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  1. OOC: I was posting specific quotes and I just kept laughing, so decided to post the whole thing. IC: ((Holosuite, Deck 5, USS Thor)) Katsim: What is this? Fred: It’s our base. Come on, move. Richards: I do like what you guys have done with the place! Ted: Until we can verify who you are, you really need to keep moving…. Sir? The man gave Peri a little prod, not painful, but enough to indicate that he wasn’t kidding and so the woman continued marching forward. Under the watchful gaze of their captors, she and Richards were herded toward one of the buildings and inside. More soldiers were there, most in armour, a few people out of armour, but in clothing of the same hue and with the same insignia as the armour. Around a large table, a mixed group stood, talking, though it stopped as soon as one soldier looked up and saw the prisoners, and he brought them to the attention of the rest of the group. The tallest of them, his head shaven, turned and glared down at the newcomers. Frank: Did you two boneheads ever come to think that when I said “Don’t let anyone into the base”, that bringing two people into the base might be a bad idea? Commander Frank looked his two guards up and down, as well as Anton and Peri. Fred: We thought so, but… Ted: Sir… he said. Anton could see these poor guys were struggling, and after the whole guns to the head and pokes to the back, Anton wasn’t going to let this end just quite yet. So he waited a half dozen long seconds, While Ted and Fred scrambled for words. Just when he was pretty sure Fred was going to pass out, Anton stepped in. Richards: Commander Sir. We have never met formally. Captain Cool Guy, Sir. Saviour of the galaxy and what have you. We don’t really have time for formalities here. Something bad has happened. I was on my mission from Admiral Peacebringer Sir, when… Just then, Commander Frank shushed Anton. Peri glanced nervously over at Richards, then at the commander, who continued to peer down at them, his eyes narrowing. Anton held his ground firmly, in this universe, Anton believed he outranked Commander Frank. Frank: And who was this that you’ve brought with you. Anton looked up towards Katsim, he knew what she was going to say. He preemptively let out a sigh. Katsim: Peri. Richards: Commander... what Ms. Peri means to say is, “Supreme Commander Peri Protector of Good Things”. I gave her a field promotion when she was forced to play a crucial role in negotiations with a Splurge Commander. Ted: You see Sir? We didn’t know what to do. Frank: I see… ::glancing at Ted and Fred:: and where did you pick up, our supposed leaders of peace? Fred: We just found them in the forest, wandering around. Another glance was cast toward Richards, but Peri dared to speak up. Katsim: We were trying to keep away from Commander...Splurge. Richards: You really should tighten up your defenses here, I have reason to believe there could be more of them around here. Ted: You see Sir? And then he says stuff like this, which makes me n’ Fred wonder. That’s why we brought him back. Sir. Frank: I’m quite surprised that you would make such an accurate observation Captain, considering we are on the Splurge homeworld. I’d imagine you are correct! He looked over Anton and Peri suspiciously once more. Splurge homeworld? Anton thought to himself. That’s when he remembered what his friend had told him when suggesting the program. “Anton Man, Trust Me! Once you see the Splurge City over the horizon. You’ll understand why this is such a great program! Just as Anton looked towards Peri, a voice cut through his thoughts like a knife, bringing him back into reality. Captain Versa: Commander! What’s going on here? The tension suddenly grew amongst the group, Commander Frank, Ted, and Fred were all standing at attention. Anton turned to see a tall woman, tanned skin offset by sharp, hazel eyes. Her hair was pulled back into a severe bun, and like the others, she wore armour, her helmet tucked into her arm. She was gorgeous, Anton thought, and just before the entire situation became a story about how Anton fell in love with a holodeck character. Her voice cut through Anton’s thoughts again. The three stood and saluted attentively. Captain Versa: At ease! Frank: Ma’am. We have a situation. Versa eyed the group up and down before her eyes, locked in on Anton. Her hazel eyes were glistening through… wait… are those tears? Then they were gone, and a strong firm look proceeded over the three. Captain Versa: Commander, you are dismissed. Be sure to debrief your men, as you know this is classified at Peace Saviour Level 5. Frank: But Ma’am. I think you should know that they… Versa cut Frank off, this was good, because Anton wasn’t sure how he was going to explain himself. Captain Versa: Now! Frank/Ted/Fred: ::Comically in unison:: Yes. Ma’am! Captain Versa: Come with me. She nodded towards Anton. She turned and began walking into the direction of what appeared to be a large modular command centre located at the back most portion of the base. As Peri and Anton proceeded to follow, she stopped once more and turned around. Now what Anton was perceiving in her eyes, was not sadness, or anything that would result in tears. What Anton saw was… Blatant jealousy. She looked towards Peri sharply. Captain Versa: And who might this tag along be? She glanced at Peri. Anton was a bit confused. He hadn’t progressed in the program enough to know who Versa was, but Anton knew that he was definitely supposed to know. Katsim/Versa: Response? Richards: She has been crucial in my survival and in the mission against the Splurge. Katsim/Versa: Response [[Tags! & TBC]] __________ Ensign Anton Richards Security Officer USS Thor T239802AR1
  2. I always loved this community. I find it therapeutically to have this place to hide away for a few minutes from RL, sometimes by writing, others by reading. And I have to thank this pair of talented writers. This isn't exactly an uplifting sim, but it was one I had to read all trough it, and allowed me a few minutes . Thank you Sal and Alora. I joined all the four parts, sorry to make it long, but this is the way it's meant to be read. IC: ((Virixis VI - Alora’s Cabin)) Alora’s fingers danced over the keys of the piano, the ivory and black rectangles bouncing up and down as her hands worked her way over them. The speed was far too slow for the piece, Chopin’s Etude in G-sharp minor, but there was no way Alora was anywhere near ready to play a tempo. Known among pianists as one of the most difficult pieces to play, she had set it before her as a challenge, a goal, something to take up time and effort and brainpower as well as a composition that would allow her to stretch her skills and become a better player. Playing in thirds wasn’t for the faint hearted, but that piece was an ambitious project for even the foremost pianists. Needless to say, it was even more exacting for someone whose every waking moment wasn’t set before a piano. Although she had been playing for two and a half decades, Alora found herself stumbling at handling those thirds, particularly with the delicate touch the semi-quavers required. Yet, she was not above attempting something difficult. Scaling a mountain like that particular étude, pushing through the complicated runs and delicate trills that raced up and down the keys, would only end in a deep sense of satisfaction one felt after overcoming such a task. So, despite the painstakingly sluggish pace she had to set just to get through the first two measures, she was determined to wade through it. Like anything else, it was most difficult when first approached, and only time and practise would help her push through. She’d gone through the two measures she’d planned to tackle seven times when the chirp of the door made her hands pause and she turned on the small bench to face the door of her cabin. When the system was told to allow the visitor to enter, the door opened and a familiar face passed through. DeVeau: Commodore. Formal. That wasn’t normally Alora’s style, but she bounced back and forth with him, uncertainty making her doubt, doubt making her traverse down a more cautious road. Taybrim: Commander ::He gave her a polite, gentle greeting with a traditional Betazoid gesture.:: DeVeau: To what do I owe the visit? Taybrim: I wanted to touch base with you and see how you were doing. Just like Sal. He was always looking out for others, always making sure they were taken care of. Dropping her gaze, her smile took on a little more humour which reflected in her eyes when she finally raised them again. DeVeau: Do you feel like I need to be checked on? Taybrim: I know the mission was harrowing, but I am more concerned about your overall well being. Maybe he was still thinking of the telepathic contact he had with her. Perhaps it was a general sense of worry for her condition. Both? She was a valuable member of the crew and he wanted to make sure she was well. Harrowing. It was an apt word, one she had used on many occasions herself. Now? That mission? It wasn’t harrowing. Not compared to other experiences. DeVeau: Trust me when I say I’ve been through worse. Much worse, physically, emotionally, telepathically. Alora wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything else thrown at her that compared. DeVeau: More importantly, how are you doing? Did anyone ever ask him that? Did anyone check after the Commodore? See to his well being? Alora hoped so. Taybrim: I am well enough. Though I always worry that there is still more to do. A gross understatement if there ever was one. But he had taken the time to start to process all that had happened. It was a journey, and he was moving forward. Still, there were things that lingered in his mind as issues that could come up in the future. And that always worried him. DeVeau: But it’s over. And we won. ::She paused for a moment, then added - :: You won. Taybrim: We all won ::he gently offered:: You, Max, Sheila, the whole crew. We all helped. You were more help than you could know. DeVeau: Not me. I got involved at the last minute. You’ve been dealing with this for how many years? Sal took in a long, slow breath and contemplated that question. A while. A long while. Taybrim: Nearly three for the cult itself. ::he considered:: Over five for dealing with the Syndicate. Ah. That was one area where they still had a war - but this, they’d won against the Cult, and that was a decisive victory. It didn’t end everything, but it did cut off a very real threat, and for the moment, Alora felt they could at least take some relief in that. DeVeau: There will always be more to do, unfortunately. The Syndicate is a much bigger fish to fry. Taybrim: I have to accept that some things will never truly go away, but we are able to protect what we love rather than destroy what we hate. DeVeau: That’s the difference between us and them. We don’t fight because we want to, we fight because we have to, and if we can find other ways to accomplish our goals, so much the better. He nodded gently, in complete agreement on this. Taybrim: I agree, this is true. I have hope that if we stay on this course we can protect what we value and help our allies to continue to strengthen themselves. Even in this harrowing mission we still met and worked with plenty of Klingons who understood the stakes and rose to protect what was valuable to them. Alora studied the man for a moment, her expression neutral, eyes unwilling to reveal with thoughts roamed through her mind. A moment later, she turned, fingers quickly finding the switch that turned off the digital piano that had been provided for her by the resort, then rose. She faced him once again, hands lacing together and resting in front of her. DeVeau: I have a feeling that’s not the only reason you came by. Taybrim: You are correct ::He smiled gently:: I know things have been somewhat odd between us from the feelings shared at the Gratitude festival to the telepathic contact. I wanted to see if I could understand your thoughts and feelings on the matter. There was that gentle tone of the counselor paired with the Betazoid honesty that just came right out and cut to the chase. Immediately, Alora stiffened at the mention of the Gratitude Festival. In some ways, she had a desire to simply forget about everything that had occurred, every thought or emotion that had been stirred by that concoction which had invaded her body and spurred them to life. On the other hand, Alora had found something she’d thought she’d lost, an ability she hadn’t expected to retain. Either way, she seemed to dwell in a strange mixed existence of uncertainty, guilt, and maybe even a hint of regret. Her footing had been compromised and she was afraid that if she attempted to make a step forward, she’d simply fall and there wouldn’t be a net to catch her. Her reticence spurred the Commodore to continue. Taybrim: I understand how awkward things were under the influence of the tainted Spring wine. Though I hope you know that I do not hold anything against any crew who was affected during the festival. I, myself, was also affected. She didn’t want to talk about it. Wasn’t sure how to talk about it. Even though she’d managed to speak to Ashley about it, Alora still couldn’t face the red haired man himself, and try as he might, the Counselor’s attempts to help her come to some sort of resolution had been fruitless. The demons had been fed and they continued to lurk in the shadows, using this as merely fodder for tormenting her. Turning, Alora crossed the room, her eyes breaking away from Sal, avoiding him, training themselves on a new goal, something to distract her. DeVeau: Do you want something to drink? He nodded gently, pulling back and giving her some time. Taybrim: Sure. Orange cider if you would? Alora, of course, was going to imbibe. After making the Commodore’s request, she ordered chocolate milk for herself, program 100, one of the top favourites. It was a go to when she felt like she needed a little something extra. She paused at his words, then reached out to take her glass, but she didn’t actually drink, and her back remained turned to him, her focus on the sweet drink that she’d requested but seemed only able to stare at. DeVeau: I’m not sure what to say. Taybrim: There is no ‘what’ to say. I have no expectations. Sometimes putting feelings you cannot explain into words is a journey and even if you never reach the destination the attempt is worthwhile. That orange cider sat there, patiently waiting to be taken to the one who had asked for it. Like the man behind her, it offered no condemnation. Yet, Alora still winced, though she wasn’t sure why exactly. Sal Taybrim was, if nothing else, a kind man, so why did what he say sting? Or was she just done with his attempt at broaching the subject? Taybrim: I accept that you may not be able to answer now, nor soon, nor even on any timeframe that you know. ::He stated openly.:: Maybe it was important that she was simply aware that he knew. That he was prompting her forward on that journey. Alora inhaled and let out a heavy sigh, then finally reached out to curl her fingers around the glass. It was cool to the touch, and she could smell the citrus as she turned and carried it to the commodore. Finally passing it along, she motioned to the seating area of the room. DeVeau: Feel free to sit down. It felt odd, standing there like that. Stiff. Formal. Alora didn’t like it, even though she was taking a more formal stance in other ways. Choosing an armchair for herself, Alora lowered herself down and allowed herself a sip. Thick, chocolatey, oh so good, it slid down her throat, and, perhaps, offered a bit of courage. DeVeau: Is that the only reason you came by? Sal settled himself comfortably once asked and leaned forward, shaking his head gently. Taybrim: No. There is never only one reason to come. There is a world of things we could talk about to understand one another better on so many levels. For a second time, Alora lifted the glass, savouring the sweetness of her drink, though her eyes flicked up to peer at Sal from over the rim. She dared to turn the topic around, back to something else, something where she felt like she had more secure footing. DeVeau: Perhaps you would be willing to fulfill the promise you made to me before we went to Qo’nos? He nodded very slowly, having already considered this and knowing it was a possibility that they would delve into it. Taybrim: Yes, I am willing. The cup lowered and she rested the bottom upon her palm, then turned it slowly around and around. Circles. It was going in circles. Sometimes that was how she felt. DeVeau: Perhaps now would be a good time? It was true, he had no other plans. Though he was still hesitant no matter how open and honest he was. It bled through his tone. Taybrim: I have no other plans, so if you wish. The shifting of the glass, the circling of it in her palm ceased, and she took one last sip from it before setting it down upon the coffee table, then straightened. Her hands laced together and she met his gaze. DeVeau: I do wish. Taybrim: You already know I am loathe to cause pain to someone I care about if I can somehow prevent it. Or an innocent, he was even hesitant to cause pain to a dire enemy and would only consider it as a last resort for the cruel, the corrupt and the criminal. But he was also aware that so many enemies were simply good people of another opinion - just like the Klingon high Council where, in the end, so many of them were actually on the same side, though it took much effort to convince them. And yet, in that, he also admitted that the telepathic communication Vananth had offered him was painful. She had been terribly injured at the time and just desperate to share the information. It was not her fault. But it had been a difficult pile of memories to sift through. DeVeau: I know. But I am loath to leave someone I… She paused. Dare she say it? Could she say it? What did it mean if she gave it a voice? Was there more to it than simply what the word itself meant? Alora finished it, but the pit of her stomach roiled with uncertainty. DeVeau: Someone I care about with such a burden to bear alone. Taybrim: The burden has shifted since we met Kelemkor. His voice was soft, murmured and yet piercing. That particular connection still rang heavy on his mind. There was a tilt of her head, a slight lifting of her chin. She didn’t have to ask what he meant - she knew. Alora had been witness to the battle, though she did not know the exact details, had only seen the physical manifestation of what raged between their minds. It didn’t matter. She would not be deterred. Alora rose and closed the distance between them and sat beside him upon the couch. Without a word, she held out her hands to him, her gaze unwavering as hers met his own. Taybrim: I… ::He hesitated, protective, careful. Stinging words still rang in his ears.:: I will share with you what Ariwyn Vanath showed me. He did not trust himself to share Kelemkor’s mind. Not yet. He hadn’t yet processed that fully. Then with the utmost care he started to open his mind to the experience of telepathically connecting with Ambassador Vananth. He was being careful, trying to limit what he sent to her rather than deluge everything all at once. Alora had been prepared, had a taste of what was to come, but even so, she could not stop the sharp intake of air as the sights and sounds assaulted her. Wavering a little, her hold upon him tightened, and her eyes closed, allowing her to shut off external visual stimuli in order to concentrate on what she was receiving. It helped some, allowing her to focus her energy on dealing with the hand she was being dealt - one that she had requested. Taybrim: I’m sorry… ::He whispered, trying to stave the flood to as slow of a trickle as possible, but even with his Herculean efforts at control, the flood continued.:: Despite his attempts, what he was sharing was unfathomably horrible. Torture, pain, hatred, malice. It wasn’t just that, the emotions that were so contrary to what was so ingrained in Starfleet, so opposite to the desire to help others and seek out their well being, but the way it was presented, the cacophony of images and noise, scenes scattered and out of order, a fantastic and horrifying array of another’s thoughts, ripped from one mind, shared from Ambassador to Captain, now from Commodore to First officer. Alora gritted her teeth, her eyes squeezed ever more tightly, her hold strengthening. Taybrim: ~Let me stop…~ It was a plea. With minds linked, he admitted her control locked with his was an open door, one he could not close without causing pain. He would not cause her pain, and he needed her implicit mental permission to stave off the flow without pain. DeVeau: ~No.~ ****** Determination underscored that single word. How much had he borne and for so long? He’d carried it with him, a man without anyone to commiserate, without anyone to understand, to share it. It was painful, but she had expected that pain, and she didn’t fight it. And yet, even as it flowed into her, the jumble of insanity, the back and forth and mix up of time, everything sort of slammed together in a maddening jumble of thoughts and feelings, Alora had an advantage - one that Sal had given her. She had a map. Originally, what had been shared left everything in a neat and tidy order. While unpleasant, it was nothing compared to the agony that she was receiving now, though even what she received now was pale in comparison to her own past. Still, it was painful, but she pushed through it, unwilling to give in. What he had originally presented her with from their first connection was enough that she could use it, a map to guide everything that was thrown at her, to place what she knew from before properly and use that as a key to find the other pieces of the puzzle. Taybrim: ~please…~ ::Now it was a plea for her to disconnect. A rising agony in his own mind at the pain he was sharing. Agony, shame, pain.:: It was almost like being on the holodeck, but there were multitudes of things flashing through at one time, half were the bits that had been given to her by Sal, playing their way through on one side, the other half the jumble, then between them, they sifted back and forth until it was becoming more cohesive, a single unit, a play that unwound itself in a semblance of order rather than the chaos that had suddenly been thrust at her. Without that guidance of what he’d given her, she would have been unable to sort through it as quickly as she was doing so. Even then, time would be needed, time that she didn’t want to spend right then and there. More inspection, more introspection, more retrospection, all combined to make true sense and give everything it’s proper consideration. And there was where one of the skills that had been taught her came into play, one useful, perhaps used to her detriment more than should be, but in that moment became an act that allowed her to breathe, allowed her the chance to set it aside for the moment so she could thoroughly examine it all in her own time. Gathering it all, what she had processed in those moments - had they been moments, or hours? Time made no mark there in her mind - she swept them away, tucked them behind a door, one where she could turn her back on it, if just for a little while, granting herself a brief respite so she could ponder how to move forward with the knowledge she had suddenly gained. That done, she inhaled, a deep almost gasping breath, and she clutched at him, suddenly realising that she no longer held him with one hand, but with both, her grip almost desperate, leaning into him, her breath quickening from the frantic mental race she had just run. Finally able to withdraw and close his mental shielding tightly around his mind, he leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, holding her steady in a gentle, paternal grip. Taybrim: I am sorry. I am so, so sorry… His words were spoken, dripping with pain and guilt. DeVeau: I’m fine. I promise. Sal stayed perfectly still, steady and gentle. As much of a rock as he could be for her. It was the least he could do. Taybrim: Breathe, slowly. Focus on the here and now. DeVeau: Sal… He was so worried about her. Always worried about others. Never about himself. How much more did he hold inside? Was what he shared only the tip of the universe that rest upon his shoulders? She remained in his grip, enjoying the warmth of his hold. Taybrim: That is one of the keys. Here is real, now is real. Everything else is in the mind. DeVeau: You don’t… But his guilt spurred him on, so afraid of what he thought he had done to her. Taybrim: ::He nodded slowly.:: Yes, everything in the mind is equally real. Real, but slippery while here and now is solid. DeVeau: Sal. She didn’t break the hold he had on her. It was far too comforting, not because of what she had experienced, but because such touch had been so rare lately. Instead, she leaned further into it, one hand rising to rest tenderly upon his cheek and guide him so that she could look directly into his eyes . A smile spread across her face, small, but genuine. DeVeau: It’s okay. You didn’t hurt me. She hadn’t felt pain. Not her own pain. No, what she had felt had come from others. From him. She hadn’t meant to cause him pain. That was the last thing Alora wanted to do. He tensed, the knotted feeling of his muscles spreading from his neck, through the shoulders and down into his core. He hated seeing others in pain and loathed causing others pain. But at the moment the mental tempest placed in his mind by Kelemkor was so harsh that all he could sense was pain. His fathomless dark eyes locked with Alora, confusion bleeding through. How could she not sense the pain? Or did she feel it and withstand it? Or did she feel it, endure it, and then give a gentle reassurance that she was fine? Because that’s exactly what Sal would do. Taybrim: Are you sure? He wanted - perhaps needed to know she was OK. Because behind those superior mental shields he was hurting and didn’t have nearly enough time to process it. The last thing he needed was hurting another to weigh upon his conscience. DeVeau: But I’m sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to. I never want to… This time he was solid. The tension in his body did not release, but his voice was calm and steady. Taybrim: You did not hurt me. Ambassador Vananth did not hurt me. Do not blame yourself or anyone else for the scars Kelemkor caused. His voice faltered slightly at Kelemkor’s name. The mind that would haunt him for quite some time. Emerald met ebony, seeking, searching. Something was different, more had been left unspoken, the weight no less than before. Perhaps even heavier than before DeVeau: Oh Sal, what did he do to you? Taybrim: Same thing he tried with you ::he murmured:: Flaying the mind open to strip mine the pain. ::he took in a long, slow, breath.:: He didn’t win. The words were confident and honest. But the tone wavered. Kelemkor lost the war, but the battle was gruesome and bloody. Even victors need to recover. Alora took a deep breath then let it out slowly, her voice soft, a half whisper, but confident. DeVeau: You don't have to hold back. Not with me. You can let go with me. He stopped. Almost completely. His body was tight, breath paused, unblinking. This was a role reversal that he didn’t know if he was ready for. He was the Commanding Officer. It was his role to be the bulwark for his crew. But his role was changing. In the past he had easily endured. The poor leadership of Commodore Kinney was a welcome challenge, and even a Court Martial couldn’t flag Commander Taybrim’s focus and commitment. Losing Taelon in a temporal rift had only redoubled Captain Taybrim’s efforts to rescue and protect his friend. A deepening nerve damage condition had put Nijil after Fleet Captain Taybrim to enforce medical attention; something Sal accepted more quickly than Nijil expected - because he easily admitted it was foolish to not tend his health when there was important work to do. Each of his previous First Officers had the benefit of serving at a time when the stakes were lower and the focus was not so tightly on them. But as Sal carried out his do-gooding clean up campaign in the Trinity Sector, notoriety and focus had grown to an uncomfortable degree. Alora DeVeau had the unenviable role of being the first officer to a man in the most difficult of situations, where his ability to protect her was waning and his need for support was growing. He felt ashamed. Taybrim: I can’t. ::he said in a low, serious tone:: He couldn't? Alora didn’t understand, and the only thing she came out was a bare whisper of a word. DeVeau: Why? Taybrim: Alora, it is my job to teach you. To shelter and protect you so you can grow as a leader and succeed. This has been my promise to each of my first officers. ::he paused, his voice heavy with emotion:: It is unfair to burden you with my demons. Is that what he thought? That he had to stand alone? To shoulder everything? To carry the weight of the universe upon his shoulders? After Sal had tapped her as First Officer, Alora had suffered from doubts for the first time in her career. Navigating the strange new office, trying to find the balance between being a friend to her friends and one of their commanding officers had been difficult. And there were still things about that position she still wasn’t sure of. But that? For the first time since she took up that position, Alora was certain of at least one role, and it wasn’t necessarily just as first officer. It was as a person who cared for him. Sal was Commodore. He was the commanding officer of Starbase 118 Ops. He was their leader. Sal was also a regular man. And a friend. That was a word she could use. That was safe. That was something he could be. Something she could be. Whatever she felt, whatever strangeness affected her in her uncertainty with her emotions and where she stood, that was at the most basic and fundamental state of being what he was and what she would be to him - a friend. A tremor rumbled deep within, but she