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  1. ((USS Darwin, Deck 1, Captain’s Ready Room)) :: Captain Renos had gone directly back to nir office after the party. Ne was technically off shift but there was a matter than ne had been meaning to take care of for some time. Unfortunately the demands of their last mission had kept nem busy and Iy deserved an answer sooner rather than later, particularly since ne’d contributed so well to the Asavii expedition. Even when things had taken unexpected turns and become difficulty, Iy had not complained but had stuck in there and helped as much as possible. :: :: The truth was, Renos could have granted Iy asylum right away. Ne had the discretionary power to do so – but that didn’t mean ne should. The process had been longer when ne’d gone through it. There was no Captain or other authority waving a magic wand after a single happy conversation to make nir problems disappear. Ne didn’t want to make Iy wait for the sake of waiting but the fact was any criminal could come crying to the Federation and provide a sob story designed to gain sympathy and allow one escape from nit actions. :: :: No. Renos had needed to be sure that Iy was being genuine and not seeking an easy escape from justice. Such a thing could not be determined simply by taking everything at face value. It had taken a few hours but ne’d used contacts back at Starbase 118 to very quietly put out feelers. Had Iy been wanted for something other than mere deviance Renos felt confident it would have been uncovered. In short everything was coming together to nir satisfaction so Renos put through the paper work and was looking forward to giving Iy the good news. :: Renos: oO I wonder if Iy has considered what ne wants to do next? Oo :: As a Federation citizen ne would be free to go anywhere within the Federation, settle down and find work. If ne wanted to be a potter at the bottom of the Bolian ocean, ne could go right ahead. The deviant captain was listening to a FNS bulletin about the recent scandal before the Presidential State of the Federation address when ne received an incoming transmission on a secured, non-Federation channel. :: :: Ne recognised the caller immediately, what surprised nem was that they were contacting nem in this way despite being advised against it. The J’naii looked unimpressed. Whatever this was – it had better be important. :: Renos: I assume this is important? Keris: Donghae sank. :: In other words their safehouse was no longer safe. Probably burned to the ground. That was a blow and ne knew not to try and make contact there again, to do so would put nem at risk. Renos really wanted to ask what had happened and get more details but couldn’t. This channel was secure but ne wasn’t prepared to risk it. :: Renos: I hear you. Sad news. Anything more? Keris: Only this – 31 were lost in the incident. :: 31. That was the codename for a mentee ne had been helping. Renos’s eyes immediately drifted towards the yellow Daruma sat nearby. Ne did not want to believe what ne was hearing. :: Renos: Lost? Keris: Permanently. :: Sorrow etched on nir features was echoed in those facing nir. Ne covered nir mouth with fingertips and allowed nir shoulders to sag. It would be easy to feel disheartened and defeated and Renos was deeply saddened to hear another life had been claimed in the fight for existence. It couldn’t be in vain and if anything Renos was more determined to be able to help nir comrades. :: Renos: I’m sorry. Keris: As are we all. I must take my leave. Renos: Be safe. :: They exchanged a look and gesture before disconnecting. The conversation had taken less than a minute to complete and might have appeared curt and cold to a bystander but it was anything but. Renos had seen the pain in Keris’s eyes and had been profoundly upset by the news. Ne picked up the small Daruma and took it to the sofa by the side of nir office. Leaning back on the seat ne regarded it. :: Renos: What do I do with you? :: Ne had never had a Daruma doll – a goal that ne could not complete before. With the passing of 31 – Setsuko, J’naii who self-identified as female, ne would never be able to fulfil nir goal to help nem escape to the Federation. Usually Renos would set a goal and paint one eye on the Daruma, then paint the other eye in once it was completed, then burn it in a special ceremony before starting a new one. This one would never be complete. Setsuko had died because she had identified as having a gender and the Government and general populace thought her ill, a deviant and in need of correction for it. Who would remember her now? Renos refused to forget and keeping the Daruma would serve to remind nem of the ones that didn’t make it. :: :: Ne got some paint and very carefully painted a tear coming from the eye that had previously been painted in. The other eye would never be painted in. :: Renos: ::To the Daruma:: May you now get the peace you never had in life. :: It was a day of much happiness, sadness and reflection. You couldn’t time these things. More than ever Renos wanted some quiet time to relax and to take this new information in. Ne tapped nir badge, to invite one more to join the small group headed to the Spa. :: Renos: =/\= Renos to Ensign Mpeba. =/\= Mpeba: =/\= Sir? =/\= Renos: =/\= A small group of us are headed to the Spa to relax. Are you interested in coming along? =/\= Mpeba: =/\= It would be my pleasure, sir. When should I meet you. =/\= =========================================================== Captain Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Also simming: Lt JG Tarna, Medical Officer, USS Victory NCC-362447 FWPA Co-Facilitator | Publicity Team Facilitator Contact: renos@starbase118.net ===========================================================
  2. ((Bistro, Promenade, Deep Space 6)) ::Settled in at a cozy little table outside a quaint, quiet restaurant, Ren Rennyn's nerves were finally beginning to calm, despite the day's strange events.:: ::It helped to talk about what had been happening to him, and he was lucky to have found a wonderful listener.:: Rennyn: So there I was walking out of a shop, carrying a padd with my bill of sale. I managed to snag the driver coils Mpeba wanted, plus a laundry list of other parts for the race entry, all at a price I could afford. The project's off to a great start. The equipment's varied on a galactic scale - Cardassian, Ferengi, Romulan even. Some of it's out of date. But I know Mpeba can work with it. ::He paused, but when the other man said nothing, Ren continued.:: Rennyn: So there I was. I was glancing over the list of what I'd just bought, double checking the delivery schedule they'd promised, when I looked up and I saw him in the distance. Sovak. Right here on the Promenade. I'd know that falsely logical goofball mug anywhere. I called out to him. I swear it was him! But when I chased him through the crowd, I couldn't find him. I thought I was crazy. I mean, I think about him all the time. Like I told you, I've known him for years, and we finally almost had something going, before I transferred to Darwin. He didn't even say goodbye. He took off for Vulcan to reboot his logic functions, or whatever unemotional robotic nonsense he goes in for now. Again. It's like every time we admit our feelings for each other, he decides he needs to go back to kohlinar, and purge it all out of himself. It's frustrating. Frankly, I'm angry about it, and when I do see him one of these days, I am telling you, he's in for an earful. ::Before he could get too fired up about it, Ren took the last calming bite of his dessert. He'd tried a Bolian seaweed and kelp salad for lunch. His mouth had worked up and down mechanically at it, reminding him of being back home in Arnmere, watching the livestock chew. He gagged a little, but forced himself to swallow the slimy green mess. The aftertaste of just one bite threatened to be with him for a while. It had taken two decadent chocolate desserts to wash it down.:: Rennyn: So then, I went to one of the theaters on deck 59. I figured I'd just relax and take my mind completely out of my troubles with a holovid. They showed this cheesy old Earth movie, Short Circuit, about a robot who comes to life and makes friends. They showed it at the Academy once. Sovak loved Short Circuit. So I'm here on Deep Space 6, watching Short Circuit, thinking about Sovak, and there, a few rows in front of me, I swear to you, it was him. Even from behind, I'd know that haircut anywhere. The basic Vulcan cut, but a little wild and windblown, like a logical bad boy who just got off his logical mazerati to tell you you're fascinating and making out is the only logical course of action, and you're going to live long and prosper together forever! ::As Ren's voice reached a fever pitch, he noted his listener's quizzical, nearly disturbed look, and dialed it back a notch.:: Rennyn: I apologize. I'm getting a little carried away. ::He pushed back the dessert plate, finished with eating, but not with telling his story.:: Rennyn: I guess I got lost in my thoughts in the theater too, because when I looked again, he was gone. I don't know. I guess it wasn't him. But it got me thinking that maybe it's time for me to try reaching him on subspace. I should comm him, right? I mean, I should call and tell him how I feel. Of course, how I feel is that I'm angry with him, and telling him about will involve some amount yelling and hopping around and restraining the urge to throw a punch. So long distance comms are good, right? ::The bitter feelings growing in Ren's heart stemmed from his wish that it could have worked out between him and Sovak. Even Ren had enough logic in him to see that. Logic wasn't what Ren wanted now. Logic was what had taken Sovak away from him, just as they were making a start at a real relationship. If the feelings of anger and resentment coursing through his veins were illogical, then it was all the better that he welcomed them to stay, and to grow, and to prosper.:: Rennyn: How could he. Sitting on his mountaintop, heaping sadness on my heart in exchange for his own selfish emotionlessness. He pursued me, you know. That's how this all started. I haven't forgotten that, and maybe it's a little selfish of me, but I am honestly outraged by the whole thing. How can I not be? Hey, stop hovering. Have a seat. ::His listener stood his ground. Ren continued, more animated by the minute.:: Rennyn: You will be outraged too, when you hear this! So after all that, I finally worked up the courage to call him. I'm not sure I'd quite worked out the levelheadedness I needed, but I was getting there. So guess what. He's not on Vulcan! He left, with no forwarding location. Where did he go? I don't even know. Some distant corner of the galaxy I guess, where cold, emotionless robot people live. Not here! Because I saw him a third time, outside this very restaurant. And true to the way my day has been going, when I caught up to him, when I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around after running down the Promenade calling his name like a dang fool... it was some other Vulcan. I've seen Sovak everywhere today, but the truth is, I might never see him again. I guess that's alright. I guess that's for the best. Because if I ever see that smug emotionless face, the cute haircut will not make a difference. He's gonna get it. He's gonna get a hollering at like no one in the galaxy's ever heard before. He's gonna get told what for, why how, and how not, that's sure. There's nothing in the universe can hold back the angry rage building up in me because of that dang Vulcan, and it's coming for him, with bells, whistles, and possibly a string of obscenities that hasn't even been invented yet! ::The Trill's face was redder than any uniform he'd ever worn, and his spots stood out like little angry soldiers. He was riled up and hopping mad just thinking about it. When the day came he finally saw Sovak, that dang Vulcan was sure in for the business. For now, Ren forced himself to sit back, and breathe, and let his blood pressure cool down.:: ::The listener cleared his throat and shifted his weight impatiently. In a calmer tone following a nice, deep breath, Ren returned to his senses and apologized for doing all the talking.:: Rennyn: I am so sorry. Here I am going on about my problems. Didn't this start when you asked me a question? ::After so much patient listening, the man standing by Ren's table spoke up in a carefully measured tone.:: Waiter: Regular or decaf? Rennyn: Oh. ...Uhm.... ::Ren paled. He'd gone much farther off track than he'd thought.:: Waiter: I'll just bring you decaf. ::The waiter strolled away, leaving Ren to contemplate his own ridiculousness. He was so upset over Sovak that he apparently couldn't even function in public. Still though, all that talking had helped him work through some of his feelings. And his decision was made.:: ::If he ever saw Sovak again, he was going to let his anger out. Their relationship was over forever.:: ============================================ Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ============================================
  3. ((Deep Space 6: Meeting Room 11)) ::Commander Renos was both proud and defiant as ne delivered nir testimony. There was conviction in the J’naii, that was for sure, and ne believed that ne had taken the right course of action at every turn. Ne rose some interesting points, Chris had to give nem that much, but he didn’t hear anything that he considered to be enough to change the outcome of the meeting.:: ::Tugging at the front of his dress uniform and shuffling in his seat, the captain looked sideways to the Lieutenant Commander who had been assigned to work as Renos’s first officer. He was aware of the man’s longstanding history with the Darwin, and that he had been present on all three of Starfleet’s missions to Asav.:: Hallam: Commander, may I ask whether you personally feel the Asavii’s relationship with the Federation is currently stronger or weaker than it was following your previous visit to the planet? Thomas: It’s difficult to say Sir. There would be many there who would see our involvement in the discovery of their history as meddling, as interfering to try and change them. Is it a weaker relationship, I’m not sure, but I doubt it’s any stronger. Hallam: At this point, I would like to ask if anyone else has anything to say in defence of their commanding officer? ::He looked out at the assembled crowd of white shirts in front of him. Sometimes you had to appear to be the bad guy in the eyes of good people so that you could do the right thing.:: Traenor: ::standing, looking pointedly between Hallam and Thomas:: Sirs, I cannot add much to Cmdr Renos' testimony thus far, but I can stand as a character witness. I have served with nem on multiple ships, and have had the pleasure of learning his values and standards both on and off duty. Ne holds the utmost respect for the institution of Starfleet and the opportunities it gave nem to escape persecution and anarchy. Ne would never willingly introduce such anarchy to another world, nor would ne act in any way that would compromise the values that he has sworn to uphold. In my nearly twenty years of service to Starfleet, I have not met a more model officer. ::glaring pointedly at Thomas:: Nor one more loyal and dedicated to their shipmates. Thank you, that is all I have to say. ::As soon as the first dissenter sat down, another stood up, like some perverse game of Starfleet whack-a-mole. Chris folded his arms as the second man began to speak.:: Valdivia: If you will allow me. :: he cleared his throat. :: I will not comment on the Deep Space 6 incident, because I just recently learned about it. But for the other ones, I have the feeling Commander Renos is being judged for situations that were out of nir control. On the Dunbar, for instance. An anomaly we knew nothing about caused an explosion of a shuttlebay. We lost an unmanned shuttle, and the Dunbar lost some other material. But this explosion what out of nir control, nor anyone from the Darwin's crew. Instead, ne should be judged by nir actions after the explosion, and I think the return of the Dunbar certifies for that. Trying to salvage the shuttle would have put us all at heavy risk. :: He paused. The officer hadn’t said anything that might sway him so far.:: Valdivia: Even more importantly, on Asav. The believers of Balzog were hidden, waiting for the Federation to arrive to make their move. So, by our very participation in the joint research project, we helped them reveal themselves, which almost lead to civil war. But our participation was again out of Commander Renos' control, as it was an Starfleet order, and any other ship with any other captain reporting for the same mission would have unearthed that same dispute. If you ask, however, about what ne did afterwards, it was exactly preventing the civil war. Thank you. Walker: Captain, with all due respect to your rank and office, but I don't believe this is an appropriate discussion of the issues you raised. I say discussion because you aren't providing any evidence of wrongdoing, simply asking questions about what happened and why. There have been no witnesses for, or against Commander Renos, and by Starfleet regulations you'd need two other senior officers to make a tribunal for a court martial of this sort. Which either means Commander Renos isn't being given the opportunity to argue the case in front of them, which is against regulations.. or this was already decided before any of us arrived. In either case, this can be nothing other than a serious discussion. Lyldra: First I must state as an Attache in the FDC I would be bound to report any violation of the prime directive in my reports and even anything that would fall in the grey areas close to it for that matter. The prime directive is more than starfleet general order number one it’s the guiding principle of the federation one as a citizen and representative of the Federation I hold dear. ::She paused before going on.:: I have only served under Commander Renos for the duration of this last mission. Nem’s quick thinking to diffuse a potentially society crashing or at least fracturing event on that planet. Ne, I and the representatives of both the majority and minority parties sat around a table and did what the federation and starfleet hold most dear. Perseve the peace, work though our differences and move forward. So On a personal level For that Commander Renos earned my admiration and respect and made me glad I accepted my starfleet commission when I had always content in only diplomatic service to the federation. ::Well, that was one way of looking at it, certainly. Chris had expected that Renos’s crew would want to take the chance to defend nem, but maybe he had been expecting them to attempt to offer up some kind of incontrovertible evidence that the mission reports sat in front of him were incorrect. Chris sank back in his chair and blew out a breath. This was certainly just as heavy going as he thought it might be. How did you weigh up this kind of evidence in this short a space of time? It was fortunate that the pre-existing evidence made everything look cut and dried, and that Commander Thomas had been as informative as he had been.:: Hallam: Commander Renos, do you have anything else to say? Any mitigating circumstances that you believe should be taken into account? ::All eyes were on the J’naii commander now. What words would, or could ne summon to nir defence?:: Renos: Captain, I have not had a lot of bridge experience but I have put every bit of training and years of experience in a leadership position to ensure that everything I’ve done has been in the best interests of the ship and crew. I have taken my responsibilities seriously and represented Starfleet and the Federation to the very best of my ability. ::Chris took in a deep breath and stood, indicating that Lieutenant Commander Thomas should do the same. He lifted up his PADD and took a couple of steps towards Renos, waiting as nir first officer took up his prearranged position alongside the witness chair.:: Hallam: If there’s one thing I do believe, Commander, it’s that. Before this hearing was convened, I received an official message from Starfleet Command. Now seems a fitting time to deliver it to you and the crew. It reads… ::He tapped at the PADD, looking at it solemly. When he looked up, he wore a wicked grin on his face.:: Hallam: …gotcha! ::Of course, a real court martial wouldn’t have been as whirlwind as sitting a CO in a chair and asking them four questions before slamming down the gavel. The process would have taken days and witnesses would have been called from every imaginable corner to testify for both sides of the case. There was no way someone with a record as squeaky clean as Renos’s would know that, though, unless they had been considering taking a job in the JAG’s office.:: Renos: Captain Hallam, explain yourself. Hallam: Mr. Torrin, if you would please see to it that everyone has a glass, as arranged? ::Before Renos had too much time to react to what Chris considered to be one of the more impressive wind-ups he’d managed to launch on someone during his entire career, he hit nem with the real reason everyone had been gathered together.:: Hallam: Commander Renos, as you rightly say, you have been performing to the best of your abilities and your actions on Asav, Deep Space 6 and in rescuing the Dunbar have shown that you are not afraid to make difficult decisions and do the right thing. As such, with the power vested in me by Starfleet Command, I am hereby promoting you to captain, with all of the privileges and responsibilities associated with that rank. Commander Thomas, if you will do the honours, please? ::It seemed only fair that, after press ganging the first officer into the ruse that had just played out, he should allow him to actually pin the fourth pip onto Renos’s collar.:: Thomas: Congratulations sir. Renos: Thank you Commander. ::Giving nir First Officer a broad smile. There were no hard feelings. :: Hallam: Congratulations, Captain! Renos: Thank you! All is forgiven but you know – you need to work on your jokes and trust me when I say, I’ll get you back for this. ::With a devilish grin:: ::The glasses that had been passed around were now being filled with champagne. Chris had arranged for a few bars of gold-pressed latinum to be pushed in Torrin’s direction to fund the refreshments. It was the least he could do after giving Renos so much of a scare.:: ::Of course, there was one thing that needed clearing up.:: Hallam: Just while everyone’s glasses are being filled, I feel I should point out that Commander Thomas had nothing but positive things to say about Captain Renos when we met before you all arrived. I’d like to thank him for taking a big risk today and please don’t judge him too harshly. Thomas: ::Scratching the back of his nervously.:: Yeah, sorry everyone. ::Fortunately for Chris, in a room full of ruffled feathers, his own set of four pips protected him from hearing them direct too much frustration in his direction. When his own glass was filled, he held it up. This was an occasion that was certainly worth celebrating.:: Hallam: To Renos, the newest captain in Starfleet. PNPC Captain Christian Hallam Administrative Officer Deep Space 6
  4. ((Holodeck 2, Deck 7 - USS Darwin-A)) ::It had been a long day, full of highs and lows. Fortunately it ended on a high note, but between that and the last mission, Maxwell Traenor felt like he had been drawn through an emotional wringer. He wanted nothing more but to boot up his holoprogram, the oasis and hideaway that he used to cleanse his cares and soothe his soul. He would maybe add a small smattering of patrons that were programmed to keep to themselves, pour himself a double, and play the piano until his fingers ached. It promised to be a cathartic self-indulgence.:: Traenor: What the heck? ::Coming to a stop at the holodeck doors, the display panel showed the suite to be in use. This was Traenor's allotted time block, but he didn't fret too much. Probably just the previous user running long on their program. While he was waiting, he decided to preload his personal program so it would be ready to go when the current occupant exited.:: Computer: That program is already in use. Traenor: ::nervous chuckle:: That's not possible. ::trying again:: Computer: That program is already in use. Traenor: oO It bloody well better not be! That is a personal, locked program! Oo ::Somewhat expecting the holodeck door to be locked, he was surprised that it opened readily for his approach. He stormed in, pressing through the simulated leaded-glass doors, to find the room empty but for one person. He could not identify her with her back to him, as she idly plucked at a single piano key with one hand and swirled a drink with the other. C sharp was the note she hit, over and over, the senselessness of it grating like nails on a chalkboard. The mindless repetition of the sound half reminded him of an ancient Earth trinket, a wind-up monkey that would slap cymbals together, and Maxwell irrationally expected to have the woman turn around and be wearing a mask much like that toy of yore.:: Traenor: Hey! What exactly do you think you're doing in here? ::She slowly turned, finally allowing Maxwell to see the interloper into his sanctuary. She was a Bajoran, with long dark hair and bright steel-grey eyes. Though wearing a slightly surprised expression, it was offset by a wide mirthful grin. She placed her glass down on the veneer of the piano's edge, where condensation had already pooled into an elongated ring from repeated placement and retrieval.:: Noros Tanna: Well, drat. I guess I ran a little late. Traenor: That's hardly the problem here! This is a private program! How did you get it to run! ::Clucking his tongue in disapproval and acting as a means to cover his flustered state, he stepped to the bar to retrieve a drink coaster and a bar rag. Sensing his intention, the Bajoran snatched up her drink before Maxwell could confiscate it, so he completed the sequence of events by wiping the water stain and putting down the coaster in its place. He ended the action by angrily tossing the rag back onto the bar, glaring at the interloper while doing so.:: Noros: ::sly smile, speaking not unkindly:: Silly man. It's a collection of photons and altered gravity fields. It's not like it'll permanently mark. Traenor: ::taken aback:: No, it's - it's the principle of it! And stop avoiding my question! Did you hack my personal program? ::She looked at him with a grimace of mock distaste, only allowing her disarming smile to hide momentarily.:: Noros: Oh no, nothing so barbaric. Being a security officer has its fringe benefits. I had to know what was so engaging about this program that it has been the only one you've accessed since coming aboard the Darwin. And even before the Darwin, from what I can tell. ::Traenor was flabbergasted, unable to even formulate a coherent retort due to the brazen disregard and the natural lack of concern implied by the delivery. So not only had she accessed his program without his permission, but she had tracked his holodeck usage. It seemed such a flagrant disrespect to his privacy, and he didn't even understand why or how it was happening. And the entire time she continued to pluck at that same ebony key. His temper, usually tranquilly hidden deep within him, bubbled up menacingly.:: Traenor: Who are you, and who do you think you are to violate the sanctity of my privacy so? ::She tittered airily, a lilting contralto that filled the room.:: Noros: Oh, don't be so dour, Max. I can call you Max, right? I'm Tanna. Pleased to finally make your acquaintance. Traenor: ::caught off-guard again:: What? No... Maxwell. Wait- that's Lieutenant Traenor to you, if you please. Noros: ::lilting laugh again:: Oh, Max, don't be so formal. ::putting on a gruff act:: That's Lieutenant Noros to you, if you please! ::normal voice again:: See how silly that sounds? Good thing we don't all go around talking so stiffly. We're off duty, Max, let's pretend to relax a bit, shall we? ::Having his first name abbreviated was a pet peeve of Traenor's, he had hated the way it sounded his entire life. Considering the circumstances of their introduction to each other, it didn't exactly serve to endear Lieutenant Noros Tanna any better to him. Reaching the end of his rope, he simply stood there with his arm outstretched, index finger pointed at the exit doors.:: Traenor: Out. Noros: ::ever-smiling:: Now Max, don't be hasty. I didn't mean to be here when you arrived, but this is a nice quiet program, and you've done a wonderful job on it. You seem like a nice fellow, so let's just sit back and chat for awhile. Maybe you can play me a tune? Traenor: Out. Noros: No, really. ::getting up and sauntering over to the bar, where she grabbed a second glass and started to peruse the bottles:: Let me get you a drink. That should loosen you up. Now what do you drink? Silly me, like I have to ask. Saurian brandy, as I and the bridge crew of the Apollo know perfectly well. ::Her casual disclosure of an embarrassing incident of his past, coupled with the intimate familiarity she exuded while continuing her intrusion into his private time and affairs, was making Maxwell's head reel. At least when she stepped away from the piano she had stopped idly tapping on that one grating note. Small comfort considering the breadth of the situation.:: Traenor: Okay, Lieutenant. This has gone far enough, and then some. ::seething:: I don't know why you have snooped so much into my past, why you have invaded my private place, and why you insist on continuing to torment me. But no more. Computer, end program. Noros: Computer, belay that order. Traenor: Excuse me? Noros: ::sweetly:: You haven't played me a song on that there piano yet. And it's rude to refuse an offered drink. ::Realization dawned on Traenor, and he actually laughed a little. Man, he was such a fool!:: Traenor: You're not real, are you? You're a holographic addition to the program, probably a prank precipitated by Valdivia. And assisted by Renos? You'd need to have authorization codes from an officer ranked higher than me to block my commands. Heh, what a couple of jokers. ::looking up at the ceiling, as if talking to a hidden camera:: Haha, very funny guys. You got me. Noros: Nuh-uh, chuckles. Try again. I'm as real as they come. That was a cute theory, though. You're quite inventive. ::She leaned casually against the bar, swirling her drink and smiling broadly at Traenor as he stood perplexed and confused.:: Traenor: Computer, override and end program, authorization Traenor Gamma Two Zero. Noros: Security override last order, authorization Noros Tau One Seven Alpha. ::The computer bleated a discordant chirp, as if frustrated by the conflicting instructions. But, the program still stood running. Maxwell, defeated and spent, sunk down on the piano bench.:: Traenor: ::flatly:: Who are you, and why are you doing this? ::Noros rolled her eyes, uncertain why the chief science officer was making such a big fuss out of something so inconsequential. He seemed like a really nice man, had kept his nose clean as far as his service file was concerned, was perhaps a bit dull but in a sweet way... why did sharing his holodeck program bother him so much? And if he was truly serious, then why give up the fight so easily? She smiled demurely, thinking that he doth protest her presence too much. She poured a generous double of brandy and brought it over to him.:: Noros: I've been on this ship as long as you, my dear Max. You are not nearly observant enough. You might notice me around a bit more often, I've just been given a temporary assignment as the ship's acting Security Chief. Lieutenant Junior Grade Noros Tanna, at your service. It's not my intent to torment you, I'm just a kindred soul. I like quiet, private venues to enjoy my drinks, just like you do with this program. Yes, I 'stretched' my privileges to gain access, but really, Max, it's not so bad to have an audience with a sympathetic ear, is it? Traenor: What makes you think I won't go straight to Commander Thomas and report this unprofessional behavior? Noros: You won't do that, Max. You care too much about what Kael thinks of you to do that. You'd say to him, "Lt Noros has abused her authority and invaded my privacy". But, you'd hear your words come out of your mouth and to you they would sound as, ::affecting a nasally, whining tone:: "Tanna is playing with my toys and won't give them back!" ::Maxwell hated her with a vengeance at that moment, and not because of the mocking, condescending tone she had used, even though it had come out more playful than mean. No, he was angry because it was like she could read his mind and interpret his true thoughts. She had read him like a book. As eloquent as he would try to verbalize his indignation to Thomas, his internal monologue would play out just as she predicted. The anger was a flash though, hollow, combusting quickly and extinguishing in a puff. Instead of remaining indignant, he just felt spent. Taking the drink put before him, he drained it in one quick draught. He looked her up and down, fully paying attention to her for the first time since he had entered the holodeck. Though wearing comfortable, casual attire, she had the posture and carriage of a security officer. Even when lounging, she stood straight and proud, and looked as if she could jump to attention at any moment. She was attractive, if he had to admit to it, though attraction was the furthest thing from his mind at the moment. Her most striking features were her piercing grey eyes, and a permanent grin that always looked mischievous and sly.:: Traenor: Fine. You're right. I won't do that. But now what? Do you beat me up and steal my program? ::he said that last bit sarcastically, in reference to her earlier mock whining:: I don't care now. I'll leave, and let you finish up my allotted time. Good day, Lieutenant. Noros: No, no. ::she gently but insistently pushed him back onto the piano stool, and spoke softly and kindly:: I'm sorry, Max. I'm used to getting my way, and don't take no for an answer easily. ::shrugging apologetically:: Occupational trait. I've been forward, and sullied your private time. Let me make it up to you. I'll cook you a dinner some time. Until then, please consider letting me stay and listen to you play. ::Traenor shot her a jaundiced eye, wondering if she was manipulating him somehow. It was hard to tell, no matter how she spoke or what she said, that same wide grin stayed plastered on her face. Tanna backed up slightly, hands raised in the universal sign of deference, and nodded at him encouragingly. He scowled, unsure why he would agree to stay in the same room with her, but found himself leaning towards granting her request unwittingly. Finally, he let out a low growl of exasperation.:: Traenor: Fine. But please, stop calling me Max. I'm not fond of it. Noros: Okay, Max, but only if you promise to call me Tanna. ::He scowled again at her flagrant disregard of his request, but there was little conviction behind the display. He turned to face the piano, and nodded a grudging thanks when she topped up his empty glass. Cracking his fingers, he brought his fingers to the ready on the ivory keys.:: Traenor: One song. If that goes well, we'll see how it goes from there... Tanna. Noros: I wouldn't suppose you know any contemporary Bajoran tunes, do you? ::It was Maxwell's turn to grin at her, though his was more playfully malicious than her mischievously styled grin.:: Traenor: Don't push your luck. You'll get what you'll get. ::finally cracking into a laugh:: ::Tanna laughed in concert with him, and listened raptly as he started into a masterful performance that she couldn't quite place the lineage of. It didn't mean that she didn't enjoy it, of course. Yes, this Max was a sweet man, she told herself, and she had chosen right by deciding to draw him into her sphere of influence. He might even come to realize that himself some day, she surmised.:: TBC ======================================PNPC LtJG Noros Tanna - Security Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ~and~ Lt Maxwell Traenor - Chief Science OfficerUSS Darwin NCC-99312-AGraphic Contest Taskforce / Publicity Team Contact: Email/Hangouts - otterhooligan@gmail.com======================================
  5. ((Quartermaster's Office, Deck 3 - USS Darwin-A)) ::Sovak gratefully took Karami’s advice to visit the arboretum when he could. He loved plants. He loved what they represented to him. His mind began to drift into the realms of memory at the thought, but he held to the conversation at hand. There was another topic of interest upon which Karami might help increase his knowledge.:: Sovak: Please, if you have time, will you tell me about this ship's Multispecies Initiative? I find the concept most intriguing. Karami: Oh! That's why I'm here! The Multispecies Initiative is quite prevalent on the Darwin... ::Karami proceeded to fill him in on the details of this incredible intercultural venture. He listened at first to every detail. As she went on and on, he found himself reminded of someone else he knew who sometimes talked too much. Plant life. Talking. The memory swirled through his mind, wrapping around him, until he was momentarily lost in it.:: ((Flashback - Arnmere, Trill - 5 Years Ago)) ::Sovak sat quite still on the crumbling remains of an abandoned old border that had once bisected the lush green field before him on a homeworld vastly different from his own.:: ::On Vulcan, everything was red. Everything was dusty, dry and hot. Temples of stone had been built all over the planet, more for their cooling properties than their meditative purposes, he sometimes thought.:: ::Here on the Trill world, Rennyn’s world, everything in sight was alive with color. Electric blue air with high white clouds spread over fields of green and gold that stretched to eternity. Ripe berries of crisp red and deep, luscious purple dotted the hedgerow along Sovak’s crumbled old stone fence. A clean, cool breeze washed over him, rustling the nearby tree line, sometimes ringing a distant chime, providing pleasantly intermittent respite from the brief midday heat.:: ::In all his years of struggle, the Vulcan had never fallen so far from controlling his feelings of joy.:: ::At the sound of approaching footsteps behind him, Sovak forced his face to abandon the little contented smile he’d dared to allow himself.:: Rennyn: Beautiful, isn’t it? ::Almost against his will, drawn by the force of Ren’s personality, Sovak had accompanied his roommate here to Trill on break from the Academy. Ren had refused to leave him behind to haunt the hills of San Francisco alone. The trip had been a challenge of mental control in dealing with the sprawling Rennyn clan and the curious people of their home village, Arnmere.:: Rennyn: Had to get away, didn’t you? Sovak: Your family is much larger than mine. Rennyn: My family is much louder and more obnoxious than yours. ::Ren was happier here than at the Academy, Sovak could tell. The man’s whole being was alight with contentment.:: I know you’re used to solitary meditation on a mountain top. How do you like meditating on my great-grandpa’s broken old border wall? Without us all talking over you? Sovak: The afternoon has passed pleasantly for me. ::Ren laughed goodnaturedly.:: Rennyn: Sovak, you’re one of a kind! All your Vulcan formality... ::The people of Arnmere certainly found him amusing. There had been a constant parade of locals fighting for their moment with the strange visitor from a distant planet. He was an oddity in this hidden corner of Trill, where few offworlders were known to visit. Ren had a cousin who was married to a Betazoid, but they'd moved to one of the large cities in another region of Trill. Here in Arnmere, one felt as far away from a metropolitan area as from an alien world.:: ::Sovak thought on Ren's words. He found the Trill took delight in singling out his oddities. He found, too, that he rather liked being the cause of Ren's amusement. Shyly, afraid of the implications of these burgeoning feelings, he avoided those thoughts. He was not comfortable being so different from other Vulcans. At the same time, he knew he did not want to be like them. The Rennyn family and their steady stream of visiting friends and neighbors all brimmed over with joy and vibrant life. Sovak had to run from them, out to this far corner where he could be alone. He had to run because he wanted to be like them, and he did not know how.:: ::Ren put his hand on Sovak's shoulder, and the Vulcan forced himself to remain motionless. Inside, his heart leapt. He was finally beginning to understand some of his feelings, and the one in particular was turning his heart in circles.:: Rennyn: I'll leave you to it. ::He breathed deeply.:: This place will do your soul good. It does for me. Thanks for sharing it with me, buddy. ::Sovak nodded weakly. As Ren walked away, the Vulcan wondered how long he could hold off the feelings stemming from his heart. Ren had wanted to be a kind and inclusive friend. Instead, he had made the Vulcan fall in love.:: ::Sovak sat motionless, long into the afternoon. He smelled the rich earth and felt the warm sun on his face, and heard nothing but the breeze rustling round him and the distant crack of the forest line, punctuated sometimes by a bird's call or the unselfconscious fall of a leaf or old fruit. He could not resist that small, contented smile.:: ::An abundance of plants. An abundance of life. He felt a bit centered again, though still with many challenges. He'd glimpsed the source of the calm Ren held at his core. Sovak had a long and emotionally turbulent way to go before he would understand it, but that day, he began to know what it meant to feel at peace.:: ((End Flashback - Quartermaster's Office, Deck 3 - USS Darwin-A)) Karami: ::finally stopping to catch a breath:: So yeah, the Multispecies Initiative has had some hiccups for me, but I'd still call it a success overall. ::Sovak came back to reality as Karami’s longwindedly helpful speech came to its conclusion. He was sorry to have missed a few lines of what she said, but he counted on his placid outward demeanor to have hidden any evidence of a wandering mind. That, combined with the Vulcan reputation for stoicism, allowed him to cover a great many faux pas, including totally zoning out.:: Sovak: It seems to me that your contributions have been a part of that success. You should be proud of that. I thank you for letting me know so much about the program. ::The Bactrican gasped as she looked at the chronometer, but Sovak was not bothered by the passage of time spent in conversation. He had come to see her specifically to spend time that was not needed anywhere else, and it had been a pleasure getting to know her, despite his own momentarily wandering thoughts.:: Karami: If I don't stop talking, you won't get any time to visit the arboretum, and that would be a shame. ::trying on an apologetic grin:: Sovak: I shall go to the arboretum at my first opportunity, on your recommendation. Thank you, Karami. Karami: If there's anything else I can assist with, please don't hesitate to let me know. I hope you get settled in soon and that your quarters end up to your liking. And I hope that our arboretum makes you... ::conspiratorial wink:: happy. ::Though he was now allowing himself to feel emotions as they came, Sovak would perhaps never lose the formal Vulcan manners that had been trained in to him.:: ::He bowed to Karami swiftly, rigidly nodding from the waist up.:: Sovak: That is a highly probable outcome. Good day. ::At that, he exited the Quartermaster’s Office with a brisk step. It was the Vulcan way to get on with business without any delay. It was Sovak’s way to smile inwardly as he went, happy to have made a friend.:: ============================================ Ensign Sovak Operations Officer simmed by Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ============================================
