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  1. I'm so happy to have @Geoffrey Teller guesting with us on the Resolution for this mission. I'm always amazed by his ability to find his way inside a character with very little information to go on and yet, he's incredibly descriptive and elusive at the same time! ((A Grove of Seven Trees, Memorial Forest, Thama Homeworld)) A warm breeze flitted through the graceful, slender branches of the l'far trees, filling the grove with a gentle rustling that Ashal Koas found pleasant and soothing. Her spade dug into the rich black dark soil easily as it had for the last two hours, shifting the dirt aside and forming a small mound nearby. With each load of soil moved she got closer to her goal but her pace was unhurried and regular. Even here, in the company of those she held most dear, she didn't risk letting her mask slip. Not now. Not when she was so close. Another scoop of dirt set aside, and she was a step closer to finishing her journey. The wind gusted, the l'far trees swaying, the light playing off their crystalline leaves. She could hear them speaking to her. They encouraged her when she had lost faith and purpose. They gently reminded her of her sworn promise. If she closed her eyes, she could hear their voices again. She was so near to them, now. Closer than she had been since the accident. Her expression remained neutral, but the next thrust of the shovel bit into the soil more deeply. She had planted these trees seven years earlier when she was just sixteen years old. She'd cared for them and nurtured them across the years, as they had cared for her, serving as her sounding board and confidants when she grew dejected or uncertain. The living cenotaph to her family, here in a hidden corner of the Great Memorial Forest, was the keeper of her secrets. It would not need to be for much longer. The wind shifted again and she could hear the voices of the other children, her brothers and sisters. They laughed and sang, which always made Ashal smile during the darkest times. Ashal looked towards the smallest tree in the grove, named in honor of her younger brother Ascal. He was always the first to joke, the first to tease his sister when she got into one of her intense moods. Branches shook and leaves whispered, a music knowable only to her. Koas: Don't be difficult, Ascal! You're always such a troublemaker, getting your branches tangled. Dotra and Jimberline never cause as much of a fuss. The other two smaller trees offered no immediate response. Ashal continued digging without pause, carrying on with her conversation. Koas: We've spoken about this before and you know why I have to go. This is everything we've hoped for. I've been assigned to the negiogation team as a junior diplomat. No one questioned it. Ambassador Niran chose me personally. The smallest tree in the grove fell silent. Ashal dug for a while longer, then stepped up and out of the void she had created, satisfied. They were ready for the saplings. Her people had few traditions that could be considered spiritual, but this ancient practice had grown with the Thama, much like the memorial trees themselves. New life born out of loss. It was the great cycle of all living systems and the Thama, more than anything else, respected the sanctity of life. She moved the first sapling into position, gently placing it where she should've been, among her brothers and sisters, reciting the old words for the eight time. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer, let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud, then pressed the soil down with bare hands. Her meticulously precise facade didn't waiver, but a tear escaped from her eye and fell upon the soil. The second sapling was moved into position, low and away from the family of trees. Ashal tried to repeat the litany without emotion creeping in, only the subtlest notes of cold rage tinging her words. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer...::Ashal looked back towards her family and felt their eyes upon her. This was her final gift.:: Let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud with venom enough to wilt the nearby grass. It was the first time a Nascaik had ever been honored with a tree in the Great Forest, but Ashal believed strongly in the tradition. New life born out of loss. Something to blossom while something else withered. She pressed the soil into place and turned to face her family one final time. Their voices had grown still but she could feel their warm embrace. She longed to be with them, and looked lovingly at the sapling. Koas: You're home now, little Ashal. Grow strong and tall for me, here with your family. I have to go now but it will be fine. This is the cycle. The breeze picked up once again, rustling and whispering in the branches around them. As she changed out of her soiled work clothes and into something more befitting a junior diplomat, Ashal heard the voices of her parents and her siblings. She heard them calling out to her, demanding justice. They didn't wish to burden her so, but she was all that remained. It had to be her. By the time she stepped out of the Memorial Forest for the very last time, Ashal Koas had renewed her resolve. She would see her plan through to the very end, as she had promised all those years ago. She felt a calm elation as she returned to her offices, just one junior bureaucrat among many returning from midday break. She imagined the grove and smiled. Something wonderful would blossom there. While something else withered. [End] ==================================== Ashal Koas Junior Assistant to the Ambassador Thama Scientific Sovereignty V239509GT0
  2. @LtJG Aine Olive Sherlock does a smashing job as a security officer in this sim, thoughtfully working through the intricacies of an upcoming diplomatic negotiation and offering inventive, yet actionable, suggestions for ship's security. Very nicely done! ((Conference Room 'B', Deck 7, USS Resolution)) She hadn't been down on the lower decks much, and if it hadn't been for this meeting, she'd almost have forgotten that Engineering had its own conference room. Walking in a little early with her PADD in one hand and tea number three in the other, two officers were already present. Sherlock: Lieutenant Commander Ilsam ::giving him a wry smile::, good morning. ::turing to Chandra:: Commander Amari, slipping her PADD under her left arm and extending her hand:: it's a pleasure to meet you. Welcome aboard the Resolution. Ilsam: Response Aine returned the Commanders smile as they shook hands. Amari: Thank you. It’s been a wild ride so far. I can’t wait to see what happens when you guys get going. Just then the door to the conference room hissed opened and in walked Dr. T'Suran. Amari: Doctor T’Suran I presume? T'Suran: Response Sherlock: Yes, let's get started. They took their seats around the table and Commander Amari began to lay out what was in store for them. A blue glow fell unto her face as Commander Amari queued up a holo display of a planet of which Aine had never heard of. A brief pause gave everyone just enough time to read the name as Chandra started her brief. Amari: This is Vionus IV, currently disputed territory of two races, the Thama and the Nascaik. Both want it for different reasons, and neither is willing to share. Given that, we’re going to provide mediation and hopefully a peaceful solution. Ilsam/T'Suran: Response Amari: Ah, but that is the question. As the commander put it, to get them to talk, we’ve got to get them in the same room, which might be difficult given that the Thama’s homeworld is smaller than Earth, so they are going to feel mighty heavy when they arrive here. And the Nascaik breathe a methane mixture apparently, so our air will likely end the talks before they begin since they can’t breathe it. Sherlock: ::raising an eyebrow:: At least that will limit their movement on the ship. But then when we need to move them, well, that's going to be tough. Ilsam/T'Suran: Response Sherlock: Adaptations in their quarters will be easy enough. The real question will be where do we put them? Where will the meeting be? And how do we get them there under guard? Any: Response Thinking back to her earlier statement, Aine tried to imagine herself as one of these visiting diplomats. Even with certain, and understandable, restrictions, feeling caged wasn't something she imagined anyone would want. Sherlock: This idea may sound strange ::bites lower lip briefly:: but maybe their escorts onboard could be in EV suits? I know it will look strange, but allowing them some freedom of movement in adapted areas, may feel a little more welcoming. (OOC: Feel free to continue the conversation concerning the needs of our guests.) Chandra looked over at the security officer then. Amari: And of course there’s a security wrench to throw into all of these moving gears. The ends of Aine's mouth curled slightly at the image in her head. Large lumbering gears like in an old clock tower, but instead of a wrench a phaser gets tossed in. She tucked away the childish thought and refocused. Amari: There’s inevitably some who think these talks aren’t worth it and that they should just take what is perceived as theirs. Thus, we are also tasked with making certain this ship, and those aboard in any capacity, are protected. Sherlock: Yes, I skimmed over the briefs on the Thama and Nascaik that Commander Ilsam forwarded to me ::giving Tai a nod::. With some ideas about how to deal with the environmental needs and our limitations with them, I think if we shut down the science labs while they're here, that will give us extra power we may need for adaptations. We could also lock down the ship. Confine all non-essential personnel to quarters, keep the Bridge and Engineering staffed. We could have the extra science personnel working deck patrols, that would allow my security teams and the Marines to focus on our guests. Externally, I'm most worried about the Nascaik. Any: Response Sherlock: If there is indeed disagreement in the higher ranks of the Nascaik, it wouldn't be far out to assume even one of them would want to stop these talks. If we do power down the science labs, we can keep the sensors maxed out. We could also raise shields once everyone's on board to prevent transporting and be ready for an attack. I think even at 20%, they'd do the job. Any: Response Tag/TBC Lieutenant Junior Grade Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0