was far too focused, far too determined at that time to let it take any hold. In that moment, it wasn’t about her, it wasn’t about what she felt, what she was struggling with. It was about him. What he needed. DeVeau: Oh Sal...you’ve left out half of it. He pressed his lips together, knowing he had left out far more than half. But he was curious as to which half she was referring to. Taybrim: Which half? DeVeau: The other half of the equation. We protect each other. We help each other. Bear each other's burdens. Alora leaned forward, her brow touching his, eyes unwavering. DeVeau: It is unfair for you to bear it all, to walk this path alone. I want to walk with you. Let me walk with you. He paused and gazed back at her for one, long moment. As if he was reading her, without actually setting forward any telepathy. Taybrim: You ask to bear my burdens, but you keep your burdens to yourself. ::he said gently.:: I would share your load and offer mine, but I will not overburden you. That was why he had originally come. To check in with her. Through the tempest he had not lost sight of his original goal. His words startled her, and like he had done before, she froze. Alora stared at him, her heart reacting by beating in her chest, pounding against her ribs. She had wanted to help him, relieve his burden. He’d turned it around on her. DeVeau: You don’t... Taybrim: It is unfair for you to bear it all and walk your path alone. I want to walk with you. Let me walk with you. Oh yes, he had been listening. Her stomach roiled and her body tensed. Alora had shared very little with anyone beyond Ashley, and even he hadn’t known about, at least not in detail, about some of the things she had experienced. She’d been set upon a path. A choice had been placed before her. First and foremost, she wanted to help Sal. Her relationship with Aron had helped show her the difficulties a Captain struggled with, that he needed someone just like anyone else. She had always tried to be a friend. Always tried to offer her support to others. Now Sal was offering that support, just like Ashley. His approach was different, but there it was nonetheless. Except it was painful. Even with Ashley, she struggled to communicate, struggled to really talk to him. It had taken herculean effort from the counselor for her to even start. And Sal? He was there. Right there. Offering. Offering and using her very own words against her. Her throat constricted and she swallowed, her eyes glistening in the gentle light. Yet she didn’t pull away. Why didn’t she pull away? It had been so easy to do so before. DeVeau: I...I won’t be overburdened. Taybrim: Then you agree to share equally? ::He queried keenly, a diplomat’s gambit.:: Still she lingered, still she remained there, her eyes locked with his, but her emotions had shifted with the tide. DeVeau: My burdens are nothing compared to yours. Taybrim: Burdens are burdens. Comparing their weight is like comparing a targ to a Vulcan astrophysicist. They are so different and each keen in some areas and blunt in others that they cannot be compared. Alora’s breath quickened with the pace of her heart. Uncertainty warred within her and her mouth worked, as if trying to form words, but the words she attempted to conjure flitted away. He missed nothing, however, caught the silence and answered it. His expression was soft, welcoming, but his eyes were sharp. That perception of a Betazoid and a counselor. Taybrim: I understand, Trust is a two way street. I trust easily, backed by my empathy. But I ask for trust in return. Trust? Was it a matter of trust? Was that why she felt so hesitant? Was that why she struggled to talk about it? No. It wasn’t that. DeVeau: I do trust you. And she did. Sal was easy to trust. From the first day she had met him, she’d liked him, found it easy to trust him, both as a Commanding Officer and as a friend. Taybrim: Then what is the roadblock? Alora closed her eyes, shutting out his face, his gaze and trying to grab hold of some sort of control. She had been in control just moments before, but now her foot had slipped and she was struggling to hold it together. DeVeau: It’s not a lack of trust… Maybe that was true. Maybe it was a defense. Sal wasn’t about to call her out on one or the other. He was here to seek understanding. Taybrim: I believe you. But I also believe there is more to it. Her throat tightened further, her words caught in it, choking her voice until they were uttered so quietly that had he not been so close, they would have been lost. DeVeau: It’s just...so hard. He reached a hand out. Taybrim: If you can’t tell me, maybe you can show me? Alora’s eyes closed, clenching shut, wrestling with the idea. Did he know what he asked? Did he realise what he wanted? What he was asking her to do? The very same thing she was asking of him. The question was, could she? Could she be that open with him? Could she share everything? Did he want everything? What was it, exactly, that he wanted of her? Those eyes opened, the emerald darkening as she gazed at him. They remained locked in that strange embrace, touching, but there seemed a mile of space between them. Her eyes held his gaze and she whispered her following query. DeVeau: How much do you want? Taybrim: How much are you willing to show? Alora licked her lips, though her gaze remained unwavering, and the question came again, softer that time. DeVeau: How much...do you want? Taybrim: As much as you are able. ::He paused.:: All of it. ****** Could she do that? Could she give him all of it? Could she truly bare herself like that again? Could she take that risk? Tremors coursed through her, her fingers shook again and once more her eyes closed as she took a breath. Steady. One. A second . Two. A third step. Three. Letting it, she slowly whirled down the slide, and when her eyes opened once again, she was steadier. Her grasp on him tightened and she leaned forward. DeVeau: All right. There was a pause, a breath, a moment, before she gave the caveat. DeVeau: You first. His dark eyes twinkled just a little. Taybrim: I already went. Now you are delaying. Maybe that is not mistrust, but that is fear. He had gone, yes, but he had held back. Now she was holding back. Why was she holding back? Alora’s mouth thinned and her eyes lowered. Taybrim: Fear is difficult and hard to grasp. ::He watched her for a moment:: I do not think you fear me. But I could be wrong. That was an odd thing to say. Frowning, she looked back at him, shaking her head. Fear Sal? Never. Even from the beginning she held no fear in regards to him. Maybe she was strange that way, looking to her superior officers without the same sort of intimidation that others felt - but Sal was not the sort to instill fear, regardless. DeVeau: No. it’s not that at all. Taybrim: Then what do you fear? That was a good question. What did she fear? What she had feared had already come to pass. She lived it. And though they came less often, she still continued to live it, awakening to the sound of her own screaming, the scent of burning metal and the echoes of the memories of pain on the edges of her consciousness. What did she fear? Another deep breath was taken as she tried to figure out an answer. She wasn’t sure she had one. Maybe that was part of the problem. When she finally answered, her voice was soft, and it wasn’t a true answer, but rather an inquiry, a half whispered interrogation. DeVeau: How much do you want? Taybrim: To start? What do you want to show? DeVeau: Of...it. Me. How much do you want? She had already asked that. Why was she asking again? Why was she hesitating? Why was she stalling, turning the same question around and around and around and neve quite giving an answer. Sal took in a long, deep breath. Taybrim: I am never the type to force you to do anything you do not want. You know this, but knowing this has placed us on unequal ground. So I ask you, again, how much are you willing to give? This was the point where he had to openly give her the freedom to choose. How much was she willing to give? That was another good question. One she hesitated to answer, one she struggled with. She hadn’t given much of herself to many people. Even Raissa, who had seen and been through a lot more with her than anyone, hadn’t seen certain depths. Only one person had been given everything. What was she willing to give? Nothing? Something? Everything? She sat there, staring at him, wrestling with her thoughts, her emotions, two sides in conflict, warring with each other, always at odds, never fully vanishing, only going quiet in the face of necessity as life managed to push them into the corners so she could ignore them for a while. Taybrim: Then let me put it this way - I will give you in kind what you give me. Is that fair? That meant she got to set the pace, and the overall sharing. He would follow her lead. And again, how much was she willing to give? He was only asking for the same thing she was asking from him. How much did she want from him? Was it fair to ask that much? Could she give the same in return? DeVeau: Then...let me share with you. Taybrim: Alright ::He tipped his head forward in a gentle nod, holding out his hands to link.:: And there he was. His mind within hers, invited, willing, and welcome. Was he welcome? Yes. He was welcome. This was not an antagonistic presence, but a soothing one. His mind touch was gentle, tender. Perhaps even fearful, but he had nothing to fear. Not from her. But what did she have to fear? Why did she fear? He had asked her that question and she still couldn’t answer. She felt him, accepted him, and welcomed him. It was easy to connect to her, she knew, and she hoped that made it easier on him as well. The difficult part was sharing herself. What would she share? How little? How much? How many doors did she open? How wide did she open them? He was in her thoughts, in her realm. And so she took control, manifested the connection in a way that made sense to her, creating a visual, and there they were. The tangible world, it was still there, but in their mind's eye, there was nothing around them. Nothing but mist, neither pleasant or unpleasant, neither welcoming or foreboding. It was simply there. He stood, a mental image of himself exactly as he appeared in the real world, outside of the kingdom of her mind. She stood with him, facing him, the nothingness surrounding them both. Taybrim: ~Hello~ A simple opening. He mentally waved at her, like a childhood friend waiting to be led around, shown the sights. Her eyes drifted away, peering through the shadowy cloud, as if seeking, searching, trying to pinpoint something, but there was nothing there. What did she want to share? She knew what she wanted him to share. He was only asking for the same thing in return. Should she? Could she? In body and mind, she took another deep breath, another steeling exhale, and when she spoke, her thoughts filled his mind. DeVeau: ~I don’t know where to begin.~ It wasn’t exactly opening up, but with the statement came a foot in the door, an offer, silent permission that allowed him to prod as deeply as he wished, and a silent promise that she would answer without holding back. Taybrim: ~As simple as it sounds, most start at the beginning. You choose where it begins. The easiest memory? The favorite? The most present in your mind? The earliest? All are beginnings~ At the beginning? It made sense, she supposed, but did he want that? What would that accomplish? Yet she had said she would, hadn’t she? Had made a bargain. She would honour that as best she could. She began to walk then, the nothing fading into something, that of the brightness of a childhood, a good childhood, one filled with love and warmth and light. The darkness that penetrated there was nothing, merely moments in time where it seemed all was dark and dim but as through a child’s eyes, an innocence in the suffering that was not truly suffering, simply a rite of passage, though scarring had started, still lingered in fears that plagued her even now, they were overshadowed by the delight that marked the majority of her days. A caring family, one that though it had its own black sheep had nevertheless always loved him, and loved her, and she them in return. Though by no means perfect, even her recollection was idyllic compared to some whose pasts were checked with strife and want. Yet she had never wanted. She had never lacked. There was much that came at him, the passage of days and years coming at him in seconds. They were not what hindered her. She delighted in their recollection, save for a few moments here and there. For the most part, she could breathe freely in that past, rejoice in the gifts she had. Then there was Starfleet, an ever tempting goal that had started as a possibility, then grew into a passion. Her acceptance, her years as a cadet, they flew by, filled with eagerness and anticipation. Her first assignment under Captain Aron Kells, the meeting of Saveron, the ups and downs of missions successful and unsuccessful. The memories of trauma, of pain, of those who had caused that pain, they flashed by, the tide of emotions rising and falling in waves and in response to all the things that had occurred, moments of fear and sadness, moments of triumph and rejoicing. Tenderness, the love she felt for a man and his son, the sisterhood she had with others, some faces familiar, one very familiar among them - that of Chythar, others not, but in her memories, he got a chance to know them, to see them as she see saw them. And the darkness too. It had begun truly in Starfleet, on an early mission, but even that was nothing in comparison with what came after. And it was there she paused, the scene fading, the nothingness returning, and he could sense her hesitation. Her fear. Sal stayed, steady, an observer. He didn’t interfere, he just watched, trying to understand. Taybrim: ~ Is this a stop?~ ::he queried, feeling the entire scene dramatically slow down.:: DeVeau: ~ It’s hard. This part. ~ Not as hard as what had come after, but difficult to make her pause. . Taybrim: ~ Many things are difficult. That is unfortunate, I empathize. But I will offer support. This I can promise.~ It was hard to get through traumatic events - and Starfleet was full of traumatic events. And despite having a counselor on every ship, sometimes such things festered. DeVeau: I made a promise. I gave my word. And there was that fear, the lingering demon that swirled the fathoms below, stirred up, waiting for the moment to strike. In the physical realm, Alora took a deep breath, her mind voice soft. DeVeau: ~You will not like what you see. ~ Taybrim: ~ I do not have to like it ~ ::he thought in an oddly reassuring tone.:: ~I need to understand it. There are things in my own past I do not like. That does not mean they cannot be grappled with.~ She had warned him, her affirmation was given in the revealing of that memory, picking up where she had left off, moving forward, and a name that should have been a welcome one, something denoting a relation, a connection, one either born or forged in love and respect. Yet, the term as presented in that moment made her shudder - The Kindred. And suddenly he was there, experiencing it as she did, the sudden violation of her mind, the searing pain that ripped through her psyche constantly once it invaded. The cruelty of its intent. It used her as well as the flora upon the ship, items that should have been beautiful, twisted and morphed into something nefarious. They grew and grew, taking over the ship. It was Christmast time, a decidedly human holiday, but one that was supposed to be filled with joy and laughter. Instead, he saw a man clad as the jolly old elf snatched in the clutches of monstrous vines, hear the choking cry die upon his lips, the padding of the strange yet playful outfit writing and trembling until it finally deflated. He could feel the tingle in his fingertips and outwardly her own trembling as she re-lived it. He was only the first, most dispatched in the similar way, each one experienced by her, as if she had taken their lives from them, as if she had been the one to do it. Then another, a single young ensign, one who had been as excited as she had with his first assignment, who had endeared himself quickly due to his quick wit and pleasant nature, was caught up by her very own hands. The long, slender fingers curled around his throat, the pulse of his body, desperately trying to pump life into his veins, the gasping of his chest as he struggled to fill his lungs with air that was cut off by her own, relentless grip, the bulging of his eyes, the pounding of his heartbeat that began to slow, and slow, and slow til it fluttered, like a faint whisper against the skin, then faded away. The torturous pain continued to lace through her mind even as the surge of power struck her. Power over life and death, the power to take it away, to have such control over a person’s face, and the sheer awesomeness of that ability surged through her. And she recoiled, recoiled from it, recoiled from the phantoms that cackled in her mind, who lashed at her with a thousand hot irons as they held her firmly in her mental prison, punishing her for her unwillingness to cease her resistance, her struggle that was in vain, and slowly she began to despair. She could still feel the flesh as it folded beneath her grip. It went on. Others were hurt, Rahman captured, strung up like a piece of meat. Where the flora embraced her, it assaulted others, engulfing them in its malevolent embrace. DeVeau: I am the Kindred. We are the Kindred. And it would not be denied. It had encompassed her, swallowed her whole, and she wept within the tortuous cell of her mind they had trapped her in. Aron. They had Aron. And Captain Egan Manno. Egan Manno: A captain protects her family. And she did. She had destroyed them, had been what released them, the agonizing pain of their departure, the blinding anguish was followed by a brief respite of darkness. Yet she could still feel the pulse fluttering against her fingers. Taybrim: ~ A terrible assault ~ ::He murmured quietly, feeling the emotions sink into him. Telepathy was his secondary skill - empathy his primary. His telepathic projection remained calm, stoic, supportive and gentle. But his flesh and blood body rocked, processing the emotions she broadcast.:: She moved beyond that. To her family, to the experiences that came after. To Saveron, his teachings, the beginning of the foundations that started to strengthen her mind. Chythar, Raissa coming behind him. The joys, the sorrows, the heartbreak, the healing, the fortification it all flashed past him and her, a shared experience, one ending where the other began, one beginning where the other ended, together traversing down a road that had already been traveled, and now was traveled again. It got better. It went on, the changing of the guard, the changing of the ship, the new posting, her time in the Shoals, Rahman now Captain, Skyfire with her, Raissa, friends, family that had been with her thick andthen, the tapping for a new, classified mission. The meeting of Eudora and Kalin, the painful standoff, the willingness to teach her, the fortifying of the fortress of her mind, the eagerness of discoveries to be made - real discoveries, ones that could help others, ones that could change the course of medicine, the cynical quips, the teasing responses, the passing of time, time spent with one another, growing closer, their first kiss, their developing closeness, the way their minds touched, the tenderness he showed to no one else but her, his mental presence becoming a constant, the sudden proposal, the subsequent impromptu and informal ceremony, the intimacy shared, the joy that came of it, the continuation of their work, the possible break through and the excitement of the attempt to test it. She trembled, her grip vice like, nails digging into his flesh as the images spurred on, the time moving more quickly, desperate. She faltered, mentally stumbling, the images becoming almost blurred, faces and sounds and smells rushing together into madness. A brief flash of Captain Eudora, her face grim, eyes despairing before blast doors cut off the image. Kalin’s face, klaxon alarms, the acrid smell of some chemical agent, the sting of heat, the roughness of hands grabbing her in desperation, the shadows that consumed her as she was tossed into some large container, the last thing she saw was Kalin’s face before the door hammered shut, the roar of the metal as she pounded against it, the high pitch of her scream, then the sudden, agonizing, searing pain that, like a sword slicing through her, as if her entire body was being ripped apart, mind, body, and soul torn to shreds before she suddenly plunged into the sweet release of darkness. Taybrim: ~They sacrificed themselves? But you survived?~ A heart beat. Strong. Steady. Voices echoed, distant, and images came in a thin line as the light stung her eyes. Someone was speaking to her, calling her name, shadowed forms slowly focusing into familiar faces, the glare of Sickbay lights drowning everything. Then fear. Emptiness. Both gripped her, icy fingers clutching at her heart. All around her, bodies moved, people hurried about, the beep of the computer punctuated the syllables of their words, but she heard nothing, barely saw anything, because something was missing. That presence, the constant companion in the recess of her mind, was gone, a chasm in his place. Kalin was gone. Sal Taybrim was silent for seconds that seemed to stretch to eternity. He had never seen the other side of self-sacrifice. How raw and painful it was. The emptiness, the longing, the survivor’s guilt. An act of pure love, to let one live through sacrifice. And yet it led to unyielding pain. Taybrim: ~ I’m sorry, Alora. ~ He offered the thought as compassionately as he could. Soft and open. He reached his hands out to her. Her breathing came heavily, and he could almost see the roiling of her emotions as she struggled and fought against them, struggling to keep control. She wanted to flee,to fly away, to not face him, not face it, not face any of it, but for once, she dug in her heels. For once, she stayed. She had made a promise. She had fulfilled it. ****** It occurred to Sal, in a slowly evolving thought process, that his own self-sacrificing actions were quite triggering for someone who had lost so much. He started to feel foolish. Taybrim: ~ How long have you carried this burden? ~ How long? It seemed like forever. It clouded everything, overshadowed everything. Even when she was able to shove it aside and focus on life, it was, lingering in the shadows, a pacing dragon ready to strike and lash out without warning. Alora trembled and she took a few more steadying breaths. One. Two. Three. It was an established pattern, a silent mantra that sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t. In that moment, perhaps the soothing presence of the man across from her aiding in its effectiveness. Closing her eyes, she finally answered. DeVeau: ~ A little over a year. ~ Her eyes opened, but it wasn’t necessary. He was still there, she saw him, felt him. She didn’t need to use her eyes. DeVeau: ~How long have you held on to yours? Taybrim: ~ Some of it for days, some of it for decades~ She had to take another moment, had to focus on something else, something other than herself, something other than her own story, her own sorrow. Once again, her hands clutched at him, and she noted the softness of the sleeves, the soft rhythm of his breath, the brightness of his hair, the darkness of his eyes. Breathe, slowly. Focus on the here and now. He had spoken words that had been spoken before, to her, to remind her, to bring her back to the present. Now, they echoed again, that time in his voice. Another series of breaths followed. DeVeau: ~Maybe it’s time you shared it.~ He paused and reached out, hesitating for a moment. Taybrim: ~I mean this when I say this is strictly confidential. But you do need to know.~ Alora frowned. Everything was confidential. That was a given. She knew he would say nothing about anything she’d shared, she would offer the same respect. But something in the way he said it unsettled her . DeVeau: ~It will remain confidential.~ A touch, featherlight like fingertips against her mind. A memory so fresh it was still warm and weeping. An unauthorized trip, through back passages, avoiding all the reporters. Whyever would there be an issue going to one’s own home? Hauke told him to stay on the Narendra. But this was such a small break of orders. He just wanted to retrieve one or two personal effects. He paused at the door, hand over the lock. A momentary bad feeling. Double checking. Nothing. Home. Quarters. Sal had beautiful quarters. Non-standard. Organic curves, hardwood, full of plants. Bathed in a dim golden glow from a table lamp. Peaceful, serene, comforting. He paused in the entryway, body tensing. A return of the bad feeling. Checking again. Nothing. Movement. Eyes locked with his. Hot breath. The whisper of a blade far too close to his kidney for comfort. The form pulled backwards. Another blade. A hiss of air. A spray of blood. Dead eyes. The body of the assassin dropped to the carpet which had a steady stain of green growing across the cream. An accented voice: “You should not be here. No longer safe.” A spike in heart rate, a realization. Assassination. Far too close. Both in time and in how close he came to watching his own murder. There was a long, guilty pause. Taybrim: ~This was six days ago, now.~ For a moment, Alora sat frozen, her eyes wide, and the fear? It shifted, shifted from something that lingered deep within and became focused. It was fear for him. DeVeau: ~Who?~ Taybrim: ~I’m on the Tal Shiar’s hit list~ ::he admitted.:: A foreign feeling welled up in Sal’s chest. Anxiety, discomfort, the seeds of terror that something might be lingering in the shadows at every turn. Terror that bred paranoia. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like checking over his shoulders, he didn’t like the memory of blood spraying across his quarters or coming a hair’s breadth to death. He hadn’t shared as much as she had expected, but what he had was mortifying. She moved. Without thinking, without hesitation, she shifted, pulling herself out of his grasp so that she could encircle her arms around him, drawing him into her embrace, as if by the mere act of doing so could ward off any threat, any danger. DeVeau: ~You’re safe now.~ Hesitation. Pain. A spark of fear that flashed, burned and faded all at once. Taybrim: ~ I’m not. ~ DeVeau: ~You’re safe here.~ Taybrim: ~I am safe, here, in this moment. But when we return to StarBase 118 I am not. There will be another. And another. And another. I do not know what will stop them - if anything.~ He was right. As much as Alora loathed to admit it, he was right. He wasn’t going to be safe once they returned. The Tal Shiar had him in their sites, and they were a particularly deadly foe. Her grip on him tightened. DeVeau: ~Is there an investigation? Has anything been found?~ Would they be able to find anything? Intelligence hadn’t brought anything to her, but would they? Sal hadn’t said anything to her until now. Taybrim: ~Yes there is, it is ongoing, and no. They identified the assassin, and tied it to the Tal Shiar… I’m not sure what else there is to find.~ DeVeau: ~We’ll keep you safe.~ How? Alora had no idea. Absolutely none. All she knew was that she couldn’t allow anyone or anything to hurt him. Taybrim: ~I know you will try.~ He said it with a sorrowful acceptance. He was in no way trying to die. But he was aware that it was a growing possibility. She would try. Alora didn’t want to think about what would happen if she or anyone else failed. Her hold upon him tightened, then loosened suddenly and she withdrew. DeVeau: ~Why didn’t you tell me?~ Hurt seeped through the bond, past his shields. Taybrim: ~Do you think it is easy to rebound and immediately talk about such things?~ He honestly had to process what happened, first - and sleep. He had spent too many insomniac nights immediately succeeding the attempt. She was quiet for a moment, though she winced both inwardly and outwardly at the admonishment, and even more at the hurt that she felt come from him. Alora knew very well the answer to that question. DeVeau: ~No. I know it’s not.~ Taybrim: ~I will be honest with my staff moving forward and allow you to help me. That is the best I can do.~ She wanted to reach out, wanted to draw him close again, wanted to somehow make it all go away. But she couldn’t. Alora had no power. And she hated it. DeVeau: ~I wish I could fix this.~ Taybrim: ~I know. But it is both within our hands to be careful and far outside our reach to control.~ She knew that, but that didn’t stop her from wanting it, but that was far beyond Alora’s power. DeVeau: ~What can I do?~ He seemed quite plain in his initial thought process. Taybrim: ~Keep doing what you are doing. You are a tremendous help on StarBase 118.~ Quickly she shook her head. DeVeau: ~No. What can I do to help you?~ A pause and what seeped through the link was a deep, overwhelming exhaustion, laced with an undercurrent of loneliness. Taybrim: ~I’m not sure. I’m tired. But I have to keep going.~ She was familiar with that as well. She knew those emotions, those feelings. Alora was far too acquainted with them. She hesitated again, uncertain. Her own trials, her own troubles were pushed aside for the man in front of him. Slowly, she reached out again, her fingers lightly dancing over the back of his hand. DeVeau: ~You’re not alone.~ She’d heard the same thing, had been offered to her as well, but with the link between them, he could sense the depth of sincerity in each word as she uttered them. She wasn’t much, and maybe she was useless in dealing with the Tal Shiar, but if nothing else, she could offer that. Taybrim: ~ I know. ~ Slowly, he backed out from the telepathic bond. Not due to avoidance, or pain, but she could feel his concentration fray and mental exhaustion set in. What was once his baseline communication form was now an exhausting endeavor, and he was sitting far lower in the chair than before. Taybrim: I know ::He murmured.:: Did he know? She hoped so. Once more, Alora withdrew, her hand retreated and she clasped it to the other one. Taybrim: I’m tired. The words just fell from his mouth, simple, honest, plain. DeVeau: You should sleep. Could he rest? Would he really sleep? Alora wasn’t sure she was going to sleep herself that night. She slid her arms over each other, as if warding off a chill. Taybrim: I should. And so should you. ::He said with a weariness that indicated it would be difficult for both. DeVeau: I should. There was no question of whether or not she should. It was more whether or not she would. There was a new reason to fear, a new nightmare that would join the old. Her gaze lifted, meeting his and for a moment it seemed as if she would say more, but no words came. Instead, her eyes drifted away and toward the door, then back to him, and whatever she might have said before shifted into something completely different. DeVeau: Do you want me to walk you to your cabin? He paused and considered, and the words he chose were unexpected, even for him. Taybrim: Neither of us will be sleeping tonight, will we? Alora offered a half smile, but there was no real humour in it. DeVeau: No. Taybrim: It is not unusual when your mind is too full. Hers had been too full for some time. There were periods where it was better, where she was able to rest, able to sleep. But then… DeVeau: It’s...been that way for a while. Taybrim: Then let’s walk. Walk until the body has no choice but to sleep. Walk. If only it were that simple. Still, it was better than sitting there trying to distract herself, even with things she enjoyed. Better than running through the scenes over and over and over again, only to have them end the same way every time. Or now, with the new nightmare, into the possibility of what could happen in the future. That was just as frightening. A moment of silence stretched between them, but finally Alora nodded. DeVeau: Let’s walk. It wouldn’t solve anything, but at least she wouldn’t be leaving him alone. At least for a little while longer. Taybrim: Maybe if we walk until the sun rises, we’ll understand that there is yet hope. ::he murmured, getting to his feet.:: Sometimes it didn’t feel that way. Sometimes, when the darkness closed in and the shadows clutched at the throat, when the nightmares hammered night after night, when the fear threatened to utterly consume, it didn’t feel like it at all. Except she had to remember that was just a lie, a lie the mind told because it was too wrapped up in it all. She’d fallen into that trap. She didn’t want to fall into it again. Rising, she nodded, speaking the words she knew to be true, even if it was hard to remember that truth. DeVeau: There is always hope. He offered an arm out for her. A chance for something to hold. Something to lean on. Taybrim: The sun will always rise again. Her hand slowly slid through his arm, but she gave as much as she took, leaning and offering herself for him to do the same. The smile that fluttered over her lips was small, but a light shone within it. Deveau: Then let us watch it rise together. Taybrim: Lets. It wasn’t much, but it was a thin comfort. And sometimes thin comfort and the promise of hope was better than none. ****** Commodore Sal Taybrim Commanding Officer StarBase 118 Ops E239010ST0 & -- Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau First Officer Starbase 118 Ops al...@blar.net M239008AD0
