoot closer she leaned in for a bite. Ham Sandwich: Um. Excuse me? What do you think you’re doing? Wyss jerked back on the mattress and her eyes popped open wide. The lips of the bread moved like a mouth and the thick layer of ham waved like a silky tongue. Wyss: Holy snikes! What the- Ham Sandwich: You were going to eat me weren’t you? Eat me in my sleep, without my permission. Wyss: N-n-n..nyes. Ham Sandwich: I told you already. You can’t have me. I don’t want you in that way. We’re just friends. Friends don’t eat friends. Got it? Its breath even smelled good, she thought. Ham Sandwich: Stop smelling my breath. I just woke up. I haven’t had time to gargle with mustard. Wyss: But I don’t like mustard on my ham. Its too spicy. The giant ham sandwich bent its bread-body upright towering over the small Red Head. It’s short cheese arms smartly landed on its mayo hips. Ham Sandwich: How dare you! Stop trying to change me. I will always have mustard, and you’d be better off just accepting that and moving on. There’s a nice bologna on white that lives two doors down. Why don’t you try eating him. You like mustard on bologna don’t you? Wyss: Yes. But I want ham. Ham Sandwich: But you can’t have ham. Didn’t I make that clear? Ham is not for you! Suddenly the giant Ham Sandwich turned angry, and then opened its bread-mouth and devoured Wyss right where she sat. She screamed and fought against the powerful ham tongue and cheese arms, but it was no use. ((Sickbay)) With a yell of fear, and a sharp gasp, Wyss awoke to the bright lights of sickbay. Her eyes darted around until she realized that she was safe and had not been gobbled alive by luncheon meat. However, on the side table was a covered dish. She glared at it suspiciously, eyes narrowing like she was about to go into battle. Flexing her fingers outward she reached for the cover and lifted the lid off the plate. Ham Sandwich: NOT FOR YOU!! The small sandwich leapt off the plate and attacked her neck. She swatted and wrestled with it, and then fell off the bio-bed. ((End Dreamscape)) ((Sickbay – No, Seriously, For Real This Time)) With a loud, hard thump, Wyss was on the floor of sickbay, awaking to a dull pain in her rear and shoulder. Wyss: Ow. She glanced around, but Karise was gone. END PNPC Lieutenant JG Nyka Wyss Engineering Officer USS Grace Hopper simmed by Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Historian/Archaeology Specialist USS Juneau Author ID I238301T10
  10. OOC: @Geoffrey Teller must be loosing it. He's naming plasma eddies. 😄 ((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Thor - Two Hours and Nine Minutes Later)) Hunching forward in the Captain's seat Geoff Teller's eye was twitching again. He'd been staring at the viewscreen for so long now he'd practically named every random band of colorful energy currently encircling the ship as he tried to tease detail from the images the vastly more sophisticated and accurate sensors somehow missed. Harold, a large shimmering column of plasma and radiation, was currently gyrating just slightly off the port bow and Fernando, that small pink rascal, was drifting diagonally across his field of view. At several points Geoff had been reasonably convinced they were mocking him, intentionally shielding the Nashira from their view in a form of subspace pettiness known only to an unfortunate few. With a hand that was vibrating slightly from either too little or too much caffeine, Geoff Teller tapped at the controls and resumed recording an overdue ships log. //Ships Log, Supplemental, Stardate 239808.19, Cmdr. Geoffrey Teller reporting. ...The Thor has been effectively navigating the storms edge for the last several hours and while the ride has by no means been comfortable, our shields have held strong and we are in position to spring our little trap on the Nashira. As this exercise was intended to evaluate crew performance in non-ideal conditions, I must take a moment to offer commendations for Lt. Jg. Reid and Lt. Jg. Richards, both of whom have performed their duties with the professionalism and creativity of officers with far more experience. I'm also quickly coming to respect the abilities of our new Engineering officer Ensign Rocheford. While I'm certain the next few hours will be a test for ship and crew I'm extremely confident in both. I'm certain we'll honor the Thor's proud legacy. And I'm going to get that damn lawn dart if it's the last thing I god da....wait is this still transcribing.... //End Log The ship jolted slightly as another plasma front shifted and grazed their shields. Teller shook his head in mock frustration at Gertrude, who was being pushy yet again. A few minor warning indicators appeared on the status display to his left and Geoff decided to break the heavy silence. Teller: Status report? How're the shields holding up, Lt. Richards? Richards: Response Geoff smiled and turned in his chair. Teller: Excellent, let me know if it becomes a problem. Lt. Reid, how's the storm? Dissipating along your projected curve? Richards/Reid: Response Both officers had been largely unknown to him prior to this last mission and now Geoff was confident they were both capable and reliable colleagues, more than fit for the task at hand. It renewed his confidence in their plan of action and their hopes for success. Teller: Understood, update the helm if you think we need to move to a new position but keep an eye on those sensors. The minute we can get a peak outside the storm I want to know. Reid: Response Teller: Very well. Ensign Rocheford, what's the status of the EPS grid and the impulse engines? If we detect the Nashira has taken the bait I want to move in as quickly as possible. Rocheford: Response Teller: That's correct. Our hope is that the Nashira mistakes our disguised fighter for the weapons platform they've been trying to make off with. If they grab the fighter in a tractor beam that'll be our signal to pop out and hit them with everything we've got. If they're disabled they can't make it out of the system, and we win. Rocheford: Responses Geoff found himself regarding the young engineer with something like sentimental fondness. He'd been in that young mans position once, tossed into a dynamic situation and forced to push himself far beyond what he thought was capable. He hoped Mr. Rocheford enjoyed the experience as much. Teller: Don't worry Mr. Rocheford, the weapon hits are simulated but the computer will make the damage 'seem' real, down to the overloading eps conduits and the disabled systems. With any luck we'll get their engines in our opening salvo and it'll be over in the first few seconds. Rocheford: Response Geoff smiled and turned his attention back to the viewscreen. Several of his new friends, like Lloyd, Fredrick and Harriet, were beginning to dissipate visibly and Teller could swear he saw faint snatches of clear space beyond. Their moment was rapidly approaching. Teller: Lt. Reid, is that what I think it is? Rocheford/Richards/Reid: Response Tags/TBC! =============================== Commander Geoffrey Teller Executive Officer USS Thor - NCC 82607 Commodore A. Kells, Commanding V239509GT0
  11. Another awesome piece in the saga. Super in love with how Justin captures lightning on the page with the confusion of the moment. 💙 (( Vedek Hamsan’s cottage, Dahkur Province, Bajor )) Dwich had never been more disengaged from evening services, and as he walked back to his cottage under the orange and purple evening sky, he’d never felt more disconnected from the Prophets. Preoccupied by the unexpected arrival of a woman from another time and place, Dwich sat at his desk and struggled to thumb through a selection of his favorite prophecies, hoping his attention would divinely be drawn to a passage that would help him make sense of it all. There was nothing. Dwich’s experience, and his growing problem, was completely outside the realm of what Bajoran religion could counsel. He turned the desk lamp off and sat back in his desk chair, the moonlight of Derna and Jeraddo casting a pale grey glow through the open window. With nothing more to say or do, just a deep feeling of unease that needed to be worked through with prayer and rest, Dwich unfastened the top of his robes and—— (( Sickbay, Deck 2, USS Resolution )) ——stood in the doorway of a completely unfamiliar place. Adea: ::muttering as he got up and left his office:: Will this never end? Dwich looked down at himself; his vestments were gone, replaced with a Starfleet uniform. A set of double doors started closing on him, and he stepped forward lithely to avoid them. He was in a medical facility of some kind, small but well appointed. The man who spoke first had distinctly dark eyes, a trademark of Betazoids, if Dwich remembered correctly, and he sprung into action to administer care to a seriously ill Bolian. Adea: I take it that you didn’t get on with our Q friend? Hamsan: I— ::beat:: I don’t know. Sirin: ::stares at Dwich:: I - um, not sure what happened. The voice from behind him was familiar. Dwich turned round to see the woman from his hallucination, standing before him in the flesh and real as could be. It was clear that the Betazoid and Dwich’s ghostly visitor knew each other, and they were all wearing the same uniform as he. He pinched his forehead in the space directly above his eyebrows, feeling suddenly twice as confused as he had been in the silence and security of his cottage. Nusin: No. Not this time. Let me go, Doctor. You and I both know you can’t save me. Dwich had no idea what had happened to the Bolian, but from the look of things, they weren’t going to last long. The cleric looked at the Vulcan, then the Betazoid, and recognized that everyone in the room needed pastoral care now. He took up position on the opposite side of the biobed from the doctor, and held the dying Bolian’s hand. Adea: But I can be there for you. Always. Hamsan: The Prophets teach us that all our times are in Their hands. ::beat:: Prophets, hear our prayer as you await the arrival of this one’s pagh. Comfort them and welcome them into the Celestial Temple, and to your everlasting care. Dwich squeezed the Bolian’s hand as one monitor after another sounded. In quick succession, they fell silent once again, and Dwich felt the hand he held go slack. There was little else to do but rest it back on the bed, and allow for a moment of respectful silence. The pastoral care of those who were present became his concern now, so Dwich crossed over to the Betazoid doctor and put an arm around his shoulder. Sirin: ::to Genkos:: Doctor, I think that CloQ gave us the answer when I first met him. As crazy as it sounds, we can stop this, but we have to stop trying to escape. Adea: response CloQ. The name was unfamiliar to Dwich. Sirin: He wants us to continue the experiment. I think that if we just stop trying, he will as well. Adea: response At that moment, two pairs of eyes fell on Dwich. It hadn’t occurred to him until now that, given he wore their uniform and had said very little, they probably mistook him for… The pieces began falling into place. The Vulcan woman who appeared on Bajor did in fact know him. He was her ja’ital, and she was his tem’en, but in another life. A life he didn’t remember. Hamsan: I’m afraid I don’t know who either of you is. Do I ::looks at his uniform:: belong here? Adea / Sirin: response (( OOC: Glossary ja'ital = my light (used for a beloved person) tem'en = bright one (used for a beloved person) )) Tag / TBC PNPC Vedek Hamsan Dwich Vedek, Kaiett Monastery Dakhur Province, Bajor simmed by Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0
  12. (OOC: These were a real joy to read, deeply personal and well written) {{Dreamscape}} ((Underwater Survey Vessel - Najana City, Trill)) The setting was incredibly familiar to him. He’d remembered this event many times over the last year and he was confident there was something here which made his current phobia make sense. Aside from the event itself, it was going to be tough to relive. Maz was standing on the deck of the underwater research vessel which his Second Host - Zosha - was in charge of in 2334. He looked down at himself. He wasn’t in a Starfleet uniform anymore, instead it was a grubby orange overall emblazoned with the symbol of the Najana Oceanic Institute. He looked around the corridor looking for others. It was a small vessel, comparable in size to a Starfleet runabout. He was in the large aft crew compartment where the crew used to take their breaks. It was a grey, utilitarian space which didn’t inspire much to the imagination but it served its purpose. There was no one else present in the aft, but as he turned to explore further, the form of Counselor R’Ariel joined him. She seemed to appear out of nowhere in a flash. R’Ariel: It’s so amazing down here. The scene was nothing like she expected. Everything was so vivid, and real. She had expected detailed imagery. Her brief Deltan training and experiences with her little pet RA had taught her to what detail she could see in her mind alone. However, she could hear too, the digital sounds of the vessel’s computer was most notable. She could smell things too. R’Ariel: oO What is that smell? Oo She sniffed the re-circulated air. It was faint, but her Deltan-Caitain senses caught it, right away. Whatever it was, it was unusual or at least for her. Rodan: Welcome, Counselor. Glad you could make it. He offered a grin as she inspected their new shared surroundings. R’Ariel: oO I think it’s… fresh silicon. Oo Maybe it’s not that unusual afterall she figured - obviously a simple water-tight sealant most likely. She wasn’t sure if she would have the capability of speaking in these telepathic experiences, but with the smell context clarified, it was worth a try. It was important for him to know she wasn’t just here, she was here ‘with him’ - it was going to be alright. R’Ariel: Same here. I am here, and I will remain so. She offered an encouraging smile of reassurance. Rodan: So you’re telepathically linked to Rodan? R’Ariel: In greater detail than I expected. These memories are so vivid. Maz nodded and held his hand up to the metal bulkhead. It felt cold. It seemed real enough. He felt like he was really there. Rodan: This is 2334. We’re currently under the ocean at Najana City. She nodded, the majesty of the environment was not lost on her, but their objective was pressing. R’Ariel: Before we go any further. I want to reaffirm the ‘safety word’, which is “Lieutenant''. It was an unusual word, but it had many important implications. It captured the discipline that was instilled in every Starfleet officer, a kind of training we reverted to, very well conditioned. It assumed a responsibility and duty. It embodied authority. It shouldn’t come up in most casual conversations. Among many other things, importantly, it had nothing to do with this experience and it was a common truth they both shared. R’Ariel: I want you to say it, think it, feel it, whenever you need to. Rodan: I understand. He thought about that particular word and what it meant. It would be his life line if something went wrong. But something was about to go wrong. And soon. He turned and followed the narrow corridor to the fore of the ship, the command pod of the vessel where its limited crew would be working. He waved a hand and beckoned R’Ariel to follow him. R’Ariel: Of course :: sme smiled:: Right here. The vessel wasn’t that old in years but had already completed dozens of underwater surveys on Trill. Zosha had been lucky to acquire her for her studies at the Institute. The feel of the ship, the smells, all flooded him. Deep down he felt Rodan move slightly. Even in this dream state the Symbiont was reacting. When they reached the pod Maz pointed to the command chair with a knowing smile. Rodan: There I am. Zosha sat in the command seat wearing the same overused utility overall that the rest of the crew wore. Her long black hair was tied up to avoid getting in her eyes, and her dark skin reflected off the viewing port dead ahead. The ocean depths mirrored her dark eyes back to her as she gazed out in the abyss. R’Ariel stared for a moment. She had expected it to feel like she was in an amazing holodeck running a historical program, but the feelings, oh the feelings of the past, the present, the past-future, it was a lot to take in. She wasn’t sure what to say. Rodan: Zosha was my Second Host. I have to say this is quite an experience for me. When we’re Joined, we accumulate their memories and experiences. They become ours. But now… I’m actually outside watching them unfold. I remember it, but somehow being here is… weird. We don’t usually have one-to-one communication with our previous Hosts until the Zhian’tara ceremony. R’Ariel: A valuable opportunity. You have a wondrous legacy, even in this, to pull uncommon strength. She smiled, looked at the controls, the view was amazing. Rodan: She was researching the underwater mating habits of a pod of Oka’s. ::Beat.:: Earth-like whales. They don’t usually travel to Najana to breed but over the last few years the same pod had come here and she wanted to research why. Again, he indicated the ship. A small pod of nine mammals were indicated on the short range sensors, and the ship was in a steady, if cautious, intercept. Zosha Rodan: Easy as she goes. We don’t want to scare them. The helmsman nodded and slowed the pace, while the other members of the craft submitted their scans of the ocean topography and checked the status of the ship. On the view screen, the first of the mammals appeared in visual range. Small, but defined, it glided through the water like a bird on the wind. They even resembled Earth Orca whales, though their fins were longer, and more refined, and had a long thin tail on the end of each making their fins and tails look like beta fish rather than whales. Maz smiled and rested his forearm on the bulkhead to get a better view. He hadn’t seen one of these creatures since 2334. R’Ariel: Beautiful. She gazed in wonder, her tail twitching at the stimulation of the view. There was a kind of unison the Oka demonstrated as they meandered the ocean-depths. They had nothing like this on Cait, that she knew of. As they neared she marveled at their size, her eyes growing wide with wonder. She was used to feeling small, but typically her small slender frame was big compared to most fish - not this time. After losing herself in the moment, she collected herself and checked in on Rodan. R’Ariel: How are you feeling? Rodan: Nostalgia, I think. It’s quite different being here again, rather than remembering. She nodded, returning to the view, a curiosity arose in her. R’Ariel: Do we know anything about how they communicate? She found herself believing that there was a level of communication these creatures used that went well past the usual oceanic sounds of sonar, something more in her department, wondering if perhaps whatever was about to happen was actually avoidable if this level of communication had been available then. Rodan: They have a mild form of telepathy, and a bioluminescence system. See the matriarch at the back of the pod? She’s instructing the others to keep the pace. That lovely green… He’d almost forgotten the excitement of studying these creatures, despite the length