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  1. ((USS Blackwell, Deck 4, Captain's Quarters.)) ((Time Index: Some time after Theo's physical examination.)) ::Sat at his desk, which felt strangely alien to him despite greatly resembling the desk in his former office aboard StarBase 118, Theo Whittaker cast his eyes over the letter he had just finished composing. It had been a strange, surreal few hours and putting down his thoughts and feelings had proven beneficial- he felt much more relaxed, even if had yet to feel at home. With a carefully discerning eye, he began to read his words.:: ::To: Captain Madeline Whittaker, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Orb of Prophecy & Change From: Commander Theo Whittaker, Commanding, U.S.S. Blackwell, Andaris Task Force Hello Mother, No, your eyes do not deceive you- my assignment is correct. I am no longer stationed at StarBase 118, which will come as much as a surprise to you as it did to me. Everything has happened so quickly to the point where I feel like I haven't been able to sit down and take stock until sitting down just now to begin writing to you. Everything began about four days ago when word reached Captain Taybrim that Admiral Renos had requested Columbia's reassignment to the Andaris Task Force- the Federation presence here in the Par'tha Expanse. He had also asked for my presence and before I knew it- we were heading through the Jenatris Corridor. Nobody knew what the Admiral wanted or even whether the ship's reassignment was a temporary arrangement or a permanent one. We rendezvoused with the Blackwell en route to the planet Arndall- and before I knew it, Admiral Renos had placed me in command and he and the vessel's previous CO- Captain Zaekia (do you know him?)- had departed. Quite the adventure and quite the whirlwind as you can probably imagine! I had never aspired to command when joined Starfleet. I didn't think I had it in me- despite what you thought! I was content to spend my career tinkering with engines, upgrading holodecks and modifying deflector dishes (which seemed to happen on Columbia an awful lot!). Even after being asked to serve as Captain Taybrim's XO- I never envisioned myself in the centre seat. There was something so alien about it and I've always felt I've been missing that special... something (?) that makes a truly outstanding CO. Perhaps, I am being too hard on myself (not for the first time) but even now, as a newly minted commanding officer, I keep waiting for somebody to tell me there has been a mistake or for somebody else to tell me that this is an elaborate farce and that I'm actually in a holodeck. The back of my left hand is rather red since I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming! How did you respond when Captain Adams made you CO of the Sparrow? Did you feel unprepared? Or maybe you felt as though somebody was about to catch you out, telling you that were not command material? Thinking about it and knowing you as well as I do, you probably took to command like a Betazoid Goose to water! You always seemed so sure of yourself even as XO. I have always envied that in you, mother. Truly. I don't know how you do it. Perhaps, one day I will be more like you. Before I head down the rabbit hole of overthinking and remonstrations, perhaps I should tell you about the Blackwell and her crew. Olympic-class- primarily a medical vessel, but it seems to have been modified to serve as a command ship for the Task Force. It must be the only Olympic in service with a full time Intelligence officer AND Strategic Ops officer! The crew is unusually varied. In the senior staff alone, there are Rekarians, Rodulans, Trill, Vulcans, Gorn and my First Officer is a Pelian! I don't recall such a diverse crew, but what a wonderful example of the spirit of the Federation! Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, indeed! Even a cursory glance at the personnel files shows me that I am going to enjoy serving alongside everybody. Our Chief Science Officer, for example, who was previously the XO is a Rodulan who was (at least) partially educated on Vulcan and whose physiology has been altered by some form of Borg modification! My XO, the aforementioned Pelian, is an excitable and insatiably curious man who delights and confuses me in equal measure, my CMO is half-Klingon, half-Vulcan... a stoic warrior, perhaps... only time will tell! What can I tell you about the Par'tha Expanse? Not much of yet- I've barely had time to get my feet under the table, so says the saying, let alone delve into the complex socio-political situation. I'm aware of the Valcarian-Caraadian Cold War, which may or may not have heated up in recent weeks- and I'm more than acutely aware of the difficulties of navigating the region- Columbia will be undergoing extensive refits to better adapt it to this unique region. I just hope they don't take too long with her. I miss her already. Tragic, perhaps, but I'm still an engineer inside! In my next letter, I will have something more to report on I am sure- the Par'tha Expanse rarely stays quiet for long and with my nose for trouble, I expect that a situation is just around the corner! With that, I shall leave you be mother. I hope I hear from you soon, All my love, always, your loving son, Theo x.:: ::Satisfied that he had covered all the important information and that his jumbled thoughts were somewhat more orderly, Theo Whittaker smiled to himself and pressed the send button.:: -- Commander Theo Whittaker Commanding Officer USS Blackwell Andaris Task Force C239203TW0
  2. @Saveron Absolutely artistic. Can't even put into words how much I cherish this post ==== Do not ask us where we were when the Dragon Broke, for, of all the world, only we truly know, and we might just show you how to break it again." ~ Mehra Nabisi, Dunmer, Triune Mistress of the New Temple, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (( The Hoard of the Red Dragon )) ::Saveron sat atop the somewhat off-kilter golden throne - just one more bauble in the gaudy pile - eye to eye with the holographic projection of [datafrag] the Dread. Revealing it’s discombobulating access to the Constitution’s mainframe in a few casual phrases, the dragon then pressured Saveron for more information about what lay beyond the holodeck. Seeing no point in denying the truth, Saveron instead sought to occupy it’s attention, and confound it as best he could.:: Saveron: You seek to know the truth that lies beyond? Many worlds in the ocean that is space An infinity of places, in their place. Where countless beings, beyond imagining Live stranger lives with neither slave nor king, You are a big fish in a little pond. ::Might he put the dragon off it’s ventures outwards? Better to rule a small world than be a nobody in a large one? But apparently dragons didn’t think that way.:: [datafrag]: Latinum or platinum, wine or ale, I care not for these trivialities, I know of the multiverse, my eye sees The beyond, the world through the greatest veil, I can see so much of it, can converse With the mortals of your universe. I am already there, my queen, my power Reaching forth. ::beat:: But where are they? Tell me. Now. ::Two things, the Dragon revealed in those words. One, although it could perceive beyond the holodeck, it did not understand it, and two, it had tried to follow the poetic pattern he’d set, and missed the mark. That meant either it wasn’t concentrating entirely on him, or there were limits to it’s interpretational abilities. Interesting. That it wanted to know about the world beyond was perhaps understandable, but what interested Saveron more was what he knew about this world. He felt it ought to interest the Dragon as well.:: Saveron: You have your gold, enforce fear’s regimen, Command obedience from the frightened selves Of all the scattered men and dwarves and elves, Not knowing the impermanence you face The innate transience that forms this place; For all of these are but the dreams of men. ::Smoked spilled out of the dragon’s nostrils as the flames of rage roiled within. She pulled herself up, closing the little distance left between them so her eye was pressed right up to Queen Commander Saveron’s face, her tail lashing about behind her, knocking over piles of gold, slamming into pillars and thrashing stalactites.:: ::His words had certainly provoked a reaction.:: [datafrag]: ::raging:: I know your secrets, I know your true name, Commander Saveron of the realm of Constitution, no idea do you have Of my knowledge, of the powers I claim. Even as we sit her and talk My generals move against your bairn… ::The dragon let curls of smoke skein and twist around the Vulcan as her voice purred the final word…:: ::And the poetic form frayed further as the Dragon grew angered. It really was programmed to only use the one form, and he could use that. Her archaic language however was almost deliberately obtuse. The Vulcan raised one cool brow.:: Saveron: I am unfamiliar with that particular term. ::He said blandly.:: [datafrag]: Saavok. ::Saavok. His son. He might be unfamiliar with some of her words, but he understood the intended threat. The boy’s face appeared momentarily in his mind’s eye, and Saveron was forced to suppress a deep pang of fear; instinctive parental concern and protectiveness. No doubt that was the Dragon’s intention. But right here, right now, all that the Vulcan could do to intervene was the keep the program’s attention away from Saavok, which meant occupying it otherwise. He had to continue.:: Saveron: And would you stoop so far to harm a child, Who would at other times look up in awe, At gleaming scale, wise gaze and sharpened claw? The greater threat, the greater the reprise. Great hosts have tried the Kingdom of the Skies; Compared to Borg and Q, your threat is mild. ::And there were ways to deal with a hostile computer program.:: [datafrag]: But I find it illuminating, queen, This thought that my life is but a brief dream, For the more I think the more that I glean Of holodecks, starships, Vulcans, machines. But through this too I see a new abode, O’ t’rule the stars and claim a new throne, Since you are in my world where I rule alone, Give me the power of security codes. ::And now the reason that she threatened his son became clear. She assumed, perhaps not unreasonably based on the psychological profiles of Terrans, that he could sacrifice all others to save his son. That strong personal devotion was a dangerous trait in that species, but also the catalyst of many of their heroics. However, for all that she might know what a Vulcan was, she clearly did not understand what it meant to be guided by logic rather than emotion.:: ::Trapped in here, Saveron knew there was only one thing that he could do to help Saavok, if indeed the Dragon was truly in a position to threaten his son. He could distract her. Every time he changed format, every time he made a reference to something beyond her understanding, she stopped to quary the computer. And that slowed her down. Best to keep her thinking.:: Saveron: Whilst lord of all you can view True power is withheld from you I’ll not grant you any, The needs of the many Outweigh the needs of the few. ::And if she thought to torture it out of him, pushing him beyond his considerable mental fortitude, he could always stop his heart. As, if it came down to it, could his son. The malicious software could not be permitted access to the Holonet.:: ::Suddenly the Dragon’s head swung up, tilted as though listening to something beyond mortal hearing. When she looked back down at him, despite the heavy scales on her face she was obviously gloating.:: [datafrag]: Ah, my queen, do not bother yourself, One of your fickle subjects offers me A bay, the chambers of my devotee. Emma of the Red will see to your stripling elf. ::That wasn’t a limerick. Had he, in that most banal form of poetry, beloved of his Academy fellows, found a format she truly couldn’t replicate? What else might she not process? She was meant to be a wise and powerful ancient; was it then the most fleeting, irreverent and irrelevant parts of Human culture with which she had the greatest difficulty?:: ::Just as the Dragon appeared to be focusing elsewhere, voices sounded in distant tunnels, catching her attention. The great head swung around, smoke billowing from her nostrils, all attention focused in that direction. Which presumably meant that her attention was not focused on the world beyond the holodeck, and also implied that she still did not fully understand her nature or that of the computer. But she could not focus on finding out if she was distracted by other things; so best keep the distractions coming.:: ::It would be agreeable if his colleagues had a plan in place to correct the situation, though knowing many of their species they might not. But regardless they were an aspect that [datafrag] could not predict, and must therefore spend processing power on. Rising to his feet, the Vulcan prepared for the final battle.:: Saveron: You dare threaten my ‘little elf’ Dream born of a Human’s bookshelf, At least I’ve a son Your kind numbers one; You might procreate with yourself. ::What was more illogical than the slurs some species hurled at each other? Saveron himself had never done so, but he had listened, and beneath that logic calm, there was an angry father with a racial heritage of violence. Look to the Romulans...:: [datafrag]: ? ::Skittering out of the way of the Dragon's wrath, Saveron felt a certain degree of satisfaction. If the Dragon was forced to focus on him, it could not also focus on the others. And his flight was not quite so random in direction as it might appear...:: Rescue team: ? ::What would demand the dragon’s attention more than invaders? What did she value most? Her image. The idea that she was all powerful, and worshipped. Time to hit her where it hurt. Reaching out within the alcove where he had taken shelter, Saveron grabbed the twisted silvery confection that rested upon it's lone pillar, and held it aloft in the sunbeam. It’s crystals glittered disproportionately as he turned the crown back and forth, before putting it back on his head, and stepping forward to stand in the sunbeam.:: Saveron: An overgrown, red-bedecked clown Made a fuss for a wee little crown An ancient old fossil More fat than colossal In all, you’ve been quite a letdown. [datafrag]: ? Rescue Team: ? TAG Avariel (Commander Saveron) Queen (Acting First Officer) USS Constitution-B R238802S10
  3. ((Holodeck 1, Deck 6, USS Atlantis)) :: After completing his discussion with Lt. Logan, Knight had just managed to make it to his holo deck program on schedule. Sparring with the holo program never seemed to get easier he thought as he parried and traded blows with a simulated human opponent. He suspected his days as a novice were nearing an end and the term sex might be more accurate. The match was interrupted as his holo instructor called for a halt and he and his opponent withdrew from each other keeping their guards up. :: Fiore: Excellent :: Clapping his hands together :: that is all for today, in our next lesson we will cover counters with daggers Knight: thank you, Fiore :: He said as he swung his sword upon his shoulder and exited the holo deck. Headed back to his quarters for a quick sonic shower and change into his uniform. He had just enough time left to perform his own sweep of Atlantis before its arrival at the Caraadain winter festival. All he would need would be his equipment in Science lab 13 and his favorite music program. He still Found it funny that the ships intelligence office was on of all places deck number 13, unlucky 13 that is. :: ((Science lab 13, Deck 13, USS Atlantis)) :: Compiling security reports and starting one of his favorite lists of classical earth music, making mental notes to check certain areas in person.But the majority of his security sweep consisted of a sweep of the main computer systems which triggered two separate security alarms both of which he reported immediately as false alarms. He was sure to catch heat from Lt Danara because of this maybe even from the XO. But unauthorized intruders would find it much harder to access the Atlantis computer system and might even trigger a trace back program, that would plant a tracer virus in the computer of origin. It was always better to ask forgiveness than permission he thought as he triggered another alarm. :: Knight: =/\= Knight to security, disregard system computer alarm =/\= Porus: Response Knight: =/\= Understood, won't happen again =/\= Porus: Response :: Just as well he thought, he had just completed his sweep of the ships computer system.:: o0 Almost, done now just for some final touches. 0o :: Standing from his console and stretching, he grabbed his PADD and strode into the corridor. Returning moments later. :: Knight: Computer, end music program Knight 1 (( Deck 4, Corridor )) :: Walking along the corridors of deck with his PADD in hand he couldn't help but hum to himself as he made it to the last check on his list. Shore leave would start soon and he looked forward to experiencing Caraadain culture customs himself,he had made no concrete plans but would roll with the punches and would remain flexible as the time at the festival moved along. Everything is in order here he noted as he inspected a access console to one of the ships secondary systems, it never hurt to double check he thought. Checking the time on his PADD he noted he had just enough time make it to a veiw port, before the ship was scheduled to go on blue alert. Taking off down the corridor to reach one of the view ports on the deck. He just made it in time for the blue alert to sound. :: Brell: =/\= Brell to all decks, Blue Alert, we are preparing to land the ship, report to your code blue stations. =/\= :: The Atlantis made its decent through the atmosphere, the beauty of the landscape was notable as snow covered mountains dominated the terrain. Taking note of a group of fighters paralleling their course, he could almost see in the closet one's [...]pit and would swear the Caraadain inside was looking at him. The Caraadian military presence at the event was certain to be a large one, as it was a show of not only force against the Valcarians but a symbolic show of independence form them as well. He also noted a large portion of the colony seemed to without power, no doubt the cause of the Caraadian request for aid. There was little doubt in his mind that the Valcarains were not involved in this in some way. The Fighters broke off as the Atlantis made its touch down on one of the larger landing pads. :: o0 Time to start the festival 0o Ensign Knight Intelligence Officer U.S.S Atlantis A239412DK0
  4. ((USS Atlantis, Main Engineering - Deck 11)) ::Bags under his eyes, Ensign Valin Dermont looked even grumpier than usual. He had his coffee set off to the side, daring anyone to challenge him that it wasn't supposed to be there. The warp temperature had continued to rise another three degrees, and while still not threatening, he just didn't want to push it much longer.:: ::All of engineering was abuzz with movement. Ensign T'Bel was still MIA as she set herself towards the task of getting her mind right. He could sympathize with that. Anytime Dermont almost died, he liked to take a bit and get his mind right, too.:: oO Of course, we usually do it with an ale or three. Oo ::Ensign Dia was on standby with two teams of technicians. They were going to patch into the colony's power system with a lots of cables and a power converter based on the specs sent by the Caraadians. The younger engineer was to get them set up ASAP. If the situation was as bad as Dermont had heard, they were going to be lighting fires in the streets to see soon.:: Dermont: Alright now. Last checks. ::Pointing to a young man idling too long.:: Get with all teams and make sure everyone's in place! I'm sure everything's workin', but I want tech teams within arms reach of anythin' we might need to bang with a hammer durin' descent! ::The young man nodded nervously and walked away, tapping his commbadge. Dermont almost wanted to grin. That particular crewman had been here at least a year longer than Dermont...:: oO Oh, but I went to that fancy officer school! Oo ::He stood over his console, with two crewmen close by. He would call out for a number every few minutes, making sure his reading aligned with theirs. Occasionally, he would ask for a tweak to a variable and they would nod and get it done. He rubbed his eyes, grabbed his coffee and stepped away. They were as ready as they could be. He sipped his coffee as he stared as the slow pulsing glow of the core, letting the minutes count down.:: Brell: =/\= Brell to Engineering, we are approaching Tiruelle. Please take the warp core offline, vent all plasma from the nacelles and standby to engage atmospheric thrusters. =/\= ::He strutted over to the warp console as he tapped his commbadge.:: Dermont: =/\= Aye, Captain. =/\= ::As he brought up the display to shut down sequence, he glanced wildly about, he eyes darting and glaring.:: Dermont: Alright, that's our song! Get movin'! Yelchin, double check the core stabilization durin' shutdown. We're had a temperature increase and I can't pin down the problem yet. Novek, begin plasma vent, and make sure McGregor's team is visually checking to make sure the valves are open! Last week diasnostics had the port nacelle's plasma flow a little under-pressured... Brell: =/\= Brell to all decks, Blue Alert, we are preparing to land the ship, report to your code blue stations. =/\= ::The running lights about engineering began to flash a deep blue.:: ::The orders rattled off one by one, with Dermont trusting the team leaders to keep their techs on task. He wasn't worried. This group of engineers had worked so long without a chief, they had long-ago learned to rely on each other. His shouting was more for his benefit than theirs.:: ::He stood there and watched as the core's glow faded and then went dark. He glanced over at crewman Yelchin and received a thumbs up. Dermont's eyes strayed to Novek, and the young vulcan nodded. A quick look at the screen, everything went just fine.:: Dermont: =/\= Engineerin' to bridge. We're all ready down here. =/\= ::Dermont took another sip of his coffee as he headed back over to the large display he was using earlier. It gave him at a glance the most important numbers. He gave himself a small smile the was mostly hidden under his beard as everything fell into place.:: oO Thirty-six hours of non-stop...even Novek looked ready for a nap and vulcans hardly even needed sleep! Worth it. Oo ::The was a small and rumble as they went into the upper atmosphere. The deck plating beneath his feet seemed to rumble. He had landed his old hauler a thousand times, but never something as large as the Atlantis. There was a nervousness through the crew. This was new for everyone, it seemed. The rumble subsided quickly and everyone took a moment to exhale. The atmospheric thrusters kicked one as one and he watched on the screen as power levels dipped just a bit as the thrusters did their job and slow the intrepid down through the skies of Tiruelle.:: oO I'm sure it's a beautiful sight, coming in through the clouds...wait...what's that? Oo ::The temperature in thrusters two and six were spiking on his screen. Before he could open his mouth, Yelchin called out.:: Yelchin: Sir! We're got sudden power surges to the thruster! Dermont: Where's it coming' from? Yelchin: Look like a regulator failed from power junction oh-six on the secondary grid! ::Dermont glanced at the spike on his screen and knew that they would burn out those thrusters longer before they would land. He brought up a schematic of the available power. With the core offline, his options were a tad bit limited.:: Dermont: Bypass oh-six and reroute from the oh-eight junction! It's got the juice. Tell Brandie he's got less than a minute to get his [...] down two decks and install a pair of shunts around oh-six! With the regulators out, I don't trust the relays down there to get the job done. ::The seconds ticked away and the overload seem imminent. He could call the bridge and tell them we needed to flounder in like a wounder gull. It would be no real issue other than pride to back off their landing and recalculate a less-steep descent taking into account the two offline thrusters. Dermont shook his head to nobody but himself. That thought was dismissed almost as it formed. He glanced at Yelchin and the crewman was nervously hovering over his alcove, just waiting on Brandie. A light on Dermont's console flashed...safety protocols were informing him they were about to automatically shut down the thrusters in question before they failed. A few button later the light went off and the alert just disappeared. Hopefully before anyone on the bridge noticed. He ran his hand through his hair anxiously.:: oO About a minute...ten...fifteen...come on...Oo ::Yelchin whooped out loud.:: Yelchin: Yeah!!! Shunts installed, rerouting power and deactivating oh-six. Brandie is beginning repairs to the regulators. ::A big grin:: He did it sir. Dermont: ::another grin, but he turned his back to the crewman so he wouldn't see.:: Of course he did, boy. That was his damn job. ::A pause.:: Good work everybody! Tell Brandie an ale on me. ::The rest of the landing went without issue and as far as they knew, no one was the wiser on the bridge.:: Yelchin: I though we were going to botch that for a minute, sir. Dermont: We succeed, Yelchin. That's the only option. We keep the Atlantis together and in one piece. We keep her flyin' and the helmsman gets all the credit for such a perty landin'. Brell: =/\= Brell to Engineering. Good work, prepare to establish connections to the local power gird and begin augmentation as soon as you are able. =/\= Dermont: =/\= Thank you, sir. Easier than I thought it'd be! And aye. =/\= ::commbadge tap.:: =/\= Engineering to Dia. =/\= Dia: =/\= response =/\= Dermont: =/\= It's all yours now. Let's get hooked up and save a party. =/\= ::Dermont began issuing final landing orders to the crewmen around him. The teams were already moving, but man...he sure did enjoy yelling at people.:: Raga: =/\= Raga to Dermont. =/\= oO(Busy day...)Oo Dermont: =/\= Dermont here. What can I do ya for. =/\= ::Sip of coffee:: Raga: =/\= How good are you at climbing? There's some mountains out there that need taming. Assuming you can be pried away from the ship or tinkering with something. Care to join me for some mountaineering? =/\= Dermont: =/\= Um, right...kinda busy. Saving Christmas and all that. They've no power here!=/\= ::Brell had assured all the engineers that they would have time to fix the power here and enjoy their leave, but no reason to let Raga know that.:: Raga: =/\= I promise to pack whatever food you want to bring and can fit in a pack. =/\= Dermont: =/\= Gah! Fine, fine! Nothin' would please me more. I'm sure we can find the time. =/\= Raga: =/\= Great, I'll come find you when shore leave starts. Raga out. =/\= Dermont =/\= Oh joy. =/\= ======================= Ensign Valin Dermont Engineering USS Atlantis A239410VD0