  6. ((T'Mihn's Apartment )) :: After her scheduled medical check-up with Dr. Hendon,T'Mihn went to work unpacking her belongings while Ahyel was exploring the place. She had most of her belongings on their places. The feline and the kittens ran all over. At this moment the entire brood were perched on the back of the couch looking out the window chittering at the avian life perched on the balcony railing running the wall outside. The birds tantalizingly out of reach. Tails swishing back and forth, high pitched, clicks, chirps and chatter were easily detected by Vulcan hearing. She grinned, knowing they were starting to settle in and enjoying themselves. Not many wild animals on a starship. She knew if she'd let the cats outside,they'd probably disappear into the foliage and she didn't know how to climb the tall skinny stick straight tree things with the feathery fronds. The thought of being stuck trapped up in one calling for extraction and resulting teasing that would ensue wasn't pleasant.:: T'Mihn: oOI can hear them.."Aaww did the poor little Vulcan get stuck in a twee? "Oo ::She'd never hear the end of it.:: ((Outside T’Mihn’s Apartment)) T’Sara: Can I ding it? :: T’Lea knew what that meant. Every time T’Sara wanted to “ding” a door chime or push a button it meant repeated abuse. It was never just once or twice, and it was always incessant button pushing. Unfortunately, for T’Lea it made T’Sara smile. The added bonus was the rapid button pushing usually annoyed other people so it was also fun for T’Lea.:: :: T’Lea answered her usual reply.:: T’Lea: Ding it. ::And ding it T’Sara did. Again and again and again, and then suddenly she stopped and turned to her mother with curious frown and lopsided tilt of her head.:: T’Sara: Whose door is this and why is we here? T’Lea: *Are*. Why *are* we here? Lt. T’Mihn lives here and you’ll see why we’re here soon enough. :: T’Sara made a squinty look at her mother, not liking the vagueness to the answer.:: ::Her finger stretched out toward the bell, T’Sara looked back at her mother expectantly.:: T’Lea: Go ahead. One more time. ::What came next was the happiest “DING” sound ever produced by a door chime, and one content little girl.:: ::A very rapid, insistent jangling of the door chime that only the very young could achieve, sent the kittens scattering,in full poofed out fur mode. One scrambled up her back hiding in her hair. She gasped, startled,reaching up to feel the tiny trembling creature in her hair. Turning a head towards the door,at the same time letting the kitten sense her calm.:: T'Mihn: A moment. ::She tried to gently remove the kitten out of her hair but he was insistent and sank his teeny sharp claws into her scalp. Preferring the safety of easily attained height and warm camouflage of the big hairless cat's very long head fur The rapid door chime dinging came again. Stifling a laugh. She was glad she hadn't a gong, else the little one would startle all occupants in the building.:: T'Mihn: Ouch. Okay, okay,you can stay up there.:: calling to the door again.:: Coming! ::Gently patting the kitten and giving him a gentle ear scratch causing him to vibrate with a very happy purr. Opening her door to see T'Lea and little T'Sara who was trying to look innocent.:: T'Mihn: ::To T'Lea:: Hello. ::Squatting down to be at T'Sara's eye level.:: And hello. T’Lea: She likes buttons, and pushing them. T’Sara, this is T’Mihn. T’Sara: I like buttons too. ::nodding:: Lots. ::at T’Mihn:: Greetings. ::She held up her hand and split her fingers in a proper Vulcan “howdy”, with a little added wave at the end.:: :: T’Lea frowned slightly, noticing a big clump of T’Mihn’s hair out of place… and then she realized what it was. She glanced down to see if T’Sara had noticed.:: T’Mihn: Hello again. ::returning the gesture with a wave.:: I like buttons too. ::Leaning in with a curious Vulcan eyebrow, the little one looked up at T’Mihn secretively.:: T’Sara: Do you know why I’m here? ::T'Mihn, still squatting down, she glanced up at T'Lea, eyebrow disappearing into her bangs,asking a silent query.:: T’Lea: I haven’t told her yet. I thought she might enjoy the surprise. ::And she didn’t want to be pestered by the girl to “go faster” on their journey there.:: T’Sara: Only when they’s good. ::Nodding in understanding at T'Lea's explanation,she turned back at the little golden haired Vulcan hybrid smiling.:: T’Mihn: Well..same here. ::It was then T'Mihn's hair emitted a "mmeww! "and wiggled. A tiny,furry triangular solid black ear stuck out. The mass settled down purring quite loudly .:: :: A bit of shock moved T’Sara backwards a step when T’Mihn’s hair started making noise. T’Lea just watched with amusement.:: T’Sara: ::small gasp:: You grew another ear! ::Eyes widened. A hand gently touching the ear. She knew how to talk with children having some of her own. She never spoke down to them but on their level. She knew full well there was a kitten in her hair.:: T'Mihn: Oh! ::gasp:: I did? Where? ::Looking around. A long black bushy tail sprouted out the back of her head,swishing about.:: T’Sara: There! Right there! It’s moving like a slithers now. T'Mihn: oOSlithers?Oo ::Slithers was what T’Sara called snakes.:: T'Mihn: Up here?::touching her head.:: That's odd. I guess I did grow extra ears and a tail. :: Hand to chin in thought.:: Hmm a mystery yes? ::Her eyes sparkled getting a kick out of the little girl's antics,the kitten thought it was a new game,although He didn't like the dinging noise.:: T’Sara: Or a bad medicals problem. T'Mihn: You may have a point. So shall we all come in,I can introduce you both to my furry roommates. ::Bending down to whisper to T'Sara.:: Maybe one has taken up residence up there.. or perhaps I have a..:: both eyebrows raised::.. problem. ::A moment more of cautious study revealed the animal’s eyes, and it’s scared little aura. T’Sara giggled.:: T’Sara: ::to T’Lea:: That’s an aminal. Why is Lootenant Teemen wearing an aminal in her hair? T'Lea: It’s a cat, nugglet. And I think the animal is wearing Lt. T’Mihn. ::T'Mihn was within a hair's width of laughing at hearing that. The kitten wearing her.:: T’Sara: Cos it’s ‘fraidy? T’Lea: Most likely. Come on, scoot. :: T’Sara walked in, not taking her eyes off T’Mihn’s cat-hair.:: ::The small adult Vulcan saw the child's eyes glued to her head once the kitten emerged.:: T’Lea: She’s never seen a feline before. T'Mihn: Between us,I had not seen felines like this before either. T’Sara: Are they like rats? ::giggle:: Mommy’s afraid of rats. T’Lea: No, not like rodents. They catch and eat rodents, and snakes. ::Which sounded pretty handy to have around, in T’Lea’s opinion.:: ::T'Mihn knew many beings didn't like tiny rodents. Sometimes because of the tiny size, or potential for disease or property destruction. Sometimes they were just plain weird looking animals.:: T’Sara: They must be tasty. ::looking around:: Where’s the other fuzzies? ::T'Mihn lead them in to places to sit, then offered them water according to her culture when someone comes into her home.:: T’Mihn: Oh they are around here somewhere. ::T’Lea lead the little girl over to the couch and sat her down. Stillness and calm was probably the best way to lure the animals out. Curiosity getting the better of them eventually.:: T’Lea: It looks like you are almost unpacked. ::She stayed on the couch next to T’Sara and glanced around at some of T’Mihn’s things. They looked Vulcan, some ancient, which made sense considering *when* the woman came from.:: T’Mihn: Nearly finished. Only a few more to go. ::T’Sara giggled and tried to remain still when she saw the black feline loosed from T’Mihn’s hair, and then another pop it’s little head out from under the couch where her foot was.:: T’Sara: Why’s they so scaredy? I won’t hurt them. ::She bent down gently picking up the kitten, T’Mihn: We just came yesterday and none of us are used to the new sights, sounds and smells of our new home. Hold your hands out. I'll put the kitten in them. ::Eager and willing, T’Sara cupped her hands together and smiled with anticipation. T’Lea could almost feel the excitement radiating off the little girl.:: T’Lea: Remember to be gentle. ::She did so,T'Mihn placed the fuzzy animal in the girl's cupped hands. He looked up at the little girl "mewed ". Big green eyes luminous with absolute curiosity. The kit stood up stretching, arching his back, and yawned. Turned in a circle in the little girl's lap and started kneading with all four paws, a little rumbling purr coming out.:: ::Beaming. T’Sara was positively beaming with glee as the kitten nestled in her lap. With a careful hand she let her tiny fingers stroke the back of the black cats head. She could see it’s little eyes roll back as his eyelids fluttered open upon each petting.:: T’Sara: ::soft giggle:: He’s sleepy, and soft. He has inky furs. ::Black. Inky. The kitten had a lot of black fur, but also some white markings. Made sense to T’Lea, who just smiled at her daughter’s happy interpretation.:: T’Sara: ::looking at T’Mihn:: Do they like to play? T'Mihn: They just need encouragement. They enjoy playing with toys. T'Sara: So do I! ::She looked at T’Lea as if to say, “we’re a match made in heaven! Can I keep him!”.:: T’Sara: Where are the toys? ::She didn’t see any amongst the grown-up stuff.:: T'Mihn: Most likely under the couch. They swat them under here or drag them under. ::She saw the edge of a feather under the couch,got down on hands and knees, and pulled out a two foot long wand with a two foot long string attached to the end. At the end of the string was a bundle of feathers. She also found a ball that jingled. A piece of cellophane that made a crinkly sound. Another stick with feathers. She put them on the couch next to T'Sara and bent down to retrieve the rest. Some more balls,a simple laser dot pointer, a cat treat or two, a bone. Why was a bone under there? Maybe the previous residents had a canine. And a..lizard? Which wasn't a toy but alive that scrambled out over her arm,down her back and across the floor. A tall, graceful looking solid black cat was a hot second behind it. The science officer stood.:: T'Mihn: That is Ahyel, the kits' mother. ::She bolted after the cat. Trying to herd the reptile out of the feline's reach.::..and I don't want her to catch that. ::T’Sara’s eyes boggled at the speed of the adult cat. She giggled at the antics and continued petting Inky in her lap.:: T’Lea: Mind if I look around? You have some interesting … ::she almost called them artifacts::… items. T’Mihn: Please, go ahead. ::The kitten in T'Sara's was more interested in staying where he was. Ahyel chased the small lizard around the living room until it scrambled up the wall to nearly the ceiling out of Ahyel's reach. It didn't stop her from trying to get it from atop her tall cat tree. T'Mihn easily managed a jump and scooped the lizard off the ceiling, crossed the room to the window letting it loose outside. Ahyel gave her "big two legged kitten "a look that said "Why didn't you eat that? ":: ::By now T’Lea was studying a particularly old looking item on a shelf.:: T’Lea: The language is ancient Golic. Or… no could that be, FthinraKathi? ::Which was an extinct distant-relative of ancient Golic.:: T’Mihn: Hm. Ah. Yes..::squinting at the text,pointing to a script .:: This is Golic from my bondmate's family.:: Pointing to the other script on the piece.:: This one is Fthinra Kathi,my dialect. T’Lea: I would say of your belongings should be preserved in our vault. T’Mihn: I am actively using them. However,if that is true, then I belong in your vault too. T'Lea: In the name of science it would be useful, but impractical. ::She said it straight-faced, wondering if the humor would be noticed.:: T'Mihn: oOAh. A comedian. Ok Gracie, old George has something to add.Oo T'Mihn: I agree. ::A grin rugged a lopsided smirk out of her.:: When I was in there last, saw no facilities for personal use. It would be.. it would gross. You can put my sequenced genome in there however,takes up less space. ::Holding up a finger, then a gesture she'd seen humans do. A wink.::No mess. ::T’Lea frowned a little as her eye caught a plant in the room. She moved over to examine it closer, and then twisted her the wedding bracelet around to find a similar image engraved in the latinum.:: T’Lea: Hmm.. ::Walking over to stand next to the Chief who was admiring the plant in the window.:: T’Mihn: Did you find something interesting? T’Lea: My bondmate enjoys gardening. What species is this? ::T'Mihn's slender fingers gently touched the leaves and small flowers. A part of Ti'Valhka'Ain that only existed in two places. On t'Ogien and this room.:: T’Mihn: My family, mother and I are botanists. This plant is..uhh. was.::head shake.::... is called kusut-vedik . Also known as "pain plant ",used to ease pain in my time. It only grows in two places now. Here and the planet we settled. ::They had no choice. t'Ogien was closest. Their ship, the colony ark, held plant life from Vulcan held in stasis in whole forms and seeds. To Hopefully replant when they made planet fall. They resorted to herbal plant based, and mental medicinal methods to conserve resources. Little did T'Mihn know the priest Healers, the Reldai, had come from the same outgrowth on Vulcan.:: T'Lea: That is very… ::Strange. Freaky. Weird. Disturbing. Confusing. All those words seemed to fit what T’Lea was feeling.:: T’Lea: … wise. :: The hybrid turned, seeking an exit from talking about the plant and pointed out a piece of jewelry that stood out in the room. It looked ancient, but brand-new at the same time.:: T’Lea: This must have value. It’s quite beautiful. What do the markings mean? ::Something else caught the Chief's attention. T'Mihn picked up the item T'Lea was showing interest in. It was her platinum and tastefully bejeweled cloak clasp that bore her House and Clan's names with her bondmate's House and Clan names "written "in a green metal depicting kusut-vedik's stems, leaves as the flowing calligraphic letters. The names separate but joined.:: T'Mihn: It is my House and Clan name with Vahlihn's. T’Lea: Who is Vahlihn? T'Mihn:I will show you. ::Picking up a small locket -like item,she activated a hologram that showed a very handsome,seven foot tall and obviously well built Vulcan male standing arms wrapped around T'Mihn. He faced the holo cam, his cheek resting on top of her head,. Both had contented expressions on their faces. Today one would hardly find a image like this displayed in modern Vulcan homes. She showed it to T'Lea.:: T’Mihn: This is Vahlihn, my bondmate but is dead. ::Humans would call him"Hot looking " and "as well built as a brick house ". Female friends sometimes asking if he had a"single "brother. Once she knew the meaning of the idioms, she agreed. He was most definitely "hot looking ". He was hers and she was his. Wanting to be only his again.. but. Death was a natural part of life.:: T’Lea: I’m sorry. I did not know. ::At that T'Mihn smiled in face and eyes. One could tell easily how much she loved him. She put a hand on T'Lea's covered forearm as she answered.:: T'Mihn: That is alright. I miss him,but I have wonderful memories of our time together and our children. ::T'Mihn noticed some confusing if not complex array of emotions skittering across T'Lea's face and eyes. Did she have someone like this in her life?:: ::Nice job, remind her of her dead bondmate. She scolded herself, and looked back down at the bracelet, then to the cloak clasp and back at the bracelet once again as if to see the similarities in both. But how could that be? The items were forged centuries apart.:: ::She was suddenly having a brain overload.:: ::Her eyes lifted to meet T’Mihn’s with uncertainty, and then drifted back down to the wedding bracelet. Why the hell did both pieces of jewelry share the same images of T’Mihn’s frelling house plant?:: ::That was the kind of mind-frakking she didn’t need right now.:: ::Rattled by the weird plant and what it may mean, she cut T’Sara’s play-time short.:: T’Lea: I must thank you for your hospitality but we should be on our way. :: Would T’Mihn notice her quick exit, or the odd looks she was giving the cloak clasp? T’Lea didn’t want to stick around long enough to find out.:: ::That was abrupt. Had she offended T'Lea? After all, the Chief was looking at her things. Then seeing one of her plants and a clasp,T'Lea acted as if a demon jumped out of them and touched an icy finger to her katra. What was going on? She desperately wanted to ask but it was invading T'Lea's privacy to ask such a thing.:: ::The agitation and sudden nervousness radiated off T'Lea like a star shedding its outer envelope. T'Mihn 's brows knitted together in concern wondering if she hadn't offended her "boss". She thought she had left that "curse "with Tiger, but apparently it followed. She sighed softly,but recovered quickly enough to nod a "you're welcome ". Logic didn't make handling emotions or emotional beings easier at all, it sometimes seemed to make things harder. The trick was striking that balance.:: ::Having to fight the thought of possibly offending T'Lea,she told herself the Chief could be struggling with things unknown. For T'Mihn to take offense would not only be illogical, but wrong. Fates above and below --there were things that triggered very bad memories in her own life. The Science Chief needed time to handle whatever wraith got dredged up.:: ::The plaintive conversation between mother and daughter about little "Inky " continued. It brought her thoughts to the present. ,T'Mihn stayed out of it allowing the parent to handle things in her capable hands.:: T’Sara: Awww, but Inky wants to play now! T’Lea: You can visit him later. Come on. Let’s go. T’Sara: Can Inky come with us? Pleeeeeeeeeease? ::Now that was odd behavior. Vulcan children would never be so insistent. T'Sara at this age was smart, listened carefully and seemed to respond to reason even if a little vocal. She was only three, and showed a great deal of patience and love. T'Mihn thought these things would be infinitely valuable for her.:: :: As if T’Lea hadn't seen the begging coming a mile away. Still it was a great distraction from her quick attempt to flee.:: ::Seeing the subtle tenseness in T'Lea's body, as if she were preparing to very quickly leave but barred from doing so. T'Mihn carefully, gently stepped in,placing a hand gently on T'Sara's shoulder.:: T’Mihn: Little one, it is up to T'Lea and Della. You are always welcome to visit but :: Holding up a finger.::...with their permission. Ha? Yes? Inky will be here. ::She thought the name "Inky" was befitting and as her human friends would call"cute as a button". How animal adorability related to button cuteness was an equation she couldn't figure out. Although the kitten did look like he had spilled her inkwell on himself.:: ::T’Sara’s eyes lit up at the thought of having Inky as her very own. This was a test to see if T’Lea would cave-in under the pressure of her daughters ridiculous cuteness. She had to be strong. She had to be focused and logical.:: T’Sara: Cani keep him please, please, please? I’ll take good care of him. T’Lea: I… ::She was breaking, she could feel the walls starting to crumble, and then…:: T'Mihn: oODo not fall for it T'Lea. Be firm, be gentle. T'Sara will understand.Oo T’Lea: We’ll have to discuss it with your mother first. :: she knelt down to T’Sara’s level:: You understand this is a big decision, a family decision. That little life isn’t a toy. He’s going to be with us for quite a while. It’ll be his home too. T’Sara: I knows. He’s got really good colors and we’ll be best of friends. I promise. ::She wasn’t talking about the kittens fur. No, she was talking about the animals aura and the colors she saw vibrating off him.:: T'Mihn:oOColors?Oo ::Confusion flit across T'Mihn's face. Did she mean the fur, or something else? First T'Lea's very odd reaction to a simple flowering herb, now the child seeing other colors on the feline kit? The One's Name -what is occurring here?:: T’Lea: We still have to ask Della. Come along. Say thank you. T’Sara: Thank you, Teemehn. Bye Inky. I’ll miss you. ::She waved sadly at the kitten, and it tugged on T’Lea’s heart strings. Maybe she could make a case to Della about getting the kitten for T’Sara’s birthday. It was a week away after all.:: T’Mihn: You are welcome. ::Holding "Inky "in her hands she lifted a tiny paw to wave back.:: He says bye and will miss you. ::The mother and daughter left, T'Mihn stood watching, wondering, remembering. Him. Always in her thoughts, her mind and katra. Stepping back into her new abode, it was where she lived but it wasn't home. Her slender fingers closed around the ornate necklace around her neck. It rested under her clothing next to her skin. It was a wedding gift Vahlihn gave her those many years ago. When he placed it on her,she never removed it and never would. Even if Vahlihn was no longer alive, the jewelry he made with his own hands was as if he was.:: ::T'Mihn swallowed hard trying to shove the grief down. She needed to meditate and found a place on the floor, kittens piled into her lap as was their habit when she meditated,she sank into the quiet. A whisper so quiet almost not even heard.:: Ashal-veh ka'i. ::Whatever it was. It jerked her out of meditation. No one was in the room and she didn't speak. Maybe it was a rustle of leaves..A whisper on the wind. Or a memory. Reaching for the calmness again. Only the purring of three kittens and a cat were heard. A single tear dropped through the air, sunlight illuminating it as it fell to land on black silky fur.:: LT. T'Mihn Ah'mihghan Star Fleet 118th Fleet, Zeta Gelis Region Assistant Science Chief Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A & Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Chief Science Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A & PNPC. T'Sara Daughter of T'Lea and Della Vetri Played by T'Lea
  7. (( Outside Mishai Resort Restaurant, Til'ahn )) :: The evening sun was pressing into the horizon as Heath stood outside the entrance to the resort, nervously waiting for Toni. He leaned against a low stone wall, slipping his hands into his pockets, his hand reaching up to the back of his neck to hold it. It was the most formal he had dressed in a long time. Being on the fringes of space, at the beck and call of Starfleet didn’t leave much time for society dinners and dress uniform celebrations. His white shirt was bought from the city earlier, his slate grey suit matching the flecks of grey that had started to speckle the short hair above his ears.:: :: His stomach tied itself in knots. He hadn’t worn a tie for fear of choking himself to death. He told himself he was fine, that it had been far too long for Toni to feel anything for him, and if she didn’t come then… Well, he hadn’t thought of that yet. Every ounce of him hoped she did. Even if it was just to jump him with an armed guard.:: :: With the typical flourish of the transporter, Toni’s form shimmered into being.:: Turner: ::materializing a few feet away from him:: oO Good, he showed up.Oo ::quietly:: Hi. :: He stood up. His defence was paper thin. She looked perfect. For a moment he couldn’t speak. Then, he simply smiled.:: West: Hi. Turner: You look. . . oO Should I tell him he looks distinguished and handsome? Oo ...nice. Very nice as a matter of fact. Since when did you give up cargo pants? :: The grin hadn’t dropped from his features yet.:: West: Oh, somewhere around the last moon of Jupiter. They were cramping my style. :: He took her in. Black dress, showing her legs off beautifully, her hair up, looking as professional and formal as possible. Memories of her getting up, getting dressed, tugging on her uniform danced across his mind and he tucked them away.:: West: You look incredible. Turner: Oh, it's nothing special. I just didn't have much time to look for something else. ::pulling at her earring nervously:: I.. I guess we should go in, or do you have a later reservation? :: Ever the modest Human. He nodded and opened his hand out to the large glass double doors, and they walked together. Out of habit, even after however many years it had been, he pressed his hand into the small of her back as they stood.:: ::Feeling the warmth of his hand on her back as he escorted her inside, sent a chill all over her body. It was like the first time he touched her. Somehow time had preserved all those little feelings he brought out in her. She smiled, hating to see the waiter coming to seat them.:: West: Anywhere you’d like to sit? I think they have balcony seating. Turner: See if he has a table out on the veranda. The view of the beach is beautiful this time of night, and it's peaceful out there. West: Beautiful we have already; peaceful I can appreciate. :: Having a quick word with the waiter, he showed them to a two seated table on the veranda of the restaurant. Toni was right, it was beautiful. The sun was kissing the horizon line and the sea lapped at the beach as the tide came in. They weren’t alone out there, but they were separated enough to talk without being heard.:: :: Heath pulled out her chair, a gentlemanly glint in his eye.:: :: She felt him push the chair gently to the back of her knees, seating her comfortably near the table.:: Turner: ::smiling:: Thank you. :: He sat down in his own, the waiter bringing them wine and the menus for the different kinds of food they served, catering to a variety of races at any given time. Heath knew what he wanted, without looking, and set it down on the table, looking over the flickering candle under the glass dome in the centre.:: West: You seem really settled here. ::She really hadn't thought about it, but he was right.:: Turner: Yes, I suppose I am after nearly four years on the planet. West: It’s a lovely place. I can’t see why anyone would want to leave. ::his hint of a smile returned:: How do the children like it? Turner: Well really, this is the only home that Garth has known. As you know, he was born shortly before I was sent here. And Vee had only known life on the Challenger, so being grounded on Til'ahn was an easy adjustment for them as their first honest to goodness home. :: His fingers found the base of the wine glass, lifting it in his hand and taking some down. It was good. He debated whether it was Bajoran, made from the fruit of their flowering summer trees. Bajoran. The word stuck in his mind.:: West: How are you? Turner: I like being assigned to the Embassy. It's a great place to work, and .... ::He cut her off mid-sentence.:: West: Not the Embassy, Toni. ::his head tilted slightly:: Are you alright? ::After a small quiet gasp of frustration, she saw his point, but was it his way of trying to sound like he was really interested, or just making conversation?.:: Turner: I...I'm fine. Reasonably happy,...well, not as happy .. ::looking away from him her voice dropped to a whisper:: as I could be if we could get together. ::Feeling she had said too much, she added as she faced him again:: on what to tell the children about you being back without hurting them. :: That he did know. They were far too used to him not being around, to knowing he was gone, not that he knew what Toni had told them. He imagined it was what SFI had told her. He was dead, most of the time.:: Waiter: And have you decided what you would like to eat? :: Heath took a meaningful look at Toni, his former wife, and searched his memory for what she enjoyed. :: West: It's a nice night for white wine. ::he smiled, at Toni, then looked up to the waiter:: Chicken, cooked well infused with jumba sauce. Light on the spice. Please. ::Toni was fine with him ordering for her. He had always known what she wanted better than she did.:: oO Too bad that only applied to food. Oo Turner: Sounds good...So do you still cook? West: It's been a long time since I have. I could probably still find my way around a pan. I can't believe you remember it. Turner: ::smiles:: Vee often asks me to make "Booberry Pancakes" but you know what a bad cook I am. Maybe one morning soon you and she can make some. She would love that, and I'm sure Garth would too. West: I'd love to. :: He leant forward slightly, covering her hand with his on the table. The movement was a familiar one, and Heath thought on the fact that she was the only woman he'd touched in that way for years. She was the last he would.:: West: I have this memory I've hung onto. One morning, years ago, when you got out of bed and I watched you. I remember thinking you were the most beautiful woman I'd ever set eyes on. :: he smiled, quite sadly:: I still think about it every time I wake up. ::She had a sudden compulsion to ask what she really wanted to know... Did he think they had a chance of getting back together? But at the last moment she got cold feet.:: Turner: We were happy back then. What happened to us? :: He sat back in his chair and took hold of the wine glass again, taking a long drink then placed it back down on the wooden table. :: West: I joined the Marines again. I thought I could handle it but the truth ia I can't. ::he looked up to her eyes and smiled:: I can't, Toni. It's all about to change. Turner: What kind of change? West: Starfleet. I don't want it anymore. Turner: But why? West: Because all I've ever wanted us you. ::he looked up at her:: You, me and the kids. Away from all of this. And I can't have that being dragged from each end of the quadrant. ::This was what she wanted to hear from him, but her head was telling her he was toying with her emotions again, and her heart was telling her he was telling the truth. This time she decided to take a chance with her heart.:: Turner: ::contentment showing on her face:: Oh, Heath, that's what I've always wanted too. You, me, and the children. ::She wanted to ask if he thought they had a chance to actually having what they wanted, but the waiter came with their food, and the moment was broken.:: ::Their food, in scorching plates, arrived steaming and was set down in front of them. The waiter refilled their glasses from the bottle, emptied it and took it away with him, returning seconds later with a fresh one.:: Turner: ::smiling:: After we eat, we should go to the Parker's for the celebration. We could walk along the beach to get there if you want to. ::A new arrival on the base, blessed to Hannibal and his wife. Now that would be a child Heath wanted to see. He thought of a present to get the expectant parents and decided it would be better to send it afterward. He smiled up at Toni.:: West: We’ve picked a nice night for it. (( Beach, Mishai Resort )) :: Dinner had been sweet, with conversation turning to work and the kids, back to the working of the Embassy and jumped from topic to topic that they had both missed conversing about until they were back in the open air and away from the restaurant. Now, the sun had dipped below the horizon and night had settled in, highlighting the sky with glittering stars of distant worlds. Hearing the sea lap lazily at the beach was comforting and almost poetic.:: West: So, Tallis… I really am sorry about what happened. If there was anyone I could have trusted to look after our kids in my place it was him. Turner: Yes, I'm sorry too. He was a good man, and tried his best to do right by them, but when all was said and done, he could have never replaced you. ::Lifting her foot, she reached down taking off first one shoe, then the other, preferring to walk barefooted in the sand.:: Turner: ::holding her shoes in one hand, she leaned her head on his shoulder.:: Did I tell you that we will be moving into our new house in a couple of days? Would you like to help us get moved in? We've been staying with T'Lea and Della since they came to the Embassy, and although I enjoy their company, I just think they need the privacy of their own house. ::He interlaced her fingers with his and smiled gently. He remembered T’Lea and Della. Dade had made him promise he would keep an eye on them, from his lofty tower on the Starbase.:: West: They need their own space… and so do we. Turner: Yes, we do. It will be like beginning over again for our family. :: He hoped so. He’d spent too long without them. The mornings Vee had woken him up, the evenings watching Toni watching him, a gentle rhythm that would be hard to slide back into.:: West: Nice and slow. ::Reaching the back of the Embassy grounds, they took a short cut through the garden. Toni remembered how they use to steal kisses among the trees, and wondered if he remembered as well.:: ::The garden had grown exponentially in the time he’d been away. It was cultivated, nurtured, not the sprawling mess it had been when they’d first arrived all those years ago. He remembered the little things, the times spent walking through it together. Although, he didn’t recall the painted rocks…:: West: Where’s Parker living now? Turner: It's right up ahead, in Marine Barracks, but I suppose he will be moving to the First Officer's house soon with a baby coming. :: He breathed out a laugh. Babies were everywhere.:: :: From outside the barracks they could hear the voices of the large group that had gathered.:: Turner: This must be the place. ::laughs:: ::It didn't take long for them to reach the door, pulling the lever to announce their arrival.:: TBC JP by... PNPC Major Heath West Marine Officer, Honour Guard USS Nautilus, Temporary and Fleet Captain Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A                
  8. (( Captain’s Office, Starfleet Embassy )) :: Dressed in the green uniform of the Marines, Heath surveyed the Captain’s Office, his hands tucked neatly behind his back. It had been a long time since he had been in there, or been granted access. Unlike Toni, she had used a code familiar to both of them and getting entry had been simple. He looked around the room for anything that might indicate a personal touch, but the Captain had been keeping it rather sparse. Pictures of their children were notably missing.:: :: Fresh flowers, from the gardens of the Embassy, were flowing from a vase on her desk. They filled the room with a delightful smell that invaded the senses. Yet, behind that, the room carried her scent, her smile - everything that a young Kerelian bartender had come to admire, love and cherish.:: :: However, the Embassy was a mausoleum to him. He would tear it down brick by brick if he could.:: ::Before going home to the children, Toni decided to stop by her office to pick up her messages. As she approached the door, she had a strange feeling that she was not alone, but looking around the outer office, she dismissed it, and opened the door.:: :: His ear twitched, listening for the sliding of the door and turned his head toward it. His hand slipped into his pocket as the door opened, revealing the Fleet Captain in the red collared uniform on the other side of it. His heart skipped a beat. A reminder of the love that permeated his every fibre for this woman..:: West: Captain. ::At first glance, the memories of their last mission played tricks on her. Surely she had died, and he had come to escort her to the other side. Tears threatened, thinking of the children and having to leave them, but when she rubbed her eyes to keep them from falling to her cheek, she realized it was only a romantic notion that someone she loved would come for her. It was him, the man she had never stopped loving, and he was alive, looking as fit and handsome as she remembered.:: Turner: Major, I... I thought you were dead. Why didn't you let me know? :: The corner of his lips curved into a gentle smile.:: West: I thought this might be… ::he toyed for the word:: ...easier. ::Tossing her padd on the desk, it was all she could do to keep from running to him, hugging him, kissing him, and never letting him go.:: Turner: Easier? Easier for who? West: Easier for Vee. For Garth. ::Steadying her urges, she leaned back against her desk and braced her hands on each side of her.:: Turner: I suppose you're right, it would have been a shock to them. You should see them, Vee has become quite the little lady, and Garth... well, he's just like you. :: He looked back to the vase of flowers, the difference of colour in the room predominantly the colours of Starfleet. He remembered finding her asleep on the Resolution. His beautiful, passionate and ferocious in the right doses partner. Memories filtered through. Dancing in their Quarters, falling asleep wrapped up in her. Those had been special days. Before the onslaught of everything else had taken over.:: West: I’ve seen them. You can see a lot when someone isn’t looking for you in a sea of faces. Turner: ::dropping her head as she nodded:: Yes, that's true, but I'm not so sure Vee doesn't still look for you. Like her mother, she tends to believe in the impossible... ::raising her eyes to his:: that love overcomes everything. :: They shared a look for a brief moment, then Heath dropped his gaze back to the desk. Love tried. Sometimes it didn’t win. Sometimes it did. Often it had to patch up wounds that were greater than chasms.:: :: Visions of him in the kitchen teaching Vee how to cook her favourite "Booberry Pancakes," entered her mind, along with making up stories to put her to sleep... and she had been privileged of witnessing the perfect father for the child they had adopted as their own.:: Turner: ::smiling:: You were a wonderful father to her. :: He hadn’t been. He’d been a ghost, or a shadow.:: West: You’re a better one. Turner: Garth needs a father. I can't teach him all he needs to know. He is eager to please and misses a man he can look up to in his life. :: He looked at Toni, a slight frown of disbelief creasing his Kerelian forehead. Garth didn’t need a father like him. He needed a strong, stable man that wouldn’t be bowing to the needs of a Starfleet he didn’t trust.:: :: Then, there was something else. A shadow of a love, of an emotion, floating in the background behind her eyes. She looked at him as though she could see right through him; past the façade of a Starfleet puppet and into his soul, much deeper than anyone had ever uncovered.:: ::She wanted to tell him she still loved him, needed him, worshipped the ground he walked on, but she wasn't sure that is what he wanted to hear.:: Turner: I wouldn't be adverse to you being a part of their life. ::moving closer:: But I'll tell you right now, if you die on them again, I'll hunt you down and kill you myself. :: He laughed. She’d defused the moment. The blonde man picked up his PADD from balancing on the edge of her desk and handed it to her. However, he didn’t doubt her threat. She probably would, disembowel him from aft to stern. He caught her blue eyes with his, then smiled, a boyish grin, completely thrown by her and awkward, in a strange way.:: West: I’d like that. Turner: ::ignoring his jest:: So how long will you be here at the Embassy? West: Temporarily. I don’t want to cause you any disruptions. ::She returned to her perch on the desk certain that he had no love for her, and had only come to warn her that he would be around for awhile. There was no use to get her hopes up so she changed the subject.:: Turner: Have you seen Dade? He thinks you are dead too. :: He hadn’t let Dade know. Their last meeting had been less than friendly.:: West: Only you. I wanted to make sure you weren’t going to murder me first. Turner: Why would I? The only reason I would is if you hurt my children, and I don't think you would knowingly do that... not Vee, nor Garth, or... ::she caught herself as she didn't know if he knew about the baby.:: :: His eyes shot up to hers.:: West: Or…? Turner: Yes, another child... Breeana, and fathered by Tallis Rhul and born after he died. :: He’d heard. It had taken all he had not to come rushing back to the Embassy and pick up the pieces, but how could he do so when Rhul had picked them up after him. He searched her face, finding the hurt had sank deeply.:: West: I’m sorry. He was a good man. He didn’t deserve that. Turner: That's okay, the marriage was ill fated from the beginning, just like us. He knew my heart lay elsewhere, but he was a willing father to Vee and Garth. :: For a moment, he dropped his gaze from hers and ran his hand through his darkening hair. His heart was still with hers, wherever she had put it, or locked it away somewhere.:: Turner: I can only hope to find someone who will love all three, doing for his as he was willing to do for yours. ::She was hitting below the belt and she knew it, but something within her wanted to hurt him as he had hurt her. Truth be told, she wanted to rip his heart out, like he had done to hers... But as hard as that was to bear, knowing now how much he hated her, she still loved him.:: ::Now she was boxing with bricks instead of gloves. He felt that swing hit, and it would bruise, but it wasn’t uncalled for. They had swung between lovers and fighters for so long; it was hard to tell what the other was thinking any more. The Kerelian returned his brown-eyed gaze to hers and a thought struck him that hadn’t in years.:: West: I forgot how blue your eyes are. Turner: oO What was that? He's toying with me.Oo ::glancing straight at him:: I'm surprised you remember anything about me. :: Time suspended for a second or two, a moment caught between worlds that had been on the brink of passing one another in the night.:: West: Meet me for dinner later. Turner: ::curtly:: No! West: Come on, there’s got to be something you used to like about me still here. ::he smiled:: Just you and me. I can remind you of why you don’t miss me. ::She gazed at him for a long moment, taking in that boyish grin that taunted her, the flicker in his eyes that teased her, and that baritone voice that lulled her into submission. The moment was no different. She gave into him:: Turner: ::swallowing hard as if expecting him to spurn her again:: Alright, where and what time? :: His last visit to the Embassy had been under different circumstances and he hadn't had chance to discover the place properly, but he had heard mention of a resort on the coast from his sources. He fought to suppress the smile, fighting a losing battle.:: West: This evening, that resort on the beach... Mishai, is it? ::he exhaled a laugh gently:: I could always cook you something if you promise to wear that dress again. ::Remembering their first date, the yellow eyelet dress he had liked so much, and the first time he had cooked Lamb for her, but that meant being alone in his quarters with him, and she didn't think she could take the pain of rejection under those circumstances.:: Turner: Mishai will do fine. Say around 1800 hours? The children will be asleep by then. Speaking of them, I have to go to spend some time with them. I've been away on a Mission and I've missed them. West: I'm looking forward to it. :: He smiled, leaving his PADD on her desk, amidst the rest of them mounting up. The night would progress from there, but fearing she was planning his poisoning, he went back to professional mode.:: West: My temporary arrangements from Starfleet. I hope I won't get in the way too much. Turner: You won't. TBC Fleet Captain Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Deputy Commandant UFOP SB118 Academy - Executive Council Member &