  3. ((A Grove of Seven Trees, Memorial Forest, Thama Homeworld)) A warm breeze flitted through the graceful, slender branches of the l'far trees, filling the grove with a gentle rustling that Ashal Koas found pleasant and soothing. Her spade dug into the rich black dark soil easily as it had for the last two hours, shifting the dirt aside and forming a small mound nearby. With each load of soil moved she got closer to her goal but her pace was unhurried and regular. Even here, in the company of those she held most dear, she didn't risk letting her mask slip. Not now. Not when she was so close. Another scoop of dirt set aside, and she was a step closer to finishing her journey. The wind gusted, the l'far trees swaying, the light playing off their crystalline leaves. She could hear them speaking to her. They encouraged her when she had lost faith and purpose. They gently reminded her of her sworn promise. If she closed her eyes, she could hear their voices again. She was so near to them, now. Closer than she had been since the accident. Her expression remained neutral, but the next thrust of the shovel bit into the soil more deeply. She had planted these trees seven years earlier when she was just sixteen years old. She'd cared for them and nurtured them across the years, as they had cared for her, serving as her sounding board and confidants when she grew dejected or uncertain. The living cenotaph to her family, here in a hidden corner of the Great Memorial Forest, was the keeper of her secrets. It would not need to be for much longer. The wind shifted again and she could hear the voices of the other children, her brothers and sisters. They laughed and sang, which always made Ashal smile during the darkest times. Ashal looked towards the smallest tree in the grove, named in honor of her younger brother Ascal. He was always the first to joke, the first to tease his sister when she got into one of her intense moods. Branches shook and leaves whispered, a music knowable only to her. Koas: Don't be difficult, Ascal! You're always such a troublemaker, getting your branches tangled. Dotra and Jimberline never cause as much of a fuss. The other two smaller trees offered no immediate response. Ashal continued digging without pause, carrying on with her conversation. Koas: We've spoken about this before and you know why I have to go. This is everything we've hoped for. I've been assigned to the negiogation team as a junior diplomat. No one questioned it. Ambassador Niran chose me personally. The smallest tree in the grove fell silent. Ashal dug for a while longer, then stepped up and out of the void she had created, satisfied. They were ready for the saplings. Her people had few traditions that could be considered spiritual, but this ancient practice had grown with the Thama, much like the memorial trees themselves. New life born out of loss. It was the great cycle of all living systems and the Thama, more than anything else, respected the sanctity of life. She moved the first sapling into position, gently placing it where she should've been, among her brothers and sisters, reciting the old words for the eight time. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer, let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud, then pressed the soil down with bare hands. Her meticulously precise facade didn't waiver, but a tear escaped from her eye and fell upon the soil. The second sapling was moved into position, low and away from the family of trees. Ashal tried to repeat the litany without emotion creeping in, only the subtlest notes of cold rage tinging her words. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer...::Ashal looked back towards her family and felt their eyes upon her. This was her final gift.:: Let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud with venom enough to wilt the nearby grass. It was the first time a Nascaik had ever been honored with a tree in the Great Forest, but Ashal believed strongly in the tradition. New life born out of loss. Something to blossom while something else withered. She pressed the soil into place and turned to face her family one final time. Their voices had grown still but she could feel their warm embrace. She longed to be with them, and looked lovingly at the sapling. Koas: You're home now, little Ashal. Grow strong and tall for me, here with your family. I have to go now but it will be fine. This is the cycle. The breeze picked up once again, rustling and whispering in the branches around them. As she changed out of her soiled work clothes and into something more befitting a junior diplomat, Ashal heard the voices of her parents and her siblings. She heard them calling out to her, demanding justice. They didn't wish to burden her so, but she was all that remained. It had to be her. By the time she stepped out of the Memorial Forest for the very last time, Ashal Koas had renewed her resolve. She would see her plan through to the very end, as she had promised all those years ago. She felt a calm elation as she returned to her offices, just one junior bureaucrat among many returning from midday break. She imagined the grove and smiled. Something wonderful would blossom there. While something else withered. [End] ==================================== Ashal Koas Junior Assistant to the Ambassador Thama Scientific Sovereignty V239509GT0
  4. From the way he described the ribbons to his mention of leaders eating last, this sim brought back so many memories from when I was younger. It put a smile on my face and gave me some feels (as the kids say these days). From his great descriptive writing, as you've seen recently from the posts here, Justin is such a great writer who deserves every bit of recognition he gets. (( Home of Ambassador Sarep, Vulcan )) Yogan had been to enough dinner parties to suspect some kind of organized fun was about to start. In the back of his mind, he wondered if the lights might suddenly go off and they would be thrown headfirst into a murder-mystery party game. He remembered the last one he attended, back when he was still living in San Francisco, when he’d been assigned the role of Pappa Razzi, a mobster with a penchant for blackmailing celebrities with incriminating holo-photos. That night, he’d managed to reveal the secret identity of the tightfisted dowager countess, but he’d failed to guess that the mastermind of the crime was in fact Björnfjord Flarnkrappft, the Swedish furniture tycoon. The memory of that evening was pleasant, but the sight of Captain Nicholotti entering the dining room with Commander MacKenzie was enough to bring him back to the present at warp ten. Acting on instinct and his training, he rose to his feet. Yalu: Captain. Nicholotti: Lieutenant. MacKenzie: response The room fell silent, and a few of Yogan’s fellow officers stood out of respect to their captain. They seem to be just as surprised by her unexpected appearance. Doctor Adea, consummate professional he was, left his place at the table to attend to her. Adea: You’re awake, and... out of your room. ::he immediately went to her side:: Are you okay? Nicholotti: I am. And I can promise I am here permissibly, however temporarily. Yogan scanned the faces of the other officers around the table, wondering if anyone else had picked up on what the captain had said. Her statement implied that such permission could be revoked, and Yogan wondered what that might mean for Resolution. MacKenzie: response Adea: ::smiling broadly:: It doesn’t hurt to check, I’m very glad to see you. Nicholotti: And I you. ::Looking to the others.:: All of you. MacKenzie: response Etan: I take it that the Captain wasn’t expected this evening? MacNemar: response Nicholotti: They will hunt me down if I don’t return in a reasonable amount of time though, so if you would assist, I’d like to thank the crew for their hard work. MacKenzie / Adea: response Yogan resumed his seat as the evening took on quite a different tone and tenor to that which he’d expected. He looked to both ends of the table, where sat the Ambassador and Ms Hurmin. Unlike his crewmates, they didn’t appear to be surprised at