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  1. ((Bridge - USS Spartan)) :: Under different circumstances, Jeremy might have actually been impressed by the audacity and the bravado that frost was showing. But these were not those circumstances. Right now he was filled with nothing but righteous indignation at the fact that this whelp that looked liked he should barely be out of the Academy was standing on the bridge of a ship that he had no business being in charge of and dared to lecture him about what was right and wrong. He had no idea what it was like to be out here, and he very much doubted that he ha dbeen through the kind of loss that Jeremy had, or had to make the kind of decisions he had had to make. Frost talked a good game, but he doubted he had the stones to actually fire on another Federation ship.:: Hammond: Captain….Jeremy….he's right. We have to stop. This is just wrong. :: He turned slowly towards the man at the tactical station. There was a tone in Richard's voice that he was not sure that he had ever heard him use before. There was anger. There was disappointment. And more disturbing than anything, there was defiance. He had never heard Richard speak to him with an attitude of defiance before. As mush as he and the hamster tended to give each other the business, he had always been loyal to him. And now he was standing at his station, openly refusing to suppot him in the most important thing he had ever done. To say that he was incredulous was to severely understate the situation.:: Clarkson: I want you to consider your next words very, very carefully. Hammond: There are other ways to bring some meaning to her death. Clarkson: Who. The bloody hell. Do you think you are? :: Jeremy stood slowly as we walked towards Hammond, his eyes locked on the man. There was a look in his eyes that was hard to describe. It was a mix of more feelings that Jeremy had the wherewithal to identify; fear, anger, sadness, conviction, all of it. Whatever he was doing, he believed it was right. But then again, traitors always believed that what they were doing was right.:: Hammond: You don't see what you…we've done do you? Clarkson: We've avenged seventy-six cold blooded murders and exacted the justice that Starfleet Command refuses to demand. But I suppose you have some other idea about what we've done. Hammond: Jeremy, we've broken the peace! We've essentially started a war! Clarkson: No! We didn't start this war! They started this war the moment they let Koval invade our space, capture the Hermes and murder her crew in cold blood! I will not stand by and let this stand like a coward. I will not allow the murder of someone that I loved to be brushed under the rug in the name of protecting an alliance with savages who would tear out our hearts if they thought they could get away with it. The line must be drawn here, no further. I will not... :: His righteous indignation was interrupted by the violent shaking of his bridge. His ship was small, and any impact was felt much more intensely than it would be on a larger ship. For a moment, he was very nearly thrown off balance, but he was able to steady himself on a console before he was sent to the floor. He managed to write himself and regain what composure he had not already spewed onto Hammond. He had no idea which ship had fired first, and he didn't care. all he knew was that his ship was under attack and he was going to defend it to the last.:: Clarkson: Mr. Hammond, return fire. Hammond: I will not. I've been blindly following orders for too long. We need to stop this! :: Jeremy had neither time not the patience to deal with Richard's insolence. He could deal with that later once he was no longer being shot at.:: Clarkson: Mr. Stig, assume tactical control and return fire. :: Without a word, the helmsman reconfigured his control panel to act as both the conn and the tactical console. It would make their response a bit slower than he would have hoped for, But he had no time to lament his situation. And if there was anyone that could do it, it was Stig. HE held onto the side of his chair as the ship pitched sharply.:: Hammond: Captain don't make me do this. We've served together for too long. Clarkson: You haven't got the stones. Hammond: So you've left me no choice. Captain Jeremy Clarkson, by the order of Starfleet regulation 619, I am declaring you emotionally compromised and unfit to command this vessel. You are relieved sir. :: A long moment passed as the two men stared at each other. He wondered which of them would be the first to flinch, or whether their contest would be nterupted by the complete annihilation of the bridge that they both occupied. There was some other form of trickery afoot, but it wasn't what he expected. Before he could express the full measure of his fury and indignity, Hammond was surrounded by the blue glow of a transporter. He turned around to see the rest of the bridge crew dissolve the same way, leaving him alone on the bridge of his ship.:: :: He was alone now. The dull hum of electronic equipment and the sound of his own thoughts. And it was in that moment, that he was left to contemplate,. How far he had come, how much he had done. And for what? What had he really done? He had ventured into Klingon space, destroyed two ships that caused the deaths of a few hundred faceless Klingons. And what had he accomplished. He was just as alone now as he had been before he set out, as alone as the moment when Admiral Raymond had told him that Emma was gone. There was another terrifying possibility that he had to contend with.:: :: The possibility that Hammond was right.:: ::No. He would not accept this. He could not accept this. He was going to make someone listen to him if he had to shout from the pulpit of every church, or from the prisoner's dock of a court martial. He would not be silenced by anyone, no matter how righteous they thought they were. He could feel the rage spilling over, and now there was no one left to keep him in check, no one to restrain himself for. A bellow emerged from a place deep inside of him that he had not allowed himself to show since he had been told what had happened to his daughter. He raised a fist above his head, bringing it crashing down on the conn, cracking the plastic covering in several places, and doing some damage to his hand, the severity of which he could not care less about.:: :: HE had yet to figure out why he had not yet been transported as well. Perhaps he was going to be left here to die on his own. It would be fitting, considering how Starfleet had abandoned Emma. They had swpet her death under the rug, pretending like it was just one of those things that happened in Starfleet. And now that they had the rest of his crew in custody, they could leave him here to the Klingons, brushing him off as nothing more than an embarrassment or an inconvenience. And if they simply let him die on some godforsaken Klingon penal rock, then they could pretend he had never existed. Just as they had done with the rest of the crew of the Hermes.:: :: A strange manner of thing began to happen as he contemplated his fate. He was surrounded by the blue glow of the transporter, as the rest of his crew had as well. He could feel the telltale tingle of being transported to another ship. He counted down the seconds until he would be somewhere on another ship, likely surrounded by several men carrying guns pointed at him. But it was taking too long. And as he looked out, there appeared to be another glow, this one a deep crimson. He began to feel a remarkably unpleasant sensation, though he had no idea how to adequately describe it. It persisted for an unfathomably long time, as he wondered if he was going to make it to his destination with all of his atoms intact, or if that this was some sort of elaborate torture method designed to make it so that they could say he was lost in some sort of tragic accident, absolving that petulant worm Frost of any guilt over his fate.:: :: After what seemed like quite some time, a room began to form around him. It was, mercifully, the look of a Starfleet ship's transporter room, this one noticeably larger than the one on the Spartan. He had a sneaking suspicion of where he was, particularly when he spotted the man in the green marine uniform pointing a rather nasty looking rifle at him. He had expected as much of a reception, though he was at least mildly surprised that he was not immediately shot by the man in the uniform.:: Wallace: Captain Jeremy Clarkson I presume? Clarkson: Clarkson, Jeremy Charles Robert. Captain. USS Spartan. Serial number Foxtrot-Kilo-Two-Five-One-Nine-Eight-Two. Should I presume that I am where I think I am? Wallace: You are aboard the USS Gemini. By order of our commanding officer you will remain in this room until further instructions come through. Clarkson: Of course I am. And will your esteemed captain be gracing us with his presence? :: As if on cue, there was a hissing from the side of the room indicated the opening of a door, and in walked a man that Jeremy had not expected to see in person.:: Frost: Captain Clarkson... TBC Captain Jeremy Clarkson Commanding Officer USS Spartan as simmed by Captain Liam Frost Commanding Officer USS Gemini
  2. ((Cell 5 Observation Room, Security Hub - Starbase 118)) ::Lucien watched attentively as Toral, Tiam and the captain questioned the captive. Whoever did the man's makeup deserved an award, he looked every bit arkarian on the surface. He seemed despondant and unco-operative. Landau wasn't surprised; the man's home had died, and he'd seen enough war between his people and the Federation to last a lifetime - even a Romulan one. Now there he was, being questioned and trialed for killing four people. Luc found himself empathising with the prisoner; four people really wasn't a huge amount, in the grand scheme of things. But still, he hadn't killed them in a warzone or in ship-to-ship combat. They weren't the unfortunate price of war. They were murdered, in cold blood. Even the most hardened cynic had to agree that there was a difference.:: ~~ What do you think will happen to him? ~~ oO He'll be tried, it won't take long to find him guilty. If he's unlucky, he might get as far as the prison before he finds a way to end himself. Oo ~~ You think he's a you'll-never-take-me-alive type? ~~ oO If course he is. Not only is he a romulan, but according to the reports he literally said as much before his little stunt with the fire suppressors. Oo ~~ True enough. Think you'd do that, if you got caught? ~~ ::Landau was taken aback by the question.:: oO I wouldn't *get* caught. Oo ::He smirked inwardly, but that didn't play so well when the questioner was inside his own head.:: ~~ Come on, you know that facade stuff isn't going to work with me. The only reason I know you're smirking is because I know you told your muscles to do it. You forget that I also know why. ~~ ::It was a fair enough accusation. Sometimes he did forget. Ja-Shen felt so real that he often found himself vocalising his side of the conversation. It was still quite a staggering feat that he'd never been caught actually talking to himself out loud. There was one time a subordinate tactical officer had come close on the Indy, but the content of his outburst was easy enough to pass off as a yell of frustration. Most of it was unrepeatable to minors. He felt the voice inside him smile at him. It was an unsettling feeling.:: ~~ I always did know how to get under your skin, Lu-Shen. ~~ oO To be fair, you have the advantage that you begin there already, biologically speaking. But you forget that I can give as good as I get. Oo ~~ Oh, really? ~~ ::Lucien smiled, outwardly this time. He let his brother stew for a while and watched as the interrogation unfolded before him. It wasn't much of a spectacle, so far. Fairly mild questioning - it didn't help that Tiam was agreeing with the suspect half the time and telling him how terrible and useless the Federation had been to her people. He began to wonder if this was a tactic, or just genuine frustration.:: ~~ She's right, isn't she? The Federation look after their own... when it's convenient. ~~ oO They've looked after us well enough, and miradorn aren't exactly first on the invitation list at all the cool parties. Oo ~~ They've looked after *you*. Because you've been useful to them. What have they done for father? ~~ oO He lives well enough here. Oo ~~ He EXISTS here. You wouldn't know the differene, I suppose. Always were our mother's boy. Father wasn't always a bitter, cynical shell you know. There was a time he was alive. A time he fought for what he believed in. ~~ ::Lucien scowled, suddenly tiring of this exchange. He stewed over possible responses in his mind, before selecting a few choice ones and loading them into his mental mortar one by one. First salvo, fire!:: oO He got people *killed* for what he believed in. Half of those people didn't even believe in it themselves. He got *you* killed for what *he* believed in. You weren't even old enough to know what that was! Oo ::The constant pressure of his brother's presence in his mind lifted slightly, as if recoiling. Then it hit back, a thousand-fold.:: ~~ I was old enough to know it was right! You wouldn't know, you never went on any raids. You stayed at home being coddled by mother. You were never a true miradorn. If you were, you wouldn't be sat in here watching. You'd be in there, stringing that Romulan frakker up by his 'nads and *bleeding* the information out of him. If you were a true miradorn, you'd be ashamed to wear that uniform. You don't even know how shamed father felt when he sat in that plush Federation embassy and filled in endless forms for asylum and settlement. To protect *you*. And how did you repay him? ~~ ::Lucien inhaled, slowly, then exhaled. He wouldn't be beaten by his own concience. At moments like this it was easy to believe that his brother was dead. Easy to believe that nothing that happened here was real. His brain was overcompensating for the loss he felt. Making up a personality to fill in the gap. His brother was dead. This wasn't real. But even so, he couldn't help the slight welling-up in his eyes. The involuntary clenching of his fists.:: oO He's proud of me. He says so often. Oo ~~ He *tells* you often. People *tell* you a lot of things. Telling people things is easy. Has he ever *shown* you? ~~ ::Lucien fell silent again, concentrating on his breathing. Without a word, he loaded the next verbal shell into his metaphorical mortar.:: oO You know the real reason I never avenged your death, brother? ::He waited briefly for a response, but the question was rhetorical.:: I didn't care enough. Oo ::This wasn't remotely true. And he'd forgotten that, sharing his brain as it does, his brother's conciousness would know this as much as Lucien did. The shell missed by miles.:: ~~ You'll have to do better than that. I was there, remember? I know these things. But please, continue to avoid the real issues here if they get too difficult. ~~ ::Another brief pause, while Landau mentally regrouped and loaded the proverbial silver bullet. The one he knew would always work, time and time again.:: oO What would you *do* with this body, Ja-Shen? If you could have it all to yourself? If you could operate the fingers and toes, the eyes and nose? Steal a ship and go raiding? Take father along for the ride as he used to take you? Like a "real" miradorn? Oo ::Lucien laughed. He wasn't sure if he'd vocalised it or not, but didn't particularly care. The room was soundproof. The interrogation carried on outside at a leisurely pace.:: oO I don't suppose it matters, really. You'll never get the chance now, will you? Oo TBC! -------------------------------- Ensign Lucien Landau Security Officer Starbase 118
  3. (( Docking Port; U.S.S. Albion )) ::After ensuring that her clearances were accepted, and after a long walk along the gangway, Kaitlyn arrived at Albion’s airlock.:: ::Albion was a strikingly beautiful ship. As an Excelsior-refit, she was one of the few ships in Starfleet with a hull color other than battleship grey, sporting white with turquoise trim. Her engineering hull projections hinted at space for additional equipment, and her additional pair of impulse drives and beefed up warp nacelles gave Kaitlyn the hope that she’d have better agility than most older starships.:: ::Kaitlyn knew that one could do a lot with an older design. Her father had led a team conducting extensive refits of the U.S.S. Yorktown and U.S.S. Lexington, both 23rd Century vintage Mk3 Constitutions-class. The result was a pair of ships with classic styling and capabilities on par with an Intrepid. Not bad, all things considered.:: ::The airlock door opened as Kaitlyn approached, an older looking human man in a yellow accented uniform waiting to greet her. He extended his hand, his voice sounding both gruff and respectful.:: Jemeth: Welcome aboard, Ma’am. I’m Master Chief Jemeth, Engineering Department Master Chief. ::Kaitlyn took his hand and shook it.:: Falcon: Pleased to meet you, Master Chief. ::Jemeth gave a small wave-off.:: Jemeth: Just call me ‘EDMC’. It’s faster. Anyway, you ready for the grand tour? ::Kaitlyn smirked, but nodded as she followed through the inner airlock door. Both doors slid shut behind them.:: Falcon: No random ensigns around to task? Jemeth: They’d probably get you lost. ::Smirks back.:: Nah, I recognized the name. ::Kaitlyn paused a moment, checking her brain to see if she’d missed something. Jemeth… Jemeth… Where might she had heard that before? She took a guess.:: Falcon: Served with my sister? ::That gave her about a fifty-fifty shot at being right. After all, of the four members of her immediate family who were in Starfleet, two of them were her sisters.:: Jemeth: ::Nods.:: That’s right, Ma’am, back when she was CHENG around here. After she transferred, I ended up getting assigned to Albion’s refit, and stuck around on the old girl once we were done. ::Jemeth led the way into a nearby turbolift, Kaitlyn following closely.:: Jemeth: Bridge. ::Looking to Kaitlyn.:: Not sure if you had the time to check every nook and cranny, so I figured I’d show you the highlights. ::Kaitlyn nodded. Much as she’d love to crawl around the place, she knew she probably shouldn’t lose herself to it.:: Falcon: Sounds like a plan to me. I’ll get around everywhere soon enough. ::The ‘lift soon deposited them on the bridge, Jemeth grabbing a PADD off a nearby console as they passed. He shook his head.:: Jemeth: I’ve gotta have a word with the duty section about leaving their stuff lying around… Still, convenient for us. ::Taps out a series of commands, then holds it out to Kaitlyn.:: Here. The inspection results you requested. ::Kaitlyn accepted the PADD with a smile, her face then snapping into ‘business mode’ as she reviewed the data. It was just like reviewing a shipping manifest back in the day.:: ::As she read, Jemeth continued.:: Jemeth: The last refit took her back to stock, mostly, at least. She started life as one of the Enterprise-B variants, then got a host of upgrades for the Dominion War before Intel got their hands on her. ::Kaitlyn nodded. Hull, engine, and shield upgrades were in line for that. Torpedo capacity was decent. Albion didn’t have the newer burst or pulse fire launchers, but they’d get the job done. Phaser capacity looked good, putting her on par with an older Galaxy-class. Made sense for the war.:: ::Still, that ‘mostly’ caught her interest. Kaitlyn’s eyes shifted to look at him.:: Falcon: ‘Mostly’? ::Jemeth nodded.:: Jemeth: Yeah. As far as I’ve been able to figure out, they couldn’t remove all of the tech the Intel spooks stuffed into this ship. Either that, or they wanted to keep it available in case they ever needed to take her back again. A lot of it was ‘retired-in-place’, just pulled all the connections from the ship and erased the info on how to operate it from the ship’s computer. Falcon: Wouldn’t it all stand out? Jemeth: Not if they build it into other equipment that’s still running. ::More quiet.:: I’ve spotted a few grav generators with empty computer connection ports on them. When have you ever seen a grav generator with an expansion slot? ::Kaitlyn gave a slight shake of her head.:: Falcon: Never… Jemeth: Exactly. Now, I have no idea what might be here, and I’m nowhere near curious enough to start poking around to find out, but I figure someone on board ought to know besides me. ::Normal volume.:: So, shall we continue? ::Kaitlyn nodded again, Jemeth moving further into the bridge as he started presenting the various control stations for her inspection.:: ::Albion… Strikingly beautiful, with some equally striking secrets hidden within. Kaitlyn wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it, truth be told, but she knew two things for certain.:: ::One, she needed to tell Leo about this ASAP.:: ::Two, she would have to be VERY careful about what she touched…:: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Lieutenant Kaitlyn Falcon Chief Helm Officer Starbase 118 / USS Albion =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  4. ((Deck 1- Bridge, U.S.S. Gemini)) ::Shayne sat back hard into his chair. The brazen, self-assured confidence that had flowed through him like a drug was causing him to crash. Hard. He felt a little sick. His eyes were wide, as if they were saying, "Holy cow, what was that?" The chirp of a commbadge disrupted his musings.:: Konstava: =/\= Chief Konstava to Ensign Shayne. Could I borrow a word for a moment sir? =/\= Shayne: =/\= Ah, yes, Chief. What, um-What can I do for you? =/\= Konstava: =/\= I have just been informed that the Transporter system has just blown out. Something that should not have been possible under normal circumstances given the modifications I helped implement. If it is not too much trouble sir, would you mind explaining what just transpired? =/\= ::Shayne was suddenly feeling constricted, almost mortified, by the chief's innocent question. He knew he needed to respond, but he felt as if he spoke, he would spew his last meal all over the deck. He'd experienced this phenomenon many times before, and over the years he'd learned a few tricks for getting past it. So he took several deep breaths and, in an almost comical maneuver, licked his wrist, which had a small amount of salt on it. His speech returned, but he knew it wouldn't be long before a relapse, so he rushed through.:: Shayne: =/\= Ah, uh, I, um, I modulated the deflector to emit an anti-proton pulse which briefly allowed both our transporter and that of the, um, Klingons to-to, um, to integrate, in a sense. Then I modulated our beam to use the Klingon's beam as a sort of carrier, which allowed me to lock onto their transporter room, deep inside the ship, and actually beam most of it straight out of there, along with Captain Clarkson. The transporter was never meant to handle such an uncooperative load all at once, and that's probably what did it.=/\= ::Almost nonsensically, he began to apologize:: =/\= I'm sorry, I just had a flash of inspiration, and, oh, you think I'm mad--=/\= ::Thankfully the Chief put an end to his blubbering rather quickly:: Konstava: =/\= Mad sir? Quite the opposite in fact, I should imagine they’ll be naming that little piece of trickery the Shayne manoeuvre. I shall have to remember it for future reference so I can plan equipment modifications appropriately. You should be very proud of what you managed to achieve. =/\= ::Shayne almost let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Now that the chief had given him some reassurance, his controlled demeanor began to return.:: Shayne: =/\= Oh, um, thank you, Chief. (Ahem). I'm sorry about the mess down there. =/\= Konstava: =/\= Not a problem sir, thank you for speaking with me. If you ever want to just talk shop, my ear is always open and you’ll normally find me in the Twin star lounge, Chief Konstava out. =/\= ::Shayne leaned back into his chair, as a smile began to creep across his face. If he was correct, he'd just made the first impression he was hoping for:: oO Well, that went well Oo Ensign Randal Shayne Helmsman U.S.S. Gemini
  5. ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::"...back in a bit," Kirosa had told him. He wasn't sure that was true. For a moment, Ren stuck to his place in the tree, watching the Orion ensign launch through the air, descending on the Kalar with her hunting knife high. She seemed to move in slow motion, suspended there too long before making contact with the beast, but at the same time it all happened much too fast.:: ::There was a moment when Ren was distracted by the realization that he'd cut his foot open at some time during his escape from the Kalar. It was a good, long, deep slice, the kind that only now, minutes later, was beginning to show signs of blood. His mind only focused long enough to register the wound before his eyes and all his senses jolted back to the scene below. Kirosa was butchering the Kalar.:: ::The thing held its attack briefly, seemingly too stunned by the feeling of the blade to do anything else. The ferocity that read on Kirosa's face and the intensity of her rage sent Ren scrambling down towards her, despite the first sting of pain finally appearing in his foot as he climbed down the tree. He didn't know her, but he wasn't about to let her hurt herself.:: RENNYN: Computer! Restore safety protocols! Kirosa... ::He made it to the ground almost as quickly as he'd climbed up. The attack was ending in the Kalar's pitiful retreat.:: RENNYN: Ensign! ::He watched, waiting for any sign that she'd heard him. The power of her fury was frightening, but he had to admit there was beauty there, seeing her in her element, standing powerfully, breathing deeply, watching her prey loping away into the jungle.:: ::All at once, Kirosa's tense posture relaxed and she sheathed her knife in her boot.:: KIROSA: Computer, Freeze Program. Arch. ::The computer complied, and, grabbing her jacket and vest, the Orion woman made her exit with hardly a glance back at Ren.:: KIROSA: Holodeck's all yours Ensign... ::She was gone.:: ::Ren stood in place, stunned by what had just happened. His foot was bleeding now, dark, thick blood from deep inside, and the pain of it had caught up to him. The holodeck would self-clean, but someone would be out on the deck scrubbing the carpet after he walked himself to Sickbay. Around him, the frozen program of Rigel VII's jungle seemed to stand in as much confused silence as the Trill himself. The sounds of creatures far and near, the surrounding rustle of leaves were gone. The slight breeze that had punctuated the jungle's close, still air had ceased. Even the feeling of humidity seemed to have disappeared, replaced by the ship's normal ambient air quality. Only the visual representation of the dense jungle remained, eerily motionless.:: ::He sat on the ground where he was, favoring the injured left foot on the way down, only wincing once as his foot began to realize the extent of the pain. Ren took off the ridiculous Hawaiian shirt, exposing the Trill spots on his arms and torso to the nullified, dangerless jungle. He tore the shirt into a useful piece, then wrapped it carefully around his foot, binding the wound long enough to walk to Sickbay and have it repaired.:: ::Ren looked at the closed door inside the arch, a few meters away. He wondered where Kirosa had gone off to next. Her day was going from bad to worse, she'd said. He barely knew her, but he hated to see anyone in that much pain. He might have run after her if it hadn't been for his foot. Not that it was her fault he'd blindly walked in on her program without so much as finding out what was running - that was on him. And he'd had worse injuries than this by far. But one person's fit of anger could lead to another's harm, usually someone peripheral, someone not targeted or even thought about. The little bits of collateral damage that can radiate from one person's pain and rage, someone else's wound to carry. Ren might have been the victim this time, but, laying back on the jungle floor for a moment's rest, he thought of one time he'd been the one to cause pain...:: ((Flashback - Starfleet Academy - 4.5 years ago)) ::Ren's sister Alin tugged impatiently at the sleeve of his cadet uniform. In her own matching uniform, they could almost have been twins, except he was taller and broader, not to mention ten years older than not only her, but most of the other cadets on the San Francisco campus too.:: ALIN: Rendal Arnom Rennyn, get your rear in gear! Come on! ::No Rennyn had ever been to Earth that they knew of, but the two of them had arrived together following a disastrously long trip from Trill that, after a series of transfer mishaps, had threatened to make them late for first muster. Arriving in time had meant a sleepless night sitting up in a shuttle with a helpful but talkative Centauran who had agreed to ferry them on his supply run into the Sol system. They'd had to land with him in Alberta and beam themselves through a series of public hubs to reach San Francisco in time. The whole journey had been exhausting.:: REN: What I still don't understand is... what supplies did he need from Alberta? ::His feet were dragging, his eyes swimming, and worst of all, despite his best efforts to suck it up and be his normal friendly self, he was cranky.:: ALIN: Never mind. We were supposed to have taken our room assignments an hour ago. Hurry! ::They were half walking, half running across the campus, trying to appear dignified with all their bags hanging from them. Cadets all along the way stared at them.:: REN: Alright! ::He'd snapped the word out more sharply than he meant to. He could have used a shave and two bites to eat before reporting. But they didn't have the luxury.:: Sorry. I'm hurrying. Watch me get stuck with someone obnoxious like a Ferengi. ::He couldn't help grumbling.:: ALIN: Don't be rude. You have low blood sugar. Just try to be nice. ::Hoisting a wayward bag to her shoulder, she threw him a mischievous glance.:: Besides, they'll obviously pair you with the only person who can really drive you crazy - a Vulcan. REN: Don't even say it! Give me anyone with warm blood in his veins and I'll find a way to get along with him. Heck, I've met cold-blooded lizards I didn't mind. But not a Vulcan! ::On a normal day, he'd have been more reasonable about it. He didn't have anything against anyone, really. Certainly not just because their race was emotionless. Sure, he couldn't quite understand that, but he'd only ever met a few Vulcans anyway, so what did he know. Alin was right, he was just hungry and tired, and his behavior and thoughts were becoming unreasonable. Once they got inside, he'd put his bags down and relax a minute, and act like a grown man.:: ::As quick as they could, they arrived at the large gathering hall where the day's arrivals had been told to report at 0900. It was 0947 in San Francisco, and the majority of cadets in their cohort had already been welcomed, introduced to their roommates, and sent off to settle in before the afternoon matriculation ceremony. Only a few uniformed enlisted staff remained, along with a lieutenant in charge, and one patiently-waiting human cadet named Lois who launched herself at Alin.:: LOIS: Are you Alin Rennyn? I've been waiting for you! ::The