  9. ((Parker Residence, Embassy)) ::Tyr continued his conversation with the only person he knew older than him-the enigmatic Irina Pavlova. He still wasn't sure if he wanted to put the woman through a wall or give her a pat on the back due to her experiences. He'd poured himself a double-shot of Jagermeister, his favorite, and sat staring into the dark brown depths that threatened to swallow him whole.:: PAVLOVA::Looking at her daughter, who was reading a book to Bolt:: I don't remember very much. Her first smile, her first word. I can almost remember the color of her hair, but when I concentrate on it, it just fades to the gray that I see. It was a peculiarly dark shade of gold, the same as my own hair in fact, but its all lost across the ages. WALTAS::Nodding in sympathy:: I didn't get to witness any of my children growing up. I didn't know about Daisha at all until she appeared on the bridge of the Discovery at 8 years old. Tye and Sanuye..well, you know what happened there. I've focused on making new memories with them. ::He threw back the shot, letting it drain down his throat and burn:: although there haven't been many to speak of with the boys. PAVLOVA: Yes, there are new memories. On the day before her fourth birthday she surprised me by announcing that she knew how to read. I didn't believe her, so I handed her my copy of Anna Karenina and while she couldn't understand it, she most definitely could read it. WALTAS: The boys seemed to age mentally as well as physically, so they just needed formal education. The scientists still can't explain it..not that I've let any get close. I don't think Daisha will either. PAVLOVA: Did you make peace with your sons? ::He found he'd poured himself another drink, and downed it like the first. He wasn't sure if the bitter taste had been there all along, or had been caused by the conversation.:: WALTAS::Sitting the glass down:: It never affected Tye. Trouble rolls off of him like water off a duck's back. He loves unconditionally, wrecklessly...::Smiling ruefully:: Like his father at his age. Sanuye.. ::He paused, smile faded, letting the sentence trail off:: PAVLOVA: Children are all that matter for people like us. Too many grains of sand in the hourglass, too many faces when our eyes close. I can still see them all, the faces of those who died on my very long watch, and the faces of those I've had to kill. Tell me, Tyr Waltas, do your demons visit you at night? ::The question was a chilling one. He could remember them all if he tried. All of his foes he'd struck down. All of the battles he'd been involved in as a Starfleet Captain and before that as a Security and Tactical officer. He remembered every face on every crew he'd served on, from his first days aboard the USS Constitution to those last, sad days aboard the Discovery-C. From Xan Hebron to Raj Blueheart, he remembered them all. And he recalled those who had fought him. Friend had become foe. Enemies of enemies, serial killers, power-mad dictators, even Starfleet Admirals. He remembered them all, and wished he didn't.:: WALTAS::His vision locked on the window overlooking the Embassy, his face a mask:: My demons don't wait until nighttime to visit me, Irina. PAVLOVA: Surely you've lost people dear to you to the sands of time? WALTAS::Still staring off in the distance, an image of dark-red hair and green eyes filled his mind, and he quickly dismissed it:: Too many. PAVLOVA: Next Tuesday it will be exactly 150 years since Dimitri died. He was the boy next door when I grew up in Sochi. I was older by a year, and he could never keep up. Running, jumping, pretty much any sport, he always was so clumsy, but he never gave up and always came in just behind me, like a shadow. ::He realized that, for perhaps the first time, Pavlova was opening up to him instead of holding him at arms' length. True, she had suffered and lived several lifetimes-something only a few could understand and sympathize with.:: WALTAS: What happened to him? PAVLOVA: Dimitri followed me into the Earth Defense Marines, but he didn't make the cut for sniper school. We were always just friends, but on the night I left we became something more. I didn't even know I was pregnant with Katya until over a month into Columbia's mission and by then we were too far out for Dimitri to join us or for me to go back. He proposed to me over subspace, but when I finally returned to earth he'd been dead 99 years, at the ripe old age of 95. He died alone, never married, never met his only child. WALTAS::Quietly, absorbing the story, he responded sincerely:: I'm sorry. PAVLOVA: Haven't you ever wanted to go back? To do it again, have a second chance? WALTAS::Sighing:: I'd be lying if I said no, but I've found if you spend too much time looking over your shoulder, ::his gaze drifted to Hella:: you end up missing the special things that are coming to you. I've made enough mistakes to count for four lifetimes, but I am who I am because I did what I did. I've learned to live with that. PAVLOVA: I've thought about it every day this past year. ::He paused, considering what her words meant, and the undercurrent of determination he sensed in them. There was more to what she was saying than what had been said, but what, he didn't know.:: WALTAS: You can't live in the past, Irina. It will consume you. You've been granted a second chance. Use it. PAVLOVA: That little boy is Irina's first friend. All I want is for her to have the tools she needs when I'm gone. Tell me Tyr Waltas, are my secrets safe? Are we allies or enemies? Am I safe here? I need to know, for her sake. WALTAS::Turning to regard her:: I'll give you the same answer I gave on Discovery all those months ago, Irina. You are safe here, and under my protection. These are good people of good character and they consider their crewmates family, just as we did on Discovery. And more than that, we are Marines. We are closer than family. You should remember that from your training. ::Pausing:: As for allies, again, I'll tell you the same thing-we are allies until you do something that makes us otherwise. I respect your past and the life you've lived. All I ask is that you do the same. ::He was going to say more, but Captain Turner walked in with a Marine at her side. Tyr gasped, realizing who he was-and the fact that he was supposed to be..well..DEAD. Angrily, he slapped his comm badge.:: WALTAS: Computer, bio file on Major Heath West to my PADD. ::The computer relayed the information, and he frowned at the results. Whether this was a trick or the man had indeed returned to play on Toni's sympathies was irrelevant-the Captain could possibly be in danger. Considering the Ba'ku still had his blade on his back, so was Major West. Stepping through the crowd as they sat down for a meal, Tyr made a beeline for the pair.:: WALTAS::Flatly:: Captain. May I have a word with you? TURNER/WEST: response WALTAS::Ignoring West and the introduction:: Captain? TURNER/WEST: response WALTAS::Turning on West, his voice rising slightly:: You'll explain yourself now, Major. TURNER/WEST: response OOC: Toni's dead husband returning should set off alarm bells for anyone in Security so I figure I'd have Tyr overreact. ================================= Colonel Tyr Waltas Marine CO Duronis II Embassy / USS Thunder
  10. ((Shuttlebay 1, USS Atlantis)) ::Back from the excursion with Dickens and Mitchell and some unexpected EJS ships, Ren landed his Type 9 shuttle quietly on the deck. That sound of metal resting on metal always surprised him with its softness. Sensors were still active, and Ren could see that the EJS ships weren't showing themselves to Atlantis. He wondered what they were doing out there. Maybe they were as scared of the three Starfleet officers as the officers were afraid of them. "Afraid" wasn't the right word. "Hesistant to engage" was more accurate.:: ::He went carefully through the post-flight checkout. Mitchell was in Bay 2, hurrying on his way to inform the captain of their encounter. The Trill took his time. He had other business to see to, something the captain hadn't quite asked of him, but had somehow suggested: He needed to check on Rover.:: ::Ren finished the sequence of procedures slowly, deliberately. It reminded him of a time when he'd been in too much of a hurry for his own good...:: ((Flashback - Arnmere, Trill - 20 years ago)) ::At thirteen years old, Ren Rennyn was the youngest pilot in the quiet town of Arnmere, deep in the farmlands of Trill. He'd already been flying three years, since the first time Miss Tanos from the next farm down the road took him up in her beat-up old shuttle and let him take the helm for a quick minute, as long as his parents weren't there to protest. He'd been hooked. He didn't know yet how far away from home he would fly one day, but he knew for now that he'd take any chance to get in some practice. That year, one of those chances presented itself from an unexpected source.:: ::Out of nine Rennyn kids, Rendal was the middle child. He was closest with his brother Fess and sister Vye, each one year apart from him in age. The littlest three Rennyns were still the littlest, and always would be. Thara, his older sister, was sixteen, and way too cool to even notice him any more. Then there were the oldest two boys, Norvil and Dirin. Dirin was nice enough to the younger siblings, but Norvil, the oldest of all of them, was, and always had been, distant.:: ::Ren idolized his oldest brother. His quiet reserve, his inner strength, his solid work effort, and the easy way he had of always following the rules. Ren wanted to follow the rules when he grew up. It was all he could do to keep himself from getting hollered at for five minutes at a time. Seemed he was always doing something wrong. Norvil never did anything bad. At nineteen, he was setting an example of good behavior and obedience that none of his siblings would ever live up to. Ren wanted to be just like him. Ren wanted to punch him in the face.:: ::It was the first light of the first day of the first break from school in months. The sun was rising on a glorious early summer morning with a sky as blue and as clear as you please. All the other thirteen-year-olds in Arnmere and the surrounding area were sleeping deeply at this hour, recovering from their tortuous studies by slumbering through to the hot daylight of noon. Ren had other plans. He was taking Miss Tanos' old shuttle for a joyride.:: ::She'd promised to let him go out alone if he made the grades at school, and his parents had agreed to the plan. He made those grades. Now, the day had come. All alone, coursing through the air, coasting up towards orbit, maybe picking up some friends and impressing them with dangerous maneuvers, if he thought he could get away with it.:: ::He did his preflight checks as carefully as he could. He was going to forget to be careful later, and take risks, and probably get into trouble. For the moment, he was trying his best to take it slow and do what was right. He was a good kid at heart, just exuberant and given to take risks. He was quiet at times, but he was social by nature. In a big family, you had to be. In a small community, you had to be.:: ::The hatch closed on the shuttle, sealing Ren in. Alone in a shuttle for the first time. He folded his tall, growing form into the pilot's chair. He worked the controls with his awkwardly large teenage hands, warming up the drive, making final checks. Norvil and Dirin might look down on him as still just a kid, while they were both starting in on college and impressing everyone with their plans for the future. But neither of them had done anything like this. Ren almost couldn't wait for the moment when he'd see them that night and tell them everything he'd accomplished on his own, without anyone's help.:: ::He tapped the sluggish old controls. It would be surprising if this rust bucket could even break orbit. Miss Tanos and his parents had forbidden that anyway. With the push of one more button, he was on his way. His finger stretched toward it. He started to say out loud: "Engage.":: ::There was a tap on the window. Ren jumped, drawing his hand back from the controls. He looked up at the screen to his left. He had dreamed of seeing stars and the blackness of space out of that window. He'd have rather seen livestock out that window than what was there. Norvil, his perfect older brother, the idol whose shadow he lived in, was knocking on the window from outside, and he was trying to say something to Ren, something that couldn't be heard, but looked a lot like "Let me in!":: ((Shuttlebay 1, USS Atlantis)) ::Ren worked down his post-flight checklist, while he thought about a day he'd spent flying with his oldest brother, Norvil, many years ago.:: ((Flashback - Arnmere, Trill - 20 years ago)) ::At the age of thirteen, Ren Rennyn had barely begun to explore the depth and breadth of his wild-eyed temper. He'd been angry, he'd been frustrated, he'd been heated up and hopping mad. But the time when his effortlessly perfect, immaculately calm, everyone's-favorite-son older brother Norvil showed up to ruin Ren's first solo shuttle flight was the first time that the quick-tempered, much-overlooked middle Rennyn child ever blew a whole entire gasket.:: NORVIL: Take me with you. ::Ren had mechanically, obediently opened the hatch to let his brother in to the battered old shuttle. This was supposed to be his big day, his first solo flight. He was a little to shocked to say anything about it for the moment, finding himself not solo at all.:: REN: Why? NORVIL: Because. I'm your cool older brother. ::Norvil helped himself to a seat, the co-pilot's chair next to his kid brother. It seemed like years since the 19-year-old Norvil gave any sign of interest in spending time with Rendal. Ren could hardly believe there wasn't another motive at work here.:: REN: You can't go with me. NORVIL: Sure I can! I want to spend time with my kid brother! ::That was it for Ren. It wasn't the "kid" part that set him over the edge. It was the lie.:: REN: You Can't Go With Me! Miss Tanos said I could go! Mom and Dad said I could go! You can't go! You're nothing but a low-down, no-account, over-bearing, evil-minded, life-ruining... b-... b-... life ruiner!! Get outta my shuttle! ::Norvil was laughing hysterically so that tears formed in the corners of his eyes. Tantrums held no weight with an older brother. Not even with a good reason behind them.:: NORVIL: You should see your face! It's so red! REN: It is not! Why won't you leave?! ::Ren was sticking to his seat. If he got up and got any closer to his big brother, he didn't know what he'd do. The blood hadn't just risen to his face. It was rising from his heart, steaming out his ears, flowing to his hands, which he couldn't stop balling up in fists. If he hit Norvil, if he made those perfect, good-boy green eyes turn black and blue, it would be as though he'd attacked the whole family. The perfect older brother, everyone's favorite son, damaged by Ren, the screw-up, the bad kid, the one it would be easy to write off as a lost cause while they fawned over their poor, injured favorite. Ren imagined what it would be like to be kicked out of the house, out of the family. He kept his hands to himself.:: NORVIL: It's not your shuttle. You can't say who gets to go. REN: GET OUT!! ::Ren was finally out of his seat. He wasn't about to take being told who he could and couldn't kick out. The shuttle might be borrowed, but he'd earned his time in it. Norvil was working on earning that black eye. Ren didn't strike, but his awkward, lanky teenage body language tried to threaten. Norvil laughed harder.:: NORVIL: You couldn't hurt me if you tried. Why don't you sit down and fly us out of here? REN: What do you want? NORVIL: I want to go with you on your flight, Ren. Come on, why not? REN: Because it's MY flight. I'm going on my own for the first time. I'm going to fly around over town so everyone can see me. I'm going to fly clear to Ledaro and see the city from above. I'm going to kick my feet up and cruise through the clouds till the day grows long. You. Can't. Go. ::Norvil sat forward and spread his hands wide in surrender.:: NORVIL: Okay, okay. Fine. I guess you're right, I shouldn't ruin your day in the clouds. You'll never go wrong with a nice sky full of clouds. It's just too bad you can't think bigger than that. ::He stood and went to the hatch. Just before he pressed the control to open it, Ren let his curiosity get the better of him.:: REN: I'll bite. How could I think bigger? ::Norvil walked back and took his seat again.:: NORVIL: By breaking the atmosphere. By going to the Orbital Platform. ::Ren couldn't believe what he was hearing.:: REN: You've never done one wrong thing in your life. You know I'm not allowed to fly into space. Miss Tanos has friends on the Orbital Platform. They'd report us back to her in a second. I can't believe you'd ever suggest that. How do you think we'd ever get away with it? ::Norvil leaned across and grabbed his kid brother by the neck, a gesture that simultaneously threatened and offered protection, like only an older brother could do.:: NORVIL: Because, kid brother - I have a friend on the Orbital Platform, too. And you and I are going there. We're going to break atmosphere. We're going to dock with the station. And no one is ever going to hear about it... ((Shuttlebay 1, USS Atlantis)) ::As he finished the post-landing checklist on his shuttle, Ren's memory skipped forward through the details of that long-ago launch with his oldest brother, Norvil. He was sure he had been nervous, afraid to falter in front of his perfect brother. But everything went fine. Even at 13, Ren was a capable pilot. And, sanctioned by the family's favorite son, he broke the atmosphere and flew right up into space that day.:: ::And everything went smoothly, for a while. As it turned out, Norvil didn't just have a friend on the Orbital Platform. He had a girlfriend...:: ((Flashback - Orbital Platform, Trill - 20 years ago)) ::Up in space, everything was backwards. At home on the farm outside of Arnmere, Ren was always getting in trouble, always doing something wrong. And Norvil, the oldest of the nine Rennyn siblings, always did everything right. But at 19, home from college for the summer, Norvil had finally done something wrong. He'd insisted on breaking the rules and taking their borrowed shuttle out of the atmosphere, into space. And now Ren, who never cared about breaking the rules, was sick to his stomach with worry and guilt.:: REN: We should go back. We'll get in trouble. We should go back. NORVIL: Relax. Zoann has our back on this. REN: She's your girlfriend? ::He wrinkled his nose. They'd exited their shuttle and were walking down a hallway full of people. Trills mostly, but more aliens than they ever saw in Arnmere. The Orbital Platform was a hub of activity for travelers to and from the planet. In season, they could see it from Arnmere, on a clear night. Ren had always dreamed of going there. He'd never dreamed he would fly there himself, aged 13.:: NORVIL: We met at school. Her dad works up here. She pulled some strings to let us dock. And there she is... ::The beautiful Trill girl at the end of the corridor, waving to them and beaming brightly, would one day be Ren's sister-in-law. But that first time he saw her, he thought he'd never seen a more citified, spaceified, non-country Trill woman in his life. He was sure Mom and Dad would never approve if Norvil brought her home. Ren loved her instantly.:: ::The two brothers continued to walk towards her. Ren felt important, being the first in the family to meet Norvil's girlfriend. Not that they could tell anyone about any of this. The trip to space would have to be their secret.:: ::Suddenly, Norvil was grabbing him, turning him back the way they'd come.:: NORVIL: Back. Back to the shuttle! ::Ren looked over his shoulder to see Zoann waving them away, her face an odd mixture of amusement and terror. Two security agents were following them. Norvil and Ren broke into a run.:: ::It seemed the crowd got thicker the moment they needed to get through it. They fought their way back to the docking ring. Ren was in the shuttle and starting the launch sequence like a flash. But Norvil was standing in the open door.:: REN: Get in here! I told you we'd be in trouble! NORVIL: We lost them. And she's coming! ::Ren turned to see Zoann show up at the hatch. It seemed impossible that she was there before the guards. That she was raised on this station was obvious.:: ::Norvil and Zoann's dopey smiles were a perfect match. When they kissed, Ren could only roll his eyes and turn back in his chair, slapping the console in frustration. They were definitely in trouble.:: ::The lovers managed to part themselves, as the guards were coming down the hall. Norvil somehow brought himself to close the hatch, and Zoann pressed the manual release, allowing them to separate the shuttle from the station. Ren figured that without her, they never would have escaped. So, for now, he still liked her a lot.:: REN: She seemed nice. NORVIL: Shut up. Fly! ::Only teenagers would think they could dock and undock a registered ship without being caught. Back home on the surface, a world of trouble awaited them. Ren was grounded in every sense, barred from flying for endless, unbearable months. But knowing he'd been in space, and being able to tell everyone about it after all, was definitely worth it. Norvil's reputation as the perfect son was stained for life. That kiss from Zoann, so he claimed, was worth it.:: ::It was good to know that Norvil was a little less perfect than they all thought. And maybe that meant Ren had some hope of not being a total screw up. One thing, though, was certain. At 13, Ren was very sure he was never going to let love make him do anything that crazy, as long as he lived.:: ((End Flashback - Shuttlebay 1, USS Atlantis)) ::Ren chuckled, remembering how simple love had seemed then. How avoidable, if you wanted. That hadn't lasted long.:: :: He wondered what Norvil and Zoann were doing today. Despite their different backgrounds, they'd found a way to get together. Their kids were evidence of that. Ren was homesick thinking of his family.:: ::The post-flight checks were done. He downloaded his sensor data to Atlantis in case it helped Mitchell tell the captain what they'd encountered out there. Ren walked out of his shuttle and found Commander Dickens exiting his. Ren made his way out of the shuttlebay, eager to find Rover and make sure he wasn't causing any more trouble on Atlantis. With the Cloud Dancer, it was Ren's turn to be the big brother, and to be the responsible one.:: LtJg. Rendal Rennyn Helm Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  11. ((Holodeck 2; U.S.S. Darwin-A)) ::The holodeck doors opened with their customary drone, admitting one red-haired offered through. Kaitlyn stepped several paces in as the door droned shut behind her. She allowed the end of her training staff to slide to the floor, maintaining a loose grip on it.:: Falcon: Computer, activate program Kaitlyn Spar 1. Computer: Acknowledged. ::The room around Kaitlyn shimmered, floor replaced with a hard white surface as the room faded into darkness all around her. A spotlight illuminated the center of the room, a black ring marking the floor. A similar light remained over her head, showing a table and chair form nearby. Atop the table were a line of bottles of chilled water and a number of hexagonal weights for her staff.:: ::Kaitlyn stepped over to the table, testing a number of weights before deciding on the ones she wanted. She attached a pair of them to her staff, one near each end, then leaned her staff against the table.:: Falcon: Computer, reduce ambient temperature to 18.3 degrees Celsius. Computer: Working. ::The room chilled as she removed her jacket and started stretching out. A slight shiver a few minutes later told her that the room was ready. Kaitlyn grabbed her staff, walking to the center of the ring and holding the staff in a two-handed ready stance. From there, she gave a few practice swings to get the feel of the additional weight, and nodded to herself.:: Falcon: Computer, begin round one. ::The computer gave its acknowledging beep, Kaitlyn adjusting her stance back to ready. The listened to the darkness, watching for what the computer would be throwing at her first.:: ::Points of light manifested; eyes in the darkness. Two figures entered the light; Orions in patched leather jackets and tan pants. Each had one of the Syndicate’s symbols on their shoulder. One cracked his knuckles, the others his neck. Then, both charged.:: ::Kaitlyn spun away from the charge, bringing her staff low to knock the feet out from under one Orion. In a smooth motion, she brought the other side down hard toward the fallen Orion’s face. Impact… and the Orion vanished. The second came back in for another attack, moving more cautiously. Kaitlyn allowed him to come in, then took him out with a combination of hits to his flanks and head. He, too, vanished.:: ::This was a program Kaitlyn had asked a friend to make in her time on Earth after leaving the Nova, before she’d applied to the Academy. It was also made when her hatred of the Orion Syndicate was at its highest. While the anger had faded, the program itself still served as excellent stress relief. It would throw waves of Syndicate fighters at her with increasing difficulty, each attacker disappearing once sufficient damage had been caused to incapacitate them.:: ::Sometimes, practice dummies were enough of a workout. At that moment, though, she needed something that could fight back. Safely, mind you. She wasn’t about to turn off the holodeck’s safety protocols. She was just practicing, not suicidal.:: Falcon: Computer, begin round two. ::Kaitlyn took her place at the center of the ring as four assailants emerged from the darkness. They stayed in two pairs, moving around the ring attack from two directions. Kaitlyn rotated, keeping the pairs at her left and right.:: ::The two groups charged. Kaitlyn saw just enough separation between the pair on her left to get her staff between. She took a step back, putting one end of her staff against the back of one Orion, then twisted hard to send him careening into the second pair. At the same time, she brought the other end of the staff into the other Orion’s back, knocking him onto his face. A sharp strike to the back of the fallen Orion’s head removed him from the program.:: ::The remaining trio got back to their feet, Kaitlyn swinging around to the ready once again. One came in first, Kaitlyn swinging around for a strike. He managed to grab hold of her staff, a smirk on his face. Kaitlyn immediately wrapped her hand around the close end of the staff, shoving it hard against him. The staff struck, knocking the wind from him and making him crumple to the deck for a few moments. The other pair advanced, Kaitlyn giving the fallen Orion a shove toward them to trip them up briefly. She fell back a few paces, remaining in the circle.:: ::One managed to get freed quickly, rushing her. She saw a vulnerability and exploited it, swinging her staff up hard between the Orion’s legs. He fell over in an almost comedic fashion, then vanished.:: ::The other two got back to their feet, advancing on Kaitlyn. She sidestepped, getting her staff against one Orion’s back and swinging him around to collide at high speed with the final opponent. A fast one-two combination to each took them down.:: ::Kaitlyn took a moment to catch her breath, her staff making for a convenient support.:: ::That was enough of pure attack. She decided it was time to throw in a bit more defense. Once more, she returned to the center of the ring.:: Falcon: Computer, round three, one-on-one. ::Another acknowledging beep, and the lights came up around the room. A single Orion stood near the corner, holding a staff similar to Kaitlyn’s. She resumed her ready stance, nodding to the Orion.:: ::The Orion approached, entering the ring and hefting his staff. He took his first swing, Kaitlyn deflecting it and countering. The Orion was fast enough to block her, taking a few steps back. His next attack came as a flurry of strikes, Kaitlyn focusing on blocking or deflecting him without worrying about countering. This was where the real work-out was, forcing tired muscles to continue performing.:: ::Kaitlyn saw an opening and went for it, bringing one end of her staff against the Orion’s chest and shoving him away. Contact was broken, for a moment.:: Falcon: Computer, remove movement restriction. ::The black ring on the floor vanished as the Orion charged again. Kaitlyn rolled to one side, popping back to her feet and falling back as the Orion continued his attack. He struck furiously, Kaitlyn having to bob and weave along with deflect and block. The computer was throwing a more difficult challenger than usual at her. Kaitlyn needed to get past his staff.:: ::She turned and ran to the wall, the Orion following at a slower pace. Kaitlyn jumped at the wall, planting her foot against it and shoving off hard. She got both hands at one end of the staff, bringing it into a hard overhead swing. The Orion brought his staff up to block.:: ::Kaitlyn’s staff struck the Orion’s at dead center, and the Orion’s staff snapped in two.:: ::Kaitlyn pressed her advantage, the Orion now having to fend of her attacks with his two shorter sticks. He was forced to block each of her strikes with both pieces of former staff, which she could see was starting to tire him. She swung upward, the Orion stopping her staff with both his sticks in a scissor-block. Without hesitation, she reversed her swing and brought it down into the Orion’s temple. One hard hit to that vulnerable spot, and he was down.:: ::This time, Kaitlyn leaned a bit more heavily into her staff as she caught her breath. THAT had been a good one.:: ::However, before she could do something silly like going for round four, the computer beeped.:: Computer: Your quarter’s terminal has received a message. Would you like to read it now? Falcon: Yes, I would. ::The text appeared before her in mid air, Kaitlyn reading over the message. Operations admin stuff… Figured. It wouldn’t take particularly long, but it did need to be completed sooner rather than later.:: Falcon: Well, duty calls… ::She returned to the prep table, removing the weights from her staff and grabbing a bottle of water. She took a long swig from it, feeling the water starting to cool her down.:: Falcon: Computer, end program. ::The room faded out, returning to the usual grid. The table, weights, and water bottles faded likewise. Thankfully, the water bottle in her hand remained. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she was thankful that whoever designed the holodeck included some replicator technology for whenever food or drink were requested.:: ::She started for the door. It was time for some paperwork and a shower.:: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Lieutenant Kaitlyn Falcon Chief Helm/Comm/Ops Officer USS Darwin-A =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  12. Though, I Walk Through the Valley of Death, Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost ((Surgical Suite- deck 4, USS GEMINI)) ::Reid was waiting for his surgical team to get themselves transferred from the USS Wyoming, to the USS Gemini's sickbay during the middle of a battle with a Klingon K't'inga heavy battle cruiser. He realized it had taken him awhile to be tansferred, Why should it be any less time for his crew? It all started aboard the USS Wyoming, where he had been working triage, and then sent to surgery to mend the wounded casualties by patching them up, help stabilize them, storing them anywhere there was a little space, prior to them being shipped out. Then it happened: two severely critical casualties requiring more than a simple patch, a temporary fix, temporary storage, and transportation elsewhere were assigned to me. But, I am beginning to get ahead of myself. Let us stop here, and back up to the first stage of scrubbing up for Surgery.:: Reid took the opportunity to take a sonic shower aboard the USS Gemini. While in the shower, Reid had time to reflect on the events that he had been through for the past few days,. First, he was stationed abroad the USS Wyoming, which had rendezvoused wth the USS Gemini, and both Starfleet vessels then responded to a distress hail. The USS Hermmes had come under attack by a K't'inga class, a Klingon heavy battle cruiser. They had placed a distress signal they were under attack, and requested immediate help. When both vessels had reached the USS Hermmes, it had already been boarded by Klingon boarding parties, and the K't'inga cruiser had already caused major damage to the Hermmes ship systems, and havoc among the crew. The USS Wyoming had been attacked first. So, it had taken on more casualties, than the USS Gemini, at this point. So, the casualties started piling up, even more, amongst the Hermmes crew during the intense fighting within. Then the USS Gemini had sent a Marine SAR team abroad the USS Hermmes, to capture the marauding Klingon boarding parties. Soon the SAR team reported mass causualties among the USS Hermmes crew. Then the Gemini's boarding parties began to take on casualties trying to accomplish their mission. It wasn't long before the USS Gemini came under intensive bombardment from the Klingon K't'inga creating their own set of problems, and casualties. Reid had already started triage of the wounded, then transferred himself into a surgical suite, and went to work performing "meatball" surgery aboard the Wyoming.:: "Meatball" surgery consisted of patching the body from within through any required surgery that helped ensure the patient's survival, and stabilization. Once accomplished, the patient had a better chance to survive being transpoted to another medical facility. At that facility, the patient would undego more of the required surgery, further treatment, and necessary care to facilitate the patient's healing process, and recovery. ::While waiting for the next set of wounded casualties, He had been summoned to the Captain's ready room. Once their, his life was about to undergo a drastic change. Starfleet Command gave him orders to permanently serve aboard the USS Gemini, as a surgeon. He had been transferred before, but this was the first time he was transferred during a battle. Due to the battle raging on between the three Starfleet vessels, and the Klingon K't'inga, further casualties kept occurring. Reid tried to report for duty aboard the USS Gemini, but could not find anyone with authority, who would be able to take his orders. He finally settled for a tired Gemini Doctor, who had sat down briefly to get a moment's rest. She sent him to triage immediately, and then he reported to surgery to continue more "meatball" surgery. Two severely injured Starfleet officers came in, and Reid was ordered to handle their cases. Reid found out his request for his surgical team to be given orders for the USS Gemini was granted. So, while waiting, he went and personally checked on the two severely injured patients, and had them start being prepped for surgery, and kept watch until the team came aboard. Meanwhile, he was now, himself, preparing himself for surgery, an had started with a sonic shower. When he came out, he was met by a nurse, who came into the locker room while he was changing into scrubs. He turned around and there was the nurse standing there waiting for him. Reid thought to himself, oO Good thing I have my scrub trousers on Oo. He started to say something, and realized he didn't have a scrub shirt on. He immediately scrambled around through his things looking for his scrub shirt. Meanwhile, the nurse tried to hold it in, but eventually broke out laughing at the comedy before her. Reid stood up slowly realized he'd been had. Especially, when the nurse brought out a scrub shirt from behind her back. He reached for the scrub shirt, and said:: Reid: "Excuse me, nurse". ::Reid reached out and took the scrub shirt, and quickly threw it over his head, and slid it down to waist. He then tugged at it to straightened it out:: "And you are"? Nurse: PO 2C Benntiere, Surgical Nurse Specialist. Doctor. Thinking oO Oh boy, now I'm in for it. Oo Reid: Just how long have you been standing there? Meanwhile, Reid had a strange thought, oO Why do all surgical people have a sense of humor? I experienced it on the USS Wyoming, and it looks like there is going to be few pranksters here Oo :: Reid knew that different people had their little quirks. Everyone dealt with their assignments many different ways. :: Nurse: Long enough! ::long pause:: Remember, you invited me to join your surgical team today. I am just reporting in as ordered. Reid: ::putting his hand on the sore spot on his head.:: Ouch! All right, consider yourself reporting as ordered. Go find the chief surgical nurse, PO 1C Bothenet. Benntiere: Aye, Dr. Reid! ::She turned, and walked out of the Dr's lounge.:: ::as Reid straightened up, he looked around to see if anyone else heard the nurse's snide remark, "long enough." The remark made him blush, as he thought, oO Ok! Just how much did she see? Oo. Reid walked out the door, and went over to Lt. Applewood's biobed. He type in the patient's chart code, looked at data on her monitor, and shut off the overhead sensor cluster. He was checking just how much her hypovolemic pressure had dropped. At that precise instant he heard a voice say from behind him:: Knightling: The patient's pressure has not dropped significant enough to warrant any treatment at this time. Reid: ::turning Reid said:: Thank you doctor Knightling. You know I check everything myself just as a secondary precaution. ::Then he heard another voice off to his left. He turned to his left, and saw Dr. Treadway, and his entire surgical team. Inside Reid was ecstatic, but on the outside, he remained emotionless. After all he had a reputation to uphold. Treadway: Lt. Vetonia Treadway, and team, reporting as ordered Cmdr. Reid. ::Reid was glad to see her once more. He looked behind her, and saw his whole team waiting for orders. Reid began to speak:: Reid: It is good to see you all once more. ::pause:: I need you all to scrub up, and change into fresh scrubs for surgery. Prepare the suite for a double surgery, and on the duo tables set up support frames onto both tables. I will explain later. Also, someone test the overhead sensor clusters, establish stasis force fields, and the decontamination fields over the patients; until we are ready to do surgery. Two of you med tech's will report to the morgue, and see if you can be of assistance. That means you 2Classmans Ped, and Pod. 1Classman Posh, I need you to assist overseeing the establishment of the different fields on the patients biobeds. Test them now, to make sure everything works. During surgery,would not be the best time to discover faulty fields. 