of time since he’d done it. Around them the small crew kept their eyes on their instruments and called out instructions and data to each other as Zosha observed the Oka for visual study. They were on course for a series of subterranean caves; a hidden, private place where the creatures could give birth. Suddenly, Zosha sat upright in her seat and waved a hand at the helmsman in front of her. Zosha Rodan: Not so fast! Back us off… easy… easy… Maz watched the scene like any outsider, as if like a holoprogram he’d played too many times, he knew the story by heart. The vessel slowed considerably but the damage was already done. The matriarch of the pod had sensed them and considered them a threat. The luminescent colours it displayed changed from a soft green to a harsh orange, which lit the surrounding water fiercely. Maz held on to the bulkhead in anticipation, and snaked a hand around R’Ariel to steady her. The whale-like mammal struck the vessel with its enormous tail, shuddering it in the water. Zosha gave emergency instructions to her crew while Maz could only watch and narrate to R’Ariel. Rodan: We frightened it. It was only defending itself and its pod… The little Counselor nodded, feeling caught up in the intensity of the moment. She wanted to do something to help, but she was here for a different kind of help. The principle here was simple. Examine and relive the experience in person with greater understanding, with the support of years of experience, and rewrite the trauma, not with a happier ending, but with the strength and courage of greater experience and support. The unpleasant memory would persist, but the harm would be allowed to heal. R’Ariel: Right, and the events that follow are natural. The research vessel attempted to veer its course hard to port, but another crack of the Oka’s flank sent it careering off course. Behind them a bulkhead cracked and caused a strong spray of ocean water to spray into the vessel and begin to flood it. The engineer declared that the structural integrity had been compromised and all hands began emergency procedures. Engineer: Ma’am, we have to evacuate! Zosha: ::Nodding.:: Right. All hands, abandon ship. Get to the life pod in the back! The crew all left their posts and scrambled for the life pod. Zosha stood to evacuate but another blow from the Oka matriarch knocked her back into her seat. A warning siren sounded from the engineer's console and she scrambled across the small deck to check it. Rodan: The engine fuel container had ruptured. If it leaked into the cave it would poison the entire system, and the whales would die. R’Ariel: That is terrible. Maz felt his bones start to shake in his body as that familiar fear crept up on him. This was it. He was about to witness the death all over again. He could almost feel the salt water creeping up on him like it did, like it was about to again. He turned away from the scene and began breathing heavily. His hair was damp with sweat. Rodan: Why couldn’t she just abandon ship like the others? The pod is just through that hatch!? R’Ariel felt the fear rising, like the tide, the current great in strength, and the undertow threatening. Taking someone out of the memory, obstructing it, rescuing, that would only reinforce the emotional trauma, and risk worsening the phobia, but she could cheat. She had gotten better at what she liked to call empathic-back wash. She could control it better, less risk of the wrong pheromone effect. R’Ariel: It’s going to be okay. Panic overtook him now. This was how it ended. Zosha remained on the ship while the crew jettisoned the life pod. She managed to turn the vessel around and proceed out of the cave system as it filled with water. The fuel tank ruptured and the power of the vessel slowly died. The water in the vessel kept rising. R’Ariel: oO Let me help. Oo A little pheromone help, a little empathic-back wash. There was no fixing this tragedy, but taking emotional poison out would allow it to finally heal as it should, the phobia leaving as the healing grew. Rodan: The crew sent for help. By the time the emergency shuttle got here… The Caitian-Deltan was working hard to keep from drowning in the emotional torrent herself. It was important, very important that she add nothing negative to the experience. R’Ariel: In other words, Zosha was in full control of her life, making the correct and hard decisions, creating for herself and all that followed a legacy of strength and courage, as she chose a destiny worth remembering. The words were spoken for now, for the future, it was all that she could do, the scene was coming to an end, it had too, when he was ready. Rodan: I need to leave! ::He remembered the safety word.:: “Lieu…” Suddenly, the feeling of dread was too much. His stomach cramped and he felt Rodan tighten and constrict in its pouch. Something was wrong. He fell to his knees in the rising water and grasped the side of his head. TBC Lieutenant Maz Rodan Science Officer USS Arrow, NCC 69829 C237708DW0 & Lieutenant R'Ariel Chief Counselling Officer Doctor of Psychology USS Arrow, NCC 69829 J239706R1
  13. Again T'Lea at her best. I saw this perfect line for the Juneau's quotes. Then another, then another, another and well, we really have to read it all. IC: (( Sickbay, Deck 10 - Stardrive Section )) Restless. Nyka was caught in a strange state of restlessness and total exhaustion. The redhead’s mind felt like jelly, and her body felt like dog vomit. All she wanted to do was curl up in a cute little ball and die. That was the only thing that would make her feel better. That and maybe a ham sandwich. With cheese. On rye bread. Ooh, mayonnaise would be nice. And potato chips. Because what’s a sandwich without chips. After being carried into sickbay, Wyss was placed on a biobed. The different faces that floated pasted her groggy eyes were dream-like, unreal, much like the past couple of days. Sounds of urgency and confusion whistled through her ears, none of it making sense. All she wanted was a sleep that wouldn’t come. Indobri: Re- Wyss. Look at me, Lieutenant. I need your assistance or :: she decided to take a gamble on her assumption :: the Caretaker might die. Wyss: ::yawn:: Aw. The Rodulan had made her feelings clear. She didn’t want Nyka, and that was that. Turnabout was fair play. The redhead ran from her feelings, and when she finally ran back, Karise had move on. Wyss: ::groggy:: That’s too bad. That was why she had been a little more willing to accept the care and unity with the City. It felt good to be needed and loved. All she wanted was to feel good after being dumped. But now she felt like she’d been dumped all over again. The connection to the city was nothing more than a hollow echo. She’d been a useful tool and now she was cast aside. She wasn’t a beloved Caretaker to the City. She wasn’t anything. She didn’t belong in their world, or this world. All she wanted right now was ham sandwich named Karise. Indobri: I know, I know. But I can’t connect the pod to the power conduits. That’s why I need your help. She was so pretty. And nice. Even when she rejected Nyka she’d been nice about it. Not like the crappy text she’d sent to Karise before she’d been transferred. “See ya!” Wyss: You don’t need me. That’s what you said. She flicked her hand at the Rodulan as if to pshaw her away. Indobri: response Wyss: I can’t sleep. Why won’t you let me sleep? Maybe she was talking to the shadow of the City, or about Karise, or the dark universe of war she’d left behind. Indobri/Airik: response Wyss: ::drifting off:: I’m so tired. I just want a ham sandwich. Indobri/Airik: response Her eyes popped open sharply at that, and she waved over the ham sandwich she was in love with, Karise, as she swung her legs off the bed to get up. Wyss: Get me over there, Doctor H. Sammich. She grabbed the Doctor and resisted hugging her as she was walked over to the pod. She kept staring at the side of Karise’s gorgeous face. Wyss: Where’s the pod? Indobri: response Wyss: Oh. Yep. I see it. Kay then… hmm… She leaned forward and pinched one eye closed as if to zero in on what the handsome counselor had done to facilitate an answer to the issue. Wyss: What’s all this mess? Oh, I see it. Never mind. Yep, That’s fine. That’ll work. ::at Airik and Indobri:: Where’s the three type Z couplings? Airik: response Wyss: Kinda need’em to coup-the-lings. ::chuckling drunk:: Sorry, sorry. This is serious. Type Z’s go there, there and there. Then a backflow stop between the Z’s and the Hopper. Calibrate to a lesser energy property than the pod and open the power slowly. Got it? Indobri/Airik: response Wyss: Did I earn my ham sandwish? Indobri/Airik: response Walked back to the bio bed, Wyss didn’t want to let go of Indobri’s helpful arms, but eventually was pried free. She flopped back on the bed, and got all glassy eyed about something thoughtful and warming. Wyss: Hey, Karise? Indobri: response Wyss: I might puke little. Indobri: response Airik: response T'Lea and Kendrick cruised into the room just as power to the pod was restored. A orange glow surrounded the Original Caretaker, and the bio-signs on the pod's monitors began to register, spike, then level out. T'Lea: Well done. Is it stabilized? Tierney/Indobri: response T'Lea: Pelley seemed to think it was in a stage of mitosis. Doctor, can you determine if there are any reproductive organs in this species? Indobri: response Wyss: Well that's no fun! Somebody somewhere in sickbay snickered loudly. Kendrick/Tierney: response T'Lea: It appears that the function of the pod may not just be for stasis, but to help facilitate the process of division. Indobri: response Kendrick/Tierney: response T'Lea: Let's make certain the Caretaker is stabilized, and then we'll let the Hopper continue to aid the situation. Indobri/Kendrick/Tierney: response T'Lea tapped her comm. badge. T'Lea: =/\= T'Lea to USS Juneau. =/\= Oddas: =/\= response T'Lea: =/\= Captain, everyone has been transported safely to the Hopper. Williams and R'Kala should be returning to the Juneau soon with new data gathered here. =/\= Oddas: =/\= response T'Lea: =/\= The species we recovered from the planet appears to be using a form of mitosis to reproduce, to divide into another whole humanoid. The pod is assisting in the process. And we believe it is stabilized. =/\= Indobri: =/\= response Oddas: =/\= response tag PNPC Lieutenant JG Nyka Wyss Engineering Officer USS Grace Hopper simmed by Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Historian/Archaeology Specialist USS Juneau Author ID I238301T10
  14. We all know @Etan Iljor is a genius, but here he demonstrates his excellent and natural ability to flesh out a character even without others. It was almost a shame to reset the timeline (almost!) (( IKS qor’Du )) LehleQ, Son of Hugorgh watched as everything he had worked for; everything that he had built for himself vanished into ether. A lifetime of overcoming prejudice and adversity; of being told that his birthright meant that he was inferior to the HemQuch; of proving them wrong… vanished in an instant. In the span of time that it took R’Mira to slice open his throat with her dagger. Whatever trickery of Fek’lhr had trapped the qorDu in a temporal loop had resurrected him from that ignominious fate- but there had been a shift. He knew from looking at the cold glances of his formerly loyal crew that he was no longer the master of the vessel. The seething fury of those present gripped the back of his neck, making his hairs stand on end. His honour, no more. If they managed to escape the loop he knew that R’Mira would send him to greth’or. Permanently. LehleQ had been banished from the bridge, dragged off by two warriors that he had never bothered to learn the names of. It was humiliating. A lesser Klingon would have collapsed under the shame or might have chosen that moment to perform the jaJ-to’Vor ritual- but a Klingon with nothing left to lose…. LehleQ knew that was the most dangerous Klingon of all. He had waited until the guards had dragged down the length of the primary corridor that separated the bulbous head of the vessel to the more avian drive section. Then with practised ease, he kicked out with a powerful thrust, striking the guard to his left just underneath his knee. He felt the man’s grip weaken enough so that he could free his arm and without hesitation, he swung it around until it connected with the other guard’s neck. The force of the impact was hard enough to make a thick, wet cracking sound and he was dead by the time his body crumpled to the floor. Deftly reaching down, he plucked the dead man’s disruptor from his belt, spun about and fired at the first man, blowing a hole in his chest; killing him instantly. LehleQ knew the qorDu well, having been her rightful master for several years.It was not far to the transporter room and he made it there with no further resistance. The command deck crew, no doubt occupied with their dishonourable alliance with the Federation, had not heeded the firing of the disruptor. They didn’t notice as he fired again, killing the transporter operator with one well placed shot to the head. Kicking the body away from the console, he ran a covert scan of the Federation starship looking for an auxiliary vehicle. It was a calculated risk- the small vessel was several magnitudes more advanced and had demonstrated time and again that it could best the qorDu. He was counting on the fact that they were in as much disarray as the qorDu was and distracted by further plans to escape from this accursed loop. There were two small shuttlecrafts entombed with what appeared to be a shuttlebay- and one other that was slung underneath the primary section of the ship. He chose that and locked in the coordinates,hoping that his luck would not run out. He left the qorDu in a haze of red energy, rematerialising in the darkened [...]pit of the Federation craft. All he had to do now was bide his time and wait… -- LehleQ, Son og Hugorgh Fugitive As simmed by: Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor Science Officer USS Resolution C239203TW0
  15. ----- ((Beach, Cochtois Lagoon, Deluvia IV, Evening)) (( OOC: This takes place near the end of the party, late at night. )) It was late; the stars were out and shining brightly on the party. She had already had a bit too much to drink, and was meandering through the sand absentmindedly. It had been a very fun shore leave; she went swimming, diving, museum trawling, and spent time with Serren, when he wasn’t doing stupid stuff like locking himself in the brig. When she got the invitation that all the senior staff were invited to the after-wedding reception, she was a bit surprised. Ayiana and Valesha didn’t have the best track record with each other. They pretty much danced away from each other. She had no idea how or if any sort of cordial relationship was possible with her. Cory was happy when the invite to the reception arrived for him. He of course knew Chris from being in Operations. He always respected the dependable Petty Officer. Part of Cory wondered if he would have turned out like Chris if he didn’t go to the Academy or gotten out after his 4 years were up. Valesha was with him during the crisis on Starbase 173. He led that away mission. It was a mess. Went from fixing reactors to fighting Orions. He was happy the pair finally tied the knot. She saw Cory off a ways, and her mind went back to the Skarbek; specifically the last minutes of it, talking with him about their alternate life and the question she popped to him. Unfortunately, he answered it in Real Life, and it quickly spread around the ship. Hilariously, though, some people thought he was talking about Toran; but she was not laughing. She didn’t know what he thought of it. The two of them had a sort of unspoken, unconscious agreement not to talk, interact, or otherwise be near each other all shore leave. It seemed to work right up until now. Ayiana knew they couldn’t keep avoiding each other forever, and she was just drunk enough to do something about it. Cory wandered around the reception. He had a drink in his hand and was looking for a place to watch the crew interact. This had been an emotional shore leave. Cory was glad to have been able to patch things up with Doc Adea. He smiled as he looked over the group. He had taken a lot of them for granted and really screwed things up. Cory was happy that Jo and him were able to patch some of their friendship up, even though she wiped the sand with him in beach volleyball. He felt something and turned to see Ayiana walking over to him. Taking a drink he wished he could walk away, but she seemed determined to talk to him. Seeing a large boulder, Cory sat down as she approached. He looked up into those familiar blue eyes. Sevo: Hey, Cory. How you doing? Stoyer: I am good, Ayiana. Sevo: Cory, we need to talk. That didn’t surprise him. He didn’t want to talk to her, but she was here. Stoyer: What do you want to talk about? She sat down next to him. Cory looked over at her. Thoughts running through his mind. Sevo: You know what. Stoyer: No, I don’t Sevo: Cory, you and I both know we can’t keep ignoring what’s going on between us in the Skarbek. Cory took a sip of his drink. Giving himself a moment to think. Stoyer: Been doing a pretty good job so far. He looked at her again. Heart pounding in his chest. She looked at him; her heart pounding in her chest. Sevo: Yea, we have. :: She smirked. :: You know, I would have gone on that diving excursion with Samira if you weren’t there. Stoyer: Same. I heard you were staying in an underwater hotel, so I got a beach house. Sevo: Serren and I thought about it, but ended up going for a beach house too. Think I’ve seen you off in the distance on the grounds. Stoyer: See it is working. Serren and you have a great thing. There is nothing to discuss. Ayiana looked at the ground. She wasn’t so sure, and the tone of her voice in her reply mirrored it. Sevo: ...Yea. Great. Cory looked away. Then her tone hit him. He looked back at her. Stoyer: That didn’t sound enthusiastic. Everything Ok? Ayiana looked back up at Cory. Sevo: I’m...not sure. Serren seems okay with everything. But I feel torn. It almost feels like I cheated on him. It was incredibly ironic; a few years ago, Cory cheated on his wife Petra with Ayiana. Of course, Ayiana knew full-well what she was getting into. This was a bit different, though. Was it really *her* feelings she was feeling, or *Red’s*? Was there a difference? Stoyer: But you haven't, have you? Sevo: I don’t know! Does what happened in the Skarbek count? Do those feelings matter out here? :: She gestured around frantically. :: That was the question. He knew “Strip’s” feelings for “Red”. He also knew that there was a good part of those feelings inside him for the woman sitting next to him. He admitted those feelings to Genkos. Stoyer: That is a good question. Part of me says yes, but I am not sure how. Sevo: You know as well as I do that as much as we try, Red and Strip are still inside of us. Everything that manifests in there comes from us. In fact, each time we dive back in there, we seem to be closer. That means that somewhere deep down, we still care for each other like that; maybe more. Cory looked down at his hands.