lieutenant stepped forward with a slightly annoyed yet good-natured expression.:: LIEUTENANT: Our latecomers, I presume. Cadet Rendal Rennyn and Cadet Alin Rennyn? ::Ren and Alin both gave their best Yes, Sir.:: LIEUTENANT: At ease. I'm pleased to welcome you both to Starfleet Academy. Especially since it looks like you had an extra long trip from Trill. Miss Rennyn, your roommate has been waiting patiently for your arrival. I'm glad you joined us when you did. ::Ren glanced around as Alin and Lois broke off into their own excited chatter. He noticed that no other cadets were waiting there. Had his roommate been sent on already? Dared he hope that he'd have a room to himself? He hadn't been looking forward to rooming with some 18-year-old kid, despite how much he liked Alin and his other younger sisters and brother. The drained exhaustion he was feeling didn't make him any more likely to overcome his annoyance. He focused on holding himself together. He could practically have fallen asleep where he stood. But the Lieutenant and the others were watching him, and he forced himself to behave.:: LIEUTENANT: Mr. Rennyn, if you will wait a few minutes, your roommate has only just stepped out. He'll return in a moment. My crew and I need to be elsewhere by 1000, so we're leaving you to your own devices for the moment. ::He handed Ren a padd.:: Here's your roommate, your room number, your cadet number and everything you'll need to get started. Ceremony's at 1330, don't miss it. Good luck, cadet. ::The lieutenant joined the crewmen who were already at the door, and the group exited, leaving Ren alone in the big room with Alin and Lois.:: ALIN: Is it a Vulcan? ::Ren's sister bounded over to him, teasing him, riled up with all her youthful excitability. Ren, letting all his exhaustion show again now that the lieutenant was gone, activated the padd and took in a sharp breath.:: ALIN: What? I was kidding. ::Ren tried to calm himself with a few deep breaths, but couldn't. He showed her the padd, shaking it fiercely for emphasis.:: REN: They have to be joking. A dang, cold-blooded Vulcan! ::If Ren had slept a little the night before, his mind might have been clear enough to stop him from saying something so rude. If he'd had a bite to eat in the last 26 hours, he might not have felt too anxious to keep himself calm. If he hadn't had to wander the streets of Alberta in the first cold light of dawn looking for the public transporter, he might have had a shred of sympathy left to look beyond his own small needs and remain a member of polite society. All he had was exhaustion. He was worn down to that basic, instinctual version of himself that everyone becomes now and then when their body and mind are unrested to the tipping point. Though he'd tried, he had failed to overcome the unreasonable emotions flowing through him.:: ::His sister's horrified expression set off his alarms, and Ren found his unkind words hung thickly in the air as he turned and saw a Vulcan face that would one day be very familiar to him. That first time he saw Sovak's face was the first time Ren realized that it might be possible to hurt a Vulcan's feelings after all.:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::Ensign Rennyn lay bleeding from his left foot on a frozen-in-time Rigellian jungle floor, dressed in nothing but brightly-colored swim trunks. If that was a metaphor for something, he couldn't work out what.:: ::He'd been caught off guard by Ensign Kirosa's erratic behavior. The fury in her knocked him for a loop just to see it, but he had no idea what her struggles might be. Maybe whatever was getting to her was a lot worse than Ren could know; or maybe this was just one spectacularly bad day out of many good ones. Despite their moment together up a tree, he still barely knew her. And he'd learned the hard way not to judge a book by its cover...:: ((Flashback - Starfleet Academy - 4 years ago)) ::Ren was several months in to his time at the Academy, and he was flourishing. Back home in Arnmere, he'd had a good life, a happy one, but there were no starships for him to fly, beyond a holo simulation. His sister Alin was doing incredible work in her classes, already catching the eye of certain science faculty who appreciated her unique approach and keen perception. Ren, while not among the very topmost pilots in his class, proved capable in all his coursework, and was having the time of his life learning the skills he would need in his new life with Starfleet. Even those in their family who had objected to their leaving home had begun to come around, and life seemed to be headed in a wonderful direction for Ren and Alin.:: ::Only one aspect of the experience left Ren disappointed. His relationship with his roommate, Sovak, the Vulcan he had managed to thoughtlessly insult the first moment they met, remained a major point of stress and distraction. It wasn't that Sovak had retaliated in any way. He didn't appear to hold a grudge, or resent the Trill, or even complain. On the contrary, the Vulcan had gone out of his way to do none of those things. In six months, he hadn't mentioned the incident once. It made Ren feel terrible.:: ::The Trill man worried over it constantly. Where he came from, people said what they meant, talked it out, then moved on. They weren't exactly on a Betazoid level of openness, but for a non-telepathic race, they were fairly open. It bothered him that he never had a clue what Sovak was thinking. It made him worry that whatever damage his careless comment had created was festering and growing, shut up tight in the Vulcan's heart where no one could go to repair it, maybe not even Sovak himself.:: ::Now, on what would become one of their most memorable nights, the two sat at the desks in their dorm room, each slogging through his own mountain of homework.:: SOVAK: Ren, it is 1800 hours. Do you require nourishment at this time? ::From day one, Sovak had been trying to serve plomeek soup to the Trill. Ren loved his vegetables as much as the next farm boy, but couldn't imagine a Vulcan dish would be anything but bland. He kept his face neutral out of respect.:: RENNYN: No thanks, buddy. SOVAK: I am replicating plomeek soup. RENNYN: I figured. Look, I'm just going to pass on that this time, okay? ::Sovak moved to the replicator and keyed in his order.:: SOVAK: You pass every time. ::The comment wasn't unfamiliar to Ren's ears. That was exactly what had been worrying him. Sovak possessed all the logic and emotional reserve anyone would expect of a Vulcan, but sometimes, just every now and again, he'd make some off-hand comment that seemed to serve no purpose but to criticize Ren. Barbed words with little jagged edges intended to cause damage. The only logical conclusion was that Sovak was angry with the Trill, but Ren couldn't prove it. Every time he tried to broach the subject, Sovak found a way to shut the conversation down. It was immensely frustrating.:: ::Ren had been studying navigational maps for class, and it had occurred to him that conversations, just like navigable space, could be mapped. You start from a known point, where you have your bearings, and than you take off toward a far place that, even if distantly visible from the start, may turn out to be foreign in completely unexpected ways. How do you get there? How do you know which turns to take, which to avoid? How do you prepare yourself for what you may find? If you take it slow, carefully charting the spots between your starting point and the desired destination, you might just get there in one piece, maybe with a better understanding of what lies before you than you had at the start.:: ::This was the day he was going to navigate past the usual barriers to Sovak. Ren began to plot his course.:: RENNYN: You sound annoyed. SOVAK: I am certain I do not. ::Sovak carefully made no sign of irritation, but he did push his soup away without eating a bite.:: RENNYN: I wasn't raised to let a man's words trump what I know he feels by looking at him. SOVAK: You are fond of telling me what you were and were not raised to be. I was not raised to express annoyance. Nor was I raised to "feel." ::Ren squared himself to the Vulcan so they were talking face to face.:: RENNYN: Sovak, I'm going to talk to you now. Because I don't know if you've been punishing me on purpose, or if I'm projecting that on you, but I feel terrible about what I said when we met, and if you've gotten to know me at all, you know that I didn't mean anything like that. ::If he didn't know better, he would have said that Sovak "scoffed.":: SOVAK: I would not allow a personal misunderstanding to negatively impact my educational objectives. Institutions of higher education exist to provoke critical thinking and social discourse, to challenge ideas and opinions with the intent of invoking questions and inspiring debate. ::That didn't even really make sense in the context. Sovak was trying one of his usual distractions, talking an intellectual circle around the point. Ren navigated a bypass back to the topic.:: RENNYN: But not to bring people together to insult each other. SOVAK: In our modern cross-cultural social age, it must be accepted and, in fact, expected that social difference will influence the matter of most discourse. Your lack of regard for my cultural heritage was therefore neither unexpected nor surprising. After all, though Trills are known for their curiosity and thirst for learning, your background in an insular community with little cultural variety has naturally left you with certain biases. RENNYN: Now who's being judgmental? ::Turning away, he stopped himself from saying more. This is where Sovak always got to Ren and ended the conversation. He'd say something that made the Trill angry, then Ren, afraid of being just as uncivil as he had the first time they'd met, would shut his mouth and stop talking. A few silent days later, they were back where they started.:: ::But Sovak had a solid point. Ren thought about Arnmere, his out-of-the-way village on Trill. His cousin's husband was half-Betazoid, and there was an old Centauri couple down at the end of Raybrin Way, and maybe half a dozen more aliens from around the Federation. But by and large, it was a Trill community. Ren had flown up to the Orbital Station many times over the years as he practiced to be a pilot, and he'd spent an hour or two there when he could, soaking in the eclectic mix of cultures that passed through. But none of those people from other planets went to Arnmere, the little village stuck in the past, like something out of the 23rd century. And other than Ren and Alin, not many of the town's citizens ever left. They were all stuck in their patterns and habits, and they all could use a little shaking up. That was one of the reasons Ren had left - to be shaken.:: ::Ren buckled down, thinking of his conversational map. Taking a cue from the Vulcan, he did his best to suppress his emotions. He was determined this time to find a way, to navigate another way through this conversation on a path somewhere between their usual routes of quiet anger and furious silence. After six months at this dance, it was time for an apology.:: RENNYN: That first day we met... what I said about you... What I mean is, I've found that I really enjoy rooming with you. I just... I've wanted to apologize. The bad-mouthing was uncalled for in every sense, and I'm sorry. ::A long silence ensued. He'd stumbled and he'd stuttered. He'd probably done it all wrong. It wasn't as though he expected a hug and grateful tears, but he had hoped some bit of the tension between them would be released. Sovak's face twitched in a way that Ren supposed looked thoughtful, then returned to a bland mask.:: SOVAK: It would be illogical to allow my studies here to suffer under an increased stress level based on interpersonal conflict. RENNYN: That's the thing - there is no conflict here. At least, there doesn't have to be. I said something stupid about Vulcans, and you've given it way more weight than it should ever have had. There was never any reflection on you. All it proves is that I'm capable of being an idiot, which, let's be honest, has never been a matter for doubt... SOVAK: You are suggesting that your hurtful comments, your apparent distaste for Vulcans, your abject incivility, was merely a misappropriation of words? A sentence said in error that meant nothing to you? An off-handed remark that you would like to have forgotten as soon as it left your mouth? ::The Vulcan's face had twitched again several times. It almost looked to Ren like real anger, but the voice was perfectly calm. When you make an apology, you have to be prepared to take a little punishment. Ren stayed calm himself and accepted Sovak's judgements.:: RENNYN: I would rather have stopped it before it even left my brain. It was a terrible thing to say, and I hope you weren't too hurt by it. ::He'd almost forgotten he was talking to a Vulcan, and maybe that had been another foolish thing to say. There was a six-week course on Vulcan culture and beliefs that he'd been thinking of taking the next year. He certainly needed to sensitize himself to the Vulcan way.:: SOVAK: I was hurt. ::The comment came softly, and was so odd that it didn't immediately occur to Ren what he had just heard. His eyes grew wide and he tried to keep his jaw from dropping at the realization that he'd just heard a Vulcan admit to feeling.:: ::Sovak's eyes watered with sudden emotion, and it was the saddest sight Ren had ever seen. He tried to say something, but no words came.:: RENNYN: You-- SOVAK: Please! ::Sovak turned and exited the room, not running, but hurrying faster than Vulcan dignity normally allowed. Ren couldn't begin to think about whether or not he should follow.:: ::So there it was. It had only taken Ren Rennyn six months to force a Vulcan to an emotional breakdown. He stood uncertainly, wavering between advance and retreat, between compassion and self-doubt, the sad realization slowly sinking in that no map in the universe could have guided him through this conversation...:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Atlantis)) ::Trills are a curious bunch, like cats in the old Terran adage, or varks at a well, as the Bolian phrase goes.:: ::Not every Trill wants to be joined. In fact, great numbers of them never once consider it for themselves. But every Trill child, their future undetermined, is treated by their community as a potential candidate. They're taught in school to quest for new information and fresh perspectives. They're encouraged by family and mentors to embrace the unknown. Anyone might become a candidate in adulthood, and the culture supports the idea that the best candidate is the one best prepared to take the most from life's varied experiences. Ren's parents had never pushed any of their children to seek joining, and no joined Trill had lived in Arnmere for a century at least. Ren himself had never really thought about it seriously, even when faced with the alluring idea that your personality and experience would live on in the symbiont after your life came to a close. Yet even in a place as backward as Arnmere, little Ren Rennyn was taught to ask questions and push boundaries, to explore the wondering ideas his inquisitive nature presented him with. For the people of Trill, curiosity is a virtue.:: ::Laying flat on his back in a swimsuit on a simulated jungle floor, elevating his bleeding foot, Ren figured he'd taken the idea of uncovering new experiences too far. That was life. It puts you in situations you could never see coming...:: ((Flashback - 4 years ago - Starfleet Academy)) ::When Sovak reentered the dorm room he and Ren shared, his pained, dejected face had been replaced with the stoic expression typical of Vulcans. Ren had been on the point of packing a few things and going to stay with Alin and Lois for the night, just to give Sovak some space. He'd obviously pushed the Vulcan too far. He'd been so selfishly caught up in getting himself forgiven, he'd gone and made the problem worse, and that was bad for both of them.:: ::Sovak didn't let him leave, not wasting a moment before saying what he'd come back to say.:: SOVAK: I apologize for my outburst. It was unseemly, and I did not wish to cause you discomfort. I perceive no reason to discuss the matter further. ::Ren shook his head. Something in Sovak's perfectly placid expression didn't add up. It was the eyes. They had been crying, and that always shows.:: RENNYN: You don't have to be sorry. I upset you, and I apologize. ::Ren's compassionate side rooted him to the spot. It wouldn't let him drop the subject now any more than his Trill curiosity would allow him to lose out on finding out how a Vulcan could cry. He couldn't help it. If they were going to have a cultural exchange here, then Trill curiosity was naturally going to enter in to the matter.:: RENNYN: And I don't mean to gape at you like a fish from a bowl, but Sovak, I'm surprised. I didn't know Vulcans had emotions. ::Sovak sat down, stood up, opened his mouth, and sat down again. Taking a deep breath to calm his apparently frayed nerves, he explained.:: SOVAK: Vulcans seek to control their emotions. The logical foundation of that statement cannot escape you - we seek to control emotions, because we have emotions. I have studied since I was a child to learn the ways of t'san s'at, the measured control of emotion. It is a journey all Vulcan children take, and most master the guiding tenets of the practice by the time they reach maturity. I... I have barely begun to achieve it... ::On the last sentence of his speech, Sovak's voice held a distinct quavering tone. There was no mistaking the look that had returned to the Vulcan's face, the watery quality of his eyes. Sovak was fighting back tears again.:: SOVAK: As a boy, I was unable to achieve the same level of control as my contemporaries. I often found myself indulging in aggression at play, or feeling sadness when faced with mundane rejections or failures. My uncle sent me away to a school -- ::Here his voice broke, and Ren thought that if it was anyone but Sovak, he'd already have his arms around their shoulders in sympathy. With this Vulcan, he couldn't think how to proceed. The experience of seeing a Vulcan in tears was just too stunning, and he didn't know if the contact would be welcome. Sovak continued on his own.:: SOVAK: My uncle sent me to a place where children are instructed in a more severe version of t'san s'at, a monastic school which specifically guides initiates toward kolinahr. It is a common misconception that all Vulcans are masters of kolinahr, the ritual purge of all emotion. Many do not go so far. As my uncle has told me many times, some Vulcans simply lack the wisdom for it. Those will always fail. ::Ren didn't know what to say. The shame his roommate felt was palpable, evidenced in every aspect of his crest-fallen stance, his carefully forbearing words, his quivering expression of noble self-denial. It was no small thing for Sovak to admit to his experiences with emotion, let alone to display it, but he clearly couldn't hold it in any longer. This poor man had been struggling for years to be someone he wasn't.:: SOVAK: I am still young, Ren. There is hope for me to change. There is... great pressure on me to achieve an appropriate balance of control. One tactic I have employed is to make a study of intense emotion. When I chose you as my roommate, I did so because you are a passionate man. I thought I could attempt to position myself opposite you, to become less emotional by viewing emotion externally. ::It was an awkward admission, and the logic was a little bit sideways, but Ren couldn't help thinking that it wasn't a terrible approach. Then it hit him.:: RENNYN: Wait a dang minute... What do you mean "You chose me"? ::Sovak halted in his tracks, like a kid caught out in a lie, one who'd said something more than he meant to.:: SOVAK: I-- I... ::Ren felt the color rush to his face, setting off the Trill spots around his temples like Gorosi hunting cats on a field of blood. He didn't remember being given any choice in who his roommate was. He was pretty sure that wasn't how it worked. The only explanation was that Sovak had rigged it somehow. Probably went through all the cadet files and figured out which innocent victim's passionate emotions he wanted to study. This dang backwards Vulcan with his sideways logic and his "study of intense emotion." Ren felt like his last six months had been scripted for him, like all his choices had been taken away by this dang backwards hot-blooded illogician with heat in his brain and a heart full of badly-calculated automatic nonsense. He opened his mouth again and again to say all that, or some more colorful variation, maybe adding to it with fire and brimstone and the vein in his forehead popping out. He was steamed, and hot ire billowed up through him, ready to burst into a fiery tantrum that was going to teach this hopped-up hobgoblin a thing or two about passion!:: ::Then he saw that look on Sovak's face, and it all drained out of him in an instant.:: SOVAK: I am sorry. I identified you out of all potential cadet roommates as my best chance for success. Had you arrived early on our first day here, you would have found me prepared to ask for your cooperation. It took several weeks to gather the courage. Since you were late, I had to make the arrangement myself by effecting several trades with other cadets and making thin excuses to the assigning lieutenant. Then I felt ashamed and was afraid to tell you. RENNYN: You chose me. ::Ren's forced his voice to soften. He couldn't tell if he was angry about this or not. A Vulcan admitting to fear? Of a simple Trill country boy?:: You chose me. Let's be honest, you probably got the shorter end of this stick. SOVAK: No, that is untrue. RENNYN: Look Sovak, I'm not happy to hear about this, but I get it, ...I guess. At least, I know you've had a tough time of it, and I can't blame you for trying to do something to make it better. ::Sitting down next to the Vulcan, Ren followed the instinct he'd been denying all along and put his arm around Sovak's shoulder.:: RENNYN: Sometimes I'm so full of feelings, I don't know what I'm going to do with them all. ::Sovak said nothing right away, thinking carefully awhile before he spoke.:: SOVAK: Sometimes I wish I could feel more. Mostly I wish to feel less. RENNYN: That sounds like living to me. You know, Sovak, we might turn out to be good for each other. It's not a bad idea to have someone in your life who balances you out. I know I could do with someone to teach me a little restraint. ::He heaved a sigh, half resignation, half relief. Life really was a course through unknown space, and it was funny where that course had led them.:: RENNYN: Like it or not... I choose you, too. ((End Flashback)) ::Holding his injured foot up had been a good idea; Ren had stopped the thick band of blood flowing from his wound before it could soak through the bandage made of his torn Hawaiian shirt. He wouldn't need to treat himself with the emergency medkit in the Holodeck, or call Sickbay and ask someone to come to him. He was going to walk his way there and have the wound treated, and, though he might get hollered at by Dr. DyAmone for showing up in Sickbay looking like a refugee from a beach party disaster, all physical traces of the damage would vanish before the time came to attend the banquet for Telnoth Haerin.:: ::Even the deepest cut could heal, but not every wound healed so fast. Sovak's troubles didn't go away overnight. Four years on, and they'd survived both the Academy and cohabitation. Now they were posted to the same ship in a far distant sector. He didn't think Sovak had rigged anything this time, getting them both placed on the Atlantis, but he wasn't ever going to be completely sure of that.:: ::They were like two ships in space, Ren Rennyn and Sovak. They'd navigated their way to each other from vastly different regions, but now they traveled in tandem, like a convoy. That was a metaphor he could wrap his brain around. They might not get where they were going as fast as they would have separately, but they'd by stronger together along the way.:: ::Pulling himself up from the ground, Ren called for the computer to end Kirosa's program, and the Rigellian landscape shimmered out. Ren limped a bit, walking on the heel of his left foot to avoid further damage. After all his refusals, Ren had tried plomeek soup eventually, and now it was one of his favorite foods. The Academy course on Vulcan culture and beliefs had done a lot for him too. Sovak had learned to face his fears instead of fighting them, but that was another story. From this moment on, whatever happened next on their journey, Ren knew that nothing ever stayed the same for long. That course he believed he was navigating through life was moving ever forward into fresh, uncharted space.:: ::He didn't mind. He liked to explore the boundaries, to ask the questions, to shake up what needed shaking and break through to a new experience. Blame Trill curiosity for that.:: Ensign Rendal Rennyn Helm Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  6. ((Waltas Estate, Ba'ku Homeworld)) ::The wizened eyes locked onto his in the way they always did; the way that smashed through his emotional walls as if they were made of paper. He never could maintain that penetrating gaze, not when he was ten years old and accused (rightfully) of scattering an entire coop of chickens across the village by riding a small wolf through the building, and not at 244 years old when he told her nothing was wrong and that he wasn't leaving.:: LYNTHA: They came for you. WALTAS::Toeing a small hole in the ground with his boot, he answered in the same voice he had when asked about the chickens:: Yes. LYNTHA: And you're going. WALTAS::More quiet now:: Yes. LYNTHA: Good. ::He looked up, meeting the gaze this time of his mother. Confusion clouded his features.:: WALTAS: I thought you'd be the last one to say that. LYNTHA: Tyr, you've been miserable since you retired. This world contains wonders that most people would treasure but you..you've never been snared by them. You may have taken your first steps here, Tyr, but your heart.. ::She placed her hand gently on his chest:: Your heart is among the stars. You know this as well as I do. WALTAS: I thought it was over. I thought I could stay here. LYNTHA: You could no sooner stay here than you could cage that eagle or wolf you brought home with you. Eagles must fly, Tyr. Wolves must run. And you...you have to be out there. ::She broke his gaze and looked up at the starlit sky, a single tear sliding down her cheek:: No matter how much you will be missed. ::There were no more words needed. He embraced her, as he had all those years ago. Then, he was a brash, inexperienced and wreckless cadet with a single bar on his collar. Now, he wore the colors of the Starfleet Marine Corps, an insignia with wings adorning his neck. Yet, in many ways, the feeling was the same. The excitement of the adventure beginning and the heartache of leaving those he loved behind. After a brief embrace, she let go and stepped back.:: WALTAS::Swallowing hard, he tapped his comm badge:: =/\= Waltas to Cheyenne. One to beam up. =/\= ((USS Cheyenne)) ::He materialized on the transporter pad, the familiar (and, he admitted, missed) smell of recirculated air and metallic deckplates greeting his senses. He made his way to the storage area and confirmed that his meager possessions were there. For a man with such a history, he hadn't brought much. A small chest made of dark wood of the Hith'a tree contained numerous personal items, including holograms of his family, his favorite pair of jeans, and some personal mementoes. Resting against the wall was his prized 16th-century katana, ensconced in its black scabbard. He stepped over to the ancient blade and picked it up, his hand instinctively gripping the pommel. The blade rang as it was drawn, and even in the dim lighting of the Yacht the blade gleamed. The perfect edge was razor-sharp, and had been the final sight of many an enemy. The curved blade had been forged long before even the long-lived Ba'ku had been born, folded hundreds of times in the forge of one of the great masters of Japan. It had been part of the Nakagawa family until it became his, at the death of his sensei, at his request. After studying the blade for a moment, he sheathed it again and placed it back against the wall. The remainder of his luggage contained clothing, uniforms and a large painting. He smiled, but it was a sad smile.:: WALTAS: Hello, old friend. ::The painting had been a gift from one of the artisans of the village, and the canvas showed a Sovereign-class starship among the stars, far above the Ba'ku homeworld. But not just any Sovereign-this was "The Lady", as her crew affectionately referred to her. Officially she was NCC-31929-C, the USS Discovery. His command. His ship. He ran a hand lovingly over the wooden frame, and gently patted it before turning away to the pilot's seat.:: WALTAS: All the 2390 upgrades eh, Toni? Well, let's see what she can do. ::He fired the impulse engines at full power, yanking the yacht hard out of orbit and arcing away from the Ba'ku homeworld. In a few moments he was into the nebulous cloud that was known as the "briar patch", and spent the next 10 minutes dodging pockets of metreon gas and bouncing around the clouds. The experienced pilot dipped and arced the ship in patterns that would elude most small craft and fly circles around starships.:: COMPUTER: Warning. Impulse manifolds at 110% tolerance. WALTAS: Computer? COMPUTER: Acknowledged. WALTAS: Shut up. ::A quiet (subdued?) bleep signaled the computer's compliance just as the Cheyenne burst from the cloud of the Briar Patch. With a final check of the nav chart he pointed the Yacht's nose toward Duronis II, and seconds later it leaped into high warp.:: WALTAS: ETA to Duronis II. COMPUTER: 8 hours, 25 minutes. WALTAS: Good. ::Pulling the PADD from the storage cabinet he downloaded the relevant data from the embassy:: I've got some homework to do. ============================== Colonel Tyr Waltas Marine XO Duronis II/USS Thunder