1Classman Posh: Aye, Dr. Reid. ::Posh left to perform the testing of all fields. Then he went to complete other duties before surgery got underway. Ped, and Pod didn't say anything. They just followed their orders, and went to the morgue to assist the already busy Gemini crew.:: Lt. Treadway, I need you to go over to triage, and see if you can assist somehow. If they don't need you come back and prep yourself for surgery. Treadway: Aye Doctor Reid. ::she dismissed herself, and walked over to the triage area.:: Reid: The rest of you,who have not received any orders, just start performing your normal duties for surgery preparations like lyou always perform. Dismissed! ::Reid heard an assortment of different responses with ayes, and they all headed to their assignments. Reid turned around and checked the neural calipers report for both patients. Another vital sign measured during surgery. oO This is not good.Oo thought Reid, oO It indicates the patient's vital signs have dropped to serious levels. But, they counterindicate the neural caliper readings. Anymore readings like this, and we'll have to operate immediately, or we will lose these patientsOo. Reid turned to head back into the surgical suite, looked up, and saw an unfamiliar officer walking towards him, Dr. Brooke Zandra he presumed. Reid was going to wait for her, but then she suddenly changed direction. Reid contemplated briefly oO After all the wounded, dead, and dying I have seen today, I can truly say, "Though, I walk through the valley of death" Oo, Reid had to stop a moment, and recompiled his thought pattern. With Dr. Zandra coming towards him, then abruptly changing directuon, it gave him inspiration. Reid could honesty think, oO "Though I Walk Through the Valley Of Death, Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost". Oo ::Part II:: ::When everything was in order, and ready for surgery to Reid's expectations, he called his team together, and began to give the team pertinent information on the two new cases.:: Reid: I have called you here to relay news pertaining to our surgery cases. We have been reassigned new emergency surgical cases. We will not be doing our usual "meatball surgery" this time. I will let Doctor Treadway explain. Doctor Treadway you're up! Treadway: Surgical team staff, We have just received new emergency cases of two casualties from the USS HERMMES. One, a male ensign, and the second is a female Lieutenant. Both have received wounds the from the fighting, and also have sustained further injuries from being tortured. I suspect they both have internal bleeding as the result of torture. They both are in critical condition, and it could go either way for the Lieutenant, as it appears she has sustained more severe injuries than the Ensign. Neural Caliper testing showed how serious the internal wounds have affected their different biological systems. For now, they have been placed in a state of induced comas, and administered hypocoagulants to slow any internal bleeding. PO 1C Bothernet: I never liked Klingons, as most of you know they killed my parents. Reid: Alright, team, we will leave our personal feelings at the door. When we go through those doors, and work at the surgical tables there will be no time for emotions. Bothernet: Sorry, sir, I didn't mean it, the way it sounded like. Reid: That's all right nurse Bothernet. I, too, lost my father during the Battle of Wolf, in the Klingon Civil War. Now, I suggest no more interruptions until I finish the briefing. I will answer any questions at the proper time. For now, you will all conduct yourselves in a professional status. Now, you are all dismissed. Report to your stations, and see they are ready once the surgery begins. Nurse Bothenet, give the team their surgical assignments. Bothenet: Listen up for your assignment. PO 1C Trusk, you are the surgical nurse anesthesiologist. PO 3Cs Posh & PO 2C Cogshell, the surgery med tech's, PO 1C Bothenet, the chief surgical nurse, PO 2C Benntiere the assistant surgical nurse, 1st Classman medic Tep, will cross type & match blood type, will provide the dextrose, saline, and lactate ringers IVs, and provide any necessary lab tests & results during surgery. Team, dis-missed! :: All the team members responded with their proper Ayes, and left for their different stations to get them ready for the duo surgery procedure.:: Reid: Doctor Treaway, you will come with me to check on the Lieutenant. What is her name again? Treadway: ::pulling up her medical tricorder, and pressing a few well placed buttons:: Her name is Margot Applewood, Lt, Communications, USS Hermmes. She is middle aged, her last physical has her in a great phyisue. She is married, and the mother of two children. Her family is quartered on Starbase 118. :pause: Do you want her current testing, and results, Doctor? Reid: No, Doctor, you can send the results of all testing to her biobed overhead sensory cluster, and then to the surgical monitors. We can review them during the actual surgeries. I'd prefer to run our own tests, then compare the two results. By the way Doctor, has anyone run a second neural caliper test on them both to establish a comparison baseline. Treadway: Evidently, she was scheduled for one, but she took a turn for the worst. So, no second neural caliper testing was done. That, is when I placed her into a state of induced coma. It has slowed down all her life forces; inclusive of bleeding. Reid: Send one neural caliper test program when we get into surgery, and run the test immediately. Now, tell me about this young ensign. What is his name, and background? Treadway: ::rerouting the data, the Medical tricorder once more delivered the Ensign's data:: His name is Jhanon T'Lar, he is a young male,half Bajoran, and half terran, in his early twenties, Ensign, Engineering, recently transferred to the USS HERMMES. It also says he was having a relationship with a young Ensign from Astrophysics. Her name is Erma Hines, and is currently listed as MIA. As with the Lt's scan results, I will send his to the biobed overhead sensory clusters and then to the surgery monitors. Also, do you want to run a neural Caliper test as well? Reid: Affirmative! Send the test scans to their biobeds, and run a second set of scans and tests for the team's review. Then, set up a final third program, run the Neural Caliper test on the Ensign, and I will run the final test on Lt. Applewood. Then send the test results to the surgical suite monitors, and we shall review the test data during surgery. To save time, you take the Ensign T'Lar, and I will take Lt. Applewood to expedite matters. ::they both went to the their perspective assignments, and begin running all tests, and scans; inclusive of the Neural Calipers scans. When they had finished all the tests, and scans, they returned together, and compared all data reports on the two patients.:: Reid: I was afraid of this. All data relays internal injuries, and bleeding to different biological systems, but they both are registering hypoglycemic shock. Worse yet, the injuries are indicative of having been sustained by different types of torture. Lt. Applewood's torture seemed more severe than Ensign T'lar's. oO If only the age differences. were reversed Oo, thought Reid, oO then the Lt.'s ability for survival would be a better gamble. As it is the Ensign has a better chance of pulling through Oo. "Inform Dr. Knightling he will assist as cardiologist, and assist me as a neurologist. I will act as the neurologist, and provide the brain surgery, You will be the Nephrologist,Urologist, and assist me In orthopedics for the rib cage restoration only. Both caseloads will then be turned over to Dr. Zandra,and Dr. Whale, who will treat any burns, suture any lacerations, repair any remaining fractuded, and treat all confusions, and bruising. Please make a list of these assignments, notify the surgeons involvement in their perspective surgical duties. Have chief surgical nurse, Bothenet to set a final schedule for all enlisted medical team staff. Treadway: Aye, Doctor Reid. Right away. Reid: The next step is to take Lt. Applewood out of her state of induced coma, and if she shows signs she can survive the surgery, have the med techs take her into the prepping area. You stay with her, and monitor her vital signs while they prep her. Afterwards, you then go scrub, change into surgical scrubs, and join the team in the surgical suite. The med techs can transport her into the suite when we are ready. Notify all the surgeons, we will have a short meeting to put us all on the same page before we actually begin the surgery. Let us get 'er done! ::Dr. Treadway went to comply with her orders. Reid headed into the scrubbing room, where he headed to the food replicator, ordered Irish Breakfast Tea, and a cinnamon scone. He had a few minutes to snack before he had to rescrub, and then change into clean scrubs himself. Then his fight with death would begin once again. He personally didn't like to lose.:: ::Act III:: While Lt. Applewood was being prepped surgery, the three Docors were in conference discussing the upcoming procedures. All of them were standing around the replicator. The scene reminded REID of office personnel on break, congregating around the old water cooler, discussing the work day's events. Reid had estimated the surgery would last anywhere from 12 to 36 hours. Reid knew Ensign T'Lar would lose more opportunity to a full recovery, and rehabilitation, if he had to wait his turn for surgery. Since all three surgeons were going to have to wait or risk getting in each other's way, Reid had developed an earlier unique plan. Instead of wasting time prolonging the surgery, Reid informed the surgeons they were all going to practice a quick run through, after he informed them of his plan.:: Reid: Gentlemen, I propose we all operate on both patients, to facilitate any healing process, rehab, and recovery, at the same time, in the same suite. Each of us would be operating on different areas of both patients, without getting into each other's way. This would allow us to perform our particular surgical skills, and expertise, while also creating opportunities to help each other out as indicated, where needed at a particular moment. What are your opinions on the issue? Knightling: It could just work at that, and each of us can have independent mobility when treating the different wounds on both patients at the same time. Treadway: It would also allow each of us to perform our skills at some point when individuality nessistates specialized surgery on specific organs, or body parts. The other two can provide cover any general surgery abandoned for any specialized surgical opportunity, at a given notice. Knightling: It also permits us to finish up a technique on one patient, then hop across to the other patient, and repeat any necessary surgery on the other, if needed. This gives us greater latitude, mobility, and freedom to act either independently, or together on their wounds, and repair any internal organsy that may have been damaged. Reid: Suffice to say it is going to be a great undertaking in of itself. Doctors, we are all tired from all the emergency surgeries we performed ever since this battle started, but I believe in all of you. ::Reid paused for a moment to gather his thoughts:: Doctors, after going through all the test results, amount of injuries found, and medications necessary for the healing process, one would feel we are ready. But, we need to address another issue facing us. Therefore, I have asked Dr. Zandra to join us in the surgery briefing. At the moment, she is scrubbing up for surgery, and putting on fresh scrubs. She will join us shortly. Then, I will start the briefing. ::Posh, and Cogshell, the two supporting medic came into the surgery suite, and notified Doctor Reid, the patient Lt. Applewood was prepped, and ready to be brought into the suite. At that time, Reid informed them to also prep Ensign T'lar for surgery as well. Reid informed them only of the plan for this team of Surgeons to perform duo surgery procedures. Then Reid gave them two additional orders, one to get Ensign T'Lar prepped for surgery, and to have him ready within the next thirty minutes, as the plan was to start both surgeries, at that time. Also, would one of them go and inform Dr. Zandra to finish scrubbing, and meet the surgeons in the surgical suite within 15 minutes. That would be the exact time, the surgery briefing for the doctors would begin. Reid then dismissed the two med tech's, and they left the suite. Reid headed back to the surgery table, and began to review the surgical plan one final time. He picked up the padd contain the plans, and began to read the concepts of the plan. Reid also reviewed Bajoran physiology, concerning Ensign T'Lar, half Bajoran, and half terran.:: ((Timeslip - 15 minutes ahead)) :Reid had been going through all of the plans, and even renewed reading all of the medical tests and scans. He set down the padd and had to rub his eyes to clear his vision. He heard the sound of the turbodoors emit their tell tale swish sound, when they opened, and When they closed. He removed his hands from his tired eyes. After all, he was feeling exhausted from having been doing surgery from the moment the Klingons started the recent fiasco causing many casualties that required his trained surgical skills, and years of experience. He felt every muscle, even a few that he hardly used. The only reprieve for rest, came when he had transferred to the Gemini. And that was a very short reprieve at that. In the back of his mind, Reid was fearful he would soon pass his exhaustion point, and move into the fatigue realm. Reid thought oO I am going to have to increase my workouts,marathon style, as if I were going mountaineering.Oo. He turned to see Dr. Zandra walking towards him once again. This time she stayed for the briefing, as she went over to the replicator. Their, she met Dr. Reid who was ordering something to drink.:: ::Part IV:: Zandra, and Reid had finished their drinks, and as they were wrapping up their conversation, Reid looked at his wrist chronometer. He noted 14 minutes had passed, so he politely excused himself, and walked to the front of the suite. Where he grabbed his padd, and began the briefing:: Reid: Doctors, please gather round, and find a seat wherever you can. I will start the briefing, because the med tech's will soon be bringing both Ensign T'Lar, and Lt. Applewood. These are our two patients for this surgery. I am now giving you some background on them. They were both serving on the USS Hermmes, when the Klingons attacked their vessel. In the end, most of the ship's crew compliment either ended up wounded,dead,or dying. Though, there were a few survivors, these two were part of the luckiest survivors, if you can call them lucky, for what they have been through. They were rescued by an away team of Marines from the USS Gemini, on a SAR mission. Whom I understand the SAR team had suffered injuries as well. All survivors, Marines inclusive had suffered ranging from mild to major injuries. These two casualties are our main concern for the moment. I believe all the Marine personnel are being treated by the Gemini Doctors, as I speak. ::paused to clear his throat:: Tests have shone Lt. Applewood has suffered a trauma induced aneurysm on her brain, a tear to her spleen, causing excessive internal bleeding. I have used a hypocoagulant to control her internal bleeding. She had a multiple fractured ribs, some peripheral nerve damage to her extremities. She has also suffered burns, either from phasrer fire, or some other force, as well as, multiple contusions, lacerations, and bruises over the greater part of her body. She stands a 20% chance of survival from the operation. She had also many nails torn off her fingers and toes, and a few broken digits, on her left hand. There were also some filletinig done to her dermal skin layers on her extremities. But, we are not done writing her off, just yet. If, I have my way, this is one battle, I mean to see death lose, by keeping her alive. Tests have shone Ensign T'Lar is suffering from a fractured skull, a subderual hemotoma, fractured jaw, at the tempo-mandibular joint, and multiple fractures to the right humerous bone, left radial, and ulnar bones in the forearms, a damaged left midney, left tibia and fibular bones in the lower left leg, right torn Achilles tendon, torn lateral meniscus tear and medial meniscus tear in his right knee, and multiple lacerations, confusions, and bruises over 50% of his body. He is also going to need extensive dental work, Also, multiple digit fractures to fingers & toes. He is also missing multiple areas of dermal skin to the extremities; due to filleting type torture. Be advised most of these injuries were caused from extensive torture, not combat, by renegade Klingon mercenaries. Whatever information the Klingons got as a result of torture, May the infomation turn out to be false. It appears the two Starfleet officers paid dearly, as they were willing to be sacrificed, even die, to protect whatever they were guarding. They both have suffered Blunt Force Trauma, or NOT. Teeth pulling, nails removed, broken digits, skin filleting, and burns done in a 1-3" diameters, meaning controlled, on different areas of the extremities. To damage being committed internally, they have both been placed in a state of induced comas. That, doctors, wraps up the briefing. Are there any questions? Treadway: Dr. Reid, there were other injuries suffered by these two officers? Reid: Thank you for bringing up the question, doctor. As a result of imprisonment, and torture, both officers were also suffering from severe dehydration, and malnutrition. My guess the Klingons were not planning for these officers to survive the ordeal, or they would have provided food and water, and done less intrusive, and traumatic ways for getting the info. I believe the inflicted trauma was done for the Klingons sadistic pleasures, from ritual sacrifices. Knightling: Dr. Reid, what test, and scans, were used to detect the injuries these two officers. Reid: Those tests were a combination of Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MIR), CT scans, vital signs and neural calipers, biomolecular scans, angiography scans, CFS analysis, EEG & EKG scans, and multiple lab testing, such as urine analysis, Blood analysis, etc. Please be advised these tests can be looked at on all the doctors monitors, and will be available throughout the multiple surgeries procedures. These will be the assignments, since I have had to change them a second time. They are not written in stone. But, they are subject to change. Ben Trusk, PO 1C will be the nurse anesthesiologist, and he will handle the anesthesia. Pence Tep, 1st Classman medic - pathologist, Glenn Cogshell- PO 2C - hemotologist, Tep, and Cogshell will be the surgical Medics, Dr. D.A. Knightling - Cardiologist, Dr. Vetonia Treadway - Nephrologst, Urologist, and assistant orthopedics, and Dr. Reid, me - Neurologist, the brain, and orthopedics for the ribs only. We have a guest here today. She is PO 2C Benntiere, surgical nurse specialist. She will be working with our surgical nurse specialist, Bothenet. She has requested to join our surgical team, so today she is going through orientation the hard way, on the job training. She is formerly a survivor from the USS Hermmes. Nurse Bothenet, I would like you to note, Nurse Benntiere was offered some time alone, before the team tryout. She refused, citing she needed to get back to work immediately, to help her through grieving for the loss of her friends in the Hermmes medical department. Bothenet: Aye, Dr. Reid, I will see it noted in her record. Reid: Thank you, nurse. Let me finish up the job assignments. Where was I? Ah, yes, Dr. Zandra. ::Reid continued:: Dr. Brooke Zandra, since your primary focus is on contagious diseases, epidemiology, and also a general practitioner. You will be working with Dr. Shelley Whale, another general practitioner, who both will handle all fractures, except the ribs, suture all lacerations, and will deal with the contusions, and bruising. They both will treat all burns, with phisohex scrubbing, and use dermaline ointment to treat all burns. After the surgery is completed, they will see to the administration of Germyciillin, 600 units to start, an antibiotic that will be administered to both patients by Dr. Zandra, and Dr. Whale, after taking over Ensign T'lar, and Lt. Applewood cases. During this time they will also work to control the malnutrition, and dehydration suffered by both patients. Also, after the surgery is finished, both cases will be turned over to them, Surgeons please note, all three of us will be on standby, should something occur with the patients that requires our assistance. ::Reid had just finished the briefing, just as Trusk wheeled up the two anesthesia carts, and placed one each at the table heads, and hooked up the machines, monitors, and both Overhead Sensory Clusters to the biobed monitors. Cogshell uploaded the tests results and scans into the work place monitors of each doctor. Before dsimissing the doctors to allow them to go and scrub a final time, Reid said:: Reid: Doctors, I wish you success in all your endeavors around the tables today. You are all dismissed. ::Everyone left to go to the doctors locker room to scrub, and change into fresh scrubs. Meanwhile, the operating room came to life. All the team staff members came to life, as well. Instrument trays were set in each of the work places. Surgical Head nurse Debra Bothernet, Reid's chief nurse, and nurse Benntiere checked each of the trays for the full compliments, and checked to make sure each instrument was working properly. The instrument tray contained one Thrombic Modulator, medical recorder, laser scalpel with 4 laser settings, hyposprays unloaded, a dermal regenerator, and an osteogenic stimulator. A second tray was set up with any additional equipment needed by each Surgeon pertaining to his specialty assignment at each Surgeon Nurse's station, just off to the side of each surgeon. A third tray contained medicine in drug cartridges relevant to each Doctor's assignment. Next, Bothernet made sure the cardiac resuscitation cart was placed within easy reach of the two surgical tables, in case of cardiac arrest. Each surgeon's nurse was responsible for checking out all three trays at each of the different surgical stations prior to the beginning of the surgical procedures. Nurse Bothernet, and Nurse Bennitere the surgical nurses, each turned on, and checked each support frame to check if it was in operating condition, before it would be placed over the patient's chest, and trunk regions. Trusk, the nurse anesthesiologist, was responsible to see the anesthesia cart was filled with different anesthetic gases, the anesthetic equipment, the oxygen tanks, the gas tanks were full, the anesthetic equipment accessories were operational, and readily available. All Trusk needed was Dr. Reid, the head Surgeon, to pick what anesthetic gas he wished to use. He would find that out when Dr. Reid asked for a specific gas to be used. The medic technicians, Posh, and Cogshell were to stand by, and be the runners, or "go-for" in case, the doctors and nurses needed anything; inclusive of food, and drink. Nurse Bothernet, the head surgical nurse, was to double check the overhead lighting system was set, and ready to be turned on when the surgeries started. THE last function of Benntiere, the surgical nurse, was to make sure an adequate amount of gloves, and masks were available in the doctor's, and the surgical nurse's sizes were available. The nurse then would help the surgeon don the gloves, and mask. Each nurse was then to assist a surgeon throughout the entire operation. When everything met the Head Nurse's approval, she would then have the med techs bring in both patients, and they were to lock down the air driven bio beds into their locking mechanisms. Then she would establish, and maintain the stasis field during the operation of any decontamination, and containment, to prevent the patients from getting infections. The surgeons, by this time, would be having the gloves, and masks help being donned by his surgical nurse. Then as Reid would say, let's get 'er done, and they would all concentrate on each of their own surgical tasks. The surgery would begin:: ::Part V:: ::The surgical procedure started with the nurse anesthesiologist, PO C1 Trusk, responsible for removing the patients from their induced comatose state. The N.A. used a combination of anesthezine, a general anesthesia, used by security, but due to the weakened state of the patients, it was the choice of gases. It was used in combination with Benzodiazepine, a sleep inducer gas. Throughout the procedure oxygen was delivered by an laryngeal mask designed to channel oxygen , or anaesthesia gas directly into the patients lungs. Induction of air, was then delivered by intubation of the airway to each patient. The pathologist, and the hematologist worked in combination of cross type and matching of plasma, using lactated ringers solution. Then later, the solutions would changed to normal saline, designated NS solution during the Urology surgery. Finally, dextrose, or D5W sugar solution is currently being used in combination with an NS solution for post surgical care. D5W or dextrose would help to feed the patient, until he, or she would begin a liquid diet. The NS, or normal saline would be used to piggyback any medication, be it pain control, or antibiotics, after surgery. Multiple lab tests, and scans were continually taken, and read throughout the different procedures. The tests were read in conjunction to make the diagnoses of injuries, and dictated treatment to be used. They were reread often throughout the surgical procedures. They included, but not limited to: CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluids) analysis, CT scans(Computer Tomography) Imaging, MRI scans (Magnetic Resonance Imagining), BET scans(Body Emission Tomographic) Imagining, EEG (Electroencephalography) scan, EKG (Electrokardiography) scans, PO C3 Cogshell provided the Lab result tests which were performed throughout the different surgeries. They were Hematocrit, creatinine, oxygen input analysis, lymprocratic analysis, and variously blood draws, urinalysis testing, Myocardial enzyme balance, and neural calipers testing. Dr. Reid began the first neurological procedure on Lt. Applewood. Lt. Applewood had suffered a cebrebral contusion to her occipital region from a blow to the back of her head, which was brought on by BFT, or Blunt Force Trauma. A Hypocoagulant was injected by hypospray directly into the carotid artery to slow blood circulation to the brain. An incision was made into the occipital region with an exoscapel setting. This made it easier to use when performing a craniotomy. Reid then removed a 2 inch section of the rear skull cap for direct access into the outermost menigeres layer between the duramater, and the arachnoid mater. A laser scalpel was used for further use on the cebrebral contusion, which was then separated from other veins, concurrent with the use of neural brain implants. A sonic mitagator was used for bundling the neuron firing sites on the nerve branches. The purpose was to separate the neurons in the brain at the site of the subdural hemotoma. The hemotoma was then removed by vaccuum suction, and any surrounding venous bleeding was then controlled by placing stent clippings on the venous ends. A brain pacemaker was then introduced to prevent seizures, and possibly a stroke later on. Reid would later make a note during transcription. It may be removed prior to the patient returning to active duty. The skull cap was then replaced after having been preserved in a normal saline, or NS solution. Microsutures were used to seal the skull cap back into place, and the original incision was closed using autosutures, which were similar to a anabolic protoplaser. A cortical stimulator, a device used to resuscitate comatose, or head injuries was then used to promote resuscitation as necessary. EEGs were the continued on a running basis throughout the remaining surgical procedures. Written orders were requested for use of a dermal regenerator during this ICU stay. Dr. Reid then used a dermal generator himself, to promote healing of the surrounding tissue at the surgical opening site. The underlying laceration, and torn epidermis meninges were repaired using microsutures. Reid the closed the surgical opening site with additional microsutures. He then used a dermal regenerator on the surrounding tissue at the site to facilitate the healing process. Since, there were possible indications present to suggest possible hearing loss. Reid recommended Lt. Applewood should have physical and cognitive emotional testing performed by ship's counselor. Should the Lieutenant gain consciousness in ICU the symptoms can last up to 3 weeks. She could experience of feeling in a fog, amnesia, sudden mood swings, and an unstable, unsteady gait. Dr.Reid, next performed the second neurological surgery procedure. Ensign T'Lar suffered a skull fractures caused by a blow to his forehead brought on by Blunt Force Trauma, or BFT. The fracture was a communitied fracture; having caused a depression to the forehead region. The skull had underlying lacerations, a tear into the epidermis meninges that ran through frontal lobe sinuses, and possibly the middle ear structure. The isomolecular scanner revealed a comminuted fracture of the forehead had splintered into several bone fragments. An incision was made into the cranium with a laser scalpel to prevent further bleeding. Bone fragments were removed by vacuum suction, and replaced by bioimplants, rebuilding the frontal cranial bone. Bleeding was stopped by the use of stent clippings placed on the ends of the veins that has been ruptured. A platinum coil was placed into the area of the congratulated blood which helped to dissolve the clots. The loose fragments of the clots,and any remaining bone fragments were removed by a vacuum suction process. Bioimplants were used to rebuild the forehead bone, thus removing the forehead decompression. Again, Reid used Microsutures to close the surgical opening. Followed by the use of a dermal regenerator to the surrounding skin tissue to facilitate the healing process. As for the middle ear, Reid recommended Ensign T'Lar would need to be seen by an ENT specialist, and an audiolgist for the hearing loss. Follow-up psychological care would with the ship's counselor is recommended. Dr. D.A. Knightling performed the next, or third surgery procedure. Dr. Knightling saw there were no significant signs of damage to the heart muscle. The damage was to the aorta of Ensign T'Lar. Once the surgical opening was made Dr. Knightling had the entire surgery team visually see the physiological differences of the Bajorans, which included a heart that is mirrored along a horizontal axis rather than the vertical axis seen in the Terran heart. The surgery team was then encouraged to visibly see the Bajoran aorta also laying along the horizontal axis. Rather than, along a vertical axis found in terrans. Prior to the beginning of the Aorta repair, following medical protocol, Reid issued an order for blood transfusions. PO C3 Glenn Cogshell, and 1st Classman medic Pence Tep cross-typed and matched Ensign T'Lar's blood which turned out to be more human than Bajoran. Therefore, I ordered 2 units of whole blood, and to have a unit of matching Bajoran Blood on standby. It was to be used only in an emergency should Ensign T'Lar's body has a reaction towards human. Dr. Knightling used this 2 to 1 blood ratio a few times during the aortic repair surgery. Dr Knightling saw by visible sight, that Ensign T'Lar's aorta had suffered torn lesions resulting from a blow to the upper left quadrant of the abdomen, brought on by Blunt Force Trauma, or BFT. Dr. Knightling also pointed out the physical symptom of bruising at the site. To facilitate time, during the neurological surgery procedures, Reid removed a healthy specimen of two separate pieces of aortic tissues. The ascending aorta, containing the aorta arch which supplies 3 major arteries. The brachocelphalic artery supplies brain, and head, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery, which showed no signs of damage, or impairment. The aorta contained the coronary arteries which also branched off the ascending aorta. Here, he found indications of tearing of this 2 inch artery, which was full of tiny lesions, which impeded the flow of blood back to the heart. These had to be replaced or the Ensign would soon go into cardiac arrest. The descending aorta ends in the abdomen, where it branches into 2 common iliac arteries. Having noticed leakage from the branch itself, there were several lesions which slowly bled out into the abdomen. Thereby, significantly weakened the iliac arteries blood flow to lower extremities, which eventually could have resulted in paralysis. If not replaced, the branch would eventually rupture. Therefore, Reid who assisted in the surgery, elected to remove both damaged artery parts and placed healthy pieces from their aortic tissues into a Genotronic Replicator. It is a medical device to "grow" a new replacement organ parts at an accelerated rate. The use of a dermal laser scalpel sliced pieces of tissue off of the aorta. The new aortic tissue parts, of the coronary arteries, and the common iliac artery branches were completed and ready for transplant, when Knightling began the cardiology surgery. He opened the patient's chest cavity with a laser scalpel, and used surgical stent clippings to tie off the coronary arteries ends, and the iliac arteries branch. Then he removed the damaged parts, and a temporary pacemaker was attached to work the blood flow going throughout the body's natural circulatory system. Meanwhile, Reid diverted The blood, through a cooling filtration system to regulate slower blood circulation. The replacement parts were transplanted into the aorta remained attached to the horizontal axis with microsutures. A tear found in the aorta wall also necessitated repairing with microsutures. Meanwhile, a normal saline solution, or NS was run through the aorta to check for any leakage. Where any leaks were found, they were sealed by microsutures. The aorta showed no signs of leakage, so the blood was removed from the cooling filtration system, and rerouted through the new aortic implants. Showing no signs of leakage, Dr.Reid and Dr. Treadway decided to reconstruct the rib fractures, and stabilized the rib bones with bioimplants. Dr. Treadway closed the surgical opening site with Microsutures, used a dermal regenerator on the tissue surrounding the surgery opening site, to facilitate the healing process. ::Part VI:: ::Suddenly, the surgery took an unexpected twist for Lt. Applewood. She went into cardiac arrest. PO 1C Trusk, Dr. Knightling, and Dr. Reid initiated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR protocols. Trusk incubated, and bagged the patient. After placing an motivated tracheal tube down Applewood's throat, he inserted it into her lung. He placed an oralpharyngeal mask over her nose and mouth. The he connected a compression bag to the mask, and began to squeeze the bag. This flooded her lungs with oxygen, so the air could oxygenate her body organs. Reid started the compressions to send the air, and Blood throughout her body. Reid would then use an osteogenic stimulator to jump start her heart. Knightling administered cardiac resuscitation drugs to aid the heart in regaining a sinus rhythm. Surgical nurses Bothenet, and Benntiere prepared the hyposprays as indicated by the CPR protocols, and handed them to Dr. Knightling. He then administered them as necessary, or prn, when indicated. Lt. Applewood did suffer cardiac arrest, cessation of heartbeats during the surgical process, and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation protocol was initiated. Knightling immediately grabbed a hyposprays loaded with 2cc of Imapedrezene, and administered it. Dr. Reid grabbed an osteogenic stimulator, and began compressions of the heart muscle. Meanwhile, Trusk connected an oxygen line from the anesthesia cart to the compression bag. This facilitated administering a higher concentration of oxygen to the lungs when the bag was compressed. Knightling followed by administering 20cc of Hyperzene, a cardiac stimulant, and Reid followed by further compressions of the heart muscle with the osteogenic stimulator. Then Knightling administered 60cc of Imaprovaline, a drug which stimulates cardinal cell regeneration. Again, Reid followed with further compressions by an osteogenic stimulator, and Trusk administered more compressions of he bag. Introducing more highly oxygenated air volume to the lungs. At that point, Knightling consulted Dr. Reid,if he would make the call, because of the amount of damages suffered by Lt. Applewood's injuries. Dr. Reid refused to relent to the time of death, and called for the 2nd line of defense against the cessation of heartbeats. Knightling asked Reid if continuing with the 2nd line of medication was advisable. Knightling reasoned it could also cause further damage resulting in death. Dr. Reid stated that she was dead already, so trying could only help to resuscitate the patient. Dr. Reid, and Knightling readily concurred, so Knightling immediately grabbed a hypospray of Chlormydride, and injected a full dosage of 40cc. Meanwhile, Dr. Reid repeated the compressions with he osteogenic stimulator, and within 30 seconds of the last set of compressions, the patient's heart began to beat on its own. Knightling immediately administered 20cc more of Hyperzine, and the heart beat returned to a normal cardiac rhythm of 60 beats per minute; gradually the heart rate returned to 76 bets per minute, and from that point on maintained a normal sinus rhythm. After the successful resuscitation of Lt. Applewood using CPR Protocols. Reid, and Knightling returned to the business at hand. A Dak'tar, Klingon dagger that caused the damage when stabbed into the spleen of Lt. Applewood. Reid had seen the tell-tale jagged tearing edge from the dagger, often used by a Klingon mercenaries. It was done for sadistic, and often ritual pleasure during torture. The tearing not meant to heal resulted in the damaged spleen, and was the cause of her excessive slow internal bleeding. She was nearly dead when she reached Reid. So, he administered a hypocoagulant to slow the bleeding process. Before the spleen operation began Reid ordered a blood transfusion prior to surgery. Again PO 2C Cogshell, and medic 1st Classman Pence Tep performed another cross-type an match on Lt. Applewood's blood type. It turn out to be blood type "B", or BO positive, and had Cogshell, and Tep prepare 5 units of BO, or "B" positive blood. Two units were to be infused by a plasma inducer, one hour before scheduled surgery, and the remaining 3 units were to be placed on standby; for use only in the event of emergency bleeding during the splenectomy. Following Reid's prior order, Nurse Bothenet had already infused the BO, or "B" positive blood with a plasma inducer. Nurse Benntiere placed the remaining 3 units into the surgical refrigerator for storage. She then ordered PO 2C Cogshell to standby to prepare more BO, or "B" positive blood upon Dr. Reid's orders. Having judged the spleen damage due to dark bruising at the site, and knowing the location of the spleen in the upper left quadrant of the abdomen, Reid made an incision. Using a laser scalpel on the site of the discolored bruise. Reid cut through the epidermis, and dermal layers, exposing the ribs. Using rib spreaders, Reid had Knightling pushed the lower ribs aside, being careful not to dislodge the floating rib. Reid could see a quantity of old blood, and mixed in were blood clots that had undergone the coagulation process. The risk of dislodging a clot was his next concern. If one clot were to break free, a thrombosis could occur, and easily lodge itself in the heart's coronary arteries, causing cessation of the heart muscle, inducing cardiac arrest. By the use of vacuum suction, Reid was able to remove all the clots, all old blood, and plasmatic fluid which had caused the abdominal distention, and bruising. Now, that he was able to see the spleen, he visibly verified what the ultrasound test showed. A rupture in the wall of the spleen, and was approximately 3 cm in length. This would have ruled out a laparoscopic splenectomy, when detected by the laparoscopy instrument. This also verified Reid's call for an "open splenectomy." His next step was to locate the lower mesenteric artery followed by the superior mesenteric artery. Using stent clips, he closed off the superior mesenteric artery, stopping any remaining blood flow to the ruptured spleen. Then he located the inferior mesenteric vein, by following the superior mesenteric artery. Reid used stent clips on the inferior mesenteric artery, and stoped the flow of blood moving away from the spleen. Using the laser scalpel once more, Reid severed both the superior mesenteric artery, and the superior mesenteric vein, separating then from the spleen. Observing for any leakage, he found none. So, now he dissected the ligments holding the spleen in place. Dr. Knightling then removed the spleen from Lt. Aplewood's body. Nurse Bothenet had prepared a place to set the spleen down, and he used it. Grabbing the tissue Mitagator, Knightling located an area that still had healthy issue. He sliced a few strips from the spleen, and had Nurse Bothernet place them in the Genotronic Regenerator. Then Nurse Bothernet packaged up the spleen, labeled it, and sent it to the boys in the lab. This way they could perform different tests on the spleen, and send back any analysis that would be requested during the surgery. While waiting for the spleen to finish the replication process, Knightling noticed 2 foci, called "accessory spleen". He informed Reid of his findings, so Reid allowed him to dissect them both with the laser scalpel. Reid wasn't above giving any surgeon who was that observant to practice removing anything he, or she found, that needed removing. Dr. Knightling did an excellent procedure under Reid's supervision of removing them. Nurse Benntiere prepared the specimens under the watchful eye of Nurse Bothenet. Benntiere then sent both foci to the lab for analysis as well. Eventually, the regenerated spleen was fully intact, and ready for transplant. Dr. Knightling gently removed the new spleen, and placed it where the old one once rested. Now, Reid began to reattach the ligaments with microsutures. Next, he reattached both the Superior Mesenteric Artery, and the Superior Mesenteric Vein with microsutures. After visually checking for any leakage he found no apparent leakage. Then began to reattach the Inferior Mesenteric Artery, and the Inferior Mesenteric Vein. When completed he released the stent clippings. As he released the stent clipping, he could almost hear a faint gurgling as the blood started to flow in and out of the new spleen. Reid discovered a tiny leak in the Inferior Mesenteric Vein, which he immediately closed with microsutures. Thinking it was best for the time being, Reid placed a temporary drain into the splenic area, which would allow any drainage to occur if necessary. Reid had Dr. Knightling close the surgical opening site with Microsutures around the drain. Knightling then covered the drainage tube with a small splenostomy bag. When nearly full the bag would be emptied into a measuring container to aid in recording the amount of fluid drainage. When there would be no more drainage of blood, the tubing, and bag would be removed. The drainage hole would then be sutures shut with Microsutures. A dermal generator would then be used to the tissue around the surrounding site. It would help to aid the facilitation of the healing process. Prior to the briefing of the surgeons, Dr. Treadway noticed the abdominal distention in Ensign T'Lar. She ran multiple urinalysis testing, which indicted visual blood in the urine, and indisputably, through the use of ultrasound of the Kidney, she relayed her findings to Dr. Reid who concurred the need for Nephrological surgery transplant was indicated. The right kidney had been perforated, and was clinically unresponsive to urine output. Treadway had previously performed a biopsy of the ® kidney tissue, and placed the sample into a Genotronic Replicator. Due to the acceleration process, a new right kidney had been generated. ::Finale:: The last surgery of the day was a Nephroectomy, transplant of the right kidney, and Urologigal surgery was also indicated. Utilizing the catheterization procedure was indicated. Dr. Treadway used a sterile catheter, and induced it through the ureathra, and into the the patient's bladder during the procedure. A small incision was made a few inches below the patient's belly button; using an exoscalpel. She began reconstructive Nephrology, and urology. Using a procedure called retropubic suspension surgery which including pulling up the bladder neck, and sewing it into bone, or surrounding tissue with microsutures. Once the patient with the aid of the catheterization, Treadway was able to find a small tear in the ureathra, and successfully repaired it with microsutures. Using stent clippings, she clamped off the renal arteries, and renal veins of the the right kidney. Meanwhile, Dr. Reid had connected the patient to a dialaysis machine, The fluids in the kidney then went through a diffusion process, getting rid of wastes, followed by ultrafiltration, removing unwanted water from the blood, or hemodialysis. All this occurred during the transplant procedure. After Dr Treadwy extracted the damaged kidney, by cutting the two ureters, the renal arteries, and renal veins by laser scalpel, Reid removed the regenerated kidney from the Genotronic Replicator, and implanted the new right kidney into place. Reid held the kidney in place while Dr. Treadway using microsutures, reconnected the two ureters, tubing connecting kidney to the bladder, reconnected the renal arteries, and renal veins to the right kidney, She ordered the dialysis process discontinued. She then noticed a minor leak in one of the ureters tubing. This, she repaired using microsutures, and was successful in sealing the tubing. Ultimately, the incision site was closed using an exoscpel, and a dermal regenator to facilitate in the healing processes. Follow up care would require catheterization, to help aid the healing process. I & O (input/output) charting was ordered, the dialysis process was temporarily ordered until such time urinalysis indicated normal urine output without blood in the urine, as needed, until ordered discontinued. Treadway ordered 600 units of Generecillin piggyback with NS, or normal saline solution, to prevent infection in both transplant receipents. ::Meanwile, the surgery was finished Reid informed both Dr. Knightling, and Dr. Treadway, since the surgery ended at 1800 hours, there still remained another 14 hours until the start of the new day's morning shift. Both Doctors could work it out among themselves. He then called for volunteers, by appointing both Doctors to the following shift. Each Doctor would be on call for 5 hours, and sleep until they needed to do either an afternoon, or midnight shift before going on leave. Dr. Reid elected to take the remaining 2 hours, until the 0800 morning shift which Reid would also take. Treadway would then relieve Reid, at 1600 hours,for the afternoon shift, and Knightling would relieve Treadway at 0000 hours for the night shift. PO 1C Bothenet, would oversee the remaining surgical team, who would finish cleanup after the surgery. She would then make out a duty schedule based on seniority rights. All the shifts would have a skeleton crew comprised from the surgical team, and medical personnel from the Gemini. When each shift was finished that surgical crew would begin leave. The Gemini medical staff would take care of their own schedules. Reid dismissed the three surgeons, and he, himself went into the Doctors lounge, and took a sonic shower. He put on fresh, clean scrubs, and decided while dressing, he would stop off at the Tin Star Lounge. He would stop in for a few minutes, grab a some supper, and tie on a couple of stiff drinks, before heading back to his quarters, and some badly needed sleep. He had to look in on both patients at 0600 hrs. He would check their progress in the ICU, or intensive Care Unit. Check with the nursing staff, and go over their nursing notes containing records of meds given, for pain control and antibiotics also given. Next, he would check the usage of IV infusion pump care, and delivery amounts of NS, or Normal Saline, and D5W, or dextrose usage through the night. Last, he would check on the status of their induced coma states. Based on all this pertaining data, more on vital life signs, recent lab reports pertaining to each transplant, Blood volume levels, chemical balance of other body fluids,and any other pertinent data pertaining to the two patients. Reid would then write out his Doctor orders for the day. All nursing staff, med tech's, Surgeon's, and physicians would see to it that every order of Reid's would be fulfilled. Then, at 0800 hours, Reid was scheduled to work the morning shift. He would oversee the skeleton crews needing any medical treatment, while the rest of the ship had gone on shore leave. During the morning shift all of his surgical team, would come in throughout the shift, and complete their dictation of all procedures used during the duo surgery from yesterday. At 1600 hours, it would all end, and Reid started his leave then. For as long as the USS Gemini under went repairs, Reid would spend his leave with his family. Yet, knew he would also be on standby medical duty, should an emergency occur during his watch. Treadway, and Knightling would also be on call for standby duty, as needed.:: LtCmdr Jerry Reid Medical Officer USS Gemini