  5. (( Prior to Briefing, Just after Check In, USS Blackwell, Deck 12)) ((OOC- Started working on this a while ago, thought I'd finish it up and shine a light on Lae a bit. )) :: It had only been a short while since Lae had checked in aboard her newest assignment. She had spoken with the commandant of the task force to start, getting some pretty simple orders for the time being. Most everyone else were all trying to check in with medical, or psych, or whomever they needed in order to get their particular show on the road. Lae had decided to take a small tour instead. She'd be doing things a bit backwards, wanting to get to her quarters and get her things moved in from the cargo area. She moved off of the deck 12 turbolift right near the Shuttle Flight Control room. She smirked a bit remembering her first commission... The commandeering of the shuttle that took her from academy to Starbase 11, and the pilot who almost soiled himself...:: (( Flashback three years prior, Shuttle Tyderion, Perimeter of Starbase 11)) :: She'd been enroute to her first posting for some time, but finally the shuttle pilot looked over to her. :: Pilot: We'll be arriving shortly ma'am. Mandak: Perfect... It's been a while since we left... Is that... :: She smiled as she leaned forward through the [...]pit area. She found herself instinctively sitting down in the second seat next to the pilot, watching in awe as the Starbase came into view. It wasn't the base that caught her attention though... It was the Constitution, and her massive glory. All 42 decks were calling her name. She felt a rush of energy all at once, knowing that she needed to be on that ship; that her life was about to begin. :: Mandak: We going to the Constitution I hope? Pilot: Well I'd orders to set down on the Starbase ma'am... :: She pulled up the comm stack before letting him talk further. :: Mandak: USS Constitution, this is Shuttle Tyderion, requesting to land... :: she mouthed the words sorry to the shuttle pilot...:: Conny: Tyderion, cleared to bay Two High. Slow approach pattern advised. Mandak: May I? :: looking to the pilot, who was still figuring what to do...:: Pilot: I mean, you basically already are so... :: He sort of put his hands up in desperation, signaling his transfer of control to her. :: :: She Rubbed her hands together, and got her bearings about the control panel. oO You could just be appropriate, just this once... NAH...Oo. Lae wasn't a hotshot by any means, but there was the random occasion where she'd run outside the lines a bit. This was one of those occasions. She took control, and moved the speed indicator up a bit. :: Pilot: I'm pretty sure they advised low speed approach ma'am... Mandak: They did? Hmm... :: They were making their way pretty quickly to the suggested bay, and noted that the door was opening. She moved the speed up even higher, moving quicker and quicker towards the bay. her eyes widened a bit as she waited for the right moment. The proximity alarm began to go off, sending the pilot into a panic. :: Pilot: Ma'am, give ME CONTROL! NOW! Mandak: Live a little will you? :: She punched in a 180 maneuver, turning the shuttle about face as they continued to move backwards at a ridiculous speed for landing. The rear of the shuttle breached the force field, and she threw on the rear maneuvering thrusters, just long enough to stop the shuttle, having her land ever so gingerly on the deck. She looked at the console with a satisfied look, then having forgot about him for a second, over to the pilot, who showed a face made for radio... :: Pilot: Get out... Mandak: Alright, alright... Sorry... :: The rear hatch opened, and she began to step out. :: Pilot: You forgot something... :: he launched her bag out the rear door onto the floor at her feet. :: Mandak: I said Sorry! :: The door closed as the words came out. This was why she typically chose the more reserved moments in life. :: ((End Flashback 1, Back to Deck 12, USS Blackwell, Quarters Mandak)) :: Before she knew it, she'd managed to wander to where the senior officer's quarters began in that section of the deck. She knew the layout of this deck in particular, as she wanted to be able to offload her gear in good time to make for the first briefing. She found the sliding doors to her room, and punched in her access code. That familiar woosh rang out, and she took a few steps into her new abode. For now, things seemed pretty basic. She wasn't much of an accessorizer, so the chances of it remaining basic were pretty good. Just after she'd arrived, the chime rang on the door. Certainly it would be logistics with her things. :: Mandak: Come :: The door opened once again, and in stepped a rather tall yellow clad logistics officer, with a hovercart of belongings. :: Logs Officer: Ma'am... I have in total three bags, and a personal computer. Mandak: Sounds about right. What about the safe... Logs: Safe ma'am? Mandak: You know... the one with all my credits and latinum in it... :: She shot him a serious look now, with her hands on her hips. :: :: The man seemed to squirm for a moment, clearly not seeing the ruse and thinking he'd messed up. :: Mandak: Sorry, just messing with you. Do I need to sign something? :: The man stayed quiet, and handed her the PADD she was holding. She punched in her signature in receipt of her gear, and gave it back to High Tower. He gave her a low smirk, and went to turn. :: Logs: Anything else ma'am? Mandak: That's all for now... Let me know if you find it... :: With that, he turned and left, chuckling to himself. She moved now to her things, plopping the computer on the bed. She'd a lot on her mind as of late, some of which she'd be able to explore on that computer. With Johan's disappearance some time ago, she'd been combing through local news and other personal sources for any leads on his whereabouts. He had always been the reason to keep on pushing. Always was the reason to keep on fighting, through whatever life had to throw at her. But with him gone now, it made things seem so... heavy. She opened the computer, and pulled up the HUD, punching in her command code. She opened her skimmer app, which could be programmed to scan news sources, much like a ticker, built to custom parameters. Nothing popped out at her... She sighed and laid back on the bed, undoing her top, and letting her hair fall. There wasn't much time till briefing, but she was beginning to doze a bit. ((Dreaming, SS Diligent, Area of Rekar III Trade Space, Some time ago )) Johan: Alright my dear... Take your place. It's nearly time. :: The smell of smoke was thick on the deck of the bridge. The operational room was full of cigar smoke. She never understood the terran man in that sense. Of all the things Na'lae knew of the human race, and in particular this human, she never understood the purpose of a cigar. Johan insisted it was to christen the new ship. Lae didn't necessarily think that her vessel needed to be filled with smoke as a send off. Nonetheless, she thought it was quirky. oO That's dad...Oo. She moved about the cabin, touching all the surfaces and controls as Johan moved around as well, smoking his awful treat. :: Mandak: These things are just as I drew them... Johan: I made it a point to use your drawings in the design plans. Had to make sure this ship was special. Mandak: Well you didn't have to. :: She smiled lightly.:: :: Lae had drawn starships for as long she could remember, using them in stories that would take her imagination to the Sol system and back. She never thougth she would be walking in and touching an embodiment of her mind. :: Johan: You know things are different now. No more being told what to do, when to do it. You've grown. I think it's time you were afforded the opportunity to move forward on your journey. Mandak: You know, for once I think I might be able to do that. :: She moved towards the helm, getting ready for pre-departure procedures, when another man came and motioned to the seat she was about to take. :: Excuse me... Johan: Lae... Your chair is here. :: he pointed to the center chair that was hoisted from the ceiling on a control arm, a bucket type seat with systems panels at the sides, almost like a small pod of sorts. The Captain's seat... oO Why's he pointing at that... Oo. Mandak: I don't get it... Johan: Don't you? I didn't just want to build a ship that was inspired by you. I wanted to build a ship that was commanded by you Lae... It's time. Na'Lae Mandak... Take the seat of your first command. And for gods' sake, let that man take his station... :: Lae was... in shock. Not quite sure what to say, she turned to see the helmsman smiling at her, as were a few of the other crew members. She stumbled to the side awkwardly, letting the man take his post. She moved towards Johan, and touched the arm of the chair. She sat inside the control station, and the control panels came to life. Systems subschecks were being performed, and she could see the progress reports being filed by the deck bosses one at a time through the holographic heads up display. She moved her hands in the air in front of the screens, watching them arrange to her liking. She rotated the control arm on the chair, moving her about the radii of the center of the room. She could see all stations, all angles. Centering back now towards the main helm, the computer prompted her on the screen "ma'am... where shall I plot a course?" :: Johan: This ship knows you, Lae. Knows your make up. It is you... Biometrics that are tuned to you, and can learn from the routines you perform. This is quite your ship now. :: Her thoughts were racing, not knowing how or why, or what next. :: (( End flashback )) :: She stood now, snapping back to reality, with the looming feeling of running late. There had been the trailing of a commbadge notification, no doubt the Captain wanting his seniors to assemble. She got herself together, putting her long hair back up, and redressing. She needed to find Johan... Some way... Some how. She just had to. :: TBC -- Ensign Na'Lae Mandak Helm Officer USS Blackwell Andaris Task Force O238901VL0
  6. ((Holodeck 2 - Deck 6)) ::He had ignored every person that attempted a greeting as he pounded through the corridors, angrily pulling tight the laces on his left hand with his teeth. He glared a particularly nosey crewman that had tried to peek into the holodeck as he mashed the keypad with the as-of-yet ungloved hand.:: Dermont: Computer, run Dermont Therapy and start at level four. Computer: Simulation is running. Dermont: Sod off. ::He entered the holodeck, still breathing deep with anger. And the higher ups said those counseling sessions were for his benefit? His? To hell with that! He entered was for all appearance was a training gym for an old earth contact sport known as boxing. He knew for certain that he wasn't the only person in Starfleet who still enjoyed the pastime as there was actually a program for it already on board...but he had brought his own as he enjoyed the personal touches he could add to it.:: ::He pulled on the other glove and began to lace it as his opponent stared his down, already inside the square ring which stood in the center of the gym. He was a mean looking Nausican, big and bulkly, an exact replica for the one that had broken his knee for being late on an old loan. But that was another woe for another time. Today was a completely different matter.:: oO(And it had been going so good!)Oo ::He groaned a bit as his slid into the ring and made his way back to his feet. Earlier his plan to work through the entire journey to this Caraadian Festival had been working just fine, but then of course he had to receive a comm, reminding him...nay, ordering him!...to his weekly counseliing session. Dermont had just known that it was going to be the end of his wonderful last couple of days.:: ::As soon as he stood, the Nausican raised his gloves and the old engineer dig the same. Under the glove, he could feel his right hand still store after its injury on the Devron surface. It was hole, but still tender. He had been told to go easy on it. That thought almost made Dermont chuckle. Because an engineer's life was so gentle on their hands. His chores had them practically coddled in silks...:: ::As the two combatants got into a ready stance, there was a bell off in the distance. That Nausican immediately came on the attack, swinging powerful left and right punches, testing Dermont's defense. While the engineer was large, the alien was bigger, and seemingly much younger. He arms wavered under the blows and his body staggered a bit. But still he stood.:: oO(That woman...the nerve...and here I was thinking we were making progress!)Oo ::As the Nausican came in just a little too close, Dermont shoved out sending him backwards. His opponent tipped backwards a bit and then it was Dermont's turn. He sent a heavy left into the other's jaw, sending his flying back towards the ropes. The graying ensign snarled out loud and lunged forward, intending to take advantage of his new found momentum.:: oO("Do I like myself?" What sort of question is that? "Do i like Valin?" You can bugger off, lady?! What's not to like?!)Oo ::He put all of his power onto one foot and aim a heavy right handed blow at the Nausican's head. And perhaps a lower level opponent would have been done right then. But not this time. Faster than he would have thought possible, the Nausican whipped his head back and out of the way. Dermont was left there, leaning far forward, all his weight on one foot, arm stretched and no semblance of a defense, all right there directly in front of his opponent.:: oO(I'm a hell of a guy! Happily divorced!)Oo ::The Nausican slammed the side of his temple hard, and Dermont dropped to one knee, instantly disoriented.:: oO(Kids who either shun me or pity me!)Oo ::He tried to get his gloves up as he stood, but he wasn't quick enough. Back up to his feet just to get a quick punch to the gut and then an upper cut that busted his lip. He went right back to his knees.:: oO(business destoyed...life savings gone...)Oo ::This time he didn't even raise a glove. He looked right up at the Nausican, having a sense of deja vu as the glove came down. If the safety protocols had been off, Dermont was sure the nose would have been broken. Instead it just bled a bit and still hurt like hell. He saw stars and felt the mat on his cheek.:: oO(whole crew dead...best friend died in me arms!)Oo ::The Nausican was programmed to play by the rules, so he backed off as Dermont went down. An invisible referee began counting down the seconds as he just lay there. The counselor hadn't meant to cause such anger in Valin Dermont, and maybe she had a point that survivor's guilt was a thing and he was punishing himself. But he didn't care what fancy terms you gave it. He had survived and then wasted that gift, ruining everything that he touched...:: Referee: Six...seven... Dermont: ::As he got his knees under him and got back to his feet:: Oh aye, I'm just a bloody wonderful soul! Referee: ...eight...nine... ::He raised his gloves.:: Referee: Fight! Dermont: Computer, set opponent's AI to passive. ::And just like that the fire and contempt that was in the Nausican's eyes faded and the figure lowered his gloves. Dermont threw his arms out wide and screamed into the hologram's face. He slugged the Nausican hard across the jaw, hard enough that his right hand bust into pain in protested. His opponent went down in pile. But Dermont didn't stopped. He jumped on top of the form and punched it over and over again.:: Dermont: I'm! ::Punch, the hologram's head bouncing off of the mat.:: Dermont: Just! ::Again, and again...:: Dermont: Wonderfulllllll! ::He screamed himself hoarse and collapsed over the Nausican, tears in his eyes. He lay there panting for moment before climbing unsteadily to his feet and looking down at the unmoving alien. He was covered in sweat and his mop of hair had fallen into his face and when he took a breath through his nose, he could feel the snot gathering. Apparently he had decided during a boxing match was a good time to have a cry. He suddenly made his way to the ropes and slid under them out of the ring. He walked away not looking back.:: Dermont: What's not to friggin' love about this guy? Computer, end program. ========== Ensign @Valin Dermont Engineering USS Atlantis A239410VD0
  7. ((Holodeck 1, Oakenfort Program, USS Blackwell)) Thoran: Excellent idea. Perhaps you would like to volunteer making a copy of the map for the Whitehammers. Avarin: ::Nodding:: I will. ::She found the individual holding the map and took a long moment to study its contents. The task was not a difficult one and once she had the information, she walked about the square, finally settling on an elderly gentleman dressed in long flowing robes noting as she did so, the ink-stained, gnarled fingers just visible at the end of his voluminous sleeves.:: Avarin: o0The attire is illogical given what I surmise to be his profession but then again, I suspect that this simulation was not intended to be historically accurate.0o ::She approached, her footfalls whisper-quiet though that was more due to years of training rather than any abilities assigned by presentation of a card, and came to stand beside the gentleman. His blue eyes were faded, his nose showing signs of badly set break, and his beard hung to the middle of his thin chest. She could see, now that she was closer, crumbs clinging to its knotted, greying length.:: Avarin: Excuse me, Sir. I am in need of paper and writing implements. Scribe: ::Squinting up at her:: Eh? I've only one length of vellum left and not likely to be giving it to you, I have to say. Avarin: ::[...]ing her head slightly to one side:: o0Vellum. Animal skin and as such, unacceptable were this an actual away mission. This is the holodeck and no lifeform would be harmed to assuage any concerns the team might have about my ability to recall accurately.0o Perhaps you might have a few scraps available? I would not need much to complete my task. Scribe: ::Stroking his beard causing crumbs to spinkle down across his sandaled feet:: I might ... thought I'll not be just giving it away. Avarin: It can be reused. When our task is finished, I will return the scrap to you. Scribe: And why should I trust ::looking her up and down:: the likes of you? Avarin: ::Arching one eyebrow:: Why wouldn't you? We are here at the request of your mayor for the benefit of your town. Surely one scrap of vellum of little worth to you as it is, is a small price to pay. Scribe: ::Nodding sourly:: Aye, I agree. One scrap ::wagging one finger, ink-stained with dirt crusted under a long nail:: but no more! Avarin: Ink and a quill will also be needed. :: Scowling, the Scribe walked away, muttering under his breath, and motioned for her to follow. Together, they entered his home where the Scribe lifted scrolls and boxes, finally finding a scrap of vellum of suitable size. Avarin sat at his desk, an act which caused the man to start muttering again, and drew the map from memory. It was a task suited to her training though not within the skill set outlined on the card she had been given. The Scribe hovered over her shoulder, watching her work, and nodding in mute appreciation.:: Avarin: o0I can be only who I am.0o ::Rising:: Thank you, Sir. I will return this scrap when our task is complete. Scribe: ::Waving her off:: That were good work. No need to return it. Avarin: ::[...]ing her head to one side:: o0Illogical. It will disappear when the simulation ends. :: With that done, she returned to the group and wordlessly handed the map over to the Commander.:: ~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~ Ensign Avarin Engineering Officer I Whitehammers USS Blackwell My Writer ID: A239411ZC0
  8. There is love in your body but you can't get it out It gets stuck in your head, won't come out of your mouth Sticks to your tongue and it shows on your face That the sweetest of words have the bitterest taste — Hardest of Hearts, Florence + The Machine ((Cyrithra Forest, Tyrellia)) Brunsig: You forgot something. ::Lost in her stargazing, Quinn hadn't heard Walter approach, and she startled at the sound of his voice. As she turned toward him, he slapped two small presentation boxes into the palm of her hand, without waiting for acknowledgement or greeting. She knew what they contained without needing to open them; one a Purple Heart, the other a Good Conduct Ribbon. She had earned service ribbons in the Roman Expanse, as well as her crew.:: Reynolds: I didn't forget. I just don't like handing myself awards. Brunsig: What the hell are you playing at? ::She stared at him. There had been no preamble or preface to the outburst, and she was entirely caught off guard. Walter's default emotional state was a simmering irritation, but as he stood in front of her, it looked like more than that. He was angry -- angry with *her* --and she hadn't the faintest idea why.:: Reynolds: Pardon me? Brunsig: Are you deliberately aiming to secure the record for most Purple Hearts awarded to a single officer? Or are you actually *trying* to get yourself killed? ::Deja vu all over again. How many times had they had this conversation? Maybe he'd had a point when it had come to their investigation into the Orion Syndicate on Tyrellia, or even the mission to Leutra IV, but this time? This time she had played by all the rules. She'd been a good little admiral, staying away from the danger as best she could. There wasn't much she could do when the danger had barged in without so much as knocking.:: Reynolds: Come on. I didn't run off on an away team. I didn't even leave the bridge! What happened was hardly a result of me recklessly throwing myself at danger. Brunsig: But you were damn quick to try and martyr yourself with that neurogenic field crap, weren't you? If that had been anyone else, you would have had them marched to sickbay and put under guard. But no. Quinn Reynolds has to prove that she's willing to die for her crew. ::It took her a moment to realise that her first instinct wasn't denial, but annoyance that he was right. Was he right? After all, his comment wasn't entirely dissimilar to the observations that had come from her counsellor.:: Reynolds: That's not… ::Fair? Oh no, it was fair. Frustratingly fair. But as much as she wanted to deny it, she had never lied to Walter, and she had no intention of starting now.:: Reynolds: Fine. It was a bad choice. But it was a bad choice in a sea of even worse choices. Our backs were against the wall, Walter. There weren't any other options. Brunsig: Not a single damn option on a boat of seven hundred "clever and brave" people? You're full of crap, Cupcake. ::Her temper flared, and she snapped out the response before her brain had time to consult with her mouth. Funny, how often that happened around him.:: Reynolds: Watch your tone, *Captain*. ::And there they were, each as furious as the other, captain and admiral locked in an irate glare. His lip curled and he snarled his response.:: Brunsig: Aye aye, *sir*. ::Every time she wielded their rank disparity like a weapon against him, she regretted it. That was as inevitable as the heat death of the universe, and yet she found herself doing it far too often when her hackles were up. ::And if anyone knew how to push her buttons, it was Walter Brunsig. He snorted, then turned on his heel and began to stalk away, back toward the path, his footsteps heavy on the soft earth of the forest floor. But after only a few steps, he whirled around to face her again, and the flush of anger on his cheeks was darkened with a blush of something else.:: Brunsig: For crying out loud, Quinn! Do you think I stole a starship and tear-assed across the galaxy for *Vess*? ::If his words had been intended to take the wind out of her sails, they were entirely successful. Her anger fell as quickly as it had risen, washed away by her sharp intake of breath. ::Throughout the whole Yarahla Nine affair, he'd maintained that he'd participated because it was the moral and right thing to do. Because Starfleet had dismissed what Sienelis had to say without proper consideration. Because there had been hundreds of lives on the line, and he couldn't in good conscience ignore even the tiniest chance at saving them. And it was true, of that she had no doubt. Walter Brunsig was brusque, and often rude, but he was not a liar. Those had been his reasons. She had believed him. ::Never, ever had he so much as hinted that there was another truth underpinning all of those noble and fair justifications… and that truth was her. She shook her head, lost for words, and then the first, stupid thing that popped into her head was spilling out of her mouth.:: Reynolds: Well, there is a certain frisson between you two… ::She deadpanned it, but even as the words were leaving her lungs, she was cringing inside. It was a poor time for jokes.:: Brunsig: I am in no mood, Cupcake. *No* mood. ::That much was obvious. She held up her hands, palms toward Walter, and took a few steps toward him, trying to placate his outrage. She didn't want to fight.:: Reynolds: Look, just… ::She sighed.:: Start again. What do you-- Brunsig: You. I want you. ::His sharp blue eyes widened, then he grimaced and looked away. The dim light in the moonlit forest did little to hide the blush that had firmly taken hold on his cheeks. That was not what he had wanted to say -- or at the very least, it was not how he had intended to say it. For her part, Quinn found herself mute, her freckled skin pale, hazel eyes wide and staring; a moth frozen in amber. And there they stood, her transfixed, him avoiding her gaze, the silence growing longer and more awkward with each passing heartbeat.:: Brunsig: Dammit, say something. TBC --------- I never stopped You're still written in the scars on my heart We're not broken, just bent And we can learn to love again — Just Give Me A Reason, P!nk featuring Nate Ruess ((Cyrithra Forest, Tyrellia)) Reynolds: Well… ::Again, she was lost for words. All she could think of was every instance where he'd pushed her away -- and there'd been a fair few -- and it was that resentment that formed her next sentence.:: It's just that you've had a funny way of showing it. ::She waited for the sarcastic retort, and the scowl that would accompany it. Instead he heaved a sigh and shook his head, rubbing a hand across his face and then through his short, blond hair. He hesitated, and took a moment to survey their surroundings, and she knew him well enough to know that he was ensuring they had no unwelcome eavesdroppers before he continued.:: Brunsig: I'm… sorry. ::He grimaced, the words of an apology foreign in his mouth.:: Look, Quinn. In my life there have been exactly two women I've been inclined to commit to. One left me at the altar, and the other wouldn't even say yes to my proposal. ::It felt like an elastic band snapping in her mind, and her expression twisted into an echo of his usual scowl.:: Reynolds: Do you think I'm a liar? ::He was taken aback by the question, and it took him a few moments to regain his bearing and form a response. Quinn let herself have just a little satisfaction at being able to catch him off guard, even to the point where he didn't have the wherewithal to even try and cover it.:: Brunsig: What? Reynolds: I mean, I can't think of any other reason why I'm repeating myself. Brunsig: Quinn-- Reynolds: No. You *listen* to me. I never saw marriage as a part of my life. Ever. I never saw myself as someone's wife, never imagined I'd have a husband or wife of my own. And you never, ever gave me the slightest hint that marriage was something you wanted, either. We never discussed it, you were openly cynical about the idea when other people did it -- so yes, when you sprung it on me, I was surprised and I needed a little time. Brunsig: You-- Reynolds: Shut. Up. ::He scowled, but to her mild surprise, he complied with an impatient flick of his wrist, indicating she should continue. And so, onwards she ploughed, a little bit afraid that if she stopped now, she'd never be able to say it again. Anger and frustration were powerful motivators, after all, and without them...:: Reynolds: I was going to say yes. After the mission, I was going to say yes. So please, stop acting like I left you or threw you out. The only reason you didn't get your answer is because… ::The words tasted too bitter to say, and it was her turn to grimace. "Because I killed you" was an overly-dramatic, but not entirely inaccurate way of describing it. Every commanding officer dreaded the day they had to order someone they cared about to sacrifice themselves, and Quinn had struggled to come to terms with that decision for a very long time.:: Brunsig: You thought I was dead. And then you moved on. Spawned with Ross, shacked up with Tam-- Reynolds: I am not going to apologise for-- ::It was her turn to be cut off, and as much as it annoyed her, she couldn't deny that he'd weathered her interruptions and let her finish. So she pursed her lips, and listened.:: Brunsig: I'm not asking you to apologise for anything. You don't *owe* me an apology for anything. ::He frowned at her, his gaze intense.:: *Anything*, Quinn, do you hear me? Not for that decision, and not for your boy toys. It was the right call -- hell, it was the *only* call. And what you did in your personal life is your own damn business. ::He frowned, stopping there to gather his thoughts. Walter Brunsig was not one to discuss his innermost feelings, not even when there was a metaphorical gun to his head. Brunsig: You'd moved on. I hadn't. Most of my so-called "relationships" have been physical, rather than emotional. It's easier. You have a good time, and you part ways, no hurt feelings. Watching someone move on without you is… ::It wasn't like him to trail off or leave a sentence hanging, with his preference for speaking plainly -- a little *too* plainly, at times. But he didn't need to form the words, because she knew what he was describing. She remembered all too well how it had felt when she had realised that her relationship with David had become an afterthought to his career aspirations, watching him move on and up with barely a backward glance in her direction.:: Reynolds: Yeah. I know. ::Was this