  7. ((DyAmone Family Quarters ~ USS Atlantis)) ::Wanda returned to her quarters to get some rest before the reception. Talking to Kirosa reminded her of friends she made and lost since she joined Starfleet and deciding to seek them she first contacted one she haven’t seen the longest, James. She opened the com to USS Darwin, in her opinion truly strange looking vessel, but pretty in it’s strangeness. Atlantis’ position inside the corridor made the opening of the communication harder, but once the buoys made the path, the connection will be instantaneous and probably none of them will notice any problems. Hmm, it was James, engineer… he will notice.:: ((Main Engineering, Deck 9, USS Darwin-A)) :: As always, there was plenty to be getting on with in Main Engineering. That said, James was pleasantly surprised at how little of that was repair work - the last mission had been surprisingly light on ship damage all things considered and James was confident that the repair teams would soon deal with what little was left. So that meant that James was able to indulge himself in what was becoming his favorite tasks - benchmarking. The latest mission had given them lots of data for him to use in familiarising himself with the Darwin… He looked down at the con in his favorite alcove glancing the Engineering log, each one giving him a new insight… :: James: oO Hmm… it seems like the Bridge power grid was better behaved this time… Still, there *was* no firefight near it to mess with it… Oo :: James lifted his hand, about to switch to another set of logs when a notification popped up in the left corner informing him of a incoming subspace call. He wasn’t expecting anything but… He had time to disappear into his office for a while. :: ((James’ Office, Deck 9, USS Darwin-A/DyAmone Family Quarters ~ USS Atlantis)) :: James walked through the door and took his seat behind the desk and more importantly the desktop viewer on top of it. There where a few PADDS in front of it but he pushed those to the side taking a moment to look at the details of the call. It was coming from the Par'tha Expanse, where the USS Atlantis was stationed, so it was likely to be either Wanda or Commander Blueheart contacting him… He leaned forward and answered the call. :: DyAmone: Hello James. ::Hiding a trembling in her voice was possible though hard from a Vulcan/Terran, but even if she could hide it red eyes was impossible to hide. Otherwise, she was probably glowing.:: How are you? :: James couldn’t help but smile a little at the sight of his friend. She was looking well, much better than when they had last met on the CC on SB118 during the elemental crisis that hit the station. It wavered for a second thought when he took in her reddened eyes. :: James: Wanda, it is most agreeable to see you again. How are things? DyAmone: Me, I’m fine. I just… well miss you. ::She giggled.:: I’m CMO. ::She couldn’t keep her face from spreading into wide smile.:: I was surprised, since I’m just a JayGee… and look at you, Lieutenant Commander. I’m so happy for you. :: Certainly a most deserved appointment! When James first met her, she was ACMO and did a great job at that - he knew that she would make a great CMO. He just hoped that the Atlantis crew would remember to stay current with their medicals. As much for their sake as hers. :: James: Congratulations, I see that there will now be little worry over the state of the Atlantis crews health. DyAmone: I’ll make sure they don’t run… too far away from sickbay. ::She giggled.:: Your old Discovery crew is bad in that manner, you should warn me to get prepared. :: James’ eyes glazed over for a second, or so, from the influx of memories. That they certainly were. :: James: So how is Commander Blueheart as a Captain. He was an excellent First Officer, and I do believe that the skills are transferable. DyAmone: I met Blueheart. ::Wanda drifted to the morning meeting with Raj.:: He’s gentleman.. ha. ::She gasped and furrowed her brow seeking the words to explain her thoughts or rather emotions in this matter.:: He has resolve, so no matter the gentle nature I believe in him. ::Closing her eyes in a smile.:: He will be good Captain. :: James nodded. He had hoped as much. From Wanda’s description of him, James could tell that he was the same man he had met almost two years ago on the bridge of the Discovery. Two years, was it really that long? Well, 1 year and 9 months to be more precise but still far longer than it felt like. :: James: I’m... glad to hear it, ::James paused for a second:: If you get the chance, would you mind telling him that I am still willing to continue our lessons, if he is. DS-6 has excellent holo facilities. DyAmone: Your lessons? ::There was no need to delve into asking more than that, since her voice said it all.:: James: A little while back, then Lt. Commander, Blueheart came to me asking for lessons on Vulcan meditation to help him sleep. They were most enjoyable and we always said we would have to do another. DyAmone: That... is…interesting. Fascinating when at that. ::Wanda was almost expected to find out Raj mastered the technique in the meantime, he was kinda cool.:: Tell me more about Blueheart, mind that I did read his records, tell me things like this that are not in them. :: Hmm… Now that was an interesting question, particularly considering he hadn’t read the mans records… :: James: Hmm… He can be somewhat… playful, when the mood takes him. I would watch out and expect it. DyAmone: So, you ended your first mission, how is it behaving. I saw the Darwin, interesting concept, ship is even pretty in it’s… ::Wanda blushed giggling.:: Strangeness. Sorry, but you must admit it looks unusual. :: That it was, James liked it though. Every facet of its design was aimed at getting the most out of it, suiting it to its mission type perfectly. Of course, James also had to admit that it was not uncommon for a ships CE to see it rather rose tinted light… :: James: We just finished our second actually, but the Darwin is behaving admirably. There are a few teething problems but… Starfleet has to give us Engineers *something* to do. DyAmone: Did you use that… ball thing? ::Wanda bowed her head chuckling.:: James: Indeed, the sphere section has already come in use during both of our missions. There are some rather inventive uses for it, in our latest mission we even used it to store an Antares class freighter while we searched it’s hold. DyAmone: Wow. You know, your ship may be quite an asset in exploration and examination of Jenatris cloud. Though from what we know even you may be in danger. ::She rose her eyebrows.:: Maybe it would be interesting to share readings with you, or you may join us for the mission or two? James: That could, indeed, be enjoyable and productive. Unfortunately the decision to do that is in neither of our hands, but it is worth considering. :: James paused again, enjoying the comfortable silence. He was still somewhat concerned by the dilation of the blood vessels in her eyes, which was usually indicative of crying. James made few friends and those that he did manage to make he prefered to see happy or at least in an emotional state pleasing to them. James knew Wanda and knew that not just anything made her upset. The only things he had seen make her like that was when she thought she was going to be arrested for temporal crimes and when her Mother was in a coma. :: James: Wanda… If you don’t mind me asking, are you alright… I noticed a dilation of your retinal artery and… DyAmone: This launch… it was not easy, we had some teething problems and … I never had a real chance to mourn Dantin. I wanted to go and visit Vera, but once my father decided to leave SB118 it was now or never and… ::She sobbed tears falling down her cheeks.:: How did it happen, James? :: Ah. Doctor Vex. In truth memories of him and… it, had been quite pervasive during this mission, even if he did suppress them. It was being on a freighter again, he guessed. :: James: There was a… weapon aboard a small ship. He transported over and overloaded the ships fusion coil and… Did no one ever tell you about it? :: James knew that the bulk of the crews concern fell on Vera Anderson-Vex, his wife… But he was surprised that no one had told her… :: DyAmone: All I know it was heroic death, he sacrificed to saved lives… he was a Doctor, something expected from him, but no… not really! Why? ::She gasped.:: Why Dantin? :: James leaned back in his seat, trying to think of something, anything to say. James differed greatly from the Vulcan norm, but still held on to a significant portion of the Vulcan belief system concerning Death. He was also aware that it was not the most comforting of systems. :: James: He believed it to be right. For him, the only course of action was to do as he did. DyAmone: I feel guilty. Because I think if I was there it would not happen, he would be with Vera and kids. ::She listened to the explanation still crying, but it was obvious all she needed to can say goodbye to a mentor and a friend was a closure, an explanation.:: :: Sentiments that James could agree with. Dr. Vex’s Death at that point was not, in James’ opinion, logical. There were other ways, but James was not about to criticise him for it. He did what he thought was best, and really that was all that mattered in that situation. Besides, James had always taken the stance that the best way to live was to not regret anything, to always see a situation from its positive points. :: James: His last words to us where, “The lives of many outweight the few”. He died trying to preserve his Wife and their Children… and ultimately he did. I can see no other way of this situation ending, not with Dr. Vex. Not if his family was at risk. DyAmone: Thank you. That mission of yours was covered in a web of lies and cover up’s and it was impossible to find out what really happened. ::She smiled.:: He was so good to me. You know he wanted to change department so I can be Chief. ::Shaking her head.:: I know Pandora would not do that for you, but I still think we were both blessed with fantastic mentors in our Chiefs above us when we were starting. :: James nodded. He remembered him trying to change departments and the resulting ‘raised discussion’ it caused between the two. This actually made him smile as he remembered how awkward it was for Captain Rogers and himself while they were at it. Wanda was right though, they had truly been, as she put it ‘blessed’ with their chiefs. :: James: Indeed we where, I learned a lot of how to run a department of Lt. Pandora. Although I’ll agree that she would not have changed departments, nor would I have wanted her too. She, like Dr. Vex, was best where they were. :: Another silence hung for a second. James was beginning to think that most of his conversations where really just bursts of talk followed by pauses. Wanda watched his smiling. Just smiling in silence, it was always good to have somebody you can do that with, enjoy a moments of silence.:: DyAmone: oOHe grew up.Oo DyAmone: Oh camon, you know you miss her. ::Wanda burst in laughter.:: I miss Pandora with her dry humor and poking of Rogers. There was something between them, something deeper than just friendship, otherwise even she would not have freedom to do that. I think he loved her. :: Now here was something gossip related that he finally knew that Wanda didn’t! He did have to admit that he did miss her though, and for mostly the same reasons. He missed most of the Drake crew and the Discovery crew, that he had met, if he where to be honest. That didn’t stop him from enjoying the present and his current crew though. :: James: Actually, they had apparently gone on a few dates before he became the Captain. I’m not sure why it stopped, but apparently that is where the majority of her ammunition in teasing him came from… So, do you have any news of any other Drake alumni. I’m quite curious who else you’ve spoken too. DyAmone: Except you, you mean? ::Wanda winked.:: Hey, whom do you call when you are sad, but the person you miss the most? There was not even a moment of wondering whom I’m gonna call. So who would it be if I didn’t reach you? ::Wanda leaned her head furrowing her brow.:: Sinda, I’d call Sinda Essen next. :: Ah yes, Lt. Sinda. James Tac Officer friend, Ezri Otner, had always spoken highly of her. James’ only real memories of her where her having him arrested thinking he had hijacked a shuttle (because of how bad his flying was) and seeing her consumed with flame during his last mission… and coming back from it. :: James: It is most gratifying to know that I am your first choice for contact… Wanda, if you ever need or want to talk… One of the benefits of being CE is that I can usually choose my own jobs. Hence, I should be able to have a free moment whenever. DyAmone: Lucky you, only benefit of being CMO is you are on duty 24/7. ::She laughed happily.:: It was great talking to you. I will call you… ::She didn’t really know when it will be possible so she couldn’t say when, but she was sure she will.:: I will… I have reception in 6 hours I must attend and since we misplaced our CEO at the launch I had sleepless night, so have to catch some sleep. James: Belive me, the CE is on duty 24/7 as well… May I ask how exactly you lost your CE? ::James thought back to the Haliian Engineer.:: DyAmone: I’ll tell you about that next time we will have a chance to talk.It would take too long. ::She was giggling all the way through saying it.:: :: James raised his eyebrow, looking forward to hearing *that* explanation. :: James: Well then, it was nice seeing you again Wanda but I also have things to be getting on with… I will talk to you later. DyAmone: Be careful, James. :: James smiled, somewhat unwilling to hang up. :: James: You too… Wanda, you too. DyAmone: I will. ::She kissed her fingers and stick the kiss to his cheek, then closed the comm. with a wink.:: Fin... Lt. Commander James Chief Engineer USS Darwin-A and LtJG Wanda DyAmone Chief Medical Officer USS ATLANTIS NCC-74682
  8. ((Prak Zel Grand Hotel)) ::The first thing Velana did after checking into her room was to put Maddox down for a nap and take the longest shower possible. Unfortunately, it wasn't as long as she would have liked since her baby started crying about twenty minutes into her steamy bliss.:: ' ::Although still tired and sore, Velana couldn't help but smile as she wrapped herself up in towels and went to sort out what was wrong. This was her life now. Relaxation had just become a luxury.:: ::After she changed Maddox and rocked him back to sleep, she got dressed and combed out her wet hair. There was only one thing on her list of things to do; it was time to contact her mother.:: ::The hotel's front desk walked her through opening a subspace communication and within minutes, she was looking at T'Lan against the gorgeous backdrop of the San Francisco Bay.:: T'Lan: Velana, is everything all right? Velana: Everything is fine, Mother. ::She smiled.:: I just thought you'd like to meet your grandson. ::Her mother had been raised with the same beliefs as Velana, but losing her husband and her son had made her less willing to indulge in emotion over logic. Still, her gently wrinkled features softened at this news and Velana was quite certain her eyes grew misty.:: T'Lan: Oh, Velana... ::She cleared her throat.:: When did this happen? Velana: Two days ago. I've been in a hospital on Zakdorn IV. The birth was...complicated, but we're both fine. ::She held the baby up so her mother could see him on her screen.:: His name is Maddox. T'Lan: It seems to suit him. A Vulcan name wouldn't entirely fit. Velana: No, it wouldn't. ::Hesitating.:: Mother, you know he is half-Human. T'Lan: Of course I know. You are not a mystery to me, Velana. I am aware of the child's parentage. ::Velana gently transferred Maddox to her shoulder.:: Velana: He wants to be in Maddox's life. He wants him to be a Whitman. ::Her mother arched an eyebrow.:: T'Lan: That is asking a lot. Perhaps too much. Velana: ::softly:: I want to believe him. T'Lan: But you're not willing to risk Maddox being hurt him by him. Like you were. ::She smiled.:: I told you, my child. I know you. And part of knowing you is being aware of just how deep your emotions run. Velana: I am trying to be logical. He is Maddox's father and he has rights. I don't doubt that he's sincere. But, Mother, every time I'm on the verge of convincing myself, I remember what it felt like to be cast aside in favor of his career. And then I imagine him doing the same thing to Maddox. ::She shook her head.:: I can't let that happen. T'Lan: Velana, there is an act that transcends logic and is more powerful than emotion. It is called forgiveness. Velana: You're saying I should just forgive him? Like it never happened? T'Lan: I am not. I am simply saying that your anger with him does you absolutely no good. Whatever emotions you have towards Maddox's father is what Maddox will feel for him, too. Do you want him to grow up hating his own father? Velana: Of course not. T'Lan: ::after a moment:: I've never told you this because I never wanted you to doubt your father for any reason, but Kvoss broke off our engagement the night before our joining. ::It was like hearing that Zefram Cochrane had faked his warp flight.:: Velana: ::blinking:: Excuse me? T'Lan: Oh, yes. He said we were too young and he wasn't sure if he was ready and he wanted to focus on medicine before he had to deal with a wife and children. ::She smiled ruefully at the memory.:: Of course, he changed his mind in time for the ceremony to go ahead, but for nearly a day, my heart was broken. Velana: I'm not sure that's an equivalent scenario, Mother. T'Lan: Imagine I hadn't forgiven him and I believe you will find that it is. ::She leaned closer to the screen.:: I am not telling you what to do. I am simply asking you to examine what is ruling you right now. Logic or emotions? Remember... ::Velana closed her eyes for a moment, remembering the words her father had spoken so often.:: Velana: ::whispering:: Balance. ::T'Lan sat back in satisfaction.:: T'Lan: All right. Now tell me everything about my grandson. Lt. Commander Velana Chief Medical Officer USS Vigilant
  9. (Turbolift, En Route to Deck 5 – USS Altantis) ::The after-effects of the confrontation with the captain had started to sink in. It was always in hindsight that things often fell into perspective: yes she was angry at the situation: it was unfair, it wasn't right and it showed blatant lack of faith and trust in the Orion simply going around her instead of approaching her with it and explaining why... yet the way she had approached it could have been infinitely better instead of lunging at the captain in blind rage and accusing him of being prejudice, racist and being 'unwilling' to have her learn from mistakes. The damage had been contained to the ready room, but for how long? How long before she was thrown off the ship simply because she couldn't keep a lid on her emotional state.:: ::She slapped herself. Hard. She couldn't think about that again, she was in enough trouble as it is and the last thing that she REALLY wanted to do was keep talking about it. She had said all she wanted or needed to in front of the captain and it probably sounded the death knell of her career and the last thing she wanted to do was make the situation worse by physically ripping the counsellor's head off because she wanted to emphasise the fact 'she didn't want to talk about it.'.:: ::The Turbolift came to a dead stop just a short walk from Holodeck one. Without any pause for thought she was quick out of the Turbolift and made the short walk there. By the time she got there she noticed the holodeck display next to the door... and she just wanted to scream. The Holodeck was in use and there were three people registered presently using it . Her mind thinking how this day could possibly get any worse... storming the Holodeck would probably cause that, but was the worst thing she could do right now. No doubt it was being used for the delegation dinner... and something she probably would be barred from after how she snapped at the captain...:: ::She slapped herself again, this time seething at herself to stop thinking about it and that it wouldn't help things as they were now. Instead of lingering outside the Holodeck she decided to traverse the deck all the way to Holodeck 2. Yes the ship only had two Holodecks, but surely both weren’t in use at the same time.:: (Time-skip) (Holodeck 2 – USS Atlantis – Some minutes later) ::The Holodeck wasn't in use, and thankful for it, Kyla was trawling through the location database, looking for Rigel VII... wasn't the real thing but it was close enough. Even if she was an Ensign she was one of the Senior officers, meaning her authorization should be able to disengage the safety protocols. She didn't think of there any latent warnings or safety features built into the holodeck that would warn anyone if the Safeties had been switched off. Any regards she needed to do something to get her mind off of the mess she had caused.:: KIROSA: Okay... that should do it. Computer, begin program. ::The Criss-cross layout of the deck shimmered and gave-way to the view of a Rigel VII wilderness: a thick, vibrant jungle on one of the highland mesas safe from the high tides. Through the canopy of the wilderness a violet coloured sky signifying the moon was slow on the rise. The silence broken by alien bird-call... already whatever she felt previously just vanished as she looked out at the junglescape... at home away from home. Before stepping out of the archway, she turned back towards the control, keying in this Holodeck program under her 'Favorites' whenever she wanted and whenever she came to the Holodeck..:: ::And it was also as though the Holodeck was providing her something to do now: Kyla only took one step before she looked down and noticed something in the dirt. A footprint, humanoid... and bigger than any of the crew on the ship... it had to be a Kalar, aside from the Rigellians and intermittent Orion Settlements, the Kalar were the only other humanoids on the planet: Big, Fearsome, Aggressive... and clearly out on the hunt. She followed the direction of the footprint, noticign a few other footprints before they disappeared into the surrounding under-brush.:: ::Unzipping her jacket and removing it promptly as well as her under-vest. Kyla deduced that the safest way to track this Kalar was up in the trees, following it from an elevated hight to make it hard for the Kalar to attack. Discarding all but her gold-coloured shirt was more than enough to give her mobility to climb the trees... as for blending in with the canopy, not so much. But hunting, to her point of view, was a matter of adaptability over concealment, to use the surroundings not only to discover what and where, but to use your surroundings to catch your enemy by surprise.::
  10. (Deck 6, Crew Quarters – USS Atlantis) IC: KIROSA: Computer, where the hell is the captain!? ::It was evident at this point that Kyla was furious with some recent news that she had been given that she was off the security detail of the captain. For whatever reason, for whatever happened to her before today, this was it. Enough was enough and she was going to front the captain out about it, in private possibly, but failing that, she would do it in front of the [...] crew, her career was on shaky ground right now (as far as she knew) so why should she try and salvage it if even the CO was against her?:: ::Once the Computer has given her the Captain's location she was out of her quarters like a torpedo. The look of utmost, suppressed rage on her face, the stride showing that she was going to either kill or at the very least maim. Even though she was bound by the rules of that uniform that was what she wanted to do. She rounded a corner and stepped into the nearest Turbolift, silently thankful it was empty.:: KIROSA: Computer, close and lock turbolift doors! ::The computer complied, the doors closing shut and a dull 'clunk' sounding the doors weren’t opening anytime soon. The next thing she had to do was get the Captain to actually speak to her in private. Tapping her commbadge.:: KIROSA: =/\= Chief Kirosa to Captain Blueheart. =/\= ::She waited for a moment to allow the Captain to do whatever he felt was more important before he replied to her:: BLUEHEART : ::pausing after hearing the word “chief”:: =/\= Blueheart here. What can I do for you, Ensign Kirosa? =/\= KIROSA: =/\= Captain, can I speak to you for a moment in private? =/\= BLUEHEART: =/\= What is this about? =/\= oO Actually I sort of know.. I think.. Oo KIROSA: =/\= Captain! =/\= ::Her tone had now become more forceful, the slightest ebb of her new-found rage starting to surface and lace itself into her voice now.:: =/\= Can I speak. To you. For a moment. In Private? =/\= ::Yes it sounded intimidating, verging on threatening, but she didn't care. She wanted answers and she was going to get them. The only sense about her would rather this happen behind closed doors than in front of the crew and cause any further irreparable damage to her short-lived career.:: ::The tone of the Orion’s voice said it all. It was evident she had learned of the switch in the chief of security position. Raj didn’t consider it a demotion at all and it definitely wouldn’t say so in her personnel file. Yet that tone. That tone implied the officer considered it a demotion, of losing face, a conspiracy. Whatever the reason behind the insistent, forceful tone of her voice, Raj didn’t like it one bit. In fact, he found it annoying, if not disrespectful. Thus, he surprised himself when instead of lashing out at the security officer, he went into his Counselor mode. Fighting fire with fire will only get everyone burned - including the ship!:: BLUEHEART: ::neutral tone:: =/\= Come to my ready room now, Kyla. =/\= ::The commlink went dead. Abruptly.:: BLUEHEART: oO Yup. Definitely calls for some soothing ambient music and chamomile tea. Oo ::Kyla heard the link go abruptly dead from the Captain’s end. Despite her rage she was silently thankful this potential explosion was going to happen behind closed doors rather than on the bridge. She was angry, yes, but she knew this sort of thing would demolish crew morale if it happened in front of them.:: KIROSA: Bridge! ::Didn’t take away the fact that she was still angry at this entire situation. She had actually been trusted with something, for the first time in her life since the Academy, and now, to her, it had been betrayed by being stripped of it simply because she ‘blinked and missed’ the attack in Engineering. She was new to this, so wasn’t she allowed or afforded the odd mistake now and then? But evidently not in her case, be it she was Orion, or stereotyped, or new or for whatever reason, the trust placed in her had been betrayed… and to Kyla, that was enough reason to be furious.:: ::She held trust as something close to her heart. She had to trust the Orions that lived in the Settlement just as they had to trust her, she also, for now, foolishly thought that Starfleet would be the same… apparently not. All this as well as other lingering thoughts and events just causing her anger to stew, to boil and threaten to ruin her.:: ((Bridge - USS Atlantis)) ::It wasn’t long before the doors opened to show the bridge. Kyla wasting absolutely no time in exiting the capsule and striding with purpose across the bridge and towards the ready room, pressing the call button to the room with some force she was lucky not to have broken the panel:: ::It wasn’t long before the door chime chirped. Perfect timing too, for the tea was ready and Vangelis was piping in through the audio system.:: BLUEHEART: Come. ::The doors opened and the evidently furious Orion stepped into the room, her ears caught the sound of the music in the room, more-so as the doors closed behind her… for now, given her temperamental state, she thought it was just noise and nothing else as she looked towards the captain.:: BLUEHEART: ::remaining standing:: Please, ::beckoning with his hand:: come, have a seat. ::He gestured to the seat in front of his desk.:: ::She didn’t respond because she still felt that angry. But rather than cause more trouble than she had intended, she bit down on her tongue before walking towards the chair and sitting in the offered chair.:: ::The CO waited for the Orion woman to sit before doing the same.:: BLUEHEART: Chamomile tea, Kyla? KIROSA: I’m not thirsty, but thank you anyway. ::After sipping from his own cup, he placed it aside before leaning slightly forward in his seat, elbows rested on the cold surface of the desk, hands clasped in front of him, with a pleasant smile and neutral, unassuming eyes.:: BLUEHEART: So,.. what can I do for you, Kyla? KIROSA: You can start, sir, by explaining why you’ve betrayed the trust you put in me at this morning’s briefing. ::Blunt and to the point, she saw no point or reason in beating about the bush so got straight to the point. if she had to clarify on her meaning, she gladly would. be it her foolishness or nievitee, she was expecting the same from the captain:: BLUEHEART: Betrayed you? I don’t understand.. KIROSA: Okay, more bluntly is why rescind my Responsibilities as Chief of Security? BLUEHEART: Ah.. that.. Sure you don’t want some soothing tea before that? Okay, never mind the tea. Um.. I’m not sure if you’re aware of the.. incident we had in Engineering. The chief engineer was injured and is currently in Sickbay. Fortunately, his injuries are minor. ::Rather than reply, Kyla instead listened to this part… but THEN she started to think: if that were the case, standard procedure dictated that she be informed straight away, and yet… not a peep until some time after, meaning there was clearly still a ‘racial issue’ somewhere… only going further to fuel the anger-induced state that she was in right now. Rather than BLUEHEART: With the Ambassador on board, I felt it necessary to have a senior officer head the department. The decision was purely based on diplomatic circumstances. Your expertise and dedication to the Security team never came into question. KIROSA: You’re making this sound like I blinked and missed in the worst possible way, sir… how is this not bringing my Dedication to my Security Career, as short as it is, into question? BLUEHEART: By providing transport for the Ambassador, we are indirectly representing the Federation. Whatever we do and say will be noticed by the Grenushi, and later, the Krayav. A good impression of our professionalism will increase our chances for economic and political cooperation in this region of space in the future. That’s why I need Cmdr Dickens heading Security for now. KIROSA: So… what? This is your way of saying ‘I don’t want you heading up my security Department’? BLUEHEART: Again, I assure you, Kyla, that this gesture on my part is in no way undermining your ability to lead the department. Nor will it affect your chances of promotion later. In fact, with my years of experience in Starfleet, I can safely say that I see a great and bright future for you in SF. You can be sure of that. ::Not bloody likely was all she could think. She didn’t have the captain’s ‘experience’ on the matter and she wasn’t clairvoyant, so there was no way for her to know this might be standard practice for some of the Commanding Officers, but to Kyla, who led a more simpler life, she couldn't’ stop bringing it back to one simple thing: Betrayal. She had grown up, having to learn how to trust the people around her and asking only the same of her in turn. Trust was a big thing for Kyla, perhaps the biggest… and not only a week fresh from the academy that aspect of her had been insulted and broken (from her point of view) and the captain had the gall to think this wasn’t as bad a thing as she was making it out to be.:: BLUEHEART: Take it as part of your learning curve. Learning how sometimes we all have to grit our teeth and step aside for diplomatic or political reasons. I myself have been in your shoes many times before. We are a paramilitary organization after all. The Federation still comes first. ::sipping his tea:: I hope that answers your question, Kyla? ::He peered from over the rim of his cup of tea.:: KIROSA: Oh no, sir. ::She then pushed up out of her chair… she had heard enough from her perspective and was about to jump to all the wrong conclusions, only she didn't know that was going to happen.:: No I… I don’t see this as a learning curve… if anything it’s just confirmed the belief that you’ve just betrayed both my trust and the trust you actually decided to put in me simply because you're trying to hide the truth you think I’m completely incapable at this job. ::He felt his emotions roiling inside him. The last time he was emotional, let his guard down and become driven by his feelings, it had led to a mutiny and a court martial hearing. Something he would never let happen, he had vowed to himself. He decided to keep silent and let the Orion ensign carry on her verbal assault on him.:: KIROSA: NO! No, it’s bad I enough that I have to learn this through some written announcement, but what REALLY makes me so angry about it all is that you, my own commanding officer, couldn’t even be BOTHERED to take the time to tell me this to my face! BLUEHEART: oO I am in the midst of wording my speech, actually. Oo ::He stared at the empty cup on his desk, not saying anything.:: KIROSA: I get it, Alright! Yes, I’m new, little only a week out of the academy. Yes. I’m an Orion, which practically turning every other head I’ve walked past since the Academy and who knows what else to the more hormonal persuasion. You can dress this up all you like, but if this boils down to some simple, stupid reason as to my inexperience or my Racial inheritance, then it’s clear I have been so DELUDED about the Federation and it’s beliefs! ::When he finally spoke, his voice was forced to be monotonous. Clear, but monotonous.:: BLUEHEART: I’m not dressing up anything. What you see is what you get. ::As he stood up, he smiled at her.:: BLUEHEART: Counselor’s office. 0800 hours tomorrow. It’s a request, not an order. ::He turned around, his back facing her, to bring the empty cup back to the replicator.:: Dismissed, ensign. ::His hands were trembling as he set the cup down. The roar of blood in his head drowned all other sounds and he forgot the world around him for what seemed like an eternity.:: ::If the captain was done here, then she couldn't’ see any reason why she should stay in the room. She turned and just strode out of the Ready Room, back across the bridge and back to the Turbolift. If this was the final say, that she had been ‘requested’ to see the Counselor tomorrow morning, then that was an easy thing to resolve.:: KIROSA: Computer. Whatever ‘request’ has been made of me to see the ship’s Counselor. I want it declined in the nicest yet strongest possible manner without me getting into more trouble. COMPUTER: Acknowledged. ::It was at that point Kyla just needed something to do, something to help her relax and calm herself, and she knew talking about it wouldn’t help anything, she had tried it with the highest authority on the hsip and all it got her was that ‘session’ she just threw away. Talking never helped her because, most of the time, there was nothing TO talk about… she needed something she knew, something familiar…:: KIROSA: Holodeck one. ::The computer chirped and the Turbolift hummed into life, plotting the most direct route through the Turboshafts back down to Deck 5. If she was off Security Detail, then she may as well use this newly acquired free time to stop her from making any grave mistakes in the future.::