this unexpected development. Rather, they seemed pleased. Yogan reasoned that they must have been informed of the captain’s desire to make an appearance and, knowing that her condition might necessitate an extended convalescence, had welcomed her into their home for an impromptu awards ceremony. Yogan smiled as he thought about this. The fact that they would extend such a courtesy to a group of people they’d not met before tonight was a testament to how much they cared for T’Suran. The medical officer was lucky to have such a supportive family. Nicholotti: I know no one expected to see me here tonight, but you’ll find out if you have not already, that I am full of surprises. Maybe that is where you all get that. Though I wasn’t there to see it, I want you each to know that I did read about it thanks to our XO, and I couldn’t be more proud of the actions each of you contributed towards the success of our exfiltration and escape from the future. Perhaps one day they will make a movie out of it. Yogan chuckled at the joke, relieved to see that the captain’s sense of humour had survived her illness and incapacitation intact. What she was doing right now was admirable, and it took Yogan some time to fully appreciate it. Here she was, just hours out of hospital, standing before them cracking jokes. Putting them at ease. Taking the time to honour them, when she was still recovering from a trauma that could have untold effects on her. It spoke to her character, and what kind of captain she was. It also reminded Yogan of something he’d read as a student: “Leaders are the ones who are willing to give up something of their own for us: their time, their energy, their money, maybe even the food off their plate. When it matters, leaders choose to eat last.” Any: response Nicholotti: My time with you right now is short, as there are yet tests to run and pass before I will be allowed to escape completely, but I felt it important to make certain you were all recognized for the efforts that brought us, and countless others, home. I know it is a bit crowded here, so instead of coming to me, I will ask that our XO and second officer disperse the awards as each of you are called. Adea / Mackenzie: response Nicholotti: First, for those who inevitably aided in the discovery of a new planet and the race that lived there, I award the following with the Explorer’s Ribbon. Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie, Lieutenant Commander Adea, Ensign Sherlock, Lieutenant JG Macnemar, Lieutenant JG Yalu, Lieutenant JG Sirin, Lieutenant Commander Romjin, Ensign T’Suran, Lieutenant Commander Ilsam, and Lieutenant JG Delri’ise. Thank you all for the dedication you showed during this discovery. Sherlock: Thank you, Captain. Yalu: I am honoured, Captain. Thank you. Yogan studied the ribbon that Dr. Adea had placed in his hands. It was the first of this type that Yogan had ever received, and it was striking. A gold embroidered letter “E” was placed in the centre of the blue-black ribbon–presumably representing the brightness of knowledge emerging from the darkness of unknown space–and gold and blue fimbriation ran alongside the edges. It was a beautiful physical manifestation of a likewise beautiful honour. Any: response Nicholotti: Inevitably, what goes hand in hand with discovery is contact with the life forms that reside on the planet in question. While discovered to be less savory characters, the event was still a first contact situation for us and as far as we know, for the Federation. To that end, I award the following with the First Contact Ribbon. Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie, Lieutenant Commander Adea, Ensign Sherlock, Lieutenant JG Macnemar, Lieutenant JG Yalu, Lieutenant JG Sirin, Lieutenant Commander Romjin, Ensign T’Suran, Lieutenant Commander Ilsam, and Lieutenant JG Delri’ise. Yalu: Thank you, Captain. This time, it was Commander MacKenzie’s turn to present the ribbon to Yogan, and it was just as brilliant as the last one. The red vertical stripe in the centre separated the ribbon into two halves, each a mirror image of the other, with a gold inner stripe and a blue outer stripe. As he examined it, he noticed that the design of the ribbon itself was a metaphor for first contact. The red stripe simultaneously symbolised the initial divide and the subsequent bridge between the Federation and a previously uncontacted people, while the mirrored halves represented the fact that we have far more in common with other species than we have differences. When Yogan thought about the Sau, he struggled to find their common ground, but then he remembered Teril’s final act of wresting control back from Lo’Thar and destroying the slave labor camp, allowing Resolution to rescue many of the prisoners. People, even seemingly evil lizard people from the year 300,000 could surprise you with unexpected acts of mercy. Yogan would be proud to add this ribbon to his dress uniform. Any: response Nicholotti: There are those out there to whom we owe more than can be repaid. In the process of carrying out their duties, these officers go above and beyond and deliver the gifts of life to those who would otherwise have gone without. As one of the recipients of such a gift, I can say that there is no greater love one can receive than to be able to live because of the skill, sacrifice, and care of another. Thus, to Ensign T’Suran and Lieutenant JG Sirin, I hereby award the Silver Lifesaving ribbons for conspicuous actions that saved the life of a member of Starfleet. T’Suran: response Sirin: Thank you. I am honored to have aided in some small way in your recovery. Nicholotti: And to Lieutenant Commander Adea, I hereby award the Gold Lifesaving Ribbon, for putting your life at risk in order to save another. Sherlock: Congratulations, Doctor! ::clapping her hands:: Yogan joined in the applause for the doctors and counselor. They had all acted in an exemplary fashion. He thought about Ensign Treetus, who had participated in his shuttle training with all the chip and cheer of a first-year Academy cadet. Unfortunately, his injuries must have been more serious than they first appeared, because the ensign had departed Resolution at Vulcan, and it was uncertain when, or if, he might return. Despite that sad news, Yogan was certain that without Doctors T’Suran and Adea and Counselor Sirin, Treetus’ very survival would have been cast in a shadow of doubt. And that was doubly true for the two-hundred-or-so people they had rescued from the Sau. Adea / Any: response Nicholotti: And finally, I will ask that Ensign Sherlock join me here for a moment. Ensign, though you have not served long, you have shown yourself to be a veritable force of nature. It will be officers like you who lead Starfleet into the future. For your actions and dedication that you’ve continued to show again and again, I hereby promote you to the rank of Lieutenant JG, with all rights and privileges therein. Sherlock: Thank you, Captain. As I said on my first day on your ship, I will serve you and the ship to the best of my abilities. ::slight nod:: Yalu: Congratulations, Lieutenant. Welcome to the club! Yogan was delighted that Aine Sherlock was given a well-deserved promotion. In her first mission, she’d proven herself to be a security officer of the highest calibre. Her dedication to the away mission had been integral to its success, and indeed their very survival. As the rest of the group congratulated her, Yogan noticed the nonverbal courting between the newly promoted Lieutenant and Commander Ilsam, and wondered what orders Starfleet would have for Resolution next. Their stay on Vulcan had been brief, but jam-packed with activity and opportunities to get to know each other better. If the next mission was even a fraction as stressful as the last, Yogan wondered whether the handful of newly formed relationships could hold up under the strain. Any: response Tag / TBC Lieutenant JG Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0
  5. I have been thinking about @Genkos Adea and @Rune Jolara's recent JP, this little scene in particular, for days now and want to share with everyone: Genkos’ brows rose; a mention of his home planet would always bring confusing feelings to his brain. There was a warmth of fond memories, slightly tinged by the… machinations of his father. Adea: Oh, Betazed? Where abouts? Jolara: ::with a nod:: In Mestara, not far from the Janaran Falls which he absolutely loves. Genkos nodded enthusiastically, having spent the occasional childhood trip camping in the woods near to the falls. Adea: I know the falls well. Delightful spot, I have many lovely memories of the spot. Jolara: So you have been there? Adea: Many times, camping with my father. Not something I have done in my adult life. I have lost my… fondness for camping. Something to do with marshed mallow. The last time he had been camping had been on Trill, and his preeminent memory was of one crewman’s fondness for an unimpressive, elongated marshed mallow instrument. As fond of sugar as Genkos was, he’d not been particularly taken by the instrument. Rune’s head tilted slightly as she watched him. Jolara: I am not familiar with any kind of instruments called marshed mallow. It must be horrific if it has caused you to lose your fondness for camping.