  16. ((Deck 3, Enroute to the Bridge, USS Chin’toka)) {{Time Index: Day 2 of Shoreleave, Before the Card Game}} Lael strode through the corridor, a PADD in her hand. As the primary reason for her speaking to Serala was personal, she’d been uncertain if she should stop by the First Officer’s quarters or her office. In the end, she’d decided to do as she’d often done with Mei and Rahman, using a professional excuse and sliding the personal one in afterward. The PADD she carried contained her report from the mission and her diplomatic analysis of the Caraadians from the last mission. They’d learned a good deal about the various Houses that could prove useful in future diplomatic situations. She arrived on the bridge several moments later, smiling and inclining her head toward Patrick Callahan, who was on duty. Mei was likely enjoying his off-shift time. Her brow furrowed. The computer had said Serala was in her office--at least last that she’d checked. Was it possible that the woman had departed the bridge since then? Shaking the thought from her head, she strode the remaining distance toward Serala’s office. If she wasn’t here, she’d just find her later. Stepping up to the door, she pressed her thumb to the doorchime and waited for an answer from inside. (( Serala’s Office - Deck 3, Primary Hull, just off the main bridge )) Serala: Very well, Mother. I will see if I can bring her by to see you the next time we are in the area. Ambassador R’Val looked skeptical, but mollified. Serala’s conversation with the Captain about her similarity with her mother had really gotten her to thinking. Perhaps it was time to try and mend some fences. She wasn’t really sure where she and her mother had gone wrong, but to say their relationship was strained would have been an understatement. Serala didn’t want that kind of relationship with T’Saara, so perhaps her mother felt much the same way. oO It’s worth the try, anyway. Oo R’Val: =/\= Good. I look forward to it, Serala. And I should very much like to see you again as well. =/\= oO Why do I doubt that… Now, there you go. Already doubting her word. Your not going to repair your relationship with her if you are critiquing everything she says and looking for hidden meanings. Oo Serala: And I you as well, Mother. R’Val: =/\= Well, until then, y’hhau pænhe. =/\= Serala: Y’hhau, ri’ranov. She had just switched off the comm channel, closing the video link as well, when the chime to her office door sounded. Serala: Come. Lael stepped inside finding Serala at her monitor as though she might be in the midst of a conversation and she hesitated. Rosek: Is this a good time, ma’am? Serala: Yes, Commander. Come in. What can I do for you? Lael nodded and strode toward Serala’s desk, offering her the PADD. Rosek: My mission report and the diplomatic analysis of the various Caraadian houses. We were able to get a good bit to add to the database. At least the next time we have an interaction with these houses, it won’t be such a blank slate. Serala tood the offered PADD and looked at it. She didn’t want to take the time to read the lengthy report in detail right now, but she did want to get a basic overview of its contents. Serala: Well, this looks like your usual thorough work, Commander. I will look over the details later. She smiled and nodded, hesitating. It wasn’t the most comfortable conversation, in large part because she couldn’t anticipate Serala’s reaction. Her reasons made perfect sense, at least to her. Three years ago, if someone had told her that she would have even a civil working relationship with the woman who she’d been competing with for Toryn’s heart, she would have laughed in their face. However, she’d grown to respect Serala a great deal over the last several months, even to the point of seeing similarities between them. If she found herself in a fight, she’d want Serala at her back. Rosek: Ahem. A flutter of nervousness took up residence in her abdomen but she was determined to follow through. She knew she wouldn’t regret it. Rosek: I--um--I actually had a bit of a personal question to ask you. ::pauses:: Maybe more of a favor. Serala’s eyebrow quirked up at that, and she looked at the Al-Leyan in full now. oO A favor? I can’t remember any time she has requested a favor from me before. This ought to be interesting. Oo Serala: Oh? Well, what can I do for you? Rosek: ::pauses:: Chythar and I have had discussions regarding the wedding and one of those has involved the wedding party. ::looks up and meets her gaze:: I wondered--Well, I’d hoped that--Would you be one of my bridesmaids? Serala’s other eyebrow shot up and she felt her hearts begin to race. oO Me? A bridesmaid? But surely there must be other… Oo Serala: I don’t know what to say. I mean, no offense intended here, but we hardly have more than a working relationship. :: quickly realizing how that was sounding, she rushed on to clean that statement up :: Not that I am not flattered. But I guess I just don’t understand. Why me? Rosek: ::pauses:: I’m sorry that you feel that way. I’ve come to respect you a great deal over the last several months. ::runs a nervous hand through her hair:: I know we had a rocky start, what with the situation with Toryn. I’m certain that I look like a terrible person for that. I hope you realize that I never meant to hurt him. I truly did love him. But there were things that- Serala held up her hand to stop her. She understood probably far more than Lael realized. She had once felt the same way about Toryn Raga. They were still friends, but there had been a time when she would have died for him, so strong were her feelings. But they could never move past their cultural differences. At least, until Stevok had come along. Serala: No need to explain, Lael. I understand more than you realize. And no one could have hurt him worse than I did when I suddenly announced to him that I was bonded to Stevok. The feelings I had once held for him were gone, replaced by an even deeper love for my husband. So, believe me, I do understand. Serala paused for a moment to collect herself. That whole memory had brought up some serious regrets again. Regrets she thought she’d already put to bed. Serala: But I do appreciate your respect. And I am very honored to have such a request. You should know, however, that while I grew up on Earth and that I am very familiar with this custom, I am not the most … :: she paused, searching for the right word :: feminine woman. Basically, what I am trying to say is, I really wouldn’t know what to do. Lael paused for a moment, considering her next words. How could she explain this in a way that Serala could understand? She wasn’t certain she completely understood the tradition herself. An image of the conversation she’d had with Lephi when she’d asked the woman to be her maid of honor popped into her mind. Rosek: From what I understand, the role has its basis in Earth history as a support role. Someone to ease the bride’s concerns and to help see to tasks leading up to and on the day of the wedding. ::pauses:: It may seem strange to you given the unconventional nature of our acquaintance and our still-new working relationship, but when I think of individuals around me with who I want to share the intimate parts of this special event, you come to mind. Serala: Well, then. Hwi khlinæ arvha. Arhem neiss. (You do me honor. I accept.) :: smiling :: Just don’t ask me to do your makeup or fix your hair. Lael laughed at the image of Serala staring perplexed at a curling iron. She didn’t imagine the woman to be overly feminine even before the admission. Had her mother not put her through finishing school, she might still have been a tomboy beating up boys who made fun of her. Rosek: ::smirks:: Don’t worry. I’m sure an outside party will be doing that. I can’t really picture Lephi even knowing what makeup is. Liz maybe. But not Lephi. Rosek: ::smirks:: Don’t worry. I’m sure an outside party will be doing that. I can’t really picture Lephi even knowing what makeup is. Liz maybe. But not Lephi. Serala: Well, I am sure you will look fantastic, whoever does it for you. A deep flush filled her cheeks at the unexpected compliment. In most cases, she didn’t embarrass easily, but something about receiving a compliment from Serala-- Rosek: I--Well, thank you. You don’t really need any of it. She immediately snapped her mouth shut and grimaced. What was it about this whole situation that was making her so damned nervous? Rosek: ::clears her throat:: You’ll have to excuse my fumbling. Feelings, especially mushy ones, have never really been my strong point. Serala: :: chuckling :: Well then, be glad you aren’t Romulan. I tend to have too many emotions. And strong ones. And it takes a lot of self-discipline to conceal them. My philosophy is that my subordinates need to see a strong leader, not an emotional Romulan female. Especially with my temper. Rosek: ::grins:: I can actually completely relate. I meant I don’t handle them well. I’ve needed intensive training for my empathic projection abilities. I spent a month in a Vulcan monastery undoing the damage from a forced mind-meld and learning techniques from masters. Serala shuddered. It was her mother’s doing, she knew. R’Val had been very careful to teach Serala all of the Romulan Way, including philosophies, beliefs and traditions. And even though Romulans came from Vulcan descent, none of them - as far as Serala knew - retained any trace of telepathic ability. It was considered almost taboo. Except for the fact that she had been telepathically bonded with Stevok, she would still hold those strong feelings. But even with her experience having tempered it, she still had a slight bias against telepathy. Serala: I am sorry to hear that, Lael. One thing my husband instilled in me was a strong sense of ethics when it came to telepathy. Before him, I had the typical Romulan aversion to it. But having had that strong bond, I can’t even begin to imagine what something like that must have been like. No one should have to go through that. It wasn’t one of the more pleasant events from her life and wasn’t something that she talked about often. Age had tempered the anger she’d held for what had happened. Lenik hadn’t been the first, though she hoped that he would be the last. Rosek: ::smiles wanly:: Well, homicidal Vulcan madman bent on God knows what, using anything in his arsenal to steal the command codes of a Federation ship from a semi-trained telepath/empath. That was never going to end well. ::grins wryly:: But in the end, the [...] left this world and a lot of people are safer for it. Serala remained silent for several long minutes, struggling with her Romulan desire to see vengeance done for wrongs. This Lenik had gotten what he deserved, it seemed, and the Romulan fires in her blood screamed in victory for that. But the trained Starfleet Commander in her regretted the loss of life - any life - no matter how vile the person may have been. When her Starfleet training finally won that fight, she spoke again. Serala: Well, it’s in the past and I hope you have been able to find some solace in the situation. She inclined her head somberly. It had taken a good deal of healing to get where she was at. The mess that Lenik had left her reminded her too strongly of how the other universe had nearly broken her. Both she and Chythar had been shells of themselves, irrevocably changed by the things that they’d seen and done. Rosek: ::smiles wanly:: All part and parcel of Starfleet. We do the things that no one else can do or wants to do. The sudden turn in the conversation had served to remind Serala of her own loss and she felt the grief rising up in her again. But, just as she had just told Lael, she couldn’t afford to let her subordinates see her as anything less than a strong leader, so she fought back the tears. However, she couldn’t hide the huskiness in her voice. Serala: Yes we do. Yes we do. ~ Peace, Serala. I am here. Be strong. ~ A silence settled between them, though it wasn’t as uncomfortable as it had been earlier. She’d suspected since coming aboard that she and Serala shared a number of things in common. Friendships had been formed on less. As much as she wanted to say something probably too emotional for either of them, she remained silent for fear that it would shatter the delicate moment between them. Her gaze dropped to the floor and she cleared her throat, taking advantage of the opportunity to gather her thoughts. Rosek: Well, I imagine you have quite a lot on your plate. I should leave you to it. ::smiles:: A First Officer’s job is never done, after all. Serala had to fight back the gasp. Only twice before now had she so clearly heard Stevok’s voice speaking to her. He couldn’t actually be talking to her, of course, since he was dead. But the voice in her mind was as clear as any other time she’d spoken with him via their bond while he was still alive. It wasn’t until Lael had spoken again that she realized she had become completely lost in that voice, hoping to hear more of it. But there was no more. The moment had been brief and though she found new strength within herself from it, the grief welled up even stronger as well. Serala: :: quietly :: Yes. Thank you. I will look over this report later. Rosek: ::nods:: Of course. She turned on her heel and began moving toward the door, but halfway there, she stopped and again turned to face Serala. Her expression softened. Rosek: Thank you. It slipped out before she could completely process it. She wasn’t quite sure what she was thanking Serala for, but it seemed like the appropriate thing to say. Serala couldn’t trust herself to speak, so she only nodded at Lael. Turning back to the door, Lael left Serala’s office, her thoughts trained on a bowl of Bailey’s chocolate gelato. After the day she’d had it would likely taste even better than usual. As soon as Lael had left her office, Serala spoke into the air, choking the words out as she did. Serala: Computer. Secure my office door except for emergencies. Also, hold all non-emergency communications for thirty minutes. The only reply was the trill of the computer acknowledging the order. That done, Serala placed her hands together on the desk in front of her, steepled her thumbs, and leaned forward to place her forehead on those thumbs as she felt tears that she had thought long gone once more begin to fall. ---- Commander Serala First Officer Training Team Member Image Collective Member Chat Team Moderator/Facilitator Academy Statistician USS Chin'toka NCC-97187 A239412S10 & Lieutenant Commander Lael Rosek, Eng.D. Mission Specialist USS Chin'toka, NCC-97187 I238110RH0
  17. Well done and massive thanks to our Maria Alvarez for brainstorming, evolving and executing the idea of The Bairiri - the cultural, musical, and artistic coming together of the Gentii species and Starfleet. These sims were beautiful to read! (( Genti II - Grand Central Establishment, Federal District. Brynja Bairiri Hall - Main Stage )) (( OOC: Buckle up! I did my best to roughly notate which parts were which, but it’s all pretty approximate if you dare to try matching it up. If you have Spotify, I recommend the edition I’ve been listening to. If you’re short on time or don’t enjoy classical, I’d still encourage you to give the finale (last track) a listen. If you need youtube, this is the best I can do (finale) - personally I find the sweaty conductor distracting (maybe listen, don’t watch) and the live audio quality is inferior, but hey it’s free. Once again, thanks to everyone who contributed, and bravo! Without further ado, turn up the music (no really), and I hope you enjoy reading! )) How exactly do you represent the sum total of the creative and aesthetic output of billions of people living over as many as ten thousand years? Maria couldn’t even be sure how to represent her own tastes, let alone attempt such an undertaking. Should she go modern? Classic? Jazz? Should it be from Earth at all? Orion courtier? Andorian acid? Edo futurist? Cardassian traditional? Some fusion? Endless choices boggled the mind. Truth be told, ever since she came out of the shared dreamscape and learned there’d be another attempt at the Bairiri, there was only one piece of music that she couldn’t get out of her mind, but she rejected it. It was too hard, too long, too old, too schmaltz, too traditional, and most of all: too ballet. She’d spent far too long investing time training in so many other forms of dance to distill herself down to that - not to mention she was still wrestling with how to feel about ballet. She’d appropriated the growing empty space in Arrow where the holodeck would eventually live for her practice the entire week. She sampled parts of as many as fifty pieces, but, try as she might, every time she put on music she found her heart going back to an ancient, mystic tale. Finally she gave in and decided to give it a chance. When she heard it again, in its fullness for the first time in a long while, she knew her heart was set: The Firebird. As she finished the dramatic red, black, and gold stage makeup and tested her pointe shoes one last time, it was a decision she now knew to be the right one. The metaphor was too alike, the music too powerful. From behind the curtains, Maria wondered if R’Ariel or Quentin had made it to see her dance. She’d put up the holocamera Regan’s sister had gifted her, just in case, but a recording wouldn’t be the same. She hoped they would understand the deep personal nature of what was about to transpire. And, perhaps, how immensely exhausting an undertaking it was. Performing the entire ballet was, of course, out of the question. The manpower and time to achieve that was simply unavailable. Had she not performed the firebird role before, it would have been impossible. While some cuts made Maria’s work easier, many removals eliminated vital rest. It turned a twelve-mile jog into an eight-mile sprint. That only compounded the dramatic changes to the choreography since its creation nearly five hundred years ago that kept the dance modern and relevant: each rendition layered in diverse new styles and moves, piling yet more taxing and technical challenges atop an already difficult ballet. So, she had to pare back in places to save strength for the climaxes. Even with the simplification, her whole body was already prepared to have its revenge on her for the hours of practice every day, just as soon as she stopped to rest. But that wasn’t going to happen yet. The sun had just dropped below the trees, setting off a colorful, smokey light show in the darkening Gentii sky. The lightest of breeze picked up in the semi-outdoor stage, tussling the red “feathers” of her short dress adorned in shimmering gold swirls. The costume hugged her body and clung to her arms and legs like any dancer’s costume should. R’Ariel’s words of encouragement to throw herself into the role replayed in her mind. Though her willowy form was certainly on display, she was now transforming into another creature entirely; becoming something born of ancient magic with powers untold. As the high-power lights flooded the stage and the holographic orchestra tuned, she felt the familiar rush of blood through her chest and cheeks and fingers. It wasn’t quite the usual performance anxiety - the Gentii had never seen anything like this, and she’d practiced tirelessly. Instead, the warmth [...]ing her nerves was a friend that focused her. She imagined the heat in her veins belonged to the firebird herself, manifesting in her body and to help her take flight. She looked across, beyond the other side of the stage was a surprise for everyone: her Gentii counterpart, Eka, who would dance the part of Prince Ivan. She proposed the idea as soon as she settled on this dance, and within the hour she was shaking the man’s hand. It was a massive gamble, but the consummate professional learned the choreography at an unbelievable pace. It forced even more simplifications, but the reward was fully embracing the purpose of the Bairiri in a way Maria enjoyed far more than she even thought she would. He looked back to her and nodded. He was ready. The orchestra fell quiet, and the hall became very still as the spell set in. Countless Gentii (and at least a