  13. ((Sickbay - Corbin’s office - USS Darwin)) ::Corbin sighed heavily as he swung his large feet onto his desk and leaned back into his chair. He took his PADD and had it start playing the latest football game he got downloaded from earth recently and then pulled up Dr. Manius’s file. He was still tired from this last mission and ran his free hand through his hair as he looked down at the PADD. :: ::Dr. Manius’s file was full of contradictions. Half was full of praise at his work ethics and his doctor knowledge and skills. The other half was full of complaints both from patients and staff about his course attitude and short insulting remarks. Corbin knew that Dr. Manius was a doctor of extraordinary abilities, better than he was in many ways, however being a doctor was more than just diagnostic and surgical skills, it was also how the patient perceived you, how you dealt with others and how you convied a sense of….healing/wellbeing. He felt this was probably the reason why he had not been promoted already. :: ::Corbin felt a bit weird recommending someone for promotion. He had never done that before especially when the promotion was going to make the officer the same rank as him. However he felt based off the outstanding job that Dr. Manius had done in the sickbay in the past few missions he at least needed recognition and sending that up the chain of command could only be the right thing to do. :: :: However before doing that he felt he should talk to Dr. Manius tell him his intentions and perhaps get a better feel for the doctor. Putting the PADD down he reached over to his desk communication button and pressed it.:: Corbin: =/\= Dr. Manius, could you meet me in my office at your earliest convenience, thanks. =/\= ::Dr Manius was in the same place as always and to be honest it was starting to feel just a bit cramped. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were tidy. That was the thing that made him feel so uncomfortable with the place. He was used to tidy roommates and having more of a run of the place. When he heard Dr Corbin call him to the office he wondered what the agenda would be. Maybe he was looking for a change in shift patterns now that they had Margariti and she was settling in. :: Manius: =/\= Of course sir. I’m free now if that is convenient for you? =/\= ::Just because the senior doctor had said for him to come up, it didn’t mean he was necessarily free right that second. :: Corbin: =/\= That is great Doc, see you soon. =/\= ::Corbin was a bit surprised that Dr. Manius was free right that moment but they might as well get it over with. Corbin flipped his legs off the desk and turned off the football game. He started to sit rather rigid and tall but quickly slumped into his more relaxed posture within moments. He slid the PADD with Dr. Manius’s file right before him and bowed his head in thought as he waited for the doctor:: ::Todd arrived outside the office a few minutes later and had made a cursory effort to ensure that he was presentable. He chimed the door and waited to be called in. :: Corbin: Come on in. Manius: Sir. ::Giving Corbin a respectful nod. :: ::It wasn’t much of a greeting and there were no pleasantries. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be here or that he wasn’t interested in Dr Corbin. In fact his tone was as pretty neutral, which was as close as it ever got to being friendly... with a few notable exceptions. He simply didn’t want to waste Dr Corbin’s valuable time and figured that he would want to get down to whatever business it was that had called him up here. :: Corbin: ::Smiled brightly at Dr. Manius and pointed to one of the two chairs opposite his desk.:: Please sit Doc. Manius: ::Taking a seat at the desk:: Thank you sir. Corbin: Now Doc, you don’t have to call me sir, Jack is fine. ::The idea of calling Dr Corbin by his first name actually felt really strange to him, after all they hardly knew anything about each other and were not exactly friends. The only person he referred to by their first name was Kaitlyn and that was more a result of his Ravensville experience than anything else although it seemed slowly he was making a friend. :: Manius: Okay, if that is your wish. :: Corbin took a deep breath as he ran his fingers through his hair and figured he might as well get straight to the point. Dr. Manius probably would prefer it that way anyways:: Corbin: I called you down here because I have been looking at your file. I want to recommend you for promotion. Honestly Doc, you are outstanding when it comes to the medical side of things, I could not ask for a more skilled medical practitioner to call my peer. ::Todd was delighted to be getting a little recognition for his hard work and to hear he was going to be recommended for promotion certainly made him smile. He’d been trying so hard for so long now and despite having treated so many high profile patients he’d been getting nowhere. :: Manius: Thank you sir! ::Proudly:: Corbin: ::Smirks and sighs trying to come up with the right wording:: I think you know however that your, hmmm, bedside manner, could be improved upon. ::It felt like a bit of a backhander hearing that and it made his mood and expression sour a little. He felt that he gave patients an excellent service even if he wasn’t touchy-feely by nature. No one had ever made a complaint to him or said they were unhappy, so where was the problem? It was probably because of his insistence on sending people like Phos on upskilling programs when they foolishly injured themselves. :: Manius: What do you mean? ::Corbin had dreaded this. He had hoped that Todd had known that he rubbed people the wrong way. Heck Corbin knew he made people uncomfortable sometimes with his touchy-feely nature and his down home attitude. He even turned it on worse when he was dealing with people that were uncomfortable with it especially if he really did not care much for the person. :: :: Dr. Manius however he sorta liked, he had gotten used to his blunt attitude and could see the great doctor under it. Standing Corbin moved around his desk and leaned against it standing in front of Dr. Manius he crossed his arms and looked down at them not really wanting to look at him:: Corbin: oO Perhaps the direct approach is not the way to go Oo Doc, I know, you know, how to heal peoples bodies. Heck Doc, like I said you are one of the best physicians I have had the pleasure of working with, but we don’t just treat a patient's body. We also have to treat them emotionally, mentally and even spiritually at times. That means sometimes we have to think about what we are going to say to someone, whether a patient or anyone. We have to think about how our words will impact that person and if there is a way we can say the words we want to say that would be easier on them. ::Corbin stopped talking, he looked at Dr. Manius, he wondered if he was making a bit of sense to him.:: Manius: oO Easier on them… ? Oo ::He didn’t think his words were generally so hard to swallow. He just told people things as he saw it. Dr Corbin was suggesting something here and whatever way he looked at it, he didn’t really like it. Furthermore the senior Dr had now come around to stand in front of him, effectively towering over him with arms crossed, making him tip his head up to see the man. He didn’t particularly like that either and after a pause went so far as to stand up, so he could speak to the man as an equal. :: Manius: Dr Corbin. If a patient needs emotional, mental or spiritual help I can think of a number of people qualified to give it, ranging from the counsellor to a religious representative depending on the patient’s needs. I’ve never had a problem referring patients to what you might call ‘sister services’. I hope you are not suggesting that I do not think about what I say to someone carefully enough because I would have to disagree with that. I have an honest and direct approach that gives people the information they need to have. ::Corbin sighed and scratched the short beard he had grown since starting to serve on the Darwin. He reached out and patted Dr. Manius on the arm. He stood and walked around the small office the action helping him get his thoughts in order:: Corbin: How about this Doc, lets say you have a patient who has a diagnosis that does not have a very good prognosis. Lets say only 10% of patients survive with their condition. What would you tell that patient? ::In the situation presented it sounded like the patient was going to need to start coming to terms with the fact they weren’t likely to be around much longer. Jack hadn’t given a timescale and said whether the condition killed someone slowly or quickly. That sort of detail would make a difference, but only up to a point. :: Manius: I would tell them that the survival rate for people in this condition has not been very good in the past but that we will do everything in our power to try and beat it. I would ask them if they have any friends or family that they would like to have around them for support. I would also offer the services of a counsellor. ::Corbin heard the textbook approach to dealing with the a patient with terminal illness. He had seen many doctors take the unemotional, distant approach with patients. However, he had seen first hand how doctors that connected with their patients on an emotional level actually had higher levels of survival.:: Corbin: Doc, what I would call that is the safe approach. You are keeping yourself distant, you are keeping yourself safe. You are not helping the patient cope with the situation you are just spitting out the facts to the patient and letting them deal with it. If you don’t mind, let me tell you a story that happened to me while back on earth. ::Corbin went and sat down in the chair next to the one that Dr. Manius had recently vacated and leaned back looking up at him:: Corbin: I was a very young doctor at the time. Just out of medical school. I was following the head of the department and he was discussing with the wife of his patient about the course of treatment that the staff was going to do with the patient. The patient had been given a terminal illness and was sitting there slumped over, dejected and looking down at his hands. After the other doctor was done I went up to the patient and said. “You look like a man without hope”. He looked up at me angry and shouted, “Of course I am without hope, I have been given less than a month to live.” I took this in stride and looked straight at the man and said “That is a typical patient, however, 5% of people who have your illness survive. You might be one of them. That is why we still do the care.” I then left him and went about the rest of my rounds. 5 years later a man came up to me and shook my hand. He told me that I saved his life that day 5 years ago. Everyone else had told him that he was going to die, while I told him that he still had a chance to live. He ended up being in that 5%. Do you understand the point I am trying to make? We need to treat the whole person not just the body. ::Todd listened to the story with care and by the end of it he felt he was no better off. He didn’t see what was missing, what Corbin was looking for. He couldn’t see how his approach failed to live up to expectations and he still felt he was doing a good job. :: Manius: I don’t see how my approach fails to meet that end. What’s missing? ::Corbin looked up at Todd and tried hard not to sigh. He was just unsure how to get his message across to him without recording him actually seeing a patient which would break a dozen rules:: Corbin: Doc, it’s just how you present the information. I told you, you are a great doctor. You have fantastic skills, the problem is people come away from your care feeling, uncared for, instead of feeling as they should and feeling amazingly cared for and that is just about how you present yourself and your care. Honestly Doc, I am just trying to help you be a even better doctor. Just think on it will ya Doc? Manius: Yeah. ::Todd would think on it because he was committed to his work and cared a whole lot about giving patients the best care possible. It was a bit of a shock actually, to hear that he wasn’t doing as well as he’d thought he was. He felt pretty displeased about it actually, but he had to admit that Jack had guts. He was the first boss he’d had that had ever given some kind of guidance. He didn’t think he could pull a white rabbit out of a hat though. If Corbin wanted him to present information in a different way, then someone was going to have to show him what they wanted. How could he make someone feel more cared for? That seemed to be the question he needed to answer and right now he was drawing blanks. :: ::Corbin looked up at Dr. Manius. He could see the flicker of different emotions cross the man’s face. He could tell he was not exactly convincing or perhaps getting his message across as well as he could. Corbin stand up and puts a hand on Dr. Manius’s shoulder.:: Corbin: Look Doc, I don’t want you to worry too much about it. I just think you are a great doctor and I want you to go far is all. When you have a chance perhaps you can watch Dr. Margariti or I with a few patients. See how we interact and compare it to your own style is all. ::Chuckling:: Just look at the patient interaction and don’t criticize our doctoring okay Doc? ::Todd couldn’t remember ever having criticized his peers doctoring style, so maybe he was taking that comment a little too personally but it rubbed him wrong completely. Surely it had to be a reflection of his own fears because otherwise he feared people had developed some very strange ideas about him. He wasn’t against observing the other doctors a bit more and on reflection, maybe it would be interesting. The truth was he’d never really taken an interest in the other doctors style. He let them do their job while he did his. He’d really been more focused on his own job. His jaw tightened and he took a deep breath but despite his best efforts he couldn’t hold back from asking in a slightly sour way. :: Manius: And just what makes you think I would criticize your work? ::Corbin could not help look surprised at the question. His dark eyes widening. He then clearly sighed and placed his face in his palm.:: Corbin: Todd! I was teasing! Joking. I know you would not criticize us. Maybe it was a poor joke, but I never claimed to be good at comedy. I meant it as a compliment if anything. Look I meant nothing personal far from it. ::Corbin stops at that point and starts scratching his chin and tilting his head looking at Dr. Manius with renewed thoughts. .:: Corbin: oO Perhaps that is the problem, perhaps Todd takes things too literally. I am just not sure how to help that. Oo Corbin: Anyways, I did not mean to cause any ruckus. ::Todd hadn’t liked everything he’d heard but the fact it seemed to come alongside a recommendation softened the blow. He appreciated the honesty and respected Corbin more because he had the guts to speak up, where previously no one else had. It had been a similar case with the counsellor a while back too. He hadn’t agreed with her either. What had she said to him again? He was going to have to think it over and see if there was something he could do to improve his performance and have a smoother journey to the next recommendation. :: Manius: It’s okay sir. I do appreciate the honesty and i’ll think it over. Is there anything else? Corbin: ::Again Corbin had to fight the urge to sigh. He did however run his hand through his hair and shook his head:: No Doc, I will be getting that recommendation to the Captain today. I hope that soon I will be able to call you Lieutenant. And thanks for thinking it over. Manius: Thanks for your time. ::As Corbin watch Dr. Manius go, he sat back down at his desk with a heavy thump. He looked at the recommendation he had wrote for Todd and pressed the send button:: ::Todd headed off. In some ways it had been a strange meeting but overall he was quite happy. He was finally getting a recommendation and even if nothing came of it he felt proud to know that Dr Corbin valued his work enough to put him forward. He couldn’t help but get his hopes up a little with the prospect of getting a promotion at long last. :: A JP BY: Lieutenant (jg) Jack Corbin MD MO USS Darwin - A "Never give up! Never Surrender!" And PNPC Ensign Todd Manius Medical Officer USS Darwin-A Simmed by Reinard
  14. ((Manius’s Shared Quarters)) ::Todd had been in a place of peace and hadn’t wanted to be disturbed. For some time now he’d been vaguely aware of a piercing sound droning on in the background. As time went on and it didn’t stop the sound seemed to grow more insistent. A throbbing sensation in his temples started to accompany it, dragging him from his half-asleep state. He rolled onto his back, scrunching up his face as the pain in his head intensified. :: Manius: Alarm Off! ::There was sweet silence in the room once again, broken for a moment by a relieved sigh. Waking up more fully and blinking his eyes open, Todd realised he had bad photosensitivity too and a slight nauseous feeling. He rolled out of bed with the worst hangover he’d ever experienced in his life. He wasn’t much of a drinker normally, so just what was going on with him lately? :: ::He glanced at his pale face in the mirror, scratching his rough skin as he shrugged off his night wear and began to get dressed. He had pulled on his trousers and was zipping up his teal undershirt when a message arrived for him. He immediately downloaded it to his PADD for convenience, thinking it was a note from the boss. With Phos nowhere to be seen he took the liberty of perching on the edge of her bed as he opened the message. :: ::Right away he saw there was a video attached at the top. Figuring he was meant to watch that first he pressed play but the first sound and sight that greeted him had him so shocked he nearly broke his fingernail when he slammed it down on the screen in an effort to pause it quickly! :: ::This was not something he wanted Phos walking in on and he scurried to the rest room, with his heart pounding hard in his chest. He looked at the still frame, gathering his nerves. :: Manius: oO What the hell is this? Oo ::The video clearly featured him doing something he could not remember a single thing about! He searched his mind frantically to remember where he’d been last night and who he’d been with but all he was drawing was blanks. It looked like the answers to those questions, were right here in his hands. :: ::He pressed play and watched. The more he saw the less he wanted to see but he had to watch it. He had to know what he’d done since he couldn’t remember it. Seeing and hearing himself like that filled him with disgust. He felt the strength drain from him and he sank to the floor, watching with a growing horror the unfolding scene. :: Manius: oO This is completely depraved! Just what the hell is wrong with me? Oo ::He could not believe what he was seeing. Had someone told him he was responsible for this he’d have called them a liar. Even though he could see it with his own eyes he really struggled to believe himself capable of such terrible, shocking actions. What he saw was appalling and rocked him to his core, he didn’t know what to do! :: ::Fear, self-hatred and loathing mixed with disgust. His feeling of nausea amplified as the room started to swim like his jumbled, confused thoughts. :: Manius: oO I can’t believe this. I would never do that… but I just did. There must be some mistake… but how can there be? Who took the video? Have they handed it in to security? Oo ::Todd worried greatly about what would happen next. He was terrified and utterly certain that security would burst in here at any second and haul him off to the brig. He didn’t want that to happen. He was a good doctor! He cared for people and saved them! How could he be that man in the video. That man would likely get court martialed, dishonourably discharged and sent to the toughest penal colony in the Federation. He would be beaten and maybe even eaten by the other prisoners because even they viewed people like him as the lowest of the low. He didn’t want that fate but from what he saw it looked like he deserved it. :: ::When the video finally finished he could barely look at it. Those sounds were going to stay with him forever. His right hand covered his face partially as it all sank in. This changed things for him forever. He almost missed the fact there was a short message at the end. It was from N’Rila and she needed to see him immediately. :: ::Obviously she knew what he’d done but he knew nothing else. Who had captured this video, when, how and why? Had they handed it in to security? All these questions and more buzzed around his head. This was all just far far too much for him to handle. Not knowing what else to do he clambered back to his feet and staggered back through to the bedroom to pull on some socks and shoes. :: ::He was supposed to be starting his shift soon but all thoughts of work had gone from his head. He needed to sort this first and headed through the ship towards the docking port so he could meet N’Rila on Deep Space 6. His heart was still racing and he was barely able to keep it together as he crashed through the crowd. :: ((Deep Space 6, Promenade)) ::N’rila sat quite comfortably on one of the seats outside the Nebula Bar, legs crossed and a Saurian brandy in one hand. She could afford it, or she would be able to afford it, thanks to a get rich quick scheme that she’d just dreamed up. She was pretty pleased with herself, in all honesty. The Takaran had tried to land herself a fortune in latinum on a number of occasions before, but with very little success. This one was going to keep her in the lap of luxury for the rest of her life.:: ::She’d asked to meet up with Todd. Something told her that he would be a little more likely to answer her request now that they’d met up a couple of times. She knew he’d come back to her in the end. She didn’t believe in destiny, but this was as close as it came. They were supposed to be a team and she didn’t like that he’d left her in the lurch for so long. Not one bit. It looked like that was going to be put right from now on.:: ::Sure enough, he eventually pushed his way through the crowd and took a seat opposite her.:: N’rila: Todd. About time. ::He sat in front of her, looking dishevelled and harassed saying nothing for a while. What had happened was bad enough on its own. It was an extremely serious matter and he could not be more deeply ashamed and disgusted by what had happened. Even now he could not remember it and found it hard to accept. Yet here he was because someone else knew his dirty secret and in typical fashion it was the last person in this universe he wanted to have anything to do with. :: ::He didn’t even know what to say to her, or what she would say to him. He had so many questions and yet he was afraid to ask any of them. He wasn’t sure he wanted the answers. He certainly didn’t want to discuss any of this but it was inevitable. He looked around, not wanting to be overheard by anyone and started with a greeting of a sort. :: Manius: N’Rila. ::The Takaran’s tone was sympathetic as she brought up the topic that was obviously on Todd’s mind.:: N’rila: Quite the night you had. You want to talk about it? ::Todd felt pretty close to freaking out and could already feel his face colour and his temperature rise. This was deeply embarrassing and he absolutely did not want to talk about it. One hand went to cover his mouth again and the other raked through his uncombed hair. :: Manius: ::Shaking his head:: Not a good night, so no I don’t want to talk about it. How did you get that? N’Rila: Musia runs the internal sensors in her quarters to visual record constantly. Paranoid about having her quarters broken into. In this case, it looks like her paranoia paid off… ::She couldn’t finish the sentence. The fact that Todd had done what he had done had her surprised. Or did it? Perhaps that was the most difficult thing to wrap her mind around.:: ::Todd could barely believe it but had little other choice. He could speak of all the rotten luck he wanted but ultimately he couldn’t get away from the only fact that mattered. What he’d done wasn’t just immoral, degrading and wrong it was a serious crime. It was clear that there were a few people with the power to turn him in right now, himself included. He was so deeply angry and disgusted with himself that he was tempted to walk right into the nearest security office and confess all his sins. Surely that was the only right thing to do. Yet he was a coward and deeply deeply afraid of where that path would lead. :: Manius: Who else knows? N’rila: Just her and me. She was pretty cut up this morning. ::The Takaran had met with the Orion just a few hours ago and she had passed her the video then. N’rila hadn’t wasted any time in getting in touch with Todd after that.:: ::Todd nodded and kept his eyes lowered, choosing to focus on something on the table. He couldn’t blame Musia for being cut up about it. It was a pretty horrific thing for anyone to experience and he sincerely wished that none of it had happened at all. He would give absolutely anything to take it back but it was impossible. :: :: He may have seemed very callous or at least cold in his responses, at least verbally. He seemed to retreat into himself at moments like this even though the pain and stress of it was unbearable. A wave of nausea hit him and for a moment he thought he might break down completely. He pinched the bridge of his nose and hardened his expression, trying to control his breathing and bottle the emotion that was trying to pour out of him. :: Manius: Ok. What do you intend to do? N’Rila: Well, it’s more what you intend to do, isn’t it? I assume you don’t want anyone else to know? ::She would have thought that was a given, what with his Starfleet career and reputation resting on the fact that he had to be squeaky clean.:: ::He didn’t know what he was going to do actually. He was torn about turning himself in and facing the consequences of those actions. If anyone else had done what he had, he’d want them to face the consequences. He hated the kind of person that did that sort of thing and now he was one of them. If he didn’t turn himself in he would live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. :: ::Yet another part of him was afraid. He knew he should face up to it but he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to face the humiliation. His friends, family and colleagues would never look at him the same again. He would be a hated man and once he was stripped of everything he cared about he would end up in a tough penal colony. There he would be broken and beaten. That was the part that scared him most. :: Manius: I don’t know what to do. ::A desperate new plan formed in his mind:: I guess I could top myself. ::With slumping shoulders:: ::The Takaran narrowed her eyes, weighing him immediately in judgement. She had never heard anything quite so pathetic.:: N’rila: What, so Maviv really has nothing to live for? I imagine that will probably push her over the edge and she’ll no doubt be joining you. Is that what you want? ::Todd felt shocked and alarmed at that, his face flinched and twisted in horror. That was the very last thing he wanted! :: Manius: No! Wait no, that’s not what I want but what else can I do? N’rila: You can never speak of this to anyone and you can make it up to her. That’s what you want, surely? ::N’rila smiled the same smile her friend had seen for years. It came as easily to her as it always had.:: ::Make it up to her? How could be ever make it up to her? He would never ever expect forgiveness for something so grave. Even so there was nothing he wanted more than to make this right somehow. It just sounded too good to be true. :: Manius: There’s nothing I want more N’rila but come on, how can I ever make up for that? ::The Takaran answered in as nonchalant a way as she possibly could. It was all so simple, really, when they looked hard enough at the problem. Sure, this was pretty serious but, when it came down to it, there was enough power still in Todd’s hands to make sure it went away. Maybe that wouldn’t happen straight away but eventually… who knew?:: N’rila: Well, as you know she’s very keen indeed on her racing. Perhaps the thrill and rush of that would be enough to help her forget? At least for a little while? ::Todd didn’t dare laugh even if the very idea that racing could somehow make up for this in any way was completely laughable. He ended up looking up at her with a slack jaw but not quite making eye contact. :: Manius: Seriously? Racing? You think racing can make this better? ::If so he was wondering how exactly he was to fit into this. :: N’rila: Well, it’s been a while, so I don’t expect you to remember how focused your mind gets on doing your job during the race. And maybe winning will help to restore her self worth. I don’t know. I’m not a counsellor. All I know is that if we do win then maybe she could afford to see a counsellor. Unless there’s some other way of us getting hold of some money… ::She looked at him, face carefully neutral, waiting to see how he would respond to that particular statement.:: ::This was incredulous. Did she really believe this was the answer, or was she just using this to recruit him into her team? That would be pretty tacky or her and in all honesty he really didn’t think she would stoop that low. They’d all done questionable things in the past but this went far beyond their combined sins. N’Rila was pushy and determined and Todd didn’t know Maviv enough to know how much she cared about the win. He did know how hard she’d been working for the team though so she had to be pretty committed. :: ::He hadn’t raced in a long time and it took much more focus and skill than plain shuttle flying alone. His reactions would have to be at their very best, he would have to remember team tactics and be familiar with their machine. Even if he agreed to race, the probability of him winning it was very low indeed. Maybe there was another way, preferably one that didn’t involve him transferring the entirety of his earnings to them forever more. :: Manius: How much money are we talking about? N’rila: Probably more than you’re earning, but not something that say… *she dropped her voice* a hundred litres of biomimetic gel couldn’t fix… ::The gel was banned outside of the Federation, thanks to the Khitomer accords. If he was caught with it in his possession then there would be more than just a couple of questions asked, that was for sure.:: ::Todd recoiled because that was no small request. The saying that two wrongs didn’t make a right seemed particularly appropriate right now. That was a lot of gel. As a doctor in Starfleet he stood a much better chance than anyone else of obtaining it He would have to be pretty smart though because if he took all of that from the one location it was going to be missed pretty quickly. :: Manius: You do know what you’re asking right? That’s a lot of gel. I can’t get that all from one place and certainly not all at once. That and there’s nothing I can do for you when out on a tour of duty. ::It was going to be very hard to try and put things right with anyone from the cold confines of a prison colony. :: N’rila: But you can get it in twenties, can’t you? I mean this stuff will definitely shift, so we know we can start making upgrades to the ship as soon as we have a buyer. ::Actually, she already had one, but there was no way she was going to tell him that.:: ::Yeah he could, and he could probably get 20 to 40 if not a bit more today if he put his mind to it. The question was whether he was going to cross the line and do it and even in his current mental and emotional state he wasn’t quite ready to fall that far. Perhaps he would be better off torpedoing that line of thinking and sucking it up with the racing. He could get in a shuttle and fly it one last time to settle a score, they would have to accept the result, even if it saw him finish in last place. :: ::He needed space and time to think about it. The fact she was offering him an out seemed to indicate that he didn’t have to worry about being immediately turned in. He also needed to get to work before his boss flipped because technically his shift should have started by now. In the rush to make the meeting with N’rila he hadn’t even pinned his commbadge on. It was still on his jacket back in his quarters. :: Manius: ::Rising to his feet slowly:: I need to think about it. N’rila: Well, don’t think about it too hard. The decision’s pretty easy, Todd. ::Her tone was less friendly now. He would do what she wanted. People always did what she wanted.:: ::Todd didn’t like her tone there and the conversation had just taken on a more menacing feel. It was easy for her to say that, she had done nothing wrong. It was him who had everything to lose here. It was scary how the whole night was a blank and he didn’t quite feel like this was reality. He had no close friends and absolutely no one he knew and trusted well enough to turn to for help. The closest thing he had right now was N’rila and that was more than a little depressing. :: Manius: See you. ::Stepping away from the table and hoping to make a quick escape. :: ::There was no way he was getting away from her that easily. The Takaran woman didn’t turn in his direction so much as lean a little further in her seat as she called after him.:: N’rila: ::Louder:: I mean, I would hate for Captain Reinard to get a copy of this video. That is your captain’s name, right? The first Laudean captain in Starfleet? He seems pretty important… ::The thought of it turned him weak and he had to steady himself on the back of the closest chair for a second. His face went completely scarlet and he thought he might spontaneously combust. Captain Reinard could not get a copy of the video, no one could. It was increasingly clear that the terms had been set and he had but two choices. Race or steal. The choice between a legal option where failure seemed inevitable and an extremely high risk illegal one was simple. :: ::He turned back to the table and leaned over N’rila, hoping to settle this. He thought back to what she’d said and hoped he’d understood it right. :: Manius: If I agree to race. That will be enough? ::N’rila’s friendly smile returned.:: N’rila: Oh, Todd. You already agreed to race and get the gel. I’ll be at this same spot on the promenade in three days, at the same time. I expect you to meet me with an access code for the cargo bay you have the gel stored in by then, or Captain Reinard is going to be most disappointed… ::All she had to do was just transmit one itty bitty file, after all. The Starfleet medic had made a grave mistake, and she would see to it that he paid for his sins.:: ::There didn’t seem to be any come back from that. The illusion that he had any choice in the matter had been thoroughly stripped away. Three days was no time at all and he could feel the start of a panic attack coming on. The throbbing of his eyes and head seemed to intensify. He was scum and now he was going to be under N’rila’s thumb for as long as she deemed fit. :: Manius: Three days! ::spluttering:: That’s crazy… I need more time than that. ::She didn’t buy it for a second. She knew what Starfleet officers were like, so high in integrity that they would lie to buy themselves enough time in situations like these that they could get the authorities involved.:: N’rila: Well then you may as well head off to the security office and hand yourself on in. Three days is your limit. I’ll be waiting. Manius: Wait a minute. Maybe I should speak to Maviv first… ::If she was prepared to talk to him of course.:: ::N’rila’s lip quivered as she tried to hold her mouth shut, but it was no good. She flat out burst out laughing, drawing the attention of a couple of the passersby.:: N’rila: Are you a total idiot? What makes you think she’d want to see you after what you did? Are you trying to scare her witless? ::Todd sneered, she made him sound like a monster and it was hard to look at himself that way too. He didn’t expect she would want to see him but since it was her that he was trying to make amends with it seemed appropriate. Besides if he was effectively joining their team then she could end up seeing more of him than she wanted. :: Manius: She’ll have to see me sooner or later if I’m doing all this for you. For all I know joining the team could be the very last thing she wants. ::N’rila folded her arms, all hints of a smile vanishing off her face. Todd seemed all too ready to forgive himself and the Takaran wondered whether or not his commanding officer would see things in the same light quite so readily.:: N’rila: I would say that for all you know, you’d better do as I say. Get me the gel, be here in three days, or bye bye career and the whole galaxy will know exactly what kind of a man you are, Todd Manius. Now hurry along. The clock is ticking. ::That was it, Todd was truly beat. He was out of options and it couldn’t be more clear who was calling the shots. There was nothing more to talk about. He had to meet her demands. He had never loathed anyone as much as he loathed himself right now. His original crime was unforgivable and he hated himself well and truly for that and now things were set to get worse. With a tight jaw and thoroughly dejected look Todd nodded. :: Manius: I get it. See you in three days. N’rila: oO There’s a good little minion. Oo ::With that he set back off to his quarters. He should be in sickbay working right now and his presence was probably missed. The trouble was he really felt like he just couldn’t face anyone right now. He just wanted to lock himself away from people and cry and kick and scream until all the emotion was drained from him. The funny thing about his job was that he couldn’t even call in sick without having to see at least one of his colleagues. :: A JP By: PNPC Ensign Todd Manius Medical Officer USS Darwin-A Simmed by Reinard and PNPC N'rila Deep Space 6 SIMmed by: Lieutenant Chen
  15. (( Counselling Suite, USS Garuda )) ::When he was still a young child on Earth, the juvenile advocate in New York City insisted that he be entered into regular therapy sessions. The distaste from those days still lingered with him as he pressed his finger to the panel next to the counseling suite. :: :: He had nothing against counselors, of course - those he’d dealt with were some of the most sincere people he’d ever met. It was the therapy process that made him uncomfortable. Seeking it out made him feel as if he were still broken in the same way that eight-year-old boy on Vulcan had been all those years ago. :: ::The doors opened, and the tall security officer stepped into the room. He’d spent the better part of his life avoiding offices like this one, but it was nice. The Garuda’s normal lighting had been replaced with a full spectrum “skylight” that mimicked real sunlight so accurately that it warmed the skin. There were several soft chairs and sofas, as well as a coffee table, and a much larger table off to one side of the room. Pieces of art were scattered around, and fresh -- or freshly replicated -- flowers stood in a vase on the table. There was no sign of a desk or personal workspace; all in all, it looked more like a living room than an office.:: Delano: Good morning, Commander Valen. :: The younger officer eyed the furniture as if evaluating his options. He finally settled on a small sofa that looked more practical than some of the other options. :: Valen: Call me Carys. ::She deposited herself in one of the chairs nearby, legs crossed.:: I'm not one for formality. ::That much was evident from her uniform. Jacket unzipped, the teal collar underneath unfastened to below the hollow at the base of her throat, she was hardly a good example of a neat and perfectly pressed officer.:: Delano: Of course, Com-- Carys. :: The man’s cheeks blushed green. :: Delano: I’m still getting used to that. The Academy is so rigid compared to actual Starship duty. At least compared to the ships I’ve served on. I’ll try to remember. ::She grinned at him, a quiet chuckle escaping her lips.:: Valen: All I can ask. So what can I do for you? Delano: I was going to make an appointment, but the counseling suite isn’t far from my quarters and ::He paused, then started again.:: I’ve been having a little trouble lately, and I’m not sure if it’s something I should be concerned about. Valen: ::She nodded.:: This is a good place to find out. What's the trouble? :: He looked at the carpet and adjusted his position on the sofa. :: Delano: (quietly) It’s hard to explain. :: He took a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing. :: Delano: I’ve been an officer for over a year now, but I still feel like I’ve just left the Academy. I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately, and now… I don’t know. I worked so hard to get out here. Now that I am, I’m wondering if it was all a mistake. :: He looked to the counselor. :: Delano: Maybe I’m just homesick. Valen: Where's home? Delano: Earth. Near a place called Seminoe. Valen: Do you find that you're thinking about anything in particular? ::She gestured in the air.:: Places you've been, people you spent time with, certain events? :: That was another question that was difficult to answer. :: Delano: Juvenile records are sealed once a minor reaches adulthood, correct? Valen: They are. :: He nodded. :: Delano: There was an incident when I was very young. A boy from my school class was teasing me and I lost control. I hurt him… badly. When it was settled,I was sent to five years on Vulcan, effectively exiled from Earth while my father arranged for me to learn some basic Vulcan meditation techniques. If he hadn’t intervened, I would have been in a correctional facility instead. I’ve been thinking a lot about that moment. What happened. Why. How it shaped me. Delano: (After a pause, he added) And my parents. Home too, of course. I miss the people I left behind, but I’m under the impression that much is normal. ::She offered him a smile, and nodded.:: Valen: It certainly is. ::She paused.:: If you think back to that time, how you felt. Are there parallels to how you're feeling now? Delano: Parallels? No, not exactly. Shadows, maybe? I talked to a lot of counselors after it happened. As an adult, it seems pretty obvious now that I felt like an outsider. The kids in school used to make fun of my ears and eyebrows and such. It used to make me so angry. What I’ve been feeling now - I’m more depressed than angry. Valen: Anger can lead into depression, especially if you believe that you *shouldn't* be angry. You can start to internalise the anger, feeling guilty about it, trying to hide it from others, and so the slippery slope begins. ::She let that rest for a moment, then continued.:: Has there been anything in particular on the Garuda that's troubled you? Delano: There was the incident with Doctor Saveron when I first came on board. :: He explained how the Vulcan’s unexpected appearance had brought back unbidden memories and emotions from the time he’d spent on Vulcan. :: Delano: For a very brief moment, all the shame and frustration of those years just came back at me, and I nearly lost control. :: As she nodded, he flushed again, averting his eyes. :: Delano: This probably isn’t the kind of thing you would want to hear from a security officer. ::She smiled in response, the silver chains of her earring swaying as she tilted her head to the side.:: Valen: It's why I'm here; you've realised you have a problem, and you need a little help with it. It's no different than heading to sickbay with the 'flu. Delano: Perhaps, though I don’t think this is going to be as simple as a hypospray. Valen: True enough. ::She chuckled.:: But then I'd be out of a job, wouldn't I? :: He mirrored her smile as best as he could. In a way, it felt good to talk about this with someone. He hadn’t been this candid with anyone for a very long time. He trusted the Carys, but Evan had always valued his privacy. Only his family - and Mei’konda - knew all of this.:: Delano: One of the security professors at the Academy at a lecture used to say something like: ::He lowered his voice to sound more authoritative :: Delano: “Behind every good security chief is a really good ‘shrink.’” Valen: Wise man. Delano: I thought it was a joke, but I guess I know what he meant now. ::She smiled at him, offering a nod.:: Valen: When we're inside our own heads, dealing with things on our own, it's easy to fall into circular thinking. We can just go around and around, never making any progress, feeling worse with every circuit. A good counsellor can help you step outside of that, give you the tools to recognise unhelpful thought processes and provide you with the tools to get past them. ::She paused, tapping her leg in thought.:: Valen: So you've told me a lot about what brings your mood down. What makes you feel good? Delano: I honestly enjoy my work. Even when I was in Operations, I felt productive and useful. Everyone on Garuda has been very welcoming. Valen: It's great that you're fulfilled by your work, but there's more to life than our jobs. What do you do with your own time? Delano: Outside of work? I guess I like being active. Solving problems. Improving myself. Helping others. Always working towards a goal. I spend a lot of time in the gym and using exercise programs on the holodeck. But I guess that’s just part of my job. :: He looked genuinely surprised. :: Valen: You look as though you've never thought about it in that way before. Delano: I mean, I always have enough to keep me busy. But I was never much for idle hobbies. Alora-- Lieutenant DeVeau, I mean, was suggesting I try taking up a musical instrument a few days ago. Valen: If you enjoy it, that's reason itself to pursue it. Many people find it helpful to have an outlet completely unrelated to their work. Learning an instrument might suit how you like to spend your hobby time -- progressing, improving, working toward a goal -- while with the advantage that you'll never have to fret about how your progression may or may not affect your work. Delano: It sounds like a good idea. I’m not sure music is the right direction for me, but I’ll come up with something. Valen: We've covered a lot of ground so far. I think it might be an idea to leave it there for today, unless there's anything you want to talk about? Delano: Not really. I just felt like I needed someone to talk to about all of this. I really appreciate you making the time without an appointment. ::She beamed a smile at him, rising from her chair.:: Valen: It's no problem. I'll schedule another session, if that sounds good to you. Just let me know if the time doesn't fit into your schedule, and we'll rearrange. Delano: Thank you, Carys. Valen: I'll see you soon. === Lieutenant (JG) Evan Delano Assistant Chief of Security/Tactical USS Garuda and Commander Valen Carys Counsellor USS Garuda