  3. A really interesting and well written introspective after the horror of our last Skarbek mission, and an ominous way to conclude at the end. Well done, skipper! ----- ((Resort Villa, Cochtois Lagoon, Deluvia IV)) Music drifted through the open windows of the beachside villa, a distant bass line thumping. A party in its twilight hours, while the moon crept toward its peak in a twinkling sky. The occupants of the villa didn't hear it, curled up in their beds between fresh, soft sheets. Exhausted after a long day spent running around after an ebullient six-year-old intent on enjoying every activity on offer. Quinn rolled over in her sleep, throwing her arm across the broad chest of the German slumbering next to her. Perhaps it was the lingering effects of the psychic parasite, some remnants of its energy still crackling in the gyri and sulci of her brain. Perhaps it was her own subconscious trying to process exactly what she'd experienced. Whatever the reason, her sleeping mind brushed against her partner's, tangling and intertwining, until two dreams merged into one. ((Once Upon a Dream: Peshkova Colony, Demilitarised Zone)) Wind whispered through the long grasses and wildflowers on the outskirts of the colony, flames crackling and snapping around the charred logs of the bonfire. The Skarbek was a black shadow against the stars, the aging raider landed in green fields, clicking and creaking as the thick metal of the patchwork hull cooled in the evening breeze. The last of the crew stumbled away toward a bed for the evening—some collapsing into their own, some visiting another's—leaving two people still staring into the dying flames. Quinn sat on the ground, leaning back against a log, sipping from a bottle of beer. Walter next to her, perched on the same log, sipping from his hip flask. They sat in silence, minutes compounding upon minutes, until he voiced the question on both of their minds. Brunsig: Do you know why he did it? Quinn drew in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. The question had been on her mind for days, and she liked each answer she came up with less than the last. She'd played and replayed their time in the prison, reliving that hell over and over in search of some sign he'd been close to the edge. Instead of trying to move on from the experience, she'd pulled it closer, and pushed it under the microscope; paying the toll in sleepless nights and horrors seared on the insides of her eyelids. Reynolds: If you'd made me put money on someone doing something like that, it would have been Kos. We worried about him for a while there. Brunsig: That's not what I asked. Not it was not. Another long breath, lungs filled with nature and smoke, and she took a draught from her beer. She could feel the fading warmth of the fire on her face, but it was nothing like the oppressive heat of the prison barge. A soft caress, rather than a closed fist. Shame that the memories themselves were nowhere near so gentle, and she took another slug of beer to wash away the lump in her throat and cool the ache in her chest. Reynolds: After Kos shot the—::she corrected herself, knowing the man's name now::—shot Tirok, Serren admitted he'd killed someone in the past. Mikali sh'Shar? Brunsig: Banshee? We wondered why she dropped off sensors. Was a pain in the [...] until the Klingons picked up the slack. Reynolds: Well, she worked with her wife, who vanished around the same time. I didn't put two and two together before now, but she was a Trill, too. Safine Tan. One reason they got on so well was their ability to follow each other's train of thoughts, even when left unspoken. Quinn didn't need to finish the explanation; she'd marked out the dots, and he drew the lines between them. A picture drawn with mutual understanding. Embers snapped and popped in the fire, flames reflected in hazel and blue, until the words emerged with quiet, German precision. Brunsig: You think he killed her and took the symbiont? Reynolds: I'm just saying it would explain a lot. He would have been fighting his own mind the whole time, which accounts for all the... quirks. ::She paused.:: It could explain why he seemed to think we're like that, too. Easier to live with yourself when you believe everyone's as willing to pull the trigger as you are. Maybe it was too difficult to live with himself when he finally realised we're not. He shook his head and lifted the flask to his lips, letting her words percolate through. It was tough to believe, but it was the only clean line she could draw through the data she had. It was a shame it did nothing to scrub away the guilt; she'd been too quick to tend to her own needs, falling into a shower and a bed with nary a thought for checking on anyone else. Brunsig: Scheiße. Reynolds: It's just... We fought so hard to get everyone out of the prison, there were so many times it would have been easier to leave him behind. Even he said as much, and then... ::She ran her fingers through loose waves of her hair, and exhaled the ache blooming behind her ribs as a brief, humourless laugh.:: What was the point? Brunsig: We can't save everyone. Especially the ones who don't want to be saved. After a moment's thought, he stuffed the hip flask into his pocket and pushed himself off the log. Taking a seat on the ground next to her, he lifted his arm and wrapped it around her shoulders. Just as she'd sat and offered comfort after they'd rescued him, Soup and Valesha from the Cardassians, so he returned the favour. An expression of solidarity and support. Yet Quinn swallowed, feeling heat on her face which had nothing to do with the bonfire ahead. Brunsig: It is what it is. ::He paused, frowning into the middle distance.:: Hell, maybe we lucked out. If you're right, it means he didn't have a problem murdering the people he associated with. A grimace wrinkled her freckles at the indelicate observation, but she'd be lying if she said the same thought hadn't occurred to her. Quinn didn't know why Tan had killed the smuggler or exactly how he'd become a host, but there were few explanations that offered comfort or reassurance. Something had made him pull the (proverbial?) trigger, and they had no idea if that same thing could have repeated among their company. A sigh flowed out of her lungs, and she pinched the bridge of her nose, massaging the frown away. So many questions, the answers vaporised in the flash of a disruptor rifle, leaving nothing behind but guilt, doubt and frustration. Reynolds: It's Tan I feel sorry for. The symbiont, I mean. However Serren became its host, chances are it was traumatic. It's not like it had much of a choice in any of this, and then to die because... She trailed off and shrugged helplessly. The complexities of Joining and the responsibilities of host to symbiont and symbiont to host were not something she knew much about. Suicide was was always a tragedy, and with a Joined Trill it claimed two lives. But what happened if one was committed to that path and the other was not? Where did the host begin and symbiont end? Brunsig: We'll hike up to Memorial Rock tomorrow. Put something down, say a few words for him. Them. ::He paused and then a grumble rumbled out of his chest.:: And then we're performing an exorcism on the helm controls, because I'll be damned if our pilots aren't cursed. Quinn breathed out a wisp of a laugh, a fragile and gossamer thing that choked out in the back of her throat and made her eyes burn. Shaking her head, she drained the last of her beer and the bottle landed with a clatter of clinks in the enormous pile of empties. The communal fire of despair had seen many a drunk these past few days. Brunsig: Life's hard enough as it is, Quinn. Don't drag his carcass around with you. Do you regret getting him out of there? Reynolds: No. Brunsig: Remember that. You did right by your own conscience, whatever he did in the end. You've got control of no one's choices but your own. If there were words to answer him, she didn't know them. He drew in a deep breath, and to her surprise, he hooked an arm under her knees, pulling her against his chest. Quinn buried her face in his shoulder, the breeze chill against the damp on her cheeks, and held on. Close enough to smell the woody spice of his skin, and the late night stubble on his jaw scratched against her temple. But what started as an offer of comfort flowed into something else, as if the tide receded to reveal the secrets of the seabed beneath. Time elongated like pulled glass, each second a glittering, fragile moment, each waiting for the other to break it. Her hand on his chest, the drumroll of his pulse raced underneath her palm, and her own beat a similar tattoo. After a moment's hesitation, he wrapped his fingers around hers. A tender gesture, far more intimate than appearances might imply. Skin brushed against skin, thoughts brushed against thoughts, and Quinn sucked in a sharp breath as her mind touched his. An invitation into the guarded core of who he was, where he laid bare a depth of feeling she hadn't realised existed. Her world became silk and cinnamon and the low notes of a viola, and she had the measure of his heart, just as he now had hers. Reynolds: You're a dark horse, Walter Brunsig. Brunsig: I have my moments. Binary stars, locked into their interstellar dance, falling toward one another. She squeezed his fingers, her touch creating spirals of electric sensation that crackled through them both, and smiled at the way his thoughts shifted like a kaleidoscope. Her Deltan heritage was something she often struggled with, but there were times... She lifted her gaze to meet his. Hazel locked with blue, and heat blossomed out from the centre of her chest, rushing over her shoulders to pool at the base of her spine. She knew exactly how the rest of their night would play out. Perhaps he did, too, a small smile curling at the corners of his mouth as he dipped his head, his lips meeting hers in a first kiss. Ending the first movement in their symphony, beginning another, scored that night in soft sighs, low moans, and murmured affections. ...And in the real world, the two lovers slumbered through the deep of night, until the golden light of dawn chased their dreams of a Maquis life back into the darkness. Until the next time. -- Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0 & Captain Walter Brunsig Commanding Officer USS Triumphant
  4. ((Junior Officer’s Quarters – USS Constitution-B)) The atmosphere was warm, dry and lit dimly by the ambient lights that cycled on the power saving mode of a ship deep within its own internal repair cycle. And like the ship that sheltered them from the black and cold of the vacuum of space, so many of its passengers were broken and battered either in body, mind or spirit – sometimes all three – and cycling down to rest, relax and desperately repair. A thin haze of incense wafted through the room, a soft scent of musk and sand. It reminded him of his home world – one of them. Like the high arid plains of Vulcan. The solo figure knelt in the center of the room, a few thin regeneration patches for some low-grade electrical burns were the only badges of injury he visibly bore on his thin form. Some might say he had been lucky. He might agree. And yet his mind still pounded with a continual cycle of pain. Sometimes sharp and stabbing, more often dull and throbbing. Like waves crashing on the shore there was an ebb and flow, eased by sleep and hydration to a point, but always creeping back up in short order. Doctors assured him the mild head trauma would heal. There was always a trackable amount of cranial swelling and blood vessel changes that caused temporary pain. They offered analgesics. He had accepted, but was careful to take them, wanting to settle some of his rampant thoughts before he muted himself too much with drugs or sedatives. Taking a deep breath in, he was still. Trying to feel the weight of his body, concentrate on where his body was in contact with the deck and where his hands rested on his legs. Still. Breathe. ~Disconnect from your thoughts.~ He tried to pull back, allow his thoughts to move freely across his mental landscape and sit as an observer. This was a technique that had given him clarity in the past, allowing him to objectively visualize his emotions and understand what caused them and how to understand them more. ~Stay back and observe~ His breath hitched in his throat as he felt his consciousness sinking into a vast black pit. It was not the calm disconnect from his thoughts and emotions that he usually was able to achieve with time and effort, but a violent jerk backwards as if black tentacles were reaching out from an inky depth to pull him under. He felt like he was drowning. He could feel his heartrate spike and his face grew hot. His airway constricted to make each breath labored as he tried to draw it through his swollen throat and his mind twisted that into the feeling of sucking in tar. Pitching forward from his meditative position, he started coughing, but no water drained from his mouth. One hand formed a claw around his chest, digging in as the coughing fit rose in intensity until finally it reached a hoarse guttering rasp. Tears drained from his eyes and a ghost echoed through his brain. Her laugh. Her damnable laugh. It wasn’t stuck like a thorn in his psyche anymore, just a haunting memory. If he lingered too long on it, he could visualize himself falling down that well of interminable stairs, with her laughing at the top. Falling, always falling. Falling into a void where his calm should be. Placing both hands on the floor, he pitched forward in a tabletop position and tried to concentrate. To stop the floor from spinning underneath him. A wave of vertigo and nausea ran through his body as the room twisted giddily, and no amount of carefully controlled breathing exercises stopped it. A small whine escaped his lips and he slowly sank to one side and hugged his knees to his chest waiting for it to pass. ~why?~ He was trying to find center. To seek calm and see things objectively. To do things the Vulcan way, the way his grandfather had lectured on, the way that would make him controlled and logical. But all he wanted to do was sob like a stupid Human baby. Scream and yell and let the tears flow freely while swimming in a tidal wave of emotions that he could barely process. He wanted for someone to tell him it would be OK. Not now, not soon, but eventually. That with time it would ebb and recede and maybe, he would start to understand and grow stronger. He compromised. Tears wet his knees as he struggled to control his breathing and strive for control. A little bit of both. Just enough to stave away the panic, not enough to feel a full release of the building pressure of emotion that he couldn’t process in his usual ways. He was used to coming back to his quarters, expressing emotion, meditating, finding center and objectively gaining understanding. He had gotten much better at processing emotions in this way during his academy years, going from a deeply introverted, highly emotional first year cadet to a fairly stable, respected, friendly fourth year cadet known for his ability to work well with others. Each meditation was a step upwards and forwards, a chance to gain a better understanding of emotions and how to balance them with logic. But now everything was thrown out of balance. He had more emotions to process than he could possibly comprehend, and his tried and true methods of processing them weren’t working. Clearly not working from the fact that he was balled up on the floor of his quarters. Breathe… Breathe… Breathe. Slowly the room slowed and came to a stop. His head still hurt, but the feeling of sucking tar into his lungs was gone. He kept his eyes closed as he pushed himself back to his knees and pressed the palms of his hands into the sockets of his eyes, digging his thumbs into the pressure points at his temples until the pain faded. Ironically it was in these recovery periods where he felt the most grounded, focusing solely on stillness and breath, after the emotional wave was spent. Maybe he should take the medications? He wavered on that. He had to eat first. Eating sounded disgusting after the room-spinning nausea. Maybe he should drink something. That he might be able to handle. Slowly, getting equilibrium under him, he took tentative steps to the replicator and ended up with a warm mug of mellow, unsweet tea. Breathe. Drink. The doorchime rang and he straightened as if prodded with one of those electrical rods at full power, mug slipping from his hands. A deep olive shade of shame colored his cheeks as he dropped to his knees to pick up the pieces. So’Mior: Enter…? Saveron: ? He looked up, his dark eyes fixed on the doorway. The scent of meditation incense still lingered in the air, the rug was covered with the familiar slightly bitter scent of Mika, a traditional calming tea. Everything else was perfectly in its place, save the occupant. A rumpled uniform and bedraggled hair bespoke little sleep and too much movement for comfort. An unsettled mind. His eyes fixed on the older Vulcan and his jaw tightened against a new wave of emotion. Was he relieved? Embarrassed? Both? All at the same time he wanted the support and succor of someone to help guide him through this and yet was ashamed of his own state at the moment. He opted for soft politeness that was offset by his rather precarious position in gathering up the pieces of the teacup. So’Mior: Commander, greetings. Please, come in. Sit? His fingers fumbled for the last piece of shattered mug, rolling it along the wet rug instead of picking it up gracefully. And, like his scattered thoughts he finally captured it and got it with the others to take to the recycler. Saveron: ? So’Mior: I was startled. ::He stated it as honestly as possible. Not ‘you startled me’ – there was no reason to find anger nor fault in a doorchime. No, the fault – and the fault lines – were drawn within him.:: It will mend. He placed the pieces in the recycler and watched them fade into raw materials. Saveron: ? Slowly he turned towards the first officer, his expression was lost and searching. So’Mior: I… I don’t know. Saveron: ? Finally he moved himself from his lean by the recycler to a chair, which he sank down into with a steady exhausted bonelessness. So’Mior: I can’t… I can’t process it. I can’t find calm. I try and I feel like I’m drowning. If the hoarse tone to his voice said anything, feel like might be eerily accurate. Saveron: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ pNPC Ensign So’Mior Science Officer USS Constitution-B
  5. I really loved this sim! The insights into Meru's current state of mind completely captured me, and the beautiful and thoughtful world-building around Iyira was just fantastic; so many evocative details that really brought the city to life. Such a wonderful read. 💖 ((Emerald Reef Hotel, Deluvia IV)) Tahna Meru was awake. Tahna Meru was a Starfleet scientist. Tahna Meru was reciting these affirmations over and over in her head as she stared at the colorful schools of fish outside her bedroom window, coming down from the panicked high of another Skarbek nightmare. She counted the affirmations on the seaglass beads on her touristy twine bracelet. Awake. Starfleet. Awake. Her heartrate eventually slowed and she let go of the bracelet. She had planned to do something today, what was it? She pulled up her notes from the night before on her PADD -- explore Iyira, right. On the surface, the idea of exploring an underwater city seemed weird and dangerous, but she reasoned it was no different than living in space and anyway her underwater hotel room hadn't drowned her yet. And hadn't she joined Starfleet to explore strange new worlds? So far the strangest world she'd explored was Earth, everything since then had been a kidnapping or a nightmare. So Iyira it was. Her hair was still braided into a crown from the day before, mostly because she was too lazy to do anything else with it at the moment. She threw on a pair of sandals and a loose green dress she'd bought on Bajor, before the Academy. Before she signed up for a lifetime of trauma. Joining Starfleet was beginning to seem like a pretty bad decision. Iyira wasn't far, close enough for a Selkie or anyone else with the proper skills and gear to swim comfortably. Meru was not equipped with the proper skills or gear, so she had the option of transporting down to the city or taking one of the public submarines that shuttled back and forth from the Lagoon she was staying at to the capitol. She opted for the sub. Maybe she'd take a transporter back to her room, but she might as well take the scenic route to get there. They passed over the reef and dove along a path marked with anchored, floating lights. Just outside of the marked path she saw a colorful group of Selkies swimming -- their equivalent of going on a jog, she supposed. The submarine passed myriad schools of fish eventually stopping at a landing to let its passengers off into part of the city full of breathable air made possible by the force fields holding back tons of salt water. ((Iyira, Deluvia IV)) It was breathtaking. She followed the passengers from her sub down the footpath until it widened to reveal a city. She hadn't been expecting underwater skyscrapers -- what would a skyscraper that doesn't reach into the sky even be called, anyway? -- or as many colors of buildings as there were colors of coral. Where was she going again? She pulled up the map she'd downloaded to her PADD the night before -- Ichiya Market, maybe eight blocks away, though the city architecture flowed so gracefully she wasn't sure "blocks" was the right term either. She oriented herself and set off through the city toward the market, avoiding the roads that dove into water for the amphibious residents. She was nearly there when she saw someone she recognized from the Gorkon. She thought briefly about ducking her head and avoiding her, but her therapist wanted her to try making more friends. He had pointed out that they had all been through the same trauma so there was no need for her to feel different and shut herself off from them, and hopefully she would be on the Gorkon a good while longer and she should know the people she was working and living with. So she took a deep breath, rubbed the bracelet on her wrist, and smiled and waved. Tahna: Hello! Namura: Response Tahna: I was heading to this market-- Ichiya Market? You're welcome to join me. Namura: Response -- Ensign Tahna Meru Science Officer USS Gorkon (NCC-82293) G239801TM4