few crew) waited for the start of the legend of the Firebird. As she entered the stage, Maria felt all the other thoughts and inner talk melt away. She was no longer an listless ensign or an out-of-place officer, or even Maria. She was the Firebird. --- ( Introduction, Appearance, Danse, Capture, and Supplication of the Firebird ) The lights came up, and the faintest of creeping the low strings set the scene. The holographic backdrop and set depicted an old, decrepit garden overgrown and only darkly lit by the light that filtered through to the dank forest floor covered in fungus. Smoke rose in the background. This place slowly succumbing to a rotting power no magic could not defend against. The firebird entered, stage left, and beheld the land’s steady march towards ruin. Her flight coasted from one side of the stage to the other, distraught by the steady defilement and decay of her natural home. She flew and flew, gliding through the twisting vines in search of any life that hadn’t been overtaken. The grim, plodding music offered little hope for the magical beast. The light steps and buoyant arms carried the bird back and forth, a little arabesque in a place that looked hopeful, but then up and onwards when the leaves wilted away at the slightest touch. Then - at last! The firebird spotted a cherry tree with a single blossom in a grove. The flower radiated faint holographic light in the dim light. The radiant red creature finally descended into the clearing. She cupped the precious life in her hands, thankful to have found anything remaining. She turned slowly, appearing to hover, supported only by one pointed foot, tending to the branch and tree that held the pink-white flower. She pranced with delight at finding something so beautiful still tenuously holding on to life. Suddenly, the wind turned, pushing in the smoke from far away. It flooded in like fog, suddenly gripping the tree trunk, threatening to strangle the life from it. The firebird flew into action, circling the tree now under her protection. She flapped and flapped, whirling her limbs to drive away the choking smog. As soon as she chased some out, yet more rushed in. But in the end, her sheer energy and the wind from her wings pushed the fog’s grasping fingers back, saving the tree. She danced again a while, slowly and gracefully, assuring herself the grove was now safe. Finding a forest creature, she playfully chased after it, her soft and gliding movements taking joy in the small pleasure. Finally, content with the sparse grass and leaves, the firebird finally set down to rest on a branch. Immediately disaster struck. A snare! The bird leapt into the air, frantically working to escape. The cruel chain pulled her back to the ground, her feathers collapsing. She got up and twisted the rope round and round, trying to wear out its threads. She jumped again! But it was no use. The tether would not yield - its teeth held fast. When all seemed like it would be lost, a hidden figure emerged from the woods. Prince Ivan (played by the Gentii Eka), the philosopher, ruler, and hunter, danced his way out onto the stage. He circled the entrapped mythic beast in slow steady steps, hardly believing his fortunes. The firebird, huddled in a shivering mass on the floor, looked up to him with soft pleading eyes. She held her arms close to her, then offered up her hands in supplication. She slowly rose, announced by hushed strings that wove a winding melody as delicate and subdued as her dance. She circled, dipping repeatedly to beg the prince for help. And free her he did, only to bind her to himself. The firebird hid her face, then took his hand as the strings warmed into the pas de deux. The orchestra, never quite sure of its footing, swelled and dropped back, in and out of key after key, as the prince and firebird danced through the grove - the red wings never able to spread and carry her to freedom. The prince led his prize through each step, never letting her out of reach. The dance seemed to stretch out, the pair twisting around with the woodwind’s harmony. The firebird, on toe points, was paraded around the stage for the audience to see. But the uneasy music kept any glory at bay. Every once in a while, she’d attempt to flit away, just to be restrained by the prince once again. Finally, after a long dance, the firebird knelt at the side of the cherry tree, and wept. A tear fell to the ground, and her magic filled the stage with horn and light! Suddenly a thousand glowing pink-white blossoms bloomed, breathing life and light back to the tree. The prince, shocked and realizing his error, dropped the tether. The firebird looked up, realizing she was now free. She wriggled from the dreaded leash, and took flight across the stage, a trail of twinkling magic left behind her wings. The prince chased after her, still fearful of the wrong he’d nearly committed. The firebird circled back, and took his hand, again suspended in an airy arabesque, leg arcing into the sky as she floated. They danced again, but this time he pleaded for her forgiveness in each step. His frame lifted her into the air, and she exalted in the flight. At last, the gentle duet wound back down to a whisper. The firebird, facing the prince, plucked a feather from her plumage - glowing brightly of red and gold as if holding her fire in its veins - and offered it to the prince. It was a token of forgiveness and gratitude all in one, but more than that: it was a way to summon the firebird and her magic in a time of need. She swirled about with great majesty, and the feather’s light blossomed, imbued with her powers. The prince accepted it with great reverence, hallowed music weighing his motions down. He led the firebird through a final dance in thanks of his own, then the music carried her off into the sky and off the stage. TBC... PART II (( Genti II - Grand Central Establishment, Federal District. Brynja Bairiri Hall - Main Stage )) ( Tsar Ivan and the Princesses’ Round ) Prince Ivan was alone on the stage. With the magical protection of the firebird now gone, the fog began to creep back in. He moved through the forest, seeking shelter from the oncoming nightfall, the ever thickening vines and branches closing in about him as he searched for the way out. He gracefully circled one spot, then another, and another, hoping to find escape. But it was not to be, for a dark and powerful curse animated the trees against him. There! In gaps, flashes of white shapes frollicked just out of view. Their music was light and beautiful, almost enticingly so. Ivan chased after one, then tumbled headfirst into a clearing containing old stone ruins. He sprung back up, and to his amazement several women (holographic in nature) dressed in pale white circled around on the stage, arms joined together. They danced around and around, half peasant-like, half with seductive regency. The orchestra warmed into a simple, lyric melody led by the winds and echoed by the strings. The women reached out with translucent limbs, beckoning to Ivan to follow. And follow he did. He floated towards them, drawn in by their ethereal beauty. When he caught up, the princess in lead, wearing a silver circlet, let her hands alight in his. Overjoyed, he took it and whirled her about in slow motion, unable to remove his eyes from her. He lifted her, regarding her like a precious jewel. She, in return, glided around him in dainty pointed-toe grace, leading him through the ruined stone walls. The romantic swells of the orchestra shifted through the keys, as gentle and tender as the prince’s movements. She regarded him equally - falling in love with each measured lean and step. Yet the music shifted into an uneasy, disquieted minor even as their footwork grew more intimate. The prince seemed to take no notice as the orchestra took an unexpected turn into dissonance. They danced and danced, the other women praising the pairing. The stage lights slowly narrowed and narrowed as Ivan’s steps became more and more labored. But still he went on and on to the slow lyricism, still unable to drag his gaze away from the princess. He went on until finally the light shone nowhere but him. In the background, darkness fell fully on the stone ruins. Exhausted, he slowly laid to the ground, and released his grasp on the woman who slipped into the now-everywhere dark. ( Appearance of the monsters and the Capture of Ivan by Kachtchei the Immortal ) Clangorous bells sounded with the crash of a cymbal, and blue swirling light appeared everywhere, as if through the lens of rippling water. At the edges of the castle wreckage, the petrified forms of a dozen knights standing still in stone were revealed, fortelling Ivan’s fate. The prince, realizing his peril and free of his trance, scrambled back up to find the maidens were now ghouls and goblins swarming around him. The monsters taunted the stricken man, forcing him to leap to and fro. Their giddy demon dance was pushed on by the whip of dissonant horns. Dark horns and claws and gnarled feet terrorized the audience equally, flooding up to the brink of the stage before withdrawing in a wave. An audience member shouted out, temporarily forgetting the limits of their holographic power ended at the lip. Then they were all suddenly still. A short horn intercession, and timpani silenced their cacophony. Silence rested heavily. Ominous, muted reeds twisted together in malicious harmony as a figure emerged in the dark. First seven foot tall, then eight, then nine. The hideous and powerful Immortal Kachtchei stepped forth into the diseased light, tattered rags doing little to mask his mangled form. His nails were so long they curled in on themselves. His beady eyes glowed out at the audience before casting their glare onto the Prince. Ivan scrambled up as the music turned to stark clashing harmonies. The dark magician approached him, heavily swaying on each beat. A mangled hand reached out towards the prince, and Ivan swirled away in fear. Ivan danced again, attempting to escape but the monsters blocked his path at every turn. They closed in ever tighter as the music spelled his imminent doom. Kachtchei raised his knotted staff, and prepared to cast his wicked curse. The glow under Ivan’s jacket was his last hope. He drew forth the feather, the red and gold filling the stage with its glow. He thrust it high, and the abominations cowered from its radiance! ( Return of the Firebird, Her Enchantment, and the Infernal Dance ) The feather glowed bright with the light of a sun, and the firebird appeared in the center of the stage unfurling her plumage (a special effect masking the transporter beam). Seeing the prince’s predicament, she flit over to him in a rush of music. She swirled energetically about, shielding him from the hordes of beasts taunting him. They recoiled as she chased them back, then rushed back in as she moved to the other side. Kachtchei stretched out his arms, tattered robes hanging from his bony form. He swung forward, trying to catch the firebird with his curled nails, but she was too fast. She pranced out of the way, light on her feet. She circled back, just out of reach and he swung again with a heavy step forward. Again, he missed - the firebird sprung effortlessly away, beating her feet midair in a teaseful flourishing cabriole. She led him through a chasing dance, ever just out of reach. Her plan steadily became clear as the golden-red trail of her sparkling magic began to weave a spiraling trap around the sorcerer. As her sweet enchantment grew in power over him, so too did the monsters steadily fall to her magic. The music grew and grew, causing more and more monsters to follow her steps, succumbing to her fast fluttering steps. The stage steadily turned redder and brighter as her elemental energy dominated the creature’s minds. Finally, even Kachtchei himself was bound to her dance, his hulking mass entranced. Blam! The full orchestra struck. Percussion shook the very walls of the performance hall. The sides of the stage belched flame and the spell was sealed. Horns blared and the whole ensemble ran into a dizzying fervor. The monsters fell over themselves, leaping from all fours, led on by the ever-tireless firebird. Her weightless effervescence was totally beyond them, seemingly unbound by the laws of gravity with easy flicks of the legs keeping her suspended mid-air or on toe point. Kachtchei himself fell in alongside his own cursed servants. The firebird circled him, her swirling flight forcing him to exert his own enormous size into the air with great effort. The symphony careened further out of control as the beasts pushed themselves ever harder and faster. Any time one would flag, the firebird was there, her lyric magic jig keeping them from flagging. On and on they went, possessed of no will other than to dance under her spell. The firebird’s spell crescendoed with the music - she swooped from one end of the stage to the other, until the full thunder of the orchestra joined her in powerful spin after spin, the magician and foul servants spinning with her. One by one they fell away until it was only the magician who remained standing. At last he too dropped to the floor, exhausted by the dance, unable to move. That left the firebird to finally alight next to Prince Ivan, now released from Kachtchei’s powers. Rescued and reunited, he took her hand and led her through an adagio berceuse, warm strings underpinning the gratitude and peace that came after the toil of the dance. The pair took slow, steady steps across the ruins, the prince’s hands on the firebird’s waist, supporting her as their fluid motions glossed across the stage. But there was still something else stirring. The hulking form of Kachtchei rustled with an ominous double-reed dissonance. He awoke, then snatched up the firebird, catching her by surprise! She flailed and fluttered in his grasp, trying to escape. Ivan, seeing her peril, pulled his sword and lifted it high. (A skilled eye would have caught the influence of Klingon Operatic arts here in particular.) A swift stroke, a short struggle, and the sorcerer stopped moving. The firebird flitted away, escaping his reach, but it wasn’t necessary. His body fell to the floor with a clangorous clash of cymbals and horns, sword in back. Kachtchei was no more. ( Finale ) Quiet settled, and profound calm washed throughout the auditorium, only the hushed whisper of violins speaking in unified harmony accompanied the first pale yellows of dawn. Then, something even more unexpected: a soft carpet of grass came to life at the feet of the prince and the firebird, sprouting as if in fast-forward. As the light continued to rise, the reason became clear: the magician’s cursed machinations were burning away in cleansing fire. The sun crested with the horn solo. As the curse lifted, the monsters transformed back into the women the prince had danced with. Now, instead of sickly pale, they were radiant and vital, wreathed in silver-laced white gowns. The firebird swooped over to the princess, still slumbering, and woke her with a gentle touch. She rose to the tune of the horn’s anthem, life and light spreading their foothold around her. The princess looked up to the firebird, then the prince, the first people she’d seen with her own sight in ages. The princess took the prince’s hand, and the two danced for joy, united this time of their own volition by the soft violins. As they did, the other women regained their feet. The firebird roused them, her flute joining in the reverie, her magic accelerating the crescendoing return of their epic theme. Then, even the stone encasement of the knights began to crack and fall away, their cruel entombment finally coming to an end. The strings soared with full brass as the transformation gained speed and life returned. The firebird took flight, and the knights and women paired off; the prince with the princess. She twirled about, flowers and trees of the glade returning to full leaf and blooming in the magical contrail she left behind. The plants clawed up the stone ruins as she danced and leapt for joy at life returning to the garden. Then, a true miracle came with the arrival of a new elevated key. The old stonewall face crumbled away under the weight of the new greenery. The wrecked magician’s abode dissolved away with the chest-rumbling exaltations of the full orchestra. In their place, golden red walls erupted from the ground forming the pillars and vaults of a magnificent new palace. Beginnings erupted everywhere around the firebird and the royal court, exploding out into the depths of the forest, dispelling every trace of the defeated evil. At long last, the orchestra halved their tempo and returned to the home key, giving shaking grandiose acclaim of the soon-king Ivan, and his soon-queen processing down the red-and-gold marble steps. The knights and maidens were their entourage, the firebird the symbol of their new peace and balance with nature. The firebird herself alighted, resting in the officiant’s place, tongues of flame on her feathers bearing witness to her rejuvenated power and spirit. Brass blasted their final cadential pronouncement over heroic strings, the powerful vibrations moving the air inside the audience’s chests. The firebird anointed the prince as king and regent over the reclaimed lands with fire that spread across the stage. She placed a crown on his head, then the princess’. The new monarchs turned to the audience, and the orchestra swelled to its final climax. The final cymbal crashed, and the lights blinked off. --- The story was over. By the time the lights came back on for bows, Maria was herself again, though not entirely the same Maria. She was gracious, all smiles and gratitude for the crowds; friendly to every Gentii or crew who came up to her after the show, but everything after that last note turned into a surreal blur. Like there was still a piece of her still up on that stage. Still a piece of her that was the firebird. Maybe a piece of her that was still Quentin, too. She lingered a long time into the night on the Gentii surface, even well after she’d taken the makeup off and changed into something far more comfortable. There were a great deal of “hows” and “whys” from new converts to modern ballet, all of which she answered thoughtfully. But eventually, they all left for home, exhausted from the days-long Bairiri. After the public left, she found herself saying her farewells to Eka, even giving him a tight hug he never expected. The look in his eyes as he said goodbye told her it would be a long time before he forgot this night. Maria still couldn’t rest though. With the Bairiri hall emptied out and closed for the night, she found herself meandering the quiet streets of The Grand Central District, brilliantly lit by beautiful skyscrapers. Even though she was totally depleted, she couldn’t get free of the music or the rush of the performance. She had probably danced as well as her very best before she injured herself. She wandered until she found a park with local late-night patrons indulging in the street-side carts under warm street lighting illuminating every step. A couple was making out on a bench, totally unaware of the alien not ten meters away. She strolled the path inwards until her toes were at the edge of a pond that reflected the city lights and stars back to her. She closed her eyes, and found herself to still be humming the final theme. Her arms moved through the fluid motions on their own by pure memory, her body not ready to let go of the magic. A tear finally started to dribble down her face. When she opened her eyes again, there was a woman watching at her, completely still. In the dim light, Maria saw that the Gentii was totally fascinated, even moved, by the scene. Maria just smiled. END Ensign Maria Alvarez Ops Officer, USS Arrow A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  18. ((Central Park, Deep Space 3)) Most people met in the many visitor destinations available in the area. Most people chose to share their time over meals, or partaking in some activity of mutual amusement. Most people found enjoyment among the throngs of other people, each seeking something that brought them that moment of excitement, joy, or connection with