  6. ((Streets of Vulcana Regar )) The hovercar made its way down the quiet streets of Vulcana Regar, the slight desert breeze weaving its way between the old stone buildings and occasional public gardens. Meidra watched the passing scenery with a jaded eye; the cultivated order that so impressed the tourists hid a darker side. And she was heading to one of the darkest. Saran didn’t say anything, but he wasn’t employed to make small talk. She studied the back of his head, wondering how many family secrets he had absorbed into his stoic demeanor over the decades. Before she could make a flippant remark, they we’re heading away from the industrial area and quickly speeding towards her family estate, and her thoughts turned to her family. She wasn’t going to stay long, she promised herself this for what seemed the hundredth time. She’d meant what she’d said to Genkos, she was going to pay respects to her family, then leave at the earliest possible time. And if anyone tried to stop her, it would not end well for them. The closer she was to the estate, the more her growing headache multiplied. It was just stress, she told herself, remembering that she hadn’t had pain like this since her kahs wan, something she did not want to think about. She thought back to the last time she’d been at the estate after being gone for close to thirty years. She’d thought that they’d settle in and start over as a family . Her brother had never fully healed from his kahs wan injuries, but he could walk, and was learning how to fight again. Their reunion had been bittersweet. Then she’d left again. This time it had only been five years, but it still seemed like yesterday that she’d been chosen to be the bonded mate of a psychopath just to build up her grandfather’s empire. Klomak Karik-es loomed large in the distance, an ancient fortress of stone and iron. Her great, great grandfather had built the compound with his four brothers. The cold grey building was just as imposing as she remembered. She could almost imagine seeing herself riding the horse like jarels her uncle raised, shouting her joy to be racing the river that stretched across the clan’s land. ((Klomak Karik-es (Fortress of Strength) Outskirts of Vulcana Regar, Vulcan)) The hovercar veered into a large courtyard, stopping in front of the large bronze doors leading inside the main residence. Meidra got out of the craft, nodding slightly to Saran, and allowed the guard on duty to open the entrance to her childhood angst. She didn’t make eye contact with the guard, so focused as she was on the door several feet ahead of her, through the formal entryway. As she approached her grandfather’s office, she could feel her mother on the other side of the door. Taking a deep breath, she pushed it open and walked through to see Lenore Sirin, famed writer and historian standing at the window, seemingly unaware of her eldest daughter’s presence. Lenore: ::without turning around:: I’m surprised you showed up. Sirin: My brother invited me. It would be illogical not to visit….him. Lenore turned away from the window, green eyes staring in silent appraisal. Her long auburn hair was loose around her face, and her expression impossible to read if one did not know her. Meidra walked the rest of the way into the room, casually glancing around to check for guards that may have instructions to keep her at the estate. Sirin: I was hoping to see Salan, is he here? Her words, spoken so casually, were a warning. If this was set up to be some sort of trouble, Meidra would be ready to show how much self defense skill she possessed. She still wasn’t sensing her grandfather, yet she was not above thinking he was nearby, waiting. Lenore: He is with your grandfather on business. Come, sit. It was not a request, but Meidra wanted to know what her mother was up to, so she sat on of the ornate chairs, not surprised when a servant appeared with a tea tray and fresh fruit. She ignored it to stare at her mother. Sirin: ::Formally:: I come to pay respects. She would not use the Vulcan greeting. Her mother was not Vulcan. But she would show her basic civility. Lenore laughed, a slightly bitter sound. Lenore: You speak of respect as though you know what it is. Five years Meidra. Sirin: We keep in contact. I call you when I can. I have not disrespected you as you have done to me, Mother. When you chose to allow your own daughter to be sold to the highest bidder. There. It had only taken five minutes to reopen a wound five years in the making. Lenore glared, her posture rigid, her eyes cold. Meidra could feel something stirring in her mind, but whether it was a memory, or simply being near her mother again was up for debate. Lenore: That is not what happened. You were finally being accepted into the clan, worthy of being the bondmate of someone of a high ranking family. And you threw it away to play soldier just to prove that you were above it all. Sirin: I was thrown at a disgusting boy to build an alliance with a family known for their cruelty. You sat by and let it happen. Then you told me never to come home if I escaped. Her mother’s hand balled into a fist, deep emotions fighting for dominance on her still youthful face. Her other hand slammed down the teacup she’d been holding, shattering it on the pristine table in front of them. Wordlessly, servants came in and cleaned the mess, ignoring the two females glaring at each other. In moments, they had left and Meidra was once again alone with the woman who should have been there for her during her struggles fitting in with the clan. Lenore: I did what I could to protect you. But you ran away like a child. Out of your bedroom window before anyone could discuss the situation. Meidra felt the repressed anger building inside of her. This is what her family did, bringing up her past errors to remind her of her failings. She drew a harsh breath; what mother would not see how much that hurt? She could still feel Somek’s hands around her throat as he pushed her towards her bed. The hot breath in her ear telling her how he owned her now. She took an unsteady breath and met her mother’s accusing eyes. Sirin: He was going to hurt me Mother. What is there to discuss? You were going to let him….he almost…. She could not get the words out. Lenore: There was a plan in place. He was going to be our….. Her voice trailed off and Meidra’s headache grew. One of the gardeners came in and whispered into Lenore’s ear. She looked disgusted, but quickly schooled her features. Lenore: You’ll have to excuse me. One of our sehlats have gotten into the vegetable garden and destroyed much of the redspice. I need to assess the damage. She didn’t wait to see if Meidra cared, and rushed out through the door leading outside, locking it behind her. Meidra wandered the office, looking for something to treat her headache. Opening one of the drawers in her grandfather’s desk, she saw a PADD that hadn’t been shut off. Wryly reaching for it, she saw her name on the screen. Glancing outside and not seeing her mother returning, she opened the file and began to read. TBC Lt JG Meidra Sirin Counseling officer USS Resolution R239707MS0
  7. There have been some really solid JPs coming out of Resolution lately, but this one I thought was particularly well-crafted by both @Meidra Sirin and @Ensign Aine Olive Sherlock. Dialogue and narrative are nicely balanced and each seemed to effortlessly build upon the other. A great read, crewmates! ((Counseling Office, Deck Two, USS Resolution)) Meidra led the commander out of her office and saw that her next appointment was already there, ready to see her. That was refreshing, and appreciated. So many times, she’d had to track down officers who didn’t see the need to come to required appointments. The ensign seemed to light up at the sight of Ilsam and Meidra wondered if there was a mutual attraction between the two, because he seemed quite happy to see Sherlock. Sherlock: Commander! Good to see you again. Meidra gave them a few moments to converse, while she did a quick check on the captain, whose vitals were still stable. She couldn’t hear anything from her now, and hoped that meant that Nicholotti’s mind was currently at ease. The commander left, and Meidra turned to greet her latest patient. The woman seemed a bit nervous, which was normal in any circumstances, but having just left the scene of such destruction, the emotions were all the more intense, She led her back into the office, gesturing to the well used antique chairs off to one side of the office. Sirin: Ensign Sherlock, please come in. Sherlock: Sorry, Counselor. I'm ready. Sirin: No need to apologize, Ensign. And you can call me Meidra - I don’t really go for formality during sessions. Meidra’s reply brought some ease to Aine. Being fresh out of the Academy, formality being drilled into them as cadets, it was nice to have a semblance of friendliness from a fellow officer. The counselor sat back into her recently vacated seat and picked up her ever present PADD to begin noting the ensign’s concerns. She’d read the reports, but was curious on how the events had played out in Sherlock’s opinion. Sirin: Shall I replicate some tea for you? Barry's, hot, no sugar, splash of milk, correct? Sherlock: :: raising her right eyebrow :: oO Meidra sure did some digging Oo Yes, please. That’d be very nice. Meidra enjoyed the faint look of surprise on Aine’s face. It was always fun shaking up a new visitor a bit, if only to get them out of their own head for a moment and relax. Sirin: Apologies if that seemed too omnipresent of me, I saw you order it recently at the cafe.::smiles as she sips her own tea:: So - I usually use the first session as a way for us to get to know each other a bit. I find that it helps establish a sense of trust. :takes a sip of her tea: Tell me a little about how you became part of Star Fleet. What drew you to this path? Aine accepted the tea from the counselor and pondered the question for a moment, taking a sip.Meidra found that giving people something to hold, like a cup of tea, often helped them center their emotions and focus on their responses more. At times, simple psychology often worked better than complex analysis. Sherlock: Well, to be perfectly honest, it was never an option growing up. I was fairly sheltered. I’d met a couple Star Fleet officers briefly in school. I mean, my parents and I rarely even left Ireland. So...when I was finishing up school...I guess I just wanted to see more. Earth already seemed like a big place to me, but something inside me just wanted even more than that. So I found the nearest Academy recruiter :: gesturing with one hand upwards :: here I am. Meidra nodded. The ensign was a very open and honest individual, and it made sense that they saw things in such a clear way. Later, after a few more missions, that clarity might fade, but for right now - she still had a strong sense of good versus evil. She wondered about their childhood, if their family had also had a love of adventure. Sirin: How did your parents take the news that you wished to enter the Academy? I’d imagine that it was a bit of a surprise to them. Aine felt a bit of a sinking feeling with this one and began to bite her lower lip nervously. Sherlock: At first, not so great. I hadn’t committed to the Academy yet, only talked to