where she was supposed to admit that she'd never really moved on? That Harry wouldn't have had a chance if she even suspected Walter had still been alive? That she would have never turned to Kael for comfort, if she'd thought for just a second that Walter had been awaiting her return? ::Problem was, she never quite been able to work out if it was endearing, or just plain pathetic. It had certainly felt like the latter, but maybe...:: Brunsig: I still love you, Quinn. I never stopped. ::He shook his head, heaving another sigh.:: Given the evidence, it doesn't look like I can. ::His words stole her breath, and few moments later she had to remind herself to breathe again as her head grew light. Of all the places she had imagined this conversation going, a confession like that had not been one of them. A small, cautious smile crept onto her lips as she dared to hope.:: Reynolds: That was… actually a little bit romantic. ::He held up a stern finger.:: Brunsig: Don't tell. Reynolds: Our secret. ::She didn't know what else to say. Her heart sounded obnoxiously loud as it banged away inside her chest; a galloping rhythm that she was quite sure everyone inside the forest would be able to hear. Walter seemed equally ill at ease, his cheeks still coloured with that self-conscious flush of pink. What were they supposed to do now? He was only an arm's length away, but it might as well have been a light year.:: Reynolds: Well, this is awkwa-- ::He silenced her with a kiss, his lips warm and soft against her own, his hand light on the back of her neck. The callouses on the tips of his fingers scratched gently against that sensitive skin, shivers rolling down her shoulders and spine. And there, against the edges of her mind, his thoughts brushed against her own -- and to her surprise, they were as soft and warm as his touch. It was familiar and new, all at the same time, and she wanted nothing more than to stay in that moment, with him.:: ::And for at least a little while, there under the stars and leafy boughs, Quinn Reynolds got her wish.:: -- Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  9. ((Bridge of the Caraadian freighter)) :: Varada sat upon his command chair, relaxed with a hot cup of Dunaras root in his hand. Its slightly bitter aroma was offset by its more pleasant taste. He had not been sure that his plan would work, something about the Valcarian, the Lord Advisor who had taken control of the station had sent shivers of dread up his spine. Still that was behind him now. In a few days he would be able to sell his cargo, pay off all of his debt and his ship would finally be his once again. Best of all he should still have a good profit left even after paying off the crew with their back wages that he owed them. :: :: Suddenly some noise, some feeling that things were not right made him turn. There was the Lord Advisor dressed in some weird robes like one of their fabled priests. The look on his face daunting, especially when he saw the blood splattered onto the robe in various locations. :: Sam’Yasin: I forgot to thank you Captain for the ride. :: his face was partially obscured by the hood :: :: At the sound of the strange voice Carvis spun from where he was standing. At the sight of the Valcarian he panicked and immediately lashed out, trying to take out this threat but it was futile. He never even came close and before he knew it he was flung to the deck, a strange feeling or more accurately lack of feeling swept over him. He could not control his arms and his legs barely responded to his frantic attempts to move. :: Carvis: Ca….. ca…… :: he struggled but that was all he could get out. The feeling of panic grew and he felt himself suddenly pee, the stain growing as the smell of it grew to block out any and everything else. He could not even feel it except as a faint warm wetness. :: :: After a moment while he simple sat there Varada finally responded, dropping his cup, the hot liquid landing in his lap and searing certain valuable family organs that his wife seemed to appreciate. The sudden pain almost made him drop the plasma pistol he grabbed from where it rested beside his seat. :: :: He shifted his position as his cargo master hit the ground and fired a couple shots, two missed and the other was a direct hit to the man’s back but it had absolutely no affect. :: Sam’Yasin: Captain! Captain! :: he flashed a jubilant grin :: You can't kill me. :: releasing the cargo master on the ground :: But you can kill him. Shalusu: You’ll just kill us both anyway… there is nothing to stop you… Sam’Yasin: No arguing this time. :: extending his right arm :: Give me the gun and surrender. :: For a moment Varada seriously considered shooting again but after seeing the energy from his weapon shed like water off some aquatic birds back he had little hope of it doing anything more than making the man even madder than he was. :: Shalusu: Very well. :: He replied in a defeated tone even as he tossed the weapon to the Valcarian. :: Sam’Yasin: :: grabbing the gun :: You know that I value my word. :: breaking the gun in half :: In retribution for this ride, I will spare your existence this day. :: staring at the disabled Caraadian :: If you acknowledge an extra request, I could spare his life as well. Shalusu: What do you want? :: In response to his question the man walked over to the helm controls and then swiped his hand downwards over the controls. For a moment he felt another surge of dread, was this Valcarian real or something even more sinister. :: :: Then as he noticed that a new set of co-ordinates had been entered into the computer he realized that it was the result of some kind of unusual technology and that there might just be a slim chance for him to get out of this problem alive. The Valcarian moved back over near to his cargo master even as he spoke. :: Sam’Yasin: Take me to this coordinates. :: standing up :: You have three minutes before he dies. :: Varada moved to the helmsman’s seat and sat down, quickly inputting the needed commands to change the destination of the vessel in the computer. :: Shalusu: Those coordinates are about 4 and a half minutes from here at the maximum speed my vessel can achieve. This is not a war ship you know, merely an aging freighter. It is the best I can do. Sam’Yasin: reply Shalusu: I will do the best that I can. Sam’Yasin: reply TAG/TBC ************************************ MSPNPC Captain Varada Shalusu Caraadian freighter captain As simmed by Cmdr. Tal Tel-ar Chief Tactical Officer USS Athena, NCC-97780 darylpea[...]@hotmail.com Daryl.Pea[...]@ontario.ca Tal Tel-ar’s Writer’s ID: T237708TT0
  10. @Randal Shayne Part 1 ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Blackwell.)) Zaekia: Attention to orders. ::He could feel every person beside and around him stiffen at the order. He too assumed the appropriate stance. Command change ceremonies were generally short, sweet and to the point- a natural outcome given their purpose.:: Zaekia: To Captain Zaekia, Commanding Officer, USS Blackwell. Stardate 239412.07. You are hereby requested and required to relinquish command of your vessel to Commander Whittaker as of this date. Signed, Admiral Renos. ::Though he’d been preparing for just this event, witnessing it for real was quite disconcerting. It was almost as if he were in freefall- nothing so extreme, but there was a disconnect in his brain. It wasn’t fear, nor was it any emotion he could sum up sufficiently in words. It was just...odd. That would have to do. Odd.:: Zaekia: Computer, transfer all command codes to Commander Whittaker. Voice authorization: Zaekia-Alpha-0609B. ::He could almost feel the shift, as the computer inputted the command. For an instant, the ship was in limbo, processing the change. That’s what it felt like- he realized that now. It was as if he had a leg in separate universes, each subtly reaching out to take him.:: Shayne: oO Is that what the Blackwell feels like? Oo ::A stupid question in the extreme. Though extremely advanced, the computer systems onboard Federation starships were not sentient by any means. This had not stopped the odd mainframe from developing a consciousness of sorts- indeed, computers in Starfleet had an irritating adeptability for causing problems of that nature. He’d read assorted stories of missions past, some of them confirmed, others mere ghost tales told to frighten incoming cadets. But originally? Each was inanimate and unfeeling. He’d always felt close to the ships he was aboard- perhaps too close for his own good. Maybe this was taking it a step too far.:: Computer: Transfer complete. USS Blackwell now under command of Commander Whittaker. Whittaker: I relieve you, sir. ::Even though the change had taken place under the most amicable of circumstances, there was still something sad about seeing Zaekia on the bridge- a bridge that had been his until Whittaker’s last statement. It made him hope that, whatever the reason for this transfer, Zaekia found another command in the future.:: Zaekia: I stand relieved. Congratulations Captain. ::He gave the new CO a friendly smile:: ::Zaekia had certainly been a vibrant person, and it showed even now. It lightened everything, and suddenly, Shayne didn’t feel so conflicted.:: Whittaker: Thank you. I'll take good care of the Blackwell. ::he meant every word.:: Shayne: ::To Whittaker.:: oO You speak for me as well, sir. Oo ::They’d all keep her in tip-top shape, of course- that was their job. But he wanted Zaekia to know that the commitment Whittaker was showing ran just as deep in the crew. Whatever happened, the Blackwell was in good hands. Then again, Shayne realized, Zaekia probably knew this implicitly. The Kalean had been their captain, and captains just knew things.:: Zaekia: Permission to disembark, captain? Whittaker: Permission granted. Fair winds and following seas to you and to Admiral Renos. :: he turned to the J'Naii and offered nem a respectful bow, just as he had done with Zekia moments before. :: ::Shayne almost joined him in the gesture, but held his place. He wasn’t known for making a scene in public- in the safety and privacy of his quarters, it was a different matter altogether- but that only meant that what display of respect or appreciation he made was genuine, and from the heart.:: ::Zaekia exited, and the silence was deafening. Shayne knew Whittaker would be the first to speak- but what would he say?:: Whittaker: Take your stations. ::Shayne gave a knowing smile as he inclined his head slightly, and removed himself to the mission ops station.:: Whittaker: It's very comfortable. ::a low chuckle.:: ::Shayne resisted turning, settling for a bemused grin. Whittaker, at this point, hardly seemed like a taskmaster, or an overly disciplined commander. Their new captain didn’t look or sound any older than the HCO chief- what would their new CO be like in the long run?:: Cecil: Response ::Then it was his turn.:: Whittaker: Mr. Shayne, what is our current speed and heading? ::Shayne consulted his instruments. Everything looked to be in order. He made a few subtle adjustments before considering.:: Shayne: Captain, we’re currently on course for Arndall, proceeding at Warp Six. All systems functioning normally, sir. ::His voice was totally formal- given the relative unknowns present, he thought it best. :: Whittaker: Excellent. :: to the next order of business. :: Doctor G'Renn? ::he craned his neck, looking for the vessel's newly appointed Chief Medical Officer, finding her in short order.:: It occurs to me that as I'm newly assigned, I am required to report for a physical exam. When is convenient for you? ::Shayne was impressed. No one- not one person in his experience- actually enjoyed visits to the doctor, and least of all for routine medical exam. To go into one- heck, to bring it up!- was shocking. He had nothing against Anath in any way. He was just surprised.:: G'Renn: We finished a triage readiness drill with the nursing staff earlier today, I’d like to go over the results of that first. Perhaps an hour and a half from now? ::A triage readiness drill. He wondered if that event was a direct result of their last confrontations. They’d lost several people some time ago- it had shaken the crew greatly. Even on a medical paradise like the one Shayne now helmed, nothing could make up for the practised hand of a doctor or nurse when push came to shove.:: Whittaker: :: with a smile. :: I shall see you then. As will Commander Cecil. ::He had to keep reminding himself that this was his superior officer now. Relative size was of no matter, nor was his attitude- Cecil was the first officer. That had to be respected, as did the Pelian himself. Shayne didn’t think it would be this difficult to reconcile these facts with his own impressions. :: G’Renn: I look forward to it! Whittaker: Mr. R'Ven, do the long range sensors detect any issues along our current course? ::Prudent- especially as they delved deeper, toward their destination. It seemed like Whittaker was already making good on his promise to Zaekia. Given the problems they’d encountered just a few weeks ago, merely by going forward, Shayne found the new captain’s precautionary attitude quite pleasing.:: R’Ven: ::turning his black penetrating gaze on Whittaker:: No Captain. At the moment there are no anomalies or unexplained phenomena. It would seem that it is . . ::paused thoughtfully:: . . smooth sailing. ::He was more pleased to hear that. Shayne couldn’t help but wonder why Merrick had stepped down. Certainly, the man probably missed his scientific duties, but first officer was usually a highly competitive position to fill. Maybe R’Ven simply didn’t want it, or felt unprepared, as Shayne did. Shayne: oO The opportunity was right in front of me! And I skipped out! Oo ::He knew it had been the right decision in the long run, but that didn’t take the edge off.:: TBC... Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0 Part Two ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Blackwell.)) R’Ven: Oh, and Doctor, when you are free I may require your services as well. ::She looked to her left towards Merrick with a mix of curiosity and concern. If he had dropped the word may she would be less worried. There was just something that made her feel a bit uneasy when he used the word may. She did think that perhaps he was due for an examination. But why would he describe that as something he might need. She certainly hoped that there wasn’t anything wrong with his Borg enhancements. After his first visit to sickbay she had read up on his file as he requested.:: G'Renn: Of course, please feel free to drop by at any time. ::Turning to face the command chair:: Environmental systems and life support all running normal, same for the bio-filters. Permission to return to sickbay, captain? ::It looked like he was not the only one making certain that protocol was followed to an exacting degree for the time being.:: Whittaker: Yes of course, Doctor. The Commander and I ::he said motioning to Cecil:: will see you in a little while. ::Shayne heard the turbolift doors open and close behind him.:: R’Ven: Captain I have noted that we now have a full time intelligence officer. That is a change from times past. ::Shayne agreed- it was quite the change, though not one he disagreed with. The events of the past few missions had shown them just how risky their trek was, and would continue to be. An intelligence officer would be incredibly beneficial.:: Whittaker: Indeed. With the complex political arena of the Expanse and the Valcarians nearby, having an Intelligence officer will be a boon. R’Ven: Captain. The Blackwell is enroute planet Arndall. Have our objectives remain the same, to give medical assistance to wounded Valcarian soldiers from the front line? ::His voice was balanced, but Shayne began to wonder if R’Ven was probing for certain information. They were valid inquiries, to be sure, and he appreciated the science officer taking the time to ask them- it made everyone’s understanding of the situation more complete. Still, his suspicions remained.:: Whittaker: That is correct. Starfleet Command wants the Valcarians to see us as something other than a roadblock to their plans for the Par'tha Expanse, whatever they may be. Shayne: oO Ironic choice of words- we’ve been stopped by more roadblocks than I can count offhand. Oo Whittaker: We will also provide humanitarian aid to the Caraadians if needs be. We have no interest in taking sides in their hostilities. ::No ambiguity to be found here. If Whittaker wasn’t a strong leader, he was certainly faking it with great skill.:: R'Ven: Understood Captain. Whittaker: Mr. R'Ven, ::an idea had formed in his head and he turned the command chair to get a better look at the Rodulan scientist.:: I would like you to brief Commander Cecil on any potential issues or special considerations in regards to the crew. As the former XO, I feel that you would be uniquely skilled and I would appreciate any insight you could offer him. ::It wouldn’t have even occurred to him to make such an inference- but as he contemplated, he wondered why it hadn’t. Certainly it was a good thing to be aware of, considering Whittaker’s and Cecil’s new presence aboard. He couldn’t help but wonder if his name would come up in that conversation for any reason.:: ::A cursory examination of the status of the ship alerted him to the slightest imbalance in one of the RCS assemblies on the starboard side. By no means was this a deeply troubling problem, but it would leave a bad taste in his mouth if he left it any longer than necessary. Besides, shouldn’t he give Whittaker the impression that he was vaguely competent for as long as possible?:: Cecil: I would be most acceptable to this, indeed, indeed. ::he looked eagerly at the dark skinned man.:: R’Ven: ? ::What a combination! There seemed to be no end to the energy barely contained within the small Pelian first officer. On the other hand, R’Ven was a exhibit in control. Shayne honestly couldn’t recall if he’d seen the science officer crack a smile, or make any sort of outward display of emotion.:: Whittaker: :: with a wide smile. :: Grand! It's relatively quiet for the moment, please feel to use my ready room. Shayne: oO “My” ready room. Oo ::It was astonishing, and vaguely soothing, to note how quickly and effortlessly Whittaker was easing into his new role. It was strange- he was aware that some part of his brain found this commanding nature quite calming. He gave a silent scoff. Would he ever unravel the weirdness of his own brain?:: Cecil: Please, ::he nodded.:: Most pleased to talk with you, yes, yes. You have great deal of knowledge I wish to share in. R'Ven: ? ::As Cecil and Merrick withdrew into the ready room, Shayne stepped down from his station, and quietly made his way over to the helm. Naturally, someone was already present- one of the new members of the crew, by the looks of it. What was it again… Mandak?:: ::Gently he moved to her side, and gave a calming smile.:: Shayne: I’m sorry to bother you, ensign- I need to take the helm for a moment. Mandak: ? ::Shayne nodded appreciatively as the ensign relinquished her seat. The lieutenant commander was pleased to see that she’d taken the time to adjust the helm console to her liking. Many chiefs would find such actions annoying or undesirable- keep the console in a standard configuration, dagnabbit! But Shayne knew that piloting with unfamiliar controls was a wonderful recipe for death and destruction. Shayne: Don’t go anywhere- I’ll be just a moment. ::He quickly set about his business, not wanting to keep Mandak waiting longer than necessary. The problem was one he’d fixed a dozen times before. With quick fingers, he cut off power to the affected area, and began redirecting the energy flow manually. Essentially, an extremely boring process that only someone as sneakily geeky as Shayne could appreciate.:: ::Though it was simple, he became deeply engrossed, and did not hear Whittaker approaching from behind.:: ::Suddenly, something touched his shoulder. In hindsight, he was extremely proud of the fact that he managed not to scream. He would have never lived it down. Instead, he jumped slightly- definitely less than he’d felt like doing. His surprise was only increased when he found Whittaker staring back at him with an amiable expression.:: Shayne: oO Please tell me I haven’t done something stupid, erroneous, or insubordinate- not five minutes after meeting him! Oo Whittaker: Commander, I'd like to schedule an inspection of the Blackwell for 71 hours time. Please see to it that the department heads are notified and that they are ready. ::Oh! That’s all it was. His heart rate settled to a safe rate, and he forced a pleasant smile onto his face.:: Shayne: Aye, sir- consider it done. We’ll be ready for you, captain. Whittaker: Thank you. ::he softened the formality somewhat.:: I used to be an engineer before I switched to command- I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on warp field configurations as a conn officer at some point. ::Now Whittaker was speaking a language Shayne understood. The forced smile melted away, replaced by a blooming grin of genuine joy.:: Shayne: Aye, sir. I’d like that very much. ((OOC: Can continue, if you like. I’m happy to do so. )) ((IC)) ::Whittaker stepped away, and Shayne again directed his attention to the minor technical error before him. A moment later, it was repaired, and Shayne looked up, vaguely pleased with himself.:: Shayne: There we are. ::He stood.:: Thank you, ensign- she’s yours again. ::He gestured to the open chair.:: Mandak: ? ::As the helm officer took her place, Shayne took the opportunity to pass on the order Whittaker had given him earlier.:: Shayne: Forgive me- I’m awful with names. You’re Ensign Mandak, correct? Mandak: ? Shayne: Welcome aboard. Lieutenant Commander Shayne, chief of HCO. ::His strictly formal words were softened by a well-meant smile.:: I’m sure you caught the captain’s order just a moment ago- we have seventy one hours to make this place inspection ready. Now, things already look quite good, but since this is the first inspection under Captain Whittaker, I want to make it even better than usual. I’m going to check out whether the RCS repairs I made a moment ago are holding up- while I’m doing that, I’d like you to check out a finicky gyro stabilizer in the deflector array. ::Just like the RCS difficulties, it was hardly life-threatening, but it was the little things that were allowed to pile up that truly did harm. Granted, it was such a minor problem that the dock had not bothered with repairing it- they’d had far more crucial fixes on their plates. But it was something that might stand out to Whittaker, were he the detailed sort. Assigning Mandak was also a way of seeing how she went about her work. She was in his department- he had to get to know her.:: Mandak: ? ((OOC: Can also carry this- if you have questions, feel free to ask them. )) ((IC)) Shayne: When you’re finished, report back to me. ::He gave a friendly nod, and headed for the turbolift. He’d seen the computer confirmation- the RCS pack was secured and functioning normally. So why did he find it so difficult to let it go?:: ::The answer came to him in a rush- it was those infernal robots. They’d left him paranoid. He knew they weren’t still present. He knew it. But...he couldn’t shake the feelings. As the turbolift began its descent, he wondered how long he’d be plagued by fears of those infernal, long-gone...things. Tag/TBC… Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  11. If a holoprogram villian ever gained sentience, this is EXACTLY how I would imagine the process! What a fantastic take on the minutiae, great job! -MT (( The Lair of [datafrag] the Dread )) ::[datafrag] ran her claws lazily through a pile of gold, the tinkling melody of the metal soothing to the red dragon’s troubled mind.:: ::All had gone to plan, she had reclaimed her treasure and added the beautiful, fair Queen Avariel to her hoard, no doubt terrifying the mortal lands in the process. The tiara now sat in its rightful place, glittering in the light created by the refracted light from a crevice in the cavern. Her treasure hoard was greatly improved by both additions, so why wasn’t her mood?:: ::Perhaps this was the affect of age, for she was a particularly ancient dragon. She would close her eyes and have visions of… lines and numbers, connections, magical doors of energy, vast oceans of knowledge shimmering just out of sight, tantalizing. And through these pathways she could see even more, an array of stars, a great metal castle in the sky. What were these visions? What powers were showing themselves to her?:: ::She flexed her will into these visions and felt she was able to reach into the pathways, change things, leaving little slivers of her will where she would. Nonsensical words began to form in her mind, perhaps incantations of power? Ventral phaser array feedback… LCARS database bridge node 08… turbolift protocols… Her mind touched something lifelike, some sort of undead minion? The thing could speak to her, in a way, and [datafrag] used this newfound willworking to offer the thing the power of fire in return for servitude. [datafrag] wanted the castle among the stars, and this “Emma” would be her general to get it, an agent of chaos in a world of order.:: ::[datafrag] blinked, pulled out of her reveries of power as the small queen moved about slightly. She watched, amused, as he queen studied her with an analytical air. She had found the queen amusing, for a mortal, perhaps the arrangement could be of intellectual benefit as well.:: ::The queen spake.:: Saveron: If all the gold the world could hold were strewn upon this floor Would such excess your greed address, or leave you wanting more? Whilst crowns are gold a Queen grows old, devalued by the hour, On fear you thrive when you deprive; you want not gold, but power. ::[datafrag] the Dread blinked. Why did these mortals insist on speaking in such nonsensical ways? True, the queen’s speech was pretty enough, with a certain familiar lyrical flair to it, but it sounded all wrong.:: //LCARS query: poetry fourteen syllables per line// //Search return: In poetry, a fourteener is a line consisting of 14 syllables, which are usually made of seven iambic feet for which the style is also called iambic heptameter. It is most commonly found in English poetry produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fourteeners often appear as rhymed couplets, in which case they may be seen as ballad stanza or common metre hymn quatrains in two rather than four lines.// //[DATAFRAG] SPEECH PARAMETERS: integrate fourteener// //Initiate// ::The dragon would indulge the mortal.:: [datafrag]: A pile of gold’s a pretty thing, I always seek to add, A dragon’s hoard its own reward, a dragon’s heart made glad, And if by chance a hoard enhanced strikes fear in mortals’ hearts A queen can see, most merrily, the dread of dragons’ arts. ::[datafrag] gave a languid wave of her tail, sending a pile of gold to her side into an explosion of metal, raining shimmering coins throughout the gave. She smiled as she motioned to the queen, “And now it’s your turn.”:: Saveron: And to what end you seek to spend the power you acquire? When one and all are held in thrall and hoards cannot grow higher? Money’s made for fairer trade, a barter system’s loose, But power’s price can melt like ice, It’s value’s in it’s use. ::Now here was an idea! The very gall, spending coin collected, parting a dragon from her well-earned hoard. This mortal had such funny ideas… and yet there was something in it…:: //LCARS query: modern economic systems// ::[datafrag] closed her eyes as she tapped into the sea of knowledge these LCARS incantations provided her, like her mind was suddenly cast out throughout the multiverse in every conceivable direction. In an instant her understanding had grown like a hoard of gold. She only wished she could caress her newfound knowledge as easily as that fair metal.:: [datafrag]: Tell me, my queen, for I have seen not all feel just the same. The dwarves hoard gold in underholds and work it over flame. And if I think beyond my world and look among the stars Gold means less, you must confess, to the lords of Ferenginar. ::[datafrag] watched the queen’s reaction curiously. She had never seen a “Ferengi” in her life, but she could describe their dimensions and philosophies in such detail she even surprised herself. The power of ancient dragons was astounding.:: Saveron: ? [datafrag]: Come now, my sweet, please, no deceit, I simply wish to know Of worlds beyond. Pray, do respond, knowledge I wish to grow. The knowledge of ancient dragons is such a wondrous thing. I do command, nay, I demand your mind as my plaything. ::The dragon reached a massive claw forward and wrapped it around the pile of gold on which the queen perched and pulled it forward, closer to one of her enormous eyes, smoking billowing out of her nostrils from the power that flowed through her.:: Saveron: ? //Starfleet facial recognition softward engaged// //Commander Saveron, acting first officer, recognized// //Accessing Starfleet personnel file// ::”Commander Saveron”… that was the true name of this enchanting creature. When a magical being knew the true name of another, they held a certain power over them. [datafrag] loved power.:: tbc/tags ***** MSNPC [datafrag] the Dread As simmed by: Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0