  6. (( Federation Dilithium Mine - Backsim )) The Saurian crouched down to sneak up to the area where the noise came from and peeked around the corner. His large eyes scanned the area. Jalana watched him with a frown, hearing more phaser fire and a loud thud. It took a moment before Camdar came back. Trex: Two pirates, four officers: Pascal, Strixx, Manfredi and Vok. They are covered in blood and are clearly injured, two looked unconscious or dead. But the pirates appear to be in a frenzy and seemingly unimpressed with being hit by the phasers. Nugra: Well, that's not a good sign. T'Seva: Drugged? Miner: Yeah sometimes they were like that, aggressive and reckless, like they were high. Jalana thought back to a past mission when they had faced the Syndicate. Back then they had occupied a planet to harvest treesap that was the main ingredient for a rather popular street drug. Rajel: Hrm.. 'All time high' caused hallucinations and a high, but it didn't cause that reaction. Nugra/T'Seva/Officers: response Rajel: It would fit the description. If the highest stun settings don't work... Nugra: We might be dealing with a different strain of something. T'Seva: Blacklight? That causes aggression. Jalana sighed and nodded. She didn't like that thought but she had to protect her people, if two of them were down and all of them injured they had to act now. And she knew she couldn't. She hadn't even been able to shoot at the man who had attacked her a while ago. She had to leave that to the pros. Rajel: Do it. Shoot to kill. She exchanged glances with both Nugra and T'Seva. They knew her well enough to know what that meant. Do it for me. She wouldn't but even if she wanted to, she couldn't. But knowing that they had officers down, Jalana would rather take care of them anyway. They saw their preparations and had to remind herself that it was necessary. Nugra: I recommend you stay near me or T'Seva, Commodore, so that you won't have to use your weapon. She nodded to him, grateful for having her back like that and opened her Medkit to retrieve the Tricorder to have it ready immediately. The other medical officer did the same and they gave each other a nod. Rajel: Be careful in there everyone. It usually went without saying but she felt better to do it anyway. Nugra: On three. A deep breath, listening to the groans and shots from next door. Nugra: One. A wild scream like an angry animal ready to pounce its prey. Nugra: Two. She could see Nugra's muscles tense up. Nugra: Three! And off they went. Jalana waited a moment with the other medical officer, allowing Nugra, T'Seva and the Security detail to draw attention first. Phaser and Rifle fire shot through the room. Jalana turned to the medical officer. Rajel: What's your name. She really wanted to know for some reason. A sudden urge. There were so many people on the ship and no matter how much she tries she couldn't know them all. She wanted to know who she was working with. Why now and not earlier? Who knew. Han: It's Soo Mi, Ma'am. Han Soo Mi. The Trill nodded and smiled at the woman who reminded her of Ji-hu. Maybe they came from the same region on Earth. Rajel: Call me Jalana. Keep your head down in there. Let's find the downed officers and get them out of the line of fire. Han: Got it Ma... Jalana. They nodded at each other again and then Jalana gestured for them to get in. She crouched down and entered the 'fray'. Looking around she immediately spotted one of the downed officers. She gestured to Soo Mi that she was going that way. A nod in return and Jalana moved quickly, glad she had changed into pants, which made this easier. She slipped behind cover and peeked around the edge waiting for a pause in shots before she quickly rushed to the other side. She saw the Officer and looked to the raging pirates that kept the others busy. Soo Mi had found the other one and was on her way to him. At the right time Jalana jumped forward, reached for the sleeve of the officer and pulled him behind cover. She knew very well it could cause injury if she did not check on him first, but if they remained in the line of fire they could both go down. The medical team could fix injuries but not death. But as she opened her Tricorder and looked down at the scan she realized she didn't have to worry about that. Her face hardened with a grim expression as her hand hastily wandered to his neck trying to find a pulse. Rajel: Come on Vok. ::She mumbled and her fingers ran along the side of his neck, desperate to find just one throb.:: I didn't dismiss you yet. But he didn't reply, didn't move and no matter how hard and where she checked for any sign of life, be it pulse, reaction in his eyes or other, there was nothing. If she interpreted the readings correctly, he had been dead for at least five minutes already. A shot in the back. Jalana's shoulders slumped and she placed her hand on the man's cheek, patting it slightly. Rajel: Rest now. She whispered and bit her lip before she raised her eyes, staring at the piece of wall in front of her as she took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. If she cried now that wouldn't help anyone. The sounds of the struggle around her were a clear sign of that. Davis: =/\= This is Lieutenant Lazarus Davis. Syndicate members, we have recaptured with facility. There is a Galaxy class starship out there, and the–the Theseus and Minotaur have been destroyed. You are at our mercy. Any remaining Syndicate operatives, lay down your arms and gather in the mess hall. You will not be harmed. All teams: shuttles have been signaled, prepare to return to the Constitution. Davis out. =/\= The voice sounded weird, metallic and distorted but she recognized it as Lazarus. She hoped that the pirates would follow his words, she had the feeling that the ones in here would not. She saw though that they were confused. Definitely drugged. But then jumped back into action. Nugra: Watch out! Nugra's sudden shout made her look in his direction, she couldn't see what he referred to but he quickly moved and stood in front of Camdar and then a loud bang and an explosion rattled the room and threw her off her knees. Her ears rang and or a moment she felt disoriented but as she found grasp a thought again it immediately went to Nugra, then to the others. It was silent now for a moment, then there was a groan, a woman. Who was it? She looked up from behind her cover. What she saw first was a mountain of lizardy skin with red wet spots. Blood! Her eyes widened and she was about to sprint off when she remembered pirates but she couldn't hear them. Carefully she rose and peeked over the edge and as she could not see them she stretched her legs and looked to where she had seen them last. It looked like the explosion had hit them as well, even if they were still alive they would be suffering hell. Seeing at that they wouldn't fight her that easily she quickly rushed towars Nugra. Rajel: T'Seva! Are you okay? ::calling out:: ((OOC: Cleared that with T'Seva beforehand )) T'Seva: response Hearing her voice was a relief. She slid across the floor and came down on her knees next to Nugra as she called out to the other woman. Rajel: Check on the pirates. Make sure they don't attack us again. If they were still able to that was. T'Seva: response She looked down at the Gorn and found the Saurian under him, but he was already crawling out from under the mountain of a man. Jalana ran her tricorder along his body and exhaled. Rajel: He is alive but badly hurt. He's losing blood, open wounds, organ damage, his blood pressure is unstable... ::She trailed off and then reached into the medkit to retrieve a hypo to stabilize him. She could see that he was unconscious but this would keep him out of it so he wouldn't move and make things worse.:: We need to get him to the ship.:: She looked up and two of the other officers who looked worse for wear nodded and ran out. She knew they would retrieve the antigrav units for transports.:: T'Seva: response Rajel: Soo Mi what about Manfredi? No answer. Rajel: Soo Mi? A small groan and Camdar had freed himself and was up on his feet, he limbed and didn't look good but he could walk and was rushing to the medic's side. He covered Jalana's view. Trex: We're here... keep calm. The words and the non reply alarmed Jalana and she got up to head over and there she saw it. Soo Mi was next to Manfredi, and a large shard of debris had hit her body in a way that it cut right through her. Her face was pale and there was blood, not enough for that kind of wound, but scrapes and cuts over her skin where other pieces of debris must have hit her. An unseemly Trill cuss came over her lips and she dropped down next to her immediately taking her vitals that were rapidly dropping. She had internal injuries and there was no time to get her to the ship for the surgery she needed, she was fading already. T'Seva: response Rajel: Soo Mi, we are here. We'll get you back to the Conny you hear? Soo Mi: ::barely whispering:: Manfre... The Saurian had checked on his colleague and his huge eyes looked down to the medical officer. His translator doing all the heavy work today. Trex: He's alive. I'll check on Nugra let you know if his condition changes. ::With that he headed over to the Gorn.:: T'Seva: response Soo Mi smiled, a shake of her lips and it looked a bit like a grimace, her body started to shiver, the pain spiking even on the tricorder display. Jalana put the tricorder on the floor and reached into her medkit with her free hand, trying to remain calm. She wanted to fight for her, make sure she would see the ship again. But if her work in the Emergency room had shown her something, it was that sometimes you couldn't do anything. The damage was too extensive to do anything here with the means she had. If they had a field medic maybe. But they hadn't. The surgery needed had to be done on the ship and it would take over half an hour to get to it even if they hurried. Anything over 10 minutes would be too late. She hated it, but if she couldn't help her, she could make sure she wouldn't die alone. Rajel: I'll give you something for the pain. ::The Hypo hissed against the woman's neck who visible relaxed.:: Jalana patted her hand gently and fought the tears, trying to smile for the woman who even now had worried more about Manfredi than her own. T'Seva: response Soo Mi's eye lids became heavy, Jalana saw her try to keep them open but in the end she failed. Her breath came ragged. Rajel: You did well, Soo Mi. Rest. We'll get you home. As if she had waited for those words the body of the young woman went limb and the only reason her arm didn't drop to the floor was that Jalana still held it. Her eyes dropped to the Tricorder before she closed the display and closed her eyes with a deep breath and carefully placed Soo Mi's hand down before she stood up. T'Seva: response Rajel: The injuries were too bad, she wouldn't have made it even to the shuttle. I didn't want her to go in fear. T'Seva: response The hurried steps of the officers pulled her attention and they brought the antigrav units in from the shuttle that was still waiting outside. They brought one right over to Nugra and began to work on putting him up on it. The surviving officers were able to walk so Jalana indicated where Vok was and stepped aside to make room to get Soo Mior too. The Trill felt tired, and defated. But they couldn't just stand here and stop functioning. She raised her green eyes to T'Seva and reached out with a hand trying to grab her forearm for a squeeze. Rajel: Let's get them home. T'Seva: response And that was what they did, in silence. The events of the day hanging in the air pressing down on them. Though she stayed at Nugra's side, constantly checking for his vitals. She was not losing him too. ----- Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0
  7. I guess you may already know that but USS Arrow simulation was just launched last Monday. In order to celebrate such unique event here are the nominations for the Top Funny Quotes of the Season. 🤣😆😂😝
  8. First let me start by saying I am not really impartial here. Sherlock joined me in my return cruise and I have enjoyed her life around the fleet. But this sim really got me by surprise, and I think it deserved it's place here. ((OOC: trigger warning: there is talk concerning abortion in this sim. Continue on at your own risk.)) ((Officer's Lounge, Deck 19, Deep Space 224)) Aine had spent the day avoiding public spaces. She was nervous enough to agree to meet Mel, running into him would have just made things worse. She wished she hadn't arrived early. The minutes felt like lifetimes. She wondered what Mel wanted to talk about. Her worst nightmare was that he would want to rekindle their relationship. She sipped at her water and sincerely hoped he'd be late so she'd have an excuse to leave. But no luck there, for there he was. He approached and everything felt like it slowed, save for her breathing which quickened. Walking up to the table, he handed her a single purple dahlia, her favorite. She took it and stared at it for a moment, it's many petals standing out in the dim lights of the lounge. Martinson: May I? ::gesturing to the chair opposite her:: Aine's eyes shifted back and forth. Sherlock: Of course. Martinson: ::settling into the seat:: Can we...can we just start over for a moment? Sherlock: We can try. Martinson: Ok. Well, how are you? How are you finding your time in the fleet? Sherlock: I'm good. Things are good. I'm ::beat:: making friends with some of my shipmates. The work can be tough, but I'm enjoying it. Martinson: That's good. I've read a couple mission reports from the Resolution. ::laughing behind his words:: You guys' have seen some stuff. Sherlock: You could say that. :: shrugging with her hands:: Just another day in the Fleet, right? Aine watched as the normally overly confident man seemed jittery and nervous. His hands clasped on the table. He appeared to be trying hard to not anger Aine...again. She almost felt bad for him. She decided to show him she was going to be civil. Sherlock: Um...what about you? You got assigned to the...Gle... Martinson: Glenn, yeah. Still there. Nothing quite as exciting as your ship. But, we're more diplomacy focused. Mostly it's been settling small colonial disputes. So, how are...uh...how are your parents? She thought back to when they came to visit the Academy campus in San Francisco, a long journey as far as they were concerned. Mel was a nervous wreck meeting them. Aine grinned at the memory. Sherlock: They're good. My ma brings you up every now and then. My da, well, he's a father so he despises you. They both laughed at the notion. Sherlock: And your ma? Martinson: She's good. Still in the fleet. I think she's planning on retiring in a few years. She hasn't brought you up since... Sherlock: Gee, thanks. Martinson: No, that's not what I meant. She loved you. She just, for me, doesn't bring it up. Aine saw his nervousness rise. She flashed him a sly grin to let him know she was only joking. Sherlock: So, is this what you wanted? Just to chat and catch up? Martinson: Yes. Well, I wanted to say something. I know what I did was horrible. I'm not denying that. And I am sorry. I was young, career driven...stupid. And I am really sorry. I still care about you. And, I want you to know that. Aine swallowed hard. oO Maybe he does really feel bad? Oo Truth was, she never could fall out of love with him despite the pain. She nodded her head slightly to acknowledge his apology. Sherlock: Thank you. Mel took in a deep breath of relief. Sherlock: But, please know, it hurt. And it still hurts. This doesn't excuse you leaving. Martinson: No, I know that. I get that. Totally. I screwed up. I know. Sherlock: Good. Ok. Martinson: Ok. So, I know this is a big ask, but can I meet them? Aine's eyes narrowed as she thought about the question. She was more confused by it than anything. Sherlock: Meet who? Martinson: The baby. I mean, they're not a baby anymore, it's been three years and... Sherlock: Is this a sick joke? Mel looked like a man who'd made a mistake and Aine wondered now how much he really knew. How much he'd really looked into the situation after he'd left. Martinson: I know I haven't been there. But maybe that can change? Aine couldn't believe what was happening, she felt sick to her stomach. Sherlock: You don't even know, do you? Martinson: Know what? Sherlock: There is no baby. Mel looked shocked as he clasped his hands together in front of his mouth. Sherlock: After you left, just like you, I chose my career. I couldn't have a kid. Martinson: Aine, I'm so sorry. Sherlock: All of that nearly ended my chance in Starfleet, ya know? Even after I had the pregnancy terminated, it wasn't easy. I nearly failed my next year. Nothing was easy. She could feel the heat building in her cheeks and ears. It was bad enough he showed up, and now this, the ultimate painful reminder. Mel looked defeated sitting across from her. She could tell he was in shock and had never even considered that she'd go that route. Martinson: I don't know what to say. Sherlock: You don't have to say anything. Clearly you're full of it. You just showed how much you really care. You should just walk away, right now. Like you do. Martinson: Aine... Sherlock: Now! Aine looked around with her eyes, biting her lower lip seeing that all the other officers present were now looking at them. The heat of anger in her face was now replaced by embarrassment. Martinson: Can we ju... Sherlock: ::gritting her teeth and staring angrily:: Leave. Now. Martinson: ::standing:: Ok. I'll go. Mel looked like he was about to say something else. A brief pause before he turned and walked away. As he moved out of ear shot, Aine let out a breath she was holding, but the weight in her chest felt like it would cave it in. She breathed heavily as she held back tears. to be continued "special" appearance by Lt. Melvin Hollis Martinson Lieutenant Junior Grade Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0
  9. OOC: I got a chuckle out of this. Julien seems like a hoot. IC: ((Dunamis' Quarters, Habitat Ring, Starbase 118)) // To: Ensign Dunamis From: Ensign Julien Lockehart Dear Duney, Heard of your new assignment! Congratulations, by the way. I hear that 118 is a hot place to be right now. You’ve read the reports of their latest mission probably, of course you have, studious bloke, you. You’ve always been. Saving prisoners on Qo’nos while fighting off cultists! Wow. I only wish I had that kind of assignment. Here on the Victoria nothing much happens, we’re stuck on routine DMZ patrol. Oh, well. What can you do, am I right? Captain Kell is a nice guy though which is a bonus. We should meet and catch up sometime, eh? Just the two of us like old times, talking like old friends while you insisted on poring over our textbooks two months in advance for that class test. Just relax, okay? You don’t need to keep on working yourself raw. There’s more to life than your career and you deserve a little space to explore all aspects of it. Including the more fun ones. 😉 Ah ha, you know what I mean. Get back to me when you’ve made up your mind on it, okay? See you, handsome. Don’t keep me waiting with that response. Regards, Jules // Julien Lockehart. He hadn't seen that name in years. The name brought to mind a shortish, blond-haired bespectacled human male who'd been a schoolmate of his four years ago now, and with that recollection came a familiar tale - one that admittedly still embarrassed him to no end to tell. He still remembered how it'd gone down: ((Flashback - Time Index: 3 years ago)) ((Event Hall, Starfleet Academy - Earth campus)) Dune was not a party person. He never had been. Call it a remnant of a childhood growing up as the sole Kelpien child in a class of humanoid children. Too many people around at any one time made him nervous, in fact, a feeling he masked with apparent stoicism. Yet here he was, an hour into the prom, neatly dressed in a light pink dress shirt, tie, suit, pants and even shoes to match, spindly fingers clutching a glass of champagne. Being as slim as a twig sometimes has its perks and this particular time was one of them; he looked absolutely stunning. At the current moment his attention was oh so mercifully occupied by his Klingon best friend, though: Qltlha: Duney, please, for the love of Kahless, let those shoulders of yours relax for once in your life! You have earned the right to party the night away, more than any of us with that lofty degree of yours! Dune: ::sighing:: Qltlha, you know me and my work ethic. I do not normally fully relax. Not when there is more to be done for the morrow. I leave for starbase 23 in the afternoon and my packing is still unfinished. The shuttle leaves at 1300 hours- Qltlha: For the starbase and starship, the latter of which which will only be there next week! Dunamis! You are being ridiculous! I know you favor punctuality and preparedness but that extent of it is too much! ::sighing in exasperation:: You will harm yourself one day with that attitude, my friend, if you do not keep it under control. ::squints, looks over his shoulder and snickers:: Oh, Kahless' blade. There's Julien now! Julien? He'd been told by the human that he'd show with a surprise in store, of course - but not quite the sight that he got as soon as he turned his head. Oh, goodness gracious, that was surely the laciest garish red dress he'd ever seen. Somehow or other it flattered the human male's figure perfectly, along with the blush, lipstick, eyeliner and fake brows and the ridiculous black wig with utterly mismatched bangs - among other features, of course. When Julien had mentioned a surprise the first thing in the Kelpien's mind admittedly had not been to appear at the prom in full drag. Oh, he knew that the human had been head over heels for him ever since they'd met at orientation of course, but this was absolutely flooring each and every (failed) attempt at courtship so far. Strangely? Amidst the silliness of the whole situation Dune found himself thinking that the human actually looked attractive in that getup. Oblivious (or perhaps totally ignorant of) the looks and catcalls and kisses blown his way Julien sashayed his way towards the pair and struck a pose, fingers in a V and all. Lockehart: How do I look? Duuuuuney? ::batting his eyelashes at the Kelpien:: Dunamis: ::choking a little:: Julien. Goodness gracious. Why are you dressed like that? Qltlha: ::smirking:: It was my idea. He wished to make a last impression on you and hopefully earn your arm for the night! Come on, Duney, won't you be a good friend and indulge him? One night? Lockehart: I wore red just for you~ ::giggling:: It's your favorite color isn't it? You look spectacular, by the way. Is that blazer of yours custom made? It fits so snugly- ::places both hands on the arm of the suit:: Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Yes, he could handle flirtation well enough, but in this situation, where he couldn't quite decide what his mind thought of the whole thing his friends' words were becoming quite uncomfortable - and so he took the only other option he could think of. Dune: Um. ::gently brushing Lockehart's hand off:: Excuse me for a moment... And off he went through the crowd in the direction of the toilets, ignoring shouts of "don't keep me waitiiiiing~" behind him. You'd think that for a people so tall and skinny they'd be hard to lose - ha, not really. Blushy, uncomposed Dune was gone in the crowd in seconds even when not running. ((End flashback)) Ensign Dunamis Tactical Officer Starbase 118 - USS Narendra 0239706DM0
  10. @Sheila Bailey writes beautifully and I just love the sweetness of this ending! ((Virixis VI - Beachside)) DeVeau: Unfortunately, we got called back to duty really suddenly and I was so intent on getting to my station as soon as possible, I forgot to take my squirrel costume on. Sheila’s gaze turned longing for a moment as she remembered her friend. It was this particular friend, a joined Trill, that had had a performer as one of her past hosts. She had still been able to carry on the skills of singing, ballet, and acting, though she most often danced. And this particular friend had often invited her to performances, in which she carried a starring role, in Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and Jewels, among many other ballets. Yet since their graduation the two friends had hardly spoken to each other. Thankfully the good memories lasted and were seemingly enough to fill the empty void. Yet Sheila was reminded of her sisters too. Her younger sister, Margaret Anne, had often written plays and stories when she was younger. Oftentimes she had been able to coerce their older sister Cathleen into playing some of the other roles; Sheila never did like to perform in those plays and stories yet she had been willing on more than one occasion to paint the sets. One time however, in the course of a play rehearsal, the scene had had both Margaret and Cathleen running in the yard and up a tree. Cathleen had tried climbing but slipped and tore her skirt and her knee. Since then Sheila was fairly sure her older sister had stuck to wearing pants. It seemed like the only situation in her personal experience that was in any way similar to the one which Alora was describing. Bailey: ::Holding back a laugh:: What a sight. I can imagine your commanding officer being angry at that, though I guess it depends on the seriousness of the event which called you back to duty. Clothing hardly limits one's ability to perform their job. Even if one was wearing a ball gown, improvisations could be made. And in the right attire swords could be slipped down the backs of dresses, or strapped to the thigh. If not, the dress’s skirt could be tied up around the waist of the wearer to allow for easier movement. With this in mind it certainly seemed that a squirrel costume was comfortable as well as easy to move in, likely made of a soft material used for pajamas. Definitely not the sort of thing to go get mad about. Disappointed maybe, and some might even laugh about it too. Sheila might have laughed if she had seen the incident in person. Now however she worked to hold in her laughter and simply listen, that was the polite response to make. DeVeau: Commander Ross wasn’t happy. Didn’t yell at me, but he didn’t need to. I literally was so focused on getting to my station I didn’t even think about my costume not being the proper attire. Sheila was intent on listening carefully to Alora’s story. Asking leading questions and showing her interest and respect. Though it did make her wonder. Perhaps Sheila and Alora could combine their talents and set up a performance sometime for the crew. A light hearted performance. Sheila knew that she herself could use a spot humor after the several tough missions that she had gone through. Perhaps too could she find her way back to the sarcastic, witty woman she had once been. For Alora it could be a change to redeem herself, in a way. To finish out the play and get back to her station in her proper attire. Bailey: That seems completely understandable. DeVeau: What about you? I know you sing and have a pretty voice! Bailey: Oh myself? I’ve not been in any performances, plays I mean. I have been told however that I would be great for singing at a wedding. DeVeau: I know. I remember you sang part of an Elaysian lullabye when I brought you that violet. Like I said, you have a lovely voice. You could easily perform. What about other types of performances? Bailey: And the dancing? Nothing like what my friend did. She was all into ballet. But Elaysia has a great many traditional dances. Jigs and the like. Perhaps I could get a holoprogram of them together for you sometime. I would demonstrate myself but I’m not in the condition for it yet. DeVeau: I would love to see you dance. Maybe on the holodeck? I’m sure we can program the gravity to make it lower so you could perform it properly. Oh why hadn’t Sheila thought of it in that way? At first she had thought she would only be able to get a holographic performance set up, one in which she wouldn’t be able to take part in. Yet Alora’s comment reminded her of her last holodeck experience with an old friend. Those machines certainly could be programmed to fit anyone’s personal needs. Bailey: Sure, just comm me sometime and I’ll get something set up. Oh and speaking of performances it would seem that one would need a headshot for auditions and the like. ::At this Sheila went shuffling through her stack of papers looking for one in particular. Once she found the one she was looking for she handed it over to the other woman:: Here. Alora took a minute, not glancing at the handed over drawing quite yet, a look of surprise forming on her face. Sheila gave Alora a small smile in return, her sense of curiosity growing. DeVeau: What’s this? Sheila handed over another pencil portrait; the original copy, a second copy having been left in her own quarters back on the station. This one however unlike the others was not of some fanciful woman. It showed simply a woman with long dark hair, a round slim face, and sharp collar bones. The composition was of Alora. Sheila had managed to find time to get around to composing it, sometime between last shore leave and then start of this one. Their last conversation together had sparked it and Sheila did well to keep her promises. Bailey: I finally got around to drawing it, after we last talked. I want you to have the original copy. Hope you like it. DeVeau: I do! It’s lovely! ::Alora took a moment to look at the drawing:: I’m amazed at your talent. Bailey: Thank you. It’s nice to be drawing again, to be making it my own. DeVeau: I’m going to have this framed. Do you think people will think I’m too self absorbed if I hang it on my wall? Bailey: I believe not. I have several drawings, like this one, of myself and my sisters hanging on the walls of my own quarters Sheila widened her smile. Alora certainly seemed to appreciate the talent she showed. Such appreciation lifted her spirits. DeVeau: I think I’m going to take this back to my cabin right now and package it up. I don’t want it to get damaged. Bailey: I’m glad you don’t. Best to keep it away from the waves. And if you frame it it’s less likely to smudge the graphite. ::Slight pause:: I’ve enjoyed your company. DeVeau: ::Smiling:: Thank you Sheila. I’ll see you later, but I’m glad to have this as a reminder of you. Sheila watched as Alora rose from her chair and turned to place a gentle hand upon her shoulder. After a slight pause the other woman moved off carefully taking the treasured drawing with her. Sheila watched her go, even considered waving as Alora disappeared out of sight, yet thought better of it. Once out of sight Sheila turned back to her art supplies, pulling out a fresh sheet of paper. Before long a graphite drawing was starting to form, one that was beginning to show two women standing side by side. By the time the drawing was finished it was clearly a composition showing Alora and Sheila, the water in the background, their arms around each other in a side hug, almost as if they were posing for the artist to be able to draw them. [End Scene] Lieutenant Sheila Bailey Chief Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0 "The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm." - Florence Nightingale
  11. One of our officers introduced a new character, and I really enjoyed getting to know him a little bit. I look forward to seeing what he does with Dune! IC: ((Verriar’s Tongo Palace, Starbase 118)) How out of place he must have looked: six feet and eight and a half inches of lank in uniform, clutching a tiny glass cup that seemed like a little fruit wrapped in branches in relation to his long, thin fingers. Large golden eyes stared intently down at the spinning tongo wheel about a foot in front of him, round which many gathered to hedge their bets. Dunamis was not a gambler. He never had been – except in chess where one would sometimes strategically gamble away their pieces in the hopes of victory. He didn’t like tongo. It was far too reliant on luck and chance and not enough on the skill of the player. But hey, maybe that was chess player him speaking, eh? Admittedly when the others had extended him invitation to meet at the commercial sector for a men’s night out he hadn’t expected to have to walk all the way down decks to this bar he found far too dark and far too… vicelike. He’d drank what he’d been recommended, of course, it was only polite – and been complimented by the many-armed hostess for it – which admittedly still didn’t sit well in his belly. No, really. And the aftertaste was far too chemical-like for his tastes. But hey, one sometimes made compromises for connections did they not? Dunamis: ::glancing upwards at Isaiah and rubbing his eyes:: Remind me how many rounds it has been, again? My vision has begun to swim. Andrews/Yael: ? Dunamis: Ah. I see. Not at all, actually. I think the wheel has spun so many times I’ve lost count. Andrews/Yael: ? Right then a waitress walked up to him. Waitress: What can I get you, tall, stoic and handsome? Dunamis: ::directed at the attending waitress:: One iced lemon tea, please? He watched her nod and walk off, following which golden eyes flickered over the little circle of drinks set before the group on the table. Most, if not all of them were alcoholic. The chemical-y scent stung at his sensitive nose. He’d never understood why the human idea of a ‘men’s night out’ was casual gambling, alcohol and/or bars or any other variant on the same. Was the idea of appearing at work hung over the following morning not enough to dissuade them? Not that he was going to complain, of course. Dunamis: How long have you both been patronizing this establishment? ::gratefully accepting the cup of tea he was given:: Andrews/Yael: ? Ensign Dunamis Tactical Officer Starbase 118 - USS Narendra O239706DM0
  12. A couple of us are getting some off-duty face to face time with our Captain and I was fortunate enough to get to ask the right questions to get some good reminiscing out of her.