  11. ((Zakdorn Hospital – Late Night Hours)) ::There was a room waiting for her at some hotel but Aribelle did not even consider staying there. Aribelle instead spent the night at the hospital, sleeping on the uncomfortable stiff couch in the waiting area and catching very little sleep as patients and their families poured in. The damage to the city would take some time to assess and clean up. The natives were surely feeling the effects of such destruction. They were trying to bring back order and sought answers that no one could really give.:: ::She wanted to be close, though, to her crewmates. Her patients. Pavlova, Velana and the baby boy. At least they had gotten there safely and were getting the treatment and rest they needed.:: ::She would be close if they needed her and she checked on them often.:: ::At some point in the middle of the night, Aribelle had wandered into the restroom and, after locking the door, she found herself standing in front of the sink with one hand on the edge of the basin and the other over her mouth. Stealing a glance at her reflection in the mirror hanging in front of her, Ari studied her face, recalling the events that had happened that day.:: ::The lack of sleep. The conspiracies. The destruction. The injuries. The death.:: ::The tears then came.:: ::She wasn’t a crier, really, but she was emotionally spent and seeing so much devastation only set her off the edge. And for what, exactly? She let out a few soft sobs. Aribelle couldn’t wrap her head around the motives of people. She could not fathom what was so important that people had to pay with their lives, with blood. It all seemed so senseless. It was, in that moment, that she wished she had her comfy PJs and a bottle of merlot. At least she had the strength to wait and become unraveled in the restroom. Alone and in private.:: ::How pathetic was that? Officers weren't supposed to cry. Things like this happened ALL the time. Unfortunately.:: ::Managing to finally hold back the tears from trickling any further down her face, Ari wiped the backs of her hands across her eyes, and then dragged the heel of her hand along her cheeks before attempting to adjust her appearance. Her hair was a mess and there was still dried green blood on her arms. She turned on the faucet and let the warm water wash over her skin.:: ::When she looked back into that mirror, she found a tired, scared and teenaged-looking version of herself looking back at her. She didn’t even recognize herself.:: ::When she stepped back out, her eyes were still puffy and pink but she would blame that on her being tired.:: ::No one would ever have to know the truth.:: TBC Lieutenant Aribelle “Ari” Tagren Doctor, Medical Officer USS Vigilant
  12. ((Ensigns Faranster's Quarters)) :: Greg stood by the door. He was still a little nervous. He hadn't been on the ship an enormous length of time and Sun had been here even less time. Still, he felt he had to say his part. He'd been ordered to rest but hated sitting around. He'd tried to catch up on the latest from the Corps of Engineers but reading was still making his head throb. He'd gone down to the main engineering section only to be chased out by the staff who were under orders not to let him resume duties. In truth, save for Ethan, he didn't have much in the way of good friends. He got on well with all his colleagues and was friendly with all the people he worked with but... friends... real friends... were different. Finally plucking up the courage he tapped the door chime. :: :: Sun had woken up a couple times from the nightmares she was having, deciding she was having no luck with sleeping, she had the replicator make a juicer for her to make juice out of the fruits in the basket. She checked the fruit carefully for the right combination and made herself some juice, the yield was just more than enough to fill a glass. She picked up her PADD and got comfortable on the couch in her living area. She was just getting into fantasy story when she heard the chime to her room. She paused. :: .oO Who would be visiting me at this time of the night? Does anyone even know where my quarters are yet? I just got assigned... Oo. :: She was puzzled by the chime of her door, but curiosity won her over. :: Fananster: I'm up. Come on in. :: Greg stuck his head around the door as it slid open, seeing here sitting reading on a couch in the room. He was relieved he hadn't done something like disturbed her in the middle of a shower or dropped by while she was out. :: :: She was surprised to see Lieutenant Able enter through the door, then again, she was surprised anyone had visited her so soon after she was stationed on the ship, and so late at night. :: Able: Oh, hey there. I... err... just dropped by to see how you were. We all took a hell of a beating down there, I... well I wanted to say thanks, too. You did one hell of a job. Faranster: :: Her face relaxed and she put down her PADD on the little table next to the couch. :: Yeah, it was a rough ride. :: She smiled at the compliment. :: No better than you, you know you must be a genius with tools, working together something to fix up Ra like that. Able: Just one of those talents you pick up when you’re an engineer, sometimes you don’t have the right tool, but you can make the right tool from what you have. I’m just glad I could do something to help Ra. Faranster: Well, I am glad that the right combination of people were down there, not sure if I could have done what I did without the support of the rest of you. Able: That’s what teams are for, I doubt we’d even have gotten out of there piece without your talents. :: Greg was glad to see Sun relax a little and talk about what had gone on but wasn’t happy at just swapping platitudes. He needed to talk... really talk. :: Able: So, how are you holding up? :: She thought about the nightmares, was she that transparent? She wasn't sure she wanted to talk about it, but it was nice having someone ask the question with such concern. :: .oO Sun, sometimes it's not about your answer to the question. Oo. :: She realized that she wasn't the only one up at this hour, looking into his dark eyes she wondered if there was more to the question, more to his visit. :: Faranster: I’m managing, I think. Brain is too busy to sleep. :: Her smile this time was forced, she wasn't telling the whole truth, her brain was too busy scaring the crud out of her. :: What about you? Able: If... you don’t want to talk about it feel free to tell me to buzz off, but I... :: He swallowed hard :: I was worried about you. :: She thought about her behavior in the caves, he had been awake on and off for parts of it. She didn't know how much he remembered. She looked down at her cup of juice and took a sip. Truth be told, she had been worried about herself when she came back to the ship, but she distracted herself enough to keep her mind off her outbursts. :: Faranster: My behavior... my anger on the surface... that's not me. I wouldn't tell you to buzz off.:: She looked up at his face once again, taking in his concern, realizing that wasn't all there was he was concerned about. :: Are you alright, Lieutenant Able? Able: :: he sighed :: I dunno, my heads a bit of a mess. It might still be the effects of that gas or maybe... I just can’t believe we nearly died down there. I always thought I was gonna be prepared for this, when I joined Starfleet I knew the risks and always I accepted them as part of the job, but... I guess nothing can prepare you for actually almost dying. Especially on my first away mission. :: Sun thought about that for a moment, she had seen him in critical condition, he might have even been dying. She had worried about him too, but she only knew the experience from her point of view. :: Able: I had some pretty lucid hallucinations, I didn’t know what was real or what was my mind playing me up. Scared me three sides of stupid, I’ve gotta say. :: By now Greg’s body language had changed from that of his usual air of happy confidence to that of a raw, young officer who was scared. Someone whose realisation had just come crashing in on him. Everything grandpa Able had told him about having your wits turned inside out on you, being scared to within inches of your life. It was true. It wasn’t all spring and roses either. Right now it felt like the worst thing in the galaxy. :: Faranster: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep my promise to bring you and Commander Lanius back. :: She paused again and closed her eyes as she said the rest.:: I was afraid everyone forgot about us. Able: Hey. One thing you can always be sure of is that while you’ve got a crew behind you, no-one forgets you. It... was close though. I don’t think I appreciated how close until I looked back over the mission data from my tricorder logs. :: She took in what he said, and remembered the trouble that the Apollo had in transporting them back, what would a couple more moments have done? She took a deep breath, not knowing how to react to the new information, she had panicked on the surface, she didn't want to know what knowing this would have done. :: Faranster: We almost failed to come back at all, didn't we? :: Greg saw Sun’s face fall a little as she spoke. :: Able: Hey, hey. Nearly failing is succeeding, albeit by a narrow margin. We’re stood here talking, that means we got out. We’re both still alive and so’s Commander Lanius. :: Greg could tell by now the experience had shaken her up badly too. She’d put a brave face on it in sickbay during the quarantine, but now he could see he wasn’t the only one reeling from the experience. :: :: Sun was starting to relive those last moments in her mind with the new knowledge she had, she had to put down her juice to keep herself from spilling it. She took a few deep breaths, calming herself down.:: Faranster: Good thing we didn't know then how close things were, huh? :: She looked him in the eyes again, her eyes showing she wasn't quite recovered from the replay. :: Able: I didn’t even know which way up was by then, I was tripping like I’d had one too many Romulan Ales. I guess that probably helped, one minute I was in a cave the next I was in sickbay, I hadn’t got a clue what was going on. Faranster: I understand why we were left on the planet, during our quarantine I got to see the injuries that were priority. I don't think Lieutenant Williams would have made it if they picked us up. Able: I didn’t see any of that, I only knew Alan was injured when I asked where he was this morning. I still have some last engineering briefs to get from him. He better not peg out on us. Faranster: As for Commander Frost's injury, it was pretty bad too, not nearly as life threatening, but if the scar is any indication, it was a brutal phaser burn. :: She closed her eyes again, remembering picking up Commander Lanius's rifle to defend them, she was shaken up at the time, and she couldn't imagine how shaken up she would have been had they actually been fired upon. So far she's been lucky as to not under fire. :: Able: Hmmm... yeah. I did see him as we left sickbay. He looked a little rough. Faranster: Have you ever been fired upon? :: The words came out of her mouth before she remembered what he said. :: Oh... it was your first mission too. Able: Got shot in a holodeck training simulation once, not really the same thing although it hurt plenty. :: She shook her head. She knew she needed target practice, she could shoot if needed, but she didn't feel too confident in her skill. :: Faranster: I was thinking I needed practice... now I am wondering if I need more than that. I know I don't like to kill, I prefer healing, but if I were fired upon would I be able to hold up? Able: Generally your self preservation instinct takes over automatically. There’s no harm in honing your aim and your reaction times, though. You can do it other ways than just hitting the target range. I played a lot of Parises Squares and Springball at the Academy, it keeps you fit, strong and able to move. But... yeah. Grandpa Able was a Marine, I got good advice. Faranster: A game might make training more interesting... :: She took that thought into consideration, wondering about combining target practice with live targets but in a fun manner, a way to avoid injury.:: Must be easier with more military training...or advice. Able: Yeah... that’s true. Doesn’t scare me any less than others though. He told me himself the day you stop being scared’s the day you get yourself killed. Faranster: Well, that's reassuring... :: It didn't feel too reassuring though. What did it mean? The key to staying alive was being scared? That the only way you won't be afraid is when you die? Or when you forget your fear, you get [...]y and get killed? None of those seemed pleasant, and she was pretty sure her tone expressed her frustration with that piece of advice. :: :: The room fell silent for a moment. Greg’s eyes flicked down to his feet briefly. :: Able: Have... you had any nightmares? I keep having this weird one where I’m lying paralyzed and all the people in my life are walking around me. Maybe I need a counselor... :: She stared at him, he asked the question, did he know the answer? The nightmares, dreams of the crew leaving her behind and telling her how insignificant she was. Nightmares that included their councilor, which she had yet to meet formally. She knew she had to schedule an appointment to get her initial evaluation done, and she didn't know how she felt about it. :: Faranster: Actually, that was why I was awake. :: She paused again, he was leading her down an emotional road, and she couldn't say no, part of her wanted to talk about it, the other part wanted to hide it. She pulled her lower lip in between her teeth, she could feel the pressure in her nose and eyes as her emotions started teetering towards crying. :: Faranster: Every time I closed my eyes, I was in the cave, and someone was telling me that I was unimportant and could be left behind. The exits both walled off, and everyone was walking through the rock, except me... I couldn't. :: She leaned forward, her hands suddenly covered her face, her eyes stinging with the tears that she denied herself on the planet, and in the sickbay. She wanted to be happy, she wanted to recognize that people were concerned about her and cared. She wanted to remember that Captain Jaxx said he would personally fly down to get them, but none of that outweighed the emotions caused by the memories and the dreams. She struggled with trying to control the sobs, trying to prevent judgment of her emotional state, but her shoulders heaved despite her attempts.:: :: Greg suddenly felt a pang of guilt. He’d obviously tripped on a very sore nerve. He had to admit he’d woken up in the night three times himself in cold sweats scared rigid that he might never move again. This was different though. Sun’s emotions were obviuosly boiling just below the surface. He sat down discretely next to her on the sofa, and placed an arm round her shoulders. He felt slightly awkward but at times like this just knowing someone else was there was often enough. :: Able: Hey... hey. It’s okay. :: Sun became aware of the extra weight on the sofa, and the awkward pat of her shoulders. They had just met and been put in a stressful situation, and now she was up to her neck in her emotions, emotions that once again were out of her control. She tried to focus on the analogy that she used with Ensign Pierce earlier that evening, it had been about anger, one of the most unpleasant emotions to feel, fear was the next one, in her mind, but only barely ahead of loneliness. :: :: Greg’s words felt hollow. He didn’t know Sun that well, he also didn’t exactly have a rich history when it came to comforting people in times of emotion. He felt he had to say something, though, just a reassuring word. Being there for people was part of being in Starfleet, or at least that was what he supposed. Crew stuck up for each other and propped each other up when they were down. Team spirit, right? No, right now he was in a strange room with a person he’s flown one mission with. That person needed comfort. He happened to be here, so she needed him. :: :: Her shoulders dropped, she wasn't sure what she wanted to say, or even think. If she had been alone she would have music playing while she cried, it helped her focus on something else while she got the tears out, transitioning her from one mood to a more upbeat mood. She found in the Academy that she became partial to 'Sing Sing Sing' playing during one of these fits, the drum beat going into various brass and woodwinds would almost always make her start feeling better as the instruments sung to her. :: Faranster: I'm... sorry. :: She managed to get out, sniffing slightly between words. :: Trying...to...calm...down. :: Greg gave a gentle squeeze of Sun’s shoulders. His throat suddenly felt desert dry and that familiar ache grated at his consciousness. He felt the familiar itch in the corners of his eye. Hammering back his emotions as best he could, he held himself fast. This wouldn’t help. Get a hold of yourself. He swallowed hard, wondering on the edge of his mind if Sun had noticed the sudden change in his demeanour. A solitary tear slid down his face. :: :: When Sun felt the pressure on her shoulder tighten slightly, she instinctively leaned closer, into the comforting arms. A part of her knew that it was a soothing gesture, the other part knew it was warm arms, both welcomed the gesture. She was still sniffling and struggling to regain control as she listened to Greg ramble. :: Able: I guess this shook us both up pretty bad, huh? I haven’t felt this rough since I got my first rejection letter. But then, that turned out okay in the end. Maybe this will too. :: Greg was just blundering through random thoughts now. Thinking aloud. Wondering if Sun was even listening or if she was completely absorbed in trying to batten down her own emotions. :: :: She wiped away her tears as she paid attention to what he had said. She was finally able to regain her composure, he was amusing her with his awkward attempts at trying to comfort her, and he was also getting emotional about the ordeal. But he was right, everything was going to be okay. They weren't left behind or forgotten, they were sitting here able to talk about the experience, relive the moments. It was something of the past, and they were dwelling on it.:: Faranster: Of course things will turn out alright. :: Her cheeks felt caked with the salt from her tears having dried as she smiled. :: I'd say the sun will be out tomorrow, but being that we're in space, the suns are always out. Able: Hm. :: he smirked and shook his head a little at the unexpectedly lighthearted comment :: You got that right. Faranster: What do you usually do to make yourself feel better when you are feeling blue,... Lieutenant? :: She paused, she almost called him Greg, but wasn't sure if that was appropriate. :: :: She was still leaning towards him, she had made a mental note in the academy not to be overtly friendly, worried about reactions of those who weren't comfortable with the interactions. It took her a moment to shake her mind free and she moved so she wasn't leaning on him, she hoped she didn't make him uncomfortable unintentionally.:: :: Greg felt her suddenly pull away from leaning against him. He’d hardly noticed, he’d been more intent on comforting her. It had made him feel better, if nothing else. :: Able: Game of spring-ball, coffee and a slice of lemon cheesecake, jog round the decks a bit. I used to meet up with friends at the Academy every Friday and fritter the evening away talking about all sorts of... nonsense. That all seems so far away now. Faranster: :: She looked slightly embarrassed, she felt like she was the only one noticing her actions and her sudden shift made them more noticeable. :: I'm sorry, Lieutenant. I... :: She didn't know how to explain her reaction. :: I... I shouldn't let my emotions carry me away. Able: Hey, don’t worry about it. I think we... both... got a little emotional there. Don’t worry. My mom always used to say it’s better to let your demons escape now and again than keep them shut in a box. Missions like this can often lead to a few more demons than you can keep a lid on sometimes, I guess. Faranster: Well, I actually enjoy many of the positive emotions... :: She wasn't sure if someone observing her over the last day would agree. :: Able: Yeah, I suppose when it’s all going well and there’s reason for feeling achievement then it’s all good. I just didn’t really feel like we got what we wanted from that mission, really. We just got shot up bad by a bunch of mercs. :: He sighed :: Anyway, we’re supposed to be cheering ourselves up. What’s your favourite way to recharge? Faranster: I find music helps pick me up, I heard a peculiar saying while in the academy... Music appeases brutal monsters?... No... :: She looked at the ceiling for a couple moments, she knew the saying well, she felt it was true, even before hearing it. :: Music has charms to sooth a savage beast. Yeah, that was it. Able: Ah, yeah. :: He smiled. :: One of my grandpa’s favourite sayings. Music’s something that seems to be pretty universal to most species, in one way or another. Ever been to a Jazz club? I used to love hanging out in Jazz clubs when I was back home. :: She smiled and nodded, feeling his eyes on her. :: Able: Hey, I know. I brought some holodeck programs with me of some of my favourite places, maybe we could kick back in one of them sometime? What do you say? :: She could tell from his tone that he was feeling better. She wondered what these places he had programmed were. He made it sound like music was involved, which sounded good to her. :: Faranster: Good music? Good company? :: She turned toward him slightly, now able to look at him and smiled broadly. :: Able: Deal. I can even lay on some lemon cheesecake if you’re interested. :: He grinned briefly, feeling back to himself a little more .:: Faranster: As long as it's homemade. :: She liked how his face lit up when he grinned, it made him look much more handsome than the concerned look on his face that he started with. They had something in common, a shared experience, and a night of talking between them. It was a start of a good friendship, she thought. :: Able: Oh, you bet. Grandma’s own recipe. A replicator ain’t got nothin’ on this! :: He chuckled a little. :: Faranster: Thank you. For stopping by, and talking with me. It was unexpected, and emotional. :: She smiled at him again, the end of the conversation was definitely better. :: And, pleasant. I'm glad you decided to visit me. Able: Me too. You wouldn’t believe how many times I wandered past your door before I decided to call in. I’m glad I didn’t chicken out. It was... nice to let some demons free. Anyway, I ought to let you get back to your book. I need ot get some shut-eye myself, I’ve been up since 0500 hours. :: Greg stood decisively, straightening his shirt, as if by habit. He smiled and set off towards the door, feeling a little awkward to just walk out.:: :: Sun stood up and followed him to the door, glad to make a new friend, one that knew what she was going through. She almost hugged him before he left her quarters, but she thought that she might want to give him some more time to get to know her to not make him uncomfortable. :: :: Greg turned to face her at the door, he could tell from her face she felt better. He did too, much better. He gave her a light, friendly tap o the shoulder and smiled again.:: Able: Thanks. :: smiling, he stepped backwards out of the door :: :: Greg walked down the corridor with a certain spring in his step. He felt like a thousand tons had been lifted off his shoulders. :: :: When she was alone in her quarters, she drank the rest of her juice, and left her PADD on the table where she put it before heading back to bed, this time, if nightmares haunted her, she was going to use the knowledge of having someone on her side to fight them off. :: -- Lieutenant JG Gregory Able Chief Engineering Officer U.S.S. Apollo NCC-71669 and Ensign Sundassa Faranster Medical Officer USS Apollo