others. Ash MacKenna was not most people. In the dimly lit space under one of the largest trees in the living park, the red-head’s emerald eyes sparkled as they reflected the light of an artificial moon. Recorded sounds of a stream and what nighttime creatures might have existed on some faraway world allowed each visitor of the area a kind of privacy that didn’t exist elsewhere, especially since there were few who came there, especially at night. Her breath was steady, slow, and almost held in anticipation. It had been far too long since she had felt his touch and looked into his eyes without a screen or hologram between them. Her heart danced as she watched the path. Finally...the silhouette that appeared coming towards her held the same stature, had the same walk...Ash could only contain her excitement long enough for him to step out from the first bunch of trees into the moonlight before she took off running and launched herself into his arms. -- He had no right to be so slow. He wanted this, desperately. He’d pushed the Arrow’s engines harder than was wise by any means to get here quickly, no doubt causing some consternation belowdecks. He’d waited impatiently for permission to dock, and before he’d even settled on rest and reorganization protocols with the dockmaster, he’d come here, racing through the mostly-empty habitat sectors and main thoroughfares, until the soft, wafting, incongruous scents and sounds of an open-air park ensnared him, and beckoned him forward with babbling brooks and the excitement of possibility… She was there, waiting for him. He didn’t see her, but they didn’t require that. They just… knew. He did, at least. The scene was too perfect to be without her, and yet, the closer he got amidst the bushes and winding paths, the farther his mind wandered. He wanted to be closer to her than was possible, as if they could leave their forms behind and just float within and around one another. But the problem was… he still wasn’t sure what his self was. The incident with the Gentii was not the most difficult mission Shayne had ever undergone, nor the most taxing, but it might well have been the most consequential. He was no stranger to the disquieting sensation of not belonging, but there was no doubt in his mind that there was a violation here that not even R’Ariel’s gracious counseling had been able to cure. He felt… invaded, and the memories that weren’t his, mingled grotesquely with the ones that were, left him a stranger in his own meatsuit, and a scoundrel in his own soul. So it was with a wave of emotion he could never quite quantify that he saw the red and gleaming hair of his beloved, sitting under a large, placid tree, in almost the exact way he’d been dreaming of since their departure. And when she ran to him, it took no strength to hold her, no resolve to lift her, so great was his delight. Their foreheads gently touched, and Shayne breathed in like his soul was being refilled with every inhale. And then, delicately, he placed his lips on hers. In that instant, his failures and problems just… didn’t count for anything. Not while he held her. Those arms...there was warmth there that she hadn't really felt for far too long. There was strength that had built a protective wall around her, in which nothing could touch her. As she breathed in, she took in everything she missed while they had been apart; the way his hair fell just so, the warm feel of his body so close against her, and even his scent, which highetened every one of her past desires to be where he was. But when he kissed her, that was the moment when she lost any sense of anything around them. It all faded into the background almost as if it never existed anyways. It was a vessel she drank from hungrily, daring time to move forward and take the moment away from her like it did everything else. The fire that was inside burned hot, its flames fanned by the fact that they had been apart for so long. There was only so much a screen could offer. But like all things, the moments moved and time marched on, leaving her breathless, his arms around her and hers around him, their bodies as close as the laws of physics would allow, and her eyes firmly locked on his. MacKenna: I’ve missed you. Shayne reached down, and with the most delicate motions has calloused hands could provide, entwined his fingers in hers. He felt her pulse, strong and vital, and he slowly brought her palm to his chest, resting it there and clasping it protectively. Shayne: You were never gone. But there was only so much he could keep within. And that's when she saw the shadow behind his eyes. It was clear he was just as happy to be there, in that moment with her, but there was something else, something deeper and yet unshared. For a moment she watched, waited, and downright refused to lose any moment with him, and yet, the shadow scared her, a strange feeling knotting up in the pit of her stomach. She held on, perhaps a bit tighter, before she asked. MacKenna: Are you okay? How foolish he’d been to think he could keep it under wraps. How proud. But while his control was lacking, and his partner’s perception was effective, he could make the here and now matter. If it weren’t for restraint, he would have held her tighter, manifesting the solidity without that he demanded of himself within. But he was in control of himself here, because MacKenna was here. Ash was here. His strength was here. Shayne: I will be okay. It was a promise, a statement, a goal, a truth- whatever it had to be to not take away from their togetherness. No amount of Gentii interference or mind entanglement or bureaucracy or paperwork or space or cruel wisps of fate and whim would keep him from her, within this moment. Tomorrow, they could die. Therefore tonight, they would live. He didn’t have to force the smile that came forth from his ruddy features. Shayne: Besides, I’ve seen your missions- if anyone’s got reason to worry, it’s me. It was his way of staying connected, staying alive with Ash in the moment, while covering the fact that her profession, indicated by a black collar and a penchant for glistening mystery in her verdant eyes, scared the hell out of him. He had phasers and sensors and a ship that purred beneath him. Where MacKenna’s missions took her, not even those simple pleasures could be depended on. Shayne: Are you okay? He wanted to dance with her, and hold her, and feel her beside him, and look at the stars with her, and talk about the latest events of the galaxy, and just… give all he had to her. But before any of that, he had to be there for her, in whatever form that entailed. He appraised her affectionately, wiping away all other concerns and presenting unto her a temporarily blank slate upon which she might place any cares or fears or injuries. If she were to turn to sand, he would catch her, and cradle her into cohesion once more. Ash knew what he referred to, what he was reaching for. Being a Captain in Starfleet awarded him unique access to some things, but she was all but certain that it was the redactions in the reports, and the things left out that had him worried. Being that the universe had deemed to bring them back together while she was on one such covert mission, he had good reason to be. There was safety in numbers, and within ships. In her profession, there were rarely ships, and almost never numbers except those against you. But now, unlike she thought then, she had something worth fighting for. And fight she would to return to this very place. To his arms. To home. MacKenna: I will be. A soft, but well knowing smile washed across her face in the moonlight. Fear was a powerful motivator, but love was perhaps stronger. It was a light that shone brighter than any star in the galaxy, capable of lending the strength to move mountains - or fight insurmountable odds just to get home. The adoration shone in her eyes as she gripped his hand around hers just a bit tighter as if to mean that she wasn't letting go. MacKenna: We will be. Whatever demons he fought he would not fight alone. Though she often second guessed herself and found herself shying away from so much for fear of failure, and for fear of letting those around her down, she knew that together they could handle anything. He was the perfect fit, the missing piece to the puzzle that made up Ash MacKenna. And while duty dictated that they could not be physically together as often as she would have liked, distance, nor any of the hellbound chaos that the universe put in her way would keep her from him. Shayne: Then I will not be afraid. The words danced in the air between them just as the first tiny drops of artificial rain fell from above. A method of ensuring a most natural experience while keeping the flora healthy and alive, the station's rain was nothing short of magical. Bits of moonlight became obscured by artificial clouds as the mist turned into defined droplets that hit them without discrimination from the surrounding scene. Like the confession, or the declaration, had been waited on by the universe with baited breath, the first droplets of rain fell upon them. He almost burst out into explosive laughter at the simple, gorgeous absurdity of it, but perfection was rare, and the family lineage of Shayne knew well the ease with which something could be scared away. Ash laughed, uninhibited by the typical plaguing thoughts that muddled up her mind, taking both of his hands and pulling him around in a circle. Like the waves of some far off ocean, the water poured down on them, and with its passing, washed away all of the sins of time gone by. For the first time in a long time she felt lighter than air, as if dancing with him in the rain took her above the clouds and among the stars themselves. Pulling herself back into him she stopped for a moment. It felt like everything around them stopped for that moment as she leaned her head against the side of his and whispered in his ear. MacKenna: I love you Randal Shayne. And then she leaned back just enough to look him in the eye, with two pools of emerald green. Held within was a kind of depth and fire that accentuated the words in a way that no other words or actions could. Shayne: I love you Ash MacKenna. He knew he didn’t have to say it- and that was the beauty of what they had, the sheer, ridiculous, improbable joy of their connection. They didn’t have to talk to speak. Nevertheless, confirming it, stating it, carving it into the runes of reality was just one more way to ensure that what they had, here and now, was forever solid, forever theirs. Shayne: Come with me. The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them, his ease and trust letting his mind again run rampant in a way he almost never permitted. But the sheer panic that arrived an instant later passed just as quickly as he realized that he wasn’t just asking- he was praying. He didn’t want to let her go, in any way. Intertwining her fingers in his with both hands she looked up at him through the rain-soaked tendrils of flame-red hair that fell around her face. The rain brought a chill, but the heat shared between them was more than enough to keep it away. MacKenna: Okay. The explicit trust conveyed could not have been more firmly stated. She’d follow him to the edge of the universe, and through any of the hells that may or may not exist out there. With him beside her, she had no fear of the future, or anything it might hold. Shayne was a private man. Reserved, steady. Occasionally hot-headed but exceptionally good at hiding his true intentions and feelings when necessary. So it was both an indication of his trust in MacKenna, and his absurd shock, that he stuttered repeatedly. There was no sign of amusement in her eyes, no indication that she was kidding. Shayne: Wh- EH? You… mean that? Don’t joke about this, Ash. Please don’t. He hadn’t allowed himself to even hope that his desperate plea would be answered- if he started, only to lose that hope he never had… Ash searched his eyes and offered a look of honest resolve reflected in her own. Starfleet had a way of pulling families apart and scattering love across the galaxy in its own spectacular way. Their history together was a testament to this fact, but one that she was wholly ready to depart from. As she caught herself lost in the desperation of his gaze, she knew she had to fight to walk the path with him now. She never let her eyes drift, holding him in a solidly locked gaze. MacKenna: I mean what I say. I want to be where you are, with every ounce of my soul. He had to believe her, he was her sun, moon, and all of the stars in her galaxy. She was done saying goodbye. Ash was one of very, very few people able to burrow past the thick armor of his uniform, and touch the heart. He was used to people trusting in him- because they had to, because they were trained to, because there really wasn’t any other way to work. But this… was trust on a level so utterly vast and different that it could only be a foundation for something beautiful. He let it settle around him, and when the final adjustments were in place, made metaphorically over a period of several seconds, a wide grin spread on his face like a teenager. Shayne: But… your career, your missions- it’s not fair of me to ask you to leave that. It was in that moment that everything this might take started to poke at the edges of her consciousness, but for the first time in a very long time - perhaps ever - Ash did not feel overwhelmed. They would face complications. He was a Starfleet Captain, and she an Intelligence operative, but they had some very powerful forces on their side. After all, he was a Starfleet Captain, and she happened to know a few. MacKenna: It won't be easy, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Complications muddied the path now, but she kept her emerald eyes locked on his, waiting for him to acknowledge her words; waiting to jump in with him. He knew it. Knew beyond a shadow of doubt that she was completely serious, and completely willing to leap forward with him. He itched to join her in the long fall towards possibility. Shayne: I… don’t think I could be much happier than right now. He giggled slightly, the mirth overwhelming his defenses. An amused grin washed over her, a sparkle dancing in her eyes. He’d not shied from those complications, nor whatever trials this might bring. The fight would be theirs to face together, and they would do so in solidarity. A kind of glee found its way through the hard shell of a mask that comprised the man before her, exposing what lay beneath; the intrinsic being both whom she needed, and who needed her. MacKenna: What? Shayne: Nothing, it’s just… I guess the crew’s going to have to get used to me smiling a little more often. And he would be- if this was real, and not a dream, or an illusion, or a memory that wasn’t actually his, he couldn’t imagine feeling any better. Finally, they'd be together. Properly, this time. The way they should have been for years. Around them, the rain slowed, leaving them soaked. Large drops fell from the tips of her now-auburn hair and ran down her pale skin. The moon reappeared in all its glory, casting upon them an almost holy light, as if the universe had sanctioned this moment for no one other than the two of them. The scent of dirt, just after a rain, rose to meet them as the last of the clouds drifted off and the sounds of the night returned. But if anything beyond him existed, Ash did not notice. Taking her hands still intertwined in his, she pulled his arms around her until she was secure in his hold, with her body pressed against his, and slowly loosed her fingers from between his. With eyes lost so completely in those that gazed back at her, and with such adoration, Ash faded into a near trance, her fingertips slowly tracing up his arms to his neck and resting there. Absentmindedly wandering, one hand ran down along his jawline, ending with a single, delicate finger on his lips. She finally blinked, as if coming out of a deep thought, and smiled slightly, but very, very seriously as she moved her hand to meet her other behind his neck. And then Ash MacKenna spoke words with a kind of tenacity that was unknown to her, except for when it came to him. MacKenna: Marry me. To anyone who might have been watching, the scene might have played out like a movie. The look in his eyes was answer enough to the audience, clearly reflective of the love he had for the woman he held protectively in his arms. To the same, the kiss that followed was enough to make even the most stout romantics look away and blush, and if fireworks could go off in the midst of the monsoons, the moment would have made it happen. As for Ash, she was having trouble controlling the flood of emotions in that moment, which was perhaps where the question - no, the statement - had come from. But maybe that was alright. Maybe here, in these arms, especially in this moment, that didn't matter. Maybe it wouldn't matter ever again. Maybe, just maybe, the universe was finally going to be as it should be. There was a sensation Shayne didn’t understand, didn’t recognize at first. The warmth of her presence, the glow of her affection, the trust in her eyes… it was all so familiar, and it was all he could do not to melt. But there was another… something there. Something that waited patiently for him beyond the gates. Something that waited its turn for him to let it in. Alone, he could never accept it, never stand his ground against it, never expose himself to it. But here, held… swaddled in the unconditional light of MacKenna, he could. And when he opened the gate, he found… what he’d been missing. The uncertainty and the doubt and the self-confusion… it all disappeared. It might return, and inwardly he knew that. He was ready for it. But he also knew that the person before him was his completeness, and when she spoke those two most beautiful words he’d ever heard in his life, he could only smile, lip quivering. With a deft hand, he touched his combadge. Shayne: =/\= Two to beam to Captain’s Quarters, USS Arrow. =/\= In the last moment before the beams whisked them away, Shayne held MacKenna’s hand in his. ((Deck 2, Captain’s Quarters, USS Arrow)) The red glow from installed lights mixed with the golden hugh of lamps about the room, and the soft hues played nicely on the bulkheads and illuminated their space against the stars. It wasn’t quite as romantic as their former locale, but they could return shortly if they desired, and in any case, his quarters possessed something the arboretum could not. Without letting go of MacKenna’s hand, Shayne reached over toward the nearby cabinet, where a small box sat. Velvet and black, it seemed to sink into his hand until he opened it. The white cloth inside cushioned the pair of rings that sat beside one another- black as space with sprinklings of white, pin [...]ed stars upon them. softly. In his mind, his next words were confident, suave and romantic. In reality, his breathy voice betrayed his unparalleled delight, excitement, and joy. Shayne: I, ah… suppose I’m a little late on the draw here, but… With trembling fingers, he picked up one of the rings. Carefully, he brought it close to its compatriot, until both began to glow subtly, exuding a cautious but insistent warmth as a result of their proximity. The wonder could not have been hidden from her eyes if she tried, nor would she want it to be. This moment was more magical than she ever could have imagined, with what he had revealed to her being even more consequential than the mere fact that she had asked him in the first place. Their souls were in the same place, on the same plane, intertwined as one. And it was all such an amazingly beautiful thing to behold. Shayne: ...better late than never. He knew the answer. He knew she knew the answer. And yet, the question still lingered, thick in the air. Shayne could only smile with his whole heart as every part of him responded at once. Shayne: Of course. He leaned in, and placed the most gentle kiss on her lips. Nothing had ever felt more certain in his life, and that certainty had never given him such perfect delight. For the first time in as long as he could remember, he was happy. And she knew now that she was finally home in the most fulfilling, most perfect, most complete sense that ever could be. TBC... Commander Ash MacKenna Chief Intelligence Officer USS Arrow R238605KN0 and Captain Randal Shayne Commanding Officer USS Arrow NCC 69829 G239202RS0