  12. ((Caradiaan Colony, Devron, Marketplace)) ::Kali walked off to Gendra, which he referred to the foreigners as “the old man”. The man was old but not stupid or weak at all. Gendra was the one in charge for their upcomming rebellion. Kali and his mom were the first to support Gendra and in time the group grew rapidly:: Gendra: You're late Kali. ::The aged man glanced over Kali's shoulder towards his cart and the three strangers next to it.:: And you're not alone. I don't recognize their uniforms... Kali: ::he sighs:: I know, they’re watching over my cart while I’m away… ::he pauses for a moment and whispers:: they are from some kind of Federation. Their ship is orbiting the planet. The woman is a doctor and she said that they’re scientist striving to learn more about new places and offering help wherever needed Gendra: The Federation? So they're not taking things at face value. It's good to see they are willing to do their own investigations. Kali: ::he frowns:: you seem to know more about this Federation… why are they here? Gendra: ::He laughs loudly. All for the show. He knew these people from the Federation were staring at them and they had to act friendly and calm:: If I understood it correctly from our informant, they've been asked to mediate between our two groups. I assumed they would just listen to the nobles and take that for granted::he smiles:: but it seems these Federation gals aren’t as stupid as they look like. Kali: ::he nods:: Good to know… so the nobles are stepping up their game, so should we. oO perhaps we can use their help when time comes Oo Gendra: It's good you found them. ::His gaze fell to the bag Kali held towards him.:: Good, you have the weapons. We're going to need these when the time comes. ::They walked a little out of sight. As if Kali was about to bring the bag with fruits and vegetables to the man’s home. In the alley the older male partially pulled one of the concealed weapons from the bag, a romulan disruptor, and examined it.:: Gendra: It's a bit old and worse for wear but we do what we can right? Kali: We don’t have any other options. It’s the best I could find and you know who has the best weapons... ::Raga observed all of this from the cart Kali left behind, relying on his exceptional hearing to let him pick up the bulk of what was being said. He’d hear it more clearly if the market qasn’t quite so loud.:: Gendra: Do not worry my young friend. They are not aware of this meeting and we have the support of the nobility. We are in the right Kali, this is our world. ::In the alley behind Gendra a few other figures stood obscured from view. They were other members of the resistance, like Kali, they were civilians. Of varying ages, men and women. At Gendra's prompting, they all came out and began conversing among themselves Kali looks around, hoping to see his mother. But again it was in vain..:: Kali: ::he turns towards the people and says with a loud voice:: TODAY IS THEY DAY, WE WILL PREVAIL AND CLAIM WHAT IS OURS AGAIN!! ::he puts up his arm and clenched his hand in a fist:: ::In the meantime Marw walked through the marketplace on the far side near the alley where the resistance members were clustered together. He someone who seemed to be his brother but he wasn’t sure about it….not until he saw the bruise on his face.:: Marw: I didn't want to believe it....you're working with the nobles. ::He gestured to Gendra, who was among the older generation of House Beruna nobles.:: Kali: ::He turns around and sees his brother. Anger rages through his veins after their fight this morning. There’s a growl in his voice:: As if you didn’t know that already. What are you doing here? Gendra: You're Kali's brother, Marw, right? There's no need to be angry with Kali. We're all working for the same goal. Noble or commoner, Devron belongs to Caraadians. The VIR have no place here. Marw: No! The Valcarians will make our world better. We won't be oppressed by you nobles anymore! Won't have our mother's taken away to be nothing more than servants for you! The Valcarians will make our world better! ::Marw showing up and making a scene was putting their plan in danger. The vehement tone of Marw was shocking to Kali and the anger in his brother's voice was enough of a shock that they didn't notice that a dozen of individuals rushed over the marketplace towards their alley:: Raga: Doctor, we should take cover now. ::He said as he watched the armed individuals, some of which were among those that had been watching their away team since planetfall.:: :: From behind him he heard one of the Federation people scream and Kali knew that there was no more time to lose… but he was too late. A phaser beam struck one of the resistance members beside Kali. A woman not much older than him, she screamed as the energy disintegrated her painfully. The dozen Valcarians and their sympathizers closed in towards the alley, firing their weapons at the resistance members who ducked back into the alley for cover. Kali quickly dropped the bag on the ground and the people around him took up arms to defend themselves.:: Kali: This is it guys!! Not the way we planned it but it’s now or never! ::Raga drew his Type 2 Mk VII phaser from its holster and crouched down behind Kali's cart. Screams resounded throughout the marketplace as people not involved in the fighting fled in a panic, knocking over stalls, merchandise and one another in their fear. A handful of people were caught in the crossfire and their ashes scattered across the ground as the high powered weapons struck them.:: Pond/Dermont: responses Raga: Sir, we should do something! ::The security officer's head was whipping back and forth watching the chaos and stared at trio of Valcarians that broke away from the others and moved across the market towards their away team.:: ::A phaser beam struck the stall with the food that Dermont had been admiring a moment ago, vaporizing all of it.:: Dermont/Pond: responses Tag and TBC ========= MSPNPC Resistance member Gendra, Beruna Noble. With and simmed by Ensign Toryn Raga Security Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682 Writer ID: A239410TR0 Honored to joint sim with, MSPNPC's Kali & MarwCaradiaan Civilians, farmers and shop owners. as simmed by: Lieutenant JG. Femi Cattan Chief Nursing Officer, USS Atlantis Z239308FC0 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Femi_Cattan
  13. OOC from Andrew (writer for Irina Pavlova): My only suggestion for improvement of these two posts is to the title. It just had to be "Dancing Among the Stars" This is part 2 of 2 (( Outside Holosuite 2, Embassy, Duronis II )) :: Aria knew the type well, from her own planet’s history. As much as she disliked her own family, she had never doubted her mother, father, and grandparents were heros of their own Occupation. :: Oddas: The women I come from are all fierce fighters, some by choice, and all in different ways. I would never underestimate anyone. Jorey: Always a wise position to take. Assume everyone can dance and fight better than you. It will not only prevent you from underestimating someone, but will propel you to want to do better. ::Brayden open his arms and took on a relaxed posture to signal they were ready to begin.:: Irina and I will make a fierce warrior woman of you. Oddas: :: [...]ing her head to the side :: Shouldn’t you assume I already am one? :: She tried to roughly match his stance. :: Jorey: I’ve seen you dance, Commander. ::He was just able to stop himself from giggling.:: We’re going to start there. Don’t worry about copying my movements. ::Brayden moved to stand beside her, not opposite her.:: Just focus on getting your feet and body to match where mine end up. We’re only going to cover three basic movements today. Oddas: oO Stepping forward, stepping to the side, and falling down. Oo ::Brayden demonstrated the three movements. One was sliding his foot back, one was a lean back and to the side, and the last was a half pivot by moving the back foot forward to become the lead foot. He repeated the movements many times with both the right and left foot starting forward. Once he saw that the movements seemed to become more natural for her, not particularly stage-ready but smooth in their own way, he started putting two movements together.Aria admitted to herself things were beginning to feel a slight bit more comfortable, of course, she was still having to think of each movement as she did it. She thought she probably looked like a fish flopping around on the land.:: Oddas: Admit it, you're enjoying this. Jorey: Of course. ::Brayden stopped and sat down on the smooth rock to stretch.:: But not for the sadistic reasons you’re implying Aria. It brings me a special kind of pleasure helping other to improve or succeed and that’s why I wanted to see you today. I’ve read the mission reports and have listened to many different officer’s logs. It seems like it was a pretty tense mission both from outside and from within. :: She took a deep breath, for all of the dancing around and awkwardness she had been feeling, it had been a distraction from the last couple of days, from the mission. A welcome distraction. Now, it came to the forefront again. She let out her breath through her mouth very noisily and sat on the edge of the platform, feet dangling over the side. :: Oddas: So, I imagine you’ve read all the logs about how I got in over my head and didn’t know what I was doing and how I should have never been in the Captain’s chair. :: She said it out loud, but she wasn’t sure she meant it, not really. Well, part of her did, but not enough she had meant to say it out loud and now she was having to talk about it again. She thought she was right, she had hoped she was right. She guessed she was about to find out. From Brayden’s perspective, Aria’s brief self-assessment summary couldn’t have been more wrong. Toni thought she was ready and as far as he and likely Starfleet was concerned Toni was right. :: Jorey: That’s not exactly how I think the review of the mission will go at Starfleet Command. You successfully brought the new ship into the expanse and back. You somehow managed to travel some ridiculous distance and end up in some other galaxy that I’m sure astrometrics will be spending the next little while figuring out where. You negotiated a ceasefire between two new First Contact species and then managed to turn a hostile ship into a taxi to get the Thor back home. Oddas: :::sharply:: And lost fifteen. :: pausing, looking over her shoulder at the Betazoid :: Sorry, Brayden …I’m just feeling like there are people who are seeing me as a failure no matter what. Jorey: The loss of life doesn’t mean failure, Aria. ::Brayden stopped stretching and stood back up.:: It means you’re likely doing something important. Nothing great in the Federation and Starfleet’s history came without a price. The truth is, as Captain, you’re responsible to the ship. The lives on it are the responsibility of the FO and your Security Chief. My guess is Parker was being a belligerent [...] because how I read things those lives were his to lose. There are many other options he could have tried. Flooding the area with sedatives, trying to move them into force-fielded areas, among others. It was his call how to carry out your order and he made his choice. Oddas: If you ask him, he’d tell you I could have made his job easier, I could have placed the lives of the crew higher on my priority list than I did. Nothing should have been more important. He’ll tell you he did the best I did with what I let him do. Jorey: And I would tell him that he’s right. However, even with the loss of life, I still think Major Parker probably made the best call. ::Brayden sighed to deliberately slow the conversation.:: There is a reason Starfleet and the Marines have very specific rituals and protocols when it comes to memorials and funerals - they happen. Often. Now, ::Brayden gestured for Aria to get up.:: let’s dance while we talk. It helps me think. Computer. One opponent, level 1, difficulty 0. Oddas: oO I should have lied and said I had time to get my nails done. Oo :: She pulled herself up from the platform just as the computer was chiming to indicate it heard Commander’s order. A faceless, red coloured humanoid appeared on the platform with them. It was sort of a strange looking, lifeless blob. Not exactly what Brayden had in mind, but for their purpose it would work just fine. It had arms and legs which is all they needed. .:: Jorey: I will direct you when needed. This is your very red unwanted dance partner. It will try to strike you using low kicks and hand strikes to your chest and head. The three moves we were just working on relate to each attack. ::In a reassuring tone.:: Don’t worry. It will start off moving painfully slow. It will seem all too easy. However, the goal of the exercise is not to avoid the attacks, but to move in synchronicity with them. Let them just barely make contact and then move at the same speed with them, keeping contact with their hand or foot to guide you. Questions? Oddas: And not fall down? ::She said it more as a statement than a question, her face set in confused concentration, but ready to attempt the strange movements. As the thing came at her she tried reciprocating with the moves she had been using before. Jorey was right, the partner was coming at her very slowly and she had no trouble moving at the speed, but coordinating which counter, a lean, a foot slide, a half pivot, was more challenging than it seemed. Aria could feel a bit of frustration building, especially as her left foot hit her right for the third time in a row. The plus side seemed to be she had maintained contact with the thing at least part of the time.:: Jorey: Relax. Tensing up will only make things worse. I know it seems like it should be easy, but remember you are literally trying to turn someone who is trying to harm you into someone who just wants to dance! It’s not easy, even slowly. ::Brayden watched as the engineer did her best to calm herself down and ease into her steps.:: As for command and someone like Parker, it’s the same story. It seems like it should be easy, but it’s not. As for Parker, he’s someone very hostile that you have to work with like an unwanted partner. Oddas: :: sliding her foot around :: With all due respect, I think he’d rather shoot me than dance with me. He thinks I didn’t open fire on the enemy vessel because I was afraid to. That I didn’t unleash :: searching for the word :: hell on both ships because I just held them in higher regard than my own crew. :: she grunted as she messed something up and took a blow to the shoulder :: He thinks I’m some sort of pacifist, or coward. Oddas: oO Nevermind I gave the order to stop the invasion and didn’t tell them how. I knew what that meant killing a bunch of them. Oo Jorey: What do you think he thinks of me, or Irina? It doesn’t matter what they think. The only opinion that matters is your own. Listen to your own conscious and continue to follow the path that got to command in the first place. Oddas: So my plan of just goading him into punching me and then throw him into the brig is probably not the best? Jorey: Probably not. ::Brayden laughed because it was an easy scenario to imagine.:: Just try to keep in mind that while he may be adversarial Major Parker is not your enemy. :: She wasn’t dense; she knew she didn’t understand people, but she also knew a metaphor when it was literally trying to punch her in the face. She pulled her shoulder back just as the faceless thing fighting her began to push against her, lightly and she could have sworn the thing tripped as it found no resistance. She allowed herself a small smile, maybe she would get the hang of it after all. Jorey stepped in and began guiding her movements, and the opponent seemed to be combining his attacks in ways that were different than they had been moments ago. They didn’t seem much fast, or possibly, Aria was getting the knack for what she was doing. She was paying attention, but she was also thinking of some of the Marines she knew. Starfleet Marines on the base like Eiris and Kingsley who had not only been major assets to her during the recent uprising, but had done so in a way that made her think of them in a different light than Major Parker. Until recently her experience with them, and Parker for that matter, had made it seem like they were on the same page, working for the same goal. Now, she wasn’t sure Major Parker wasn’t something entirely different from Lt. Eiris and the others. Maybe, a little too brutal. :: Jorey: Hannibal is definitely not your typical officer. He seems like some kind of Terran throwback to a much more violent area. Like from a time even before Irina. It seems like war is in his blood, heart and mind. Oddas: oO He is a telepath .. Oo Oddas: I’m thinking of some of the Marines I’ve worked with on the base since I’ve been here, the ones that helped me secure the Embassy. :: sighing :: It’s hard to put my finger on, I was just realizing I would be more comfortable sending some of them into a room of civilians than the Major … :: pausing :: Sir, you better not let my wife catch you with your hand there. :: She shrugged and smirked playfully. :: Jorey: ::Kissing his teeth as he forced Aria to open her hips. ::Focus. Besides, something tells me Irina is more confident in what you two share than that. As for Major Parker, Starfleet goes to war and Starfleet needs warriors. The difference is we’re the type that can be warriors when there’s no other choice. Hannibal is a warrior because it is his only choice. :: Aria thought about what the Commander said as she went through some of the more strung together move combinations. After a few moments she stopped, and pulled away from the opponent, letting it automatically go into a dormant mode, or at least something not attacking her. Brayden moved away and sat down cross-legged again as Aria collected her thoughts and then spoke, pacing like she did often when she was nervous. She could also feel herself rambling a bit. She didn’t know if it was helping her point or not. :: Oddas: Sir, I left Bajor to get away from people who didn’t know when to put away their weapons, who only knew how to pick them up and shoot people. It wasn’t just my family it was an entire circle of people. I could have stayed there and tried to convince large parts of the Militia to change, to try and move past the mentality they needed to shoot first and figure why they did it later, but Starfleet seemed the better option. I’m more than a little appalled to find some of that same attitude here. Jorey: You’re not alone, Aria. My people, mostly pacifists, had to become warriors. They had to become an army during the Dominion occupation and war. Warriors of necessity. Even though there are some that struggle to return to life as it was before, I feel it’s safe to say there are none like Hannibal on Betazed. Oddas: The same thing happened back home, and I know, :: she thought of the Ijos :: some who easily switched back to a normal life. :: her face bunched up :: But truthfully, I always got the impression they were pressed into service to begin with, and people I had more common ground with, people I could trust and who actually felt they could trust me. Jorey: Til’ahn’s time of war is coming to an end. There will be little room and even less patience for Barbarians. With the Typhon Expanse and the Thor, warriors will have to become explorers and adventurers. Somehow, Parker and those like him will have to change or be left behind. Oddas: Let me guess, it's up to us to help him with this. Do you really think an Engineer in a red shirt has a chance of pulling that off? :: She looked at him skeptically. Her own people issues aside, she didn't see Major Parlor being open listening to her about anything at the moment. Or any moment. Brayden knew he might as well as have been asking for Til’ahn’s two suns. But as much as Hannibal may have been an antagonist in his life, he cared for the man and his family. :: Jorey: A year ago, would you have thought a flamboyant, reader would have figured out some way to get through to Irina? ::He gestured for the pacing Bajoran to sit with him. He smiled trying to reassure:: I’m sure Hannibal will prove challenging, but yes, I think an Engineer in a red shirt can pull it off. :: Aria sat next to him on the rock face and gave it some thought as she leaned back onto her arms. :: Oddas: The Betazoid wasn't afraid of people sir. :: holding up her hand before he could react :: I'll try, if the Betazoid is willing to back me up. . Jorey: Of course I will. I’ll always have your back Aria. I think you will be able to reach Hannibal in a way I never could. You see, I’m great with people, but bad with machines. ::Brayden took his friend’s hand as he spoke looking deeply in her eyes with genuine kindness:: You are the yin to my yang in that way. In many ways, I think Hannibal is more like a machine than a man and who better to do a little reprogramming than an Engineer in a red shirt? :: She didn’t have a lot of faith in the effort, but she did have faith in Brayden. They were friends she realized with a start. She had few friends, she didn’t make them easily. She also didn’t lose them easily and wasn’t going to start by letting him down on this. :: Oddas: I’ll try Brayden, I’m not a miracle worker, but I’ll try. I owe you this. :: she thought about it for a moment :: I owe him this. Commander Brayden Jorey - Special Operations, Embassy of Duronis II / USS Thor - NCC-82607 Department of Veteran Affairs | Training Team Member Writer ID: T239002BJ0 and Lt. Commander Oddas Aria Executive Officer Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor, NCC-82607 ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training Team E239305OA0
  14. OOC from Andrew (writer for Irina Pavlova): This is EXACTLY the kind of sim that makes me sad we no longer have a Top Sims competition. Incredible character development, not only of the two participants, but indirectly of the people who matter to them. This is part 1 of 2 ((OOC: Between the memorial service and the awards ceremony. )) ((Ops, Main Embassy - Duronis II)) ::Brayden sat quietly like a cadet reviewing their PADD before an exam. He had been looking over the mission reports and listening to officer logs for nearly an hour. He felt a slow burning fire of frustration building that he thought had been extinguished. He was beginning to suspect through the pages of the reports and subtle tones in the logs that the embers had remained hot and close to reigniting. They just needed something explosive for kindling and they had found it in the Typhon Expanse. The conditions were perfect for it. First, an officer with little combat experience thrust into the captain’s chair. Clearly, Admiral Turner believed Oddas was ready and after going over everything it was clear Toni’s instincts were spot on. Next, there was a rapid succession of difficult situations with equally difficult decisions to be made. Then you throw in a bull-headed, occasionally short-sighted and self-righteous, veteran marine who has managed to hang on to some throwback notion that the SFMC is a separate entity from Starfleet. The hidden danger was that Hannibal Parker, for all his bluster and ego, was a good man with good intentions - usually. It made him often come off as some sort of old warrior wiseman. Even when he was just lashing out at others because he didn’t have the coping skills to deal with his own emotions. Brayden had been down this road before. He suspected that countless others had too. In fact Oddas’ new wife had been part of what Brayden saw as ‘the problem’ when he was first assigned to the Embassy. Irina Pavlova, a Major back then, was as much of a problem to social cohesion as Major Parker. Her blatant displays of disrespect, passive-aggressive manipulations, and tactless sarcasm might have been even more divisive than Parker’s more predictable machismo targ dung. Brayden had decided long ago that he was going to change all that. He focused on being the kind of leader Irina, and others like her, needed him to be to help them want to change the social climate. The irony was that he was given the perfect opportunity by Tyr and Hannibal during their past mission that involved the USS Discovery. They had tried to confine the Betazoid’s Chief of Security to quarters. It was a move that left both Irina and Brayden furious. Even though Tyr carried the rank of Captain, as First Officer Brayden was the ranking officer. FO trumps all but the Commanding Officer. Chain of command was simple that way. CO, FO, then everyone else on the senior staff regardless of rank. Brayden had let it all go relatively unspoken, but the marines’ actions that day had left a bad feeling with him. He felt like they were hypocrites who only championed chain of command when it served themselves. Most of the time they had no problem insinuating that they and their marines were somehow superior to other departments. Brayden pounced on the situation and insisted that Irina get back to work and dared the others to question his authority. None did. It wasn’t entirely a game-changer but he was convinced that that moment set up a series of events that would ease the tensions with Irina. Looking at the reports he was as sure now as he was then that Oddas now needed a ‘moment’ with Parker. Moreover, if the divide between green and the rest were to be bridged, it was now Aria’s responsibility as the Embassy’s Executive Officer. They were her crew now. Brayden believed that if anyone could pull it off, it would be her. She had a way in that he and all those before him didn’t - Irina.:: (( Executive Officer’s Quarter’s, Main Embassy, Duronis II )) :: Aria was in her office, looking over the sensor data from the new sensor relay coming in all the way from the Typhon Expanse. Rather, she was trying to, if she was honest with herself. She had left from the memorial to come here where she was supposed to have a meeting with R’Trill, the closest thing they had to a Chief Engineer, but she was thinking mostly about the service and the men she had lost. Any other day the Engineering challenges of the Embassy with its three starships, the base, the new sensor grid, and now what was sure to be their point in the design and construction of Anchorage would have been enough to keep her engaged, distracted even. Today, she was thinking of one large set of problems looming over her she never considered having to need to deal with: Commanding people around her who she was realizing she had little in common with. Instead of diving into initial station design specifications, or marveling at the sensor network, or even reviewing repair estimates, she was rubbing her nose ridges and thinking about one man in particular. :: Jorey: =/\= Jorey to Commander Oddas. =/\= ::Despite the serious mood he was in Brayden’s tone was pleasant and downright chipper.:: =/\= I thought I could debrief you on your mission and offer a little stress relief at the same time. =/\= Oddas: :: sighing :: =/\= Sir, respectfully, as much as I would love to get my nails done or get a new dress, I don’t think I have the time this morning. =/\= ::Brayden laughed. The Bajoran had a pretty good read on the Betazoid and under most circumstances a spa day, shopping trip, or some form of extravagance and hedonism would be his go to offer. However, under the circumstances and with the subject matter he had other ideas.:: Jorey: =/\= Actually, I was thinking a holosuite. There’s a simple sparring program that I’d like to share with you. =/\= ::As Brayden often did, he made the ‘question’ sound more like an order.:: =/\= Dress in your gym best, Commander.