  13. OOC: This made me chuckle. IC: ((CMO's Office, Main Sickbay, Deck 10, USS Thor)) Hoping to save some of his precious time, Wes stood in front of Lieutenant Alieth’s desk, hoping against hope that she would help him out. Greaves: Hey Doc, hope you're not busy. I was looking for a favor. The woman's face remained expressionless, but somehow acquired a more relaxed air. Alieth: No, in fact, it is a remarkably quiet day. How can I be of service? Wes slid a padd out of his uniform pocket and slid it across Alieth's desk. Greaves: I won't lie, I'm not here for a social call. I'm swamped with work and I need my annual medical signed off. Can you hook me up and clear me for duty? The Marine watched as Alieth glanced at the padd, then at the marine, then back at the padd, and once again at her friend. Her brow furrowed anew, dangerously so. Largely because there was a taunting glint behind the sullen expression. Alieth: Absolutely not a chance. You are going to get the mandatory physical. Point. By. Point. oO Ah, so we’re doing it the hard way Oo Wes dropped into a chair in front of the woman’s desk and frowned at her. Greaves: Alieth, come on. I’m swamped with work, I don’t have time. Besides, you basically just did an exam after my shuttle… incident. Tell you what, we can work something out. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. The Vulcan folded her arms across her chest and radiated an energy that would make most men taller than her cringe. Alieth: I will not accept bribes this time Wesley, you have skipped so much Vulcan scolding lately, Come on, take off your jacket. For a moment Wes considered arguing, but he knew his friend. This was a lost battle, and it wasn’t a hill he needed to die on. If anything, cooperation would speed things along. Then again, a little begruding acceptance wouldn’t hurt. Greaves: Fine, fine, but let’s make this quick. Just wave a tricorder over me or something and call it good. Alieth: Come on Wesley, stop being so shy, I have stirred the inner part of your ribcage, I think few people can say the same. With an exaggerated huff more characteristic of an angry 12 year old, Wes stood and began unbuttoning his uniform top with extreme prejudice. Greaves: Alright doc, have it your way, but I’m going to remember this next time you need a favor from us. Just know, if you ask me to pee in a cup, I’m spilling it. Now what do you want me to do? Alieth: Response He tossed his uniform jacket onto the desk, nearly causing one of the two small towers of padds to wobble. For a second it looked like it might topple, but eventually the wobbling settled and Wes shot his friend a mischievous glance. Greaves: Well you should know my medical history better than I do by now. I basically don’t remember the last time I was here… you know, head trauma and all that. Aleith: Response Greaves: I mean, I’ve got all the usuals. My back aches, my ears ring, my knees hurt, I seem to roll my ankle at least once a week… You know, normal stuff. Is there something in particular you’re asking about? Alieth: Response TAG/TBC ========================= Captain (SFMC) Wes Greaves Marine Detachment Commander Chief of Security & Tactical USS Thor - NCC 82607 E239702WG0 =========================
  14. If introspection is the name of the game, then @Samira Neathler is one of the undisputed champions. A brilliant inward reflection after a traumatic experience. ((N’Vea Hospitals’ Grounds - Deluvia IV)) Standing on the broad stairs of one of the many entrances of the N’Vea Hospitals, she looked up at the tall building. Mainly build out of a glasslike material, the windows reflected the peaceful scenery from outside. Palm trees from further down on the beach mirrored on the higher levels of the building. The lower levels revealing the green grass fields that surrounded the base of the building. Paved paths meandered through the pasture. Well-travelled pathways, by the looks of it, as people walked from one point to the other. The complete picture gave the building a serene and inviting look. But deep down, Samira felt anything but serene. She heard children’s laughter and her gaze shifted to the green fields. A child was running towards a couple, one of the women, opening her arms wide as the toddler ran into her open arms. The lady lifting up the child before she cuddled the girl tightly. Was that one of the tricks the therapists used? Do well and you get to see your loved ones during a stroll outside? Samira looked away, she shouldn’t think like that. She’d been at the Hospital before. After the incident with the upside down ship. She knew the medical care in the center was excellent. But this time, it was different; it felt different. It wasn’t a burned limb that needed fixing. It was something in her mind. Something that wouldn’t go away. First there was the name of list that popped up in her mind when she didn’t want it to. A shortlist containing mainly Cardassian names. Every single name evoking a feeling of hate towards a certain person that she didn’t know existed. People who in another lifetime, that wasn’t real, had hurt her. She had looked up the names in Starfleet’s database, yet had recognised none of them. She had never met any of them in her short life. Next was knowing what her counterpart had done. What she was capable of. She looked down, studying her hands. Hands that, when covered with full gloves, hiding the scarred tissue and badly healed bones underneath, were capable of cold blooded murder. No questions asked. Just because someone belonged to a certain species, those hands decided to end those lives. While the hands she stared at now had hardly fired at any living being at all. The two exceptions were on the upside ship when she had to fight off a couple of thieves. And the other occasion was during Academy classes. Even then it was rare, but when it happened, she was fully aware she was shooting at holographic images. While her counterpart, while not knowing she was in holoprogram, killed those beings nonetheless, in the blink of an eye. Samira swallowed and lowered her hands. Even her morning runs no longer helped to clear her mind. There was always something that reminded her of Fingers and what she had done. The first time, she could blame Lladre for every crazy thing that the evil Trill had put in her mind. The second time, Q orchestrated things behind the scene. But this time? Sure, she could blame Genkos for dropping them in the Skarbek world, or more precisely the thing that had possessed his brain. But there was only one person accountable for the heartless killing she had done, and it was herself. She stared at the entrance, the doors opening, a couple broadly smiling leaving, stepping down the stairs to who knew where to. She shook her head, she wasn’t ready to talk. How could someone who hadn’t been there understand? How could she explain to someone she was a ruthless killer without having killed anyone in this life? Imagine the irony, if the therapist appeared to be of Cardassian origin? Slowly she turned around, going down the stairs, taking the road to the beach. A beach where previous time the Gorkon orbited the planet, Bear and Toran had played a game of volleyball. The three of them ended up eating something at one of the local campfires that evening. Toran, who after all those years, hardly could talk about the hardship of what happened Over There. So it shouldn't be a surprise she wasn't ready to talk about something so recently. She continued her walk away from the building. Her mind repeating a list of names. A list that awkwardly enough was one name shorter already, when she had learned the faith of the scientist named Brevek. One name less to take revenge on. She cursed softly. She shouldn’t think that way. If only she could erase the list from her mind and the faces that accompanied the names. Maybe with the help of a few drinks or a bottle of whiskey. Surely one of the beach bars had something that would make her forget. --- Lieutenant Commander Samira Neathler Chief Security/Tactical & Second Officer USS Gorkon G239508SN0
  15. I'm very new to the SB118 fleet, but I just read a wonderful story in six parts via the USS Gorkon group. I did not recognize any of the characters or locations involved, and I'm honestly not sure if I was supposed to, but the skillful writing and character building made all of that irrelevant! I was caught up in the narrative and the emotions of the characters in a way that is rare even in professionally written fiction. My sincerest appreciation to @SerrenTan for this extraordinary contribution to our fictional 'verse. Part I: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/u-4LPm6MsiU/m/n92asqVkAQAJ Part II: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/p1o21om-xsU/m/rX6eNqlkAQAJ Part III: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/sKWp52W9FIs/m/iM9zXKtkAQAJ Part IV: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/13vp720m0e8/m/hcqCWbRkAQAJ Part V: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/r3K5k813AuQ/m/dLTslrhkAQAJ Part VI: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-gorkon/c/Sw1LCIcKJ6Y/m/Cd1_8LtkAQAJ
  16. Ladies, gentlemen, people of neutral or other genders, meet Mr. @Geoffrey Teller and his unique ability to turn something mundane into something fun and a true genius. ((XO's office, Deck 1, USS Thor)) Unnecessarily straightening his uniform for the seventh time in as many minutes, Geoff Teller shifted in his chair and watched as the chrono counted down. He hadn't been looking forward to this call and even though the smorgasbord of brass were all safely on the other side of a screen, Geoff still felt their looming shadows like they were in the office with him. Teller gulped the remainder of his cup of coffee and looked towards the carafe parked on his desk, already half-empty. Starfleet Command was still digesting their most recent mission reports and unsurprisingly, they had more than a few questions about how matters were handled. It was a formality for the most part triggered automatically when Fleet Captain Kells mentioned the Prime Directive in his mission report but it still rankled Geoff slightly that his judgement, and that of his CO, was being dissected from afar. Still, he'd gotten to his office early, prepared his mission notes thoroughly and legibly and he'd even polished his pips. In his experience, Admirals appreciated a bit of extra spit & polish. The last few seconds ticked off and the display on his wall monitor was replaced briefly by that Starfleet Command. Geoff sat up, prepared for at least three admirals and their various aides, but after a minute all he continued to see was the Starfleet Command logo, spinning in place. Teller: The hell... Vansen: =/\= ....an you hear me now? =/\= One third of Geoff's screen was replaced with the shaky image of a Lt. Cmdr. in Engineering gold. Teller: =/\= Uh...hello? =/\= Vansen: =/\= Oh finally, the Admiral is going to kill me if he misses any more calls today. Damn..on.s.orm.re..ly..fou....p....tran..iver =/\= The image degraded before freezing and being replaced with a test pattern. Geoff snorted a laugh but felt a pang of empathy for the poor engineer that was about to give bad news to an Admiral about their subspace transceiver. He wondered if that meant the meeting was going to be rescheduled when the right third of his monitor came alive with the image of a particularly stoic and wizened looking Vulcan Rear Admiral. Any smirk on Geoff's features was immediately erased as his spine stiffened. The Admiral pinned him with a frosty gaze and began speaking. T'mpok: =/\=...........=/\= Geoff's brows furrowed in confusion. He could see the Admiral's mouth moving, so Geoff was certain the man was saying...something. Geoff found himself nodding along at what he thought were appropriate moments but he could find no break or pause in which to politely tell the Admiral that his audio pickups had been disabled. T'mpok: =/\=...........=/\= It felt like an eternity but the Admiral paused and Geoff interjected as best he could. Teller: =/\= Sir this is Cmdr. Teller...I'm not sure if you can hear me or not, but I haven't been receiving your audio...I can see you just fine though..sir...I recommend running a level 3 diagnostic of your...=/\= The Admiral's image suddenly winked out and Geoff was left with his mouth hanging open, wondering what he'd done (recently) to earn the favor of the subspace gods. A few moments later a brief text message from the Admiral's office came through stating that the Admiral had only recently received a new communications unit and was still, in their words, 'getting used to it.' Geoff could hear an aides deep exasperation written large between every letter. He responded and offered to reschedule as the center of his screen came to life. Roth: =/\= Cmdr. ::bark:: Teller? This ::bark:: is Cmdr. ::bark:: Shelby Roth in ::bark bark:: Admiral Otyl's office...I ::bark:: apologize for ::bark:: MISCHA NO! MISCHA DOWN! :whimper, scratching sound:: Don't you dare!...Go, go...go find your bobo... =/\= Geoff watched this unexpected animal psychology lecture with rapt fascination. His only regret at the moment was not having a snack of some type on hand. The Commanders image was briefly replaced with an empty chair and Geoff could hear the distinct swish of doors opening and closing in the background. Roth: =/\= Sorry about that, Commander. The Admiral's prized Alfa-177 can be a real handful when things aren't just so. ::Muted bark:: To that end, the Admiral is behind ::Muted bark:: schedule...he was supposed to be here to get his ::Muted bark:: dog three hours ago. I'm reaching out to let you know we're rescheduling this debriefing and we'll forward you ::Muted bark:: a new set of subspace ::Muted bark:: frequency details. =/\= Off camera there was the sound of something heavy crashing to the ground, the excited yapping of a completely uninvolved dog, and a colorful string of expletives from Commander Roth, several of which Geoff would have to look up. The screen winked out and the three panels merged, replaced again with the stately logo of Starfleet Command, under which Geoff was surprised to see a small query prompt. Teller: Well I guess the call quality was pretty good... Geoff tapped five several times, hit submit and poured himself another cup of coffee, relaxing in his office chair and reveling in his unexpected free time. [End] =============================== Commander Geoffrey Teller Executive Officer USS Thor - NCC 82607 Commodore A. Kells, Commanding V239509GT0
  17. (( Office of the Chief Science Officer )) Forms, reports, explanations, extrapolations, reviews, redactions, signatures, assignments… on and on it went. He had much to account for, and almost as much to atone for. Alone in his office, at some point the lights got turned down and set to a warmer color temperature, almost mimicking the ambience of a candle-lit room. As per usual, music was playing in the background as he worked; but he was unable to find something suiting for all that he was feeling and thinking. Listless, ambient music invited his mind to wander too much. Orchestral music was too predictable and dull. He needed to find that sweet pot: interesting enough to partially engage with, to keep his mind from wandering too far, but not too interesting as to rob his attention. In time, he found his way to a late 20th century band, Talking Heads. They were a long-standing favorite, at least as far as old Earth music went. Like most art from long ago, it’s hard to appreciate it in the context of the present, because it is a product of its time and place; neither of which Lazarus shared with the band. Familiar enough, without being too gripping. Quaint, even. "And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack And you may find yourself in another part of the world And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?” (( OOC: link is to the Talking Heads - Once In a Lifetime music video )) That last line caught Lazarus off guard. Something he didn’t quite understand about himself is how a song or a lyric could sometimes feel as if someone had just slipped a knife between his ribs and began to twist. He gasped for air as his throat choked up, and tears welled in his eyes. oO How *did* you get here? Oo There was the story he told himself, a dry narrative of recounted dates and places. It wasn’t inaccurate, but it felt somehow incomplete. He was just some guy from Earth, and now he’s been given the power of life and death? He’s living in luxury on a starship; married to a punk alien woman; galavanting across the sector. Why *him*? Why here? What did he do to deserve this? How and why was he given this life? "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” He was here because this is where the currents swept him. Sometimes the waters pushed him places against his will, other times he studied the currents before diving in. In either case, the result is the same: he was ultimately powerless in all of this. If not him, then someone else. If he hadn’t lead that away team, someone else would have. The pirates killed Mar[...]o, not him. And the pirates tried to kill or enslave everyone on the Constitution. Was it not his obligation to be willing to kill to protect his peers, and the families on board, from such a fate? A credible threat was made, so what was he not only justified in responding with lethal force, but required to? At that point, it seemed clear that the pirates were not interested in negotiation. Them or us, simple as that. They may try to pin a medal on him for it, too. "And you may ask yourself, "What is that beautiful house?" And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" And you may ask yourself, "Am I right? Am I wrong?" And you may say to yourself, "My god! What have I done?” The PADD in his hand–“his” PADD–flexed under the pressure of his grip as the tears began to peek out from under his eyelids. Circumstance, morals, and ethics didn’t mean a damned thing. Not one damned thing! People died. And those people had friends and families; hopes and dreams. They were maligned, but that’s the nature of existence it seems: to be wrong, and to learn to be better. He had deprived 12 people that opportunity. Davis: :: choked with grief :: Computer, lock the door. "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again, into the silent water Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” As the song reached its climax, Lazarus felt rage boil within him, seated behind his desk. “His” PADD creaked under the stress of his hands wrenching it around, and one of the access panels on its back popped off, not able to flex with the twisting force he was unwittingly applying to the body and he cried and shouted profanities in the soundproofed room. Mercifully, the song receded into an epilogue. "Here a twister comes, here comes the twister Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Once in a lifetime, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by” And he caught himself between the gasping breaths to slow down and inhale deeply. Release the grip on the PADD. Exhale. Set it down. Inhale. Open your eyes. Exhale. In a few moments, he had re-grounded himself. At his feet, the unyielding access panel on the ground. The PADD was flexible, and capable of handling great stress without breaking. The access panel, however, was too rigid. When the PADD flexed and contorted too much, it broke away. There’s no stopping the currents. We can only hope to ride them well, and be flexible. Otherwise we break when contorted, and fall away from the whole. Same as it ever was. Regaining his composure, Lazarus raked his hands through his curls and leaned back in the chair to stare at the ceiling for a moment, before looking back down at his desk at all the PADDs and forms and processes he still had to do. Same as it ever was. —— Lieutenant Lazarus Davis Chief Science Officer USS Constitution-B Podcast Team Facilitator IDIC team member ASDB team member C239510LD0 (he/him, character) (he/they, writer)
  18. @Meidra Sirin and @Maz Rodan have done a fabulous job creating an intership JP of two people who shouldn't know each other, justifying it, and then having a hell of a lot of fun with it. Well done guys! ((Risa - The Grand Key Resort; Main Lobby)) Regan was impressed with the lavish interior of the Grand Key. He hadn’t stayed there before, mostly because when he was on the planet he stayed at his family’s beach house on the seafront - it was only a stone's throw away from the main chain of hotels and nightlife in the beach district. Meidra wasn’t sure what to expect at a Tribble competition, but her little friend was not as confident in herself as she should be, and Meidra believed that this event would help Roc gain some much needed self esteem. Addison would have rolled her eyes at the suggestion, so Meidra just told her it was a psychological training class that involved therapy animals. A slight fib, but Meidra didn’t need that kind of negativity in her life. It was fun, however, to take Roc for the required physical for the competition. Doctor Genkos Adea, CMO and second officer of Resolution had a background in veterinary science due to working with his father while younger, and was qualified to give Roc a clean bill of health before Meidra whisked her off to the bright lights of the big city. The fact that he considered Tribbles the scourge of the universe only served to amuse the counselor when booking the appointment for R. Sirin. Looking back on the memory of his face, she had to fight giggles. Getting out of her transport, she looked up to see the marquee “Grand Key Resort” above her, and walked inside to find their room for the duration. The Grand Key was the host of the annual ‘Furs’ competition. Tribble fanciers from all over the Quadrant gathered once a year for the showing, and today was a busy day. The lobby was packed with all kinds of people milling about and chattering to each other excitedly. Some carried Tribbles in their arms; stroking them, petting them, others had them in custom carry cages, and the lobby was filled with the unmistakable sound of cooing. Regan carried Trevor in a cage - sturdy plastic with enough gaps for him to be visible and get plenty of fresh air. He’d got it custom made and decided against the plush pillow he usually laid the creature out on. Carrying him around made him feel like he was carrying a precious jewel rather than a pet. He turned to the front desk and registered his name - and Trevor’s - for the competition. As he was finished signing in Trevor made a cacophonous cooing noise which made Regan glance down at the cage. Trevor was shaking. Regan looked around and spotted a woman with pointed ears carrying her own Tribble. He smiled and nodded to the woman. Meidra noticed the shaking Tribble and smiled at his excitement. She wasn’t an expert on Tribble physiology since the exobiology classes at the Academy seemed to skip over the creatures, but she was getting the impression that Roc was being admired. Roc, for her part, was cooing gently as if to calm the other Tribble, and Meidra was quite proud of her little therapy animal. The counselor had an overnight bag slung over one shoulder, and was holding her white Tribble, gently telling her things were going to be just fine. Wilde: I think he likes you. Or your Tribble. He doesn’t usually get this animated on the ship. Sirin: He’s very handsome, Mister… ? Wilde: Oh, forgive me. ::He replaced the cage on the other hand and extended his free one.:: My name is Wilde. Regan Wilde. I serve on the USS Arrow. Sirin: Lieutenant Meidra Sirin. A pleasure to meet you. Regan smiled and tilted his head. Another Starfleeter. He would never have guessed with neither of them being in uniform. Wilde: Sirin? Where do I know that name… Sirin: My mother is a noted historian, perhaps you have heard of …. Regan clicked his fingers together in acknowledgement. His memory wasn’t failing him just yet. Meidra, knowing what was coming, simply continued to check in while Regan figured it all out. Roc was making the strangest soft sound, like she was talking to herself in hushed tones. Meidra smiled at the idea her Tribble was taking it all in and seemed content. Wilde: The Meidra Sirin!? Deep Space 224!? The counselor shrugged good naturedly, wondering how he’d heard of her adventure with her cousin Alieth. Addison had made it clear that it wasn’t something she wanted too many others to know about. Meidra smirked to herself. oOYou can’t stop a legend….or one of those blasted wanted posters were found again. Oo Sirin: ::lowering her sunglasses with her free hand:: You... know about that? Regan grinned, making the deep green of his eyes twinkle. Wilde: ::Chuckling.:: Oh, honey, everybody knows about that. ::Beat:: I’m a security officer. We all got the memo. Don’t worry, though. I am a bit of a misfit on my ship too. I’d love to hear the whole story of how you took on Klingons. Meidra pushed her sunglasses back up and nodded, happy to have met someone who wasn’t judging her for past mistakes. Sirin: Perhaps once my friend and I here have a chance to settle into our room. ::whispers:: I told my First Officer this was a training symposium for Tribbles. She didn’t look closely at the paperwork, so here we are. ::speaks at a normal volume:: I’d love to hear more about your Tribble. What is his name? Wilde: This is Trevor! ::He held up the cage for inspection.:: My little pride and joy. I do all of his grooming myself. The shampoos, the styling. I’ve been trying to get that top little patch of hair into a mohawk, but so far no success… The counselor got a strong feeling that the pink creature in front of her was not fond of the prospect of such a hairstyle, but she nodded diplomatically. Roc was happy just to be brushed nightly. Sirin: A mohawk would be quite - different. Wilde: And your little Tribble, what’s their name? Sirin: Roc, it means hope in Vulcan. She is my little junior counselor, we visit people in Sickbay when needed. She’s very popular with everyone ::thinks of Genkos:: well - almost everyone. Wilde: You told your First Officer you were coming to a training seminar? Would they have frowned upon a showing competition? Were things so different on Meidra’s ship than the Arrow? Sirin: No she wouldn’t have objected at all. She would have teased me mercilessly over my desire to come to something so illogical. Being half Vulcan, most people assume that I have no desire for such things. What about your situation? Is it similar? Wilde: On the contrary, if I told Commander Collins I was coming to a training symposium, he’d look at me strange. A showing competition is far more my style. Sirin: I can see that, you and Trevor are quite stylish. She finished checking in, then gave her full attention to her new acquaintance. Her pure white Tribble seemed to stare at Trevor, but Meidra figured that it was because the only others she’d ever been near had not been pleasant. The little noises she made were quite soothing. Wilde: So you’re staying here? At The Grand Key? Maybe we can hang around together and check out the competition. Sirin: That sounds fun. To tell you the truth, I needed to take a few days and just recharge. We have a small ship, but in a way, that makes it difficult to have any time to oneself. Wilde: I definitely know that feeling. I’m here for shore leave too. Are you here totally for pleasure, or business too? They began walking together towards the elevator leading to the guest rooms. Pressing the button to enter, they quickly chose their floor and watched the doors close on the bustling crowd in the lobby. The two Tribbles seemed to be cooing at each other, and Meidra glanced down to smile at them before answering. Sirin: My boyfriend is in the middle of a week of training, he’s an EMT and has to keep his skills current. So, when I heard about this competition, I thought it would be a good bonding experience for Roc and myself. She’s got some self esteem issues. Wilde: Ah, a mix of both! The idea of a Tribble with self-esteem issues made his nose wrinkle in amusement. Tribbles were such fascinating creatures. He’d wanted one for as long as he could remember. He was so pleasured and flattered when Mees had found him one while they were blockaded over Theta 122. Meidra grinned, leaning in to confide in Regan. Sirin: And maybe I have always wanted to come to a Tribble showing competition. I’ve read about them, but never seemed to find time to attend. She had a flash of something pass through her mind, and realized she was picking up emotional signals from the nice young man. Something about a wedding. Sirin: Have you been to one before? Wilde: This is my first competition, too. Technically I’m here for shore leave, though my twin sister is getting married soon and she let me organise the bachelorette party. But I managed to get some free time away from organization duties. This is going to be such fun! Sirin: You seem rather confident. One thing Regan Wilde did not lack was confidence. Wilde: Are you kidding, Trevor is a sure thing! He’s well groomed. He’s got a top range melody. His obedience could be a little better… He cast a suspicious eye at his pink little companion. For a species as docile as Tribbles, Trevor had a curiously disobedient streak to him. Regan would wake up in the night and the little pink ball of fur would not be on his sleeping pillow, or a different position in his quarters entirely. Wilde: But I’m forever an optimist. Winning would be incredible! Sirin: It would certainly give bragging rights. She imagined getting Roc a little crown and throne, then throwing a little celebratory party for her when she returned to Resolution. Then celebrating seeing her boyfriend again. Her pleasant thoughts were interrupted by Regan’s next question. Wilde: You mentioned self-esteem issues with Roc? How did you come to that conclusion? Sirin: She comes from the wildlife sanctuary on Vulcan and the others were less than kind to her. I was looking for a therapy animal to assist me in counseling duties but it seems that I must first build up her sense of worth. The elevator door opened, and the four started down the corridor. Wilde: Now that sounds really interesting. Trevor is my therapy Tribble, too. I was given him after a mission in the Alpha Isles… How much was he willing to confide in this new acquaintance of his? Obviously not too much to think he was a nut-job. So no mention of night terrors. Or episodes of lost time. Could he tell her about the pirates who boarded the Arrow? Probably. Captain Ghant? Sure. Captain Ghant torturing him and using his own Reman knife to cut out his eye and then eat it like an appetizer? Absolutely not. He controlled his thoughts and masked his moment of distraction with his signature smile. Wilde: This is going to sound forward, but I’d love to discuss therapy Tribbles some more. Are you free for dinner tonight? I know all the hot-spots of Risa. ::He almost winked conspiratorially.:: Thanks to my