  13. ((OOC: This is Very long, so please read through it as I will want feedback on this one as it is the first time I have done somehting like this. also this is from Somers viewpoint and the Dreamscape is just that. to my knowledge only one other Starfleet Captain knew how or when he was going to die, it is in this context that the Dreamscape death is placed.)) :IC: ((USS Thunder-A – Somers Homestead – Earth)) ::After their little adventure in the Sol system the Thunder had returned to earth, the ship was docked at Earth Station McKinley undergoing repairs, so the crew had time off. While Paul went to visit his Mother and Fathers Family and reacquaint himself with them, Alex spent sometime with her parents.:: Samuel Somers: ::giving his daughter a big hug and holding her at arms length as he looked at her:: Well back so soon, not that I am complaining of course, nasty business out at Hegemone, but that is business, how long are you home for and where is my new Son-in-law? ::Sam asked.:: A. Somers: I am back here till I am recalled as is Paul, but he has gone to visit his side of the family, this will be the first time in a long time that he would have been home for any length of time. So how is mom and where is she? S. Somers: Your mother is out visiting old colleagues, she will be back later ::Sam responded putting his arm around his daughters shoulder as her Sister Karyn and her partner entered, Alex looked puzzled, she knew her Sisters sexual orientation, but her partner was new.:: A. Somers: ::Giving her Sister a big hug:: So Sis you going to tell me who your new partner is? K. Somers: ::Hugging back then stepping back:: This is Danielle, we were just going out hiking, you want to join us? ::Karyn asked.:: A. Somers: No thanks Sis, you go enjoy yourself, pleased to meet you Danielle ::Alex said and the woman only smiled as both left the house, she looked back at her father:: That is what her fourth partner since leaving the Embassy? S. Somers: Its her sixth, but whose counting, she is a big enough girl and lets not go there. A. Somers: Agreed ::pause:: so what have you been doing with yourself since I left so soon after the wedding? S. Somers: Oh Starfleet Diplomatic Corps had Starfleet High Command reactivate my commission, I am still a Colonel but now I am officially the envoy to Kronos, it seems that the Klingon High Council wish now to only deal with a warrior and I am told you had a hand in my new appointment ::Sam said.:: ::Alex broke away and holding out both hands.:: A. Somers: Whoa dad! I did not speak to any Klingon envoy or even to the Chancellor, so how in Hades could I have assisted in your new appointment!? :she asked clearly puzzled.:: S. Somers: Easy there lass, I am not blaming you, but it seems on your Klingon held After Wedding party you got into a drinking contest with a group of Klingon’s and apparently drunk all but one under the table and you and the last Klingon apparently collapsed at the same time. ::pause:: That Klingon was their Envoy to Earth and he was impressed at your cast iron constitution and ability in imbibe strong drink and remain coherent. ::beat:: So he put in a request to have the flame haired Terran Warriors Father as the Federation’s Official Envoy to Kronos, so now I have a posh office at Starfleet Headquarters and two Advisors and an Aide plus a Secretary and I am missing the days where I was ducking Phaser fire and it is all thanks to you ::he said with a smile, to show he was not mad.:: A. Somers: Wow dad, I never knew getting blasted would get you assigned such a position, but if they had seen me when I returned to the Thunder-A, I do not think they would be too impressed. S. Somers: How so? A. Somers: First Off there was the Upchuck, then just as I thought I had finished I upchucked some more and by the time I had finished the ships Doctor had to replenish my vitals, Paul of course stood there like a pillar of stone totally emotionless, where I was concerned, but he did speak to the Doctor, I was too ill to pay any notice ::she responded.:: ::As the day wore on and her Mother came home and warmly greeted her Daughter and they talked, by 2300 hours the past few days had caught up with her, she yawned and excused herself saying she was retiring for the night so up to her room she went and got into her night-dress and went to sleep and in her sleep, she had the most weird dream, one that she would remember for the rest of her days.:: ((Alex Somers Bedroom – Somers Estate – 2300 hours)) ((Dreamscape)) ::This was one of her more… Craziest dreams, but it would bring her to a revelation, one which she would share in knowledge like an old Historical Starfleet Officer.:: ((USS Yorktown – Personal Quarters – September 1 2421)) ::Alex was walking from one room into another, even though she knew it was a dream, it was surreal, she noticed she was wearing some kind of Marine Uniform, it was not recognisable but she looked in the mirror and gasped, she still had her Red hair, but now it was in a bob and liberally streaked with white, her features were that of and old woman. Then she noticed her rank which showed Colonel rank, she looked at her file and saw that she had recently turned 60.:: Somers: So I finally make it to Colonel but I am an old woman when I do, interesting, still I managed to keep my figure ::she said to herself suddenly she found herself sitting on the bridge which was unfamiliar to her as it was not set out like any ship she had served on before and it mostly had Marines on the bridge.:: ::The ship had just gone to Red Alert and was responding to a distress call from Betazed, with her, she knew, how she did not know, but she knew she had two other Ships on her left and right flanks respectively, she called up her ships name class and registry number and that of her companion ships.:: Somers: ::speaking to herself:: interesting USS Yorktown NCC 1941-C Achilles Class Refit, that is this ship, now what of my wingmen? ::she asked herself:: interesting, things must be bad for Starfleet if they have Marines commanding Starships ::suddenly she knew the Federation was once again at war with a powerful enemy and barely holding their own.:: So my wingmen are the USS Nimitz NCC 96318-A and the USS New Horizon NCC 89071-A, both are also Achilles class refit. ::pause:: [...] I have my own battle group ::she said in surprise, as even on a basic Achilles class; the ship had eight dorsal Micro Quantum torpedo launchers in addition to four forward firing and two rear firing standard size torpedo launchers add in a mix of Pulse Phaser Cannons and High graded Phaser arrays an Achilles Class ship was nothing to be sneered at, even alone it could hold its own in a battle with a much larger ship.:: ((Betazed Foothills – September 15 2421)) ::Now she was standing in a valley in the Betazed foothills, she looked behind and saw some fleeing refugees. She remembered that having lost her Wingmen in a space battle, and the Yorktown shortly after that she had escaped to the Planet with 299 Marines and a Fleet Medical Officer. She had assured the refugees that her 300 troops would hold the enemy at bay while they escaped, now she saw some portable automated Pulse Phaser and Torpedo turrets placed on the hills on the left and right sides of her dug in platoon, she tightened her combat webbing. It was now she realized she carried three types of bladed weapons, her Mek’Leth and Bat’Leth and on her right hip was her D’Tagh Knife and on her left was her collapsible quarterstaff. She also had her Phaser versions of her trusty Desert Eagle Pistols and a standard Mk 40 Pulse Phaser Auto-fire Rifle it resembled in size and style the rifles used in Picards time on the Enterprise-E, but it had more options and was somewhat more powerful. She looked to her left and right and noticed that all her troops carried an assortment of bladed weapons. Somers: So our enemy finds honour in bladed combat, ::it was then she noticed her units patch:: First Platoon 95th Rifle Regiment Starfleet Marine Corps ::pause:: dammit the Federation must be in an all out war if old units had been reformed ::she said to herself.:: ::There was one refugee who she held back so he could carry her last recording to her superiors on Earth, she sealed and coded the device and looked at the refugee.:: Somers: Give this to the First Starfleet Ship Captain or Klingon ship Captain you meet and tell them this ::beat:: This is the last report from Colonel Alexandria Lynne Somers Colonel in the 95th Rifle Regiment and we shall hold out for as long as we can, while we can, do you understand? ::she asked and the guy nodded.:: Good now get to your transport ::she said and watched him flee as sonic booms were heard as enemy drop ships made their decent.:: Raise the Regimental colours ::She said, knowing that one of her own crew would have picked up their battle Colours along with the Federation flag.:: ((USS Yorktown – Betazed Orbit – One day earlier)) ::The Trio of ships commanded by Alex arrived in the Betazed system and was immediately in combat, after years of fighting together these three crews reacted as one and their enemy found out just what the Achilles class was capable of, but despite early victories, they had numbers against them. The enemy had plenty, they were only three Elite ships, but they cut a good sized chunk into the enemy armada. They used their torpedoes sparingly after the first volleys, now the element of surprise had gone and the enemy ships began to cause damage to them, Alex was clinging to her chair as reports from her Comms Officer came in.:: 1st Lieutenant Lane: Captain, the New Horizon has just been lost a number of escape pods are heading for the Betazoid foothills and the Nimitz has gone out in traditional Klingon fashion and we have began to show some damage, we will not last much longer all torpedoes are spent we are only on Phasers now ::she reported.:: Somers: Okay we will take as many with us as we can, order all excess crew to abandon ship use every available shuttle and escape pods and head to the location of the Nimitz escape pods, I will remain with my XO and two Officers, I assume there is enough power to send a distress call and Emergency transporters? ::she asked.:: Officer: Yes Captain, also I have brought these for you, it would be a shame to leave them behind ::the Officer said handing Alex her prized weapons, the Twin Katanas she carried in the past were nowhere to be seen.:: Somers: ::Smiling:: Thank you now send off that distress call and get to an escape pod ::she said and watched as most of her crew left.:: Its bigger than a shuttle, but I think I can fly her ::she said sitting at the Helm, Triome take shields Keral weapons lets show them what riflemen can do shall we? ::she said as she swung her ship around and out to a safe distance and stopped.:: Lt. Col. Triome: Why are they not shooting? ::the Bolian first Officer asked.:: Somers: Well you have one badly beaten up Achilles class ship facing off over a thousand enemy ships, they enemy commander is probably thinking I am either insane, I am going to run or I am going to Kamikaze, if what intel files say about these Grivaan are correct the enemy Commander is either curious or shocked, but expect a communication from him soon, Keral how are those weapons looking? ::she asked her Klingon Second Officer.:: Major Keral: All weapons are functional, but I estimate we will last no more than ten minutes, fifteen if extremely lucky. Somers: ::Looking at the Klingon:: I would like to say today is a good day to die, but we will not be dying this day my friend ::she said and as predicted the enemy commander contacted her.:: Triome: Captain, we have the enemy Commander hailing Somers: Onscreen ::she said and the image of a Grivaan War Leader appeared.:: Who do I have the distinct honour of addressing? ::Alex asked, becoming formal:: oO Now to see if Starfleet Intelligence got something right Oo War Leader K’Faali: ::he puffed up with self-pride at the sudden formality given by this Soldier, he was of the old school, where; when one Officer addressed another, they obeyed a strict protocol; this Soldier bore authority about her and displayed some formality.:: you have the honour of addressing War Leader K’Faali Commander of this Fleet, and who am I speaking to? ::he asked just as formally.:: Somers: ::Stepping around the helm station and coming to Parade rest where she showed her unit patches and rank:: You Sir have the honour of addressing Colonel Alexandria Somers Commander of the USS Yorktown and a Senior Officer in the 95th Rifle Regiment Starfleet Marine Corps, we are one of the many Elite Spec Ops units in the Federation ::she responded.:: K’Faali: I am pleased to meet the commander of the trio of ships that has caused my fleet much damage, now as one warrior to another, I offer you a chance to surrender with honour, you will be shown every respect of a proven warrior. ::beat:: Before you reject my onetime offer think, your ship has no heavy weapons left only beam weapons, your ship is badly damaged and will not survive a short exchange with one of my frigates. So surrender with honour and I shall allow your troops on the planet and those still on your ship to go free, on this you will have my solemn oath ::he said.:: ::Alex looked at her First Officer and made a motion to cut audio as she turned and made her way back around to the helm station. With her back to the viewscreen and no audio going out she spoke.:: Somers: Well bless my cotton socks, Starfleet Intelligence got something right for once, I have set this ship on auto-pilot and it will hold out long enough for us to beam to the planet, get some weapons from your quarters quickly and beam down to the planet, I will join you directly, we have one final duty to perform on the planet, while I have one final duty up here, now go ::she said, both nodded and left the bridge.:: ::Turning back to the viewscreen as she sat, she saw the War Leaders curious look as to why this human had dismissed her visibly remaining crew, now pressing a button on her console she reopened audio.:: Somers: Apologies War Leader, final instructions to my Officers. K’Faali: You are going to surrender with honour? ::he asked hope edging his speech.:: Somers: No, your offer is most generous and I am truly honoured, but you have no idea on my Unit they were not called Somers Renegades for nothing. No Sir, we shall meet again in personal combat on the planet below, there the final result will be decided. Good day to you War Leader K’Faali I will see you on the fields below Qua’pla ::she said and closed the link.:: ::She programmed in an excellent and creative attack pattern and checked to see if her two remaining crew had gone, confirming they had, she set the ship on auto, stepped into the middle of the bridge and put her combat harness on with all her bladed weapons and her Phasers, she stood and looked around.:: Somers: We had some good time huh old friend, but we shall meet again ::she said to her ship:: Computer begin attack run and energize ::she said as she vanished from the bridge and the Yorktown attacked.:: ((Earth – Starfleet Headquarters September 20 2421)) ::Now Alex found herself observing a group of people, it was the CinC of Starfleet, the Intelligence Commander and some Admirals from the Security and external operations Departments. Standing in the middle was her husband Paul Sharpe, his hair was white and he was in Civilian clothes, but had the Kronos Ambassadorial sash on, next to him was the Klingon Chancellor and on his right were their two children, Marine Captain Samantha Lynne Somers and Lieutenant Paul Sharpe Junior plus to her surprise was the Romulan Proconsul. Her daughter was the image of a younger Alex. Now her consciousness watched these people watch her last report recording from her.:: Commander Thompson: Sirs ::an Aide came rushing in, with Paul Sharpe and his two children in tow, both had been told of events with the Yorktown.:: A refugee gave this to me with a direct message from Colonel Somers. Fleet Admiral Jennings: Out with it Commander Thompson: ::clearing his throat:: It reads “This is the last report from Colonel Alexandria Lynne Somers Colonel in the 95th Rifle Regiment and we shall hold out for as long as we can, while we can.” ::pause:: That is the message, also the refugee mentioned that the Starfleet surviving troops had erected their Battle Standard and the Federation flag as enemy drop ships were landing ::he said handing the recording to the Fleet Admiral.:: ::He took it and dismissed the Aide and placed the recording and the first images to greet them was the 95th Rifle Regiment 1st Battalion Flag.:: Somers: Stardate 242115.09 my trio of ships has fallen in orbit of Betazed, The USS Nimitz went with all hands, some survivors from the USS New Horizon landed safely on the planet, plus most of my crew from the USS Yorktown. Send a large Fleet you will need it; I have including myself only 299 Riflemen and one Fleet doctor, we have set up a defensive position at the foothills of Betazed, by the time you get this we will all be dead. My ships faced a large Grivaan Fleet and we accounted for half of that number, unfortunately all their fighter Carriers survived. As this is my last report, I have a few requests ::her recording said.:: Sharpe: 300 troops against thousands of enemy troops, It is a modern Battle of Thermopylae ::Paul said.:: Chancellor Torok: ::Looking at Sharpe:: What is this battle you are on about? Sharpe: ::Looks at the Chancellor:: I would ask Sir that you look up ancient Earth history, Greek Armies, search parameters Spartan Warrior or simply put in Battle of Thermopylae. This will tell you what I am on about, 300 Spartan troops against the Persian Empire, the troops held out for seven days three of which were battles. But considering today’s weapons and tactics, Alex’s assessment is correct they could hold out for three days max. ::pause:: But knowing Alex she will hold out for six, either way we will be too late getting there. ::As she was dreaming this, Alex wondered what the hell was going on, it was like she was connected to all areas where her mortal self was or recording were, plus watching things unfold as Paul comforted their Daughter and Son.:: Somers: ::Looking directly at the Chancellor, as if she knew he would be there sent a chill up all their spines.:: first request is to you Chancellor, I ask only that you hand my Bat’Leth, Mek’Leth and Dag’TagH to my Daughter, also she is to be put through Klingon bladed Combat training. Passing my weapons to her as they are hers by right of succession and it must be honoured ::she said and the Chancellor absently nodded.:: ::She looked directly at the Fleet Admiral of Starfleet.:: Somers: Any to you Fleet Admiral Sir I ask that our bodies are recovered and given full military honours funerals and that when a memorial is erected; you put on the following passage for the memorial, perhaps it will give our forces courage to overcome our foe, the inscription should read:- “If we do not live another Day,Then say this over our Pyre:They died like RiflemenTheir Faces to the Fire” ::The Fleet Admiral would grant this as it would sit well with the Klingon’s who were essential in keeping the enemy at bay and the Colonel was correct, it would motivate Federation Alliance Forces.:: Proconsul P’tretil: A touching verse, it would motivate me to be better than those who died ::he said, in typical Romulan fashion.:: Sharpe: Exactly sir, that is what my wife intended ::Paul said and the Proconsul looked contrite.:: Somers: ::Now she looks directly at Paul Sharpe Senior:: and you Paul my love, I will see you again where no Shadows fall. ::she looks at her two children:: My logical little Paul, so inventive and who follows his father, my lovely daughter Samantha; remember that nothing is forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten, ::she looked back at her husband:: Paul on my grave I want the following text placed “Alexandria Somers, she lived for as she died, in combat” ::beat:: that the personal stuff out of the way, my report is as stands, until reinforcements arrive, Betazed is in enemy hands. This is Colonel Alexandria Somers signing off, Fly safe and true ::with that the recording ended.:: Jennings: Time to organise that taskforce, you coming Chancellor? Chancellor: Of course, Proconsul, can your people send a cloaked scout ship out and supply transports to carry their valiant dead back? ::the Klingon chancellor said.:: ::The Romulan only nodded and was about to leave as a member of Species 8472 walked into the room in its natural form draped in a cloak and using an injection changed shape to human and spoke.:: Species 8472: Could my troops join you on this, your Warrior was well known to us and treated us with fairness and honour, we wish to repay this. Jennings: By all means Ambassador, we would be honoured ::he replied and all left the room to get things done.:: ((Foothills – Betazed – Early morning September 16 2421)) ::Suddenly she was back in her older body and looked to her rear and there was the two flags fluttering in the breeze as over a thousand Grivaan Elite troops led by War Leader K’Faali, who advanced forward under a flag of truce as he looked admiringly at the elderly humans bladed weapon assortments.:: K’Faali: I offer you this final chance to surrender. Somers: ::Stepping out in front and looking up at the taller being but directly into his eyes:: We shall both die in the days to come War Leader and I must say that it has been my honour to fight a worthy opponent, if only we had met when I was younger, then I would be the only one standing out of both of us. K’Faali: Hmm… Pride, bluster but both backed up by pure courage, I am also similarly honoured to have faced you in honourable combat ::he said and both Grivaan and Human returned to their lines.:: Somers: Truly an honourable warrior race, but I know the effect my death will have on my daughter and I pity any Grivaan that crosses her when she has come of age ::Alex said:: Okay Rifles lock and Load, aim and fire when you have a solid lock ::she said and suited action to words.:: ::Not exactly as predicted, It took five days before the Riflemen’s ammunition was exhausted, by now there were craters all around her surviving troops, her flanking Phaser and torpedo turrets had expended their compliment of torpedoes and the Phaser Turrets had been destroyed, but only after taking a heavy toll on the Grivaan shock troops, now under a tattered Battle flag of her Battalion and the UFP flag the remaining Riflemen took out their Phaser Pistols, Alex her Desert Eagle Phaser Pistols and fired at the charging Grivaan. More enemy were cut down and they pulled back, but it was dawn on the sixth day as the surviving riflemen pulled out their bladed weapons, the Fleet Doctor had no such bladed weapon, so Alex loaned her Mek’Leth.:: Somers: Do you know how to use one of these? ::she asked.:: Fleet Doctor: Yes, but only at novice level. Somers: These are Grivaan to’ba; not Klingon Warriors ::Alex said as she looked down at the lifeless body of her Bolian First Officer.:: Commander Simmerson: Understood Colonel ::she replied taking the Mek’Leth.:: ::Alex like her troop stood atop their barrier various blades drawn and glinting in the sunrise, as the Grivaan charge with their bladed weapons drawn, she speaks loudly:: Somers: Okay people, fight and die well, for today is a good day to die ::she said and saw out of the corner of her eye her Klingon Major puff up with pride, ready to die in battle.:: ::Next thing she knew she was watching her older self embed her blade deep into the War Leaders chest, while his blade went right through her heart and was sticking out of her back, with red blood dripping from it. As both warriors collapsed together, all their troops around them dead; both leaders look at each other and gave each other a grudging smile of mutual respect, as the life left the both of them. Somehow Alex who was watching this happen knew that a Federation Alliance Fleet had arrived and that no more enemy troops would be landing.:: Somers: ::Suddenly she knew what she had witnessed, it was her death:: so this is how I am to meet my end ::she said, her father had once told her that her ancestors always knew when they would die, when a certain path they walked had reached a fork and they all ended going down the same road, all her past family they all had a very vivid and profound dream, now Alex had just gotten hers.:: ::She found herself now standing alongside her husband and children on the hill over-looking the battlefield along with Torok, Jennings, P’tretil and Thompson; Jennings Aide. All looked down at the mix of Starfleet and Grivaan bodies and two of those were easily identifiable as both had blades sticking out of their chests and all were under a battle tattered Banner of the 1st Battalion of the 95th Rifle Regiment, the Federation flag had fallen majestically between the two dead leaders of the opposing troops as to signify what both armies had been fighting over. As the group got closer Alex found she floated along with them and all could see a small smile on their faces.:: Sharpe: I never understood it when she had that smile ::he said.:: ((End Dreamscape)) ((Alex Somers Bedroom – Somers Estate – 0800 hours)) ::Alex awoke in a cold sweat and screaming.:: A. Somers: ARRGH!! ::As her parents and sister all rushed in worried, she looked at them:: I hate those type of dreams ::she said realizing her hands were shaking.:: S. Somers: ::her father sat on the side of her bed and hugged her:: what is it sweetie? ::he asked.:: A. Somers: ::She looked at her father:: Dad remember you told me once about that dream few of my ancestors always had at a certain point in their lives? ::she said.:: S. Somers: Yes ::he said hesitantly knowing where this was going, as he too went through it around his daughters age.:: A. Somers: Well I had that dream, daddy, I know when and where I am going to die ::she said as she broke down in tears, not hearing the gasps of her Mother and sister as both had been told of such an event and like Alex all believed in such an occurrence.:: TBC Marine Captain Alexandria ‘Red Vixen’ Somers (PNPC)Recon/Demolitions Duronis II Embassy/USS Thunder-A & Colonel (Ret) Samuel Somers Ambassador to Kronos/Father & Warrant Officer Karyn Somers(formerly PNPC) 1st Battalion 21st MACO Regiment Dreamscape Characters Commander Paul Sharpe Senior Ambassador to Kronos & Fleet Admiral Jennings(NPC)CinC Starfleet United Federation of Planets & Chancellor Torok(NPC)Klingon High Chancellor Klingon Empire & Proconsul P'tretil(NPC) Romulan Empire & Lt. Colonel Triome(NPC)First Officer95th Rifles 1st bn SFMCUSS Yorktown NCC 1941-C & Major Keral(NPC)Second Officer/Klingon Exchange Officer95th Rifles 1st bn SFMCUSS Yorktown NCC 1941-C & Commander Simmerson(NPC)Chief Medical Officer USS Yorktown NCC 1941-C & Commander Thompson(NPC) Aide to CinC Starfleet & Unnamed Ambassador(NPC) Species 8472 Envoy & War Leader K'Faali(NPC)Grivaan Fleet Commander 1st Grivaan Expeditionary Fleet Simmed by Lieutenant Paul SharpeACTO USS Thunder-A/Duronis II Embassy
  14. ((Corridor, USS Apollo)) :: Tal stood tall and straight, his back against the wall as he waited calmly for Sherana. Part of the conversation he had, had with his best friend Lt. Cmdr. Jason Stone replayed in his mind. :: ((Flashback a couple hours, Tal's office)) :: Tal sat at his desk, the image of Jason Stone looking back at him on the monitor. :: Stone: I'm glad to hear it. I was afraid you would just retreat into your work. Tel-ar: Sherana is merely some-one who shares my interests in unusual weapons. Stone: She's female and Orion to boot. Tel-ar: I fail to see why that should make a difference. Stone: Well I will tell you why that makes a difference. She's female and Orion. The only time you start spending time with a female is because she's beautiful and something about her sparks that reclusive male hidden deep inside you. Tel-ar: I will admit that she is attractive but I would have never thought of myself as reclusive. Stone: You may not be but you suppress your male urges a lot. That is until you find a female that interests you and then BAMMM!!! Tel-ar: Bammm?? :: Tal repeated while his left eye brow rose and then returned to its normal position. :: Stone: You sweep the lady off her feet and your relationship becomes extremely physical. :: Tal could feel his face heat up a little. Maybe Jason was right. Every relationship he had ever had with a female had started out slow and then quickly escalated into a passionate firestorm of physical activity. :: Tel-ar: I assure you that is not my intent. Stone: Keep telling yourself that. As your best friend and physician I can tell you that's #$%^&*. Tel-ar: I see... In that case maybe I should stop before it gets physical. Stone: Try if you want but it is basic biology. Males and females need each other. Did it ever occur to you that the reason she wants to spend time with you is that something about you attracts her? Tel-ar: Is that not an illogical assumption? Stone: Under normal circumstances I would probably agree. Especially since you're normally such a cold emotionless @#$%^&*. Still that never seemed to impact on your ability to get the girl. Tel-ar: May I remind you that during our Academy years you arranged all the double dates. Stone: I may have set things up but you closed the deal all on your own. Tel-ar: I see... :: Tal paused to consider that bit of information. He had never really thought about it but in many ways Jason was probably right. :: Jason: Anyway. I hate to cut this off but I am due in surgery in 10 minutes. Tel-ar: I understand. Jason: I knew you would. Take care buddy. Stay out of trouble. :: With that the channel was closed and the image on the screen changed. :: ((Flashback ends, Corridor)) :: Suddenly Tal's antenna detected the faint yet unique aroma that belonged to Sherana. It instantly banished the thoughts of Jason from his mind as he turned to face her. She had changed out of her work clothes and cleaned up. :: :: Tal had to admit to himself that she did indeed spark certain feelings with in him. His conversation with Jason had been helpful in that matter. The only question now was, what should he do and were those feelings mutual. :: :: Last thing in the world that he wanted to do was to offend Sherana. Her company had gone a long way towards his being able to clear his head and it had helped a lot with him getting him past the tempest of hidden angst that he had had to deal with when his wife eradicated their marriage. :: ::Sherana had worked for a while, but she had not been able to focus much on it, no matter how much she tried. It had been a long time that she had been able to see weapon collections and to train with an actual person. She was looking forward to do that. She would lie, if she said she didn't also look forward to see Tal. But she tried to push that thought away into a corner of her mind. This was only weapon training and she did not have much experience with any men, but Klingons. She would not even be able to interpret any signs, if they were even there... is she would even see them.:: :: But she had enjoyed the time she had spent with him so far. He had been thoughtful and calm... rather quiet. Just as she was, unless she was among Klingons. Sherana was still hesitant to just be herself, but she could do this already better with him, than with the others aboard. When she had met K'Nor after so many years she had noticed how much she missed to be among her own people. Maybe it was possible to see this very unusual Andorian as one of her own or at least an equal, as they had much in common.:: :: When she walked around the corner her eyes spotted him already waiting. Almost she wanted to smile but it vanished just as quick as it had come, she was not sure if her face was even able to still do that, she had not smiled in so many years. Of course she had a reason, but she never talked about it and the last time someone asked had been a while ago. The Orion pulled slightly at the black sweater she was wearing to her dark blue jeans, as her boots stepped further forward pulling her with them, making the ponytail bounce from side to side with her steps.:: Sherana: Are you waiting for long? Tel-ar: Not that long. Sherana: Good. :: nodding :: I heard about the quarantine. I hope it was nothing too bad. Tel-ar: Not bad, simply... time consuming. :: As he said it Tal stepped away from the wall. Turing slowly so as to walk beside her in the direction of the lift and eventually his quarters. :: Sherana: Good, then you do not suffer from after effects? Tel-ar: I was not infected. I had no injuries at all. That should make this more interesting. We can both give it our all. Sherana: :: Raising her brows she looked up to the tower of a man. :: I would not let you win if you were still injured, what makes you think that? If you fight while injured it is your fault for losing. Tel-ar: I tend to agree. I was merely reassuring you that I was fit and ready. :: Tal stopped walking and stood waiting for the lift doors to open. As he stood there his antenna twitched, her scent was provocative and this close to her it was hard to ignore. :: Sherana: ::She nodded to his words, walking next to the tall man, matching his steps.:: It is good to hear that. :: The doors opened and Tal stepped in, turned and faced her as the doors closed behind her. She had followed him and stopped dead the moment he turned around, raising her eyes she put her head into her neck. :: Tel-ar: I assure you Sherana. As with most things in life I take training very seriously. Sherana: :: The Orion eyed him up for a moment before she nodded slowly. :: That we have in common, Mister Tel-ar. It is a desirable feature. :: The lift doors opened and Tal stepped out, leading the way to his quarters. :: Tel-ar: I am not sure. I am who I am. :: As he said it they arrived at his quarters and the door slid open. Tal walked right in. :: ((Tel-ar's Personal Quarters)) :: Sherana followed him inside, staying at the door one moment to take it in. She had been curious how he lived. She slowly stepped further inside the room, as her dark eyes scanned her surroundings. :: :: The room was one large open space with only a couple pieces of furniture. A small table with 2 chairs against one wall and a very large bed against the other wall. The floor, walls and ceiling looked like they were made of some kind of light brown stone and the longest wall was covered in weapons. Blades of all kinds, shapes and sizes as well as other unusual things that defied description but obviously had to be weapons as well. :: :: Tal moved over by the bed and removed his tunic, then his boots before he turned to face her again. When he did he saw that she had moved over near his collection. She was slowly wandering down the wall looking more closely at all his toys. :: :: Tal moved soundlessly over to join her. Reaching out and taking the 2 Bat'leth off the wall he faced her, holding one in both hands. She turned to face him and a startled look flashed across her face. It seemed to take her a few moments before she realized he was offering her, her choice of the 2 blades he held. One an ordinary Bat'leth and the other a rare Honour Bat'leth. :: :: The Orion had been surprised at the change of attire of the Andorian leviathan. For a moment she allowed her eyes to roam over the blue skin, reminding herself that she was here for training. It was a very unfamiliar sensation, she usually was not that easily distracted from her task. Blinking she pushed away those strange thoughts and finally saw the blades in his hands. She recognized the markings on one of them right away, she had one herself though had not brought it. That would have been too conspicuous. Her eyes stayed on the blade and the Orion wondered how he had gotten into possession of it. :: :: Tal's antenna twitched again as a new more potent scent mingled with her natural floral aroma. It startled him a little but he steeled himself to ignore it and maintain a proper professional demeanour. After all she was here to practice, to be his sparring partner. :: Sherana: Where did you get this Bat'leth? Tel-ar: It was a gift from my teacher upon completing my training. :: She seemed ill at easy. Had he done something to offend her? Or was she offended by the thought that he owned a Honour Bat'leth? :: Sherana: Your teacher must have been impressed to give you this. Tel-ar: That is my understanding. However I only reached the first level of master with the blade before he was recalled from the Klingon Embassy back to the Empire. :: Tal noticed a slight change in Sherana's breathing. Most likely her preparing for their sparring match. :: Sherana: I will bring my own next time, for now this will have to do. :: She grabbed the other Bat'leth, while she was sure that the Honour Bat'leth was better balanced, it was not hers to take unless she would win a proper fight with him, since he earned it, it was his honour. :: Tel-ar: When-ever you are ready let me know. :: As he said it Tal stepped back, waiting calmly. :: :: While her hands balanced the blade, she stepped back with a last look at his chest and then turned to swing the Bat'leth, warming herself up a little, rotating her shoulders. She had been looking forward to this and knowing that he had learned from a Klingon master made this an even more enjoyable thought. :: :: When she turned to face him again she looked him over. He was much taller than her and probably stronger, but that did not mean that she had no chance. She was smaller, harder to grasp and with that also faster. She had fought against Klingons of many sizes, not always winning, but she also had not always lost. Most just underestimated her, not only because she did not look like a Klingon but also because she was small. :: Sherana: 'oH SoH 'eH? /Are you ready?