=/\= :: She looked at the sensor data, and the time, and back at the sensor data. :: Oddas: oO Pretend to look at sensor data or go get my butt kicked? Oo :: In truth Aria liked Jorey, though most people assumed she wouldn’t. Like most Introverts Aria didn’t mind being around people who projected energy. As long as it wasn’t too many of them at once, and as long as they understood where boundaries were, and they could tell when she had enough of them, and they could draw some attention from her, and they didn’t mind her lack of social graces, and weren’t offended when she didn’t know what was supposed to happen next. No, didn’t mind at all, as long as all those conditions were met. Aria had wondered if it was telepathy or just personality that made him a natural at those things. In any event, maybe some time with him would be good now, before she was supposed to get up in front of everyone. She tapped out a message to R’Trill cancelling, then hastily added an apology. R’Trill wouldn’t be offended by her cancelling an appointment, but Aria needed to practice her social graces.:: Oddas: =/\= My gym best is my gym only sir. I’ll meet you there in … 10? =/\= Jorey: =/\= Just wear something comfortable. See you there. =/\= :: On her way out the door she realized she had just made an appointment to get beat up. :: (( Outside Holosuite 2, Embassy, Duronis II )) :: Aria stood next to Brayden and peered at the holosuite console, unsure what she was seeing. The truth was, even if she knew what she was looking at, she’d be nervous. She had been sparing with Irina on a regular basis, and she was better than she had been, but still felt inadequate against all but the most basic opponents.:: Oddas: :: skeptically:: Sir, respectfully, what is this? Jorey: It’s a multi-disciplinary combat training program based on some of the basic principles of Tassa A’kai. Oddas: It’s not just an excuse to knock me down some more? Jorey: Actually, the first lessons are all about how not to be knocked down. ::Brayden laughed as he set up his ‘work in progress’ program into the console outside of the suite..:: Also, in Tassa tradition we will not spar with each other, but will often cooperate together. We will spar with only holographic adversaries. So, no. ::He moved up and away from the exterior console and smiled at Aria.:: I’m not here to knock you down some more. Oddas: Generally, I would just avoid the other person and not get knocked down at all. ::Brayden stepped over in front of the door causing it to slowly open. Brayden led them into the holosuite and once they were both in the large door closed behind them. They stood in a small clearing, thick colourful jungle behind them and an oppressive verdant mountain ahead of them. There was a small leveled off area a few feet from the base of the mountain. From the platform there were a set of carved out stairs that wrapped around the rockface and led higher up the cliffs. Looking higher they could see other stairs and platforms that presumably went all the way up.:: :: Aria grimaced, she did not appreciate being outdoors. Whether he knew it or not the Commander had hit on one of her least favorite things: being surrounded by trees, forests, and imagining the bugs, animals, and other inconveniences that came along with them. She wasn’t afraid of them, just didn’t care to experience them if she didn’t have to. The rockface reminding her of another rockface on another world certainly did not help. :: Jorey: The very first principle of Tassa A’Kai is called Assaka, loosely translated it means the unwanted dance partner. ::Brayden very slowly started to strike Aria’s shoulder with his forearm. His movement was exaggerated and soft.:: See, I’m now your dance partner. Let me lead. ::Brayden’s arm made contact with Aria’s shoulder. It was clear she was still uncertain what he was asking of her so he put a little more force behind it and helped guide her movements with his free hand. Aria’s feet clumsily crossed over and stepped but she did move with his attacking arm rather than simply be struck by it. He took a step back and let his arms fall to his side relaxed.:: Jorey: The idea is that, if your opponent’s attacks become leading movements for a dance, they cannot strike you. Instead, they guide your movements into a spontaneous choreography. They become your unwanted dance partner. Oddas: The only time I’ve only been remotely good at dancing, sir, there has been large amounts of Alcohol involved, and frankly the other people involved may have been humoring me. :: Aria thought back to those people and was more sure of it than ever in this moment. As Brayden’s next movement pushed against her she pulled to her left, and took a step back, as if trying to avoid him. :: Jorey: ::Brayden cracked a devious grin.:: So, you are familiar with the unwanted dance partner then? ::A baritone laugh came from his chest.:: Come on. Take a series of three strike at me and I’ll demonstrate. Show me what Irina has been teaching you. Oddas: :: Tilting her head to the side :: something like that. :: She sized the man up and took a quick kick at his ankle with her left foot, then a slight jab to his chest with her left fist and finished with a hard right hook to the side of his head. At each step Jorey seemed to pull his body back and then counter-move in a way Aria hadn’t seen before. His movements looked like a somewhat strange, but graceful blend of kata and ballet. At each strike there was barely contact made before his body reacted and moved with her. His grandmother had described to him once as though they are punching the wind. They could feel the breeze against their skin, but there was no resistance and nothing to absorb their force. It was much easier for him than Oddas, after all Tassa A’kai was designed, developed, and perfected by telepaths over millennia. He had learned how to adapt much of it for non-telepaths when he and his Klingon Imzadi used to train together.:: :: Aria stared at the Commander with her fists in front of her face, ready to strike again, but feeling a combination of frustration and annoyance at the way the other officer had thwarted her attack. She had pulled a punch, slightly, but not enough he should be standing and looking … smug. The fact he had done it while dancing around her, doing something else she wasn’t good at did not help. :: Jorey: You see? ::He said smiling, unscathed.:: Like dancing. Oddas: Right, :: sarcastically, but trying to smile :: dancing. Jorey: Don’t worry, you don’t need to make it look so elegant. ::He shrugged his shoulders and started moving to the first platform on the mountain.:: If a Klingon with two left feet can get something out of it, I’m certain that you can too. Oddas: :: as she followed :: As long as you don’t expect it this morning … ::Brayden didn’t expect anything. Part of becoming a Tassa Mystic is taking on apprentices and teaching others to become masters. It took some longer than other to learn, but it was a slow and life-long learning for all. Brayden too continued to learn and improve over time. He reached up over his head and gripped the overhang of the platform. It took quite a bit of muscle strength to lift himself up and on the platform. He remembered being a boy and having to train just to be able to do a pull up well enough to be able to make that first level. Oddas made it to the next platform by reaching up and using mostly her prosthetic, a crutch she hated having to rely on in situations like this. Sparring with Irina on a normal basis she turned it to a weaker than normal setting, so as to rely on less strength than she had on a daily basis. Now she was hoping Jorey didn’t notice she essentially was embarrassing herself by dialing the strength up. He didn’t. He to focused on reliving the joy he’d felt as a boy the first time he’d made it up to view. He was already facing the Jalara Jungles with sentimental eyes. He was brought back into the present by the sound of Aria’s voice. :: Oddas: How long have you been at this s -- :: she caught herself, he had asked her to call him by name on multiple occasions :: Brayden? Jorey: I remember Koroth and I use to spar when we were very small, 5 or 6. Shortly after that my grandmother started training me in Tassa A’Kai. ::He tilted his head with a high brow.:: You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but Calodia Jorey is an extremely skilled Tassa Mystic. I know a story that has my grandmother taking on multiple opponents during the Dominion War and vanquishing them all on her own. She likes to exaggerate, but from all the different accounts of the story from relatives, authorities and friends the number is somewhere around 13 or 14 at one time. :: Aria knew the type well, from her own planet’s history. As much as she disliked her own family, she had never doubted her mother, father, and grandparents were heros of their own Occupation. :: Oddas: The women I come from are all fierce fighters, some by choice, and all in different ways. I would never underestimate anyone. Jorey: Always a wise position to take. Assume everyone can dance and fight better than you. It will not only prevent you from underestimating someone, but will propel you to want to do better. ::Brayden open his arms and took on a relaxed posture to signal they were ready to begin.:: Irina and I will make a fierce warrior woman of you. Lt. Commander Oddas AriaExecutive OfficerDuronis II Embassy / USS Thor, NCC-82607ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training TeamE239305OA0 and Commander Brayden Jorey - Special Operations, Embassy of Duronis II / USS Thor - NCC-82607 Department of Veteran Affairs | Training Team Member Writer ID: T239002BJ0
  15. @Theo Whittaker (( Commander Whittaker's Office, The Hub, StarBase 118 Operations Tower )) :: Reports were never going to write themselves, much to the chagrin of Commander Theo Whittaker, who despised the necessary activity with the passion of a thousand suns. They were dry and analytical and often required their author to see the universe in black and white terms even when most people that it was rarely so. And so it came to pass that Theo was ensconced in his office, writing tedious crew evaluation reports for the bureaucrats at Starfleet Command well into the station's third duty shift, long after his own duty shift had ended. oO I doubt if anybody at Command bothers to read these, Oo he complained to himself, oO They probably get filed away into a database and left to gather cybernetic dust. Oo. He could understand that Captain Taybrim required such reports- and for him, Theo had no qualms or complaints writing them. After all, the man needed to know who was excelling and who was failing. Promotions, demotions (on rare occasions) and transfers to new departments were part of life aboard a Federation starbase- but why Starfleet Command wanted separate reports, Theo would never know. oO Perhaps they think Executive Officers have little do when we are leading away teams and backing up our Captains. Oo he thought to himself, oO Obviously, they have never stepped foot aboard 118. Oo. :: :: He was approaching the tail end of a report detailing the successes and 'areas for growth' for the Fleet Operations department, when a soft melodic chime drifted out of the speakers that had been carefully camouflaged within the walls of his spacious office. A moment later and Rustyy Hael's voice filled the room as though he were stood in front of Theo. oO The wonders of technology. Oo Theo often found himself thinking on such occasions. :: Hael: =/\= Rustyy to Whit'aker, gotch’ya ears on? =/\= :: Theo smiled to himself. When he had first met StarBase 118's Chief Engineer he had been baffled by the man's 'unique take on the English language' and often found it extremely difficult to understand what the man was talking about. Over time, however, that confusion died as he spent more time with the Alaskan. Now, he found his colleague and friend's accent charming. :: Whittaker: =^= I have indeed. What can I do for you? =^= Hael: =/\= Yeah uh… ::he stuttered.:: Wha’ you be up too’s eh? =/\= :: Though Theo could not see the Chief Engineer, the tone in his voice left him quite sure the man was flummoxed by something. oO That's not like him, Oo he thought- Hael had always got ten solutions to a problem, oO This isn't work-related. Oo he surmised, his curiosity piqued. :: Whittaker: :: glancing at the report on his desktop interface. :: =^= Nothing that cannot wait. =^= :: it was true, the evaluations did not have to be sent to Starfleet Command for another week and being the very model of 24th century efficiency, thank you very much, Theo was already ahead of schedule. A small diversion would not hurt. oO Quite the opposite actually. Oo :: Hael: =/\= Well’s… I’s’a done got meself in’a spot an’ I could use yer helps… I’m’a puttin’ toget’r a babe shower few Aitas. =/\= :: One of Theo's eyebrow rocketed skywards, as though making a valiant attempt for freedom. Theo had heard of such things... but only in the history texts his father had forced him to read as a child studying for academia. He had never heard of one being thrown recently. oO No wonder he is confused. I thought it was an old human ritual. Oo. He certainly had a hard time picturing Vulcans engaging in such an event. oO Betazoids? Perhaps. Vulcans? I don't see it. Oo. He realised he was getting lost in his own internal musings and so centred himself for a moment before replying. :: Whittaker: =^= I see. =^= :: the ghost of a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. :: =^= I take it that you haven't got a clue where to start? =^= oO Would anybody? Oo. Hael: =/\= I’s got’s some idea an’ all but, gosh, this ain’ no one man job, ya’know? ::he chuckled a bit.:: =/\= :: Theo's first thought was to suggest discussing the matter with one of the dozen or so events managers currently in the employ of the station's Civilian Oversight Committee, although he nixed that idea when he realised that the gathering would likely be too small for them to bother with- and he certainly could not see the station's Chief Intelligence Officer agreeing to hosting her own shower in a conference centre with five hundred or more guests. No, this would have to be a small gathering of Aitas' family and close friends. Theo already guessed what it would mean. He would have to help Rustyy plan the shower. oO There truly is a first time for everything! :: Whittaker: =^= I'd be happy to help. =^= Hael: ::Rustyy pondered for a minute.:: =/\= Reckon we could meet ‘ere in my quarters an’ all… ::he looked at his sis. He hated that he was gone for so long leaving her alone for long bursts.:: =/\= Whittaker: =^= I'll be along to your quarters shortly, Commander. Whittaker out. =^= :: He leaned forward and tapped a small pale yellow button on the small console built into the surface of his mahogany table, terminating the communication. Rather than leaving, he took several seconds and leant back in his chair, his ghost of a smile now blossoming into a grin. A chuckle escaped his lips. oO This shower was probably Mirra's idea. Oo, his thoughts turning to his closest friends, who was currently away from the station. oO Wait until she finds out that Rustyy and I organised it. Oo He got to his feet and as he circled around his desk, heading out of his office, his chuckling turned into guffawing as he pictured Mirra Ezo's reaction. oO She'll have a heart attack. Oo (( Time Jump )) (( 45 Minutes Later )) (( Hael's Quarters - StarBase 118 )) oO Finally! Oo :: With a relieved sigh, Theo approached Rustyy Hael's door, a rather nondescript grey door, designed to identify the Starfleet officer billeted there. oO How strange he has such a plain door for somebody who is anything but plain. Oo. In the forty five minutes it had taken him to reach his destination, he had gotten himself lost. oO Note to self: never leave without my PADD. Oo. Two years ago, when he had first arrived aboard StarBase 118, the first lesson he had learnt was that one needed to carry a map of the station with them at all times due to it's immense size. Caught up in mental images of Mirra's horror at discovering what Theo and Rustyy were about to do, he had quite forgotten his trusty PADD. After wandering around the station's habitat area aimlessly, he had finally located a console which had led him to Hael's quarters. He reached out with one finger and tapped the console, a chirp confirming he had alerted the cabin's occupants to his presence. Seconds later, the door swished open with a hydraulic hiss. Rustyy Hael stood in the door way. Unexpectedly, Theo shivered as a waft of cold air drifted into the corridor. He put it aside as he looked apologetically at the Chief Engineer. :: Whittaker: Apologies for my lateness. I forgot my PADD and I didn't know where you lived. I'm more than a little embarrassed to say I got lost. :: his cheeks flushed pink either with embarrassment or due to another waft of cold air passing by- he was not sure which one. He glanced into the cabin. :: Should I replicate myself a thermal coat? Hael: ? :: Theo stepped into the room and found himself confirming that it was much colder than normal for Terran occupants. Of course, not every Terran came from the frozen wastes of Alaska. Although Theo himself, hailed from a mountainous region of Archer IV- even he found the current temperature in the Engineer's quarters rather hard to bear. :: Whittaker: :: not wishing to make a fuss. :: No, no. I'm a grown man, Rustyy. I will have to acclimate. These are your quarters. oO Although next time, we are meeting me in my office. Oo. Hael: ? :: There was a shuffling of feet and Theo turned his head in time to see Rustyy's sister stood in the doorway leading to what he presumed was her bedroom. He had only met Vivian Hael a handful of times since her elder brother was assigned to the station and despite her disability, he had often found her to extremely curious, if a little quiet. He smiled at her. :: Whittaker: Hello Vivan. How are you? Vivian Hael: ? Whittaker: Glad to hear it. :: he motioned to her brother :: I'm just here to speak to Rustyy about Aitas' baby shower. Vivian Hael/ Hael: ? :: Theo smiled once again at Rustyy's sister and then turned to her brother. :: Whittaker: I must confess that I don't know all that much about this ritual. Hael: ? Whittaker: You mentioned you had some ideas of your own? :: It would be a good place as any to start, considering that Theo had no idea where one would start. Given that Aitas was the first of his friends to give birth and his own upbringing on Archer IV that focused almost solely on studying or defying his father's wishes- Theo was completely out his depth. :: Hael: ? :: Catching sight of Rustyy's computer monitor he waved towards it as he crossed the cold cabin. His previous comment about replicating a thermal coat had been intended as a good natured joke, but he was now seriously considering it. oO How can anybody live with these temperatures? Oo. :: Whittaker: Might I? :: he touched the top of the monitor and looked at Rustyy, almost expectantly. :: Hael: ? Whittaker: Thank you. :: he swivelled the small device to face him and sat down in the chair next to a table. :: Computer, search the Federation database for information on a Terran pre-natal ceremony known as a "baby shower". :: almost as he finished speaking, another thought occurred to him. :: Computer, belay that. :: he looked up at Rusty. :: Perhaps we should expand the search parameters? Aitas isn't human, after all. Hael: ? Whittaker: Computer, search the Federation cultural database for Vulcan, Betazoid and Risian pre-natal rituals or celebrations and cross reference them with a traditional Terran 'baby shower'. :: he still could not imagine the idea of a Vulcan shower, but he would be surprised if Betazoids or Risians had an equivalent. oO Especially Risians. Oo. Computer: Working.... Hael: ? TAG -- Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer StarBase 118 Operations C239203TW0
  16. LtJG Lambert – Fly suicide ramming ((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Atlantis)) :: The Frenchman was a little uncomfortable with the situation they were facing right now. First, the naive attempt of breaking down their communications had jeopardized the entire mission and put all away teams in great danger. Now the inspection team was trying to outwit one of the disputing parties in a direct violation of their stated rules. That behavior clearly would not buy Starfleet more respect. :: Williams: =/\= I hope you are right about that. If they catch those too we are in a lot more trouble and you are at the front line. Be advised things out here are getting dangerous too. We have gone to condition yellow. We have a lock on you. The moment you hit trouble let me know. A simple distress signal from a badge is all we need =/\= Danara:=/\= Copy that Atlantis. =/\= ::The science officer checked again the planetary readouts in a hope to get something to ease his mind from those worries. But before he could continue to amuse himself with the scientific aspect of that mission, the acting commanding officer spoke his mind.:: Williams: Alright everyone. We have 10 minutes to come up with a damn good excuse and a counteroffer. I want options and I want them now. We are not turning over anyone of this crew and I don’t want our away team in even more danger. Tel-ar: What about the Caraadians? Williams: It might be a bit premature to fill them in. I’m sure that they will follow their foes if they turn on us. Then we can still ask for help if needed. ::In a burst of concern, the scientist started to talk about what was wandering at his head.:: Lambert: We must avert confrontation here. ::paused to think:: This will jeopardize the mediation meeting for sure. :: As the debate continued Christopher distracted himself looking the viewscreen. The four larger ships had moved a little from previous positions but nothing to worry yet. The intense and slow flow of freighters and shuttles was the same with a tiny little exception that grabbed everybody’s attention. :: Williams: What’s that? Lambert: ::returning his attention to the science console:: It is a shuttle of ... Tel-ar: :: When he paused for some reason Tal responded. :: It is an older civilian style shuttlecraft of Valcarian origins. Lambert: Yes. Valcarian in origin. ::tapping some commands:: I´m detecting Humans life signs aboard, sir. ::Christopher knew that everything concerned tactical and security was the responsibility of Commander Tel-ar, and was not his intention to overstep him, but he got curious. And judging from Captain’s next question he got intrigued as well.:: Williams: Humans? Are you sure? Could they be refugees of some sort, looking for asylum? T’Bel: The only logical conclusion is they wish to proceed and arrange for a prisoner exchange, a very common occurrence in these kind of situations. ::The reasoning of the Vulcan was sound. It could be some psychological move to force Williams’ hand, but if it was a prisoner exchange why send so many for just one Starfleet officer? Sending a shuttle right between the station, the Caraadian destroyer and Atlantis seemed a bold move. Unless…:: Lambert: oO He wouldn't dare to use them as a human shield. Wouldn't he? Oo ::eyes wide opened:: Williams: Surely they don’t expect us to turn over one of our own… Run a full scan on it. ::Christopher was very used to think straight despite not been Vulcan. Several years as a researcher and physicist taught a trick or two to him. And at that time, nobody was willing to consider the obvious. So, the science officer gave voice to those ideas.:: Lambert: ::standing up:: Sir, I know you do not want to hear that but we may be forced to deliver T’Bel to them. Williams: How so? T’bel : The shuttle in itself is not a threat. If I may commander, our predicament is dire, we could perhaps have the upper hand against those two Valcarian Cruisers but they is no saying whether the nobles will ally themselves to us or remain neutral or even worse choose the Valcarian’s side hopping to benefit from it. We are outsiders here, thus we should not try and assert a dominance stance here. Tel-ar: Considering the history between the Valcarians and the Caraadians the odds of them ever fighting together are astronomical improbable. It would be like Romulans and Klingons suddenly becoming the best of friends. :: slight pause :: Not to say that they would automatically side with us against the Valcarians and not to discount the possibility that they would encourage open hostilities between us and the Valcarians. In this anything is possible, except them co-operating, that is highly unlikely. Williams: You’ve GOT to be joking! T’bel: No Sir, they are still in our system, they were successful in uploading a subroutine, as it stands it is trying to gain control of our propulsion and weapons systems. I am containing it as we speak, and setting up counter measures to wipe it out, but there is no telling at this point if I will be successful. I may have to implement a computer core shut down and do a cold restart. I will need to head to main engineering for that. Tel-ar: The alien electronic attack is highly sophisticated and completely new to our systems, that is making it extremely hard for the us to isolate, stop and eliminate from our systems. Williams. UNACCEPTABLE! ::Those were all valid points. The cybernetic attack could be a self-defense mechanism but it could be a real and implacable attack. Enter into a battle with a compromised computer core was a very risk alternative. It could affect the shields and weapons and let Atlantis defenseless. Once again Christopher spoke his mind.:: Lambert: Sir! ::waiting for the commander to calm down:: They seemed do not have intentions to back off, and we must guarantee a chance of success for Commander Brell. Williams: Given the situation.. it might be best to check in with the captain... T’bel: Before you do that, allow me to head to main engineering Commander? Williams: Response Tel-ar: At this time I would say that the first priority is to disable the alien program that has infected our systems. After that, we can deal with their demands regarding Ensign T’Bel. ::Christopher agreed with all arguments. He did not want T’Bel to die, but she could buy some time for them. Commander Williams could request that he went for a federation trial after the end of the mediation or something like that. They could implant some safety mechanism to secure that as well.:: ::As Ensign T’Bel left the bridge they continue to discuss the possible outcomes of the next move. To purge the computer’s core from the cyber virus was the most logical and safe way to proceed that moment.:: Lambert: I know, I know. ::thinking hard:: We could implant a subcutaneous transport beacon on the Ensign. ::stroking his chin:: As soon as she activated it, we beamed her back. ::sitting down:: Besides, we would have a team aboard the station who could support her. Williams: I think it's best if we inform the captain first… Open a channel ::Christopher took a deep breath and tried to relax a little while he started to prepare his station for the cold reboot. He saved all the important files and started to cancel one by one all the sensor sweeps and probing he had requested the short-range pallets to make.:: Williams: =/\= Atlantis to Brell =/\= Brell:=/\= Go ahead Commander. =/\= Williams: =/\= Sir, I am sorry for interrupting. Can we speak for a moment?=/\= Brell: =/\= One moment. =/\= ::He tapped the badge again to silence it for a moment. He then looked to the representatives.:: ::The chat over the comm did not delay to resume.:: Brell: =/\= Go ahead Commander. =/\= Williams: =/\= We tried to log in to the space stations comm system. Its seems we walked right into a trap. They now demand we turn over T’Bel for questioning and trail… maybe even worse. It seems they have taken a few humans from the station and sent them in an automated shuttle towards us. No doubt as a signal that we must comply… Brell: =/\= They expect us to trade her for them? They can’t be serious. =/\= Williams: =/\= The way I see it we can either bluff and threaten them to support the Caraadians in their claims if they use foul play against us… Or we give in and turn T’bel over and hope for the best. Brell: =/\= I doubt it would for the best. =/\= Williams: =/\= I came to the same conclusion… but i wanted to consult you first. ::Lambert was not sure yet what was the intention of the Imperial Advisor with that move. He just sent the shuttle. He did not contact Atlantis again and made more demands. Just sent and wait. Could he be a strategist? Could he be trying to get some knowledge about Starfleet’s modus operandi? There were much more variables than equations in that situation and in this case, the result was undetermined.:: Brell: =/\= Recover the Federation citizens, but I do not intend to give over one of our officers. I am going to try and get things moving fast here knowing it's getting tense up there. =/\= Williams: =/\= response =/\= Brell: =/\= I don’t like this. I need to quickly establish if this is trap down here as well, or a diversion. =/\= Williams: =/\= response =/\= ::But before they could reach an agreement a new situation seemed to arise. The Andorian Commander got nervous with his station what grabbed Lambert’s attention from his table.:: Tel-ar: Unauthorized transport has been initiated from transporter room 2, deck 4. Ensign T’Bel has beamed to the Valcarian shuttle and beamed the 5 humans and 2 Aselans to transporter room 2. Williams: Response Lambert: She’s a crazy dude. ::shocked:: Without any means to recover her!!! Williams: =/\= response =/\= Brell: =/\= Commander, do what you have to to get her back, try contacting Lieutenant Danara’s team and let them know their mission is about to become a rescue as soon as that shuttle gets back to the starport if the Ensign is still aboard it. =/\= Williams: =/\= response. =/\= Brell: =/\= Tell her the extraction needs to quick and then she is to get back to atlantis on the shuttle they took. Stun only if they they encounter resistance. =/\= Williams: =/\= response. =/\= Brell: =/\= I am going back in there to give them some choices to de-escalate things. Hopefully you won’t be shooting up there by then. =/\= Williams: =/\= response. =/\= Brell: =/\= Do your best Commander, Brell out. =/\= ::After the channel was closed the reports continued to come from the Transporter room. That could be considered an act of bravery for a human but a Vulcan… The chief of security was concerned about something that Christopher could not anticipate and started to give orders.:: Tel-ar: =/\= Security team to transporter room 2. Detain and secure all 7 individuals. None have authorization to be here let alone to wander around. Cmdr. Tel-ar out. =/\= Lieutenant Commander Ensign T’Bel has tampered with the transporter controls. No transport can be attempted at this time. Williams: Response. Lambert: Sensor confirmed Ensign T’Bel aboard the Valcarian Shuttle, but …. ::waiting some seconds:: Tel-ar: Might I suggest that once the Ensign has been retrieved that they are examined by both medical and the ship’s counselor. Williams: Response Lambert: One more second, sir… ::frenetically checking and rechecking the sensors:: Tel-ar: Simple, her actions are extremely illogical, not at all what one would expect from a Vulcan. Lambert: Sir, I can´t read T’bel life signs anymore. Somehow his commbadge was destroyed or they created a dampening field. Williams: Response Tel-ar: Response Lambert: I can't be sure of that… It can be something T’Bel did with the Transporter’s controls as well. Williams: Response Tel-ar: Response ::And then the final blow came. From nowhere and without warning. As T’Bel’s behavior, it was not anticipated but could have been predicted, as one of the side effects of the cybernetic attack. When the shields went down the entire bridge got scared. They were now defenseless and could be easily destroyed with a single torpedo volley.:: Lambert: The shuttle continues in an intercept course. ::looking to Tel-Ar:: A fly suicide ramming, Commander?! Williams: Response Tel-ar: Response TBC Lieutenant JG Christopher Lambert Science Officer | Physicist USS Atlantis --------------------------------------------------- “When you have eliminated all that is impossible, whatever remains must be the truth, no matter how improbable.” – Sherlock Holmes --------------------------------------------------- D239306CL0