  19. ((Sickbay, Deck Two, USS Resolution)) Adea: You’ll have to use the holoemitters for our EMH, but they should work. Should being the operative word. He turned to T’Suran, and ran his hand through his matted hair. A finger caught on what was either a knot or a clot or something, and he pulled it free, shaking the hair that came with it off and onto the floor. Adea: In the meantime, we need to keep Nusin alive for as long as possible. T’Suran: Response With time running out – or perhaps not – to save Nurse Nusin, Dwich brought all of the ’bay’s holoemitters online to prepare for the surgery. Meidra approached his side and he gestured to the screen, which was presumably showing a diagram of how the procedure would work. Genkos grabbed an anabolic protoplaser, and began to try and hastily repair the damage to Nusin’s lungs, with T’Suran’s help. It was slow work, but it was keeping him alive. For now. Hamsan: I don’t need to lecture you on holography. ::grinning:: I know you’ve got some skills and talents in that regard. ::beat:: But the size, shape, and placement of the lungs have to be calibrated down to the micron. Getting the measurements right is our main concern. Sirin: How would you suggest we proceed? Hamsan: Try scanning the transporter logs. Hopefully Nusin has taken a trip through the transporter recently. Genkos’ hands were trembling as he kept replicating the pleura for Nusin’s eviscerated lungs; he was absolutely appalled by the damage. It was as if someone had transported a miniature kukek beast in there, let it rampage for sixty seconds and then beamed it straight out again. Sirin: It looks like he has. I’m not completely sure what our next steps are. You’ll have to walk me through the surgery. Hamsan: Absolutely. First thing we have to do is - There was a pause in Dwich’s speech, although Genkos didn’t look up from his work until the next time the poor Bajoran boy in Sickbay spoke. Hamsan: What is that? Adea: What is what? ::he looked up and saw the electrical surge travelling through Sickbay’s systems:: Oh... It continued moving across every electrical device, getting closer and closer to where they all were standing. Suddenly, it picked up speed, and crackled across the floor and up into the console on which Meidra’s hands were currently resting. Dwich quickly grabbed her hands and removed them from the transparent aluminum surface before she would be shocked. Hamsan: Meidra, get away from that. Genkos raised his own hands and his brain told his mouth to shout, but it was too late. Dwich was standing between Meidra and the sparking console when it exploded. All of his muscles involuntarily contracted, and he stood frozen in position, supported by the massive amount of electricity coursing through his body. A moment later, it dissipated, and Dwich collapsed to the deck. Genkos rushed to his side, the cane clattering to the ground, as Kali’s voice came through the speakers overhead. He barely registered her voice as he looked up to stare into Meidra’s eyes. Nicholotti: =/\= Bridge to Engineering. Prepare to eject the core at breach minus 30 seconds. =/\= Hamsan: ::weakly:: Meidra, Nusin needs you. He needs the lungs–– Dwich exhaled and died. Genkos slumped back, utterly defeated. He turned and looked up at T’Suran, who shook their head. It appeared too that Nusin had passed. Genkos struggled to his feet, his arm pushing down on a biobed, slipped and fell to the floor, totally beaten by the situation. His head fell and his chest rose and fell with harsh, wracking sobs, and he didn’t even notice when the warp core was ejected and then blew up. It would have been a bit of a relief. (( 5 minutes earlier )) Genkos reopened his eyes and saw he was back in his office again. He slammed down a fist on his desk and then shook it vigorously when that really hurt. He leapt to his feet, and rushed out of his office, his cane lying forgotten on the floor. He looked at Nusin and pointed to the nearest biobed. Adea: There, now. Nusin rolled his eyes, but lay down only a few seconds before whatever happened, happened. Genkos felt his previously clean arms become steeped in gore again, and he threw anabolic protoplasers to both Meidra and T’Suran. Adea: Pluera, now. Genkos pulled the biobed’s arm up and over the Bolian nurse as the doors to Sickbay, and he heard Dwich’s voice call out to them. Hamsan: ::to Meidra:: You were just about to say I look horrible. Relief flooded through him, but there was very little time to waste; they needed to stabilise Nusin, and fast. Adea: Grab a protoplaser, and get Nusin stabilised. I’m not losing them again. Sirin / T’Suran: response Genkos looked up briefly in between micro-operations and saw Dwich was still standing in the doorway, pointing at the console that had previously killed him. Adrenaline shot through his body, as well as a curious [...]tail of rage, frustration and despair. Hamsan: That console overloaded and electrocuted me. Adea: It did, but not this time. Sirin / T’Suran: response Hamsan: What is going on? Genkos looked down at his patient, and Nusin looked him in the eyes. A small smile crossed the Bolian’s face as they shook their head briefly. Genkos knew what they were saying, that it was hopeless, that the third time wasn’t the charm, and that they should stop. Genkos grit his teeth to stop the tears from overwhelming him, and in that moment his guard was let down. Emotions flooded him from all over the ship; pain, fear, desperation and confusion. There was something else, a strong feeling of curiosity, but it was all gone as quickly as it came, and Genkos rebuilt those walls that kept the outside feelings at bay. It was the last thing any of them needed. Adea: No, Nusin. We will keep fighting for your life. Every. Single. Time. Nusin tried to speak, but lost consciousness, and Genkos looked up at the three medical professionals still conscious. Adea: I have no idea what’s going on here, but I’m not giving up on Nusin. Not now, not ever. Protoplasers to the ready, they seem to stop them from dying in the short term. ::he looked over at Dwich:: Keep away from any consoles, I’m not losing anyone today. Hamsan / Sirin / T’Suran: response As they worked, Genkos felt that curiosity pique again at the back of his neck. It wasn’t his curiosity, that was for sure, it was something stronger, something more… primal. A cold shiver ran down his spine as he recognised the immense power of those thoughts. He was reminded of a happening on the Gorkon, when they had all been imprisoned in a science experiment that returned them to the alternate universe for the Skarbek. A science experiment that had been carried out by a… by a… Adea: Q. Hamsan / Sirin / T’Suran: response Genkos looked over at Meidra and raised an eyebrow. With her partly El-Aurian senses, there may be something she could sense better than he. After all, he remembered reading that the El-Aurians had a curious past with the Continuum. Adea: Can you sense anything, Meidra? Anything… powerful? Hamsan / Sirin / T’Suran: response Tags/TBC ----------------------- Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Second Officer & Chief Medical Officer USS Resolution G239502GS0
  20. A lovely little sim from Jona ch'Ranni, continuing his long-term plot with Vexa zh'Lev. A short one, but lovely to read. ----- ((Cafe, Iyira, Deluvia IV)) Jona sat lightly in the spacious underwater cafe. The transparent aluminum bubble that held the ocean water at bay domed to a peak thirty meters above. Artificial light mixed with the dreamlike illumination from the outside waters danced and played across the faces of the patrons. The Andorian sat at the small table near the edge of the glass wall and he let out a tiny smile that played at the corner of his mouth as a bioluminescent eel drifted languidly past. The sight of an insectoid creature staring back at it from the other side of the glass must have startled it as it darted quickly away. He shook his head in disbelief at the marvel of engineering that the Selkie had accomplished with their beautiful city. He'd taken refuge in the city below the waves as a compromise. The sunny beaches were far too warm and the more rugged and frigid wilderness had proved a bit dangerous as evidenced by his fall during a climbing outing. The submerged city was a bit cooler than the tropical surface and he found it pleasant enough. He hoped his companion would too. zh'Lev: Jojo? He was pulled from his musings and his hint of a smile grew into a full goofy grin. ch'Ranni: ::rising from his seat and moving to grasp the woman in a tight hug:: Vexa! It's great to see you. How have you been? The energetic young zhen released him from the hug and Jona could see the genuineness of her delight at being there. Being with him. Their paths had crossed years before at the edge of the Milky Way near the Galactic Barrier when he was stationed on the USS Columbia. The sudden end of the ship's tour in the Sagittarius Reach had left the civilian scientist at Dehner Base and ripped him away to a new assignment on the Gorkon. Their stilted and awkward attempt at a long-distance relationship had eventually ended in failure. But now she was here. zh'Lev: ::taking a seat opposite him and speaking after a brief pause:: Things have been rough. Jona nodded in understanding. She had come to him nearly a year before, requesting help from Starfleet. Dehner Base was under repeated assault by pirates and the Losarian Commonwealth - the first friends they'd made in the region - had been unable to provide consistent protection to the fledgling compound. Though an effort had been made to reinforce the protection, Starfleet had made the decision that the base would be mothballed. It had been a difficult transition for the small family of scientists back to the core worlds of the Federation and he imagined the woman sitting across from him was feeling lost and frustrated at the perception of failure surrounding their mission. ch'Ranni: I'm so sorry, Vexa. I wish there was more that I could have done. zh'Lev: ::with a steely gaze and sense of determination:: No, Jona. Don't do that. It isn't your fault. You did what you could. ::face softening:: Anyway, I'm here now. ch'Ranni: Yes, you are. ::pause:: Why is that exactly? zh'Lev: Oh? You don't want me to be here? ch'Ranni: ::raising his hands in a defensive posture:: No, no, no! That's not what I meant ... She reached across the table and playfully swatted at his arm. zh'Lev: Relax. I'm kidding. Like I said in my communique, I wanted to see you. ::backpedaling:: But there's a lot to do in the sector for an esteemed energy field expert, too. The New Horizons conference, Palanon in the Tyrellian system has some amazing research facilities that are looking for directors - A look of shock whipped his antenna back and he supplemented it with an eyebrow arch that would have made a Vulcan proud. ch'Ranni: Wait, you're thinking of relocating to this sector? TBC -- Lt. Commander Jona ch'Ranni Chief of Operations USS Gorkon (NCC-82293) C239510JC0
  21. OOC: You can usually count on @vitamink for a laugh. ((Pirate Ship - Drowning Band)) Andrews: I'm going to keep that thing busy! Somebody grab the bodyguard and then get everyone to a safe place! Drevas: Isaiah! What in- what are you-. Tatash: Andrews what the f… Lurtz: Is this normal Starfleet training? Isaiah would have normally quipped that lizard riding was only offered as an elective on odd years at the academy, but he was preoccupied with creeping up on what would easily be a thirty-foot long monstrosity if scaled to his normal size. Several alarm klaxons were sounding in his brain, warning him that he was courting real actual death. The only thing that kept him moving *towards* the reptile was the knowledge that the distraction might prevent more real actual death. If it worked. Dal: Come on, let’s get you up. Commander Dal helped the wretchedly retched-up bodyguard up, at the expense of getting lizard stomach contents all over his suit. They joined the group led by Tatash and the others and started moving off. The lizard, still recovering from the regurgitation, espied all the potential prey starting to hurry away and gave a displeased hiss. Isaiah took the opportunity to run up behind the lizard, grab hold of the black collar it wore, and clench his legs to the beast's neck The reaction from the lizard was nearly instantaneous, and it immediately began twisting and writhing, attempting to dislodge whatever was on its back. Isaiah held on tightly to the collar for dear life, hooking one arm through and pressing himself down and low, hoping that the lizard couldn't reach the back of its neck, and also that the collar was made extra heavy duty. Meanwhile, the larger group made their way towards what appeared to be a shelter of some kind. Tatash: This is as good a place as any. Ishreth’s antennae curled forward, as he sniffed. Dal: What is this? ::Gesturing to the shelter with his antennae:: And what is that? ::Pointing towards a big spongy, fragrant … thing that formed a carpet of sorts.:: Tatash: It’s a lunchbox, I’m pretty sure this is a ham sandwich. Drevas: ::poking the ground:: Yep. Feels spongy enough to be one to me. Dal: Charming. Commander Dal un-shouldered the guard into a safe location and then looked out to see how Andrews was doing. Dal: Ensign, how are you faring? ::he called in a louder voice than one expected from the soft spoken Andorian:: The lizard was trying a number of things to remove the unwanted rider from its neck. It had started by attempting to twist about and scratch at its collar area with a fore or hindclaw, but, fortunately for Isaiah, it didn't have the flexibility. Then it had attempted to twist about and bite behind itself. This was even less effective. However, it had the unfortunate side-effect of going around and around in circles like a giant scaled puppy chasing its tail. Isaiah clung tightly, but he was feeling rather sick. Andrews: Still alive, sir! ::He called as best as he could, while riding the lizard-go-round.:: Tatash: At least we got food covered then. Drevas: ::chuckling:: I suppose! The next move that the lizard decided to try was to roll onto its back in an attempt to squish whatever it was that was holding its collar. This was actually quite bad for Isaiah, as he did not want to find himself between that lizard's weight and the floor. As the reptile rolled over, he had to let go and jump to the side and then grab ahold again as the creature came back up. It was a real pity that there weren't a bunch of drunken cowboys cheering him on. He deserved drunken cowboys. Instead, he heard the voice of Commander Dal again. Dal: Can you get that lizard safely away? Isaiah had no idea how he was going to manage that, when priority #1 was still "don't die." Still, he wanted to sound hopeful. Andrews: I'll do my best, sir! Drevas pulled the civilians up into the ham sandwich haven. Meanwhile Ishreth wasn’t too sure about standing on food while being seen as food by a pet lizard. Drevas: Everyone still here? Valeria: I’ll do a headcount! Outside of the haven of the lunchbox, Isaiah was still attempting to keep his teeth from rattling out of his skull as he doggedly clung to the agitated lizard's back. The angry beast gave a hiss and a sudden buck, and Isaiah flew from its neck, head over heels, into a display of older Terran artifacts. Groaning, Isaiah forced himself up to his feet, pushing items off of himself, and attempting to back away from the angry lizard. He backed up and fell over something. It was long and cylindrical and had a black button on one side. What in the world was this..? Lurtz/Tatash: ? Drevas: Great. Uh. What now? I don’t think we can just go outside with that lizard there. Then the comm signal crackled to life with a raucous pirate voice. Smeagle: =/\= Hey, *miscreants.* We’ve got a buyer! The Vanity of Death will be here in 2 hours. So clean up this targ-sty, and take a shower for pities sake, will ya? =/\= Valeria: Buyer? Lurtz/Tatash: ? Dal: I have the sneaking suspicion we are on the sales floor. Isaiah now found himself sprawled backwards over the strange cylinder, looking up at the open maw of the lizard. Unless he did something fast, he was going to share the fate of the bodyguard -- only he didn't have the benefit of a bladed weapon to make himself less palatable. Quite by accident, he leaned up against the black button on the cylinder, and a glowing, red pinpoint of light spring into view on the far wall. It was some kind of low-powered laser! The lizard's head whipped around and it was suddenly focused on the glowing red dart. It darted away from Isaiah to chase the dot, only to come into contact with the wall, where it scrabbled at it ineffectually. Drevas: No. So why don’t we try and use this box as… well, what it is? If it’s a lunch box someone’s gonna pick it up sooner or later and we’ll just wait till that happens. It might be a while but it’s got to happen eventually. Right? Dal: They are going to come to check the merchandise – including us – we need to hide. Not just from a pet lizard but from sentient intelligent pirates. Lurtz/Tatash/Drevas: ? Isaiah had just picked up the cylinder and was directing the beam up the wall (with the lizard giving chase), when he heard Commander Dal again. Dal: Andrews, can we use that lizard to our advantage? Andrews: Sir, I might have a way to do that! Keeping the beam pointed away from the group, Isaiah hefted the laser-projecting cylinder and hurried towards the lunch box. Lurtz/Tatash/Drevas: ? Commander Dal looked to Tatash and Drevas next. Dal: We need a safe hiding place for a dozen tiny people. Somewhere defensible. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have more … pets. Andrews: Commander! You've got see this! Grunting, Isaiah swept the cylinder about, causing the glowing red dot to dance across the wall, with the lizard desperately following, trying to catch it. Dal/Lurtz/Tatash/Drevas: ? Andrews: It's some kind of low-powered laser projector, but that lizard finds it absolutely enthralling! Dal/Lurtz/Tatash/Drevas: ? Andrews: What if we used it to keep the lizard busy while we evacuate? Oh! Or even better...we could use the lizard as a distraction for anything that comes after us! Isaiah "drew" a spiral pattern with the beam and grinned as the lizard spun about, attempting to catch the dot. Perhaps he'd hit his head a little hard when he'd been thrown from the lizard, but he clearly seemed to be enjoying himself. Dal/Lurtz/Tatash/Drevas: ? -- Ensign Isaiah Andrews Security Officer StarBase 118 Ops M239010MC0