/ :: She assumed that if he had fought and learned of a Klingon, he would also speak some basics of her language. Since K'Nor had been aboard and visited her, she had more desire to speak in her own tongue again, though she would change back to Standard if she would find Tal having problems to understand her. What good would an opponent do who didn't know what she spoke. :: Tel-ar: Ko'vha / Yes. :: Tal replied simply as he slowly moved the weapon into position. He reminded himself that he needed to take it easy on her at first. At least until she had learned that he was both stronger than any Klingon she might have sparred with in the past but faster as well. :: :: Tal also doubted that she understood just how much of an advantage his antenna gave to him. They could not only detect her faintest movement by sound but the way that the air moved as she changed stance or attacked would be conveyed to him in such a way that he could have easily fought her blindfolded and still have had an advantage over her. Added to that was the fact that he could smell her easily as well and you began to understand just why Andorians had such a reputation as warriors. :: :: Unfortunately it was an ability that he could not turn off. There were times, rare ones where he wished he could. This was one of them. In some ways it did not seem fair but that was the hand he had been dealt at birth. So he had no choice but to accept it. :: :: Tal watched closely as she moved into position. Her movements were fluid, graceful. Again he admired her athletic form, so feminine, curved and desirable yet dangerous. Suddenly she shifted position using her size, speed and co-ordination to make a sudden fake movement followed by a waist high slash. Normally Tal would simply block it but this time he simply dived over it. As he did he looked down into her brown eyes, her face not showing any expression, as usual. Not many people realized just how easily it was for him to move his 6'4'' frame, doing things like this that were completely unexpected in a man his size. :: :: But Sherana had seen him move. She was trained as Warrior, she could see behind the muscles, behind the uniform. Seeing a step in front of another was not just a simple walk for her. It was a message, a part of a puzzle to be able to see what kind of opponent the other was. That was, what the Academy had taught her during her whole childhood and youth. Many underestimated her, just because she was small, a woman, looking like an Orion. That was her advantage. Her little attack had been merely a test to see if her analysis had been correct. And he did not disappoint her.:: Sherana: ghobe' mer naDev. /No Surprise here Tel-ar: Mah'vo drin'cha kav min'dra tov'ul garn sur'teth kiv'ro turb'kovha / Simply because I am tall does not mean I am inflexible. Besides that was not a difficult manoeuvre. Sherana: 'oH ghaHta' ghobe' Daq taH qej /It was not meant to be. :: As he said it Tal completed the roll that brought him back to his feet, spinning to meet her next attack. This time he did block it. Her Bat'leth struck his rebounding as it met an immovable force. :: :: Her dark brown eyes were focussed on him, he could see the spirit and determination gleaming in them and for the first time he could see the twitching in the muscles of her face. Not to a smile, but to that of a wild animal wanting to slay its prey, baring her teeth beneath the dark green lips. He thought for a moment to hear a low growl before she pulled away and in a flowing motion tilted her hand with the Bat'leth, the pointy end of the blade into the direction of his stomach. She deked with her left arm as she only had to swing her right arm in a swing contrarious to her left. :: :: This time Tal moved to meet her attack. Stepping inside her next swing and blocking her forearm was his palm, he closed his hand gaining a grip on her forearm as he did so. However a sudden shifting of her body weight prevented him from completing the move. :: :: She felt his grip around her arm, thankful for the layer of thick fabric between them, that way it was not as distracting as it could be. Therefore she had a free mind and she could react quickly. She moved one foot, shifted her body and swung her free arm to hit him with the blunt hilt of the Bat'leth in the small of his back. She was stronger than women of her size and species usually were, thanks to her training, so that he would feel the blow. :: :: Tal felt the blow strike his lower back. A shot of pure agony lanced up his spine and for a second he lost feeling to his lower body. For a second a flash of fear swept through him. Last thing he wanted was to be a cripple again. He was not sure if he could handle that. :: :: Tal took a step forward, all most uncontrolled, fighting to try and force his legs to work. That's when she hit him again. This time he could not supress the need to cry out in pain. :: Tel-ar: AAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!! :: Feeling that her arm was free again, maybe in the reflex or in surprise she did neither know nor care, she could twirl around fully, pressing her pointy elbow into the right spot on his spine to trigger the reflex of his knees to bend. To not lose time she raised her foot, setting her boot on his Sacrum, the lower end of the spine and kicked to bring him down onto the floor. :: :: Tal felt something give, a white flash swept his mind as red hot pokers of pain rocketed up his body. He was falling, his legs would not work. He tossed the Bat'leth aside as he tried to catch himself but failing due to the angle of his fall. His elbow slammed into his rock floor, numbing his entire arm but he did not care. :: :: Tal gritted his teeth, trying by force of will to make his legs work. The pain crashed against his will, smashing it, slamming it with wave after wave of pure agony. In the distance he thought he heard a voice mumbling gibberish. Nothing made any sense. He felt like he was sinking, being swallowed up whole by some mysterious other worldly force that try as he might defied his best efforts to fight his way free. :: :: Sherana watched him going down and saw that he threw his blade aside, possibly because he did not want to land in it and kill himself. She still had the red veil of the training over her eyes, staying in her stance. Sherana: Qam Dung 'ej Suv DoH! /Stand up and fight back! :: The Orion watched him and pulled her brows together. It took her a few moments until she noticed that something was wrong. He did not react, did not talk back. Instead he just laid there on the ground, making a noise here and there that made her think he was in pain. She hesitated but then lowered her blade and stepped to him. Was it a trick or was he really down? Was the Andorian physiology so different that she had possibly hit a more sensible spot than she had thought? :: :: Sherana lowered herself down onto her knees next to him, placing the Bat'leth next to her on the ground before she reached out, placing her hand on his bare shoulder.:: Sherana: Tal? 'oH SoH rIQmoH /Are you injured? :: She had never called him by his first name before, but right now she did not care, and the worry for a fellow warrior took over. :: :: Tal sensed someone kneel beside him as a hand touched his shoulder. More words that made no sense seemed to flow over him as he turned to see who it was. Green skin? They had green skin... Sherana... suddenly it all came back to him. They had been sparing, she had struck him in the back, sensed his weakness and taken advantage of it. :: :: She saw that he looked at her, at least some reaction. But he did not say a word and while she had fought many times, this had only been a training session and he was apparently injured even if he did not say it. She switched back to standard and kept her voice unusually soft for her. :: Sherana: Are you injured? Do you need a medic? Tel-ar: No medics... there is nothing they can do... Sherana: But you do look like you need help. Tel-ar: I will survive... I did the last time... :: With-out realizing it Tal's voice had changed, become more cold, hard and unemotional than normal. The memory of being confined to a hover chair, of being half a man crashed through the barriers he had erected in his mind to keep them locked away. :: Sherana: :: Pulling together her brows she looked at him. :: What ... last time? Tel-ar: It is nothing... do not worry about it. :: When he spoke there was a hint of something hidden under his voice by will alone. :: :: She got aware, that her hand was still on his shoulder and she pulled it away, thinking her cheeks suddenly got warmer. What kind of person was she to feel like that when he was lying there in pain? :: Sherana: Obviously I injured you. I do think I have a right to know. Tel-ar: I was injured a few years ago. Repeated blows to the lower back by a steel pipe. I was crippled for a while. It took more than a year before I was able to walk again. :: She kept her eyes on him as she listened, wrinkling her brows. Why didn't he tell her that before? Maybe he did not want her to hold back or show sympathy. This was just a trainings session after all, right? And he was a big and strong man. Who would have known that something like this could happen? :: Sherana: What can I do to help? :: She did not have much experience with that, neither with helping others really apart from standing at their side, or the like. But he was a fellow warrior who apparently did not want to see any doctors, so there had to be something she could do. :: Tel-ar: Look in the closet. You will find 2 black cases. Bring them here. :: In a fluid movement the Orion was on her feet and headed to the closet. Her eyes wandered about the things inside. Everything was in order, and she didn't really expect anything else. :: :: Tal waited while she went to get them. It seemed like forever before she returned. She found the cases quickly and grabbed them to head back to Tal. Flowing down onto her knees she placed them in front of her. :: Tel-ar: Open them. :: She raised the cases slightly, finding the mechanism to unveil their content, while Tal spoke. :: Tel-ar: You should see a medical tricorder. It is programed with my personal medical data. Do a scan. :: The Orion with Klingon upbringing could not say of herself that she had any idea what these things on the screen of the Tricorder meant in detail, that had not been part of her training, but she had to try at least. So she pressed the button that was thankfully labelled to start the scan and watched the lights and listened to the sounds of the medical instrument. :: Sherana: Uhm this here looks... I am not really sure. :: Tal had never heard her like this. She was clearly not sure and in a way out of known waters that it vibrated in her voice.:: But If I were one to guess, I would say that something is pinched... :: Because she thought he would know better what this thing would say she turned the tricorder and showed the display to him. :: :: Tal waited while she did the scan then listened as she spoke before turning the device and showed him what was on the screen. Not as bad as he had feared but still not good news. :: Tel-ar: In the second case you will find a slim black device with a slightly raised ridge down the center. It has to be aligned perfectly with my spine. When you press it against my back tiny lights will come on. When they are all green it is in the right place. :: The woman nodded to let him know that she understood. She opened the second case and saw the devices in it. They were of different sizes and shapes. But they all had those lights on them that right now did not show any life at all. Her hands took some of them and then found the one with the ridge he had talked about. She switched it on with a hit on a button and the lights came to life, turning red. :: :: Leaning over his back she placed it carefully on his spine watching the lights she let it slide along downwards. She had to bring it further down and hit the waistband of his pants. The lights were still red. :: :: Tal waited while she got it and placed it against his back. :: Sherana: Could you shove your pants down a bit? Tel-ar: If they are in the way remove them. You will have to attach 2 more smaller devices to the backs of my thighs and 2 more to my calves. They all work together to allow me to control my lower body. :: Her dark eyes wandered up to him with a raised brow. Remove them? It was not the first time she had seen a half dressed man but she had not assisted with undressing any before. Her gaze wandered back to his pants before she shrugged her shoulders and scooted downwards to be next to his legs. To not hurt his back more than it already did, she carefully bent over, took the sides of the waistband and pulled. When she got stuck she slipped one hand under him. :: Sherana: I have to raise you a little. Tel-ar: I understand. Proceed. :: Tal gritted his teeth and tried to help as he felt her lifting his midsection. It was all he could do to shift his arms and help a little. :: :: As soon as he was high enough the other hand pulled at the fabric and she lowered him again, pulling out her arm. Now she could remove the pants completely, baring his legs as she slipped the fabric off and placed it folded next to him. Sherana had to take a deep breath. It was one thing to have him fighting bare chested, but to see him only in his starfleet boxers was a bit much. She was only a breathing hot blooded woman after all. :: :: So she crawled back next to his spine sliding down the device a bit more until the lights finally jumped to green and to her surprise the device changed its color so it could be barely seen against his skin. A fascinating view. :: Sherana: There... :: she cleared her throat slightly. :: ... we go. :: She quickly grabbed the smaller devices, focussing on the task, hoping he did not notice any of her treacherous signs of her inexplicable attraction. She placed the small devices and moved them ever so slightly until the lights turned green as well. Sherana realized that she had to align them properly top to bottom. And with every single one of them she could see the change of color to match his skin as well. :: Sherana: They are all affixed. Anything else I can do? :: She crawled closer to his top again, bending slightly forward to look at his face, slightly covered by the white hair. She noticed his antennae, that seemed to follow her and she remembered that they were part of his senses. Again she hoped that he had not noticed anything, before turning her eyes down to his. :: :: Tal could feel the pain start to subside. One of the advantages of the larger device attached to the small of his back. As a result he noticed almost instantly when Sherana moved close beside him. His antenna tracked her movement and her scent. Now it danced along his senses containing with in it an almost intoxicating hint of sinful pleasures. :: :: Tal fought the urge to respond even as he sensed the warmth radiating off her body. It had been a while since he had been this close to a woman. One that he felt attracted to. :: :: When she spoke the musical tones of her voice caused a slight tremor to vibrate through his antenna. It did not help that he could feel her warm breath on his cheek. :: Tel-ar: I should be OK in a moment. :: Tal could hear the slight huskiness in his own voice as he spoke. Obviously he was being affected by her presence even more than he had expected. :: Sherana: :: nodding slightly she looked him over. :: Good.. do you need help getting up? :: Tal knew that he should get up. The devices were working properly so he did not need her assistance but if he got up he was not sure how she would react. He could feel his body respond to her presence. :: Tel-ar: I think I can manage. :: As he said it Tal started to get up slowly. :: :: Sherana leaned back to not be in the way, but kept herself ready in case he needed help, even if he thought it would be alright. As he moved slightly she kept him closely in her gaze as she slowly removed herself from the floor as well. :: Sherana: How long will it take until you are fully recovered? Tel-ar: Hopefully I will be back to normal with in a few days. :: As he said it Tal stood up in one quick move from having one hand and his knees on the floor to fully upright. Under normal conditions it would have been an easy move for him. One that he could have done with casual grace. :: :: Not today. No today he stumbled slightly. Falling towards her and she reacted with the speed he expected from a trained warrior. :: :: As soon as she saw him stumbling she stepped forward and raised her hands, placing one of them on his chest and hugging the rest of her body against his side, for the highest leverage, so he would not bury her beneath his body, back on the floor. Her other hand rested on his back and she was not sure why it was a surprise that his skin was so warm; maybe because of the blue colour. It was confusing, why did her mind drift like this?:: Sherana: ::in a soft, slightly throaty voice:: Careful. :: The feel of her soft yet firm hand against his bare skin was electric. Add to that the sudden feeling of her pressed against his side and Tal had a sudden and immediate physical reaction that he needed to conceal from her. :: Tel-ar: Thank you. :: He replied as he stood up straight fighting to try and conceal any emotion that might show in his voice and fearing that he was failing. :: :: Her dark eyes wandered up to him. She was not sure if she was imagining the change in his voice or not. With a questioning gaze she tried to find the answer in his face, in his eyes. :: Sherana: Of course. :: That was so not like her, to behave like this. Holding him still her fingers slightly moved over his skin before she could wonder, what the heck she was doing there. Her green face darkened gradually, her equivalent of blushing, before she checked if he was standing on his own now, and stepped slightly back, her hands brushing over his back and chest as she hesitated to remove them fully. :: :: The feeling of her fingers slowly caressing his skin was pure sensual pleasure. Tal had to close his eyes for a moment as he lost himself in the enjoyment of the moment. It was with difficulty that he managed to slowly clear his mind but once he had he found that he had gently put his arm around her as if to prevent her moving away. :: :: He knew he should do something. She was standing there looking up at him as if she was expecting him to do or say something. What he wanted to do was to pull her into his arms and kiss her but what he did instead was to speak. :: Tel-ar: Sherana I... thank you.... :: He should have said something... Why was it so hard for him to talk about his feelings. :: :: Personal space, she had to remember that weird invention of some species. Not that she searched closeness, even Tao's hug had been weird to her. But she was also not someone who would step away if she got close to someone for certain reasons, she was a warrior who went right into the space of people to be victorious over them. But this time... she did not know why she took so long to step away. They were not fighting anymore, and he could stand alone, so she had no reason, right? :: Sherana: Ex... cuse me. :: her voice was raspy again as she finally took a step back and her eyes avoided to look up at him. :: :: Tal let go of her as she stepped back. It was hard for him to do. He did not want to let go and for a second his arm refused to release her but in the end he did. Instantly he missed the feeling of her being so close. :: :: For a moment he just stood there, looking down at her. She was looking away and for some reason he wanted to look at her, to look into her eyes. He started to lift his hand, paused while his emotions fought with the logical side of his mind and in the end his instincts took over. :: :: Tal lifted his hand to her cheek, turning her head gently so that he could look her in the eyes. As soon as he did he felt a sudden rush, a almost dizzy sensation. What was happening, why was he having such a reaction to her. He knew it could not be the legendary Orion pheromones. He would have sensed them if that was what it was. He seemed to be lost and it was a new feeling for him. :: Tel-ar: Sherana... :: He knew there was something wrong with his voice, but he did not care. :: I... you... :: As she felt the touch of the warm hand on her face her eyes jumped up to meet his. What was he doing? And why didn't she slap his hand away? Something happened with her, something that she had not experienced before. This something turned her insides upside down, created a tumult in her stomach. Not the kind she had when she had seen a dead man for the first time as a child, though she got used to. No, it was that kind she only had heard about in stories her mother had told her. That wasn't possible. Was it? :: :: Tal turned so that his body was now facing her, still lost in those dark brown eyes. His hand was now gently caressing her cheek. :: Sherana: :: Her lips opened slightly, she wanted to say something, but her mind did not find the words. She should possibly turn and leave, but she did not want to. :: Yes? :: She whispered, her voice betraying her. :: You... wanted to say? Tel-ar: I do not know.... I want... need... :: Tal felt frustrated with his inability to make any sense but then nothing about this situation made any sense. Not unless Jason was right and if he was then it all made sense. :: :: She did not think much, though she felt like thinking about what she was doing, but her hand did not agree. It simply raised to cover his mouth with its fingertips, hindering him to speak more. The Orion was surprised of her own gesture, her gaze dropping to the fingers moving like those of a stranger. :: :: At the touch of her fingers covering his mouth Tal gave up trying to express how he was feeling. He simple stood, calmly waiting to see what would happen next. The whole time his blood was pulsing through his veins like a runaway express train. :: :: Again her mouth opened. But no words left. What in Kahless name was going on? They were warriors. And now they stood here as if they were teenagers not knowing what to do with the opposite gender. Well it was not that far off, but it was a pretty stupid behaviour for people like they were. They fought, crossed blades, shed blood, they took what they wanted. Why should that change now? Maybe... because they did not know what they wanted? :: :: Sherana raised her eyes again and something in her kicked her, talked her into that she knew what that was. It flashed up in her eyes, only a moment before a low growl left her throat as if someone had activated it per remote control, not by herself. Her dark green fingers slipped with a brush from his lips, and with a surprising certainty wandered over his neck into his hair to pull him closer. Not close enough to actually touch him, just a sign, a message for the Andorian. :: :: Tal enjoyed the feel of her hand as she slowly pulled him a little closer but when she stopped pulling him it never occurred to him to stop. In fact his arms also moved, reaching out to encircle her. :: :: He pulled her close as his lips made contact with hers. It was a gentle kiss. As soft as a breeze dancing across a flower petal. Yet for all that it was electric for he could feel a surge of energy pounding through his entire body. :: :: Before he knew it he had pulled her closer, pressing her to him. This time when he kissed her it was with an intensity and desire that exploded from his inner core. Like a herd of wild mustangs suddenly making that mad dash to freedom. :: :: The gentleness that they had in this still new experience, the careful feeling their way was washed away just a moment later, when their instincts took over. Sherana shifted, wrapping her arms around his upper body as one of her hands remained in his neck as if she was afraid that he could walk away, the other brushed over his back, though making sure she did not kick off the device on his spine. :: :: Tal could feel her hands on his naked back. One second they were as gentle as could be and the next they were clutching him, pulling him closer and the whole time they were kissing. :: :: She had brought her hands to his shoulder blades, pressing her whole body against his, pulling him close as if she tried to crawl into him. The emotional storm rioting inside, took away her breath, but she did not pull away, as if he was the one refreshing her breath that seemed to dwindle. :: :: Tal ran his hands over her back. In the process one hand was suddenly pressed against her bare skin under her black sweater. Her skin was as soft as silk, warm to the touch. :: :: She gasped in surprise at his touch, not expecting that he would cross this frontier exploring the new area, as dug her nails into his shoulders, though due to her job they were not very long they still could leave marks on his blue skin. As her dark eyes jumped open she stared at the Andorian, tearing her lips from his, breathless and confused. :: :: Suddenly she pulled back, her eyes open staring up at him. He could feel slight tremors running through her body and sense her confusion. He felt it as well. He had never expected this to happen, for them to have lost control so easily. :: :: The Orion tried to grasp any thought, though her mind twirled with so many impressions and questions that she could not single out a single one of them. As much as she tried, she could not remember anything what she had heard about such situations before. :: Sherana: ::breathless:: I ... should maybe... leave.. before it is... too late. :: The last thing Tal wanted was for her to leave, he did not want to let go. It felt so right holding her in his arms and yet he did not want to rush her, to ruin what might be. He lifted one hand to the back of her head, tangling his fingers in her hair as he replied. :: Tel-ar: Too late.... I understand... :: Sherana wanted to go. Logic told him he should let her while instinct said to heck with that. He knew he should let her go. It seemed to be what she wanted and yet... he felt so confused... :: :: The female warrior was not sure if she really wanted to leave him, but she had the feeling it would be better. This was too fast, even for someone who just grabbed what they wanted. Maybe her inexperience whispered into the back of her mind when she stepped back slightly. :: :: She seemed about to step back even farther from him, with-out even thinking Tal stepped forward, crushed her to him and kissed her neck. If she had to go he was going to leave her with something to think about because he doubted that he was going to get any sleep this night. Not with all the sensory data and sinful thoughts dancing in his head. :: :: Feeling overwhelmed by the sudden 'attack' she gasped in surprise of the force behind his action, and her obvious physical reaction to it. The shiver on her spine, the goose bumps on her skin... the rapid heartbeat. She felt as if a whirlwind took her with it, so she clutched to his chest for security. :: :: Tal forced himself to stop for a second. He did not want to hurt her, to rush her. He knew he was holding her very close, maybe to tightly so he relaxed the grip while letting his hands wander gently. One hand under the sweater on her back and the other on top of the sweater tangled in her hair. He lifted his lips from her neck and pulled back far enough that he could look her in the eyes. :: :: Breathless she returned his gaze, holding his as if she tried to find all the answers in them to the questions twirling in her mind. Why were they doing this? How did this happen all of a sudden? Was it really from one moment to the next or did she just miss the signs in the few occasions they had been spending time together. Should she have seen it when he asked her to accompany him to the officer's party on the station? Or was this all new? :: :: Suddenly Tal forced himself to let her go and he stepped back. Not far mind you, just barely out of reach as he took a couple deep breaths trying to clear his mind. It must have worked because while he still felt the desire and want, his logical mind was able to nudge him towards sanity. :: Tel-ar: Sherana... I understand... this is unexpected... sudden... if you want to leave... I won't stop you... :: As he said it he was kicking himself mentally. He did not want her to leave. He wanted her to stay but his logical mind knew that he could not, must not rush her. If she was going to stay it had to be because she wanted to, not because he seduced her... :: Sherana: :: Blinking her gaze wandered between his