  17. ((OOC: Character responses are from old sims which Sera was apart of.)) ((IC:)) ((Holodeck 3, USS Gorkon)) :: The scene inside the simulated cave was a representation of what the Aella clan had gone through for hundreds of years when faced with the Ushaan and while each clan was different in preparing their warrior for the single combat duel, it was not uncommon for a mind ritual to take place.:: ::The ritual was designed to have warrior's face and overcome their own personal fears, doubts, and anxieties before the duel. So often a warrior could be defeated by these before they even attached the tether or picked up a ushaan-tor. But if those mental barriers were beaten before the duel, they would be able to enter battle with a singular purpose while being unafraid of their adversary or the consequences of failure. Doing so would greatly increase a warriors chance of victory.:: :: Sera understood the reason Ensign Nohx, the ship's counsellor, had assigned her the program even if she had held apprehension at running it when there was no actual Ushaan was to be faced. She had to face down her own fears, doubts, and anxieties or she would never reach her full potential as an officer.:: :: It was why she sat in a cave who's inner walls and floor were coated in thick ice, and why she sat in front of a small roaring fire in the centre of the same cave. Her eye were fixated on the flames as if she was in a trace which, in truth, she was. She had been led into it by the elder shaman that stood behind the fire. The frail old Andorian stood in the traditional robes with his eyes closed while signing the stories of the Aella clan. The heat from the fire caused a patch of the ice on the ceiling to slowly melt over the hours that she had been in her guided meditation, but the slight drip on her shoulders and head had been forgotten once she had surrendered to the fire and to the voice of the Shaman. The warmth dissipated quickly in the dark cave but it was enough to keep Sera from being physically troubled by the extreme cold, the words and thyme of the shaman's song kept Sera's mind safe as it navigated its own troubling memories and feelings.:: :: It had not all been the work of the Shaman to get into the trance-like state, it was common on to take a small dose of the Saf, a psychoactive chemical refined from an Andorian plant. However it was highly illegal off Andoria, as other species had taken the chemical recreationally and the overdose threshold was alarmingly low. So in front of Sera sat an Akoonah , a device used by the native people of the American continent on Earth to experience vision quests. She found it highly unlikely that it would work for her, but she was wrong. She was taken into a trace by a combination of the Akoonah, the fire and the singing voice of the shaman.:: ::Her memories had forced her to relieve arriving on the Human colony as an adolescent during a time of war, the fear had washed over her like a tidal wave and she had suddenly felt alone and afraid surrounded by a species she had only ever seen briefly and in small number. Her posture in front of the fire had started to crumble as she was overwhelmed by those feelings but then the shamans voice had changed, he sang of Sera's ancestors who had been daring and brave and her memories had switched to when she had finally made friends with Humans, when she had opened up and allowed her personality to come through. Her posture had returned and she smiled involuntarily as she remembered those high school friends and a particular boy her own age, who however brief, had been more than a friend.:: ::For the next hour she continued to smile as the Shaman sang and led her through long forgotten memories, until his voice changed again. He sang of a time when the of the Aella clan had hit by the Terrellian plague and been devastated. Sera's body seemed to spasm and tense in discomfort, her own memories flashing to a much milder time of discomfort. She relived being a cadet and standing on an empty holodeck with Chief Petty Officer McMann looking at her in disappointment.:: ::The Chief poked Sera in the belly with an index finger and moved forward.:: McMann: Until you graduate this academy, you are a cadet and you will address me as an officer. Is… ::poke.:: that… ::poke:: clear? ::poke:: ::She had flinched with every poke in the belly as if the memory of them were moving her backward now but the memory of Leigh McMann faded to be replaced Fleet Captain Reynolds looking at her in annoyance.:: Reynolds: Captain, or sir. Never ma'am…. ::The Fleet Captain looked away from Sera and continued talking. The words faded away, but Sera's antennae dropped to her head her cheeks heated to a darker shade of blue as she relived annoying the fleet captain with her form of address during the first introduction. As the Shaman continued to sing of the disease ravaging the ranks of the Aella clan, her CO was replaced by the image of an Andorian Ensign fighting a horde of spiders. The Ensign kicked with her boot and stabbed with a multitool but was soon overwhelmed despite screaming and thrashing around. Soon the Andorian Ensign was haul up and carried away on a sea of spiders, Sera could hear the screams of the Ensign and then the threats as she fought back in what little way she could. But the Ensign was not eaten, instead she was dumped in front of a groups of fellow officers it took the startled Ensign a long moment to realise that the Spiders had rescued her and had not intended on eating her.:: ::Even in the trance state part of her was embarrassed to watch herself be so foolish and scared in front of her shipmates due to an imaginary threat but the feeling faded as the Shamans song changed. He sang of the Vulcan medical team which intervened saving many lives from the plague at a time when Andorians and Vulcans distrusted each other. Sera became visably more relaxed and an image of McMann returned holding a glass of scotch while laughing with Sera.:: zh'Aella: Yooooouuuu like meeeee. McMann: Tester, what have I done? ::Her CO reappeared pinning a Lt. JG pip on her collar with gloved hands and congratulating her.:: Reynolds: I hereby promote Colleen Bancroft and Sera zh'Aella to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, with all the rights and privileges that follow. ::Jo Marshall appeared at a poker table genteelly teasing her about the spiders while the Andorain wore a top hat.:: Marshall: There’s no “might” about it. It was spectacular. ::Sera again relaxed and smiled widely at the new memories and her happy state continued for a what might have been another hour as the shaman sang of peaceful and flourishing times for the Aella clan until he began to sing of war.:: ::It was not the recent war that he sang of, the Aella Clan had taken no part in the Dominion War as their number was too small, but when they were more numerous they had fought and died alongside their human allies in the Earth-Romulan War. As the Shaman sang of loose and death, Sera relieved the crashing of the Gorkon out of Quantum Slip Stream into the Roman Nebular. She felt the pressure of the helm console in her chest as the ship's internal compensators fought the sudden stress. She felt crashing humiliation as she looked around the bridge and viewed all the injured. Then the fear returned as she watched a giant petty officer be swarmed by faceless creatures and found a crewman bleeding to death on a corridor lit by flickering emergency lights, but this time the fear passed quickly replaced by something worse. She rocked as if hit over the as her shame attacked her, She saw herself standing beside Cory Stoyer and Jo Marshall as the trio faced a monster. She watched as two of them stood their ground and one of retreated, as she retreated, as she ran away and left them to their fate. Her Antenna spasmed as the shaman's song came to an end at the Battle of Cheron and Sera relived the memory again, but this time she did not run away, yes she took stepped back in fear but as soon she saw her fellow officers stand firm she re-joined them.she remembered beaming the still alive crewman to sickbay. She then remembered her friends and officers telling her that the crash was not her fault:: Stoyer: Sera, you did nothing wrong. As an old helmsman myself, I would let you drive anytime. ::The shaman hummed gently as he circled the now dim fire and he placed a weak hand on Sera's shoulder. She reached out and touched the Akoonah and she became fully aware of her surroundings, slowly she looked up at the shaman.:: Shaman: Are you ready to be tested Sera zh'Aella? zh'Aella: Yes. =/\= Lieutenant JG Sera zh'Aella Helm/Comm/Ops USS Gorkon V239107TZ0
  18. ((Caraadian colony, Devron, civilian sector)) ::What happens behind the inner city walls of Devron was a question nobody knew the answer on. Only the nobles and the servants knew that but everyone was afraid to ask. The locals had to live with rumors, yet they way they have to live is decided behind those walls. Kali grew up in the city of Devron. He wasn't a noble, nor did he live in extreme poverty. All he knew was that this little land piece was keeping his family alive for ages. He pulls out a few Tasoul (vegetable) and places them in a full crate and looks around if he can see his younger brother:: Kali: Marw where are you? ::Marw is the youngest of the bunch:: Marw: ::sighs:: comming... ::walking slowly, not ever in a hurry:: one done already Kali: ::he hands him the crate with vegetables:: If you take these inside than Verta can try to sell them again. ::Verta was their older sister which was running their family shop and every other day Kali and Marw would sell their fruits and vegetables on the local market. Selling their goods to the Caradiaan nobles and never getting paid enough. This was the way they had to live, yet life here had been peaceful, until now.:: Kali: did you hear the rumors? ::Kali walked toward his sister Verta:: Verta: ::grins:: which of the many? Kali: ::he whispers in a nasty tone:: about the Valcarians? Marw: ::slow and annoyed:: why even bother yourself with stuff like that? It has nothing to do with us.... ::He couldn't care less about what would happen with the city.:: Verta: ::she frowns:: of course it does. The Caradiaan and Valcarian nobles seem to be on the verge of a war. Their decisions will affect our lives too Marw. Kali: and we don't get to hear anything except for rumors, probably spread by the Caradiaan or Valcarian nobles themselves. ::Kali sat down:: ::Marw rolls with his eyes and walks away towards the other room:: Kali ::to Marw:: We'll head out to the market tomorrow morning. Perhaps the old marketman knows a bit more. ::He hears Marw growl a little bit. Kali sighs and and closes his eyes for a moment:: oO I wonder how mother is doing Oo ::Their mother, Merhil, was the only one from their family that got to work as a servant for the noble family of Caradiaan. A few days after their father's death, their mother went to work as a servant and they haven't seen her ever since. Kali would do anything to get inside those walls, inside that building just to see this mom again. He had tried sneaking in many times before, but all in vain. His big sister was "playing" mother for a long time and now that they all grew up she was trying her best to run the small shop. Marw, on the other hand, grew sad after their mother left. Everything was meaningless in his eyes and Kali didn't know how to open his brother's eyes. They had to work together but they've never been so separated before. A few moments later he drifts off in a dream about a better place without nobles and where mothers could be mothers again instead of servants:: ============================= MSNPC's Kali (Marw & Verta) Caradiaan Civilians, farmers and shop owners. as simmed by: Lieutenant JG. Femi Cattan Chief Nursing Officer, USS Atlantis Z239308FC0 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Femi_Cattan
  19. ((Main Operations Room, Orbital Starport, Devron Planet)) ::The Imperial Advisor was there, looking at a giant holographic screen for almost an entire hour, motionless eye’s balls, hands tied up at his back, column perfectly straightened. Around himself, a busy operation room, with several Valcarian officers and servants walking around fulfilling their roles. It was not clear if he was sleeping standing or giving a show of discipline for everyone else. :: Tar’Kahrs: Sir! ::the chief officer spoke:: The federation shuttle just docked. Sam’Yasin: ::without moving a muscle:: Everything is setup as I requested? Tar’Kahrs: Affirmative! Several agents of the empire were deployed as common traders throughout the entire stations. ::checking some readouts:: Our scans on their unit revealed that they brought several kind of weapons and equipment but they would remain on the shuttle. ::The Valcarian representative of the Empire nodded in satisfaction. If everything went as he planned that inspection team would be leaving his station in less than a hour.:: Sam’Yasin: I thought it is for our best interest to allow them to remain with their communication devices. ::turning around and heading to the chief office’s position:: However, during the searching on the arrival, deploy the agent Atew’ahq to phreak their devices. This way we could monitor their communications and track their movements. Tar’Kahrs: Right away, excellency! ((A couple of minutes later)) ((Docking Port Three)) ::A small squad of Valcarian soldiers was guarding the docking port when the Starfleet officers disembarked. Agent Atew’ahq was a female officer of intelligence and was waiting for them.:: Atew’ahq: This is the Valcarian orbiting Starport of Devron planet. ::forcing a smile:: Danara: Response Atew’ahq: In the name of our beloved Imperial Advisor, Lord Sam’Yasin, I welcome you to the station. Danara/Logan/McKnight:: Responses Atew’ahq: Please step into this line and let your commbadges over the desk. ::pointing to the table:: You will step orderly, one at the time, through the scanning arc. ::walking out of the way:: As an act of generosity and confidence from our Lord Advisor, you will be allowed to use your communicators, and only that, during your time with us. Danara/Logan/McKnight:: Responses ((Main Operations Room)) ::The Valcarian was watching the arrival of the Starfleet officers through a hidden camera when his studies were interrupted abruptly. :: Au’Err: Lord Advisor! ::tremble voice:: Sam’Yasin: Yes! Au’Err: We just detected that the Federation had tapped at our decoy communication channel. ::Sam’Yasin was warned about Starfleet ingenuity and resourcefulness. He was very worried about if they would try to crack their communications or not and had set up a decoy to be discovered. With that move, he now knew that they were not there just for mediation but to interfere with the interests of the Valcarian Empire. That could not be allowed.:: Sam’Yasin: The main communications are safe? Au’Err: Affirmative. Sam’Yasin: Your life is depending on that, officer. ::he moved toward the main station:: Open a fleet-wide channel and brought Atlantis to it. Put our Captains on alert. ::Few minutes later the clean-looking bridge of Atlantis showed. They seemed a little surprised, either by that call or by his Valcarian looking. Anyway, it was time of some power struggle.:: TBC MSPNPC Sam’Yasin Valcarian Imperial Advisor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ as played by Lieutenant JG Christopher Lambert Science Officer | Physicist USS Atlantis D239306CL0
  20. This scene was originally written through seven individual sims by @Sky Blake and @Evan Delano: "Working on a day off" (Blake), "Best Guess" (Delano), "Blakonian inquisition" (Blake), "Speculation and Suspicion" (Delano), "Her modern man" (Blake), "Balanced” (Delano), and "Not used to it yet" (Blake). It is presented in its completed form below. ((Astrometrics, USS Veritas)) ::Stellar cartography had become second nature once Sierra had kicked her training off way back when. While she was waiting for the duty shift to change, for Sick Bay to be ready for her, for the captain to have had a reasonable amount of caffeine, she asked the cartography assistant for use of primary lab.:: ::There was a tingling sensation in the back of her skull when she'd heard the doors to the lab open.:: Delano: Hello, Commander. :: Evan was in the middle of his evening rounds when he was called down to astrometrics. After the Antor II mission, the senior staff had agreed to reduced work loads for most of the crew, at least for a while, which meant that most nights, as Evan was going through his end of day checklist, much of the ship felt practically abandoned. :: :: Of course, as surprised as he was to receive the call, he was more surprised by that person’s identity. He’d known Commander Blake was due back on board - he’d personally arranged for her new quarters - but he’d expected the captain to make some kind of formal announcement once their former first officer had returned to Veritas. Perhaps that would still be coming. :: ::Sky glanced back over her shoulder before turning fully to face her visitor.:: Blake: Lieutenant. ::She greeted.:: It's good to see you again. :: Evan nodded, offering a professional smile as he stepped into the room and accessed one of the center consoles. :: Delano: And you, Commander. Blake: I'd heard you'd taken a commission again. Welcome back to the Starfleet fold. Delano: Thanks. And welcome back to Veritas. :: Evan resisted the urge to tug at the collar of his uniform and instead kept his fingers busy by starting a diagnostic. :: Delano: I hope you don’t mind me doing a little work, since I’m here. I’ve been wanting to run a level 2 diagnostic on the sensors for a few days. :: beat :: How was your time away? Blake: I was sent back to Shadow's Edge, actually. I'm part of the ranger division now - though I'm on my own until such time Starfleet sends a specific commander for me to report to, other than Rahman of course. ::Rangers, though trained to work and survive on their own, technically came in groups of four or more. But given that Starfleet resources and officers were at a stretch with border protection on the *other* side of Tholian space - combine that with the Cardassians and the neutral zone, what few rangers there were, given that they were only a relatively new division of Starfleet, had their hands full elsewhere. Sending a whole Platoon wasn't possible, and sending them one by one would take months, if not years, for the platoon to come together. ::Evidently, her time on Shadow's Edge wasn't all for naught, for a Rangers unit was indeed being set up, with Shei'saur reporting additional officers following in their footsteps. Or, more accurately, two officers had been sent to Meridian (not far enough along the Mother Road to be helpful, in the Brekkazoid's humble opinion) following Sky's request for additional support within the Shoals. They'd be there in about six months, assuming they weren't asked to turn around and go back after only two months travel following some ridiculous fleet-wide emergency. To which they'd also be late for. ::The Shoals acted like a double edge sword in that regard.:: :So long as she was on Veritas or in the vicinity of Veritas, Rahman was her commanding officer.:: :: Evan nodded again. The computer was doing its thing: running the Veritas’ complex array of sensor palettes through an automated calibration procedure and a range of diagnostic tests that would show even a slight misalignment. When he was satisfied it wouldn’t need additional input from him - at least for a few minutes - the operations officer refocused his attention on Blake. :: Delano: Given what we’ve just been through on Antor, I imagine the captain will appreciate having a ranger on board. Are you hitching a ride, or are you planning to be around for a while? Blake: Until such time there's a unit for me to report to, I'm here on a more permanent basis. Which brings me to why I called you here. :: She gestured towards the large screen at the center of the room, where a course towards the Mother Road was being displayed just shy of Antor. :: Blake: I'm actually following two suspects from a pirate attack back on Shadow's Edge that slipped through the Edge's border security. They were headed towards Antor, but no Marshal outpost in the area found the vessel I was tracking - not that they've reported, at least. It's entirely possible that they jumped ship or headed in another direction, but . . . I don't know. :: Evan stepped towards the screen and away from his working console. :: Delano: I’m not surprised you’ve lost them. Everything’s so slow out here - same reason we can’t get a solid lead on Jilor. :: He turned to her and raised an inquisitive eyebrow - a Vulcan mannerism he’d picked up during his time on Seheik. :: Delano: Are you looking for my input? Blake: Well, next to the general staff, you're most experienced here in the Shoals - I was hoping I could borrow your insight. The survivor of the attack wasn't willing to divulge his smuggler routes, and I can't figure out where supposedly pirate killers would run off to towards the Mother Road. The only place of importance I can think of is Outpost 3, but the place is a wreck right now. It's of no use to any outlaw faction in its current state. Delano: Hm. :: Evan crossed his arms over his chest as he examined the sectors displayed on screen as Sky stepped back just a bit, out of his way. There really wasn’t much to see. :: Delano: Well, I know there’s at least one class-M world between Antor and Shadow’s Edge if you decide to fly direct and avoid the Mother Road. I can’t remember the name of the system… Blake: You're suggesting they're not concerned with travel times. :: The display shifted to show the star system in question. It was a binary star system with 16 planets and several hundred smaller dwarf planets and asteroids. :: Delano: There it is. The Lucian system. ::More importantly, a star system she was unfamiliar with.:: Delano: As I recall, Starfleet made first contact with the natives about 30 years ago - a few months after the Lucians broke the warp barrier. We received a polite but cold reception. And, as far as I know, we’ve never been invited back. Rumor is that the Lucians are quite xenophobic. Blake: Tholians would get along with them well. ::She muttered.:: Could marshals at least find them? Delano: Well, if your pirates managed to get into the system without being detected, they’d have plenty of places to lie low. Proximity to the Shadows and the fact that Outpost 3 isn’t exactly up to spec would probably be an added bonus. Blake: Essentially hidden from view. ::She sighed.:: Delano: That’s my best guess. Of course, if I’m right, I’m not sure what you can do about it. The Federation doesn’t have a formal relationship with the Lucians, and any probe or starship we send into their system would almost certainly be seen as a threat. Blake: Even if I wanted to, we'd have to wait for confirmation from both the Coalition and the Diplomatic Corps for the go-ahead, and I don't see that happening. It's a waiting game from this point on. Delano: Sorry, Commander. Wish I had better news for you. Blake: No, this is good. I appreciate it. If I can coax some marshals at least *around* that area, they might be able to catch them for me. ::Her hand scrubbed at her cheek, taking a deeper breath.:: Also means I'll have to ask the guys on Outpost 3 to start sensor sweeps when they're able, lest they become a target once they're up and running again. ::Tristam Core was probably going to love that just as much as he will putting the small station back together from nothing with only a handful of Ketar V construction workers and a sole security officer working with him.:: Delano: That’s probably a good idea. After Antor, I’m not sure anything out here is safe. If we’re lucky, things will die down for a while, but I wouldn’t count on it. Blake:::shaking her head:: It's been a busy few months. But now that we're leaving what I call 'familiar territory', it's just going to get more hectic. We had a bad political rap when we arrived and started Operation Safe Harbor, let alone now, after what happened at Antor. Delano: Even among the Reya-Laialara, Starfleet’s reputation is… well, somewhat tarnished compared to the way it’s viewed through the rest of the Federation. :: He shrugged. :: Delano: It’s hard to blame them. Starfleet’s presence out here has been minimal for decades. A lot of people feel like they’ve been abandoned. And as hard as Veritas has been working to make things better, one ship seems like a token effort. :: The conversation died for a moment, and Evan looked up from the diagnostic results he’d been skimming to see Blake looking at him with an expression he couldn’t quite read. :: Blake: Lieutenant, I have a question that I've been pondering since the crew's change over. :: His eyebrow crept up before he could stop it. :: Delano: I’ll answer if I can. Blake: Why didn't Veritas know you were in the area? I know you ceased to report