Wilde youth. Pun intended. For some reason, most people delighted in puns about his name. Sirin: Dinner sounds fun. Thank you for the invitation. Meidra hadn’t planned to go out her first night at the resort, but Wilde seemed like someone who would be an excellent dinner companion. Wilde: Excellent. I’ll send my shuttle to pick you up. Eight o’clock? Sirin: I’ll be ready. Is your room nearby? Regan looked around the corridor and chuckled. He’d been so engrossed in conversation he almost forgot he didn’t have a reservation. Wilde: Oh, I’m not staying here. My family has a beach house on the seafront. A few of us from the ship are staying there. Sisters bachelorette party, as I mentioned. Sirin: I see, well, enjoy seeing your family. I need to get this one ready for her nap, it’s been a long day for her already. Wilde: Then I shall see you at dinner, Meidra. It’s always fun to meet a fellow officer. And I’m sure there are lots of adventures to be had here. Though I will warn you, I’m not fighting Klingons… ::He grinned mischievously.:: Well, no promises! Sirin: Hah, you’ll be fighting them alone ::holds up Roc:: I have this little one to think of now. Oo And Addison would probably leave me in the brig this time oO Wilde left with a grin, and Meidra entered her room, quickly setting up a bed for Roc with a hotel pillow. She sighed, heading to take a quick shower, wondering how her little friend would like the competition. There was a restlessness in Roc, and Meidra was determined to find its source and help get the Tribble to a happier mind set. After she’d changed, she sent off a quick message to her boyfriend, Dwich, letting him know that she was thinking of him and hoping he did well with his training classes. She flinched, remembering an ill fated self defense class where she’d accidentally broken his arm. Thankfully, he hadn’t been seriously injured, and they’d finally confessed their feelings after months of near misses. Standing up, she went over to the large window and gazed at the stars that were just beginning to make themselves known. She was at peace, confident that there would be no drama or chaos on this shore leave. Smiling, she went to the mini bar and took out a bottle of Vulcan brandy, filling her flask. It was going to be a good night. ((Risa - Gino’s Bar and Grill)) Regan had sent his shuttle to pick his new friend - Meidra Sirin - up from The Grand Key, and deposited them a short time later at Gino’s, a little out of the way joint which wasn’t too fancy and overpriced, but not too low brow either. Regan had known Gino for years and always liked to stop in whenever he was on Risa. The handsome Risian was pleased to see him and offered them the best table. The little bar-slash-restaurant was lively tonight. Evidently the popularity of the place was on the up. Meidra smiled as Regan held out a chair for her, and she glanced around at the various people dancing and socializing. She wished Dwich had been able to come with her for this, but his career was very important to him because it allowed him to help others, and that was one of the many reasons she loved him. Wilde: I hope you don’t mind a little atmosphere with your dinner tonight? Sirin: On the contrary, I could use a bit of entertainment this evening. The buzz in the atmosphere was contagious, and Regan felt himself unwind almost instantly. The stress of organizing a party, combined with the sudden arrival of his mother and aunts at the beach house, had made him too tense to think straight. He was grateful for a chance to sneak away for the Tribble competition, and meeting another Starfleet officer who might understand that. Wilde: Your EMT boyfriend not joining us? Meidra sighed, missing Dwich a bit more, seeing the happy couples at dinner. Maybe they could go away together somewhere for a few days. She did have that cottage her grandmother had left her on a little out of the way planet. She could see them relaxing on the wraparound porch that circled the small home, watching the sunsets together. She shrugged, smiling at her dinner companion. Sirin: Unfortunately, his training sessions are keeping him busy. I won’t see him for another few days when I go back to Resolution. Wilde: Oh that’s a shame. I was going to ask if he had a medic friend he could introduce me to. When on Risa, as they say… He gave a smirk of amusement. Meidra matched it with one of her own, raising her water glass to salute him. She also wished Iljor was around so that she could introduce them. She wasn’t giving up on finding the science officer possible dates. Sirin: I’m sure you won’t lack for company once men know you are open to it. ::Looks around:: Risa looks a bit different since the last time I was here. Of course that was twenty years ago and I was not exactly looking at the scenery. ::winks:: My twin and I came here a few times to get away from the rest of the family. Separately of course. But we always shared our stories once we were back home. Wilde: Twenty years ago? I was but a child. ::He chuckled.:: Those Vulcan genes must do you wonders. Sirin: Thank you. I’m half El Aurian so they tell me that contributes to it as well. Wilde: How fascinating that you’re a twin! I’m a twin too! Roxy can get quite embarrassed about some of the things I used to get up on Risa. I was a bit of a reckless one when I was younger. Sirin: After our kahs wan, we left Vulcan for quite some time. During our teenage years, my brother and I came up with many ways to get into trouble. Oo Thankfully those records are sealed. oO A member of the waiting team came to take their order, and Regan waited for Meidra to order before he ordered his meal. Meidra chose a spicy hasperat then smiled up at the waiter. Sirin: Whatever Bolian cider is in season please. Regan? He held up a hand politely and waved it slightly. He offered an apologetic smile. Wilde: I’m… err… actually coming up six years sober. ::To the waiter.:: Just a fruit [...]tail for me, please. Sirin: Apologies for my assumption. Wilde: Please, don’t apologise. It’s not a pleasant dinner topic, but… it’s part of who I am. I accepted it, and I take mandatory counselling for it. Among other things. Sirin: Do you not find these visits beneficial? Wilde: Oh I’m not afraid of the counselors office like a lot of officers are. Sometimes when I get talking R’Ariel has to reschedule other appointments. Meidra considered her own visits with Genkos. The good doctor was kind enough to agree to counsel her when needed, and she considered him a true friend. She said as much to Regan as she took another sip of water before her drink arrived. Sirin: It’s interesting being a counselor and needing therapy. Our CMO looks after my mental health since I’m the only counselor on board. I’d never admit it to him because he’d be embarrassed, but I think he’s one of the most compassionate men I’ve ever met. Wilde: ::Nodding.:: I think a lot of doctors are. Kind of comes with the territory, doesn’t it? She remembered her former fiance and how he was anything but kind. Those memories would stay with her, locked away, no matter how much therapy she had. She pushed the thoughts away, but still, answered his question with a smile that did not quite reach her eyes. Sirin: You would think so, but I have found that some doctors only look at people as test subjects. Then again, some people think of creatures like Tribbles as test subjects. It is always refreshing to meet a physician that truly values life. Wilde:: Have you found Tribbles to be… beneficial in counselling? He expected a laugh or jeer or something, but he was actually quite serious. Wilde: That’s a legitimate question, by the way. I know Tribbles get a lot of flack sometimes, but Trevor has been a huge help to me. The counselor nodded. Roc had comforted quite a few patients in Resolution’s sickbay. Something about a purring ball of fluff made even the most hardened hearts melt. Unless one was a certain grumpy CMO, but he’d come around eventually. Sirin: I believe I have found few creatures so in tune with compassion and the feelings of those around them. They exude a calmness that makes them invaluable in a counseling setting. Where did you find Trevor, if you don’t mind my asking? Wilde: Oh, he was a gift. From a friend. We had a bad mission at Theta 122. Well, we had several, but I’m trying not to keep score. Orion pirates boarded us and caused a lot of damage to the ship. The Captain of them and I… fought and she injured me. Quite badly. And I started having interrupted sleep and losing time. I guess you could call it PTSD. And Trevor helps at night when I wake up. Sirin: I’m sure you give the same comfort and familiarity to Trevor. After some issues with my family, I guess I felt a bit alone. We were on Vulcan for shore leave recently, and found myself at a wildlife sanctuary looking at Tribbles - I had one as a child - and Roc was alone in a corner, shunned by the others just for being a pure white creature while they were boring browns and greys. I suppose she reminded me of myself. Surrounded by family, but shunned for being different. ::points at red hair:: This doesn’t exactly scream Vulcan. Meidra remembered her last trip to Vulcan where her grandfather had sent assassins after her just for being less than a perfect Vulcan. She took a sip of her drink and focused on enjoying her evening. Wilde: I’m wondering if Starfleet will sanction their use as official therapy animals. We still use dogs and cats, why not Tribbles? Sirin: Why not, indeed? Officially, Roc is listed as a pet, but she’s been very helpful getting my patients to open up in a safe environment. Not many can be stressed around a Tribble. Unless one is Klingon, and I’m not sure the usual counseling methods work well with them anyway. In my experience, it tends to be more - physical - when discussing issues with one. Meidra thought back to her night in the brig on DS224 - true, she’d been reprimanded by one angry First Officer, but the tattoo and the memory was precious to her. She really should call Alieth soon and see how she was doing with her very illogical ship mates on the Thor. If she wasn’t in a relationship now, she may have been tempted to find the Klingon scientist she debated later that night in the brig. She laughed to herself, knowing that would never happen. Dwich was her ashyam, her beloved, and she smiled to herself as she thought of him. Sirin: Do you see it happening? Wilde: I’m sure with a few strong supporters, they might seriously consider it. I wouldn’t mind backing such a movement. If all else fails, it could be done privately. I have the latinum to invest. I just need the Tribbles, and for that, I’d need a breeding license from the TFA. Meidra nodded thoughtfully. Finding unaltered Tribbles was hard enough, finding specimens suitable for a breeding program was increasingly difficult. She wondered what one needed to do in order to be granted a license. She then smirked, wondering how Genkos would appreciate Resolution overrun with cooing Tribbles. Sirin: Is that difficult to procure? I know the Tribbles on Vulcan are sterilized, but - nothing is one hundred percent effective on that front. I’m reminded of an old human saying, life finds a way. Wilde: The Tribble Fanciers Association is quite strict with whom they grant licenses to. Tribble breeding is quite tricky. You’ve probably read the reports of when it goes wrong… Sirin: ::takes a sip of her cider:: Thousands of breeding, voracious Tribbles overrunning every unclaimed bit of space. It would certainly get interesting quickly. Wilde: ::Chuckling:: As amused as I would be to see a ship overrun with Tribbles, I can see why others would protest. Sirin: Tribbles are quite docile unless… Wilde: Experimented on... Sirin: Yes I have heard of the experiments Edward Larkin did on the Cabot.::takes a sip of cider:: I hear he was suffocated by a mountain of Tribbles for his hubris in injecting them with his own DNA. ::shrugs:: Thankfully, Vulcan has worked to reverse this, but it’s probably a losing battle. To get permission to knowingly breed a population that can overpopulate without regulation may be difficult. ((Meidra and Roc’s suite, the Grand Key Resort)) Roc had had a short but productive nap, and now was waiting for the human to return to her to prepare a cup of tea for them and sing her to sleep. She wasn’t sure what a competition was, but would try to do her best for Meidra. She couldn’t help thinking about the Tribble she’d noticed downstairs as Meidra made another new friend. He was a Tribble, yes, but - pink. She’d never known one with such bright coloring and such an aura of chaos. She could feel him generating rage as quickly as she instinctively tried to soothe his anger. It was exhausting how many things he complained about. Baths, hair styling, being spoken to. It was enough to make Roc wonder why he hadn’t jumped into a pool of lava - surely life with such a caring human was not something to be reviled? Still, there was something about him that drew her to him. He seemed to have such a strong personality and she was quite mesmerized by it. She needed to see him again and learn more. Settling back into her pillow, she bounced once onto the remote for a viewing screen on the wall and started to watch an old documentary on the history of bread making. ((Meanwhile…)) ((The Wilde Beach House)) The filthy biped - the stupid one with the hair products - had left him alone for the evening, and Trevor was always glad for the solitude. Bipeds were a disease, and he feared spending too much time with them would infect his pure little body. Besides, this biped did nothing but talk! Useless, mindless talk - content to drivel on about everything and nothing. It drove the tiny creature half mad… Then there was the pampering. Ceaseless baths, and shampoos, hair styling and the usual degrading processes this insane biped subjected him to. It was torture! It must be amusing for the bipeds to treat other creatures of the galaxy so inhumanely. Trevor had to face facts. He was a pet! A primitive form of life whose purpose was solely to amuse the feeble minded biped in whose clutches he was now a slave. But he’d show them. Soon, he would have his revenge, and all bipeds would get what they deserved. He’d planned it for months now. He had a way to control the weak minded fools who thought themselves his masters. Yet… the white one. He’d sensed her in the hotel earlier that night. She was different, somehow. He sensed in her an aura. A power similar to his own, but… different. Trevor didn’t know what it meant. But he was eager to see the white one again, and soon… ( (Risa - Grand Key Resort; Main Competition Tent)) “GOOD MORNING, RISA! I’m Vivienne Zavaroni and I’m here at the luxurious Grand Key Resort at the south beach for the annual Tribble Showing Extravaganza - ‘Furs’. Always the pinnacle of showing season, ‘Furs’ has been a staple for Risian culture and tourism for nearly a decade and attracts Tribble owners, breeders, showers and fanciers from all across the quadrant in three action-packed days of competition. We’re seeing thousands of people in attendance this year and the excitement is definitely in the air! ‘Furs’ is judged on five categories including Best Breed, Agility, Obedience, Melody and the coveted Best in Show. ::Beat:: The TFA judges are about to begin the proceedings and this FNS reporter is on hand all throughout the show to capture the highlights and backstage gossip. Let’s cut to the main parade ring and see some of the top contenders for Best in Show!" Regan had met with Meidra after breakfast to get into the main competition tent early and secure a good spot backstage. Meidra, for her part, was quite excited to be a part of something so different from the ordered life she had on Resolution. She wondered if she’d ask Aine to come along next time, the security officer enjoyed new experiences and made everyone around her just as excited with her infectious smile. The atmosphere was electric, even for Risa. All around competitors and event staff were rushing around and directing people to the right places in the tent, and the melody of the tent full of Tribbles was both soothing and exciting. After being directed to their preparation area backstage in the massive showing tent, Regan turned to his new friend. Wilde: Have you got everything? Sirin: I think so, this is our first time, so I’m hoping I’m not missing anything. I can see you’re relaxed though. Oo I wonder if anything makes Regan doubt himself. oO Wilde: What about you, nervous? Meidra looked around at the various trainers and Tribbles, feeling quite out of her element. She shrugged, grinning. Sirin: It’s odd, I’ve been in hand to hand combat with Klingons, and yet I feel a bit overwhelmed being here today. As a former model on Betazed, Regan was used to the limelight and the attention. Still, he had to admit he did have a bellyful of butterflies today. So many people! He lifted Trevors carry cage onto a nearby table and began rooting through his backpack for all the grooming items he’d brought. Sirin: Is that all for today? ::remembers that she just brushed out Roc’s fur and hoped for the best:: Wilde: What category do you have first up? Sirin: I think it’s a dance number of some sort. ::watches Roc bounce up and down in her carrying cage:: She seems pretty excited. ::Roc coos at Trevor, trying to get his attention:: Wilde: I have obedience and agility first. I hope we’re ready… Sirin: I’m sure Trevor is more than ready to shine. They didn’t notice their Tribbles deep in conversation. Later, they would wish they had. ((Mini-Timewarp)) Regan was with the rest of the competitors in his category and stood in the tent in front of the judges. Famed Tribble breeder - Clarissa Dickinson-Smythe - was head judge for the competition. She was a prized shower for many years before deciding to try her hand at breeding. Regan found her to be delightfully eccentric. The President of the Tribble Fanciers Association - Duncan Lovejoy - was also on the judging panel. A prim and proper human, he cast a languid eye across the competitors. Meidra walked up to see the judging after Roc had easily won the dance competition. For a Tribble, it was mostly jumping up and down while trying to stay on the judging platform, but Roc seemed to have it under control, having practiced to old Terran music from Ireland, courtesy of Aine. She saw Regan and Trevor, giving them a small wave of support from her seat nearby. Trevor was being less obedient than usual, which didn’t bode well for a competition in which you were judged on your obedience. They were standing at their little table waiting for the judges to pass along. Regan smiled when they reached his table and presented Trevor for inspection. Clarissa administered the standard checks then picked up the fuzzy pink ball of fur. Dickinson-Smythe: What a beautiful hue. And a mohawk? Such an inventive use of style! Wilde: Thank you! I do them myself. Lovejoy: Certainly one of the best styled. Meidra had the strongest feeling that something bad was going to happen, but she had no idea what it was. Her stomach started to churn, and her vision became a bit blurred. She could have sworn she heard someone call her name, but that was obviously just her imagination. Clarissa held Trevor up to eye level to further inspect the creature, when suddenly she let out a piercing shriek and almost dropped the Tribble. Regan reacted quickly to catch Trevor as he fell from the judges hand. Dickinson-Smythe: It bit me!? Lovejoy: Come now, Clarissa. That’s quite impossible. Dickinson-Smythe: I tell you it bit me! Trevor - nestled in Regan’s hands - began emitting a tinny shrill sound as opposed to his usual dull and soothing coo. Tribbles all around the tent began reacting immediately and started shaking and making shrill sounds of their own. Almost like they were in pain. Their owners and handlers looked to each other in shock and surprise as the commotion grew in intensity. Roc started shaking and Meidra took her out of her cage, holding her close to soothe her. The shaking only became more pronounced, and Meidra started to worry she was ill. The rest of the competitors were panicking now, and the sound of confused shouts and Tribble shrieks filled the tent. Wilde: Trevor? What are you doing? As if in response, a fiery red aura emitted from the Tribble. The squeals increased and even more confusion erupted as the rest of the Tribbles in the tent emitted the same cruel aura. The Tribbles began reacting violently and began attacking and biting their handlers. People were shouting, screaming and running around to escape the chaos now in the tent. People started throwing cages at each other, growling like Trevor. Meidra heard her name again and was startled to realize it was Roc. She glanced up at the chaos around her as a chair narrowly missed hitting her and Trevor seemed to be laughing. She ducked as a punch bowl sailed past, Tribbles riding inside like they were relaxing on a churning purple lake. Roc was agitated, and Meidra held her, cooing to her gently. The little creature immediately started humming loudly, a strong, melodic sound that seemed to grow in intensity, as she started to glow. A pure white light started to seep from the Tribble, bathing both itself and the counselor in a cocoon of peace. She could hear Roc as clear as if she were speaking aloud, and watched in horror as the pink Tribble took control of the room. Roc: ~Pink one! This is not the way!~ Trevor: ~Silence!~ Roc: ~Meidra, do something, he’s out of control.~ Meidra felt the light surround her even as the screams and flying Tribbles surrounded them. She could see the chaos even if she could not move to stop any of it. Two of the larger furry creatures had torn down the **Welcome to Furs** sign that had hung above the main podium and were bouncing around, tripping people as they made their way through the room. Sirin: He’s attacking, Regan. You have to get him to stop. Wilde: I don’t understand? Roc: ~Meidra~ Sirin: Get him back in his cage before he hurts someone! Regan held the little fiery Tribble at arms length, as if to give him a stern telling off. Trevor moved like lightning, quicker than anyone had ever seen a Tribble move before. He raced along the outstretched arm and up behind the humans neck. Regan let out a terrified yelp as what seemed to be fangs sank into the back of his neck and into his spine. His eyes rolled up, revealing a deathly white. The same angry red aura that emanated from Trevor moments before now enveloped the security officer. He stood solemnly like a statue, almost regal as the eyes he no longer saw with scanned the room, Trevor (as Wilde): Attention puny bipeds! Your arrogance and domination of this universe is at an end... Sirin:: Regan? ::realization hits:: You’re not Regan. What are you doing? These people haven’t done anything to you. Roc:: ~ Your anger is misplaced, my friend. Let us help you. These are good people.~ Trevor (as Wilde): Prepare to be enslaved! The winds started to pick up, knocking over a barrel of premium, Grade A Tribble Kibble, scattering tiny pieces of food like a swarm of stinging insects, getting into eyes, noses, ears. It was turning into a blitz of grain that had a life of its own. One judge tried to put the lid back on the barrel, only to have it tip over and chase him out of the tent screaming for his life. Sirin: ::to Roc:: ~We’re going to have to stop him on our own.~ ::to Trevor/Wilde:: This is ridiculous, you can’t destroy people over a bad haircut. Roc: ::to Meidra:: ~I don’t want to hurt the pink one. ~ In response, Trevor caused Regan to outstretch his arm, and an energy bolt erupted from his fingertips. A nearby table burst into flames and sent more people scurrying for cover. The tent seemed to moan with pain, and the wind intensified, sending judging PADDs flying in all directions. Trevor (as Wilde): I will use this pampered, simpering bipeds body to complete my plans for galactic domination. The bipedal age is at an end. Red lightning hit the top of the tent, splitting it down the center as people continued to scream. One Tribble bit another judge and he spun around, thinking it was the judge next to him. A punch was thrown, prompting a return shot, and soon people were brawling in the midst of the kibble storm. Meidra sheltered Roc as she faced down the mohawk wearing demon, determined to end this disaster before they were hurt, or worse, thrown into a brig. She did not intend on ending up in another brig. Addison would have her head. He was about to let another energy burst when he felt the presence of the one who intrigued him. The white creature with a form like his present one. Roc’s calming energy strived to reach the furious ball of pink but he was resisting. She senses something strange about him, like he was more than she was, yet still, not fully a Tribble. Sirin: Roc, can you talk to Trevor? Roc: Give me a minute, he’s gone nuts. Sirin: ::dryly:: Is that your professional opinion? Trevor (as Wilde): You… the white one. You are not like the others. To Meidra, it seemed like the pink fluffball was trying to puff himself up like a fish she’d seen in an old Terran biology text. She wondered if she pinched him, he’d deflate. The sounds he was making reminded her of an angry goat, another Terran creature. At this rate, she was going to have to go to Terra because they seemed to have the most interesting animals. Sirin: What is he saying? Roc: Again - need a minute. ::to Trevor:: You can’t kill these people, they are not your enemy. Trevor (as Wilde): Spare me your sympathy for the bipeds! Why do you ally yourself with such basic creatures? Sirin: Regan, can you hear me? I know you are in there. ::knocks her fist onto his head:: Hello?? Regan? Come out, come out wherever you are. Another chair flew by and Meidra was startled to see a judge hanging onto it. Shaking her head, she turned back to the chaos in front of her. Roc: Save your attempt, Meidra. The human’s mind is like jelly right now, sweet but not very solid. Trevor (as Wilde): I am not from this dimension. Not from this universe. I am a traveller. I took this form to explore. ::Beat:: I despise this universe. The bipeds way of life. I must eliminate it! Sirin: ::to herself:: maybe if I zap him with a phaser….. Roc: Meidra! Not helping. Sirin: Fine, what if I just did a Vulcan nerve thingie on him. Roc: That is not what that move is called. And no, you might hurt the human’s brain. Sirin: Like the psychotic shapeshifting Tribble isn’t doing enough of that? Trevor (as Wilde): ::To Roc:: You have so much power, white one. So many gifts… Why waste them? Roc: Perhaps I like knowing the universe I live in isn’t going to implode with me in it. Trevor (as Wilde): It is not that easy. I have… Eons of loneliness of this unknown cosmic being-in-Tribble-form had taken its toll. Hate was all he knew. It was his purpose. Wasn’t it? Roc: I feel your pain. That isn’t all that this universe has to offer. Trevor (as Wilde): What else is there for me? Roc: I would be willing to travel with you, to show you all that this universe can give to us. And perhaps, what we can offer in return. Trevor (as Wilde): You would… do that. For me? ::The pink menace pondered. Regan’s eyebrows arched involuntarily.:: Is this a trick? Roc: It’s an offer. We can be as strong as we’d like, without destroying all that is. What do you think? Trevor (as Wilde): You are wise, white one. Together, perhaps we shall learn more of this universe. I accept your invitation. The little white Tribble seemed to gaze up at her friend and sigh. Meidra couldn’t understand Trevor, but she had heard Roc’s words, and knew that this was the end of their journey together. She hugged her Tribble to her, feeling proud and a bit mystified why Roc would willingly go off with a crazed alien - whatever - was now in the form or a harmless looking pink ball of fluff. Roc: Meidra, I thank you for giving me a home, but Trevor has given me a purpose. I was never really meant to help those on Resolution. They have you. But this one needs me. I must go with him. I hope you understand. Sirin: I know you are right. I have no idea what happened here today or how we are speaking now, but I know if anyone can help that….::sighs:: Trevor….it would be you. Meidra glared at the defiant pink ball of chaos and took a deep breath. Sirin: She’s made her choice. But if I ever hear that you have harmed her, I’ll find a way to find you. ::her voice softens:: Keep her safe, Trevor. And good luck. Then, as if by the flash of some all-powerful Q, Trevor and Roc were gone. The chaos and madness of the remaining Tribbles died down, and the fires and smoke cleared like fog on a summer's day. The Risian sunshine peeked through the tatters of the ‘Furs’ tent, or what was left of it. The competitors of ‘Furs’ began clearing up the remains of the competition, and a very confused Regan stepped out over a fallen barrel of Tribble kibble, his clothes partially-singed, his hair looking like he’d taken 10, 000 volts, and ash smeared across most of his face. Sirin: ::fighting hysterical giggles:: Are you all right? You look like you’ve been through an electrical storm. Wilde: Where’s Trevor? And Roc? Sirin: Gone. Together. I supposed it was fate. Or some sort of practical joke of the universe. Wilde: The little sod bit me! Sirin: Well, I’m sure there is a first aid kit somewhere in this mess. Let’s find you a bandage. Wilde: I’m so sorry. I had no idea my pet therapy Tribble was a psychotic being from another dimension. You think you have a connection with someone… Sirin: Somehow, I think the two of you did have a connection. It was a bit deranged, and probably the least healthy I’ve ever seen, but it was there. The remaining judges - head of the TFA Lovejoy and famed Tribble shower Clarissa Dickinson-Smythe approached - each looking rather haggard. Lovejoy: Mr Wilde! Regan rubbed his scorched sleeve across his face, to try and make himself a little more presentable. He despised being called Mr. Wilde. It always made him feel subservient, like someone was addressing a butler. Lovejoy: I think it is safe to say your membership to the Tribble Fanciers Association is hereby revoked! Dickinson-Smythe: And you can forget about a Breeders License, too! Without further ado, they left. Moments later Risian security poured onto the scene, along with emergency services, fire and rescue and the very frantic-looking management of the Grand Key Resort. Regan saw the end of the phaser rifle press against his nose and he very weekly raised his hands in surrender. Sirin: Good luck Regan, I’ll see if I can talk someone into getting you out of this mess once I figure out how far I’m into it. Wilde: ::Side-glancing his new friend.:: Well I must say, Counselor, this has been such fun! Shall we meet up again for next year's event? Sirin: Regan, if you even think of getting another Tribble, I’ll find a way to blast you out of this universe myself. The two friends smiled at each other as Wilde was led away.