  22. @Alora DeVeau You must've been a cat in a former life because you write for one really well! ((Pirate Ship Drowning Band – Somewhere in the Ventilation Systems)) Sachiko was not a normal cat. It hadn’t taken long for Alora to figure that out. When she had been given the little critter, the only thing Gabi knew was that she’d gotten the creature from someone who had gotten her from someone else and no one knew why she had been given up in the first place . She’d been mostly a kitten still, older than a wee one, but still not fully grown, but neither had she achieved much more stature after she’d been taken in by the, at the time, Science Officer. She remained quite small for a cat, and most thought she was still a juvenile. But no, Sachiko was six years old, not that she acted like it. But that wasn’t what made her abnormal. No, the fact was, Sachiko wasn’t normal for two reasons - she seemed particularly intelligent for a felis cactus, and there were times Alora couldn’t help but wonder exactly how intelligent she was. Even stranger was the almost magical way the creature managed to escape Alora’s quarters. It didn’t matter what Alora did, she could not contain the cat, and she’d eventually given up. It was that very same cat who had managed to not only get out of Alora’s quarters again but who had somehow known to gain the attention of a certain pirate carrying a certain cage containing certain people, and get on board the pirate ship. Once there, she’d performed the same little trick, snuck out of the pirate’s quarters, and had managed to finagle a way into the ventilation system, only to appear before miniaturized versions of people - one of whom was familiar to her. Of course, she wasn’t going to eat them. In fact, the feline was rather docile and even allowed the group to mount upon her. When they had all settled ,she’d whisked them away to the ventilation shaft, mini people on her back, mini dog in her mouth. Bailey: Not so fast! ::Speaking more towards the cat:: If Sachiko understood it, she didn’t really pay any attention. Instead, she continued to slink through the system, unhindered by the request. A. Harper: I should not have eaten so much at the gala. Galven: Ride like the wind, Bullseye! That did seem to get the creature’s attention. She turned her head ever so slightly, just enough for a single blue eye to cant in the direction of the Denobulan who had called out the encouragement, but once more, if she understood, there was no other real response to it. Yael: Response Bailey: Does anyone suppose they know where she’s taking us? A. Harper: Hopefully somewhere we can signal for help There was a pause as they came to an intersection, just a brief one. Sachiko’s ears twitched and, Alistair still gently in her mouth, she lifted her nose, silently sniffing the air. She made her choice, turned down toward the left, then continued onward. Galven: I'm hoping the way she's going to wherever she came from. Yael: Response Bailey: I mean, I’d very much dislike to end up on the opposite end of the ship from where we likely need to be. Galven: I mean, it's better than where we were. There was another intersection, another pause, longer that time. Those ears swiveled one way, then another, then back again. The nose lifted, more sniffs were taken, then another turn chosen before she continued on. Down one, through another, Sachiko only paused at intersections adjusting according to whatever feline fancy hit her. Yael: Response Bailey: It might be a good idea to see if we can get her to jump up to a console. A. Harper: That will certainly be a an experience, at least cats are graceful jumpers. Galven: ::to Ashley:: What are your orders for whenever we get to the location, Lieutenant? Suddenly, Sachiko go stopped, her ears twitched, then one hind leg came up as she arched her head back and she proceeded to scratch mightily behind one year. Doing so didn’t dislodge anyone, but for a moment, the bodies of the riders vibrated with the motions. Finally, the itch was gone and the cat resumed her previous pace. Yael/A. Harper:Response Bailey: We could check the manifest a lot easier that way and it would take less time than climbing. Yael/A. Harper: Response Galven: It appears that Sachiko is slowing down. ::indicating his assumption as he turned his head to get a better idea where they were. One turn, then another, and finally down a line which ended - at a grate, very much like the one she’d entered through. Pawing at the barrier, the metal whined, then groaned and gave way a little. Once again, the cat pressed against it, then used her head, and finally the grate fell three quarters of the way off, hanging on by a single bolt. Old, and ill maintained, it had given up the ghost and now they had access to what lay beyond. Which was...a dark room. Sachiko dropped to the floor, then carefully set Alistair down - only to hold him down by one paw so she could set about grooming him with her large, sandpaper tongue. Yael/A. Harper/Bailey: Response Galven: Everything looks so crude and different from anything I've seen. Even when I was taller. Where are we? Sachiko paused in her group, twisted around to look at the Denobulan, then opened her mouth. Only, words didn’t come out. Instead was a meow. Well, not even a real meow, it was more of a squeak. Whether or not it was in answer to Galven’s question, however, could not be known, and it seemed as if she didn’t really care, for she returned her attention back to Alistair, evidently not done bathing him. Galven/Yael/A. Harper/Bailey: Response Finally, Sachiko seemed to think that she was done - for now. The paw was lifted, Alistair was set free, and once everyone was off of her back, she shook herself, then sat down and proceeded to lick at her chest, quite unconcerned with the antics of the miniature people. Galven/Yael/A. Harper/Bailey: Response There was a pause in the self groom, just long enough for Sachiko to open her mouth wide, sharp teeth stark against the pink of her mouth. She finished yawning, gave a few more licks to her chest, then turned to her tail, though one eye seemed to follow the motions of the people who had moments before been riding upon her back. Galven/Yael/A. Harper/Bailey: Response -- Sachiko Taxi Cat Starbase 118 Ops alora@blar.net M239008AD0
  23. So all the ships have a thread - why not the Academy? I see some gems over there too! This from Adea made me chuckle:
  24. What an interesting pair... IC: [[Infirmary - Starfleet Medical Academy - Four years and nine months earlier]] Ikaia had been holding a cold pack up to his left eye for what felt like a while. He knew for having a black eye, he was near the bottom of the triage list. But at the same time, his brain chemistry was actively being monitored. There was a very good reason for this and it had to do with that Vulcan male, Vanik, laying knocked out in a few biobeds down from him. The poor man had been going through his time and the infirmary staff had knocked him out with a hypospray just to make him far more manageable. Ikaia supposed it all started at the end of class today. Just as he was leaving for his next class, Vanik had stopped him in the hall. The thing that happened next was amazingly awkward - Vanik had proposed to him. Now, even if Ikaia knew him well enough and were dating him, he still would have considered this incredibly forward. Rejecting his advances resulted in Vanik chasing him up the hall and Ikaia giving the most Klingon scream of horror! The only saving grace was when he ducked into an empty classroom and used the maze of desks to finally drop behind Vanik and snag him up in a bear hug. Then, it was just a matter of hauling him back to the infirmary for treatment. Once there, Ikaia yelled out for help when suddenly the wiley Vulcan wriggled loose from his grip as if he were a very squirmy cat about to be given a bath. Before he knew it, he saw a fist come flying at his face. The impact was hard enough that it had sent him stumbling back into a nearby counter. He was absolutely seeing stars from being hit that hard. This of course brought him to that moment. He had just learned that thing, that “pon farr” was contagious. Nobody knew if a punch to the face counted for anything more than just a black eye. It was only then he realized how DUMB he was for wrestling an agitated Vulcan here. He could only hope that he and Vanik were going to be okay! So he laid back in his biobed and waited it out. With the infirmary so busy, he was still waiting for treatment for his eye. More than that, he was starting to get bored. With his book bag on the table next to him, he reached inside to pull out his PADD. He decided to call his favourite partner in crime and in the classroom - Alieth. He was glad to see her when she picked up. Wong: =/\= Hi, Alieth.=/\= The screen lit up showing a Vulcan with messy, wispy hair and absolutely outside the 23 regulated styles who appeared to be up to... something. Something that required talking really quietly and pacing really fast in a fairly dark alleyway. Alieth: =/\= Hey, Wong=/\= The Vulcan's face moved closer to the screen until it practically filled it, her features lit up with an eerie bluish light. At the same time, dark eyes, naturally narrow, stretched even narrower. Alieth: =/\= You look terrible, Wong, is that an orbital bruise?=/\= Wong: =/\= Errr… I'm kind of sort of in the infirmary right now. It's uhhhh… for a good reason.=/\= Alieth's eyes constricted into two tiny slits. Alieth: =/\=Wong... what are you concealing from me? You know you cannot hide anything from me, I am the master of hiding things, not you. Come on, take off that ice patch.=/\= Ikaia removed the cold pack from his face, revealing his black eye. It looked swollen and bruised. He really had been hit particularly hard! On the other side of the screen, Alieth clicked her tongue in a wordless sound of disapproval. For a brief second, however, she averted her eyes from the screen, glanced over her shoulder at something not visible from the screen, and hastened her pace. Wong: =/\=You know Vanik, right? =/\= The words earned a rolled eye roll from the tiny Vulcan, her opinions about her compatriot more than well-known. The most pleasant epithet she had ever given him had been "suitably lacklustre". Wong: =/\= ...The weird one who's always looking at his salad like it's going to leap up and bite him on his nose if he doesn't eat it fast enough? That Vanik? Well, turns out he was… er…. going through a uh… seven year thing and he decked me in the face. Also, I had no idea he found me attractive. Er… that was BEFORE he decked me in the face.=/\= The Vulcan froze for a second and stared at the PADD in her hands. At the top left edge, a bright light cast strange shadows on her features. Alieth: =/\=He has tried to bond with you...::the Vulcan woman paused for a second and the next words she uttered came out in an awkward tone:::.... in “his time". Do you have any... "symptoms"?=/\= Wong: =/\=Oh, they have me in observation right now because nobody knows if a punch to the face counts as anything. So I'm stuck here. The good thing is that I don't feel weird. Just my eye hurts a bit. But otherwise, I'm okay! How are you?=/\= He was at least TRYING to be cheery given the situation. Ikaia brought his cold pack back up to his eye and held it there. He hissed in pain when the cold pack made contact with his injury. At the other end of the communication, the young woman dropped something on the ground, a large quantity of some things metallic that could have been either spray paint cans, or medkits, or parts of an unauthorised motor vehicle under repair. Alieth: =/\=Busy, but I will be there, in ten minutes, twelve if I have to dodge security.=/\= Ikaia gave the best curious head tilt he could given his current situation. It wasn’t much. But it got the point across. Wong: =/\=Alieth, what are you doing? Or wait. What did you already do?=/\= The petite Vulcan tilted her head, as if listening to something (or someone) that only she could hear. A smile briefly lit her eyes, not quite reaching her lips, before a flash of pain extinguished them, and she returned her gaze to the screen. Alieth: =/\=You really do not want to know. Eleven minutes and thirty-five seconds, and by all means do not even think of dying before then. That is an order.=/\= Wong: =/\= I’m NOT going to die. It’s just a black eye and well… the other thing. Wait. Caaaan this thing actually kill me?=/\= The Vulcan raised the padd to her eye level, allowing, for a brief second, to see a less than ideal part of the suburbia near the spaceport. The Vulcan's naturally sober face delivered this time deadly sombre, her normal vivacious eyes somehow especially dull, like someone who carries a hidden pain that rarely manifests itself. Alieth: =/\= Oh, it can kill you as well as others. I know it well.=/\= Ikaia audibly squeaked. A horrified expression crossed his face. Suddenly, this became so much WORSE inside his mind. He swallowed hard with the realization of what she had told him. All the while Alieth's gaze remained fixed and unblinking on the Klingon's eyes, the sort of stare that pierced all the way to the soul and a little beyond, hammering hard on the seriousness of her words. Wong: =/\= ::Gulp!:: Y-you know what? I th-think I was happier NOT knowing that p-part!=/\= Alieth: =/\=Knowledge makes you wiser. And more prudent in the future, IF you have a future at all.=/\= For a second, the petite Vulcan's face relaxed slightly and a hint of concern flickered across her stern features. Alieth:=/\= Hang in there, I will be there before you realise it. =/\= Was it safe for Alieth to show up in the Infirmary given his situation? Ikaia was starting to worry for her here. Yet at the same time, he really needed a friendly face. He was willing to forgo that if it meant this was going to put her in harm’s way. Wong: =/\=W-wait. Are you going to be okay coming up here?=/\= Alieth:=/\= Sort of, yes. Safe in sixty-three point eight four four six two percent of the possible scenarios.=/\= The Vulcan looked away from the screen momentarily, picked up the bag she had left on the ground and, for a few seconds, the screen showed only a blur of streets, concrete, buildings, and street furniture. As abruptly as it had begun, the run came to a halt, the bag was deposited in a transport container, and Alieth then apparently strode into a more brightly lit area. Wong: =/\= Please be safe, Alieth. Okay? =/\= Alieth: =/\=Yeah yeah, I need to leave you now, okay? Just remember, I will be there soon, and do not even think of dying before then.=/\= Wong: =/\=Mahalo and aloha. I’ll see you soon.=/\= On the screen, Alieth briefly raised her hand in the ta'al, but did not say a word. Ikaia ended the call and waited. He was still questioning if this was a good idea. Never mind, he didn’t know how this thing worked to its fullest. Truthfully, this felt like the closest he had been to death. The idea that this could kill him absolutely scared him. He could feel it manifesting as a pit in his stomachs. He needed something to distract him. Anything. He reached over to his book bag and started rummaging around inside of it. He finally pulled out his PADD with some of his homework on it. It seemed like as good of a time as any to at least TRY to get some studying done. His medical ethics course had a quiz he was supposed to be preparing for anyways. He threw himself and lost the sense of time, putting all his mind to the options until he heard some approaching footsteps. Those didn't sound like one of the nurses but more determined and, at the same time, more subtle. When looked up and saw Alieth approaching him. Wong: Alieth! Ah. I’m glad to see you! I just wish it was under better circumstances. The petite Vulcan made a minute gesture with her head and shoulders, something that could perhaps have passed for a shrug, but was probably just too subtle to be considered a gesture at all. Alieth: That is irrelevant. She approached the side of the bed, glanced at him for a brief moment and then moved away to grab a stool and perch on it, putting almost a metre and a half of distance between her perch and the biobed where Ikaia rested. Alieth: :with a small motion of her right hand:: Which treatment have they given you so far? Has your vision been checked? Wong: They still haven’t got to my eye yet. I mean the Infirmary is pretty busy today. So I think it’d be a while yet before it gets treated. It's kind of nasty. Vanik hit me pretty hard. Ikaia pulled the cooling pack from his face. His arm flopped back into his lap. Sure enough, that nasty shiner was still there. It looked even worse in person. The Vulcan's lips pursed together briefly. Alieth: Yes, it is indeed worse in the flesh than in a video call. I would do something about it but, I will not risk doing it until we are sure that ... the other thing... has not affected you. She shifted uncomfortably on the stool as she said those words and, once again, she seemed to listen to something that only she could hear for a split second. Wong: I know. This looks bad. Still nothing yet on the other thing. I… I dunno what is supposed to happen with…. da kine. I don’t even know how it actually works or what it’s going to do to me…. Er… other than what’s been mentioned. They are monitoring my brain chemistry, though. I just… wish I knew more. Elements of Ikaia's fears came from both the feeling of the loss of control and from the unknown. He could easily run away from a rogue cadet. But he couldn't outrun his own body. That reality was what made being the patient in this case so chilling. Alieth: Well, the first symptoms are quite obvious :: She raised a hand and started extending fingers in front of her as she enumerated them:: poor concentration, trouble suppressing emotions, restlessness, irritability, impaired ability to meditate or rest... do you suffer from any of them at the moment?. Ikaia raised an eyebrow at that. He was trying to think of what Alieth was saying to him. Wong: You mean nervousness? Yeah. I’m feeling nervous. That’s a symptom?! The Vulcan's eyebrows furrowed a bit more. Alieth: It is, if you are a vulcan. Well, then you have to watch out for the following symptoms: lack of appetite, increased irritability, perspiration and insomnia. Obsessive and possessive musings about the bondmate or potential mate... I guess in your case with your friend Vanik Wong: ::Slightly Deadpan:: He’s not my friend. You are. But I’m not… I’m not feeling all that hungry either. Alieth: This could mean that it is advancing... Alieth looked away, and looked at the hands in her lap. Her face had paled marginally and, at the same time, the tips of her ears had turned slightly greenish. When she spoke, her eyes averted from Ikaia's and her voice grew quieter, almost turning into a whisper. Alieth: If it is not resolved then you can fall into the next stage and.... you do not want that Wong: What’s the next stage? Is that where I…. uh…. He really didn’t want to say the next words. It was already bad enough. Alieth: The next stage are “The Fires” and… It means you either resolve it or you die, Wong. Wong: I resolve it? How? Alieth, I don’t want to die! Only then did Alieth look at the patient on the bed and her face remained devoid of any emotion. Alieth: One way is to kill someone, usually if they pose an obstacle between you and your desired mate. Wong: I think Starfleet would frown on that. The other way? A greenish blush crept across Alieth's hieratic face. Alieth: The other option is to join your mate. In body and mind. Ikaia flopped back into the biobed with a groan. He did NOT want to do that either. There had to be a THIRD option. Something he was overlooking. Right now, he was just too scared to even think. He needed a distraction. Wong: ::Muttering:: I need a distraction… What's a good distraction…? ::He finally looks up with an idea:: Alieth… there’s something in my book bag. My half of the project we have together for the bedside manners class. Do you want to grab it? In Ikaia’s book bag, other than homework, were two small bags containing lollipops and gummies. Another thing was a half devoured jar of chocolate hazelnut spread he had been snacking on in one of his classes while he was taking notes. He didn’t want to hand these to her directly as he didn’t want to risk passing along his condition. Alieth: In addition to your homework, you have a stack of sugary treats here... a humongous amount of them... As she said this, the Vulcan pulled out one of the bags and fished out a soft figure in the shape of a Terran predator. She squeezed it with two fingers as she struggled to find the logic in using a vicious beast for something so soft, squishy, and... blood-coloured. More confused than she wanted to confess she began to pull gummie bears from the bag and began to form a small battalion on a nearby tray to study them more closely. The first row consisted entirely of green bears, like the first one I had taken out, followed by red, yellow, etc. When she had a real army in formation and ready for her research, she reached for one of the PADD's in the backpack and tossed it to Ikaia. Alieth: Do you want something else? Maybe you would like to test the insulin production of one of your livers with some of this? Can I? Anything I should avoid? Ikaia caught the PADD and held on to it. Wong: Er… yeah. That uh jar… you don’t want that. It has Klingon slobber in it. Uh.. specifically, MY Klingon slobber. A subtle but noticeable expression of discontent flashed across the Vulcan's face. Alieth: Wong, did you really need to chew the WHOLE jar? How... and why?. Wong: I didn't