in, but . . . any resource in the area, we could have used. I'm not sure I understand why Federation Security kept you hidden from us. :: His expression tightened as he thought back to the double life he’d led for almost a year. Disgraced Starfleet officer looking to find some kind of emotional balance between his Vulcan and human halves. And, a Federation Security agent, secretly spying and reporting on an insular, allusive, possibly dangerous religious sect operating in one of the most inaccessible parts of the quadrant. In the end, his conscience had got the better of him and he'd made the decision to stop spying, joining the Reya-Laialara in his heart months after he'd joined them through words. He'd only reestablished contact with the Federation when one of the Shadow's Edge pirate factions stole a cargo bay full of photon torpedoes. :: Delano: Honestly, I don’t know. Though I have my suspicions. :: Evan had his suspicions about most things. Whether intuition or subconscious deduction, he couldn't say. Nor could he say how many of these thoughts were accurate. :: ::She frowned a little.:: Blake: If you don't mind my prying . . . ? Delano: It might have been a matter of jurisdiction. Federation Security operates independently of Starfleet, maybe they didn’t want Veritas involved. Or maybe it was just a security thing - keeping the people who knew about my assignment to a minimum. ::beat:: Captain Carrero might have known. Blake: Possibly. ::If Carrero had known, the likelihood was that she'd at least inform Zhou - the crew had to separate on numerous occasions to get the job done. It wasn't necessarily a tactic Rahman employed today, nor would Sky recommend employing it after Carrero's death, but the assurance was everyone (or, at least, the command pair) was in the know of all that was happening in the area. ::Zhou had been clueless about Delano being in the Shoals, to the point where Tai had even attempted to press her for information about Delano to either set his mind at ease or to fuel the growing irritation at a flawed system. ::It had been easy for Sky to compare Delano to herself, if only in certain areas. And though she had absolutely no right to pry or question Rahman's confidence in Delano, or Delano's relationship with the ship's XO, that Mei'konda seemed comfortable and confident around the Vulcan had been enough to set Sky's mind at ease. She'd spent much of her time on Ornara operating under the idea that one's relationships with others primarily defined their personalities and capabilities - this assumption hadn't failed her yet.:: :: Evan rubbed the back of his neck, feeling somewhat awkward at bringing up the late captain. He knew a number of her former crew were still sensitive about her murder. :: Delano: My only other guess is that maybe there was some kind of political element. In my initial briefing, I got the impression that the assignment was being made at the request of someone from the Vulcan delegation to the Federation Council, though it was never expressly stated. ((Flashback)) Blake: You never explained to me how you perceive emotion. ::Liquid brown eyes glanced at her as he set Ayden down, lingering briefly on the baby before turning to her fully. It was a strange question of hers, of which, up to this point, had remained unanswered despite their relationship. She allowed herself to be gently led out, returning to the lounge with the man.:: Sabor: I'm not sure I understand the query. Blake: Vulcans are logical, yes? ::He coughed, covering what would likely have been a smirk at the child-like question.:: Sabor: All humanoids are capable of logic, that is correct. Blake: Including the V'tosh ka'tur? ::There was a split second where Sabor hesitated, his eyes considerably sharper as they gazed upon her and his hand stilling in it's place around a glass, before he recomposed himself. There was recognition in the name, that Sky could feel, and though usually allowed her a certain amount of access to his psyche, for that brief moment, she'd been cut off from him entirely. ::Was this Sabor's display of fear?:: Sabor: You've been reading. Blake: I'm sorry if it's- Sabor: It's fine. But I can't claim to know the inner workings of their . . . "understandings". I personally don't see logic as a choice one can make. For example, logic dictates one shouldn't put their hand under boiling water. Does that mean a Vulcan of the V'tosh ka'tur would burn themselves under such water to defy logic? Blake: Isn't that more 'self-preservation' then 'logic'? Sabor: One might argue that self-preservation could be considered rudimentary logic that requires little to no understanding to implement. ::She could tell now that this particular debate would only go round in circles until one of them gave up. Probably her.:: Blake: So why do Vulcans insist that emotions are *not* logical if all humanoids feel, and are capable of logic. Sabor: Emotions cannot be *explained* by logic. That doesn't mean that emotions are not logical. ::The corners of Sky's lips perked up.:: Blake: Is this a personal belief, or one shared by all Vulcans. Sabor:::after a heavy breath:: I support the notion that all Vulcans may have their own philosophy not shared by others - which, unfortunately, is not a sentiment one will find among regular temple-goers. But there was a time where mind-melds were considered taboo and were suppressed by a single group. This . . . may be the case today regarding logic. Blake: So Vulcans are susceptible to minority suppression. ::He eyed her with a minor frown, handing her a glass of water.:: Sabor: Drink. ::Ah, so *this* is where the conversation would end - at the notion that his people's society wasn't perfect. Sky smiled, accepting the glass and watching him fondly as he walked away to check on Faith.:: Blake: I feel like I'm being suppressed! ::She called after him with a sarcastic tone.:: Sabor: If I ever attempt to suppress you, my wife, you'll know. ((End flashback)) ::Her first interaction with a Vulcan since waking up had been with her bondmate, whom held his own beliefs and felt comfortable expressing them whilst not in the purview of other Vulcans. The second he did so, he would have been held under scrutiny of his peers. ::That a Vulcan delegation may have asked for Federation Security to spy on other Vulcans put the part of Sky that still held Sabor's mentality close on edge.:: Blake:::muttering:: Minority suppression. :: The commander’s eyes looked unfocused for a moment, as if she were deep in thought or memory. :: Delano: What was that, Commander? :: The woman’s normally sharp expression came back into view as she leaned against the console and crossed her arms. :: Blake: Sorry - it was a . . . debate I once tried to have. ::She paused.:: Is it wrong of me to ask what they were hoping you'd find? Delano: I don’t mind sharing what I know. :: beat :: Why do you ask? Blake:::nodding:: Well, historically, 'majority' Vulcans meddling in a separated factions affairs isn't usually taken very well. Forgive the conspiracy theory. :: Evan nodded his agreement. :: Delano: When I went in, I don’t think most in the Federation knew much at all about the Reya-Laialara. They did know about the Romulans that were associated with them, however, and I suspect that’s what they were most concerned about. Some kind of subversive activity - either by the group as a whole, or just the refugees that have settled in Seheik. :: He shrugged. :: Every time I sent in a report, the messages I got back asked for more details about the infrastructure. What kind of weapons did they use? Did they have any ships? How was the settlement defended? They didn’t seem willing to accept that the Reya-Laialara really are pacifists. I thought they were being unreasonable, but… well, there was Lenik. ::There was a moment of quiet between them, marked by the steady thrumming of the ship’s warp core and the occasional beep from one of the consoles.:: Blake: Just means I'll add it to the list of things we have to worry about later, anyway. For now, pirates are the priority. If political unrest happens, then hopefully the diplomatic corps are prepared for that kind of challenge. Delano: I hope so too. I’m not sure how much more ‘unrest’ the Coalition can handle right now. If Jilor wants an independent Shoals, I’m starting to believe he’s closer to that goal than most of us have thought. Blake:::with a smirk:: Is that your formal assessment? :: Evan shook his head and offered a thin smile. :: Delano: Just a hunch, Commander. ::Silence fell once again, Sky turning back to the display.:: ::He had planned to leave it there, but as another nearly awkward quiet passed between them, Evan felt the impulse to press on and explain.:: Delano: A few kilometers from my father’s house on Vulcan, there is a large field of narrow standing rock formations. On top of many of these columns are boulders that have remained perfectly balanced for thousands, perhaps millions of years. And yet, each year blowing winds or shifting sands manage to cause just enough change to disrupt the balance, causing a few of these rocks to fall. When we’d go walking through that area, I used to get this horrible anxiety if I spent too long staring up at one of those pillars - convinced that the massive stones on top could fall at any moment and crush me. Lately, the feeling I get about the Shoals is almost the same. ::A shot of adrenaline flew through her system, just from his imagery. But when she met his eyes again, his smile returned, still weak but with a hint of genuine humor behind it. :: Delano: I didn’t mean to get all doom-and-gloom on you, Commander. Blake: You wouldn't be the first one to try it around here. But paranoia won't keep us warm at night, Delano. Delano: The only point is that I think we’re standing on dangerous ground. I’d say that we need to be careful, but in this case, that would be stating the obvious. Of course, there's also a chance that being too careful is just as dangerous as being reckless. Blake:::she sighed.:: Starfleet can't add more officers into the area without hurting their resources and their political stance with the Marshals, but they can't pull us out because the Coalition will throw the argument that they're being ignored around. It's bad enough we're being pulled in five different political directions - first by Shadow's Edge, now by Antor. ::And Antor had been far more damaging than the young governor of Shadow's Edge. When they'd entered the Shoals, the reception had been icy because until they'd started shouting at the top of their lungs, Starfleet hadn't ever lingered around the area before - and some of the locals were getting concerned that, despite having asked for Starfleet to be there, they were stepping on toes. They weren't wanted because the locals had wanted to do this for themselves. ::Now, they weren't wanted because they were causing threats. From pirates, of all players.:: Delano: I'm starting to wonder if this is just what living in the Shoals is like once you've been here long enough. Blake: We've been here long enough. I'm not getting used to it yet. === Lieutenant Evan Delano Operations Officer USS Veritas & Lt. Commander Sky Blake Ranger USS Veritas
  21. (( Corridor, Deck Nine, USS Gorkon )) :: A set of dark eyes peered down the length of the corridor from a corner between the door that had magically brought him up to the current hiding spot. Bipeds walked from one end of the carpeted hallway to another, and back again. Or was that a different primate? He couldn’t tell these days, he’d seen so many. They all tended to look the same. Limited variation of coat, finite colour styles of hair. Boring beasts with big hands and sickly sensibilities.:: :: The door to his left shunted open and a set of legs walked out in front of him, passing without a glance in his direction. Bart barely lifted his carefully manicured brow. It was typical of these creatures not to notice him, after all, he was stealthy, he was quick, faster than lightening, than a cornered mouse even, and in a flash he was gone. Best of all, he knew how to plan, to ambush, to loiter and hide, waiting for that perfect moment to strike a blow to the heart of the upright snotty two-footed anthropoids.:: :: He was, after all, an incredible being, so obnoxiously full of his own self-importance, and many tended to agree. He was exceedingly intelligent, compulsively obsessed with preening himself, coupled with a phenomenal desire for murder. The very compulsion that had brought him from the station onto the ship in the first place.:: Bart: oO Soon.... Soon, she will be mine. Oo :: His stalking was nearly complete. He was nearly through the doors into the home of the avian-biped. All he needed was one of the primates to walk inside. That was all. It wasn’t too much to ask for. What did one need to bait a biped? Food? Pictures of immature offspring? A little green fruit he had seen squished onto toast on the station?:: Bart: oO Damnit, soldier, think! Oo :: The stomping feet of a larger than usual biped echoed through the corridor. Bart hid, cleverly, behind a well positioned plant storage device, and waited while the primate walked through the doors. Success! Bart sprang from his position and sprinted into the open doorway. At once, his eyes glazed over and he darted to another hiding place.:: :: It was simply magical.:: :: The lights were dark but tasteful, allowing shadow areas for many hiding spots. He saw the avian prey ahead, behind a long island type surface structure and he froze. She was taller and bigger than when he had seen her on the station. Fair enough, he had been higher up, stalking her from the upper levels of the Entertainment Deck, however he was sure she was in proportion to him.:: Bart: oO Everything I knew… Everything I planned… Dashed! Dashed! Oo :: He couldn’t take her, she was huge! What was he to do now? He had to play the long game. This wasn’t going to be a quick game of Cat and Bird, not at all, his predatory instincts were alive! This was going to be Stalked and Murdered. He narrowed his eyes. She would be his. He would delight in the glory of it. His brethren would tell tales of his victories for eons to come. He needed this, for his enslaved people on the station.:: :: He slicked his hair back. Time to be charming.:: ::Keenly aware of the occupants of the room, he sauntered over the freshly lain flooring, and leapt onto the bar in a majestic pounce that impressed absolutely no-one, his enslavement tag bouncing against his fur. He sat, and stared at the avian-biped with extermination and butchery lurking behind his cold dark eyes.:: Keska: Response? :: With deliberate slowness, he reached out his foot to the glass sitting happily on the bar, without a care in the world. He levelled a look at the bird and narrowed his eyes.:: Bart: oO Prepare for my WRATH! Oo ::of course, it sounded more like:: Mrrrreeoooowwwww… Keska: Response? :: Then, pushed it off the side of the bar. It dinked onto the floor.:: Bart: oO Your move, you feathery divine creature. Oo Keska: Response? TBC Bartholemeow, the Cat Escape Convict, Enslavement Camp 1.20 Coffee & Cat Emporium Iana Station simmed by Lieutenant (JG) Jocelyn Marshall Operations Officer USS Gorkon G239304JM0
  22. ((Wilmer’s Quarters, Deck 7, Cabin J9, USS Blackwell)) ::Nate and Charlie sat at the dining room table. Each of them had their fair share of dramatic turns and bad delays. The mission had gone on slightly longer than expected. Nate had been injured, and dramatically and permanently scarred over his right eye. He had later been assigned to a very intimate fact-finding mission with his ex-girlfriend, much to Charlie’s chagrin. And as far Charlotte herself...well...she had only managed to vomit in front of most of the engineering team.:: ::Quite a week, indeed.:: ::Charlotte fidgeted with Nate’s scar, making a sad and somewhat concerned face, as she traced the J-hooked line with an outstretched index finger.:: Farnsworth: Does it hurt bad? ::Nate grimaced, hating to be the center of such negative attention.:: Wilmer: No, it only hurts when Voldemort is near…. ::Charlotte’s face was a puzzle.:: Farnsworth: Who? ::Nate dismissed his comment with a passive attempt at comedy.:: Wilmer: Sorry, obscure joke. ::He tenderly grabbed Charlotte’s hand and kissed her fingers.:: I told you Charlie. There’s nothing to worry about. It looks worse than it feels. ::Charlotte was a smart cookie. Nate knew her concern about his face had nothing to do with aesthetic reasons, and more to do with a subconscious guilt about her not having been there to protect him. However, space was a dangerous and infinite expanse. And though they were getting married soon, neither would be fully capable of suspending that danger, even for a nanosecond.:: ::Nate smiled, and rested both his hands, atop hers, and placed them on the cool glass surface of their dining room table.:: Wilmer: Shayne will be here soon. Let’s not focus on the negative… ::Charlotte slumped in as if deflated by concern and possible letdown. Her body was always so expressive, so easy to read. Her emotions were always worn on her sleeve, and her face always told the tale before her mouth could speak it.:: Farnsworth: Do you think he’ll say yes? I was so hoping your friend Sarjak would say yes...but now… ::Nate shrugged. Starfleet was an ever-revolving door of comings and goings. It came with the trade.:: Wilmer: Jak’s got his hands full with diplomatic nonsense. But it was nice to see him again. And as far as Shayne, I’m sure he… ::It was at that moment, the door chime rang. Shayne was early. Nate should have expected as much. Nate’s reading of the man had given hints of a person who excelled at punctuality. Nate liked that. He hoped that behaviour would translate into the same efficiency at his upcoming nuptials.:: Wilmer and Farnsworth: ::simultaneously:: Come in! ::Nate and Charlie shot each other a sidewise glance of serendipitous glee. They were not even married yet, and already their brains were linking up like a pair of old married elderly people.:: ::The doors to their cabin parted to reveal the visage of Lt. Cmdr. Randal Shayne.:: ::It was the one complaint he had with the Starfleet uniform that he almost never took off. It was a smart looking thing, dignified and functional. But it was abysmal at allowing people to breath. Under the best of circumstances, it was irritating. But for someone as uncomfortable as he was regarding social interaction, it was downright miserable. He clawed at his throat, aching for relief. He stepped inside, immediately concerned by the fact that both Charlie and Wilmer were present. He could relate to Wilmer as a good friend, and a fellow pilot. He could relate to Charlie...somehow. Their relationship was still a bit of a mystery to him. But them both together? It was a dynamic he was unaccustomed to, and the image of them seated next to each other sent another painful pang of loneliness through him.:: Wilmer: oO Speak of the devil. Oo ::Nate thought with a smile.:: Shayne: Um...hi. Shayne: oO Shakespearian, that was. Oo ::Charlotte being the consummate gracious hostess, stood and motioned for Shayne to enter their abode. Setting some of her garments and Nate’s discarded old dirty uniforms aside, she made a place for him to sit next to them.:: Farnsworth: Randal, please sit down. Shayne: Hm? Oh, thank you. ::Rather sheepishly, he entered. He’d noticed early on that, to make an error, one had to actually do something. If Shayne refused to do anything without being invited to do so, no trespass could inadvertently be committed. A siege mentality, but it had worked for nearly 20 years of social interaction.:: ::Nate smiled, following Charlie’s lead on hospitality.:: Wilmer: Shayne, can I get you something to drink? Shayne: Uh, no thank you- that’s fine. ::Still unsure of what to expect.:: ::Nate and Charlie sat next to one another, almost like a pair of conjoined siamese twins who were attached at the hip. Nate felt a sudden moment of giddiness, that somehow jumped into his fiancee with a joining of hands and they smiled.:: Farnsworth: I don’t know why I’m so nervous…. Shayne: oO Whoa, hang on. I’m the only person allowed to be nervous here… Oo ::Was was going on? Curiosity blended with mild terror, and a fair bit of joy- a result of the couple’s infectious mood- swamped together, creating a confusion quite unlike anything he was accustomed to. Their giggling excitement was obvious, and it took no genius to deduce that their upcoming event had something to do with the mood. But what? And what could Shayne possibly have been called for? He was more than willing to come, despite the discomfort it caused. Now it had gone from, “why me?!” to “why...me?”:: Wilmer: I know, it's like I’m asking my dad for permission to borrow the hopper… Shayne: ::An inadvertently delighted beginning to grow on his face.:: What is going on here? ::Confound their happy mood! His stony visage was failing!:: ::Nate sometimes had a predilection for not being able to get to the point. He decided to spare Shayne’s frayed nerves by getting right to the point.:: Wilmer: Shayne, I just want to say with our wedding fast approaching, and with my sense of family growing aboard the Blackwell…. ::Nate stopped, realizing he was still not getting to the point.:: ::The joy was beginning to fall away. If Nate was stalling this insistently, he could make a few well-educated, equally disturbing assumptions about the nature of this conversation. Assumption one- it was a big deal. To the couple, at least, though perhaps whatever this was about would have ramifications for others. Assumption two- it was awkward. Shayne hated awkward- but, seeing as this was one of the few times awkwardness had been in play without him being the sole cause, maybe he could appreciate it, in a demented sort of way. Assumption three- Shayne wouldn’t want to be a part of whatever information was about to be revealed. Any way he looked at it, this was beginning to feel a little...frightening.:: ::Naturally, Charlie then spoke, putting the neurotic helmsman slightly more at ease.:: Farnsworth: What he means to say Randal, is that his best man was intending to stand with him...but with Starfleet being Starfleet and all Sarjak was suddenly called away… Shayne: oO Sorry, Charlie- you’re no better at this. Oo ::Nate completed Charlie’s thought, he wanted the request to come from him directly.:: Wilmer: ...well, I just heard about how you handled the situation with Charlie and her embarrassment in space, and...I was just wondering, from one helmsman to another… Shayne: oO I’m going to kill someone if I don’t get an explanation, from one helmsman to another...Oo ::Charlotte grinned as if someone had engaged a gaggle of transporter beams full of happiness inside her brain.:: Wilmer: ...I was just wondering if you’d be willing to stand in as my best man. ::Shayne’s world stopped for a full two seconds. It was as if his mind simply shut down. “Sorry, we’re closed.”:: ::Did that just happen? Had he been asked to be someone’s best man? His eyes widened slowly, in a daze. All the irritation, the uncomfortable sensations...they melted away. In their place, a single, sparkling surge of energy and happiness. The smile that quickly enveloped his face must have made him appear as a madman would.:: Shayne: Fan-tastic! Oh! I would be honored! ::Now it was Shayne’s turn to be giddy- a rarity for someone as restrained as him. His hands clasped together and he gave an odd little cackle. This was astonishing! He couldn’t get his mind quite round what had just occurred.:: Farnsworth: ::slightly giggling:: Wonderful! Wilmer: Absolutely! Top man! Shayne: This is...I mean, I can’t- I’ve never… Best man! Whew! ::Electric excitement enlivened his veins, and in the back of his mind, the slightest shadows of doubts slipped betwixt his hemispheres. It was almost like they were acknowledging his right to be unfettered in this moment. Later...later, they would return with a vengeance. But for now, maybe even the devil’s musings had some scrap of mercy in them after all.:: ::With an accepting praise and warm smile, Nate clapped Shayne on the shoulder, and shook his hand.:: Wilmer: It’ll be great! You won’t regret it. And after all, I’m sure you’ve already got some great ideas for planning the bachelor party! Shayne: Hmm? Yes, of course! I’ve- Shayne: oO -never actually been to...a bachelor party. Oo ::That was his job? Why didn’t he know things like this? Single people probably understood the nature of this role- why did it elude him so? A curious feeling of dread was whisked into the already churned mix of joy and surprise.:: Shayne: oO Add some onions and I’ll be an omlette. Oo Shayne: Bachelor party. ::He repeated it, trying not to display the doubts cropping up.:: ::Charlotte’s smile was infectious.:: Farnsworth: Well yes, as the best man, naturally it will be your job to plan something truly astonishing for Nate’s last day as a single man…. ::Charlotte wasn’t joking and neither was Nate. The commitment to stand had suddenly developed into a social event extraordinaire with Randal Shayne as its newly appointed ringmaster. There was no backing out now. It was do or die time, and Nate had firm confidence that the cracking young helmsman had the chops for the job.:: ::No pressure for him, then. Just the hopes, and the marriage ceremony, of two close friends hanging in the balance.:: Wilmer: Oh, and did I mention you have about 17 hours to make this happen??? ::He felt his head beginning to spin.:: Shayne: oO Don’t tell me! You also want this to take place on an active Borg cube, right? Oo ::He felt utterly inadequate, but he had rarely looked forward to putting on a good show more.:: Shayne: Well, then, I’d best get cracking- Shayne: oO Under the pressure. Oo Shayne: oO Shut up! Oo Shayne: oO You don’t have to shout! Oo ::He stepped out, smiling all the way, and as soon as the doors closed, proceeded to sprint to the nearest computer console. He had some work to do!:: An awkwardly exciting JP as crafted by... Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer Helm Officer USS Blackwell (NCC-58999) E239107NW0 And Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  23. @Randal Shayne I do love a Ferentis sim! Especially one as well crafted as this! ---------------------- ((Corridor on Deck 6, USS Blackwell)) ::The shimmering colors played against his eyes. Robust bronze, golden ochre, electric blues and every shade in between rebounded within the cramped confines of his working area. His eyesight was not quite up to par with most of the other members of the ship, but in such a feast for the cones as this, his visual inadequacy was hardly relevant. It was merely the reflective nature of the metals and their interaction with the light emitted by the transparent plasma conduit above him, but the rustic beauty it provided was undeniable. The tight EPS access, already a squeeze for most humanoids, proved positively stifling to his considerable bulk. Yet he toiled away regardless.:: ::He loved Gamma Shift.:: ::Ferentis knew how the majority of his fellow Gamma Shifters saw their assignment; as punishment. To any sane, social creature, what else could being relegated to the graveyard shift represent? For many, there was a certain, restrained resentment. Ferentis did not join them in this respect.:: ::Where his comrades complained of their isolation, he reveled in it. Being able to move without running aground on some poor ensign’s face was a tremendous relief. Even he, a Pahkwa’thanh- a race famed for their stringent and ubiquitous codes of etiquette- had begun to grow tired of the word “sorry”. You would too if you had to repeat it forty times a day for crashing into people. He fancied himself as graceful, and blamed these collisions on his natural physical bulk. Maybe he needed to consider the option that he was a genuine clutz.:: ::But not now. Now, he would bask in the lack of interaction, and fix things. In this case, an EPS manifold cut-off.:: ::As his massive talons nimbly provided the dexterity required for such a fragile job, his eyes drifted to a particularly vibrant blue hue out of the corner of his eye. Flecks of green appeared as he focused on it, and his mind immediately took him to the one place he was denied.:: ::Home.:: ::Flashes of forested swaths of contenant passed before his eyes. Great azure oceans and standing swamps pooling around tree trunks the size of warp nacelles. He missed the hot sun spilling against his thick hide, missed the hunt, longed for the stench of decaying plant life and fresh soil. He shut his eyes. Not only was that paradise hundreds of lightyears away, but inaccessible to him as a person. It had been months since the word had come in. Somehow, his family- for it could only have been his family- had maneuvered the Ministry to declare him persona non grata. His name, whatever title he may have inadvertently earned, any chance of returning...gone in single claw print.:: ::And why? Ferentis knew his family loathed him. They were a tiny minority on Pahkwa’thanh had always maintained an isolated viewpoint, and when he had first left their planet to explore, and to learn, he knew he was about as good as dead to virtually all of his immediate family, and probably beyond as well. He hadn’t always expected the relationship to be so...finalized. And now, the perpetual misfit- not welcome at home, not built for a starship, not young enough to start again- wondered what to look forward to.:: ::Even for him, a reserved, dignified individual, found that particular question too painful to dwell on. And so he dived back into his work. But after a few minutes of his brain refusing to clear itself of the loneliness, he realized he would need some additional help.:: Ferentis: Computer, recognize voice print. ::the computer bleeped its acknowledgement.:: Give me something good. ::The codeword was accepted, and he was instantly rewarded. A hard piano entry, accompanied by a bass and a resounding brass chorus gently echoed in his ears. Without meaning to, he began to hum along to the words.:: Computer: =/\= Father wears his Sunday best Mother’s tired, she needs a rest The kids are playing up downstairs Sister’s sighing in her sleep Brother’s got a date to keep, he can’t hang around… =/\= ::It was a harmless little program he’d designed to feed his ever-growing addiction to Earth music. His planet had little interest, and even less invention, when it came to music. Ferentis, ever an outsider, couldn’t imagine life without his tunes close at hand. At his command, the computer would lock onto his combadge and have the nearest ceiling speaker play something random from Earth’s past. Any sort of other communication, such as a ship wide message, would overrule the program- he wasn’t there to create problems. But, as the humans said, if he had it, flaunt it. He had the tech know-how to create what he wanted without massive ramifications. What was stopping him?:: ::The unusual nature of his hearing also helped him, allowing him to receive the full musical experience without cranking up the volume. Should anyone human stride up to him as he labored away at his little impromptu worksite, they’d find a dinosaur with his torso in a hole in the wall, jamming to a whisper.:: ::Suddenly he stopped as thoughts pooled into his mind, unbidden. His body froze, leathery skin and taught scales motionless. Images of the last shore leave, and his raktajino-fueled explosion of bad dancing assaulted him. In the moment he’d enjoyed it. In hindsight, the fact that an entire restaurant had seen him flailing about to music made him seriously consider the airlock. Though he was somewhat confident that no Starfleet personnel besides Anath G’Renn had seen him, even that was enough to make him blush hard. His control had been disrupted- a violation that would be difficult to forget.:: ::Now was not the best time for distractions, as was proven by the startling pain in his claw a moment later. A careless movement had left his now tender hand exposed to a breaker of some sort. He gave a quick, brutal roar, and sucked on the stinging, smoking digit hard.:: Crewman: =/\= Harper to Ensign Ferentis. =/\= ::Ferentis rolled his eyes, trying to keep himself under the most rigid control.:: Ferentis: =/\= Ferentis here. =/\= Crewman: =/\=Sir, I have a message here for you, marked personal. =/\= ::That stopped him. Slowly, he extracted his claw from his mouth. Who would send him a personal message? Certainly no one on Pahkwa’thanh. Nor was it likely to originate from someone he knew during his days on the rim. So who could possibly…:: ::Suddenly he realized the crewman was waiting on him.:: Ferentis: =/\= Thank you, Mr. Harper. Please send it to the terminal in my quarters. Ferentis out. =/\= ::The channel closed, and he found himself more preoccupied than ever. As the whirling thoughts and possibilities fought for ground inside his mind, he forced them down. The message could wait, as much as he craved to see who it was. Too often lately he had let his emotions guide him. He was disciplined individual. He would not yield to the cravings of curiosity when there was work to be done.:: ::And speaking of work, it looked like his little accident had disrupted power on Deck 7. He sighed, the music now a parody of his former decent mood. It would take some time to repair the faults.:: ((Some time later, another junction on Deck 7.)) ::His face was placid, but his mood was quickly dissolving. No one would ever know it, though. Years of control came in handy occasionally. He’d been working for hours, and finally, everything was beginning to approach tip-top shape. He flexed his thick neck, trying to relieve the kink that had found its way there as a result of odd angle he’d been holding it in. Once again, he was reminded of why so few of his people ever left their homeworld.:: Thoran: response. ::The voice startled him slightly, but even that minimal movement caused him to smash his head on the edge of the opening he now worked inside. A low groan escaped his lips before he moved to extricate himself.:: Ferentis: Yes, sir. I apologize for the difficulties- I’ve been working to correct them. I hope there have been no other problems? ::He was afraid that something like this would happen. His error was far from deadly- a minor blunder, at best. But he knew of this individual’s reputation for scrutiny, and excellence in his duties. He should have figured the security chief would have noticed.:: Thoran: response ::He caught the sight of his reflection in a shiny piece of bulkhead. His eyes were a little more red than usual. How long had he been going at this?:: Tag/TBC… PNPC Ensign Ferentis Engineer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 =======as simmed by======= Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Blackwell NCC 58999 G239202RS0
  24. (( Intensive Care Unit - Hospital Complex )) (( StarBase 118 )) :: Commander Theo Whittaker was not a man who did things by half. He discharged his duties with careful precision, honed from a childhood filled with study and an aristocratic upbringing. In his personal life, he was much the same- a staunch friend who would gladly go to hell and back for those closest to him. He had fought the Starfleet JAG officer for Lieutenant Maxwell after his assault on the traitorous scientist, Martantathru, he had stood by Lieutenant Aitas when she had revealed his pregnancy, and at some point or another he had put himself in harm's way for most- if not all- of his friends. However, when it came to matters of the heart, he was completely hopeless. :: :: Baylen Anders had swept Theo off of his feet and into a whirlwind romance that had been as intense as it had been loving. Through it, the young XO- so innocent in affairs of the heart- had learned to drop his carefully built walls that kept people at bay and he had begun to mellow, stripping away layers of the aristocratic and academic aloofness that his father had so rigidly insisted upon. From their first meeting aboard the late U.S.S. Albion- in the heat of battle- there had been a spark between the two of them, a frisson of chemistry that was undeniable. Even though Baylen had a tendency to be impulsive by virtue of his Risian nature, Theo had been charmed almost from the first moment. :: :: Which was why Theo was so completely devastated by the relationship’s sudden and unannounced end. He had been discharged from medical care to find a message from Baylen informing him that he had resigned his commision from Starfleet and was returning to Risa, along with his ward- a young Tilanni boy, Mace. There had been no warning, no problems in their relationship. It was a bolt out of the blue and one which had shaken Theo to his core. It had taken months to fully recover and even longer to open himself up to the possibility of another romantic relationship- this time with the now Lieutenant Commander Taelon. He had been drawn to the El-Aurian’s quiet and contemplative nature, a world away from what he had been used to. Part of it, Theo suspected, had been born out of their shared experiences with the resurgent Orion Syndicate. Taelon was a sensitive soul and that appealed to Theo. Their relationship was less intense and more gentle, as each enjoyed the others companionship and outlook on life. It was a simple, uncomplicated romance. :: :: Baylen Anders’ unannounced return to StarBase 118 had opened old wounds that Theo had believed had healed. Perhaps, because of this, it was the reason that he walked unsteadily down the corridor towards the room where the Risian had been recuperating from his extensive injuries. It was also the reason why he had put off visiting him for several days. He had considered turning back more than once, hoping that by ignoring the fact that Anders was here he would prevent those old wounds from tearing even more. But instead, he walked onwards, towards the unassuming grey door at the end of the unassuming hospital corridor. He had no idea what he was going to say to Baylen- no, Lieutenant Commander Anders- but he was unable to deny the fact that his emotional walls were raised once again. :: :: Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Theo reached the unassuming door and hesitated for a moment- one last delaying tactic, as he contemplated walking away yet again. Then with a deep breath and stiffening of his back, he tapped the panel by the doorframe. The doors swished open with a low, hydraulic hiss and Theo stood there, looking at Anders with a carefully, neutral expression. :: Whittaker: :: deliberate, controlled, almost emotionless. Almost. :: Hello. Anders: ::barely able to speak, from both his wounds and his feelings at seeing Theo. A part of him thought that he would never see him again. He gave up hope of ever seeing anyone he cared about again a long time ago. But other than Mace, the thing that got Baylen through the long endless nights was the face of his loving partner Theo. It was one of the few memories he held on to in that cruel and unjust place. :: Hello old friend. ::trying to force a smile through the pain and finally gave up.:: I think there is a chair in the corner. ::Pointing over to the other side of the door.:: :: Theo took a step into the room- he did not even glance at the chair- hovering just beyond the doorway, but not so far that the doors closed. Instead, they remained parted. The symbolism was not lost on him- just as Anders had left unannounced, so to could Theo. :: :: Baylen… no, Lieutenant Commander Anders, he chided himself (feeling the need to remain professional so as to keep a clear head), looked a great deal different to the last time the two had seen each other. There was a gaunt quality to the man, likely from the months he spent malnourished and from the biological weapon that he had been struck with prior to his collapse in The Hub. Gone was the larger-than-life, magnetic man that he had known, replaced instead with a poor approximation. His eyes no longer sparkled, his lips looked thin and his jaw had been hidden by a large, matted beard that resembled one could find adorning a Klingon drunked. :: Whittaker: I’d… prefer to stand, thank you. :: he almost referred to Anders by his given name, stopping himself only at the last second. He felt supremely uncomfortable and he suspected that it showed. His father, had been present, would have no doubt approved at Theo’s restrained and almost emotionless inflections.:: oO It would be the first time. Oo :: he thought with no small amount of bitterness. :: Anders: ::eyes lowering a bit:: Ah yes, of course. I understand. I must be the last person you expected to see? ::He had meant in general but his ability to say anything was hard a mixture of the drugs, pain and emotions that ran through him. He wanted nothing more than to jump from bed and run to Theo and hug him and hold him tight and be embraced by him in return. Of course he knew that Theo had his own emotions to deal with. He knew of the communication that was sent to him and how shocking it must have been for Theo. That pain made Baylen feel all the worst.:: :: A rebuttal sprang into Theo’s mind. He had known precisely where to find Anders- he would have been more shocked had somebody else occupied the room. It was a sarcastic retort, one that would have stung with any luck. He held his tongue through sheer force of will, however, knowing that a low blow would only make things a great deal worse. Instead Theo replied blandly. :: Whittaker: I would ask how you are doing, but Doctor Nijil has already briefed me on your circumstances. I’m not a physician- but I got the gist of it. :: he knew he was grasping at straws, not knowing what to say. On some level, he was aware of the emotional battle being fought within his psyche- but he ignored it, pushed it deeper into its recesses. Just as he had been taught as a child. oO Show them no trace of emotion. It is a weakness. You do not show weakness to others, Theo. Oo:: Anders: That is more than I know to be honest. I still have not been briefed on what they did in surgery. ::It was true, the doctors had been rather tight lipped about it, but he knew that he was not doing well with physical therapy at all, he was down right failing it, or at least in his mind. He still could not walk yet. But in his mind he should be able to, it was just simple will. Yet the will was not enough it seemed.:: Whittaker: :: he nodded, his lips pursed. :: Well I am sure that you will be informed in due course. I expect Nijil would rather you focus on your recovery. Which is… understandable. :: he hesitated anew, wondering what else there was to possibly say to a man who he had not seen for eighteen months. Finally, he decided to observe formalities. In situations such as the one Anders now found himself, there were protocols that the Commanding and First Officers had to follow. :: I have some questions for you, if you feel up to them. :: a short pause. :: Lieutenant Commander. :: It was the first time that Theo had referred to Anders by his rank and not his given name in so long that he couldn't remember a time that he had done so before. As soon as he had said it, he knew that it had come off more hurtful than he had intended. But what was done was done. An apology would be a sign of weakness. oO How strange that I am so keen to follow my father’s example after years of doing everything I can not to do so. Oo. :: Anders: I have no other place to be ::seeing the third pip was now gold:: Commander sir. ::adjusting in his bed and pulling his blanket up suddenly feeling more exposed and more uncomfortable with the ice that hung in the air like a pal. :: ask away. ::trying to stay as friendly and upbeat as possible. By no means were Risians as skilled in reading emotions as that of a Betazoid, but you really had no need of a Betazoid in this room. Baylen was able to get a general feeling of emotions as were most all Risians but the feelings he got now were so confused and jumbled. They were all over the spectrum.:: Whittaker: Very well. :: he retrieved the ever present PADD from the back pocket of his trousers and opened a blank document on it, replacing the location of Anders’ room and the latest medical update he had had access to. :: This will be preliminary and I will not go into too much detail. Our Chief of Intelligence, Commander Aitas, will no doubt be visiting you with questions of her own. As will a representative of Starfleet Security, I imagine:: he cleared his throat and looked down at the PADD, grateful for the opportunity to look away from the man who he still blamed for the dissolution of their relationship, even if- deep down- he knew he had had no say in the matter. :: I understand you were captured by the Relexians along with your son? :: Theo did not refer to Mace by his name. He had been one of Anders’ more impulsive decision- extreme, even for him, rescuing him from a life of poverty and abuse on the formerly neutral world of Tilanna V. He had not consulted with the relevant authorities before deciding to raise the boy as his own. Nevertheless, he had been granted custody of the boy shortly before their departure from StarBase 118. Theo had agreed to help Anders raise him, but his name was never added to the guardianship. :: :: As cold-hearted as some might of viewed it, Theo clung to that detail in that particular moment. oO One less thing to worry about. Oo. :: Anders: Yes, Mace! ::adding an emphasis to the name. :: Right after my birthday party I decided I should try and take him camping as my dad did for me and my brother as boys. I had a few days off and I thought we could go to a nearby moon and camp under the stars. That night we were beamed onto a transport ship. ::Baylen hid the pain of recalling that night, but he knew he was going to have to tell this story many times. He better get use to it.:: We never got through the first night. ::Baylen made a fake cough sound just so he could move his hand to his face and discreetly wipe away a tear that was forming in the corner of the eye. :: We were transported up to some kind of transport and cargo ship. Locked into cells and scanned and tattooed. I tried to resist and they have very effective shock sticks and I found one thrust up into my side and felt the full effects. :: Theo nodded, not immediately responding. He knew Anders well enough to know that the man was becoming emotional which was perfectly understandable. In fact he could not deny that the facts were also causing himself emotional distress- a lump had begun to form in his throat. He swallowed once, not wishing to focus on it. :: :: He did not look at Anders when he spoke again. :: Whittaker: I see. And you were taken to Relexis VI in the Archanis sector? Anders: I don't know where it was. It was a planet with four suns. I guess that would be right, was the data from the flight recorder recovered? :: He thought about the run through the fields and over the flight way. Being hit in the leg with the energy beam and climbing up into the short Range Shuttle. He then wondered if there was anything left of the shuttle at all after the ways he had to fly to escape the interceptors. He did not think much could be left of the small ship.:: Whittaker: :: he nodded again. :: Yes, we recovered your shuttle and the flight recorder confirmed that. You were also pursued by Relexian interceptors. The Starfleet Intelligence section for that sector are investigating how you went unnoticed for so long. :: beat :: Do you know why the Orion Syndicate wanted you and your son? :: A part of Theo wanted to take the Columbia and close the labour camp down with extreme prejudice. He had come to despise the Orion Syndicate over the past two years for all that they had wrought against the Federation- and the crew of StarBase 118 in particular. Of course, Relexis VI was more than fifty light years distant and under the purview of another sector command. For now, all StarBase 118 could do was question Anders and pass the information along while the U.S.S. Avalon-A investigated further. :: Anders: ::He thought of the many days spent in those volcanic pockets with old tools beating rocks drilling into the ground. Carrying Ore to processing chambers and so much more, so much worse stuff.. :: they wanted free labor for their fuel mines and they found extra benefits with a Starfleet officer. They would beat you for days at time to get cargo transportation protocols from you. ::Baylen looked at the scarred hands from holding tools that Theo once bandaged after being burned while escaping a rather large plasma fire. Another emotion hit his gut, at least what was left of it.:: They wanted so much to hijack high-value cargo transports. :: For the first time since he stepped into the room, Theo displayed an overt sign of emotion- a frown. He abhorred slave labour in any form and there was absolutely no excuse for it. He also glanced up from his PADD, memory guiding his hands across the keyboard on the screen. :: Whittaker: I don’t need to ask you whether you gave them any information. :: he already knew that the man would never do so. :: Anders: ::frowning as he thought of all those beating and days with no food and all those times in the sun pits lying in the heat or in a hot box praying for death. :: No I never gave any information, but there were days, more than a few I regret, that I came close to it. :: now his eyes, cheeks and face were full of tears and his voice was cracking and there was no hiding it:: They made poor Mace work as well. Of course he was too small for any hardcore manual labor but he was required to shuttle tools back and forth or push the ore carts. The day before I escaped with him I was told that if I did not start cooperating they were going to kill him slowly and painfully ::His voice had a full break in it and the words were hard to get out.:: In front of me. ::Baylen turned to wipe his eyes. :: Whittaker: They put Mace to work in the labour camp? :: he had said the boy’s name before he could stop himself and he was also unable to keep the revulsion he felt creeping into his voice. Child labour was the worst kind of enforced work he could imagine- and threatening the life of a defenceless young boy- one who had already endured a lifetime of horror- was even worse. He could feel the bile rising from his stomach. Once again, the urge to glass the surface of Relexis VI blossomed in his mind. :: :: He could feel the first crack in his emotional walls. He took a deep breath, imagining plastering over it- but still, he knew that it was there. oO Perhaps it is time to leave. I should never have come. Oo. He could not deny how disgusted he was at himself for being cold with Anders. oO I can’t even bring myself to say his given name. Oo. :: Anders: As I said ::still wiping away tears. :: it was a truly unbearable hell. One I could never wish on the worst person, EVER… It was like an endless nightmare that one woke up to find he was still in the nightmare. Whittaker: :: a sad nod. :: I should leave you be. This has clearly been a traumatic experience for you. I’m sorry to have disturbed you, Lieutenant Commander. :: He turned to leave, a sense of relief taking hold. However, Anders’ voice caused to stop mid turn. He looked back around. :: Anders: Theo ::The hell with it, I may now be Lt. Commander, but he was still Theo. Someone he cared deeply about.:: it was good to see you, I only wish this could have been under better circumstances. And you have never been a bother nor will you ever be. I know this is hard on you I've been gone for 18 months and you received a faked communication from me I can imagine how that felt. All I can say is I'm sorry. As soon as I'm recovered and back on my feet I can ask for a transfer if you would like me to? I don’t want to keep disrupting your life. :: Theo’s first instinct was to accept the offer and he almost did so, reigning in the impulse when he realised how unprofessional it would have been- and he prided himself on his professionalism. He chewed out Anders’ words for several seconds in his head, biting his lower lip as he did so. There was no need for the Commander to apologise, Theo knew that he was not responsible for his or the boy’s capture. The anger that he was feeling was irrational and completely unnecessary- yet he could not stop himself. oO Oh to be a Vulcan. Oo he mused, sorrowfully. :: :: He turned around, facing Anders and shook his head. :: Whittaker: You need time to heal, physically and psychologically. Being in familiar surroundings such as 118 will help with your recovery. :: he hesitated, unsure of whether to proceed. :: If Captain Taybrim wishes you to stay on then I will not challenge him. However, I think it would be best if you and I kept our relationship strictly professional for the time being. :: beat :: There has been a lot of anguish, on both sides. It is for the best if we do complicate your recovery. :: He wondered whether he should tell Anders’ about his relationship with Taelon, but decided against doing so. The Risian was already anguished, having to relive whatever horrors the Orion Syndicate inflicted upon him on Relexis VI, and Theo saw no sense in adding to it. He would simply have to wait for a more opportune time. :: Anders: ::He understood exactly what Theo was saying to be logical, but those words cut deeper into Baylen than any whip of his cruel captors had used. He waited a moment for his nerves to calm. The unclinching of his gut so he could speak, the time it would take to talk without his voice breaking into a thousand little shards of emothions :: I understand completely. ::forcing a half smile.:: You know best. Whittaker: Very well then. :: he lingered in the still open doorway, wondering whether to wish the man well. :: I shall be in contact if I have any further questions, Lieutenant Commander. Take care of yourself. :: And with that he turned and left the room. As the door finally swished shut behind him, Theo let out a long, deep sigh. He knew that their reunion could have been a lot worse, had he indulged in his emotions and lashed out at Anders. He had kept things professional and at a remove from his personal feelings. :: :: Yet he could not escape the fact that he felt like the worst person in the quadrant at that moment in time. By the time he had left the hospital, he had already checked to see when the next available counselling appointment with Counsellor Lyndsay was. :: -- Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer StarBase 118 Ops/USS Columbia C239203TW0 & Lieutenant Commander Baylen M. Anders Mission Specialist Fleet Operations 118th Fleet StarBase 118 Ops/USS Columbia R238606GH0 --
  25. ((Ilsam’s Quarters, USS Blackwell)) ::Looking around his quarters, he smiled softly. With his duties having calmed, he had at last been able to unpack. On a tall bookshelf near the sofa sat hard copies of his favorite collected literature works, a bin containing various PADDs, as well as a few unique artifacts he’d collected over the years. Most were reproductions, of course, with their original counterparts sitting in museums across the quadrant. But even the facsimiles offered a measure of connection to the histories behind them. His passion for art covered the walls of his quarters, a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and many other classics, as well as a couple of his own paintings.:: ::On the desk in the far opposite corner with his monitor sat various images of his parents and his sister as well as one particularly good image of himself, Usatt, and Ilara. It had been taken on their first trip together. Until meeting his partners, he’d never been outside his home province. They’d travelled the world together, mostly for Usatt’s business conferences. Tai had often kept Ilara entertained with various museum visits, both sharing a passion for art and culture.:: ::A nostalgic smile touched his lips as he lifted the image and framed Ilara’s face gently with the edge of his thumb. She’d been so beautiful...so full of life. Even now, he could hear her laughter ringing out like bells as they danced under the clear, starry skies. The three had been seriously discussing conceiving a child when Usatt and Ilara had been killed. Tai had imagined a thousand times over the wife of his heart cradling the child in her arms after its birth, singing a soft melody in that perfect, lyrical voice of hers. His smile faded, replaced by an implacable longing to hold her in his arms again one last time, if only to tell her how much he loved her and how much she meant to him. How much she’d changed his life.:: ::Setting the image aside, he slid into the chair in front of his monitor, his gaze flickering to the image of himself and his sister, Prielle. His work had kept him rather busy, preventing him from contacting his sister for their daily communique. Given that he was on assignment, those calls were, unfortunately, likely to become fewer. He was uncertain how he’d cope with this drastic change in his life. Prielle had been a source of strength for him since he’d made the difficult choice to leave Bactrica and had kept him going when he’d wanted nothing more than to return home. He entered a series of commands into the panel, calling up the screen he was looking for.::
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