eyes. :: Do you want me to leave? Tel-ar: No I don't want you to go... :: As he replied he could hear the emotion in his voice. Strong, vibrant and husky with desire. :: but it has to be your choice... :: It was all he could do not to move closer and sweep her up into his arms. He wanted to feel her skin against his. To feel the warmth of her body next to him. His antenna writhed and swayed, consumed by the scent of her. :: :: She still looked at him, as he spoke, though that she was not able to think clear, was maybe just the sign that she needed. She knew she was passionate, but she had no idea how to handle this. This kind of passion was new and she had to think about it first. How atypical for her kind to think about something first when they could just follow their guts. But even the fiercest warrior would train first before he went into battle. Not that she would train this, but she needed to think. :: :: Sherana nodded slightly and finally stepped back enough to feel his hand slide off her skin. The thoughtful expression on her face was new to him and to her. Slowly the woman turned around and headed to the door, though just a step out of sensor reach she turned around and looked at Tal. :: :: Tal watched her walk away. He clenched his fists and fought back the urge to go after her. It was her choice to make. He would just have to live with it. :: :: She did not want him to think that she did not want to stay. Oh boy did she. But it was the smartest thing to do, even though she was not known to always do the smartest thing. She sighed before taking a few firm steps back to him and with a fast motion she grabbed his face and pulled him down into a toe curling kiss, until they both had no air to breathe left. :: :: When she turned and walked back to him he almost let himself smile. Then she reached up and pulled his face down for a kiss. He let himself go, enjoying the kiss. His antenna leaned forward until they could touch her. Then she broke off the kiss and just stared into his eyes for a moment. He knew before she did it that she was going to leave. He forced himself not to react before she had left and the doors closed behind her. :: :: Just then she took another deep look into his eyes, her face still without any hint of her emotion, only her eyes gleamed in the dim light. She let go of him and finally left his quarters. Just to halt not even a meter away, dropping against the wall to catch her breath, brushing her hair - that had partly left the ponytail it had been in before - out of her face, wondering what in Kahless name this man had done with her to throw her off her balance so much, she could not find it even with warp speed. :: :: For a long minute Tal simply stared at the door. He clenched his fists and took deep breaths while he attempted to gain control of his emotions. They swirled and danced inside of him free of the iron chains that he normally kept locked in place. :: :: It was no good. Even with Elina he had never allowed himself to lose control like this. All of his senses were alive with sensations that reminded him of Sherana. Her smell, the softness of her skin, the feel of her breath on his, the way she felt in his arms and the kisses. His lips could still taste her. :: :: He had to get it under control. Normally meditation or practising martial arts would help him to clear his mind and allow him to suppress his emotions. Unfortunately he knew it would not work this time. :: :: Without another thought Tal turned away from the door and moved over to the single wall panel that was not covered by synthetic stone. This one was covered in a thick padding the same color as the stone. He immediately started to hit it as hard as he could. Putting his entire body into the blows so that he felt it right down to his toes. :: :: He quickly lost all sense of time as he relaxed his mind and let it drift. Blow by blow, punch, kick, jab and then all over again. Slowly, bit by bit he could feel the hurricane of emotions and desire being consumed by the fire of his activity. :: :: Still he could not totally eliminate the image of her, of Sherana. It drove him on, fuelled his drive so that his blows retained their earlier force or in some cases smashed into the padding even harder than before. :: ((Jump ahead 5 hours and 52 minutes)) :: Suddenly the wall panel shattered followed by sparks and the loss of power in his quarters. Even then he still kept hitting it until a jolt of power shot up his arm and shorted out his back brace. He immediately fell, collapsing like a puppet with its strings cut. :: PNPC Sherana Civilian Botanist USS Apollo simmed by Lieutenant Jalana Laxyn Chief Medical Officer USS Apollo And Cmdr. Tal Tel-ar Strategic Officer USS Apollo, NCC-71669 Director of the SDC
  15. ((A Short Time Later - On the way to the Lounge)) :: Hands set behind his back, Ashley walked with Tallis down the corridor. :: Yael: It has been some time, hasn't it. ::musing:: What have you been doing this past year? Tallis: Euuuugh.... ::He tried to think of some kind of a cover story and drew a firm and resounding blank.:: Let's just say a lot of upheaval, but I'm glad to be back with Toni and all of you now, where I belong. :: Perhaps there was some sense that Tallis didn't want to talk about it... and seeing as how Ashley had his own secrets to keep, he wasn't going to push the subject. :: Yael: It's quite all right, I'm sure you've a handle on things. I think we've both had... stellar years, in some ways... :: It came out sounding slightly sarcastic, and more cryptic than he liked... he didn't want to plant the thought in Tallis' mind that something was being hidden from him. It just turned out he wasn't a very good liar, so deflection was all he could really offer. :: ::Fortunately, it was taking Tallis quite some effort to keep from starting to think negatively and he didn't read anything into the comment other than what was on the surface. Tallis: Oh? I'm sorry that things didn't work out too well. ::He had nearly always thought of Ashley as a younger brother and didn't like the idea of dwelling on things that would make him happy.:: :: They were stepping in through the doorway to the lounge, the doors sliding open at their approach. There were a few crewmembers enjoying the room, but it was sparsely populated, considering they were orbiting the homeworld of a majority of the crew. Most were probably out enjoying the sun and long-unseen family. :: Tallis: So, if we've both had bad years, why don't we talk about what we're planning to do when we get back? ::He much preferred the idea of doing that than reliving almost any of the last year, save the wedding on the Tiger.:: Yael: I rather like that suggestion. :: Choosing a table near the large walled window, Ashley pulled out his seat and waited for his Bajoran companion to do the same before sitting, ever the polite one. One of the few wait staff came over almost immediately as they sat, expecting their order. :: Tallis: I'd like a cup of deka tea and a scone with moba jam, please. Yael: ::skipping the food entirely:: Tomato juice. Thank you. :: The drinks quickly supplied via the replicator, they were left to their own devices and conversation. :: Yael: As an ambassador, what exactly do you plan to do on Duronis? Will you be involved with the local government? I have a tough time thinking of you as a civilian. ::It was still a little strange for him, too.:: Tallis: I have a feeling that what will actually happen is a little different from what I'm expecting will happen. I'm expecting to fill Boyd Lee's shoes, hopefully meet with Vail Daysa to help build some bridges and generally work to consolidate the Federation's reputation. You know as well as I do, though, that it's impossible to predict what will happen next on Til'ahn. I think that's where my Starfleet experience will come in handy. Yael: That sounds like quite the job description. I hope you'll have some help with all that. Perhaps a local adviser chosen from the populace, to speak on behalf of local issues. Tallis: And the advice of a trained counsellor. Have you done much diplomatic work before now? Yael: ::eyebrows raising, then furrowing:: Only... well, I have acted in such a station before. In a limited way. I'd... of course I'd offer my aid, if you have need of me. :: Though he couldn't say if Vail Daysa wanted him around, should he remember the previous year very negatively. Ashley had been accused of everything up to being a traitor and in league with terrorists, so his name might need to stay on the sidelines if he wanted to help Tallis. :: Yael: I'd be happy to let you have the glory of our diplomatic victories, in that case. :: Lifting the glass of thick, red juice, he slowly drank, trying to think of a polite way to say "no" if it was to be a more public appointment... but telling Tallis "no" was not easy for him to do. The Bajoran could simply *look* at him funny and he would probably melt into a worrisome puddle of extremely useful counselor goo, incapable of denying his friend anything he required. For some reason he'd always looked up to the man, and disappointing him wasn't on his list of acceptable activities. :: ::This time, Tallis caught something in the way Ashley had phrased his answer.:: Tallis: Don't worry, I wasn't planning on drafting you into an official position. ::He sipped his tea:: I think I'd just appreciate having someone with a sharp eye for details to run things by every now and again. This ambassadorial job is new to me and I want to make sure I'm making a good go of it. Otherwise it makes everyone's job that bit more difficult, right? Yael: ::chuckling lightly:: I understand, certainly. I'll do everything I can to make you look good. :: Another slight attempt at humor. It had never been the Denobulan's strongest suit, but he could get one in now and then. More so with those who could identify the slight change in his tone as he delivered the almost-entirely-serious comments he meant to be humor. :: Yael: And when it begins to boil, disappear into the shadows and claim no knowledge whatsoever. Plausible deniability is the key to surviving politics, keep that in mind. ::The Bajoran chuckled to himself. That wasn't the first time he'd heard that piece of advice.:: Tallis: I'm with you. Apparently the skill to weave a web every now and again is going to be the key to staying ahead of the game. ::His thoughts turned to Ashley's current predicament.:: How do you plan on beating the crew into shape? Yael: Hmm... ::he couldn't help an ironic smile::... the phrase is surprisingly apt. Do you have a large stick I could borrow? :: But he waved it off with the rest of his bad humor. :: Yael: It will be a process. Some... mostly the ones who already knew me... have already offered to come to me with some current troubles. It's good to see them willing to try to work things out. Tallis: But there are still one or two who are a bit resistant, right? Yael: Yes, the others... there are a few... I imagine you might be capable of guessing who, though I won't say directly... who appear to have made it their mission to break my will. I fear they don't realize they're in over their heads. :: A slight shameless plug, but he was feeling better for the forward thinking conversation, so the bits of humor were coming easier to him now. :: ::Rhul grinned. He knew that if it came down to games then Ashley would be prepared to beam them out of their quarters and into the counsellor's office if necessary. The question was, did they?:: Tallis: You know, if we're lucky some of my command codes might still work. I could help you override a transporter module... Yael: A crew-napping? It just might be necessary. Tallis: ::Laughing:: Well, if any fingers come pointing in my direction then I can just claim diplomatic immunity... Yael: You diplomats are all the same. :: A slight dig, but with a light laugh. Trying not to let the mood change too much, Ashley went in for something he'd been curious about. As the moment they arrived at Duronis grew closer, he found himself wondering on it... or more appropriately stated... worried. Nothing concrete, more like the energy of the place. When he spoke, it was almost as if he were hoping the Thunder would be called out on orders. :: Yael: Will we be beaming down as soon as we arrive at the Embassy? It may be that we have more business via the Thunder...? Perhaps we should make sure before we make our way through the Belt... since it limits the warp ratio and all. ::He had a point. It had now been a little while since the crew had been stationed at the Embassy; the Laudeans had been granted a chance to rebuild, but public opinion had a nasty habit of changing with the wind.:: Tallis: I'm sure Toni is planning to call ahead, but I'll recommend that we test the waters before we beam down so that we can see what kind of a situation we'll be beaming into. Whatever happens, maybe we should make sure we're with her in the advance party. Yael: oO Crap! Oo ::not sounding entirely sold on the idea:: Perhaps we should do that... wouldn't want her beaming into an unknown situation, now would we... ::Rhul was confident that they would still be on good enough terms to be able to speak to their usual contacts just before their arrival.:: Tallis: I'm sure that if we contact Vail Daysa he will give us a frank report on the lay of the land. He's always been honest with us. I think he's been through enough as our ally that he's likely to stay that way. Yael: ::quiet, but trying to allow Tallis' certainty to bolster him:: You're quite right, of course. Tallis: You're worried about what we might find when we get back? :: Purple eyes glanced up to Tallis from the half-empty glass of tomato juice, falling back down to it just as quickly as he thought on the answer. But he couldn't hide the hesitation. :: Yael: After you left, there were... circumstances, which were none too pleasant. Though I doubt it compares to the Klingon attack, several of our crew were... assaulted, variously. Mr. Tindall was nearly poisoned, and certain members of the crew had become targets... among other things... :: Among *many* other things, in fact. :: Yael: I only hope we're... better able to protect our own from the unknown elements found there. If the same discontent exists as did before, or if they blame us for attracting the Klingons attentions to their world... there could be... :: He wasn't sure how to finish the thought, and perhaps he'd given too much away, though he was careful with his tone. He didn't want to see those sort of things happening to his crewmates, no more so than he wanted anything happening to himself. :: ::Tallis nodded absently as he listened to Ashley's concerns. They were all well-founded and he could see why he was worried. He felt himself clenching up a little at the mention of members of the Embassy crew being attacked; that wasn't something he was going to just sit by and allow to happen.:: Tallis: ::Confidently and firmly:: We will be able to protect our own. We have a detachment of marines and I don't intend to let any bad deed against our crew go without chasing it through any and all available channels. ::There were certain people that went doubly for; the children and Toni first and foremost. Ashley's name was high on the list too.:: Yael: I believe you. :: And he did. Except... what of the crew who were likely to go find trouble themselves, rather than simply happening upon it? They couldn't protect everyone all the time, especially the ones bound to get themselves into trouble, and very much with that express purpose. :: :: He would know that quite well, considering... :: :: But he shook his head slightly, as if to shake off the diminishing mood, and he reaffirmed the casual smile, looking up to Tallis again. And then he lied through his teeth. :: Yael: I'm sure it'll be fine. There's probably nothing to worry about at all. Tallis: ::Relaxing a little:: I'm sure you're right. A little optimism will go a long way with this I guess. And besides, I happen to think we make a pretty [...] good team. Yael: How could I disagree with that? Captain Turner's lucky we're here. :: Finishing off the last of his glass of tomato juice, he set the glass carefully back down onto the table. It clinked a couple times, but he ignored it. It was going to be fine, like Tallis said. And the staff would all be sane, and poop rainbows, and kittens would never grow up into snarky old cats. But the snarky images in his mind did go well enough to making the smile genuine. He knew they'd do their best, absent the rainbows. :: Yael: ::changing the subject once more:: Do you plan to visit Earth again before we ship out? Tallis: ::Shaking his head:: No, I think I'm done now. The only reason I'd go back down is if Toni wants to make one last trip. My home is on Til'ahn, as far as I'm concerned. How about you? Yael: If you swear to never tell a soul... I've suffered far too much of my mothers cooking the past year. If we leave this instant it won't be soon enough. :: His inflection wasn't one that said he disliked his mother, but rather that she could kill an army with her efforts in the kitchen. :: ::Tallis found himself chuckling again at the image of Ashley fleeing from an old lady wielding a frying pan.:: Tallis: Well then I guess you won't be complaining about having to eat replicated food, at least for the time being. Talking of food... ::a memory from a while back crossed his mind:: I believe you owe me some hasperat? Yael: ::nodding:: That I do, don't think I've forgotten. And if I recall correctly, you're a fan of the spicier dish. I'll be sure to put your palette to the test. ::Remembering his own track record, Tallis's laughter intensified.:: Tallis: Alright, challenge accepted! Just make sure I'm nowhere near the brine while it's being made, or I'll be taking a trip to sickbay to have my eyes washed out! Yael: Ouch... ::laughing lightly, waving it off with a hand::... we could cut to the chase, I could borrow a Marines mace and give you a good spray. It'll save me on ingredients. ::It would certainly be quicker than waiting for the inevitable eye-splashing accident.:: Tallis: That would certainly cut out the middle man. How about we see what the state of play is when we get there and arrange it for as soon as possible. It's been too long since I've had hasperat. ::And another chance to sit down and chat to Ashley would be greatly appreciated as well.:: Yael: Just say when, and I'll make myself available. But for the moment, I do have some crew resource management to work on. I'd like to have a plan in place before we reach the Embassy. :: That being his plot to contend with the annual evaluations of an entire crew who had thus far gone unevaluated. :: Tallis: Yeah, sounds like you have your work cut out. I kind of have to play things by ear once we get to Til'ahn, so if you need any help then just give me a yell. Yael: Certainly. ::nodding as he stood:: That goes for you as well. :: Giving Tallis a polite nod, as was natural for him to do, he tucked his hands behind his back and made way out of the lounge and to the Counseling Offices. He already had a few appointments in place for the day, including seeing Alice Hendon about a possible adoption. For Tallis, things were going to be relatively quiet; he was hoping to check in with the children so that they didn't have to spend time with the sitter for the whole of the trip back home. He had enjoyed talking to Ashley, much as they had both been reluctant to particularly catch up. He was already considering how he might tell him what had happened over the course of the last year the next time they met.:: JP by~ Ambassador Tallis Rhul Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A & Lt. Ashley Deneve Yael Counselor Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A
  16. ((Intelligence Office, Deck 5, USS Drake)) :: Oliver flomped into his chair and twirled around once before cracking his knuckles and calling up the three blue screens at his desk. They each came on with a quiet chime and after a moment to get a fresh mug of tea, Oliver started calling up different data feeds to monitor while he tried tapping into their doppelgangers communications network. The first screen monitored their Drakes subspace communications and the range and impact of their active sensor sweeps. The second watched the same outputs from the Alternate Drake, and the third screen was set to run simulations before Oliver actually put any methods into play. :: WESTON: Here we go. :: The Primary Drake wasn't communicating with anyone for the moment, and on the Captains orders it was essentially running silent, but she was currently actively scanning the Ishkarian Sensor Beacons, the Alternate Drake and the Ishkarian homeworld. And while those scans were passive and generally hard to detect unless you knew to look for them, they were still a liability. So Oliver started to work masking them. :: :: The work was quick and easy as there was nothing to countermand and their was no great rush, but the prospect of next breaking into the Alternate Drakes communications network was altogether different. He'd have to first find a way to listen in without their Operations Officers realising that their was a security breach or hearing an subspace echo and, as Pandora suggested, he'd have to compete with himself nearly every step of the way. The thought of which was as unsettling as it was hard to grasp. Finally finished with making their passive scans nearly untraceable by Federation standards, an alert caused him to nearly jump out of his seat. :: ((Alt Intelligence Office, Alt Deck 5, Alt USS Drake)) :: Something wasn't adding up. Other than the pounding headache he had had since their time displacement, the Comms and Operations Officers had reported a few phantom signatures that they couldn't quite place and Oliver was tasked with figuring it out. Starting in their communications network and rolling back through past sensor sweeps and their burst scans of the Ishkarian beacons Oliver started to notice the phantom signatures for himself. It was a tricky business but he managed to discover that they had even been passively scanned at least once in the last few hours, and the beacons weren't responsible. :: Digging deeper he started actively monitoring their communications network. :: ((Intelligence Office, Deck 5, USS Drake)) WESTON: Not good. :: Speaking to no one in particular, as the room was empty he quickly input a subroutine that made his infiltration look like software malfunction. A simple burst of static on the Alternate Drakes communication net that would hopefully throw off his pursuer. :: ((Alt Intelligence Office, Alt Deck 5, Alt USS Drake)) :: Oliver scrunched his brow at the data read. What a moment ago looked like a piggybacking communication was now just a line of static and distortion. On a different screen he checked the status of the comms array and if any of the extensive damage to the roll bar and sensor pod would have caused the static. The data came back negative. Something was going on. :: :: Quickly he reinitialised his earlier scan and started shutting down the Drakes communications one by one as it scanned. Internal shut down first, killing all comm traffic within the ship for a few seconds. There was no breach there yet. Emergency/Priority went next, but it was seldom used and Oliver found nothing there. Subspace came up negative, but the final passive data communication with the beacons lit up like a firecracker. :: ALT WESTON: Gotcha! ((Intelligence Office, Deck 5, USS Drake)) :: Oliver’s eyes went wide and he made a noise somewhere between a gasp and a bark. He'd been pinged bang on after being chased through four different communication channels. Each one had been silenced as he retreated his scan and eventually he had nowhere to run. From their Internal network he picked up nothing but inane chatter, which was no use to anyone from an Intelligence standpoint, but now that he'd been caught he was on the backfoot. Now his only priority was making the Primary Drakes location and existence impossible to discover. :: :: Working quickly he collapsed the piggybacked comm signal he'd been using and played his first card. A red herring in the form of a real space comms burst from his ship to theirs. It would be nearly untraceable and because it wasn't sent via subspace it would muck up their external comms long enough for him to cover his tracks while they attempted to dig it out. The burst went off without a hitch and he severed the connection with a sigh of relief. The relief was short lived as a scan warning lit up all three monitors and Oliver blanched. :: :: His quarry had either not fallen for his ruse or simply ignored it and now the Primary Drake was faced with an active scan from multiple vectors. :: ((Alt Intelligence Office, Alt Deck 5, Alt USS Drake)) :: The fact that someone was not only following them but also surreptitiously scanning them and attempting to monitor their internal communications made him angry. Doggedly he continued following the digital breadcrumbs left behind and stopped only momentarily as they received a real space communication packet. He ignored it completely, giving not a frell, and instead requisitioned Ops to actively scan the space around them. And to make matters more frustrating for their pursuers he doubled and then tripled the scan output by tapping into the two nearby Ishkarian beacons. The scans all came back with a bevy of data and Oliver filtered it through his station first. They were being pursued along the ion trail they'd left while on their way to the dark side of a nearby planetary body. :: :: The data came back and slowly Oliver’s jaw started to drop. It was a Federation signature. More data spooled in; ship size and displacement, class, configuration, registry number...:: ALT WESTON: Oh... ((Intelligence Office, Deck 5, USS Drake)) WESTON: ...frak. LtCmdr Oliver Weston Intelligence Officer USS Drake
  17. ((Corridor, USS Apollo)) ::Ensign Vincent Pierce had just recently returned to the ship from rescuing a shuttle that was abandoned on the surface of the planet of which the Apollo remained in orbit. He had had a rather busy day, the only time he had to relax was right after he reported for duty and he hadn't realized how tired he was until now.:: ::Once he finally had a moment to think, he realized what the date was, March 30th. A date that will forever remain in his memory and not for positive reasons. It was on this date that Rygel VII, the colony on which he grew up, was attacked by Orion slavers who kidnapped all the colonists who would fetch them a nice price and murdered the rest. His mother was one of the rest.:: ::Pierce prepared himself for the inevitable onslaught of unpleasant, angry thoughts that would proliferate inside his mind for the next few hours as he reminisced about his family and friends that were now lost to him:: ::He needed a drink.:: ::As Pierce walked aimlessly down the corridor until he noticed a pair of doors with large windows on them, labelled "Complex 39". He heard the sound of chatter and laughter, and assumed that this was some sort of mess hall.:: ((Complex 39, USS Apollo)) ::Pierce walked into the room and saw a large amount of people. Most gathered around tables which were arranged along the long windows which overlooked the planet the Apollo currently orbited. On the other end of the room was a long bar area with stools, a number of which were empty. Since Pierce didn't know many people on the ship yet, he opted to sit on one of the stools at the bar.:: ::When he sat down the barkeep asked him what he would like, Pierce just asked for a plain, dry scotch. It was a plain, dry scotch kind of evening. He drank his scotch with the firm intention of being alone for the entire time. Then someone walked in, the kind of person he did not expect to see on a Starfleet ship, let alone the ship he was serving on: an Orion.:: :: Sherana had another long day behind her. Not only to do her work in the Arboretum, but also had she seen the most unusual things like an officer stuck in a maintenance shaft. She still was not sure who that had been, but he certainly had not been the usual officer aboard a Starfleet ship. She thought he could have easily served upon a Klingon ship, nobody there had a sunshine and rainbow attitude.:: :: Now she had returned to the Complex, another box of fruits and vegetables in her hand, since most of the delivery she had brought earlier became the victim of Tao's attempt to make that kind of Hasperat that the Bajoran Engineer would enjoy. It had taken quite a few tries and resources. What a luck for the host, that Sherana always planted too much and still had a few reserves.:: :: The Orion wore her usual attire, the bulky wide clothing to hide any signs of femininity, barricading any hint of curve behind the loose working pants with a lot of pants for tools and the like on the sides and a woolen sweater that must had been at least three numbers too big. The working boots just rounded the whole look, with its counterpart on her had, a hat to cover her hair, apart from the ponytail in the back. :: :: Heading into the Complex she noticed that it was not empty. that meant to just hurry in, deliver the box and leave again, instead of any talk with Tao. Though that woman would possibly try to hug her again and Sherana would not mind to escape that. What an awkward gesture when it was not combined with some hitting on the shoulder for a congratulatory moment. She walked to the bar and shoved the box with a flowing motion onto the counter.:: Sherana: Delivery for the kitchen! :: She simply announced her purpose, the barkeep acknowledged her presence and brought the box to its intended destination, while Sherana turned to leave again, just to see that to eyes were upon her. A stranger, though on a ship of that size not really a surprise. She could not interpret the look he gave her, almost as if he was willing to slit her throat right here. Of course that was not possible. He did not know her and from the few things she had heard about the people who she had to thank for her green skin, Orion females were a pleasant company. Not that Sherana would understand any of that. But this look was unnerving, so very unexpected. :: Sherana: Do I have soil in my face? ::Maybe that was the reason he looked at her and the rest was pure imagination. .oO That must be it Oo. ::Pierce's snarl turned into a look of contempt. When Sherana asked him a question, he was unsure how to respond. He turned his head and faced forward, trying his best to ignore her. After taking a gulp from his glass of scotch, he finally spoke with forceful resentment.:: V Pierce: No :: She pulled her brow up slightly, meeting the hem of her hat. The tone of his voice made her wonder if her dismissive reaction to her thoughts was a little too hasty. She turned to him fully, her dark eyes looking into his without hesitation.:: Sherana: Then.. have we met and I forgot? ::Pierce took another gulp of Scotch and set his glass, still half-full, on the table. The anger inside of him was growing, boiling like a pot of water on a stove. As he got more heated, the anger boiled evermore until it reached a critical point. Vincent decided that it would be prudent to extricate himself from the situation before his anger reached that point.:: ::Pierce got up and almost made it to the doorway. Almost.:: :: Sherana looked after him, confused about that reaction. She could not remember ever meeting that man, though his reaction to her was, as if she had and in that meeting offended him somehow. Did she once fight against him? She pulled her brows together trying to remember. Her dark gaze wandered as she thought about it and saw that his glass had a considerable amount of fluids in it.:: :: She never was one for wasting a good drink and while she could just have taken it for herself, according to Tao's attempts in bringing any social customs closer to Sherana that was considered rude. Hesitating for just a moment she had grabbed the glass and stepped after the man.:: Sherana: You forgot your drink. It would be a shame to waste it. ::Pierce turned around to face Sherana. All his efforts to contain his anger seemed to go to waste. In a fit of anger, he slapped the drink out of her hand and went crashing down on the floor, shattering into numerous pieces.:: :: The gaze of the Orion woman followed the movement of the glass, seeing the shards of the shattered beverage on the rug. She was quite sure that Tao would not be happy about it, just after that she wondered why the man had done that. She raised her eyes to look at him, her face not showing any expression, in contrast to the dark brown orbs that shone in confusion.:: :: Suddenly, the complex went quiet and in a strong voice, fueled by fiery emotion, Pierce bellowed.:: V Pierce: I don't care about the drink and I don't want to be be your friend. Just stay away from me, Orion! ::With that, Pierce stormed out of The Complex, searching for somewhere to vent his anger.:: :: The woman stood there, her hand was still extended from the offering, her eyes on the closing doors of the complex. .oO What in Kahless name did just happen? Oo. If she had thought that his action of obviously denying the offer with destroying the glass and wasting the Scotch was confusing her, this topped it by a lot.:: .: Since she had left Quo'nos she had been worried about people judging her for being a warrior, for her Klingon upbringing, because the wars in the past and the tension at present. She had hidden it, did not talk about it much so she would not be judged and accused of being a murderer or a spy.:: :: And now she stood here and she was being judged, quite obviously, because he was angry at her, without ever meeting her. But not for being Klingon, the culture, way of life and customs she grew up with that were in her heart and soul. No, she was judged for something she did not know anything about. For something she did not feel even being part of her, the color of her skin she had wanted to shed so often while she'd been at home. For something she did not know what it meant. For being Orion. And she had no idea how to deal with it.:: :: Sherana blinked a few times finding back to herself before she headed back to the bar and got something to take care of that mess. After all, Tao would hate seeing someone step into glass shards.::