  19. Another fabulous intership JP from @Vitor S. Silveira and @LtJG Aine Olive Sherlock; this time two old cadet cruise buddies meet up for some fun and funny banter. Quite pleased to see Academy friends continuing to get along! ((USS Juneau, deck 4, Silveira and R’Kala’s quarters)) Vitor passed again by the console in his quarters, finishing a cup of coffee, and putting it back to the replicator for recycling. It took a few more minutes for the comlink to load, so Vitor sat down and leaned back waiting as the screen flashed through the loading cycle. He stared quietly until he saw Sher on the other side. Aine sat at her desk, sipping her customary Barry’s with a splash of milk, in the Security Office aboard the Resolution waiting for the subspace connection to finish. The notification she received told her who it was, but she was a little nervous nonetheless. It’d been a few months since her and Sil had spoken, both of them busy with their respective ships. The connection seemed almost stuck at 99%, then it finally went through and there he was! Before she could react he raised his arms in the air, with a fake angry expression and shouted. Silveira: FINALLY. Sherlock: ::faking a shocked look on her face:: Am I late? Vitor laughed and shook his head. Aine couldn’t help but smile back. Sil always had a way of being dramatic and humorous at the same time. Silveira: I was thinking you forgot me already. I am pretty sure I still make an impression on those I meet. Sherlock: You know you always do. Rarely does anyone quickly forget the magnanimous Vitor Silveira! Vitor smiled and nodded, this time shedding away all the shenanigans. It was good to see Sher again. They were on the same Cadet Cruise and he bonded with her right from the start. Silveira: I know, I am just teasing. ::He winked as he nodded.:: You're looking good Lieutenant. It’s really good to see you again. Sherlock: And you as well, Lieutenant. ::giving him a nod:: Looks like the Juneau’s been keeping you busy. Silveira: I see active service suits you. Even sitting down you look taller, you must have grown what? Three inches? Sherlock: ::rolling her eyes:: Ha, ha. I know, still short as ever. Vitor laughed. Aine was glad to see he hadn’t lost his sense of humor. Sherlock: So, how are things on that big fancy ship of yours? Silveira: Pretty good now. ::He raised both his thumbs up. :: Shore leave time. How about you? I heard you had some trouble on your last mission. ::He kept smiling but his forehead wrinkled in concern. :: Are you alright? Aine suddenly had a flashback. Ash falling from the sky of a desolate colony world long dead. A Nascaik officer restrained and paralyzed facing imminent death. And the tall wispy Thama who’d set all of it motion by blowing a hole in the Resolution. Sherlock: ::nodding her head:: Yeah, was a little crazy. The terrorist was who we least expect it to be. But things worked out ok in the end. Silveira: I am glad to hear that. It must have been a daunting experience. ::Victor's smile dimmed slightly.:: We didn't face that on our cadet cruise. Sherlock: Most definitely not. Even if that’d been real, it’d have been a pleasure cruise compared to what’s happened to me since then. Specifically, Aine was now thinking about getting propelled 300,000 years into the future with killer lizard men trying to gun them down. It’d been a long 6 months. Vitor nodded, he knew that feeling all too well. In fact that was also one of the reasons he hadn't yet reached out to Sher. But he forced that thought away and put on a wider smile. Silveira: All is well when it ends well. Let us enjoy our leave and digress over more agreeable things. Sherlock: Yes! Onto lighter topics! Please! Have any fun in your downtime? Vitor tilted his head. There was a slight blush on his cheeks when he thought of what he planned to do. Silveira: Not yet, but I have something planned. Sherlock: ::eyes narrowing:: Something ::beat:: with someone? A sly smile quickly formed on Aine’s face. Vitor raised an eyebrow and shrugged. Silveira: Yeah, there is an engineer I find very attractive. I will be asking her out. Hopefully she will agree. Sherlock: Huh, an engineer. She must be good with her hands. Vitor raised an eyebrow and tilted his head sideways. Silveira: Really? Sherlock: ::laughing:: I’m only joking. I’m sure that if she’s caught your attention she must be special. I’m happy for you. Where are you guys taking leave anyways? Vitor shook his head and smiled. Silveira: Probably back at Lightside Station, not yet sure. ::Vitor crossed his fingers under his chin and leaned forward.:: And how about you, my little heartbreaker? I am sure you had many eyes turned in your direction. Any romantic encounters? Sherlock: No. ::beat:: Ok, there was an attempt at one. But I just don’t think I can do a relationship right now. Silveira: I don’t believe that. ::Winking:: Besides I know all too well you have a crush on me. Alas, long distance relationships are complicated. Sherlock: ::rolling her eyes with a smile:: Lucky me. ::giving Vitor a wink:: Silveira: We will always have our cadet cruise. Sherlock: And we never know where we’ll end up. Aine paused for a moment. Looking at the handsome Lieutenant, though she’d never admit that aloud so as not to feed that ego, she thought about just how far they’d come in such a short time. And even farther they had to go. Sherlock: Well, my shift’s about to start and we’ll be heading into the Briar Patch today. But, we’ll do this again, ::pointing at Vitor:: soon. And if by chance we’re at the same place in time on leave, we’ll definitely get together. Deal? Vitor kept smiling when Sher paused. He recalled when his career was starting, as he realized Sher was going through those growing pains as well. He wished they were closer to each other, she grew to become a true friend. oO Figuratively off course. But little as you may be I am pretty sure you are on your way to become a giant Little One. Oo Silveira: That we do. Sherlock: I’ll talk to you soon. Stay safe out there. Have a good one. Vitor nodded before replying and he waved as he spoke. Silveira: Take care and behave. I want to talk to you soon and in one piece. When the comline was cut he leaned back. It hadn’t come up in their conversation, so he just let his thought speak instead . oO Take care of Nicholotti as well, tell her… I said hi. Oo End Lt. J. G. Vitor S.Silveira Tactical Officer USS Juneau, NX-99801 O238907VS0 and Lieutenant Junior Grade Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0
  20. First there was a line to go into the "Juneau's Rememberable quotes!!! IC". Then another, another and another. After laughing... I mean reading it again I thought it best to post the hole thing here. IC: ((Lightside Station – Mega Deck – Simulation Red River - Street)) Wyss: Yep. We’ll have to disconnect it carefully. She handed Dekas a set of tools and gave him a lopsided smile as his hat disappeared once more. It was like the thing had a mind of it’s own. And since they were possibly dealing with telepathic technology she had to wonder if it really did. It gave new meaning to the phrase, “put your thinking cap on”. She stifled a laugh as she turned her attention to the problem at hand. Wyss: It seems to be connected to the mainframe. Looks like it’s running on it’s own power source. Do you see any connections? Dekas: response When she looked over at him his hat was back on. Strangely, the accessory suited him handsomely. Wyss: Let’s cut around the main line first to reduce the energy. Maybe we can avoid catastrophic damage to the deck. Dekas: response Wyss snickered. Wyss: Good point. Meanwhile, the angry mob was approaching with guns, and farming tools. Their intent was clear. The burning torches meant they had something specific in mind. T’Lea: :: to Karise :: If you can read their thoughts, can you send them thoughts? Indobri: Um…. I’m not sure. Even with real people, it’s tricky because of my lack of training. And it would be painful for a real person. I’m not sure what to expect from a hologram, if it would even work. And besides, what would I say that wouldn’t clinch their ideas that we’re demon and witches? T’Lea: I don’t know, tell them they’re sleepy. Indobri: Sleepy? Do you think that would work? No! Of course not! T’Lea was being sarcastic! But she didn’t have time to explain her snarky remark before a voice from behind hurried the idea along. Dekas: Preferably soon. Hopefully they get sleepy and think they’re dreaming. This was going to be a disaster, thought T’Lea. Indobri was the strongest telepath in the room and by her own confession not very well trained with her abilities. The Romu-vulc would have touched one their holographic minds herself, but it would have required physical contact and that’s what they were trying to avoid. Indobri: Are you sure we’re not the ones dreaming? :: beat :: Okay, fine. I will try, but I am not holding my hopes out on this. Wyss: Just a few more minutes. ::at Dekas:: I’ve got the three couplings on my side disconnected. How are you doing? Dekas: response T’Lea: Somebody better do something soon. Wyss: Almost there! T'Lea reached for the two six-shooters on her hips and pulled them, only to realize they were no longer bright shiny metal but yellow. In her hands were two bananas with triggers. She closed her eyes and shook her head. This would have been hilarious if it had been happening to somebody else. With an egregious sigh she gripped stem-end of the bananas and put her fingers on the triggers. Aiming was going to be a problem, but it didn’t really matter since she was a terrible shot anyway. The bigger question, other than her aim was what would come of the end of the bananas when she pulled the trigger. T’Lea: Doc…? Indobri: Just don’t let them lynch me before I get done. This is going to take a lot of concentration. T’Lea: They won’t get near you. That was a promise. And that was a promise from Nyka as well. While Dekas worked on disconnecting his end, she was working on a back-up plan. T’Lea’s eyes hardened to steel as the townsfolk closed the distance. She held her deadly bananas firmly, but not too firm lest they squished. She planted her feet and took awkward aim. A glance to her side told her that Indobri was gathering her mental strength. Indobri ~ You are getting very sleepy. You need to go to bed. You are very tired. A nap would be good right about now. Go to sleep. ~ Wyss winced as a sudden headache stabbed at the front of her forehead. She blinked her eyes and thought she heard Indobri’s voice telling her to go to sleep. It was so soothing, and familiar. She found herself struggling not to obey. Dekas: response Wyss: I think I’m getting tired. T’Lea’s head turned and she saw Wyss rub her groggy eyes. She looked to the town’s people and they were only a few yards away now, and still wide awake. T’Lea: ::at Dekas and Wyss:: In case you haven’t noticed, I am armed with fruit. Please hurry. Dekas: response Indobri ~ You’re so tired you can’t keep your eyes open. Lay down and take a nap. ~ Making a mental effort to block Indobri’s telepathic influences, T’Lea saw a villager yawn, and then another. Slowly half the crowd fell to their knees, and made their bed right there in the dirt street. The other half were struggling to stay awake and now even more frightened. T’Lea: We have a problem. The Gambler took aim and so did the remaining ten people with him. Indobri: response T’Lea: No, not them. Them. She thumbed back at the two engineers. Nyka was struggling to stay awake. Wyss: Cut. The main. ::yawn:: Line. She said to Dekas and slumped her shoulder against the arch. She reached in with her hand and did something just as the first shot from the Gamblers gun rang out. Then she literally fell to sleep on the ground. The Gambler’s shot zipped past the Romu-vulc, clipping the brim of her hat. T’Lea fired back, and the ends of her banana-guns exploded. The banana and their peels splattered the Gambler and his friends in a stunning display of scatter-shot fruit. But what was more stunning was that the sun had turned into a spinning disco ball, throwing sprays of flashy lights all over the dusty town. Suddenly, music from Wyss’s playlist sang-out loudly across the holodeck, and the remaining townsfolk started line-dancing. ABBA: Dancing queen Feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah You can dance You can jive Having the time of your life Ooh, see that girl Watch that scene Digging the dancing queen... Absurdity. That was the best word to describe everything going on. No, wait… Insanity. Yes. It was unadulterated insanity, thought T’Lea as she watched the Gambler and his friends toe-tap and slide along with the music. The Romu-vulc glanced down at her banana-guns. The tips were blown-out, and she had no idea if there was another round in the chamber... stem? Whatever. So she tossed them. Dekas/Indobri: response TAGGIES! Lieutenant Commander T’Lea The Surly Gunslinger Historian/Archaeology Specialist USS Juneau Author ID I238301T10 & PNPC Lieutenant JG Nyka Wyss The Singing Sheriff Engineering Officer Lightside Station soon to be assigned to USS Grace Hopper Author ID I238301T10
  21. @Alex Brodie has a way of really deepening his character and also giving more depth to a situation. Here we see a blast from the past and a relation to something that involves the planet the Thor is now taking shore leave on - Cardassia. I can't wait to see what happens next. I love this look into Brodie's past! IC: ((Applied Psychology Division, Elysium Research Institute, Mars)) ((Year: 2375)) Alexander Brodie sat watching the feed come in from the Federation News Service; he wasn’t channel hopping for fun though, this was work. FNS Reporter: I’m here with Anders De Brunn, Chief Financial Officer of Teldaris Resources. Mr De Brunn, can you comment on news reports from Ferenginar that Teldaris are being investigated by the Ferengi Commerce Authority over irregularities in commissions paid to agents to operate in the Irtok system? The man raised his mouth to his chin and rubbed his face unconsciously, covering his mouth. De Brunn: I’m glad you asked me that question… Brodie: ::Muttering:: No you’re not… De Brunn: …I can honestly say that there is absolutely no truth in these reports regarding an investigation from the Ferengi Commerce Authority. There were some undisclosed advanced payments to secure the contracts… It was all there. The repeating of the question, the raised shoulder, the change in cadence and lowering of the voice. Alex smiled while shaking his head and made a few notes. Brodie: ::Muttering:: …bribery… De Brunn: We’ve discussed this with the FCA and we’re satisfied that the matter is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. He turned his wrist slightly, almost pointing at the interviewer to try and make the point and cover the lie again. FNS Reporter: Anders De Brunn, thank you. Now back to our main story, Federation relief efforts cont… The sound went off and Brodie turned around in his chair to see Tommy Morgan leaning near the control console for the audio-visual suite. Morgan was, to all intents and purposes, the business manager for the institute. While they primarily focused on research, they had a commercial arm that could be hired to examine corporate matters and, on occasion, support the court system. His presence meant there’d been a request but, to his credit, he went for small-talk first. Morgan: ::Nodding at the screen:: What do you think? Brodie: I think the Commerce Authority are raiding their offices as we speak. Morgan: Not a surprise really. He’s a business executive, they all lie. Brodie: True…but he is extremely bad at it. Tommy pointed to the screen. Images of the destruction on the Cardassian homeworld from the culmination of the Dominion War had dominated the news for the last two weeks since the peace treaty had been signed Morgan: Hell of a thing, isn’t it? Brodie leaned back in his chair. Brodie: I’m just glad it’s done and the threat is gone…or at least diminished. I still can’t quite shake those images of San Fransico…I’m just glad they left Mars alone. Morgan: For sure…actually…it’s on a similar subject that I’m here actually. There’s a request come in for a project – of world…out of the system actually. That was a cagier and more circumspect than he’d expected from Morgan. Alex regarded him more closely. Brodie: ::Suspiciously:: Why are you sweating? Morgan: It’s warm. Mars is hot…right? It wasn’t, and Tommy knew that. Brodie: ::Still suspicious:: Compared to Breen maybe…tell me, Tommy, exactly how far-slash-long is this trip you had in mind? Morgan: Er…::pointing at the screen::..Cardassia… Brodie: Cardassia! Morgan: …for three months. Broide: Three months! Morgan: Now, Alex, calm down. You see why I was sweating. ::Pause:: Look, the civilian government wants independent observers to make sure that those giving aid aren’t establishing any kind of political foothold…there’s a lot of players in the game. I know we’re Federation citizens but we’re not Starfleet. Broide: Thankfully…three months is a long time to be away though. You know we’re trying to start a family, right? Morgan: Yeah but, Ros isn’t pregnant yet, is she? Brodie glowered at the man. Brodie: Not that it’s any of your business but no – and that’s unlikely to change if I’m not here. Morgan: It’s just a few months… Brodie: On Cardassia! Which was a war zone until about two weeks ago!::Pause:: Why me? Morgan: You know why. You’ve made no secret you’re thinking of moving on when your grant runs out – and I’m not blaming you, far from it. You’re looking to start a family and you’re not tenured so I completely understand the desire for more security. Alex leaned forward, clasping his hands and resting his elbows on his knees. Brodie: But? Morgan: ::Sighing:: But the old man in the wheelchair doesn’t want to see you go – he knows you might but he wants you to know that, if you go without doing this then you’ll not get the reference you need. Brodie took a deep breath through his nose. He shouldn’t shoot the messenger, and he could now see why Tommy was sweating, but he would have his displeasure noted. Brodie: ::Icily:: So it’s blackmail now? Morgan: It’s…a mutually beneficial arrangement. We secure the best services for the job and you secure your future… Brodie: ::Standing:: What was it you were saying about business executives Tommy? Morgan: That’s a little harsh…I wouldn’t lie to you, Alex. Brodie looked the man right in the eye. Brodie: True…but then you know I’d know. He turned and looked at the feed, still playing out in silence… Brodie: I do not care for this, Tommy. Fine…send me the details. ::Grabbing his jacket and leaving the room:: I’m taking an early lunch…possibly a liquid one. TBC ------------------------------------ Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie Chief Counselor USS Thor NCC-82607 dualitygamer@gmail.com Writer ID.: A239005BM0
  22. A really emotional and well written ending to our current mission (or is it M'Rishion?). M'Rish must be protected. (( Observation Room - Cardassian “Prison” )) Ayiana lay partially collapsed on the smoking and sparking ruin of the computer console. She had seen several logs by the Chief Researcher that detailed the meticulous and cruel social experiments they had been performing on dozens of prisoner groups over the years. They were just the latest iteration. Drop prisoners in the rear of the ship, see how they act and survive in the prison. If some break out into the middle of the ship, complex and devious scenarios and traps were ready to be played via holoemitters placed throughout; just to see how they’d react. To make matters worse, their unofficial charge, M’Rish, had been an unwilling pawn in the Cardassians’ vile experiments. Every cycle, they’d sedate her, wipe her memories, reprogram her with false ones, then set her loose in the ship again to be found by any prison escapees. Just to see what they’d do to a helpless child in such a setting; not to mention how she survived on her own for weeks on end before someone came to find her. Assuming people actually broke out of the prison, which didn’t happen every iteration. When she first joined the Maquis, Ayiana merely wanted to safeguard her home and fellow colonists in the DMZ against the Cardassian Union’s aggression. Now, she hated them all for what they sanctioned here. It had been going on for years, far earlier than the genesis of the Maquis or even the Federation-Cardassian Treaty. She wanted to find those responsible and explain in exquisite detail, with many sharp objects in sensitive areas, just how she felt about it. Computer: Warning! Baryon sweep approaching. All remaining personnel retreat to designated shelters for evacuation. Apparently, such revenge would have to wait. Sevo: Oh, Gods above! Come on! :: She exclaimed. :: Stoyer: Yeah, time to go. Neathler: Shuttle bay, head for the shuttlebay. ::She paused, taking another breath, explaining herself.:: There was a message before. Sevo: I’ll take your word for it. Stoyer: There should be a release for the door. As Red said, the Cardies never expected any of us to get this far. They would have to evacuate the area also. Strip was still holding the unconscious M’Rish in his arms. The Cardassians had sedated her earlier, but there was no way to know if they had proceeded with the memory wipe yet. Ayiana suspected otherwise, as that generally involved complex equipment not seen in the room they found her in. Returning to the control panel Ayiana tried earlier, Cory tapped away at it and it opened easily, much to her chagrin. The emergency evacuation must have overridden any locks in order to facilitate a faster evacuation. Stoyer: Let’s get out of here. Neathler: Go. :: She said as she picked up her furry friend. :: Sevo: Was there a map? Do you know where to go? Exiting the room, Fingers looked both ways down the corridor, slightly confused. Apparently, she didn’t know where to go. To make matters worse, a green forcefield was slowly inching its way up the corridor - the baryon sweep! Lethal to any form of life; it was vital they stay away from it. She heard it could be quite painful. Neathler: The baryon sweep! Sevo: That means everyone in the prison is dead. Executed. Stoyer: Response Ayiana clenched her fists white. She may not have liked many of the prisoners, but cold-blooded execution by baryon sweep was not a fate she’d wish on anyone. Quickly, they ran down the corridor. Some doors were open but looking inside, they were empty. Anyone still on the ship would have evacuated or moved to safe shelters by now. She thought baryon beams moved meticulously and slowly, that they’d easily be able to run away from it. But this one seemed different; after all, it was an execution tool, not a meticulous maintenance sweep. Neathler: Hurry. Stoyer: Response The straight hallway leading away from the deadly energy suddenly turned left. With no choice, they followed, past a set of double doors. Then, much to Ayiana’s annoyance, the corridor turned left *again*, heading towards the baryon beam. She could see it further down, inching closer. Suddenly, Fingers stopped in her tracks. Neathler: Back, we have to go back, through those double doors. Sevo: What?! Why...nevermind. I trust you! Stoyer: Response They backtracked down the corridor, to the right, and to the set of thick double doors passed earlier. There was a plaque next to it which read “Shuttlebay Two.” Ayiana tapped at the controls and opened the doors. The sight inside caused her heart to drop. It was a large bay, but empty. Not a single escape shuttle remained. They had already been taken by the escaping crew, as denoted by impulse scorch marks on the floor. Sevo: Damn, damn, and damn! Neathler/Stoyer: Response They moved out to the middle of the large bay in order to give them some more time. To do what, she didn’t know. Soon, the green energy wall materialized through the door and wall they passed through, crawling ever closer. Slight shuffling in Cory’s arms caught Ayiana’s attention. M’Rish had woken up. M’Rish: Wh...wha? :: She peered around curiously, rubbing her eyes, looking at everyone. :: Y-you’s came back for me? Sevo: O-of course we did. :: Holding back a tear. :: Oh no, why?! Couldn’t she have stayed asleep just a little longer? M’Rish didn’t need to know what was happening; what was about to happen. She could have stayed asleep through the end, never knowing what transpired. When she had been sedated back in that room, that could have been the simple, quiet, painless end for her; never knowing that she would die a little while later. Now, she’d die along with the rest of them, painfully awake and aware of what was happening. Neathler/Stoyer: Response M’Rish: Wh-what’s that?! :: Still being held in Strip’s arms, she pointed a shaky finger down the shuttlebay to the oncoming sweep. :: Sevo: It...it’s nothing. Don’t look at it. :: Ayiana moved to block M’Rish’s sight of the beam. :: Neathler/Stoyer: Response Ayiana turned to look, feigning curiosity; but in actuality, she was hiding the tears streaming down her face. Not for herself, or for Strip, or Fingers, but for M’Rish. Such an innocent being, not deserving of the life she had been living, and certainly not deserving of the death coming. But there was nothing left to do; the shuttles were gone, and they couldn’t just jump out into space. They had tried their hardest to live, survived impossible odds stacked against them, but it was for nothing in the end. Their escape plan failed, and they’d die on this miserable ship in a few short seconds, painfully. The sweep was less than a meter away. She could hear it’s humming now, like the slow ticking of death announcing itself. Sevo: We did our best, everyone. :: She turned to Strip. :: Cory, I just want to say...I love you. She placed one hand on Cory’s cheek, and the other on M’Rish’s head, who was still being held in Cory’s arms. Neathler/Stoyer: Response Sevo: M’Rish, I’m sorry little one. I’m so sorry… Ayiana closed her eyes as the first tingles of energy touched her. It wasn’t as painful as she thought it’d be. In fact, it felt familiar, almost like a transporter beam… ---------------------------- Ayiana “Red” Sevo Fighter ---------------------------- Simmed by ---------------------------- Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo Mission Specialist U.S.S. Gorkon Image Collective Wiki Ops Investigating Diversity and Inclusion Committee (IDIC) V239109AS0 ----------------------------