the recruiter. I told them and it seemed like all they could ask was “why?” My father, especially, was not happy about it. He definitely wanted me to stay. I don’t know what changed, but for the next month the house seemed really quiet. I barely spoke to them. I’m guessing they talked it over. And one night just sat me down and told me that they were worried. They didn’t feel it was safe. But they understood that it was what I wanted. They never really held me back ever. This was the first time that had ever happened y’know? But, ultimately, they did support my choice. Sirin: Do you have family other than your parents? Sherlock: A couple of uncles, but I rarely ever saw them. No siblings. My fathers parents passed away before I was born and my mother doesn’t speak with her parents. Sirin: Families can be a mosaic of many personalities, sometimes in direct opposition to your own. It can either be a helpful push to change our circumstances, or a hindrance to keep us from our best choices. ::sips drink to keep from mentioning her family:: The journey of self is never a finished endeavor, and my role is partly to assist you as you discover new paths. Aine nodded her head in agreeance. Her own family preferred tradition and the sheltering now seemed like an attempt at forcing it. In turn, she began to understand a little more as to why her parents may have opposed her choice to join Starfleet. Meidra felt a sort of protectiveness over the ensign. Being so far from everything familiar and safe was stressful even for seasoned officers at times. She resolved to do what she could going forward to pay special attention to the onboarding ensigns. Not all of them had a strong sense of independence yet. She glanced down at her PADD, nodding to herself. Sirin: I see this was your first mission - tell me how you see it unfolding. ::pauses:: Do you feel that it was handled correctly? Sherlock: If I were to be completely objective, I would say that we did everything we could. :: bites lower lip, pausing briefly :: Personally, I don’t feel we did. I think we were completely unprepared for what happened. I understand that the Borderlands is where we’re assigned and that we were the ship available :: beat :: well, I guess Star Fleet had no way of knowing either. I don’t know, I guess I feel conflicted. Also, I feel like I let the team down. Ensign Treetus was severely injured. On an away team in which I was the Security Officer. I don’t feel like I lived up to my duties, I guess. As often happens when one thinks of their failure at hand, flashes on previous ones began to creep up. This one was different. This one got someone else hurt. In a way, she felt guilty it was someone else and not her. Sirin: It seems that you know that there was little more you could do to improve the outcome of the mission. ::pause:: Guilt over Ensign Treetus is misplaced. His choices do not reflect on your abilities. Imagine if you had jumped to save him as he did for Commander MacKenzie. What do you think would have happened? Sherlock: I mean :: beat :: well :: staring down, thinking about the situation :: you’re not wrong. It could have been worse, there could have been more team members injured or even killed. I guess it is just guilt, and guilt isn’t always...logical. Sirin: Exactly - you would have run the risk of getting injured yourself and we may have had another lost limb to contend with - your actions in this mission seem justified. Guilt is often portrayed as a negative emotion - something to be avoided. ::pause:: There are no bad emotions, Ensign, they all have a purpose. It is what you choose to do with those emotions that matter. Use your guilt to guide your other feelings. Accept that feeling of helplessness, and you will find that you discover a way to build up the more positive emotions. Aine realized in talking to someone who is half Vulcan, when it came to emotions and how she perceived them compared to the reality of a situation, the Vulcan would be right. A lesson she also realized may be helpful in the future. Guilt had always been a self-punishing system in her life that didn’t always seem logical or practical. Meidra watched the ensign’s reaction to her words, hopeful that they would take root and build into a stronger sense of self. There would be many challenges ahead for the young woman, and having a grasp of her self worth and yes, limitations, would serve her well in her career - and in her life. Sherlock: :: nodding her head generously :: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. :: taking a deep breath :: That’s something I’ve always needed to work on. And I will. Thank you. Sirin : I am always here when you need someone to listen. I may be the counselor, but I hope that you remember that talking things out doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Feel free to call on me if you need an unofficial ear sometime in the future. With their session over, Aine rose from the chair and gave Meidra a smile and a nod. When she walked out into Sickbay, she realized she was still a little nervous when she noticed the cup of tea still in her hands. She looked around at the nursing staff present, gave a nod, took a sip, and strode of back to her quarters. Ensign Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0 And Lt JG Meidra Sirin Counseling officer USS Resolution R239707MS0
  8. This a beautiful ending to a storyline by @Meidra Sirin, a character at the end of their rag, forced to murder and suicide. ((Bridge, the Megalana)) Teril was not a good being, that was never in question, but he was not proud of how his life had turned out. Fighting the weak was not part of the mercenary code he’d followed his entire life. You kill those who have what you want, but you do it and move on to the next score, you don’t become part of the established cruelty. He found his way to the communications area and frowned. What he was planning was considered treason, but truth be told - Teril was tired. Tired of pretending to enjoy the boring, pointless existence he had been living as one of Lo’Thar’s lieutenants. He sent a message to the other ship, and waited in the silent command center of a doomed ship. Soon, an answering beep to his message came through. The warm bloods were willing to talk again. He had the feeling that they liked to talk quite a bit. Pushing the appropriate button Teril took a deep breath and sealed his fate. Farrel: Response Not the pretty bird...he vaguely wondered where she’d flown off too, he would have enjoyed seeing her again. No matter, there were greater things to sort through now. Teril: Resolution - I grow weary of thissss game. Lo’Thar isss dead. I am in command. I no longer think wasting resources of chasing your pitiful ship a good plan. Farrel: Response Teril ::glancing down at Lo’Thar’s corpse:: There wasss a….difference of opinion. It hasss been resolved. Teril could feel the alien presence in his mind again, a calming influence - he doubted she even knew she was doing it, but still, he was grateful to have it during this last exchange. He bowed to the screen, knowing that this would have angered Lo’Thar by its implied respect, and he felt even lighter now. He sent a silent thank you to this….Meidra….who gave her sense of peace to those who did not deserve it. Farrel: Response Any: Response Though they did not need it, Teril felt that he would give these people a basic understanding of why they had found themselves in this situation. He paused, not knowing why it mattered to him to explain, only that if he was to rid himself of the stench of Lo’Thar’s incompetence, he must begin with this explanation. Teril: Our people have used this tunnel in space to draw in prisoners for years. We’ve let them die to feed our machines, we’ve used that energy by ssselling it to the highest bidder. We have become ssstale cogs of a machine that bringsss no glory. It will be ended. I’ve sent the necessary information to your data banks. Tell your people on the planet to get far from the refinery, or they shall perish with the guardsssss. You have exactly two hours before it will be too late. Farrel: Response Any: Response Teril: Sssoon, reinforcements will arrive to help Lo’Thar’s pathetic quest for power. When they arrive, they will see a burning pile of death. This machine was a prototype, the only one built. When it issss gone, I will have no reassson to remain. It was ::searches for word:: entertaining to meet you. Tell your captain that I regret never hearing her sssssing for me. I’m sure she would have been my favorite songbird. He didn’t wait for an answer, switching the screen off. He did not have long before the soldiers arrived. He put in the code to start the self destruct sequence, knowing that merely crashing the craft into the buildings below would not give the explosion he required to send his soul into the warrior’s afterlife. Once he was certain that the little ship had received the instructions on how to reverse their trip through the anomaly, he sat back and contemplated how this mission had gone wrong, yet somehow had ended in the perfect way for all involved. Farrel: Response Teril ignored the summons, his work was done, his life done as well. He allowed himself a few moments to reflect on his actions, knowing that the repercussions would echo through Sau history for years to come. There would be no second machine. There would be no reason to harvest slaves for the comfort of the elite. He could almost pretend he was a hero, instead of a weary soldier for hire, tired of his very existence. Somewhere, on a small planet, Lo’Thar’s wife would hear the news of her husband’s passing. She would hear that his small craft was pulled into a malfunction of the machine she had helped create. Perhaps she would feel guilt that her work had killed her mate, perhaps relief. Teril would have no one to grieve his death, as his father had declared him dead to his clan years ago. Putting in the coordinates to his final glory, he instructed the computer to play a lullaby his nanny had sung on the cold nights of his childhood. It was fitting to be lulled into the final sleep in such a way, not as the hardened mercenary he had tried to be, but the lonely boy who never had a home of his own. He grinned as he realized how maudlin his thoughts had become, watching as the instrument panel warned him of his reentry into the atmosphere while being in self destruct mode. As the song floated into his memory, he could almost imagine seeing his mother’s face, beckoning him to her side. He closed his eyes and sat back in the commander’s chair, ignoring the computer’s warning that the ship was on a dangerous course that would likely kill him. As the ship made its final burst of speed and crashed into the refinery, his last thought was that he had finally found the true meaning of glory. End scene/life Teril - Sau Commander Simmed by : Lt JG Meidra Sirin Counseling officer USS Resolution R239707MS0
  9. As our community has evolved so to have the relationships between players across ships, and I've been delighted to watch the friendship evolve between these two writers both on the page and off. Oh, and speaking from my perspective aboard the Thor - Alieth's new bodyart is 100% accurate. Great work! And now there's going to be so much groundskeeping.