  16. IC: ::Quiet.:: ::That didn't do it. Solok -- or what was left of Solok -- needed quiet to sort things out. But this was not a quiet place.:: Solok: oO Need quiet. Oo Rogers:: oO Yes. Need quiet. Oo ::It wasn't telepathy, exactly, since there really was no "tele-" when you inhabited the same mind as the person with whom you were trying to communicate. But it wasn't just like thinking, either. It required more concentration, more effort. And, of course, there was someone else there.::Solok: oO Captain Rogers -- Will. We need to find a quiet place. Oo Rogers:: The presence of Solok’s ghost spread icy fingers of dread through his body. He knew that ghosts were real. Memories rose up out of his troubled mind to be shared by the shade attached to his body.:: (( Flash back - Isle Of Iona - Earth)) ((Dreaming)) :: Rakis. Will remembered the dry air. The sandy gravel crunched under his feet. Was he dreaming? How could he be on Rakis? In the middle distance he could see two figures. As he watched they raised their weapons against each other. : No ! :: Even as Will called out the bright flash of phased energy leapt out between them. One figure was in darkness however as Will reached the scene he gazed down into the blooded face of Lt Synak. Her lifeless eyes opened gazing into his….. ! :: Will awoke gasping for breath. Adrenaline pumping through his body. oO Rakis ? Synak ? Was her unquiet spirit calling out to him? (( Flash back - Mission during tour on USS Independence )) :: Bypassing the door lock Will entered the Science labs. The place was a mess. Some sort of energy had blasted the area. Scanning the area he was relieved to find no traces of radiation. However he could detect no life signs either. It was somewhat spooky patrolling the destroyed labs. He had to remind himself forcefully that all the Celtic stories of ghosts that he had heard as a boy were just that – stories. Finally deciding that there really was nothing here Will offered up a short prayer then placed a transporter marker on the two dead bodies he discovered. As he was about to leave he felt the hairs on his body stand straight up and a chill run through his body. Whirling around he raised his phaser rifle ! The empty lab stared back at him.::oO [...] it. I’m getting spooked over nothing. Oo:: Feeling like an idiot he none the less he felt compelled to call out.:: Hello ? Is anyone there?:: Taking a shaky breath he turned and headed back to the control room. :: Solok :: Pushing through all of the noise and confusion to form something like a coherent thought in Rogers' mind was exceedingly difficult for Solok. Rogers seemed shocked to "hear" him -- but that was unsurprising. The man probably had no idea what had happened to him. As far as he was concerned, Solok was elsewhere on the Promenade, being prepped for transport to sickbay. From one point of view, an ironically logical point of view, that's precisely where Solok was.:: Rogers:: Looking up Will locked eyes with Sakorra for an instant and suddenly he knew who was inhabiting his body. :: oO Solok ? Oo Solok: oO Try to calm yourself, Will. Our situation will begin to clarify itself, but only if you can achieve a calmer state of mind. Oo Rogers:: Forcing down his growing fear Will tried to focus on Solok’s voice.:: oO Clarify how Solok ? You are dead but I can hear your voice… and share your memories. Oo Solok: oO A non-Vulcan was never meant to possess what you currently possess. The few Terrans who have experienced it have suffered confusion to the point of madness. Vulcans are, on the whole, somewhat less impassioned than Terran.The calmer -- the more Vulcan -- you can become, the easier this should be for you. For us. Oo Rogers:: Breathing deeply Will tried to centre himself. If he could find some type of anchor , something stable to hold onto, maybe he could me sense of this. :: oO What is happening ? Oo Solok: oO It is my katra. All that I am, all that I have learned and known, my very self. You are in possession of my katra, Will. Oo Rogers:: Walking away from the crowd Will heard someone call out to him but kept walking. When he had reached a relatively quiet place he crouched down. The pain in his head was agonising.:: oO This will drive me mad ! Oo Solok: oO Yes, that, or seeing me die on the Promenade out there is the thing that has finally done it -- driven William Rogers mad. A less satisfactory but not implausible explanation. Oo ::It was an odd thought for Solok to have, no doubt influenced by Rogers' fears in some way.:: Rogers:: Punching the deck brought back some clarity although it didn’t do much for his knuckles:: oO Ok so what do we do ? I can’t keep inflicting damage on myself to keep focused. OoSolok: oO A quiet place. You need to meditate. I can ... help you. Oo Rogers: oO Meditation is not one of my strong points Solok. However I am willing to try. Oo :: Will took the short trip in an express turbo lift back to his hotel room and managed to close the doors before slumping to the ground.:: Oo Tell me what to do. Oo TBC. JP Solok and Rogers
  17. ((Security Office, USS Discovery)) ::He had spent the time from releasing the monks into Westerbridge's custody until now organizing Security details and reforming the patrols to protect the critical areas of the ship. Still humiliated at his failure and his complicity earlier, the Gorn was silent and morose throughout the process, despite Daisha's attempts to cheer him up or to comfort him. He snapped orders out of his massive maw and his tone left no room for debate. For the Gorn, friendship was everything. His friendship with Tyr and the subsequent loyalty that friendship provided had been shattered with one uttered chant from the blasted monks. More than once he had considered snapping Ishtahr's neck-the only thing that kept him from it was that he would not do any further damage to his already-tarnished reputation.:: DAISHA: Ghyurn, Dad said it's over. Stop pining. GHYURN: Tyr may have forgiven me, Daisha, but I have not forgiven myself. DAISHA: We can't be strong all of the time, Ghyurn. There will always come a time when we need help from someone. Even you aren't invincible. GHYURN: I never claimed to be. But I claimed to be Tyr's friend. And I would have killed him had the monks ordered me to. Those two thingssss do not reconcile. DAISHA::Sitting on the edge of the desk, sharpening the wakizashi:: So what good are you? ::He paused, looking up from the terminal screen for the first time, his yellow reptilian eyes locking on to the dark ones possessed by his best friend's daughter.:: GHYURN: Excuse me? DAISHA: What good are you, if you won't forgive yourself and you think you're a failure? What kind of a friend can you be, if you truly believe that? Can you defend this ship, its crew, your family, your friends, if you truly believe you're a failure? Can you live with believing that every moment you will betray them if the right singing monk comes along? GHYURN: I don't know. DAISHA: There are things that we can't control in this lifetime, Ghyurn. You've been out here almost as long as Dad has. You KNOW that's true. No matter how powerful, loyal, or faithful you are, something comes along to remind you that you ARE still fallible. ::Snorting:: Life seems to have gone out of its way to remind ME of that. GHYURN: It's not that sssimple. DAISHA: I'm not saying it is. But you've already been beaten by the monks. Do you really want to be defeated again, by yourself? ::The Gorn sat back in his chair, gazing at the young woman who, in spite of her youth, had harnessed her father's wisdom in the last few years. She had grown from an impulsive, aggressive brat of a child to a thoughtful and beautiful young woman. And he loved her, as he would a sister. As he loved Tyr as a brother. Strength from that love flowed through him, and his tail swished thoughtfully.:: GHYURN: You are much wiser than you look. DAISHA::Scrunching up her face:: And you're a lot smarter than YOU look. Now quit sulking and let's get this ship back together. ::Adding:: Sir. GHYURN::Smiling a toothy smile, he stood:: Indeed. ::The comm channel interrupted any further discussion.:: WESTERBRIDGE:: =/\= Westerbridge to Ghuyrn =/\= GHUYRN: =/\= Ghyurn here. =/\= WESTERBRIDGE: =/\= Monks have used some mental powers to overwhelm the security force members in the cargo bay one. The monks have escaped the cargo bay one, and they took some security weapons with them. =/\= ::The furious hiss of the Gorn sent chills down the spines of all who were in the Security wing.:: GHUYRN: =/\= My command codesss. I gave the monks control. =/\= WESTERBRIDGE: =/\= I and security officers became unconscious. I already initiated full security alert to neutralize the monks. The monk are likely trying to take over the ship again. =/\= GHUYRN: =/\= No. They will run. They know we can nullify them. I will alert the bridge. Are you alright? =/\= WESTERBRIDGE: =/\= I am suffering from headache now, and we need medical treatment. =/\= GHUYRN: =/\= Head for sickbay and get checked out. I will deal with the monkssss. =/\= WESTERBRIDGE: =/\= Yes, sir. Right away, sir =/\= ::Calling up the system log, he saw the Discovery cripple a shuttle and then transport it down to the surface. Realizing this was more than likely the shuttle containing the monks, he sighed.:: GHYURN: They are on the surface. Unfortunately alive. DAISHA: We should secure them before they can cause any more mischief. GHYURN: Agreed. We'll monitor from here and transport down once they've secured the wormhole. ::The Gorn glared at the tiny blip on sensors, silently wishing that the monks would be consumed by the heat of the desert, or even better, by their beloved wormhole.:: Commander Ghyurn Chief of Security USS Discovery -and- Lieutenant JG Daisha Waltas Security Officer USS Discovery
  18. (( USS Tiger-A: Transport Docking Bay )) Harley: BAWROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! :: Harley the Basset hound was not happy. He had been contained in a Starfleet-issue kennel for small- to medium-sized mammals and was waiting for someone--anyone--to come back and play or feed him or SOMETHING. Despite his notoriety as an Olympic-class sleeper, he was not in the least bit tired. He hadn't seen Master in what seemed like an eternity (but had really just been the better part of a couple of days, since dogs can't tell time). :: Harley: ROOOOOOOOOOO ROO ROO ROOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! oO If I make lots of noise maybe someone will let me out of here. Oo :: A stern looking man's head leaned down and looked into the kennel and said something. :: Man: 2l3j45lfdo0sjvl23j4;rgjdfvpw; erlmvdsfj;23jlds;glfvg;dlf :: Harley [...]ed his head. Something was happening, as the crate seemed to be moving--he lost his balance for just a brief moment. The opening of the crate--which Harley had very quickly learned wasn't an opening at all, but was covered with some sort of weird invisible forcefield that did NOT feel good (it had zapped his little nose)--was now swinging towards big doors and moving forward. :: Harley: oO A ride! We're going for a ride! Oo :: Settling into the crate, which Harley could not see was being moved via an anti-grav sled, he watched with interest as the corridors whooshed by. Ultimately they arrived at a set of doors. The man spoke again. Man: 234lkjsdfjv;ldkjflsdjfljvbl;djkglsdjfsfljsdfl;s :: The doors whooshed open, the crate moved in, and Harley saw what looked like a flash of light as the forcefield was turned off. He sniffed tentatively. :: Harley: oO It smells like Master in here, maybe just a little bit… Oo :: Harley hesitantly poked his head out of the kennel and saw the man who had been pushing the kennel. He was poking at one of those flat tablet things that Master was always using. Looking around, Harley saw what he recognized as Master's bag--and so he flopped out of the kennel and trotted over to give it a sniff just to confirm what he already knew. :: Harley: Wuff. :: As he sniffed around the new quarters, which Mek had visited very briefly just moments prior, Harley didn't notice that the strange man had reactivated the anti-grav sled and taken the crate away. And like that, the doors to the quarters slid shut--and Harley was alone. Fortunately, Master had put out his bed--a battered foam pillow--and a bowl of food and water, including… :: Harley: oO CHEESE!!! Oo :: As fast as his short little legs would allow, Harley trotted to the bowl and savored the aroma of the big hunk of cheese that Mek had topped his bowl of kibble with… for about two seconds before devouring it in two swallows. Satisfied that no one was going to take his kibble, Harley plopped into his bed and promptly fell asleep. :: (( OOC: Harley is on board! He would've arrived shortly after Mek left to see the captain in her Ready Room. His two greatest loves: Food, and sleeping. )) -- ENS Mek, MD (MED) USS Tiger-A
  19. ((Promenade, Starbase 118)) ::He lay there, dying.:: (( --> Flashback, Stardate 231706.04 -- )) ((Ocean Beach, San Francisco, Earth)) :: He lay there, dying.:: ::Edwin Purdy, a Terran boy with whom Solok had become familiar through his attendance at advanced science lectures in the Vulcan community there, called out at the top of his lungs.:: Purdy: Medic! ((Promenade, SB118, The Present)) Rogers: Medic ! ((Ocean Beach, S.F., Earth, The Past)) Purdy: Anyone, please! A doctor -- call a doctor! ::He leaned down over the Vulcan boy.:: I don't think he's breathing! Help! ::Purdy and Solok had been strolling along the beach, discussing the most recent lecture on temporal mechanics, of which Solok had clearly understood more than he was letting on. Purdy enjoyed his conversations with Solok, despite the fact that he was pretty sure Solok did not -- Solok didn't enjoy anything, really. But he walked along the beach with Purdy anyway, explaining the bits of the lecture that were most confusing.:: ::On their walk, some older boys had blocked their path, sneering and demanding that Solok go home to Vulcan -- pretty ordinary stuff, actually, for non-human teenagers living on Earth. This time, however, Solok had not done what he had always counseled Edwin was the most logical thing to do -- ignore, acquiesce, depart. Rather, Solok had talked back to the older boys -- after suggesting Edwin leave to save himself -- and, as such matters unfortunately often do, the encounter became violent. Solok held his own, administering the Vulcan nerve pinch to one of the boys, but two others had managed to grab Edwin and half-drag, half-carry him to the end if a jetty jutting out into the sea. Solok followed. When they dumped Purdy unceremoniously off the end into the near freezing water, Solok rushed them -- but misjudged his position. One of the boys thrust a leg out in front of the running Vulcan, tripping him before he could stop himself, and Solok fell head first into the water himself.:: ::It wouldn't have been a problem, but as he feel, Solok's head came down hard against one of the pilings supporting the jetty. The blow knocked him unconscious, and he sank before Edwin -- who, having regained his courage, had busied himself with driving their assailants away -- realized that his friend was in trouble. He pulled Solok from the water onto the shore, but not before he noticed the green blood trickling from Solok's temple and the fact that he didn't seem to be breathing.:: Purdy: Lifeguard! Medic! ::He turned to face his friend.:: Hang on, Solok -- ((University Hospital, S.F., Earth)) ::Solok awoke to find himself in a hospital bed with a throbbing headache. Standing over him were his father, Edwin Purdy, and a doctor Solok did not know. He wore a name badge that read "R. Mwangi MD.":: Purdy: He's awake. Mwangi: Solok? Can you hear me, son? ::Solok nodded. It hurt.:: Mwangi: Good. I am Doctor Mwangi. I've been taking care of you since your accident. Solok: It wasn't an accident. ::His voice was very quiet, but he spoke matter-of-factly.:: Mwangi: No, I suppose it wasn't. How are you feeling? Solok: My head ... hurts. ::Mwangi nodded.:: Mwangi: We can take care of that. ::He gestured over his shoulder, and a nurse handed him a hypospray. He injected Solok.:: Just give it a few seconds. In the meantime ... what do you remember? Solok: I tripped, and fell ... ((Promenade, SB118, The Present)) ::Lights flashing. People screaming. Cold. Tired. Three decks down, and then ... dark.:: ((University Hospital, S.F., Earth, The Past)) Mwangi: And after that? Solok: I -- I don't remember. Purdy: It was awful, Solok. You -- ::Solok's father's expression was grim. As usual.:: Spivak: Allow the doctor to speak, Mister Purdy. ::Mwangi gave Purdy an encouraging look before turning to his young patient.:: Mwangi: You hit your head pretty hard on the pier, and inhaled a fair amount of water. If your friend hadn't been there to help ... Frankly, you're lucky to be alive. Spivak: Vulcans do not believe in luck. ::Mwangi smiled.:: Mwangi: Well, perhaps you should start. ::Solok would hold this moment in a special place in his memory. It was the first time anyone had saved his life -- and the first time anyone had ever contradicted his father in his presence.:: Spivak: Is there anything further, Doctor? Anything having to do with your medical expertise? Mwangi: No, I don't think so. ::He turned to Solok.:: Get a lot of rest, son. Everything is going to be fine. ((Promenade, SB118, The Present)) Rogers: Hang on Solok help is on the way. ::Solok was almost totally unaware of his surroundings, but even so some part of him understood the gravity of the situation. He could hear Rogers' voice and, opening one eye a crack, could make out a blurry version of the man kneeling beside him. Solok reached out one hand, moving it toward Rogers' face as best he could, relying in large part on Rogers to intuit what was necessary and move closer -- which he did. Solok's trembling fingertips made contact with the crucial points at Rogers' temple and along his jaw, and Solok whispered a few words in Old High Vulcan. They weren't really necessary, but they suited the situation -- and if Solok was going to have the luxury of last words, he thought it proper that they be in the ancient ceremonial tongue of his people.:: ::A second later, Solok's hand dropped from Rogers' face. The deed was done. Whatever it was that was Solok, his essence -- his katra -- lived now, too, in Rogers' mind.:: ::Within moments, Rogers had moved aside and Sakorra was there, next to him, trying to comfort him. He appreciated that she was there, with him, then.:: Reed: I forbid this, Sa-telsu. You are not allowed to leave. ::Her words were forbidding, but her presence was nothing but supportive. Her fingers had already found those same contact points on Solok's face that Solok had found on Rogers', and when she closed her eyes, she began searching for him, telepathically. With just enough of a hold still on his body, Solok let her find him. There was one message he needed to communicate before whatever happened to him here happened.:: Danzia: First things first, we need to stop the bleeding. ::He wanted to point out to the Counselor that he was past saving, and that expending time and energy on his behalf was illogical -- but he could not. The words wouldn't come, and besides, he was sure he couldn't operate his mouth any more.:: Atimen: Starfleet Security. ::He grumbled, his height overshadowing them.:: Keep your distance or move along. This is a medical emergency. Danzia: Captain, if you could please find a medkit. DyAmone: Here. ::She handed the medkit to Danzia and moved in to assist. :: Danzia: :: letting out a breath :: Thanks. ::Solok watched it all transpire, not as if floating above his body in some Terran out-of-body fantasy, but through Rogers' eyes. It was ... fascinating, naturally.:: Rogers:: Feeling strangely detached Will sat on the deck and watched their efforts to save Solok. He was having trouble seeing clearly and wondered if he had hit his head getting here ? Danzia: Sakorra, try and get him into a healing trance if you can. ::Solok felt Sakorra reach again into his mind, trying to help, but he stopped her as effectively as if he had laid a hand on her arm to restrain her. He felt her curiosity, her concern, her disbelief, her love. He could see the grief welling up inside of her, still contained but ready to burst forth at any moment. His spirit gentled. He let his mind withdraw fully from his body, severing the mind meld with Sakorra in the process. He exhaled without inhaling again. Every muscle in his body tensed, and then relaxed. And then his heart stopped.:: Lieutenant Commander Solok Chief Operations Officer USS Drake ((OOC Note: A few open tags in the original post were filled in ex post facto, so while 99% of the content in this sim belongs to Solok's writer, a handful other Drake crewmembers contributed to the finished product. A few, very very minor, adjustments were made by me to clip the posts together and for clarity, but do not substantially alter the post in any way. --Didrik Stennes))
  20. ((USS Avandar, Holodeck One)) :: The afternoon had come quickly. A little too quickly for T’Lea’s liking. She could have used an entire twenty-four hours more to do what she needed to get done, which was basically procrastinate. But the time had come, and ready or not the gathering in the holodeck had begun.:: :: With Gina and T’Sara in tow, T’Lea entered the staging area of what was to be… what the hell….?:: :: She stopped cold as the doors opened to reveal the surface of Romulus.:: :: The silken dark blue dress smoothed against her body as the tepid Romulan wind swept across the deck. T’Lea looked around at the scenery, more than at the people, just to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating. She wasn’t. The architecture was distinctly Romulan, so was the foliage.:: :: She was clearly disturbed.:: :: She’d only been to Romulus once and as much as she had tried *not* to like it, and *not* to let it affect her emotionally, it had.:: :: [...] it. Of all the times!:: :: As if this gathering wasn’t going to be difficult enough for T’Lea to get through already. Now… now it was going to be… The word “impossible” disappeared from her mind when she caught Della’s smile. For T’Lea the Trill’s warm smile could heal a fatal wound.:: :: From across the way, the hybrid reassured the Trill that this was okay with a soft smile of her own. In truth, she had bigger things on her mind than what it meant to stand on Romulus again. Then again, she thought, maybe this was just the perfect setting.:: T’Sara: Wat dis? :: When T’Lea glanced down at the little girl who had reached for her hand, she raised a sober Vulcan brow, trying to keep her emotions out of her response.:: T’Lea: This would be Romulus. It’s part of who you are. T’Sara: Wom-u-us. :: The little girl considered the landscape for a moment, and then considered the pointy-eared male in the group, and then finally her pointy-eared mother again.:: T’Sara: Wom-u-us has sad? :: T’Lea glanced down at her little girl and gave her a forlorn smile and squeeze of her tiny hand. It was clear that the empathic child was picking up some unhappy vibes.:: T’Lea: Yes. It is sad. Come on, let’s go say our greetings. :: T’Sara held up her free hand in a Vulcan greeting as she toddled alongside her mother.:: T’Sara: Libs long an’ posburb. T’Lea: That is correct, little nug. Live long… :: T’Sara’s little feet hurried to keep up with her mother as they cross the grass. The hand she was holding kept her from taking a tumble, but her legs were getting quite a workout. Luckily, they’d stopped soon enough where the other grown-ups were gathered.:: :: The child stuck her hand up in Vulcan greeting to the grown-ups, and was about to say something, but decided she was bored already and wandered over to a tree.:: TBC -------------------- Lt. Cmdr. T’Lea H&A Specialist USS Avandar
  21. ((Cargo Bay 1, USS Discovery-C)) ::The cargo bay door was brought down in a fiery show of phaser beams and smoke. Brother Ishtahr turned around swiftly, his eyes filled with venomous rage. Security officers moved silently inside, securing the cargo bay, making the monks restless. All except Ishtahr, who maintained a posture and expression carved from stone.:: WALTAS: ::walking up to the monk:: Brother Ishtahr, so good to see you again. ISHTAHR: ::voice cold as ice:: Salutations, Captain Waltas. ::He did not bow this time.:: ::Rather, he closed his eyes and raised his arms and head heavenwards, chanting loudly and indignantly, the other monks soon joining in. Their combined voices strove to acoustically overpower the shipwide countertone.:: ISHTAHR: ::rapturous voice:: To incur the wrath of Arthfael is to invite Death into your heart and home!! Arthfael is just!! Arthfael is the one true God!! Praise be to Arthfael and his prophets!! Praise be to Arthfael!! Praise be to Arthfael!! Praise be to---- ::A clawed hand tightened around his neck.:: GHYURN: I will sssssnap your neck for what you made me do. ::Ishtahr choked and coughed, struggling to pry the claws off of his neck. He was unsuccessful. Yet he smiled. A cold, demented, vicious smile.:: WALTAS: Ghyurn, let him go. He's powerless now. ::The Gorn dropped him and rummaged through his robes to retrieve the Captain's katana. The stranded Bridge crew rematerialized in the cargo bay, dehydrated and sunburnt. His sharp eyes spotted an ancient book in the hands of the First Officer. Despite the apparent defeat, he laughed softly.:: ISHTAHR: oO They think they have all the answers because they have found the book. Fools! Oo It has only just begun! You cannot deny Arthfael!! ::The ship shuddered with an unearthly force. The monks all fell to their knees, praising their chosen deity.:: WALTAS: The wormhole.. ISHTAHR: Come, my brothers! Let us pray! The hour is upon us! ::The monks grouped together in a tight circle and whispered hymns and sang canticles. There was no longer a need for hypnotic chants. The proximity of the ship to the wormhole would almost certainly lead to it being swallowed into the vortex. The prophecy would be fulfilled, as it was written.:: ISHTAHR: Pray for your souls, brothers, and for all the souls of our brothers and sisters across the universe. Arthfael will keep us safe in the coming Rapture and lead us to Heaven! We shall watch the Infidels be slaughtered by His wrath!! ::His inhuman cackle echoed eerily across the room. A lonely, desperate cry for help that history would soon forget.:: TBC =============================== Brother Ishtahr Brotherhood of Mikaere The Temple of Arthfael as simmed by Commander Raj Blueheart XO USS DISCOVERY-C
  22. "The responsibility for destiny rests squarely on our own shoulders." —Ra-ghoratreii, President of the United Federation of Planets, 2293 (( USS Pollux, 2404 )) :: Aron Kells was a fleet captain, in general command of Starfleet Science's 17th fleet of research vessels heading coreward from the frontier of explored space in the Beta Quadrant, expanding upon his work with the Mercury in years previous -- and as a fleet captain, he was not used to traveling in vessels as small as the Pollux, even though it was an advanced argonaut, successor to the earlier runabouts. He cruised at full impulse toward the sixth moon of the third gas giant around Epsilon Camelopardalis after having warped in a fair distance away; he preferred a slower approach so that he could think a bit as he got closer. He wasn't really sure what he was about to say, but he was certain that, even though he'd easily commanded captains and ships for a few years, confronting an old crewmate was not the easiest thing he'd ever done... ...and it was made even more difficult by the sudden ringing of the proximity alert. He scrambled toward the controls -- all he needed was to be blown apart by a Gorn Interceptor -- but as soon as he saw the ship's profile, he relaxed half a dozen hairs. What was a Cavell-class hospital ship doing out doing this far without an escort? His communication system began to ring at once, which at least meant that he was about to get some answers. He triggered the system and the holosystem displayed the face of an old friend. :: KELLS: Commander del Vedova, it's been a while. DEL VEDOVA: It has indeed. May I ask what you're doing so far from the 17th fleet, sir? KELLS: You may not. My leave time is my own. Although I may ask what you and the Chebotaryova are doing so far from sector 775? DEL VEDOVA: You know it all, sir, as always. KELLS: Not at all; I merely pay attention to the comings and going of old friends. (beat) This situation is no different. DEL VEDOVA: It is. She would not want you here. That time has passed. KELLS: Maybe. Maybe not. I'm still going down there. DEL VEDOVA: I can only ask you not to. KELLS: And you've done so. Pollux, out. :: He cut the channel and the hologram disappeared. The Chebotaryova cruised after him and Aron, who knew Del better than the commander thought -- or remembered -- knew he had just a moment before the hospital ship engaged its tractor beam. He triggered the Pollux's warp engines and, for several seconds, jumped to warp. He brought the Pollux out of warp just outside of the moon's atmosphere and began his descent immediately; even if the Chebotaryova followed him, which he didn't think Del would do, it wasn't rated for atmospheric flight and Del would not beam down after him. He brought down the argonaut toward the sole transponder on the planet, though he realized as he descended that if she really didn't want to be found, it was unlikely that she would be there. As he skimmed low over the world ocean, he realized that the signal was not leading him toward one of the seamounts, but was bringing him to an area of ocean above a deep abyss. Was the community underwater? No. He saw it as he crested the next horizon, and he slowed quickly from mach one down to a more appropriate speed. The island was not the technological marvel or flotilla that he'd first assumed it was, it was a collection of old oceangoing vessels welded and, in some cases, wedged and roped together. It was still a puzzling act of engineering genius, and this observation made Aron realize that he had been correct. He brought the Pollux down at the landing pad beside the transponder, but before he could open the outer door, his comm unit began to ring again. He tabbed it on, expecting Del to give him another try; but it wasn't him, it was a being, humanoid probably but not entirely certain, with its face covered with a mask. Some sort of mask etiquette? Well, he couldn't have known, and now he could only hope that this individual would say what he or she had to say anyway. The computer relayed that the call was coming from on the floating conglomeration, and Aron felt his heart leap. What if this was her? :: OVERSEER: You are unwelcome here. :: No, unlikely: Even with the passage time, he couldn't see how her voice would sound like that. :: KELLS: Excuse me. I am Fleet Captain Aron Kells of the Federation Starfleet's 17th fleet, and I am accustomed to an explanation before I receive a complete rebuff. OVERSEER: You have no jurisdiction here. These are not your stars or your planets. Leave, now. KELLS: No. (beat) I'm here to meet with someone. An old -- acquaintance. Roshanara Rahman. :: The mask prevented his easy determination if the individual had recognized the name, but the brief pause before the being's reply suggested to him that either he was completely wrong, or she was here and this person didn't want him to know. :: OVERSEER: Not here. Not here. You, leave, now. KELLS: If necessary, I can scan this complex easily, find her, and beam to her location. I'm respecting your autonomy by not doing so, but-- OVERSEER: You cannot. :: It was said too quickly, too easily to be a full lie, so Aron ran a quick and surreptitious scan. The speaker was correct: Aron's sensors couldn't penetrate the floating island; there was some sort of powerful dampener in effect. Again, he took this as confirmation that she was there. Who else could have done it? :: KELLS: Then I'll search by foot. OVERSEER: You will not. We will not let you. :: But Aron was losing his patience. :: KELLS: A phaser on its maximum setting could blow a hole straight through one of these rusting barges and founder this whole [...] scumtrap. Understood? :: There was a slight growl from the other party before he or she switched off the monitor temporarily before turning it back on again. :: OVERSEER: You may stay for one hour. We do not guarantee she will see you. Regardless, you will leave in one hour, or we will call for the Gorn. They are not such gracious hosts as we. KELLS: One hour will be more than sufficient. Out. :: Aron snapped off the projector, and the masked man was gone. He pulled the weapon he'd promised from the storage locker and, even though the interference was still going strong, pulled out a tricorder and a couple of other sensing devices. Better to be prepared either way. The stink of this overly salinated sea, the rusting barges, and the excrement of the indigenous animal life (one bird of which kept circling his head, making a sound like a wildebeest during childbirth) kept him from forming even the slightest desire to be there more than a second more than he had to -- but he also knew that he wasn't about to back off now. He just tried not to breathe too deeply as he searched around. Thankfully, he began to run into a few individuals, all of whom wore masks, but also, now that they were more than just holograms, he could identify positively as Dopterians. What they were doing out here, and with some kind of bizarre mask etiquette, though, he couldn't say. Religious? Cultural? Sect-social? Studying the cultural practices of sentients was not at all his field, and so he had very little to offer them -- as they did him, as all his requests for information fell on deaf ears. Maybe literally? Was it possible that the Dopterians were all deaf? He shrugged to himself. The few "buildings" he saw were rough and constructed of metal sheets, not engineering marvels at all, but after he saw one Dopterian emerge from a hidden section of the hull, his heart sank. He could count the buildings he saw on two hands, but if he had to enter some kind of sub-labyrinth and search, there was no way he'd do that in an hour. Thankfully, he at last ran into a Dopterian who indulged his request for information about a Kriosian female by pointing to the very last building on the floating mistake, so close to the bow's edge that it continually caught the spray and, maybe, he thought, sounded like it was raining inside. Not such a bad place to live. However, when he knocked, he found nothing inside except a device he didn't recognize about the size of his head. It was humming slightly and lit up in shades of green-blue every few seconds -- and, according to his suddenly completely useless tricorder, was the source of the jamming. He took aim with his phaser and blew it up, one fluid motion, almost without thinking. With the signal gone, the tricorder found her in less than five seconds. He exited the small building and headed aft, toward a large cargo container grafted onto its similar neighbors. Unlike the other buildings, all of which tended to face inward towards some sort of mockery of "town," this one, like its fellow on the bow, faced out toward the sea. Aron took the stairs two at a time and met there three masked Dopterians, one of whom he recognized (he thought) as the one he'd spoken to in the argonaut. The overseer beckoned to him and then continued climbing, up toward the building's very top. As they climbed (more slowly now that Aron wasn't charging ahead), Aron realized that this building was built very much like a lighthouse: And perched there at the top was a small dwelling. *This*, he thought, this would be it. Correct! But they didn't have to knock or go looking or anything, because there she was, standing outside, waiting. The overseer stepped toward her and Aron, despite every act of bravado up through that point, shrunk back. :: OVERSEER: Excuse me, Roshanara. You have a visitor. :: He looked over at Aron. :: OVERSEER: He was most insistent. :: Now Rahman's eyes found him, but he couldn't meet them. From what he could see, though, there was no emotion there. A big … nothing. :: RAHMAN: I know. KELLS: Rah-- Lieu-- (beat) Roshanara. I've come a long way. Will you talk with me? :: But she ignored him, didn't answer, and turned to the Dopterians. :: RAHMAN: It's all right. You may leave us. :: His three companions turned almost at once to go, leaving the two alone much more quickly than Aron had expected. He opened his mouth to speak, but she beat him to it. She was still quite expressionless. :: RAHMAN: I'm not leaving with you. If that's why you're here or if Del sent you. KELLS: It isn't. At least, not exactly. If you wanted to go, I *would* take you. (beat) But, no. What I really want to do is talk. RAHMAN: Your determination was evident from the moment you landed. KELLS: You knew-- Never mind. Of course you knew. :: She nodded and beckoned him into her little dwelling. Inside, he found that he'd been right, or at least partially: The walls were rounded and mostly transparent, though he doubted there was a light. She'd have an excellent view. Except for the smell, the company, and the likelihood that the whole thing would sink at any moment, it was almost nice. :: RAHMAN: Fine, then. You can tell me why you're here over a cup of coffee. The Dopterians don't share my fondness for caffeine. KELLS: I can't say I do much, either, these days, but all right. :: Inside, "decorating" the place were various strange contraptions and monitoring devices for the structural integrity of the community. There were half-assembled pumps and other pieces of equipment laid out on a workbench and on the floor. Clearly, the little studio served both as her quarters and her workshop. She had him sit down on a chair between the curving window and a bookshelf paired with another chair. Strange, really, since it was clear she didn't receive visitors often. The chair Aron sat in felt barely used at all compared to the worn out seat across from him. She poured him a cup of coffee and sat down herself. :: RAHMAN: Forgive Mister Hahtal. He is rather paternal over his people. KELLS: Oh, I can understand that. (beat) But are *you* one of his people? :: It was meant as a rhetorical question, but there was a hint of a true question to it, as well. Was she? If she'd already decided that she was, then maybe there wasn't much he could do or say. :: RAHMAN: I suppose. Is that why you're here? KELLS: I'm not here to call you back to Starfleet or assemble the old gang for one last hurrah or anything like that, if that's what you think. (beat) Nor am I here to otherwise engage you in some kind of outdated power relationship. RAHMAN: I didn't think so. It's all right. I already have a father. :: She smiled, though not at him, as she stirred cinnamon into her coffee. :: RAHMAN: And a Dopterian who'd like to think of himself that way. KELLS: I-- what? No, that's not what I mean, not at all! I'm here to *apologize*. :: Well, there it was, spoken plainly. He didn't even need to say what for, because her knowing look was a little too knowledgeable, her stirring a little too mechanical, her face a little too devoid of any care to prove that