  23. @Alex Brodie writes up a lovely summary of our most recent mission but couples it with some thoughts about the Prime Directive. I love how he refers to precedents to make a case for what the Thor did. I found it a nice wrap up to our mission! IC: ((Intelligence Watch Centre, Deck Three, USS Thor)) Broide had occupied the main office in the Intelligence suite. Jehe was on leave so he was taking his rotation although there was less in the way of intelligence briefings and a lot more legal documentation scattered over the desk. This was likely to be a bit of a problematic report for the ship and, while his reports were mostly kept to the medical archives he wanted to make sure he had everything locked in place. He pulled up the draft. --- THR-AWB-COU-MIS-0010 TO: Starfleet Medical Central Records CC: USS Thor Central Records Following a period of shoreleave on Vulcan the USS Thor was initially assigned to conduct a survey of an unusual stellar phenomenon: a pair of hypervelocity stars on nearly identical trajectories. Enroute to the system in question, however, the Thor detected a distress call from a cluster of nearby planetoids. This identification code associated with the signal identified it as being the USS Excalibur. Records show that this vessel was officially listed as lost during the Federation-Klingon War in the mid twenty-third century – well over one-hundred years ago. Under the guidance of Commander Geoffrey Teller this officer, along with Ensign Peri Katsim and Ensign Dar Elandra began reviewing available information regarding the vessel, including its likely course and possible locations. Consideration was also given to General Order One (Prime Directive) regarding potential indigenous populations and the effect that either the Excalibur crew, or their descendants, may have had on their natural evolution. The same also applies to the potential transfer of technology – which seemed likely, given the source of the signal. Given the lack of information available in the records, and the age of the information that was. A decision was made to beam down to the surface as a group, under cultural camouflage protocols and investigate further as well as take scientific samples for further study. Upon arrival on the planets surface, in the margins of a volcanic plateau, samples were collected and some tectonic readings were taken indicating an increase in volcanic activity in the region. Shortly after arrival, however, a series of life signs were detected and the group moved to cover with overwatch being provided by Ensign Dar. The lifeforms in question appeared to be Klingon in origin. These riders were led by an individual known as Betlak and appeared to be a ‘scout party’. This officer conversed with Betlak as the universal translator seemed unable to process the dialect they were using. The situation deteriorated as Betlak was not receptive to diplomatic channels – taking Ensign Per Katsim hostage. This conflict was short lived, however, as a group of mounted troops arrived to disperse the Klingons. These troops, more accurately knights, were from the local city of Calabrum and were led by their Queen – Arta Du Pendragon. This city, it became clear, had been established by the original crew of the Excalibur and maintained by their descendants. This officer, in addition to Commander Teller, Doctor and Quen and Ensign Dar was granted an audience with her Highness. It became clear that it was the queen herself who had made the distress call and that she was being advised by the court ‘wizard’ a man named Velik. It also became clear that the decedents of the Klingons – known locally as ‘Klings’ had been at war with the city of Calabrum for the majority of the previous century. In recent times these Klings had become more organized under the leadership of an individual known only as Modrawt. It was resolved that Ensign Dar and Commander Teller would remain and work with the Knights Calbrum and myself and doctor Quen would accompany the Queen to the local settlement of upto see how the conflict had affected the local population in the nearby settlement of Upton. On arrival it became clear that the local water supply had become contaminated, possibly deliberately, form the volcano leading to chemical burns. A parasitic infection, however, could not be ruled out. Following the realisation that a larger raiding party was headed for Calabrum to place the city under siege a meeting was called between Fleet Captain Aron Kells and Queen Du Pendragon where a plan was put in place to remove the descendants of the Excalibur, at their request. Further, the increased tectonic activity of the volcano now threatened an eruption. While this could not be prevented under General Order One it would provide appropriate cover for the evacuation attempt. This officer was assigned, along with Lieutenant Commander Lia Rouiancet to provide a level of control to the volcanic eruption. This involved the use of a binary explosive mixture that would be detonated in order to collapse a section of the magma chamber. This allowed a portion of the magma to be drained to adjacent chambers to limit the exposure to Calabrum. The detonation was conducted without incident once the explosives had been placed by hand. During this time, the remaining senior staff performed the evacuation. [[Classified: Command Level Only]] Consideration must be given to the Prime Directive. The actions undertaken by the USS Thor during this mission do constitute a violation of the prime directive. In mitigation, however, I submit the below reasonings along with appropriate precedents: The distress call was directed by Velik. Further review of the original crew manifest of the USS Excalibur at the time of its loss would indicate that this is likely to be a Vulcan who was serving as a junior science officer at the time. This would classify as a request for aid from a fellow Starfleet officer and the need to conduct a rescue mission [Precedent: Zeta Gelis Star Cluster, 2366]. In addition, any request for aid [Precedent: Drema VI, 2365] may be considered exemption criteria and the level of aid rendered by the crew of the USS Thor was conducted in such a way that it is believed it would not have impacted the pre-contamination development of the indigenous society [Precedent: Barkon IV, 2370]. This also allowed the correction of alterations to the natural evolution caused by the Klingons [Precedent; Neural, 2268]. It is my understanding that any indigenous people who were caught up in the evacuation are being transferred to Deep Space Thirty-Two for repatriation. The Same is true of the Klingon descendants who have been repatriated to the Klingon Empire already. The descendants of the Excalibur are to be relocated once a suitable world has been identified for them. It is recommended that observation teams are dispatched to both the original extraction planet to monitor any possible disruption. [[End Classified]] [[Personal Notes]] The nature of this mission, regrettably, is somewhat of a pyrrhic victory. While there was the aversion of a significant loss of life, we cannot ignore the fact that a culture has been uprooted from their home world and will take some time to adjust. Further, this culture, through no fault of their own, has been locked in a conflict with the remnants of the Klingon Empire for over a century. I wonder what the Klingons will make of their new wards? I would hope they would welcome them back as fellows but where they may fit into Klingon society after one-hundred years…it will be a difficult adjustment but I hope the Klingons hold true and honour their ancestors. Following the events of this mission several crew changes have occurred including the leave of Doctor Quen Deena and Junior Lieutenant Jeha Saja. I’m pleased to report, however, that Lieutenant Commander Ben Garcia will be re-joining the USS Thor on our arrival at Cardassia Prime. Signed Lt. Cmdr. Alexander W. Brodie; Psy.D, Ph.D. Chief Counsellor, USS --- Alex re-read the citations on the legal side of things, just to make sure he had his dates right and then submitted the report. He leaned back in the chair and picked up a PADD - Cardassia Prime....how long had it been? FIN ------------------------------------ Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie Chief Counselor USS Thor NCC-82607 dualitygamer@gmail.com Writer ID.: A239005BM0
  24. I really liked the way this one flowed and the emotion was shown. I had to share. (( Captain's Office - Constitution )) Finally. Finally the Constitution was back on their way home. Not without a lot of help of the Galactic Starship Service though, but they were on their way home. While the teams had been in the mines, the Stardrive section had caught up to the Saucer and reunited, so when the shuttles returned from the surface the whole ship, sans warp nacelle and plus a couple of holes, had waited for them. The 'tow' service members had been muttering and ranting about the state of the ship, but they had gone straight to work. Jalana stood at the window looking outside to a tiny dot in the distance that was slowly getting closer and between that dot and her was a Cardiff Class Starship connected via a tractor beam pulling them forward at higher speed then the Conny was able to. Jalana's green eyes landed on the back of that ship, the circular rear warp-drive glowing in a bright blue between the nacelles that for almost any other ship would be the location of the warp drive but not in this ship. It made for an interesting aesthetic. Rajel: Captain's log supplemental - Stardate 239806.13 - We have left Osteris II and the Shahar Nebula behind and are on our way back to Starbase 104, in tow of the GSS. Once we arrive repairs will have to be made and who knows how long they will take. Replacing the lost warp nacelle and reparing the holes in our hull alone would take some time, that does not include the interior damage and the time the crew will need to recover from these events. With combined efforts we were able to retrieve the away team, injured but alive and the surviving miners who are being brought to the Starbase for testimonials. I hope that they will be able to visit their families or spend time away from all this afterwards. My report to HQ will include the recommendation to send a survey team to the mine and reevaluate how it is operated and protected before sending anyone back there. Jalana took a deep breath and then continued. Rajel: We are not yet aware if this particular group of pirates belong to a bigger cell or not, but their leader Elder fled the scene back into - what we assume - Orion space. I have the feeling this may not be the last time we saw him. We were able to capture sixteen pirates alive, who of course are not the most talkative. They will be handed over to the authorities back on the base. Another dozen or two were killed in the mines. It is difficult to know exactly as some had to be disintegrated to stop their attacks. We retrieved two bodies of pirates that appeared to be on a drug that would raise their aggression and immunity to be shot. They are examined in the morgue for traces of the substance. The rest of their remains will be taken care of by sweepers HQ will send. Once more she paused and looked down to her hands. She ran her fingertips over the porcelain starship in her hand. When she had entered the office after returning to the ship she had been relieved that it was still in one piece but ironically it had a little crack along the same pylon that had been damaged on the ship. She could feel it even though the nacelle held on tight. Rajel: We also suffered major losses. Firstly among the miners. We recovered too many bodies for identification and allow their families their proper last rites. Among our officers we lost several officers. Salvador Marcinko, Zilan, Sh'tran, Han Soo Mi, Q'Ren, Syanir Kol and Vok lost their lives in the line of duty during a rescue mission in the mines of Osteris II, fighting off pirates of the Orion Syndicate. Another seven lives were lost during the battle between the Constitution and the Theseus and Minotaur. S'Ral, Horm, Paden Runa, Kylie Williams, Chus'it Haihnan, Scrol Ar'el and Dhelvad. A memorial hall for the lost Crew members and miners is being set up in Holodeck 4 for those who wish to pay their respects and say their farewells. Shipwide announcements have been sent out. Luckily most that were injured had been able to recover or were still on the way. It could have been worse, a lot worse. But despite the comparably low number of death crew members every single name pained her. The knowledge that they hadn't been able to avoid fatalities. With each mention the weight on her shoulders felt heavier. Rajel: Both Sick Bays have been working around the clock and are treating the injured crew members and miners. Counseling works with them to address the trauma for those that want to deal with it at this time. Sarah Mason, T'Mar and Sawyer Moore are still unconscious and will be transferred to the Medical ward on Starbase 104. Nugra has been considerably injured by an explosive. Surgeries were a success to stabilize him but he will need a few weeks to recover. Though he is conscious by now his optical nerve has been severely damaged and is being treated. She really didn't like this, not one bit. Nothing of this felt right. But this was life in Starfleet. Often they were lucky and then there were missions that just went belly up. She would have to update Sal as well, after all they were Syndicate and without his knowledge in her head, things could have gone so much worse. That split moment warning they had before the attack had been enough to raise the shields and be prepared. Without that the ship would have been hit directly from the start. But that she had his knowledge was not something she could put into a public accessible Captain's log. Not even in a personal one with a passcode. The danger of someone finding it was too big. Rajel: We will arrive at Starbase 104 in about an hour, where repairs on the ship will be taken over by Station personnel in tandem with those of the crew that wish to stay and work with them. Other than that the crew will have a well deserved and desperately needed shore leave and are free to remain on the station or visit home, go on vacation ... anything they need right now. She thought about it for a moment. Was there anything else she needed to record. Maybe... but she couldn't think of it. Her head pounded and she still needed to head to Sick bay herself. That cracked rip had been silent thanks to a hypospray because others had been more important to be taken care of, but she worried about falling back into old habits. She could not let that happen. So she shook her head. Rajel: End Captain's log. The computer chirped and she stepped away from the window before she carefully placed the slightly cracked starship back on the shelf, which immediately turned invisible as the tractor beam from the model Starbase 118 turned on to hold the ship up. She would have to get this crack fixed before it got worse. Was she still talking about the model ship? ----- Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0
  25. Continuing his tradition of a 'Counselors Perspective' writeup of each mission, Lt. Cmdr. Brodie does another great job summarizing the beats of a complex mission and making it interesting even if you weren't there. I hope the folks at Starfleet Medical appreciate his work as much as we do on the Thor! Great Job Alex! ========================================= ((Intelligence Watch Centre, Deck Three, USS Thor)) Broide had occupied the main office in the Intelligence suite. Jehe was on leave so he was taking his rotation although there was less in the way of intelligence briefings and a lot more legal documentation scattered over the desk. This was likely to be a bit of a problematic report for the ship and, while his reports were mostly kept to the medical archives he wanted to make sure he had everything locked in place. He pulled up the draft. --- THR-AWB-COU-MIS-0010 TO: Starfleet Medical Central Records CC: USS Thor Central Records Following a period of shoreleave on Vulcan the USS Thor was initially assigned to conduct a survey of an unusual stellar phenomenon: a pair of hypervelocity stars on nearly identical trajectories. Enroute to the system in question, however, the Thor detected a distress call from a cluster of nearby planetoids. This identification code associated with the signal identified it as being the USS Excalibur. Records show that this vessel was officially listed as lost during the Federation-Klingon War in the mid twenty-third century – well over one-hundred years ago. Under the guidance of Commander Geoffrey Teller this officer, along with Ensign Peri Katsim and Ensign Dar Elandra began reviewing available information regarding the vessel, including its likely course and possible locations. Consideration was also given to General Order One (Prime Directive) regarding potential indigenous populations and the effect that either the Excalibur crew, or their descendants, may have had on their natural evolution. The same also applies to the potential transfer of technology – which seemed likely, given the source of the signal. Given the lack of information available in the records, and the age of the information that was. A decision was made to beam down to the surface as a group, under cultural camouflage protocols and investigate further as well as take scientific samples for further study. Upon arrival on the planets surface, in the margins of a volcanic plateau, samples were collected and some tectonic readings were taken indicating an increase in volcanic activity in the region. Shortly after arrival, however, a series of life signs were detected and the group moved to cover with overwatch being provided by Ensign Dar. The lifeforms in question appeared to be Klingon in origin. These riders were led by an individual known as Betlak and appeared to be a ‘scout party’. This officer conversed with Betlak as the universal translator seemed unable to process the dialect they were using. The situation deteriorated as Betlak was not receptive to diplomatic channels – taking Ensign Per Katsim hostage. This conflict was short lived, however, as a group of mounted troops arrived to disperse the Klingons. These troops, more accurately knights, were from the local city of Calabrum and were led by their Queen – Arta Du Pendragon. This city, it became clear, had been established by the original crew of the Excalibur and maintained by their descendants. This officer, in addition to Commander Teller, Doctor and Quen and Ensign Dar was granted an audience with her Highness. It became clear that it was the queen herself who had made the distress call and that she was being advised by the court ‘wizard’ a man named Velik. It also became clear that the decedents of the Klingons – known locally as ‘Klings’ had been at war with the city of Calabrum for the majority of the previous century. In recent times these Klings had become more organized under the leadership of an individual known only as Modrawt. It was resolved that Ensign Dar and Commander Teller would remain and work with the Knights Calbrum and myself and doctor Quen would accompany the Queen to the local settlement of upto see how the conflict had affected the local population in the nearby settlement of Upton. On arrival it became clear that the local water supply had become contaminated, possibly deliberately, form the volcano leading to chemical burns. A parasitic infection, however, could not be ruled out. Following the realisation that a larger raiding party was headed for Calabrum to place the city under siege a meeting was called between Fleet Captain Aron Kells and Queen Du Pendragon where a plan was put in place to remove the descendants of the Excalibur, at their request. Further, the increased tectonic activity of the volcano now threatened an eruption. While this could not be prevented under General Order One it would provide appropriate cover for the evacuation attempt. This officer was assigned, along with Lieutenant Commander Lia Rouiancet to provide a level of control to the volcanic eruption. This involved the use of a binary explosive mixture that would be detonated in order to collapse a section of the magma chamber. This allowed a portion of the magma to be drained to adjacent chambers to limit the exposure to Calabrum. The detonation was conducted without incident once the explosives had been placed by hand. During this time, the remaining senior staff performed the evacuation. [[Classified: Command Level Only]] Consideration must be given to the Prime Directive. The actions undertaken by the USS Thor during this mission do constitute a violation of the prime directive. In mitigation, however, I submit the below reasonings along with appropriate precedents: The distress call was directed by Velik. Further review of the original crew manifest of the USS Excalibur at the time of its loss would indicate that this is likely to be a Vulcan who was serving as a junior science officer at the time. This would classify as a request for aid from a fellow Starfleet officer and the need to conduct a rescue mission [Precedent: Zeta Gelis Star Cluster, 2366]. In addition, any request for aid [Precedent: Drema VI, 2365] may be considered exemption criteria and the level of aid rendered by the crew of the USS Thor was conducted in such a way that it is believed it would not have impacted the pre-contamination development of the indigenous society [Precedent: Barkon IV, 2370]. This also allowed the correction of alterations to the natural evolution caused by the Klingons [Precedent; Neural, 2268]. It is my understanding that any indigenous people who were caught up in the evacuation are being transferred to Deep Space Thirty-Two for repatriation. The Same is true of the Klingon descendants who have been repatriated to the Klingon Empire already. The descendants of the Excalibur are to be relocated once a suitable world has been identified for them. It is recommended that observation teams are dispatched to both the original extraction planet to monitor any possible disruption. [[End Classified]] [[Personal Notes]] The nature of this mission, regrettably, is somewhat of a pyrrhic victory. While there was the aversion of a significant loss of life, we cannot ignore the fact that a culture has been uprooted from their home world and will take some time to adjust. Further, this culture, through no fault of their own, has been locked in a conflict with the remnants of the Klingon Empire for over a century. I wonder what the Klingons will make of their new wards? I would hope they would welcome them back as fellows but where they may fit into Klingon society after one-hundred years…it will be a difficult adjustment but I hope the Klingons hold true and honour their ancestors. Following the events of this mission several crew changes have occurred including the leave of Doctor Quen Deena and Junior Lieutenant Jeha Saja. I’m pleased to report, however, that Lieutenant Commander Ben Garcia will be re-joining the USS Thor on our arrival at Cardassia Prime. Signed Lt. Cmdr. Alexander W. Brodie; Psy.D, Ph.D. Chief Counsellor, USS --- Alex re-read the citations on the legal side of things, just to make sure he had his dates right and then submitted the report. He leaned back in the chair and picked up a PADD - Cardassia Prime....how long had it been? FIN ------------------------------------ Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie Chief Counselor USS Thor NCC-82607 dualit...@gmail.com Writer ID.: A239005BM0
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