  10. And finally the last part of this little arch. It was wonderful to be able to read it and see the change unfolding little by little in front of all of us. I just want to mention that there may not be any tattoo parlors, but of course DS224 has tattoo artist Good job guys! @Addison MacKenzie @Genkos Adea @Geoffrey Teller
  11. There are no two without a three and as such this JP SHOULD be here. Mainly because of this: This is it, more than enough Jokes aside, as I always say, it is wonderful to witness the evolution of the characters, how an arch is built in front of our eyes and how it renders them real and credible, even more so if they leave us with little bits of details from previous adventures, from different times, other vessels, which give us a sense of a solid and deep story, of a continuity and inner lore that leaves us wanting to know more and wondering how many sickbays have lost their ceiling. Furthermore, these three goofballs have a knack for humour and at the same time the ability to narrate technically in an enviable fashion, in a style that flows naturally and is a delight to read. Great work, as usual. I have the last part still hot in my inbox and I'm CRAVING to read it. Kudos again for @Addison MacKenzie @Genkos Adea & @Geoffrey Teller
  12. @Addison MacKenzie @Geoffrey Teller @Genkos Adea you know, the lack of peg legs is dissapoing! Jokes aside, i've had this sim on hold till i've had some quiet minutes to appreciate It as It deserved, and oh boy it's a ride. This gang KNOWS how to write comedy and the flow between the characters is just perfect! Eager to catch up the last part!
  13. I have said it many times: it is wonderful to witness how characters who have had a personal development for a long time interact with each other. Plus, the fact that they have the sass and charm that @Addison MacKenzieMackenzie and @Geoffrey Teller have together adds a lot to the mix. And if they also include an (unknown to me until now IC) incredible talented @Genkos Adea in the mix they create an explosive and hilarious combo. Furthermore, I have ALWAYS said that I love writers who dare to deal with the consequences of their characters' actions in missions and drag them through time to tell us about their consequences and how they deal with it, which is a good example in this case, not only with Genkos' leg, but how you pull strings from various missions and characters along at least 4 different ships. DELICIOUS. A spectacular work, guys, and very funny to read. Just a small correction, BOSS: it's not lover is BFF! 😝
  14. What I really like about this is the way it forms a superlative coda; Ypartin attempted an unsuccessful coup against the Da'al people, and Zeneth (with a little help from Starfleet) thwarted it. Or perhaps he thwarted it himself... But most importantly, they used to be friends... Well done guys! E (( Detention Facility No. 1 – Vman, Da’al Capital City )) Ypartin had lost track of time. Without windows, clocks, visitors, he had become disconnected from the passage of time. Even the arrival of his meals was irregular, unpredictable. All he could do was wait. But for what he was waiting, that was less clear. The Da’al political system was characterised by ever shifting alliances, and prime ministers had often been brought down by loss of confidence. But this had always been a procedural matter; it had never been the result of a popular uprising. This was uncharted territory for Ypartin himself, as well as those who would prosecute him for his actions. The exterior door to his cell unexpectedly slid open and in walked Zeneth, being escorted by a uniformed detention officer. Ypartin stood and took a step forward, toward the force field which separated them. Ypartin: This is a surprise. Zeneth: I realize you thought our positions would be reversed. She moved a bit closer to the force field, disappointment in her eyes. This was the man who had taken her from a university internship and hand picked her to go into her role as military advisor. He had been there when she’d insisted that before she could advise, she had to first go through the same intense training that all military recruits endured. He had been there when her beloved father had died. And now - he was there still, behind a field of energy that separated them. She sighed, realizing that in truth, they had been separated for a long time. This was awkward, and Ypartin didn’t enjoy it one bit. Undignified in his prison jumpsuit and days’ worth of facial hair growth, he felt haggard and unkempt, the polar opposite to Zeneth. She projected an air of confidence and competence in her uniform, which boasted an additional medal or two that Ypartin didn’t recognize. Ypartin: What are you doing here, Zeneth? Zeneth: I wanted to see you. There are still things that need to be said between us. Ypartin: Seems to me like you already have everything you want. The Federation trusts you. The Klingons respect you. Our people support you. You have managed to achieve in a matter of days something no leader has accomplished in centuries. What could you possibly want from me? Zeneth: An explanation. An apology - an argument. I don’t know - give me something, Ypartin. Let me understand how this happened to a man I have admired for so long. Explain how you thought your plan was for the good of anyone but yourself. ::she almost started to cry, but took a deep breath and leveled her gaze at him:: Give me one valid reason you did this. Zeneth would not look away from him. It was like she was seeing him for the first time and wondering if there had been signs of his discontent from the beginning. Ypartin: I don’t see the point. I think everyone knows what is going to happen to me. Despite what my appointed legal team says, I am certain that my trial will be brief, and merely a formality. What purpose would there possibly be in my saying anything now Zeneth: It would bring closure for a chapter that should never have been written. You can still salvage your dignity, and leave a better legacy than betrayal. You can prove to your people that you did, in fact, care for their welfare. ::she blinked back tears:: You can prove to me that our friendship was not a lie. Zeneth saw something flash in his eyes so quickly, she wasn’t sure it had been real. She looked down at her feet, not knowing what more she could say to get the answers she needed. She was beginning to think this was a waste of time, when he spoke. Ypartin: It wasn’t. Ypartin too struggled to look Zeneth in the eye. Nothing he could ever do or say would undo what had been done to the people, the planet, and the government. But he could at least try to mend things with his friend. Ypartin: Zeneth, I– I am sorry. For everything. I regret what I have done to you. Zeneth: To me? That I could almost forgive, but your actions put our people at risk. They need to believe in their government. ::she paced, frustration in her every word:: They need to move forward knowing they are still safe. Ypartin: You are right. Our people need to move beyond this moment of madness. To regain their faith in their leadership. ::beat:: In us. Zeneth: ::incredulous:: In us? There is no us, Ypartin. Your actions have shown you to be a spineless coward. You will be lucky if you ever feel the sun on your face again. No, here you remain, awaiting trial. ::biting back a sob:: a monster that in my naivety, I helped create. Ypartin bristled at how plainly Zeneth spoke; how quickly she laid down the law. Ypartin knew it would be futile to argue this point. Ypartin: I understand. My political career is over, and rightly so. I know I am not deserving of mercy, but I am sincere in my desire to make things right. If only to you, and to our friendship. Zeneth folded her arm across her chest, trying to keep calm. She motioned to the nearby guard to raise his weapon and lower the force field. She threw the holographic base at him, then had the guard raise the shields again. For a moment she saw him as he’d been five years ago when he’d been chosen as Prime Minister. His eyes finally met hers and she stood up straight as she spoke. Zeneth: This is the only thing left of our friendship. I have no need for it, but I think that it could prove beneficial to you when the time is right. We will most likely never see each other again, Ypartin. I will pray to the Goddess for your safe journey, no matter how you access that path. With that, she turned away and started to leave the room. At the door, she paused, without looking behind her and whispered a final farewell. Zeneth: Goodbye, my friend. Zeneth left, taking the guard along with her, and once again Ypartin was alone. He sat down on the cot in the corner of his cell, feeling the sting of yet another shame. On the floor in the opposite corner lay the item that Zeneth had given him–well, thrown at him. He stood and picked it up, accidentally activating the holographic projector in the process. The