she didn't *really* care. :: RAHMAN: It's all right, captain. You did what you needed to do. For your ship. For our ship. KELLS: Maybe. But that doesn't make your dismissal right. It's always been my goal to work *with* my crew, not against them. Maybe the books do say that you should have been discharged. I should have said to hell with them! I shouldn't have -- you know, listened. :: If she agreed with him, she didn't reassure him with a nod or other sign of approval. Instead, she looked off into the distance, out to the rolling waters that lay beyond the windows. :: RAHMAN: It was a difficult time after I left the Mercury. Frustrating, disheartening... and frightening above all else. At least during my first rehabilitation after the Tempest, I still felt... like myself. But after you discharged me... it was as if a piece of me disappeared every day, until I didn't recognize myself at all. :: She then turned back to him, her green eyes reflecting his. :: RAHMAN: That is... until I realized I just needed to get away. KELLS: But that's what I'm telling you: You didn't have to. You still don't, not if you want to leave this place and come back. I know I said I wasn't here to bring you back, but I'm here and *if* you want to come back.... :: But he could see her frown already forming. :: KELLS: You don't have to answer immediately. Think about it. There are alternatives-- :: She put her cup down to interject, although her voice remained calm. :: RAHMAN: No, there's no other way. At least not for me... :: She held her breath for a moment, obviously expecting him to fill something in. He looked at her quizzically. :: RAHMAN: Or didn't he tell you? KELLS: Tell me-- tell me what? :: And who was "he"? The Dopterian overseer? :: RAHMAN: Hmmph... I had just assumed... :: Another grin formed, teasing him. :: RAHMAN: ...since I figured he told you everything else eventually. :: Not at all, or at least that didn't make sense with her response. Then it clicked, the only person she could be talking about. Indeed, the only person for whom that particular, almost joking smile made sense. :: RAHMAN: "Recommended for medical isolation." That was Del's final report. Not quite a quarantine since I don't have a disease per se... but basically, I've been diagnosed as incapable of living as a functional member of society. KELLS: And you, you saw that as some sort of betrayal, because you-- you're-- RAHMAN: No, captain. I agree completely with that assessment. :: She laughed then. :: RAHMAN: Yet ironically, I can't even check into an actual asylum for such isolation. Too much stimulus... and so, I decided to do what an engineer would do if she had a faulty component in a system: take it out. KELLS: And replace it with what? You aren't a power converter to be produced by a replicator en masse when you burn out, all right? You -- you're a person. With a-- a problem, maybe. But not *faulty*, not *broken*. All right? :: It was important to him that she understood this, and when she failed to do anything but maintain her benign expression, he rose from the chair, his anger overwhelming. He stared out at the sea. :: RAHMAN: It was supposed to be temporary. Del tried to be a saint-- no, he *was* a saint. He worked tirelessly for several more years on his own, long after the rest of the medical teams had shifted onto other newer, more interesting, and more promising cases. In fact, before you, he was the only other person who sat in that chair to join me for a cup of tea. :: She picked up her cup again. :: RAHMAN: Hmmph, he doesn't really like my coffee, either. KELLS: (softly) So that's why he left. Where he went. RAHMAN: But eventually, I told him he needed to stop coming here. He needed to move on with his own career. :: Oh, Aron remembered that well: How Del had been so devoted to his career after the end of his engagement back in 2389, how he'd made it through lieutenant commander and chief medical officer and had then plateaued. No, worse than: He'd given up. Sunk back down in the department, had been in danger of demotion, and had taken leaves that often went a few days past when they were supposed to end. He'd told Aron once, in the darkest corner of a moment, that he was considering leaving Starfleet, and when Aron had asked why, Del had told him it was for an old friend. Not that he'd thought much of that then, but now-- :: KELLS: It worked. He did. He moved on with a lot of things. (beat) He's a commanding officer now, of a small hospital ship. He had to be talked into the commission, but Command was insistent, what with the war and whatnot. :: With his back turned to her, he didn't see how the news caused her face to light up with joy. It was her first genuine reaction of their conversation. :: RAHMAN: I'm glad to hear that. He was rather argumentative about the whole thing when he was last here -- I'm sure that's hard to believe. :: Aron allowed his smile to flicker back as he turned around. :: KELLS: I think I can trust that it's true. RAHMAN: ::shaking her head:: And he had promised he would keep where he hid me a secret... for real this time. KELLS: He did. :: He shook his head at her polite incredulity. :: KELLS: He didn't tell me anything. I found you all on my own. (beat) He did try to stop me, once he knew what I was doing. I mean, once he sort of knew what I was doing. I don't know that he was at all certain what I would do when I got here. (beat) Nor was I. (beat) But you-- you, here and now. I sort of understand, or I think I do, that what you really need is to be left alone. (beat) Yes. :: She smiled again before taking a sip of her coffee. :: RAHMAN: Well, good. Better late than never. :: What more was there to say? Oh, there were the usual polite goodbyes, but the end of the conversation had come and they both knew it. Aron's trip back to the argonaut was quick -- the Dopterians were polite now, but it was clear that they wanted him to leave. He wanted to, as well; he found that in that moment he had never wanted anything more. But, again, once he was above the water moon, he found that he didn't jump immediately to warp. To be at warp was to admit the momentum of the situation, and that he wouldn't do. He stayed at impulse as he passed two outer planets, and only was shaken out of his reverie by the ringing of the comms system. He activated it, and there was Del's head waiting for him. :: DEL VEDOVA: She's gone. :: His voice was almost and carefully devoid of feeling, but Aron knew him better than that: Del was seething. :: DEL VEDOVA: The colony is in an uproar! They think "her visitor" kidnapped her somehow. She's left no trace, nothing even for me to follow. It really does look like-- (beat) I can only assume that wasn't you. KELLS: Oh, no. I did visit her. But she isn't with me. She must've.... :: He didn't finish the thought. Instead, he smiled. :: DEL VEDOVA: What? KELLS: Nothing. Nothing at all. Fleet Captain Aron Kells Commander, 17th Fleet, Starfleet Science & Roshanara Rahman Patient Reference Number 912-804-117
  23. ((USS Vigilant, An Unspecified Location)) ::Chen had only just barely been able to concentrate on his shift. He’d spent almost the whole of the previous evening making preparations, checking replicator patterns, making reservations and setting up what he hoped would be a super-enjoyable evening for Greir. He knew that they had both been on alpha shift, which had finished just over an hour ago. It was now 1702 hours and time to set things into motion. Having been monitoring internal sensors in a specific section of the corridor on deck 2, Chen had visual confirmation that everything was clear to initiate a site-to-site transport for a particular item that he wanted to help kick-start the evening. Ensign Coxon in the transporter room had been particularly accommodating, agreeing to grant permission for use of the system without him having to explain in too much detail what he was trying to do. She’d said something about a game called ‘knock-a-door-run’, which he was still meaning to look up.:: ::With the item in place, he touched a panel on a nearby console to establish contact over the comm.:: Chen: =/\= Chen to Reinard. =/\= Reinard: =/\= Reinard here, go ahead. =/\= ::Chen knew that his one and only regret for the night would be that he would not get to see Greir’s reaction to what was about to happen. He had a feeling it was going to go down well.:: Chen: =/\= There’s someone at your door with a clue for tonight. I’ll see you soon. Chen out. =/\= ((USS Vigilant, Deck 2: Greir Reinard’s Quarters)) ::Greir had been pacing about the room for a while with restless excitement. He was really looking forward to tonight and the fact he had no idea at all about what they were going to be doing added an extra layer of excitement.:: ::He rushed to the door and did his best impression of calm as he opened the door. He was expecting someone to be there and was a little surprised until he looked down and saw what was waiting for him.:: ::He stooped down and picked it up, barely able to contain his excitement!:: Reinard: oO What a thoughtful gift! I’m so glad to have this back, and what's this? It didn't have this before. Oo ::Greir had discovered the little note in the owl's claws. Greir could only guess that he'd had to claw through the replicator patterns to find this. It looked as though it was standing on it. He took it out and unfurled it. The clue indicated he needed to get to holodeck 1 and bring a jacket.:: ::Greir took the owl and put it back in its pride of place. He was going to have to fix that cabinet now. Then he rushed over to the replicator and pulled up his wardrobe and looked in the jackets folder. He didn't have time to waste and picked his very favourite one of all.:: ::The jacket had a fine fleece lining on the inside, was blue on the outside and complemented his markings. He put it on and did the zip, which was off-centre to his right, 3/4 of the way up. He folded the top down so it formed a neat v-shape and strutted off down the corridor feeling confident. He was, as always, the most stylish guy on the ship. In his opinion he should be modelling this stuff.:: ((Deck 5: Holodeck 1)) ::It didn't take long for Greir to arrive at holodeck 1. Chen was stood outside, waiting for him, clad in a dark grey hoodie with a diagonal zip and a pair of smart but comfortable jeans that hung over the tops of his favourite, trademark black boots. He knew Greir would turn up looking like a million bars of latinum and he smiled as he saw just how stylish his choice of jacket was. Needless to say, his antennae were focussed on Greir from the moment he came into view. He held out his palms for a traditional Laudean greeting, just like their previous dates.:: Chen: Hey! How’re you doing? ::Greir touched his palms to Chen’s in response to the greeting and let it linger for a while.:: Reinard: I’m doing well thank you. I see you are as slick as ever. Are you doing well? ::As usual, Chen didn’t want the palm-touching to end, but the first part of their date lay inside the holodeck.:: Chen: I’m doing great, and I had a feeling you’d rock up here looking amazing. I’m loving the jacket. Good call with the fur, you might need it. ::His own jacket was much flimsier and more likely to protect him from the wind than anything else. Not that the program was going to involve much of that. He had control over the weather, with something spectacular planned for part way through their visit.:: Reinard: Thank you. ::Looking pleased with the complement:: It’s one of my favourites. Chen: I bet the suspense is killing you, right? Shall we go inside? ::Chen couldn’t actually bear to wait any longer himself, but he was absolutely playing it as cool as a cucumber.:: ::The suspense was almost too much to bear but Greir didn’t want to reveal how much he’d been looking forward to this. He played it a bit cool.:: Reinard: ::Smiling:: I have been looking forward to this. Chen: So have I. C’mon! ::The doors to the holodeck slid open effortlessly to reveal a hilltop vista. A path stretched out for miles before them, twisting and turning across the peaks and valleys of the landscape. Fronds of new, blue-green grass pushed through the soil and coated the hillsides; they were reminiscent of a giant land sculpture of the ocean, each hill representing a rolling wave, tumbling gently towards an unseen shore...:: ::...and talking of shores, while the landscape to the right of them descended into a patchwork of fields, ploughed and awaiting their own first signs of life, to the left of them an aerial view of a reasonably sized town gave way to an expansive beach and the ocean itself. The sun, blue by nature but shining as an off-white, hung low in the sky. It would not be long before it set.:: ::Chen and Greir stepped inside. The doors closed behind them and faded into nothingness, completing the scene. The change in temperature was noticeable almost immediately. Chen was as used to it as he was the ambient temperature of a starship, so he knew it would not take him long to adjust, but the cool air and the cold breeze would probably make Greir glad of his jacket soon enough.:: Chen: What do you think?::Greir took a few moments to really look around and fully take in his surroundings. Due to the fact that much of his career had been spent on a star base he hadn’t visited too many other planets. He’d been on holo adventures of course but he had a feeling he knew where he was and it seemed to make this even more special. This place was among the most beautiful places he’d seen.:: ::The simulation sure was realistic and he could already feel the cool air on his face, neck and hands. He didn’t think it would be long before he zipped the jacket all the way up and if he was still cold the hood would soon be coming up over his ears too. His hands automatically found their way into his jeans pockets since his jacket didn’t have any.:: Reinard: This is your home world? It’s really spectacular! Definitely ranks among one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. ::Chen was really pleased that Greir had cottoned on so quickly to where they were, and that he appreciated the view. He’d thought long and hard about what to do on their date.:: Chen: Thanks, and you got it in one! Welcome to Andoria or, more specifically, the hills above my home town. That’s the Anshim ocean over there where I used to go swimming as a kid. ::He pointed at the town.:: That’s Irimari. My house is somewhere down there. You can’t really see it that well from here, but I know somewhere we can stop that has an even better view. I can show you a little better from there. ::Hands in the pockets of his hoody, Chen turned to face Greir. The breeze was blowing across them both and ruffling their hair.:: Chen: I guess now would be a good time to let you in on the plans. ::If he didn’t then he had a feeling he would get tickled again, although it hadn’t been a particularly unpleasant experience the first time.:: Reinard: Yep! Sounds good to me. What do you have in mind then? Chen: I figured we could go for a walk, take in the view, and then do dinner at mine. Sound good? Reinard: Better than good! ::Enthusiastically.:: You can tell me more about what it was like growing up here as we go. You must have loads of fun stories to tell! ::Chen’s beaming grin became a sentimental smile, bordering on wistful. There were fun stories, sure, and there were also ones he wasn’t yet ready to tell. In spite of that, this particular place always filled him with good memories. It would always be special to him and even more so after tonight.:: Chen: I sure do... and I know you like a good story. I’ll tell you while we walk. Reinard: Fantastic. ::Brightly:: ::Slipping a hand out of his pocket, he hooked arms with Greir before returning it to the warmth of his hoody. The two set off along the path. Chen was pleased as punch, proud even, that he could walk this path with someone like Greir. It felt comfortable, and he liked that. Once they had started off, Chen’s antennae assumed an upright, neutral position, occasionally moving to focus on interesting sounds. As they were sensitive to temperature, their interpretation of the stimulus of the chill spring breeze felt particularly refreshing.:: Chen: This right here? This is probably my favourite place. I used to come here all the time for walks, sometimes with friends but usually on my own. It had everything I could ever want. For one thing, I got to look down on the town, kind of like a bird’s eye view. ::He stopped talking for just a second, making eye contact with Greir before returning his eyes to the path.:: You can probably guess that sort of thing would appeal to me from my current duty post, right? ::Greir looked about as he listened, he could see the appeal of going walks in an area like this. He was finding the walk relaxing and it felt good to be walking companionably with Chen. Somehow it didn't surprise him that Chen liked the bird's eye view of the town. It struck Greir that they had the same trait even if they channeled it differently.:: ::Greir's curiosity was quite focussed on learning as much as possible about other alien species, their culture, history, psychology etc. Chen's was more general and not oriented to any one thing. From what Greir had been able to observe, he was more proactive than Chen and would ask questions and seek answers where Chen was happy to observe quietly.:: Reinard: It does strike me that you like to know what’s going on. I like that we both have a curious nature. ::It seemed like that was one of many things they had in common and maybe that was one of the reasons why Chen felt so much like Greir understood him.:: Chen: I know, right? So do I! ::The sound of the ocean could clearly be heard and, with occasional interruption from the evening breeze, provided an accompaniment to Chen’s story.:: Chen: It’s kind of too high up to really see what’s going on, and a bit too far away. Maybe that was part of the appeal, feeling like I was watching but not having to worry about anything. And then there’s the ocean. I used to just stare out over it for hours sometimes. Sunsets were always the best. The sun goes a really deep blue when it sets. For a while, it completely changes the colour of the sea, almost like it’s dissolving into it. On a rainy day, it hits the bottom of the clouds, too. That’s quite a sight. ::Greir was starting to feel a chilly. He buddied up to Chen a little more by bringing the arm Chen was hooked around closer to himself, bringing Chen a little closer.:: ::It seemed they had yet another thing in common. Greir's first memory, which was a powerful and positive one was of being on the beach with Rori. He'd spent a lot of time at the beach in his early years and grown up to love it there.:: Reinard: Sounds magnificent. I used to enjoy spending time on the beach at sunset, or sunrise too. Just looking at the sky... ::Smiling warmly:: So are we doing a spot of cloud watching tonight? ::Greir looked up and around to see if there were clouds rolling in from one direction or another. As enchanting a picture as Chen had just painted, there was something else that he wanted Greir to see that didn’t show up when the sky was clouded over.:: Chen: Not tonight, no. Something even better happens when we have clear skies. Reinard: What’s that then? ::Curiously:: ::Chen prepared to squeeze his elbows to his sides as he answered.:: Chen: OK, don’t tickle me but it’s such a great thing that it absolutely has to be a surprise. You’ll see it after sunset, so you don’t have long to wait. Reinard: Well alright then, whatever you say. ::Greir unhooked himself from Chen, did up the top button of his jacket and then zipped it the rest of the way up since he was starting to feel the cold now. He reattached himself to Chen quite casually.:: ::Chen could have walked this path with his eyes closed. Every now and again, a fork would lead down to one side or the other, headed down towards Irimari or the nearby farmland. They were currently about mid way between two forks and yet Chen steered Greir off the path, towards the town side of the landscape.:: Chen: I love this whole area, but my absolute favourite place is this way::He was quite excited and looking forward to seeing Chen's favourite place. He was loving the adventure.:: Reinard: Great! ::The gradient of the hill increased slowly as it descended until it became steep enough that Chen had to detach himself from Greir so that they could both keep their balance. They took careful steps until they reached what seemed like a U-shaped indentation into the side of the hill; it was around eight feet wide at its mouth. The cleft’s floor was level enough that Chen could safely drop into it; it was around six feet down, which meant that only the tips of his antennae could be seen above the grass.:: Chen: Come on down, this is it! ::Greir's head had been slowly retreating into the top of his coat as the cold got to him. His hands were now tucked under his armpits and he was wishing he'd brought a winter jacket instead. He much preferred being warm but would never admit to feeling the cold. He didn't want to risk that Chen might end the program early for his comfort.:: ::He didn't want to miss what Chen had brought him here to see. He looked down into the sheltered spot Chen had dropped down to for a moment before dropping in.:: Reinard: Is there lots of little sheltered bits like this in the area? Chen: ::Shrugging:: There are a few I guess, but this is the best one. ::It quickly became apparent as to why. What seemed like a random chunk that had been taken out of the hillside turned out to be the best vantage point across the Irimari bay. The town itself, at the foot of the hillside, now lay directly in front of them, the expansive beach and the Anshim ocean lying beyond. On the horizon, the deepening blue sun had already begun to touch the water.:: ::By now, Chen was used to the temperature. Sheltered from the wind by the sides of the cleft, he stood unflinching in the cold. He realised that Greir could be a bit chilly by now, though. He sat down, beckoning for Greir to do the same, then wrapped an arm around him to keep him warm.:: ::Greir responded by sitting down next to Chen and smiling with contentment as Chen's arm came around him.:: Chen: You warm enough? ::Greir was starting to feel the cold now, especially since he'd stopped moving and was sitting on the cool ground. He was trying not to shiver and it was making his muscles a bit tense. He pulled his hood up and shuffled sideways until he was so close to Chen that he was almost in the Andorian's lap. He tipped his head to the side to rest it on Chen's shoulder and wrapped his arm around Chen, tucking it under his arm.:: Reinard: Now I am. ::Chen’s breath caught in his throat for a moment. He wrapped his other arm around Greir. The date had only just started and it was already exponentially more awesome than he had imagined it would be... and he’d been expecting that it would be pretty [...] awesome! The sun continued its descent and he knew that it would be exactly as he had described. All they needed to do was watch and wait.:: Chen: So what kind of thing do you want to know about growing up on Andoria? Reinard: Well, everything really but why not start by telling me about some of the things you used to get up to? ::Chen thought about the escapades he’d been in as a young chan. There were quite a few. He remembered getting his knuckles rapped on more than one occasion for his overexuberant approach to recreational activities.:: Chen: Well... you saw the fields behind us. We had friends who had a farm there, and my parents would take me over there to visit them in a hover car. It was too far to walk because I was really young... probably about five or six? ::He couldn’t remember exactly how old, but he did remember doing it quite often.:: ::Greir remembered seeing the fields and pictured them in his head.:: Reinard: Oh very nice, I bet that was fun. What did you get up to on the farm then? Chen: ::Laughing:: I used to get myself into trouble every single time because I would always get a stick and chase all the kuyar around the yard. They’re farm birds, like Terran chickens. ::Greir chuckled softly as he imagined it.:: Reinard: What was that for... did they steal your snack or something? ::Chen could almost see his zhavey’s face now. She was always reproachful, but even then he’d had a sense that she’d been trying not to find it funny.:: Chen: Oh no, in my head they were these great big monsters. They’re quite big when you’re six years old. The stick was a sword and I was going to chase them all away to make sure the farm stayed safe. Reinard: I bet you thought you were being very brave and helpful too. ::Amused:: Chen: Well, ironically they kind of needed them to sell and to lay eggs, so if I had scared them away then I don’t think I would have been very popular. Fortunately they can’t fly, so there was no danger of that. Reinard: Yeah, if they could have flown away you’d really have been in trouble then. Banned from the farm probably. ::Chuckling again in appreciation of the tale.:: ::The sun was sinking lower and lower. The sea around it was reflecting an increasingly deeper hue of blue as the sky began to darken. It looked as though distant clouds were just becoming visible, but Chen knew better. The big surprise would soon be revealed!:: ::A lot of his memories from his childhood seemed to involve running around and play-acting as a warrior. His chavan in particular had encouraged it, right up until the day word had reached home that he and some friends had decided to re-enact the Tale of the Breaking.:: Chen: Maybe that’s why I got into holoadventuring so quickly. I remember playing the part of the warrior Thirishar once when I was a bit older and in school. He’s this legendary Andorian who completed a series of quests for Uzaveh the Infinite, who I guess is our deity. ::He wasn’t really sure on the specifics. He had never bought too far into Andorian religion and felt that it was held over the people too much to force them into living a certain way. It didn’t seem to have a lot to do with moral code.:: Chen: It was going quite well until I decided that the most realistic thing for Thirishar to do would be to kill Uzaveh. I mean, he completed all his quests and then Uzaveh basically insults him and splits him into four people. You’d be a bit annoyed if that happened, surely? ::He was smiling through the story. Now he was older he could understand why he’d gotten an ear bending and it was pretty amusing.:: Reinard: ::Jovially:: Well there is a logic to that. Chen: I got some heat for that one. But hey, I guess it just comes down to the fact that I don’t really agree with my people on some things. Like the fact that you need four people to be ‘Whole’. ::Greir was aware that Andorians had four genders and that all four were needed for procreation.:: Reinard: I’m guessing that’s their way of encouraging people get together and have families? Is it all arranged? I’m guessing getting four individuals, one from each gender to all agree on a grouping could be quite difficult? ::Chen was so genuinely pleased to hear that Greir had reached that conclusion that he actually gave him a bit of a squeeze.:: Chen: That's exactly what it is. Yeah, they arrange bonds and things, and you don’t always get to meet the people you’re supposed to be bonded to. Once the bonds have been decided there’s this pressure from on high that you have to get together, bond and have a kid, and it’s all in the name of averting a reproductive crisis. Meanwhile, the true answer to that crisis is sitting in a Starfleet scientific institution and no-one on the government will accept it. ::He didn’t mean to go off on a rant, but this was a topic that lay close to his heart.::Reinard: I’m guessing that’s their way of encouraging people get together and have families? Is it all arranged? I’m guessing getting four individuals, one from each gender to all agree on a grouping could be quite difficult? ::Chen was so genuinely pleased to hear that Greir had reached that conclusion that he actually gave him a bit of a squeeze.:: Chen: That’s exactly what it is. Yeah, they arrange bonds and things, and you don’t always get to meet the people you’re supposed to be bonded to. Once the bonds have been decided there’s this pressure from on high that you have to get together, bond and have a kid, and it’s all in the name of averting a reproductive crisis. Meanwhile, the true answer to that crisis is sitting in a Starfleet scientific institution and no-one on the government will accept it. ::He didn’t mean to go off on a rant, but this was a topic that lay close to his heart.:: Reinard: So they place the continuation of the species over certain personal freedoms, even when there are other possible solutions available? ::Instead of answering right away, Chen took in a deep breath, antennae dropping forward slightly. One one hand, he hadn’t come here to rant about his homeworld, he’d come to have a memorable night with an awesome guy. On the other, Greir was the first person that he’d met in years with whom he was comfortable with sharing every last one of his secrets.:: Chen: I... yeah. They do. It’s OK, though, I mean... those of us who find that a problem just find somewhere else to go. ::Although Chen hadn’t put himself in that category Greir had to wonder if that was the way it was for him. It certainly seemed that way given what had just been said.:: Reinard: It’s a shame that people feel that way but none of us live on ideal worlds. ::Talking about such things always left Chen feeling a little conflicted and he didn’t want this to become the focus of their visit to the holodeck. One day he would tell Greir everything about his reasons for leaving Andoria, but not tonight, and not after Greir had so recently been upset by his own family problems.:: Chen: Exactly. Everyone just has to make the best of the hand they’re dealt. I believe in doing that, and since I came aboard the Vigilant I seem to have been dealt a really, really good hand. If anyone from home came to talk about the ‘Whole’ then I would tell them I felt that way right now. ::Although Greir wouldn’t have used those words he agreed with the idea of making the best of what you’ve got. Greir felt very special to think that he made Chen feel whole and there was only one proper response to a statement like that.:: ::He lifted his head and shifted his position so he could get a good look at Chen. He looked into the Andorian’s eyes for a moment as if considering something and then leaned in to give him a soft, lingering kiss.:: Reinard: Someone as special as you deserves to feel whole. ::Chen’s eyes had drifted closed during the kiss and there were butterflies fluttering around in his stomach. Hearing Greir say those words, they reopened, green eyes staring into gold, unwilling to look away. No-one had ever paid him a compliment like that before.:: Chen: I don’t think I knew what whole meant until I met you. You’re one of a kind, Greir. ::He slipped an arm under Greir’s and around his back. His antennae had moved forward enough that he could strongly sense the heat from Greir’s forehead, a display that was the ultimate in Andorian affection. They lifted up as he moved forward to return Greir’s kiss. He didn’t want to break away; his other hand found its way up to the back of Greir’s head, settling on the soft fabric of his hood as the kissing continued.:: ::Greir's heartbeat and breathing were elevated and it was safe to say he was no longer feeling the cold. He murmured quietly in satisfaction for a moment as he trailed his fingers through Chen's hair.:: ::Greir gently stroked Chen's antennae with his fingertips. To him, this was the perfect moment. It wasn't so much that he felt whole but that their energy flowed synchronously, like they were one.:: Reinard: We were made for each other Chen. Our energy flows as one. ::Chen was drinking in every sensation, enjoying every moment. The contact with his antennae was electric. He had been losing himself in the moment but when Greir spoke he listened, a smile instantly spreading across his face and eyes sparkling.:: Chen: Is that part of Laudean belief? Reinard: Some cultures believe in a soul mate, a one true love. We don't believe there is only one match for a person. When you do find someone who is truly right for you... when you find the perfect match you can feel it. ::He wasn't talking about feeling it emotionally although that was also an important factor. He was referring to the energy fields each person gave off.:: Reinard: I can feel the way your energy meets mine, the way it flows together. It's the most amazing feeling there is. Indescribable really. ::Chen hadn’t heard Greir talk about his fielding before. He found it spellbinding, especially in this context. They could both feel things that the other couldn’t; Greir could sense Chen’s energy fields, and Chen’s antennae could detect Greir’s body heat. It sounded as though all stimuli had led them both to the same conclusion.:: Chen: The perfect match? Reinard: Yes, every sense I have, everything I know about you tells me that you are the perfect match for me. I care very deeply for you and that feeling is only getting stronger. ::He was not particularly shy about discussing his feelings. It surprised him as he knew himself to be generally a lot less generous with sharing any personal information about himself. :: ::Chen let his hand drop gently from the back of Greir’s head to rest on his shoulder.:: Chen: I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever cared more about. ::The sun had finally drifted below the horizon and the last of the light had vanished. The form of a blue/green gas giant was now clearly visible, looming large in the sky. Becoming aware of his surroundings again, Chen noticed that the night sky was just as perfect as he remembered it could be. During his time at the academy, he had seen full moons, but this was something altogether different; they were looking at the edge of a planet, lit by the sun, and it easily reached from the horizon to a height at which they would need to crane their necks to see.:: Chen: Take a look at the sky. ::Greir settled himself back into a comfortable position and looked up at the sky, taking it all in. It was probably one of the most unique, wondrous and beautiful sights he'd ever seen. It was far beyond what he'd been expecting to see.:: Reinard: ::In awe:: This is truly spectacular! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Chen: Worth the wait? Reinard: Very much so. You know, I knew academically that Andoria was a moon but didn't give a lot of thought to what that actually meant or what it would actually be like. I've always been more focussed on the people rather than the places. ::As if to prove his point:: Did you bring friends when you came here to look out to this? Chen: Y’know, this is the first time I’ve been here with someone else. I mean, I would go hiking on that path with friends, but no-one ever got to come here. Reinard: ::Curiously:: Hmmm, is there a reason for that? ::There weren’t a great many things that Chen got possessive or sentimental over, but this place had always been one. No-one had ever been with him because he had never wanted them to. Up until now it had been a closely guarded secret, and if any of his friends had ever found it he would have just played it down and kept walking.:: Chen: Because I never asked anyone... ::he realised his next statement was going to sound a bit ridiculous but went for it anyway.:: This is my place and no-one else was invited until now. I guess no-one made the cut ‘til you came along. Reinard: Thanks Chen. If I’d had a place like this on my home world to show you I would have loved to. I don’t have a holoprogram for Til’Ahn though. To my knowledge no one has made one. ::Even though this was technically just a facsimile, Chen felt good knowing that he’d shared this place with Greir. He also hoped that this would not be the last time they would come here.:: Chen: Next time we get the chance to swing past Andoria, we’ll visit the real thing. And who knows? Maybe we can persuade someone to make a holoprogram of Til’ahn. ::He shuffled over so that they could both look out at the sky and put his arm around Greir again.:: So what’s it like being able to field? It must be amazing, detecting energy fields? ::Chen was thoroughly taken with the idea; it was a completely different sense to anything he could imagine and one that he knew he couldn’t fully comprehend.:: ::Greir found describing any sense to be quite a challenge. How could he make it such that Chen could have any kind of comprehension about what it was like? The only thing that came close was for him to liken it to something Chen was familiar with.:: Reinard: I guess it must seem amazing to other species, certainly the Zalkonians seemed very interested in the ability. To us it is as normal as sight or hearing. I’d say it’s closest to touch, like when you feel the wind on your face and you can gauge how strong it is and the direction it is going. However it’s not a physical sensation that you feel with your skin so much as a mental sensation. Does that make any sense at all? ::Chen nodded. He knew that Greir wasn’t going to be able to describe it exactly in words but he appreciated the attempt to try. He responded enthusiastically.:: Chen: It does, yes. So when you’re walking down the corridor in the Vigilant, you can sense the energy from the EPS conduits? And the lights? Reinard: Well yes, but i’m not always aware of them. It’s like being in a crowded room in a way. You’re aware of everyone being there but you can’t pay them all attention at once and will usually just be focussed on a small number of people or things. You can change your focus any time. ::That made sense to Chen, it was like being able to see all of your surroundings but only focusing on one thing.:: Chen: And from me too. Is that only when I’m close? ::He was absolutely fascinated by the idea that different people could be fielded too. He imagined it as seeing them glowing in different colours, although he knew that Greir’s sensory input would not be visual.:: ::While it was possible for Greir to sense the energy fields of other people it was only at close range and only if he was paying attention. He wasn’t really in the habit of fielding people as he had no particular need to. If he was in a counselling session he would be more inclined to do so. Detecting energy changes in a person could be a good indicator of changes in mood though it didn’t make him empathic. He supposed for fielders who really put time into learning the subtleties it might come close.:: Reinard: Well you do have to be close, but it's a conscious effort. ::In other words he was doing it quite on purpose because he was very interested in Chen and everything about him. All of his senses were more alert when Chen was around.:: ::Chen was equal parts flattered and thrilled that Greir had deliberately chosen to field him just then, especially after what it had led him to say. He turned to make eye contact once again and felt his antennae swing forward to give him the same level of focus.:: Chen: ::Beaming:: You fielded me on purpose? That’s awesome! ::Greir felt the heat rise a little. He hoped that hadn’t come over as being creepy, like undressing him with his mind or some such but Chen seemed pleased at least. Not only that but he realised he’d been talking a lot more about himself than normal and revealing some very personal feelings. When the energy flowed so perfectly like this though, there were no secrets. Sharing was as natural as breathing but it was time to shift the focus.:: Reinard: What about you? Those antennae are extremely fascinating, and I hear they not only provide unique sensory information but are used expressively. ::Greir had started doing his homework on Andorians at long last, not that he would admit to such a thing but he was pretty confident he was right. Mostly he just wanted to see what Chen’s view was and what he might be willing to say regarding it.:: ::Chen blushed a little. Greir had seemed pretty keen on touching his antennae on a couple of occasions, which was something that Andorians did not allow under normal circumstances. It was only because he felt the way he did for him that he had permitted it, and enjoyed it. Hearing that Greir knew that Andorians used their antennae for expression, which didn’t surprise him given his choice of profession, spurred him into an honest confession.:: Chen: You’re right, we do use them for expression. That happens without me thinking about it, almost like if a non-Andorian was smiling or scowling. I mean, I can stop them from moving if I concentrate, or move them however I want... ::He illustrated by looking upwards and wiggling the one closest to Greir.:: Reinard: ::With a wide, beaming grin:: That is so awesome! Chen: Really? What about this? ::He wiggled both antennae independently of each other, which took a fair amount of concentration, but he felt it was worth it.:: Reinard: ::Chuckling:: Very impressive. I guess it’s like having extra fingers? But cooler... if we attach a small handkerchief to each one... we could make flag signals? ::Chen raised both eyebrows at the idea. Antennae were precious things, and as much as he was happy to give Greir access to them, he really didn’t like the idea of having things attached to them. He knew that Greir was only joking, so he held back his defensive instincts as much as possible.:: Chen: Maybe let’s not attach stuff to them... I think we could maybe just stick with antenna signals for now? ::He was still smiling and hadn’t taken any real offense, but the idea of that ever happening, even as a joke, was something he didn’t want to contemplate.:: Reinard: ::Smiling warmly, with a twinkle in his eye:: I'm just kidding Chen. I'd never attach anything to your antennae, heck i'd never be caught dead with a handkerchief anyway. Do I look like some doddery old fool? I just think it's really really cool how you can move them independently if you want to. ::Feeling more than a little bit silly, Chen laughed with relief, pleased that there wasn’t going to be an awkward moment.:: Chen: I’m glad. And you definitely don’t look like some doddery old fool. oO Far from it, in fact! Oo ::He decided to pick up the previous topic before an awkward silence ensued. As he reached the moment of his confession, he found himself blushing a little more, although he didn’t think twice about sharing the information he wanted to share.:: Chen: When we were doing that holoadventure, I was a bit worried that I was going to get busted because of my antennae. I kept pointing them at you without realising. That happens whenever we’re interested in something, or attracted to someone. Reinard: ::Casually:: I had noticed, though at that point I wasn't sure whether it was just something you always did when talking to other people. ::It gave Greir butterflies in his belly to know that all this time, Chen had been attracted to him and he hadn’t even realised. Being a counsellor he felt he should have known but he hadn't had much chance to observe Chen's body language with other individuals. He held back from saying more than he already had because he was not and did not want to be perceived as a stalker. Especially right after confessing to willfully fielding him.:: Chen: But yeah, apparently they let me hear better than quite a few other species, and they can sense heat too. When you touch them I can feel you touching my skin, like any other part of my face, but I can sense the heat from your fingers even better than I normally would. Reinard: That’s really awesome, and I bet the enhanced