chew the jar! It was an early class and I got super hungry when I ate that! I kinda sorta didn’t exactly get a great breakfast this morning and well…. The chocolate hazelnut spread was the quickest thing I could grab in order to avoid being late for class. ::a beat. Clears his throat:: Anyways! I was working away over a replicator this morning before class trying to come up with a good candy to give to patients. I was trying to come up with something on the vegan side of things so we don’t encounter any patient allergies. I think they taste good. They taste sweet to me. But I have a problem - as a Klingon, I can’t tell how well that’s going to taste for another humanoid. My enhanced sense of taste is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to anything culinary. I was wondering if you wanted to give it a try? Alieth: Absolutely not, I have no incentive to ingest a perhaps highly sugary substance with body fluid supplements. She made a small gesture towards the army she had assembled next to her. Alieth: But what is this? And why Ursus Arctos and not... reptiles or vegetables?:: The slanted eyebrows of the Vulcan furrowed over her eyes in another micro expression:: are they bear-flavoured? Wong: The gummy bears don't have the slobber! Just the contents of the jar--- ::And he catches himself. A touch of fear takes hold of him again. Muttering:: Oh stars…. Is that the irritability kicking in? Please let it NOT be worse. Uhhh…. Ikaia takes a deep breath to calm himself down. He was allowing his fears to take over again and the last thing he needed was more fear or worry about a new symptom. He just needed to let go of those feelings just for a moment and try to keep a cooler head. When he glanced back at the Vulcan he glimpsed a tiny frown of concern creasing her brow, one that disappeared as soon as the Klingon's brown eyes settled on her, replaced by a carefully studied neutral expression. Wong: Sorry about that. I just needed to refocus…. So okay. So I picked bears because most humanoids find them cute. They taste like fruit! Most humanoids do like fruit! Or at least that’s the logic I had behind them. The statement was greeted with a very Vulcan slanted eyebrow [...]ed up in a gesture of disbelief. Alieth: A predator weighing several hundred kilos is certainly worthy of respect, but I do not know if I would describe it as "cute". :: The tiny Vulcan opened one of the drawers of the cabinet next to the bed and began to rummage through it while she kept talking.::Besides, it still makes no sense that they taste like fruit... though at least that explains the unrealistic colours. She kept rummaging through the drawer for a while, until she pulled out four tongue depressors and lined them up perfectly on the sides of her little bear army. Wong: But anyways, I was thinking that patients would enjoy them. Or at least the good patients, at least anyways. I was thinking we may also be able to hand them out for classmates to try. For the first time since she began military manoeuvres with the gummy bears, the Vulcan raised her gaze to her classmate, her countenance revealing a genuine curiosity. Alieth: So you suggest a classical conditioning of patients to achieve an appropriate behaviour during a medical procedure... interesting, Pavlovian, but highly applicable... The Vulcan rubbed her chin gently, as she gazed with renewed interest at the illogical sugar-coated creatures. Wong: I know there’s still a few glitches to work out. But what do you think of the idea? Do you think it could work? Alieth: It may work, but it would need to be tested, of course. And now Ikaia couldn’t help himself. He looked at Alieth’s gummy bear army with a raised eyebrow. Wong: Okay I have to ask - what are you doing? The Vulcan blinked and made a gesture towards the gummy bears that in another person might have been perceived as mild exasperation, but in Alieth it was deeply lecturing. Alieth: Sort them by flavour and condition to start the test, you do not expect us to test them on patients without sampling them ourselves, do you? We have to know what the best flavour is in case we are asked for a recommendation, for example, I can not simply say "the blood coloured one" without even having a clue what it tastes like. Wong: Well, I can promise you none of them taste like blood. The red ones should taste like raspberries and the green ones like strawberries. Immediately afterwards she took two of the tongue depressors and laid them on the bed next to Ikaia (taking good care of not touching him), and then she took the other two and manoeuvred them into a sort of chopsticks. Touching the food one was about to consume was highly undesirable and gross for a Vulcan if one had the option of avoiding it, and she was a properly raised Vulcan woman. Alieth: Well, try one. The first row are pure flavours, without cracks or damage that may have altered their taste. The fourth line has suffered damage that could have mixed the flavours, and the sixth are chimeras with parts of various flavours. I think it is appropriate to find out whether it is necessary to select these predators by flavours and keep them isolated, or whether they can be stored together. Ikaia picked up the tongue depressors. He had no problems with picking these up with his fingers. But things were different. He was contagious. Also, when dining with Vulcans, one did good to mimic their habits. Good thing he knew his way around chopsticks! Wong: Huh. Yeah. Okay. I can see why you’d do that. Getting the purest flavour possible! I guess if you want to do a taste test, you need to eliminate the extra variables. Alieth: It certainly makes sense Wong, it is a scientific approach to "candy" if this is going to be part of a medical procedure you have to recognise that it must be done properly. Wong: So the question is…. Who goes first? Alieth: Ok ok, I will go first. With unearthly finesse and dexterity given the improvised tools, Alieth fished one of the green bears from the front row, lifted it to her eyes and squeezed it lightly, as she studied its consistency and deformability. Once she was satisfied with her analysis, she brought it very slowly to her mouth. For a minute she chewed it thoroughly, occasionally pausing to roll it around in her mouth. Alieth: Extremely gummy, high ability to adhere to teeth, which is not highly desirable. Extremely high sugar content, which can lead to dental damage if not used sparingly, as well as other unpleasant side effects. Flavour.... I think it is the fruit of plants of the genus fragaria, but with a chemical touch that I will describe as emetic. The Vulcan's face twisted slightly into a gesture of displeasure, mainly a subtle wrinkling of her nose and a narrowing of her eyes. Alieth: I am not convinced that I would recommend this Wong: ::Curious head tilt:: You don’t like the strawberry ones? The petite Vulcan shook her head. Alieth: A three out of ten. The Vulcan's lips pursed in a minute pout, before she gestured towards the tray. Alieth: Come on your turn, the blood-coloured ones are out. Alright. It was Ikaia’s turn. With his tongue depressor chopsticks, he picked up one of the gummy bears and stuffed it inside of his mouth. He gave it a chew. Wong: They’re really sweet. I mean they all taste sweet to me. Klingons kind of have some extra taste buds for that. But I do taste the strawberries. Alieth, do you find these overly sweet? Alieth:Too sweet, too intense flavour, too chemical and too little resemblance to the original fruit. It is revolting Despite the negative review, one thing could be said: Wong was still interested in food and able to focus on things. Something that was a good sign to discard the... The Thing. Alieth felt a knot she didn't even know had knotted in her stomach loosen slightly. Wong: Huh. ::Takes another gummy bear to chew on it:: Okay…. Maybe I can see why you may not like them. It’s just sweet enough for me. But you might find them over powering. Alieth looked at the dwindling green line, raised her makeshift chopsticks over the last surviving green soldier and ultimately refrained from sampling it again. Alieth: Yes, I think we should probably avoid them, I do not think they are beneficial to health. She was about to push all the green bears away when the Klingon resting on the biobed raised a hand to stop her. Wong: We have humans in that class too. We may have to enlist a few as test subjects here for our gummies. Alieth: Maybe some other time, to broaden the subjects, but let us keep a preliminary testing between us for the time being, shall we? After all, you volunteered to help me with bedsides manners class and my grades, at the moment, are sub-par at best. Which was a very fancy way of describing the fact that she had steadily and firmly failed each and every assignment she had been given with the lowest mark in the class. Which didn't make her prospects of successfully completing the course any better. Wong: I know. And we’ll get there. I promised you that I’d help you pass the class and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. ::A small smile:: The tiny smile was answered with a deadpan and earnest vulcan façade. One that, however, did not hide a small spark in the gaze of the petite Vulcan. Meanwhile, he takes his makeshift chopsticks to pick up another gummy bear. Wong: Pink. My blood colour! Heh! I think these ones were my attempt at watermelon. Alieth: ::waving to the tiny bears:: Go on, try them out. Wong: ::He popped this inside his mouth:: Not nearly as sweet as the strawberry. This one is much more toned down. ::Swallows it:: Want to give them a try? The tiny smile was answered with a deadpan and earnest vulcan façade. One that, however, did not hide a small spark in the gaze of the petite Vulcan. Alieth: ::with a frown:: hum Wong: Honest opinion - what do you think of these ones? Alieth: They are fine. We will put them at the top of the list for the time being. Raising a very slanted eyebrow:: Just do not infer anything weird from it, okay Wong? Wong: I’m not! I promise! But I think our project is going to work…. There was a continued back and forth over their bedside manners project until the morning sun let its first rays into the infirmary when, at last, Alieth saw that Ikaia had fallen asleep. Most of the bears had been consumed or dissected (as well as much of the contents of his bag) but after much discussion, chatter and perhaps some witty Vulcan, fatigue had overcome the Klingon. He was softly snoring while curled up in a blanket. He was entirely out like a light. Only then, Alieth got up from the stool she had been perched on all night and walked the short distance to the biobed. There, she tapped on the side panel and checked his biosignals. Ikaia's body chemistry seemed stable, or as stable as it could be for a Klingon. There were no traces of alien hormones in him, and he presented only signs of fatigue and stress. The petite Vulcan allowed herself to exhale a tiny sigh and her posture, which had remained stiff and composed in appearance all night, relaxed significantly. Careful not to make any noise, she opened one of the drawers of the nearby trolley, extracted a dermal regenerator and, careful not to wake him, began to work on his wounded eye, until the traces of the punch he had received disappeared, leaving no mark. Alieth rubbed her eyes gently, more tired than she wanted to confess. But her friend was fine, and that was what mattered. Finally, she pulled a padd from his backpack, wrote a note on it and left it next to his bed, before she scurried away without making a sound. ((Labs - Sickbay - Deck 6 - USS Veritas - Present Day)) Ikaia had been running through simulations of the healthcare systems on Antor II. He could only handle so many troubling simulations before he needed a break. He took a moment to rest his eyes as he flopped back in his seat. He only nodded off briefly when an old Academy memory came back to him. He didn’t know why THIS particular memory came back. But he recalled a time when Alieth cared for him when he was in the middle of a crisis surrounding an incident with another Vulcan going through an issue. This was the first time he had a brush with death even if nothing came of it. Well… maybe something came with it and fortunately, it wasn’t his demise. Alieth was the only person who had chosen to stay the night with him and watch over him while he slept. He could remember the contents of the letter she left him. Of course, she seemed upset with how much he worried her. But he didn’t mind her scolding. It showed that she cared about what happened to him. Ikaia opened his eyes again. He wasn’t sure why that memory of his friend came back to him. But he was glad to have thought of it again. [[Room 03-0602, Alieth’s New Quarters,Deck 3, USS Gorkon, on orbit of Deluvia IV, Present day]] In the quiet of her new quarters, Alieth opened her eyes. The meditation candle had long since been extinguished, but the scent of the oil it had burned still hung in the room. Through the window, Deluvia IV drifted through the blackness of space, casting her room in a warm blue-green glow. She blinked briefly, casting the remnants of meditation away from her mind and she refocused on the present before she silently wondered why the paths of her meditation had led her to recall exactly that incident from her past, right at that very moment. [[END]] As simmed by ================================= Lt. Alieth Chief Science Officer randgri...@gmail.com USS Gorkon NCC-82293 E239702A10 Image Collective Facilitator /Art Director ================================= & Lieutenant JG Ikaia Wong Physician Assistant USS Veritas V239711IW0
  25. I LOVE the fine level of emotion plus excelent worldbuilding in this sim. Awesome one from Jo! ---- ((Museum, Iyiria, Deluvia IV)) Set beneath the undulating waves of a Deluvia up above, the entire city was born from pursuing science and art. Mosaic lined the city streets, a holdover of the Selkie homeworld of Pacifica and the capital city of hi'Leyi'a, twirling in time with the delights only Deluvia offered, displaying the battle between the elements of the climates warring on both sides of the tropical and the arctic. Rarely was Vorin awestruck by the sheer magnificence of a place, however, the capital city of Iyiria enraptured his Vulcan heart. The ShiKahrian philosopher Salln once noted it was inevitable a culture would transform when the arts and science became secondary to the needs of the military, shifting the focus of the creative to the narrow. Despite their enslavement by the Orions, the Selkie had no military to speak of, therefore developed their own unique style, able to indulge in their passions of horticulture, marine aquaculture, science, engineering, and the health of their people and the Federation. Vorin clasped his hands in the small of his back as he walked through the grand gallery, in as much of a funk as he could be. Leaving behind the revelry of the night before, having assimilated significantly less alcohol than his fellow revellers, a walk amongst the museum seemed the perfect escape for the man with much weighed down on his mind. Applying logic to a situation born from a love of his t'hy'la seemed to leave him cold and empty, with much meditation required to return to the fundamental principles of cthia. Fortunately, he had not yet resorted to Shal'tiar, though the notion seemed quite amusing. The halo of holographic sound surrounded his head, emitting the spoken word to his ears. A voice fluently Selkie yet universally translated in the Vulcan dialects. Descriptions and explanations of the exhibit he stood in front of, statues nearby when he turned toward them, and the magnificence of the vaulted ceiling made from a type of limestone, carved out to create a cathedral of light and shimmering colour, carpeted by the sand from the seabed. The speaker had introduced themself as Aoides, master of the legends, and curator of the museum. They explained, in serene and soothing tones, how the religions of the Selkie had long since fallen into mythology, with few if any practising sects remaining throughout the disconnected worlds once the species had left Pacifica. This had the effect of distancing the state from religion, of erecting a soft barrier where the governments decided with logic rather than a belief in the writing of one deity or another. Vorin appreciated this immensely, showing his approval with a mild raise of an eyebrow as he continued his walk. He paused beside a statue of a shockingly beautiful Selkie male, pellucid skin as though they carved the effigy from ice, rippling dark golden hair shimmering from the crown of his head down his spine, embedded eyes the colour of glistening amber. Aoides: =/\= Here we find Scotu, the God of Crossroads. However, as with all things, he is also our patron of chaos, politics, and feasts, traditionally worshipped by warriors and those about to embark on long journeys. Ancient oral lore speaks of a ritual greeting his followers would use to distinguish themselves when travelling, hoping to receive generous hospitality in return. =/\= The statue was shorter than Vorin expected, the carve of muscles visible along bared arms, a light armour of pearl and green adorning his upper body, and the tunics of traditional Selkie dress worn beneath. As Vorin gazed up at the statue, he could almost feel as though it smiled back at him, with the guise of a smirk lifting one corner of translucent marbleised lips. Aoides: =/\= You can find shrines and altars dedicated to him beside bridges, with offerings one might associate with the trappings of travel, such as a silver cethipa coin to ensure safe passage. Many myths involve his friendship with Araera, the Goddess of Tricksters, and the two creating havoc for the traveller who does not respect the passage. =/\= At the foot of the statue, examples of the cethipa lay scattered over Scotu’s translucent shimmering webbed feet, as though an elderly Selkie had kept the coins for such a time and dispersed them to ensure their safe passage on an enduring voyage across the stars. It was more likely, however, that they were not real currency from the ages and times long gone. Vorin, not one to believe in superstitions, as logic prevailed, still bowed his head a little, almost imperceptibly, to ensure the Gorkon continued finding a good fortune among the stars. Leaving Scotu and his charming amber eyes behind, Vorin and his halo of sound turned toward the centre of the limestone cathedral to see the fierce and brave Trill security officer he had descended beneath the waves with. Her dark curled hair brought to mind one of the many statues surrounding them inside the gallery. Undoubtedly as fearless as any of them, with boundless courage he had seen on the SS Vikartindur. For once, the Vulcan was glad of the company, and although they had parted ways upon entering — to listen to the stories recited by the Aoides, and seek what interested them — he was interested in her impressions. Vorin: How are you enjoying the explorations of the mythical and cultured, Ensign? Eden: Response Vorin: There is much here I would expect of a culture derived from the sea and associated with extensive voyages. ::His dark eyes flit around for a moment, the various other statues all symbolic of another elemental wonder.:: More so when you discover their oral histories extend further back than their written records. Relying on generations to continue the retelling seems… illogical. Eden: Response As Aoides spoke once again into his pointed ear, Vorin paused the hologram and the projected halo of light swimming around his head vanished back into the breastpin attached to the navy Pel-el styled sleeveless shirt. Once again, his hands clasped in the small of his back as he turned to the side, inviting Maia to walk with him at a slower pace through the museum as they conversed. Vorin: A previous host of the Eden symbiont was a historian, was he not? I enquired, following our venture onto the Vikartindur. I expected to find a battle-worn warrior of the Trill hiding among your incarnations. Eden: Response -- Lieutenant JG Vorin Biologist USS Gorkon G239304JM0
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