image it displayed made his throat tighten and his face flush with emotion. The smiling faces, the friendly embrace. It felt like forever ago, and in a sense, it was. Ypartin set the base on his bedside table and laid down, keeping his eyes fixed on the image frozen in time, as if he could make a psychic connection across the years to his former self. He pressed the button to deactivate the project, but instead of switching off, it changed to a different image, one Ypartin didn’t recognize. He looked closer at it, and his eyes widened when he realized what Zeneth had given him. Contained within the holographic image were a series of security override codes, written directions, guard shift rotation schedules, everything he would need to make an escape. Ypartin grabbed the device and read them again and again, committing them to memory. According to this information, he would have to act quickly, and there was no opportunity to attempt it again if he failed. ((Da’al Homeworld, Vman - Private apartments of Zeneth)) The dawn came slowly over the mountains in the distance, the colors of a new day blended with the remnants of the previous night. She watched her falcon flying in the distance, welcoming the day. The reinstated Council had wanted her to consider becoming the next Prime Minister, but she had no stomach for such things. She recommended her most trusted officer, General Ulner, for the post, and he had been chosen as acting Prime Minister until the next election. She closed her eyes and let herself fall into the river of time, her mind going back to the moment she’d given Ypartin the access codes. She saw him realize what he had, and what he’d lost. She felt his remorse through the echoes of time, and bit her bottom lip to keep from crying. A final vision of him safely getting to the small craft she’d left unattended filled her mind. She opened her eyes to see Perra soaring high above her, free yet still bound to their planet, and thought of Ypartin’s words the day they’d met. “One day, when our people are ready, there will be nothing stopping us from truly being free to explore all that we can be. There’s an entire universe waiting, Zeneth. We just need to take that first step.” A frantic call from the officers monitoring the skies told her that an unauthorized vessel was leaving Da’al but she quietly told them it was a funeral shuttle for a fallen comrade. It was on a course into deep space. She watched the bright speck rip through the sky until it disappeared, then silently, decidedly, walked back inside, closing the door to her home and her heart. (( vessel Zhupan – the next day )) Ypartin looked at himself in the mirror, freshly showered and clean shaven for the first time in too long. By looking at him, one would never have been able to guess the ordeal he’d been through in the past week. Escape from prison itself was simple enough, but getting offworld was another story altogether. A series of near-misses and almost-failures hadn’t deterred him, and he’d managed to leave Da’al exactly as given in his instructions. Now, having made it safely out of Da’al space, and onto a he had the opportunity to think for the first time about what he should do next. He was young, barely 46 years old, and despite the indignity of being a deposed leader, it didn’t feel right to just go quietly into insignificance. Maybe not soon, but someday, he would return.
  15. (( Prime ministerial offices, Vman – Da’al capital city )) ((OOC: I paraphrased and took inspiration from Philippe Pétain’s speech to the people of France from 1941.)) Ypartin: Are we ready? Speaking to a junior staff member in his office, of whose name he wasn’t certain enough to attempt, Ypartin impatiently awaited the all-clear. The text had been written, checked, re-checked, and approved by all of the necessary people. He had spent much of the afternoon committing the finer points to memory, but also had it programmed into the viewscreen opposite him just in case. The staff member nodded. Ypartin quickly tucked the tails of his tunic back in and resumed a more premierial posture at his massive, hand-carved desk. A trio of technicians checked the transmission and one of them adjusted Ypartin’s collar. In just a moment, all media outlets on the planets and the outlying colonies would cease their regular programming at the notice of an important address from the prime minister. The destiny of Da’al, and Ypartin himself, would be written tonight. Taking a deep breath, Ypartin adopted a stern, yet compassionate expression. Ypartin: My dear people of Da’al. I speak to you this evening, not to burden you with weighty words, but to share with you information from your government which you have a right to know. So far, so good. Ypartin punctuated his first statement with a longer-than-average pause, then continued. Ypartin: For some time now, there has been a rising tide of unease on our shores. Our relations with the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire have been defined by conventions entered into by a previous government and upheld by each of its successors, including my government. Despite declaring our desire for perpetual neutrality time and time again, there are many on our planet and in our neighboring space who wonder, anguish, and weep about the future of our great society. Today, at the frontiers of our space, and indeed on our own metropolitan soil, a war has begun. Our neutrality has been violated, and we are no longer in the position to respond with inaction. Ypartin leaned forward, reasoning that his slight change of position would better communicate the compassion in his voice. Despite his young age, he must present himself as a fatherly figure, a protector of his people. An image of softness was necessary to project, but only just. Ypartin: I know how you must feel. Some of you will undoubtedly feel betrayed, both by the aliens who have violated our borders, but also by your government for failing to repel them. Others of you may be feeling abandoned, especially those living in our regions, where alien occupying forces have arrived and are certainly causing chaos. Some of you must be wondering where your duty lies, now that our neutrality has been taken from us. ::long pause:: And, as much as it pains me to say this, a small number of you are seeking to exploit this tragedy for your own interest. The Da’al were a principled people, and if Ypartin could not appeal to their patriotism, at least he could appeal to their guilt and suspicion of their neighbors. Ypartin: We must take this opportunity, my dear people of Da’al, to overcome a legacy of distrust and introversion, which was the product of previous governments’ disunity and self-interest. We must recognize that we live in a space dominated by two superpowers; one of which can, and must, protect us from the other. As your first citizen and head of your government, I know how difficult of a task this is, and it will require both labour and patience from each of us. Ypartin: I will not lie. There will be suffering. But I do not wish that our people’s suffering should be for naught. I think of our farmers and our labourers who, despite difficult harvests and difficult working conditions, will supply our people, and our protecting powers, with that which we all need to survive. It is thanks to all of you, and your efforts, that we will maintain a life nearly indistinguishable from that we knew. We are no longer neutral, but we are not defeated. Our great Da’al society will continue. The Da’al of tomorrow will be more powerful and more prosperous, this I promise you. Ypartin: I am sure many of you youths will join me in quoting the guiding principle of our constitution: “Divisions within our society should be reflected in proportion to their number.” This is how I have governed for the past five years, in consultation with all of the broad factions that constitute our society. My dear people, it breaks my heart to tell you this: In light of the invasion by hostile aliens, Da’al can no longer be effectively governed from the regions, and Da’al can no longer be governed effectively by the lengthy process coalition building, which has defined our politics for centuries. What Da’al needs now is unity, to speak and act as one people, one society. With one voice. Ypartin: Da’al cannot wait. Our people, as ready for sacrifice when its honour is at stake, need certainty, space, and discipline. I shall provide this on your behalf. Until further notice, authority no longer emanates from below. The only authority is that which I entrust or delegate. This is what I have decided: Looking down at his list of bullet points, Ypartin drew a slow breath. Ypartin: One; Activity of factions and factional leadership is suspended until further notice, including meetings and distribution of notices. Factions that fail to comply will be disestablished. Two; the Great Council is hereby dissolved, and in its