hearing helps you in your job too! Do you find being able to sense heat at all useful?::It was certainly a useful ability to have, particularly in his line of work.:: Chen: Definitely... if you’re sneaking around trying to lift information from someone’s computer then it’s great as an early warning system if they’re about to get the drop on you. It lets you react first. ::He illustrated a sharp blow to the back of the head in mid air to underline his point. Of course, things in the field were never that simple, but every sense counted, that was for sure.:: ::Greir was mighty impressed by both the reply and the accompanying action but then he'd always been drawn to strong men like Chen.:: Reinard: I never really thought of it like that, how brilliant is that!? Chen: I’m pretty sure we have it because it means we can detect things like ice bores back home. They produce heat through exothermal reactions in their bodies which are strong enough to burn you if they say... drop on your head. ::Or on your back, which had happened to him once as a kid.:: Reinard: Yes that would explain it. ::Shuddering:: Sounds mighty painful. ::He remembered the trip to hospital. Fortunately, 24th Century medicine was advanced enough that he didn’t have to live with scars from the blisters that the experience had caused.:: Chen: Yeah, you do not want to be standing under a swarm of those guys when they come dropping into an ice tunnel. I can think of more fun ways to pass the time. ::As if to agree, Chen’s stomach grumbled loudly, adding its own voice to the conversation.:: Reinard: Either this area has some low level tectonic activity you forgot to mention or your stomach has taken to talking to you. ::Laughing sheepishly, Chen couldn’t help but agree. They’d been sat still for a while again, so it wouldn’t do Greir any harm to get back into the warm, either.:: Chen: ::Clearing his throat:: I think maybe my stomach was asking you if you’re ready to head back to my quarters for some food? Reinard: Well hold a moment till I consult my stomach. ::He gave it a few prods and it answered with a rumble of its own:: Stomach says yes. Looks like you’re on! Chen: Alright, then let’s go! Computer, arch! ::Inevitably, the landscape lost a little of its impact when the exit to the holodeck appeared a few paces in front of them, but that could be forgiven. Chen had thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the evening and he was really pleased that it didn’t have to end there. At one time he would have been preoccupied with hopes that the second part of the night would go as well as the first, but as things stood he was just looking forward to spending more quality time with Greir. Things seemed to be going better and better.:: ((Deck 3: Chen’s Quarters)) ::They talked about this and that on the short journey up two decks to Chen’s quarters. This would be the first time that Greir had visited Chen’s place, and he had spent part of the evening before making sure that his normally spick and span digs were as tidy as they could possibly be. His newly assembled trophy cabinet was in pride of place in his living area, alongside the currently deactivated wall-mounted screen that usually displayed a map of the alpha and beta quadrants. Inside, the silver bone he had claimed from his first holoadventure sat in the most visible place, at eye level on the second shelf down. Behind it, a miniature version of the man-tanks they had defeated stood guard.:: ::His personal console faced the wall, closest to the door. The rest of the room was sparsely decorated but built well enough for comfort. A comfortable-looking sofa upholstered in black fabric faced the screen, while beyond, by the wall nearest to the replicator, a circular table made from eketha wood stood with two chairs. At the far end of the room lay Chen’s bed, decked out in silvery grey sheets and a Starfleet issue chest of drawers with some small carvings, made from the same wood as his dining table.:: ::As they entered the room, Chen unzipped his hoody and dumped it on the chair facing his console. Beneath it, he was wearing a long-sleeved, snugly fitting V-neck top in the same grey. He rolled up his sleeves right away.:: Chen: Welcome to my castle! ::It wasn’t as big as Greir’s quarters, but Chen didn’t think for a second that would matter.:: ::Greir looked around Chen’s quarters as he took off his jacket and was pleased to find it was as clean and tidy as he’d expected it to be. He thought of Chen as being an organised fellow who looked after himself so if he’d found the messy, smelly quarters of a slob he’d have been turned off a bit. He always felt that the way you kept your quarters or living space was a direct reflection of yourself. A person whose life was chaotic and out of control lived in chaotic conditions. So what he saw reinforced his perceptions of Chen.:: ::Chen looked very appealing and sexy in his tightly fitting top which showed off that excellent physique. As much as he wanted just to stare and admire it he thought the better of it. His own top was a little more loosely fitting and in a shade of blue that exactly matched the blue of his coat. That was how particular he was about matching. It had a typically high collar, short sleeves and detail picked out in black.:: Reinard: Thank you Chen and may I say what a fine castle it is. ::Smiling:: ::Once again, Greir’s choice of clothes made him look incredible. Chen was pleased that his quarters had gone down well. Knowing that they were both hungry he made a beeline for the replicator. He was looking forward to eating in some ways, but he had been really enjoying Greir’s company. Hopefully he would be able to stay a while, even if they were both on duty the next day.:: Chen: Thanks! I’ll get some food on the table before our stomachs start talking to each other again. How much do you trust me? ::He had already made his menu choice for the night and had a feeling it would go down well, but hyping up the mystery would add an element of fun to the mundane act of ordering replicated food.:: ::Greir was a little surprised with the question.:: Reinard: What on a scale of one to ten? I don’t think you’re about to poison me otherwise I wouldn’t have come. ::Smirking:: Chen: ::Smiling:: OK, then I’ll get dinner sorted. While I do, there’s a bottle in the bottom of my chest of drawers over there. Could you grab it for me? Reinard: Sure. Chen: ::Smiling:: OK, then I’ll get dinner sorted. While I do, there’s a bottle in the bottom of my chest of drawers over there. Could you grab it for me? Reinard: Sure. ::Greir was nosey by nature and had no particular reservations about rifling through Chen's things when he'd been more or less invited to.:: ::He headed over to the chest of drawers and pulled open the bottom drawer. He immediately saw the bottle, which was square and pulled it out. The liquid was a yellowy green, almost lime colour. He turned the bottle this way and that, it seemed to glow when the light hit it.:: ::Greir noticed there were some clothes in the drawer too. So he carefully laid the bottle to the side and started rooting through Chen's clothes. He unfolded them to get a good look and held one or two that caught his eye up as if to see if they'd fit.:: :: There was a blue hoody with details in orange. It looked cozy and something a fashion conscious guy such as himself could pull off easily. On closer inspection he saw there were two small holes in the hood for the antennae to go through. He stuck his fingers through the two holes and wiggled them.:: Reinard: ::Chuckling softly to himself:: This is so cool! ::Ordering two portions of Andorian honar and two glasses, Chen waited for the food to materialise before carrying it over to the table. The food was in two wide, cylindrical containers made from plain white ceramic that steamed merrily away as Chen got things set up.:: ::Greir carefully folded everything and put it all back neatly as he’d found it. He picked up the bottle and stood up with it.::Reinard: Is it this one, with the square bottle and slightly glowy yellowy-green liquid? ::Chen gave him a thumbs up from the dining table.:: Chen: Yeah, that’s the one! It’s a type of Andorian Ale called Glow-ale. I’ve been saving it for a while, but I figured tonight’s a good night to crack it open. Stuff like that is always better when you share it. ::Greir gently nudged the drawer shut and then took the bottle over to the table.He'd never tried the drink before and wasn't sure how strong it was or if he'd like it. He didn't even know if it was made with 'real' alcohol or synthehol. He wasn't about to admit to his lack of knowledge though to find out.:: Reinard: I quite agree. I'm sure it'll be great as you have taste impeccable. ::Wait. That hadn't come out quite right and had sounded differently in his head but it was too late to correct it.:: ::Chen’s antennae twisted together as he saw the mixture of confusion and amusement on Greir’s face.:: Chen: Don’t worry. We both might be talking like that after a few glasses of this. And thanks by the way! ::Chen broke the seal on the bottle and poured some into both glasses. The familiar smell quickly reached his nostrils. It would be a night of nostalgia it seemed as he shared the things that reminded him of home with his new-found soul mate. He took his seat at the table and waited for Grier to do the same.:: Chen: I think you’ll like this. It’s called honar, which is a kind of Andorian fish stew. I remembered you saying when we first went out on DS6 that you were a fan of seafood, so it seemed like the perfect thing for us tonight. ::It was in a creamy sauce and contained meat from several varieties of native fish and shellfish, flavoured with herbs, and some vegetables that were similar to onions, which had been grown locally to Irimari. There were small plates of steamed seaweed and rice-like grain sat next to each of their bowl-like receptacles.:: ::Greir loved Chen’s attention to detail and the fact he’d remembered his love of seafood. It was really very thoughtful of Chen to put on a fish dish just because he liked it. Greir would have been happy with anything short of bugs but was very impressed and flattered by the choice. His stomach rumbled with delight as he sat down with Chen!:: Reinard: Excellent choice, I can’t wait to try it. ::Enthusiastically:: ::Chen could not have been happier with his reaction. It looked like he was building on the success of their visit to the holodeck and he could only see things getting better from here.:: Chen: Then go for it! I think that’s what your stomach just said! ::His own was quite likely to join in the conversation again as well if he didn’t put something in it soon. Picking up a spoon and fork, he got started on the honar, which was a very close approximation to the real thing.:: Chen: What do you think? ::Greir sampled each different piece of seafood in turn. He forced himself to eat it slowly and taste everything properly. It was all delicious though he was starting to develop favourites among the selection. :: Reinard: This is very good indeed. I love it, what an excellent choice! Chen: We used to have this whenever the skimmers came in with a big haul. If ever I saw zhavey at the market then I used to get overexcited. I haven’t had it in years. ::Back home it wasn’t really considered to be a treat, especially, it was just that his family made a big deal out of it. Now Greir was part of that ritual too.:: ::Greir was no stranger to the coast himself and had grown up in a fishing family. The food in its way reminded him of his own home and upbringing. Of visiting his home town during the summers and going fishing with his dad.:: ::Those were much happier days. Back then Gjord had seemed a lot more proud of him. His recent troubles came flooding back to him. He didn't want these arguments and bad recent memories to leave a bad taste in his mouth and sour the evening however. He forced his mind back to the happier days.:: Reinard: I grew up by the sea as well, at least I did in the summer when I was reunited with my brother and parents. My father is a fisherman. He used to make things like this all the time too and we grew up to have a fine appreciation for seafood! ::For a moment, Chen was worried that he’d forced Greir to think of his family, but the piece of information that he’d just offered was positive. Not only that, but the amount of things that they had in common, even indirectly in this case, was fantastic.:: Chen: ::Finishing off his mouthful before speaking.:: See, that’s why I thought honarmight be a good choice. Do you like seaweed too? Reinard: Sure, it’s in my favourite skin care range. ::Thinking it was a strange question.:: ::Chen looked at him in wonderment.:: Chen: You can use it on your skin? Reinard: Yeah absolutely, it’s meant to have restorative properties. Why? Chen: ::Laughing:: OK, because that’s what that is... ::he pointed to the plate of greenery next to Greir’s honar.:: ::Greir picked up up and gave it a slightly nasty look. They had something like this on Til’Ahn so it wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He wasn’t sure he liked the texture of it.:: Reinard: Am I supposed to eat it?::The easiest way to show Greir that he didn’t have anything to worry about was to grab a mouthful of the seaweed himself, which Chen did. As it had been steamed, it tasted less salty than the seaweed he’d eaten during his academy days, on Earth. He swallowed it before answering.:: Chen: It’s definitely edible. I know the idea of it sounds a bit strange, but it’s not as bad as you might think. I think it’s quite tasty, but if you don’t like it then don’t worry. ::Greir watched Chen for a moment and looked as if he was weighing it up before following his example. If Chen was going to eat it then he’d give it a try. Maybe this seaweed was nicer than the average lot. In his view they called it a weed for a reason and it wasn’t to encourage consumption.:: Reinard: You know, it’s not so bad. ::Smiling with relief.:: Chen: Great! ::He wouldn’t have been offended if Greir had decided not to try it; in some ways, replicating Andorian food had been a little bit of a risk and he didn’t expect Greir to like everything he did. That was part of the fun of getting to know each other better though; the reward came through finding those areas of common ground in which they could share. Chen wanted to know everything about Greir and he’d kept him talking about food for long enough for the time being. They both continued eating for a moment before Chen spoke up again.:: Chen: So, I’ve been wondering... what is it that got you into counselling? ::Greir chewed on a mouthful of food as he considered it. He'd been asked enough times but he'd only ever given a straight answer when it had been asked by an interviewer.:: Reinard: I've always been interested in history and what makes people tick. When my people made first contact with so many new species in such a short time I was fascinated. I wanted to learn everything I could about these new species, who they are, where they've come from and what makes them tick. All things considered, it seemed a natural career choice. My family had other plans for me. ::He wondered not for the first time if all of this was just his way of running away from his responsibility.:: ::That sounded like far too familiar a story and Chen couldn’t believe that they would attempt to make such a presumptuous decision for him.:: Chen: They didn’t want to let you follow your own career path? What did they want you to do? ::He hadn't really talked of it before but sitting here with Chen, it didn't feel uncomfortable or awkward. He trusted Chen completely and actually felt happy to discuss it. It felt as though he might be able to understand.:: Reinard: I was to be a fisherman and help run the family business. As much as I like fish and fishing, I prefer it in small doses. To do it every day would be a very repetitive and dull job. I have a low tolerance for boredom. ::Chen remembered the reference to the family business from the previous night, although Greir hadn’t gone into as much detail. It seemed like this was a deep-seated problem, which was a shame because it really shouldn’t have been. On the plus side, Greir seemed happy enough to talk about it without it seeming to bother him too much right now.:: Chen: I guess it really would get boring very quickly. Intelligent people like to keep their brains busy, right? ::Being able to read people’s facial expressions and body-language was an important part of Chen’s job, but he knew that what he was used to dealing with only ran skin deep. What really lay underneath was intriguing; he had no clue where to begin in dealing with it.:: Chen: What part of counselling do you enjoy the most? Or parts, I guess... it might be hard to narrow it down to one thing? Reinard: ::Scratching the base of his neck:: It'll sound very corny but I just like getting to know people and helping them get to grips with any problems they may be experiencing. It was good on the star base because I was the family support specialist and I found that a particularly rewarding role. Chen: Do you miss it? Y’know, now you’re wearing a red collar and you’re the super awesome first officer? ::Greir's ego was inflated predictably by the compliment and he wore an impish grin.:: Reinard: Yeah, I do miss it. I've done it so long and become so good at it that it's second nature. This new role is... different and i'm still adapting to it. I had not been specifically looking for a move into command. Sometimes I wonder if I should have turned it down. The hardest thing is seeing a counselling issue and walking away from it, leaving it to the other counsellors. ::Thinking how that might be if he was in Greir’s shoes, Chen couldn’t imagine walking away from a potential intelligence find and leaving it for someone else to pick up.:: Chen: I can see how that would be hard. But, I bet a lot of the skills you learned as a counsellor are transferrable, right? Like, managing personnel and keeping them on your side at the same time, analysing what skills people have and giving them the right job? That sort of thing? Reinard: Yeah absolutely. My concern is that there are some situations I'm not as prepared for as I'd like. ::It was a very rare admission indeed and though he didn't say it, he was referring to combat scenarios. He could handle a phaser if he had to but in the history of his career he had very rarely needed to.:: ::Fitting into a new role could always be a little intimidating, of course, but Chen was confident that Greir would be all over it in no time. Positivity was one of the parts of Greir’s character that Chen found himself drawn to and he didn’t seem to be one to rest on his laurels. Before too much longer, Chen had no doubt that he would be able to see Greir in any situation, telling the crew at large that “he’d got this!”:: Chen: Well, I’m glad you didn’t turn it down. The Vigilant’s lucky to have you for people to look up to. Reinard: Thank you Chen. I just want to do the very best I can for them and I’m confident I’ll grow into it. It's just a matter of time. ::They had continued eating as while they were chatting. Chen waited until Greir had scooped up his last mouthful before grabbing his plate for recycling.:: Chen: Definitely. You’re gonna nail it! I have every confidence in you. In fact, Captain Herrera better watch out, or you’ll be in his seat next! Reinard: With the rate my career has been progressing I would not be surprised to find myself in his seat very soon. ::Smiling:: That was delicious, thank you again. ::The honar had been quite filling, but after the walk in the brisk air of a simulated Andorian hillside, Chen was ready to follow up with dessert right away.:: Chen: You ready for the next course?Reinard: I sure am! ::Brightly. ::He was quite excited to see what else Chen had in mind for them though he hoped it wasn’t a huge portion. Hungry as he’d been when he sat down he was now reaching a point where he’d had enough.:: ::This was where the Andorian theme came to an abrupt end. There was only one choice of dessert in Chen’s eyes: ice-cream. He’d found himself hooked on the stuff after the first time he’d tried it.:: Chen: Well... this is a bit more of a human treat, but I was thinking of having some raspberry ice-cream. You up for that? The replicator can do more flavours than I can count... Reinard: Sounds good! Raspberry will be fine. ::He didn’t realise he was falling into the newly developed habit of just going for whatever Chen was having. He’d had the human dessert before once or twice and liked it well enough, especially if it was in a fruity flavour. He was getting tired of talking about himself and wanted to put the focus back on Chen again.:: Reinard: What about you, what got you into intelligence? ::Chen returned to the table with the freshly replicated dessert and placed Greir’s in front of him. He ran his spoon around the inside of his bowl, scooping away at the edges of his ice cream as he considered the question.:: Chen: You’ll laugh, but it’s because I was a nosey kid! Reinard: ::Laughing lightly as it reminded him of himself:: Really? I mean really? Chen: Seriously, I had to know everything that was going on with all of my friends, and it got to a point where I became interested in what the other kids at school were up to and I would listen in on conversations all the time. Man, did it get me into trouble sometimes! ::Eavesdropping was something that seemed to universally tick people off. He’d been on the receiving end of one or two tongue-lashings and in one or two fights during his time at school for knowing more than he should have.:: Reinard: I bet it did but I bet it came in useful too. Chen: I guess as I grew up I kept that same level of curiosity about what was going on, but I channeled it into something more useful and more relevant. I always used to like watching the news and keeping track of what was going on. Things went from there, I guess. ::Eavesdropping and ‘stealing’ information from a social setting had dropped way off the bottom of his agenda in those formative years. He still found the skills he’d inadvertently practised as a young chan useful in his current line of work, though.:: Reinard: That makes a lot of sense. What do you enjoy most about being an intelligence officer then? Chen: I think the thing I enjoy most about my job now is the fact that whatever information I can find out can potentially be used to help keep people safe. I like being on the cutting edge of that. That’s one reason why being so close to Zalkonian space is so appealing. ::The fact that he would be one of the officers directly involved in picking up news from the Zalkonian border meant a lot to him, as did the fact that he was once again cementing himself as a valuable asset to Starfleet.:: Reinard: Why the Zalkonians? Is it because we know so little about them, or because of the last mission... or something else entirely? ::He had initially found the Zalkonians fascinating and had initially considered joining them when they’d made first contact with his people. So he was curious to know what Chen’s interest in them was. He wondered how many Laudeans had joined the Zalkonians and what had happened to them.:: Chen: It’s because they’re an unknown. There’s this political power that seems to be growing in strength and we have no idea what they’re up to because they’re so secretive. We’ve already found out enough to know that we were right to suspect that they’re dangerous. Anything I can help find out while I’m here will help the Federation to protect themselves from whatever they’re planning. Even better, though, if we can stay enough steps ahead of them, it might help to keep the peace. ::And if it did, either through his own contributions or that of the crew as a whole, then he would consider that to be a major victory. Protecting people had always been important to him as well... which had led to even more fights at school. He didn’t want to bring that up, though. He didn’t want to make himself look like a thug in front of Greir.:: Reinard: Yes that last encounter with them was pretty troubling. There are a lot of unanswered questions and it still doesn’t sit well with me what they did to Gullah. ::Greir licked both sides of his spoon slowly as he contemplated the mission and its outcome. With Chen now doing a lot more of the talking he was savoring the taste of his ice cream and making good progress with it. :: ::Gullah’s fate was probably the least of it all but he had invested so much time and effort into helping him only for him to be snuffed out so unceremoniously.:: ::Chen paused just before scarfing another spoonful of ice cream. He’d heard what had happened to Gullah and he always found it difficult to come to terms with the fact that some regimes were comfortable with executing their citizens on a whim. His antennae lowered a little as he contemplated it.:: Chen: I agree. And that’s why I hope that the more we can find out about the Zalkonians, the better geared up we’ll be to prevent something like that from happening next time. Reinard: I sure hope so anyway. ::Pushing his spoon around his now empty bowl absently:: ::Down to the last drops of melted ice-cream in his bowl, Chen was beginning to realise that the tone of the conversation was getting more serious than it really needed to. He’d been hoping to take Greir’s mind off work and his responsibilities rather than remind him of them. The night was a treat, for both of them.:: Chen: :Smiling:: Well, that got pretty deep, I guess. Are you done with your bowl? Reinard: Yes thanks, that was a good choice again Chen. ::Smiling:: ::Dropping them into the replicator to tidy up, Chen returned, and picked up his glass and the bottle of glow-ale.:: Chen: I think we should find somewhere more comfortable to sit. Then I’ve got a really deep question for you... ::He pulled out a small table from alongside the sofa and set the bottle and his glass down, then took a seat, waiting for Greir to do the same. He watched him as he walked over from the dining table; his antennae were focused on him again and now he knew what that meant he would be able to read Chen like a book. His first instinct was to move them, but then he realised it was OK and he didn’t have to hide anything any more. That was a good thing; he could already feel his heartbeat beginning to rise as Greir approached. He hoped he was going to stay for a long while as he knew that he could not get enough of him right now.:: ::Greir sat down suitably close to Chen without sitting on him or pinning him in the corner. He crossed one leg over the other and slightly turned it so it was pointing towards Chen.:: Reinard: So what’s this really deep question? ::Flashing his eyebrows up and down mischievously::::Chen grinned mischievously as he revealed this mysteriously deep question.:: Chen: OK, so my question is... ::he paused to build suspense:: just exactly how is it that you manage to look so [...] good all the time? Reinard: Well the average guy would have to browse the latest fashion news and constantly keep on top of the latest fashions. Take pride, time and care in careful grooming. You know all the time consuming stuff. I don’t have to worry about any of that, I just fall out of bed and admire myself in the mirror. I just have that much natural sex appeal you see... ::Somewhere between serious and joking:: ::Chen’s antennae went half-way towards twisting together, which was a tough ask when they were riveted on Greir. The thing was, it was true. He remembered stubbly Greir and his grin widened. This guy would look good if someone put him in a storage bin and cut a hole in the top for him to poke his head through. Chen turned himself to face Greir as he delivered the line about sex appeal; he wasn’t wrong about that. He felt like he was being drawn in by a magnet. He reached over, tracing the detail on Greir’s neckline with a finger before grabbing onto the shirt and pulling him closer.:: Chen: [...] right you do... ::Greir hadn't expected that response but wasn't about to complain as it was most welcome indeed. He allowed himself to be pulled in and twisted the fingers of one hand in the fabric at the bottom on Chen's top idly.:: ::He was kissing him again before he even had time to consciously think about it. He hadn’t wanted to stop back on the holodeck and he felt like it was a miracle that he’d managed to hold himself back through the meal. The hand that had pulled Greir in rested on his collar bone for a moment before sliding up to gently touch his neck.:: ::Greir felt a nervous excitement and thrill he hadn't got from any of the dates he'd picked up over the last few years. He'd only been on a few dates with Chen but was already heavily invested in him emotionally. He hoped the perfect date would have a perfect ending.:: ::He had a very clear idea in his head about where he wanted this to go and was used to being in charge. His free hand pressed firmly on Chen's shoulder, at the base of his neck as he slowly shifted himself into a more dominant position. The hand that had been fiddling with his t-shirt tugged it up a bit so he could feel Chen's strong muscular chest.:: ::Quite happy for Greir to take the lead, Chen settled into a comfortable position, his hands slipping around Greir's waist. He felt his shirt rise and Greir's hand touch his chest and his breathing quickened. He let himself enjoy the sensation, his own hands tugging at the back of Greir's shirt and finding their way underneath it to caress his back.The more Greir touched him, the more he wanted him to touch him; almost reluctantly, Chen pulled back from him for a few seconds, keeping eye contact for as long as possible as he took off his shirt and dropped it onto the floor.:: ::Greir enjoyed looking into those beautiful green Andorian eyes that had a strange, almost liquid quality to them that made them especially appealing. Once the shirt hit the deck however it was increasingly difficult to maintain eye contact. When he could resist it no longer he finally allowed his eyes to roam all over Chen's body, with his fingers quickly following suit.:: ::By now, adrenaline was coursing through Chen's veins and his antennae, still facing towards Greir, were beginning to writhe slowly. His hands found their way to Greir's back once again, this time travelling further under his shirt. He continued to feel sparks from the contact and caught tantalising glimpses of Greir's body as the hem of his shirt lifted at the front. Giving in to temptation, he teased it further and further upwards, pulling it over his head before allowing Greir to finish the job and add it to the pile.:: ::Greir was enjoying every touch and glanced down at himself briefly after discarding his shirt before returning his attention to Chen. His breathing was much quicker now but he barely noticed as he returned Chen's affections with increased vigor and passion.:: ::Their energy seemed to flow as one and the feeling was pure and blissful. As he kissed and nuzzled Chen's neck his eyes drifted shut. He shifted a little again, letting his body do what it wanted, which right now involved pressing down on Chen.:: ::Chen could feel Greir's heart racing, just like his own. He welcomed the warmth of his body, responding by weaving his forearm around the small of his back, pressing them together. His fingers spread wide as they explored his skin. His other hand reached up to absently ruffle through Greir's hair and the writhing motion of his antennae became more exaggerated. He had never felt anything this intense before and it took him a while to find his voice before he could speak.:: Chen: I wanna keep you for the whole night... ::He wanted to keep him forever, and if the night could fill that space then Chen would have no objections at all. The hand that had been playing with Greir’s hair slipped down onto the muscles of his upper back. His heart continued to pound as he revelled in the chance to explore the perfect physique that he had wanted to see for so long.:: ::Greir put a finger up to Chen's lip. Things were getting more and more intense and he decided it was time to take things to the next level. He wanted to claim this Andorian as his own and that's fully what he intended to do.:: Reinard: ::Into Chen’s ear, confidently:: You're mine. TBC A JP by PNPC Lieutenant ChenIntelligence OfficerUSS VigilantNCC-75515 SIMmed by: Captain Diego Herrera and Lt Cmdr Reinard First Officer USS VigilantNCC-75515END
  24. ((Vittian Hotel - Izar)) :: She said what she normally did when she was waiting for orders, as a waitress, to indicate everything was all ready and she was waiting for the signal, she thought it was pretty smooth of her to make that her final signal, since she had been the last one on the move. :: Qad: I don't want to rush you, let me know when you're ready. Tark: Shouldn't need more than about two minutes. :: Now she took one last glance around the room like she was looking for anyone who needed anything, and proceeded to the break room, again no one was in it, which was good, because this time when the door closed behind her, she ensured her privacy by locking it on the inside. Since their mission was starting right now, no one would notice the room wasn't accessible until it didn't matter. :: :: Moving to the console she brought up the program she had installed earlier. Using it's interface she brought up door controls, locking the place down. Since all the doors were automated, that was an easy task to program. :: :: Then, she brought up the camera interface, she looped the playback to security for all cameras, she wanted them to know she had control, so she wasn't even careful of it, people would disappear off the camera and other people would appear when it looped back. Her and her conspirators saw the true feed, but anyone trying to see the inside saw the looped feed. The only cameras she let them have for now, were in the dining room, and that would change after the announcement went out. After all, their news teams needed to have images of the frightened diners to put on the news, and the Federation needed to see what they were dealing with. :: :: Finally, she used their own security system to jam the communication, since this console was the only one in control anymore. The security system, when activated in an emergency, jammed all communications except for emergency frequencies. The software she installed, also reprogrammed the security system to operate like this when a certain command was given, without initiating the normal emergency response. When the time came, she would open the frequencies herself and patch her team through. :: :: Now that she was in control of doors, cameras and communications, all she had to do, was wait. Which didn't take long, she watched her team on the monitor, move into positions, and then the gunfire started, the screaming and crying. The happy couple, that she had been glad she didn't have to serve, were now cowering under their table, the man trying to position himself in front of the woman. She supposed 'yes' was said, or he might not be so protective. :: :: She listened to her Colonel bellow in his authoritative voice, and the green woman from the big party answer. The reactions from Tola's demonstration, and the pleased look on the man's face. And then she was addressed. :: Tark: Miss Qad. If you'd be so kind as to activate the broadcast. Qad: :: She opened the communications with the outside world, the emergency frequencies. The program also interrupted a random handful of popular public frequencies each time it was opened, the first time should be enough to bring any news broadcaster's attention on them. :: =/\= You're on. =/\= :: She responded through the patched communication. Tark: =/\= This is Colonel Javan Tark, of the Galaran Resistance Front. I'm speaking to you from the Vittian Hotel, in the New Seattle colony on Izar. Listen well. I have taken hostages in the hotel. If you cooperate, they will all be released unharmed. Failure to cooperate will result in an unfortunate end. There are also explosives in the hotel. Any attempt at rescue, or to incapacitate me, or any member of my team, will have a similar result. I will be sending another message in exactly ten minutes with my demands. I advise you to be listening carefully. =/\= :: While he was talking, she moved towards her locker, removing a secondary PADD and a hand phaser. She returned to the console just in time to hear the end of the Colonel's introduction. She watched and listened to him answer the question again, but still vaguely. She put her phaser and PADD down on the console, while she closed the channel. She opened a private channel between the communicator that he had, and the console directly, so communications could be had more directly. Now, she needed to monitor the cameras and in ten minutes, she needed to open the emergency frequencies again. It should be only a matter of time before the outside is surrounded by local authorities and reporters. :: MSNPC Ladressa Qad As Simmed by: Lieutenant Sundassa Faranster Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Apollo
  25. ((Vittian Hotel - Izar)) :: It was always the same before an operation began. The feeling that welled up inside as he approached the point of action. The threshold that loomed, unseen, but ever-present and unmistakable. Javan found himself standing on that very line. On the edge of a moment that he had planned for for so long, about to cross a line that could never be uncrossed. He had two choices, turn back, or step forward. And turning back was no longer an option.:: Qad: I don't want to rush you, let me know when you're ready. Tark: Shouldn't need more than about two minutes. :: With that, the countdown began. Qad would have two minutes to make the arrangements that they needed. But they had timed it well. She would be in position, and in control of the security systems of the hotel. The entrances would be sealed, and the comm systems in their control. No communication would get in or out of the hotel unless they wanted it to.:: :: He nodded to Bratunk, who pulled out a PADD, entering the commands that would bring the rest of their countermeasures online. They were the ones that would give them leverage. A part of him hoped they wouldn't have to use them, but he would if pressed.:: :: He took one last scan of the room, making careful note of the positions of everyone in the room. He nodded to Tola, and stood, counting down in his head. He made is way to the comm station that he had been directed to. There sat a small container, which he opened. He pulled out a pair of rifles, which he tossed to Tola. He took a third for himself. before they made their way back to the dining room. He approached the entrance once more as he ticked down the last of his countdown.:: :: Three.:: :: Two.:: :: He took a breath on the edge of the door. This was the moment he had waited for. It was the moment that they had been working so hard for, that they had struggled for. He had lost count of how many had given their lives for it, directly or indirectly, but he would never forget that they had. It was for them.:: :: For Leandra.:: :: One.:: :: Tola tossed the extra rifle to Ghain, while Javan raised his, firing into the air to a large lighting fixture. It exploded harmlessly, but with a huge racket. There was instant confusion in the room. People dove for cover, others looked around frantically, trying to figure out exactly what was happening. Which meant it was his moment to make that known.:: Tark: May I have your attention, please. :: He used his best command voice. Not everyone would recognize it, but there was something about it that commanded attention.:: Tark: You are all about to be held here against you will as prisoners of the Galaran Resistance Front. And for that I apologize. I give you my word that you will not be held any longer than is necessary for us to complete our mission. :: He gave them all a moment to absorb what he had said. He wondered if any of them might ask anything at first, but there was nothing at first. He watched as one man pulled out what appeared to be some sort of communicator.:: Tark: You will find that all of your communication devices are quite unusable, and all exits sealed. We will control what goes in and out of the building. :: He nodded to Tola, who pulled out a small device, showing it to the crowd.:: Tark: You should also know that there are bombs in the building. I would ask you to direct your attention the the harbour. :: He had assumed from the beginning that there might be someone in the room who doubted him, someone who wanted to play hero. He had prepared for that contingency, pointing his rifle at the large window.:: Tark: Captain Bratunk, if you would prepare the demonstration. Bratunk: With pleasure, Colonel! :: One of the devices was activated. A boat moored in the harbour was suddenly engulfed in flames as it exploded, rattling the large windows. The shock in the room was, unsurprisingly, palpable.:: Tark: Now, lest any of you think me an unfeeling monster, you should know I went to great lengths to make sure that boat was unoccupied. I just needed you all to know I'm serious. Now, I promise you that, as long as you all co-operate, and my demands are met, you will all be released without harm. If you attempt to resist, there will be... consequences. Sherana: What do you want to achieve with this demonstration? :: It was a question he had expected to hear from someone, but not quite so early in the situation. Clearly, whoever had asked it was of an unusually brave caliber. Or too stupid to realize the magnitude of the situation.:: Tark: What do I want? :: He paused for a moment, mostly for effect.:: Tark: I suppose that's a fair question. From you, nothing. You are all merely a method to get what I want. Which is the attention of the Federation government. :: He watched each and every face in the room. Some of them seemed to understand what was happening. Others seemed to be more confused than a fish being pulled out of a lake.:: Tark: Now, if you'd all be so kind as to remain seated, I have a few matters to take care of. :: He pulled out a small device from his pocket, a communicator, which he activated.:: Tark: Miss Qad. If you'd be so kind as to activate the broadcast. :: He waited for a moment as he waited for the channel to open This one would broadcast over a number of emergency frequencies, where he knew someone would be listening. But it would also broadcast on several public ones as well, which meant that Federation officials would not be able to cover up what was happening. Which is exactly what he wanted. He wanted as many people as possible to hear what he had to say, including his new hostages.:: Qad: /\= You're on. =/\= Tark: =/\= This is Colonel Javan Tark, of the Galaran Resistance Front. I'm speaking to you from the Vittian Hotel, in the New Seattle colony on Izar. Listen well. I have taken hostages in the hotel. If you cooperate, they will all be released unharmed. Failure to cooperate will result in an unfortunate end. There are also explosives in the hotel. Any attempt at rescue, or to incapacitate me, or any member of my team, will have a similar result. I will be sending another message in exactly ten minutes with my demands. I advise you o be listening carefully. =/\= :: He looked back at the one who had spoken to him a few moments ago.:: Tark: I suppose I never did properly answer your question. Sherana: ::nodding:: You indeed did not. Tark: What I'm looking for... is justice. Tag/TBC Colonel Javan Tark Galaran Resistance Frost as simmed by Commander Liam Frost Chief of Intelligence USS Apollo
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