place, a Council of State shall be created. This Council will determine how best our society will adapt to our new circumstances and seek out and destroy obstacles which abuse the efficient functioning of government, The Council of State will issue guidances which shall carry the force of law. Three; the powers of Regional prefects and assemblies, and colonial bodies, shall be given over to the Council of State. His mouth suddenly dry, Ypartin eyed the glass of water nearby. He increased the pace of his speech, making the glass of water another reward for its successful completion. Ypartin: These measures will assure those Da’al who think only of the well-being of our people. As your prime minister, and your protector, I know what victory is, and I know what defeat is. I have taken on the responsibility of stewarding a wounded and attacked planet, and it is my duty to maintain our great society at all costs. When a man of my young years dedicates himself to his people, there is no sacrifice he can refuse. His only concern… my only concern, is the future of Da’al. If beaten people divide, they die. If beaten people unite, they are reborn. Da’al will be reborn. ((OOC: TL;DL, self-coup. I was careful not to name either side as the threat or the saviour. This was intentional. I suppose we’ll find out who is who, at least in Ypartin’s scheming mind.)) TBC MSPNPC Ypartin Da’al prime minister simmed by Ensign Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0 @Yalu
  16. @Meidra Sinir wrote this, and I thought it was outstanding. (( Prime ministerial offices, Vman – Da’al capital city )) Zeneth watched as the Prime Minister deftly spun his diplomatic web, inwardly rolling her eyes at his use of existential crisis. Always the showman, but was he really in tune with this new audience? StarFleet, from what she’d understood from her research, was not just humans, but many other species. What worked with one species might not be accepted by another. Still, she remained silent as her friend played the benevolent leader, only concerned with the safety of his people. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, of course, but the years in office had shaped him into someone who knew how to work a crowd. Sometimes, she wondered if he realized he was almost two different beings, one being a politician eager to keep his job, and the other, who she saw less and less of lately, the man she’d come to care for as a close friend and mentor. She frowned off camera, and listened to the conversation continue. Ypartin: =/\= Both the Federation and the Klingon Empire have attempted to establish closer relations with us, and you have both received the same answer. Thank you, but no. You have respected our wishes. The Klingons are not. We wish for our neutrality to be respected. =/\= Nicholotti: =/\= Prime minister, I believe that we can work together to attain what you need, though I feel we could do more if we discussed a few things. Would a meeting in person be satisfactory? =/\= Zeneth saw that Ypartin’s skin had turned a deep maroon. He was worried, and he was wondering how to keep the upper hand in a discussion he hadn’t had much time to prepare for; she felt a tinge of guilt at her part in that, but it was too late to reverse their course now. Ypartin: =/\= Fleet Captain, I am amenable to such a request. However, please understand, we are not in the habit of welcoming many visitors. It will take time to make the necessary arrangements for your arrival. I would ask to contact you again on this frequency at the same time tomorrow. =/\= Nicholotti: =/\= Then we shall speak again shortly. Please reach out to us here. =/\= Ypartin: =/\= Thank you, Fleet Captain. =/\= Ypartin cut the transmission and gave Zeneth the full force of his glare. Ypartin: What did I tell you, Zeneth? How are we supposed to claim any kind of moral outrage about a Klingon invasion of our colonies, when I’ve just invited a Federation envoy to set foot on our homeworld? Zeneth: It is hardly the same situation, Ypartin. I don’t see anyone from the Federation laying claim to our homeworld. If we are to survive, we must take risks. I for one, do not wish to risk our people’s lives without allies who understand these Klingons. Ypartin stood up and adjusted his tunic, a nervous tic that came out when he was thinking too much on the things that he could not change. She wanted to reassure him, but what could she say that she hadn’t so far? She could see he was in Prime Minister mode now, and she would treat him as such. Ypartin: We have one day to prepare for this, Zeneth, so we must move quickly. I will address the people tonight. Let them know what is happening. I cannot keep them in the dark any longer. Zeneth: Do you think they will understand? I know this was my idea, but the people have never had to face such a situation before. Ypartin: I know. It is a tremendous risk. But if we’re going to survive this intact, it’s time the people know that the enemy here is the Klingons, not the Federation. Zeneth: I understand. What would you have me do, sir? Ypartin: I am putting my trust in you, my friend. Please see to the preparations. Find a suitable, secure location in the city for us to meet with the Federation representatives. Can you have everything in place by midday tomorrow? There was something going on, Zeneth was sure of it. That nervous tic of adjusting his clothes was a sure giveaway that he was up to something. She couldn’t accuse him of anything, but he had been too accepting of this visit by the Federation and she knew he valued his popularity above all else. It saddened her to think that she really did not know him anymore, but they had chosen their own paths since the election. Zeneth: Of course, the conference hall in Military Unit Three will be sufficient. My generals there are trustworthy, and have trained alongside me in martial arts not well known to the populace. We will be ready. Ypartin: I know I am asking a lot, and I have every confidence in you. ::beat:: I am certain you have plenty to do, and I have a speech to write. Keep me informed. Zeneth made her way out of opulent office, down the hall and through the checkpoint, all the while thinking, planning, getting angrier as she realized that Ypartin was never going to just let the Federation come in and play the hero when he built himself up so carefully over the years. (( Military Unit Three, Zeneth’s office, Vman – Da’al capital city )) A large man with dark purple skin and clear green eyes was waiting for her when she arrived. General Ulner had taught her as a child to fight in the ways of the Vinian elders, knowing that the religion was not followed by many. He had been her grandfather’s greatest friend and had been a stern teacher as she went through the twelve levels of Ha’shar, the Vinian’s fighting technique. Even Ypartin did not know she was a follower of Vinia, and today, she was very grateful for that. Ulnar: You seem troubled. Is that upstart giving you grief again? Zeneth had told the general everything she knew about the Klingons coming closer, the Federation visit, her fears about Ypartin not believing that she could actually be an asset to their cause. He had, of course, offered to simply hang the man over the edge of his office window until he saw sense, but Zeneth had reminded him that was against the law. Zeneth: Ypartin spoke with the captain of the StarFleet vessel. He said all the right things, but they felt wrong. I fear that he is thinking as a politician and not as a leader. She started pacing, muttering prayers under her breath, it was not the same as actual meditation, but if she concentrated, she could still tap into the river of time as she had in her apartment, and try to see what was happening. She let her mind go back fifteen minutes, over the compound, past soldiers and farmers and people come to see the Prime Minister’s favor. Finally her mind focused on Ypartin after she had left him. She saw him watch her leave, she saw him put a chip into his terminal, she saw him - Zeneth’s eyes flew open. He wouldn’t, he would not be so blind! She didn’t know who he had given that order to, but when she found out, as military advisor, she would be certain that one of her generals would be escorting him to the brig once this was over. And as for Ypartin, well, she would just have to wait and see what his plan was. Her heart constricted and she placed a hand below her ribcage, where it sat, betrayed and angry. Her eyes flew to her most trusted general and she shared her vision. The two of them made a pact of secrecy. They would not act until they had all of the facts, but one thing was clear. Ypartin was no longer the friend she had sworn her allegiance to five years ago. End scene for Zeneth MSPNPC Zeneth Da'al Military Advisor as simmed by Ensign Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution Marie R239707MS0
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