  18. ((Maintenance shaft 43-A, USS Apollo)) :: Por'kus grunted as he forced his stocky frame to slide another 5 inches deeper into the bowels of the ship. He should have just used the transporter, it would have been quicker and he would not have had to wriggle along like some kind of bug. :: :: He paused, sweat running into his face messing with his vision. Unfortunately he was so cramped that he could not do anything about it. When had these maintenance shafts gotten so small? He could remember how easy it had been to squirm through them when he was back on the USS Tokyo. :: :: Sure that was over 5 years ago but still. He had not put on that much weight had he? :: :: With another grunt he pulled himself even deeper into the ship. Then tried to do it again. For some reason he could not budge. Try as he might he could not move. Even when he tried to push himself back he could not. He was stuck. :: :: Next he tried to reach his communication badge but it was wedged between his chest and the side of the shaft. There was not enough room for him to try and reach it with his hand. With his arms over his head like they were he could not bend them in any way that would be helpful. :: :: After almost 10 minutes of intense effort that succeeding in doing nothing other than making him sweat like a fat man in a sauna Por'kus finally gave up and started to yell for help. :: Por'kus: HEELLLPPPP!!!!! :: He yelled at the top of his lungs. Then he waited a few minutes before he did it again. :: :: After a while he heard a faint reply. :: ((Corridor, USS Apollo)) :: Loleh's shift had ended and she walked along the corridors reading a fascinating article on Quantum Physics and Time Travel. It was not unusual for her to wander the corridors while she read. Many times she would finish reading and find herself on a completely different deck with no sense of how much time had passed. This time, however to stopped when she heard a faint sound that seemed to resemble a cry for help. Her pointed ears honed in on the sound and she followed it every time she heard the yell. Eventually she found herself at the hatch of a maintenance shaft, which seemed rather peculiar. :: Loleh: ::Leaning into the shaft:: Hello? Por'kus: Hello... Loleh: ::a little louder:: Hello, I am Lieutenant jg Loleh Rejock. Do you require assistance? Por'kus: Of course I need assistance. I wouldn't be yelling for help if I didn't. :: He snapped at her. :: Loleh: oO No need for an attitude... Oo What seems to be the problem? Por'kus: I'm wedged in. Loleh: hmm.. :: her brain began analyzing the situation. :: Can you clarify what you mean by wedged in? Por'kus: STUCK!! As in I can't move. Loleh: I see. And how long have you been stuck up there? Por'kus: I don't know... about 2 hours I think... Loleh: 2 hours?! :: she found herself amused at the situation and took out her tricorder to scan what was trapping him. :: Por'kus: Just get me out... Loleh: I am working on it. :: Worst case scenario, she could input the coordinated in the transporter and beam him out, however the thought of using a transporter made her shudder. Besides, it took more skill to calculate the best way to move the pieces to free him. She climbed into the shaft and started making her way toward the stuck voice. :: ((In the Maintenance Shaft)) Por'kus: Hurry it up... I need to [...] like mad... Loleh: [...]... I am not familiar with that terminology. What does it mean? :: She continued towards him. :: Por'kus: [...]!!! Take a leak... Urinate.... Loleh: There is no need to get agitated. I am, after all, helping you... unless of course you would like me to leave you here? :: She desperately hoped that she outranked this mystery person after talking to him the way she had. :: Por'kus: Agitated... leave me here... are you nuts... I'm sweating like crazy, stiff, sore and now I need to [...] and you want to leave me here?? Loleh: Very well, I will leave you here then. ::She turned back:: Por'kus: Get back here. Of course I want help. I don't plan to spend the rest of my life here. Loleh: :: Smiling :: That is much better. Now. I am almost to you and I will be able to calculate the direction and force to which we will need to move you to break free. Por'kus: Good luck. I've tried everything and not been able to budge myself even a tiny bit. Loleh: Would you please trust me? Por'kus: Trust you... better yet just get me out of here... :: She saw his legs and knew she had a challenge ahead of her. She first theorized that the heat in the shaft must have caused the man to swell and make his size too large for the given space. :: Loleh: How did you get here if you do not fit? Por'kus: Are you trying to say I'm fat? Loleh: I am saying that your size is greater than the circumference of the shaft. Por'kus: I'm just big boned. Besides I managed to get this far... then I got stuck... Loleh: Interesting.. :: She began reaching up to get a feel of the situation. :: Por'kus: The shaft must be smaller here... :: As he said it he could feel her hand slid up his leg towards his waist. :: Loleh: Has the shaft always been this small to you? :: She started feeling around the man to see if his uniform had caught on anything. :: Por'kus: OK.... So maybe I am a little larger than I use to be... what has that to do with getting me out? :: Now he could feel her hand checking to make sure he was not caught on anything. :: Loleh: I am merely pointing out that if you lost some weight, this would no longer be a problem and you could do your job better. :: She took another step up and worked her way around his waist. oO I should have ignored his cry for help.. I could be reading right now! Oo :: Por'kus: I do not need to diet... they need to make these #$%^&* shafts all the same size. :: Somehow she had managed to work around his legs and was now checking his other side. Unfortunately her hand was ticklish as hell and he was not sure how much longer he could stifle the giggles. :: Loleh: I am certain that there is a logical explanation for the size of the shaft. And you would be much healthier if you dropped a few pounds. Por'kus: Ha..ha..ha.. ha.. ha.. Loleh: :: She looked at the man, quite confused. :: I hardly see what is so funny about this situation. Por'kus: I don't find this funny... your tickling me. Loleh: Well stop moving. I can't see up there so I have to feel out if you are caught on something.. I'm just.. about.. finished.. :: She started sliding her hand back towards her. :: Por'kus: Whhooo... watch the hand lady... I don't know you that well... Loleh: :: blushing :: My apologies. Now you are not caught on anything so I will just have to unlodge you myself. Por'kus: Just watch what you push... Last thing I want to do is have to call my mommy and tell her you took my virginity... Now do you really think you can get me free?? Loleh: Uh, sure I can! :: She was thankful he couldn't see how slender she was. She was hardly strong.. she was a scientist, not a security officer. She defeated things with her mind, not biceps.. :: Por'kus: You don't sound too sure... you're not some 85 pound bookworm science geek are you? Nah... the gods couldn't hate me that much... Loleh: What other options do you see? Por'kus: : Well I could hang around while you run and get me about 2 dozen burgers and a couple shakes... or risk getting a rather abrupt proctology examine... go ahead give it your best... Loleh: Okay then, here goes nothing. :: She wrapped her arms around his legs, using one leg to brace herself on the sides of the shaft. She began pulling on the stuck man with no luck, when his comm badge chirped. :: Knight: =/\= Bridge to Crewman Por'kus. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= What?? =/\= Knight: =/\= I need you to go over to the Rigek. They have some systems that could use your tiny fingers on. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Now! Are you kidding. I'm stuck right in the middle of a very tricky removal problem. =/\= Knight: =/\= Well get your chubby little self unstuck! We need you over there in ten minutes and we do not have time for you to take a little vacation...have you been eating those apple fritters again? =/\= :: She enjoyed talking with him. Sometimes it gave her a chance to be as rude as she wanted to be from time to time, and someone like Por'kus expected it. She could get away with talking to him different from others. She did not always do so, instead, sometimes she was overly nice to him. It was fun to watch him squirm. :: Por'kus: =/\= You have got to be kidding. Take my advice give up cooking and stick to your day job. Those things tasted like used underwear. Yeuucckk. =/\= ((Corridor)) :: Sherana was heading back to the Arboretum when the Orion botanist noticed the hatch to one of the ships maintenance tubes was open. She could hear weird noises echoing from inside. They sounded like sick animals or someone being crushed while carrying an enormous weight, one that was way too much for them. :: :: She walked closer and just when she peeked inside she heard a loud voice of a woman echo down to her. :: Loleh: STOP FIDGETING! :: She continued pulling. :: :: Sherana straightened up again as the words flew into her face, just when a male gruff voice followed. :: Por'kus: I'm not fidgeting... your touching my manhood... by the way what are you doing later? Just thought I would ask as you now know me better than my last girlfriend... now stop playing and start PUSHING... :: The Orion's eyebrows rose. What in Kahless' name where those people doing in that tube? :: Loleh: Well can you try sucking in your stomach or something? :: Loleh looked at the man with disgust. She was starting to want to use the transporter.. despite her phobia she wouldn't mind the risks it brought if used on him. :: Knight: =/\= Is everything okay, Por'kus? =/\= :: A large smiled formed on her face. It was funny listening to the banter back and forth. She was not sure if it was the funnier part, or the fact that he was stuck in the first place. She thought of just beaming him out of there, which would take a few seconds. Instead, since he didn't think of it...she wouldn't bring it up until she had to. Instead, she chose to deal with a few minutes of comic relief from the little Tellarite. Of course, perhaps little was not the best descriptive for the man. :: Por'kus: Again with the fat jokes... I'll give it a try... :: He tried to talk low enough that his helper could hear him but the comms badge did not. A foolish try as he knew the badge would pick up everything. :: =/\= Just my assistant getting a little fresh... nothing to worry about. =/\= :: Loleh continued her futile attempts. There was no physical way for her to pull him out. The math did not work! :: Knight: :: He sounded like he was calming down, and she could not have that. He was much more comical when he was agitated. It was interesting listening to the man squirm, she almost wanted to head down and see it for herself. ::=/\= How long do you think it will be until you are out of there? =/\= Por'kus: =/\= I don't know... as soon as possible. =/\= It's not working, try harder. :: He hissed under his breath as he tried to suck it in even more. :: Loleh: :: grunting :: I'm doing the best I can! It's not my fault you're so big! :: She wasn't normally so rude, but it was the only way to talk to this Porky guy. :: :: This was really too strange, it sounded a lot like they enjoyed their time with each other in this tube, though when it came to that Sherana liked it less talky and more growly. Though she understood when other people liked it differently. But why here and in that way? :: :: She peeked her head back into the tube and cleared her throat. :: Sherana: You might want to close the hatch if you want to copulate, everyone outside can hear you. Por'kus: What did she say? :: He was not sure what the strange female voice had said. :: Loleh: :: holding back the urge to vomit at the thought. :: She thinks we are copulating. Apparently everyone can hear us! :: turning down to the newest member of the party. :: I assure you, we are NOT copulating. Knight: =/\= You seem to be taking your time, Por'kus. Are you enjoying yourself? =/\ :: She figured the jab would get him riled up a bit more. Enjoyment was not among the top things the man was capable of. The fact that he was stuck was probably rough for him. He needed to swallow his pig-headed pride and get help. Now she was doing what she could to keep the fire going. :: Por'kus: =/\= Whoooaaa, I'm just stuck... no need to start throwing around unfounded accusations, heck I still have my pants on for goodness sake. =/\= Sherana: ::raising her voice so he could hear her:: That is beneficial. The friction of the fabric is less than that of skin and will help to get unstuck better than if you have lost them already. Loleh: That is true. Also, I would not be helping if your pants were not on. Knight: =/\= Do we need to send reinforcements? Perhaps replicate some lubricant of some sort? =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Look just get your shapely butt up here and give her a hand, either that or keep your comments to yourself. =/\= :: She could not help but laugh again. Of all the things she was told about her rear end, shapely was not something she heard before. She had no intention of actually going down there to help him pull himself out of the tube. Instead, she would keep laughing until she dangled the thought of beaming him out of there. :: Sherana: My... butt is not shapely. :: At least she never had seen it that way, though others might disagree. The Orion shook her head and sighed. Apparently whoever the woman with him was did not really get him out of it, so she could need a helping hand. Sherana put her things down and climbed into the tube. Though seeing the whole thing from closer made it pretty clear that they could not do much with squeezing in and getting stuck themselves. :: There must be another way to do this without getting wedged in as well. Loleh: If you could get on the other side of the maintenance shaft, you could push while I pull, I suppose. Or we could tie something around him and pull from the corridor? Knight: =/\= Who is that helping to pull our stout little figure out of the hole that you managed to cram yourself into? =/\= Por'kus: =/\= How should I know. I can't see who they are... =/\= Loleh: I told you, I am Lt. jg Loleh Rejock ::rolling her eyes:: Perhaps you should try listening. Sherana: You could ask. ::Looking to Loleh:: I'll check if I can find something to bind around him, so we can pull without getting stuck ourselves. ::With that she crawled backwards again.:: Knight: =/\= Is any progress being made down there? =/\= Por'kus: =/\= I don't know they're too busy playing with my manhood it seems like. =/\= :: She laughed to herself once more. If Tellarite anatomy was consistent, the third leg was even shorter and stubbier than he was. She doubted that either of the women helping him would tell it was even there. Of course there were some things that were to cruel for her to say, even to a Tellarite. :: Loleh: Oh bother! Anatomy is NOT my field of interest... :: She looked at Sherana, shaking her head in disgust. :: Sherana: I'm not playing with anything, you are not my type. Knight: =/\= Trust me Por'kus, I am pretty sure that they are not enjoying it at all. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= If that's true then I should be the one pressing charges for sexual assault... either that or I own them a few bars of latnium for the good time. =/\= Loleh: I assure you there is nothing sexual about this... :: Sherana shook her head. Seeing the figure and hearing that voice, the tone of voice, she had a good idea what species that man belonged too. She had met the one or other, though did not really have a problem with it. Who was raised and trained among Klingons was pretty much used to that kind of talk. Sherana hit the ground again, only half listening to further conversations inside. :: Sherana: ::shouting into the tube:: If you keep complaining, we'll just leave you in that shaft. Knight: =/\= Well payment would be a good compensation, along with the years of counselling they will both have to endure after this little adventure. =/\= Loleh: That's an understatement! Por'kus: =/\= Ha, ha, ha. You're a regular comedian Lt. =/\= Knight: =/\= So...how much longer should I let you try to get unstuck byyourself before just having the transporter room beam you out of there? =/\= :: She listened to the moment of silence when it finally clicked for everyone. In that moment she felt just as cruel as the tube holding his chubby little body in place. She could have shared the solution at the start of the conversation, but with a few minutes to kill it was better to wait. :: :: Loleh kept quiet for a moment. This Knight person had a good head on her shoulders. oO I need to get out more and meet these people! Oo :: Loleh: I was hoping to avoid that... Por'kus: =/\= Avoid it... oh no you're not one of them are you? Listen Lt. Do it. Get me out of here. =/\= Knight: :: letting out a laugh. :: =/\= I could have done it minutes ago, but this is pretty funny stuff. It is like watching a holo-comedy, but I am stuck listening to it instead. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Oh I'm so glad that you were enjoying it. My day is not complete unless I have brought a smile to your face. Now get me out of here. This is uncomfortable as heck. =/\= Loleh: Well it wasn't pleasant for me either! Por'kus: =/\= Who cares. At least you can climb out on your own. Now if you ladies can stop your gossip fest maybe you can get with the program. Remember I'm still stuck here. =/\= Knight: =/\= I will relay your situation and have them beam you to the nearest corridor. =/\= Loleh: Listen, if you are going to beam out of here, I am leaving. I don't want to be anywhere near that.. Por'kus: I knew it. You are one of them. What makes you wakoos tick. How can anyone in this day and age be so weirded out by simple science? Loleh: I just prefer keeping my molecules together, just the way they are. I'm a physicist, not a matter stream! :: She began climbing back down towards the hatch. :: Por'kus: A scientist??? You're a scientist!!! Well that explains the inexperienced hand massage. :: He should have known. An engineer would have gotten him out in no time. :: Knight: =/\= Just keep your shirt on...they will get you of there in a few seconds. :: snickering :: Bridge out. =/\= Loleh: It's ok. I understand you're lashing out at me. You are intimidated by a female who is smarter than you. Por'kus: Nah, I can handle that. After all I'm an engineer, we actually do things. :: Something about this woman just rubbed him the wrong way and it had nothing to do with her actual hands. Those had felt pretty good even if she had no idea what she was doing. No. It was something else. :: Loleh: The more you deny it, the more I know it is true.. :: She continued climbing down. :: Por'kus: It's not women that bother me. I like women it's egg head scientists I have a problem with. Scientists, think things up and then come to us engineers to make them work. Remember that. :: That was it. She had to be an officer. It was not bad enough that she was a scientist but he was sure of it now. She just had to be an officer as well. :: Loleh: Keep telling yourself that, big man. I'm out of here! Por'kus: Good. We would not want you to be scared of a simple matter stream. They would probably make me clean up the puddle. :: He heard her grunt of disgust and felt pretty good with himself. Best [...] day he had, had in a while other than getting stuck. It wasn't that often that he could let loose and grumble and complain with-out getting into trouble. Last good chance he had, had was back on Starbase 118 in that Tellarite diner. :: :: Just then he felt the familiar tingle as his body was broken down into it's individual molecules and transported elsewhere on the ship. :: ((Main Engineering, USS Apollo)) :: Por'kus materialized in main engineering. A few seconds later his tool kit appeared as well but he did not see it as the second he had fully materialized he made a mad dash for the bathroom. :: :: A few moments later he walked back out of the bathroom looking very pleased or at least as pleased as it was possible for him to look. When he saw his tool kit which reminded him of the job awaiting him his face clouded over and got it's normal grumpy look again. :: :: He considered going back into the bathroom and dropping his comms badge down the toilet but knew it would only result in him having to dig through sewage looking for it so instead he activated it and spoke. :: Por'kus: =/\= Crewman 2nd class Por'kus to Lt. Knight. =/\= Knight: =/\= Go ahead. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Ok. Tell me more about this problem that needs my special attention. =/\= Knight: =/\= All I know is a transporter repair is needed, and anything else they may need done. Check in with Ensigns Kapoor and Pierce when you get there. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Would that be an older style Cardassian freighter? =/\= Knight: =/\= Yeah, Groumall type. Pretty old indeed. =/\= Por'kus: =/\= Yeah I'm familiar with the problem. Did you send over the replacement parts yet? =/\= :: As he asked it he picked up his tool kit, opened it to make sure nothing was missing. :: Knight: =/\= All spare parts and supplies have been sent over, we just have a man power shortage. =/\= Por'kus: =/\=Ok. Ok. I understand. Beam me over and I'll get to work. =/\= Knight: =/\= Getting a lock now...happy repairs! Knight out. =/\= :: He stood calmly waiting to be beamed over. Then it dawned on him that he had not eaten yet and just as he was about to talk, to let Lt. Knight know he wanted to eat first the transported effect dissolved him into a couple million particles and deposited him on the aged freighter. :: ((Cargo Hold of The Rigek, Oribitting Quatal Minor)) :: Por'kus materialized inside what was obviously a working freighter. It had about a thousand years worth of smells, age and rust everywhere and it took him a moment to adjust. In some ways it felt a little like coming home. :: ************************************************ This sim brought to you by PNPC - Crewman 3rd class Por'kus a Tellarite Engineer With the help of the following PNPC - Lt. jg. Loleh Rejock a Al-Leyan Scientist PNPC - Lt. jg. Susan Knoght a Human Engineer PNPC - Civilian Sherana Caelin a Orion Botanist
  19. ((USS Vigilant, Deck 1: Captain's Ready Room)) ::Deep Space 6 stared at Diego through the window of the captain's ready room. By now, members of the crew would already be filtering onto the promenade to take advantage of the many shops, bars and restaurants that it had to offer. For now, however, he was busy taking advantage of the stack of PADDs that his desk had to offer. Reports had filtered in from various departments relating the actions of the most senior members of his crew, chronicling their achievements and logging their successes. Having spent a good deal of time in sickbay dealing with Resistas, Diego had been somewhat out of the loop and, as he read up, he found himself suitably impressed with one of the team leaders. Enough so that he had summoned him to his ready room.:: ((taJoot's quarters)) ::Dueld was sitting in his quarters, reviewing zoological files on ... red pandas. Seriously. Red pandas. Like, what? The ship had been constructed on Zakdorn, and flown into space-- it was the Ship That Stayed Out In The Cold. It hadn't even gotten within orbit of a temperate forest. How did the Vigilant end up harbouring an arboreal terran omnivore? And what would they have to do to keep it from licking all its fur off in despair? The only vertical spaces higher than 3m were the shuttlebay and the warp core. What kind of sick friends did Eerie have, sending the poor thing out here?:: ::And then the captain called him. As Dueld scrambled to find an unwrinkled uniform, he just gave up on shore leave altogether.:: ((Captain's Ready Room)) ::When the door chimed, Diego travelled towards the replicator as he answered.:: Herrera: Come in! ::The door slid back and Dueld taJoot entered the room as ordered.:: taJoot: You wanted to see me, sir?. Herrera: Right on time, Dueld. Can I get you a drink? taJoot: Uh, sure, uh... lemonade? taJoot Formula Two, please. ::Diego turned his attention towards the replicator for just a moment.:: Herrera: Computer, gimme a raktajino and a lemonade, taJoot Formula Two. ::The drinks were ready almost before he'd finished ordering them. Setting them down on the table in front of the long sofa, he offered the engineer a seat.:: Herrera: Make yourself comfortable for a sec. ::He grabbed one of the PADDs from his desk.:: taJoot: ::lowering himself to the edge of the seat gingerly and picking up his drink, just to have something to clutch:: Yessir. ::Returning to the lower area of the CRR, Diego took a seat himself, perching on the edge of the table.:: Herrera: I have to say, I appreciated the information you sent my way while we were dealing with the Zalkonians. I don't know what we would have done without it. taJoot: ::blinking:: oO So far, not in trouble? Unless this is, like, poisoned. Oo Uh, well, just doing what you asked, sir, really. And we had it pretty easy in Lab Two, I hear, no ruptured EVA suits or infections or spies. Herrera: Well, I gave you a job to do, threw you in the deep end, and you floated. You did better than that actually. Assembled a team. Directed them to find what you thought was relevant information. Collected more intel on the Zalkonians than we've ever had. taJoot: Uh, thank you, sir, but maybe you're giving me credit for being the first engineer to stumble across a pile of unprotected Zalkonian data? And I couldn't have processed even the tiny chunk we got through without the supreme technical expertise of Malik and T'Rella. ::Diego nodded; he had no intention of discrediting the other members of Dueld's team.:: Herrera: That's true, but they were acting under your orders and your direct command. ::He lifted up the PADD.:: It says so right here. I'm looking at clear evidence of leadership skills. taJoot: ::closing jaw slightly agape:: ... If you say so, sir. ::Diego slid further back on the table to secure his perch a little and took a drink of his raktajino. Dueld was supremely capable but exceptionally nervous. He didn't know enough Catullans to know whether that was some kind of racial psychological trait, but he imagined it wasn't. He was looking at a good, healthy dose of nerves from a relatively new assignment that had augmented a naturally nervous personality. That was his assessment from what he had seen so far, at least. If that meant that what he had planned would be met by incredulity or panic then he would deal with it appropriately.:: Herrera: ::Smiling:: I think you're a great officer, and I need great officers to run my departments. If I could have two chief engineers I would, but I'm sure you'll agree that's not really practical. taJoot: Yeah, no, you can't tune a dilithium chamber two ways at once. Herrera: Actually, I could really use a Chief of Operations. There's a lot of crossover with engineering, so you'd still be working closely with Kael Thomas. I think you'd handle to administrative side of it really well because you obviously have a good eye for details. And the position would come with a promotion to full Lieutenant. Can I count on you? ::He knew he could, of course, but wanted to give the Catullan a chance to air any concerns he might have before just slapping an extra full pip on him, hanging an Ops sign round his neck and then turfing him back out onto the bridge.:: taJoot: ::jaw gaping for real this time:: But... you... I... aren't there, like, any ops personnel with actual seniority, or, like, experience? I've only met Block, but... seriously, didn't Fleet send you out here with anybody to wrangle the data? ::It sounded like the concerns were pretty sizeable.:: Herrera: ::Calmly:: I really think it's something you could pick up. Your engineering experience qualifies you for the position. You don't think you're ready? taJoot: I'm just saying that if I had been handling the scheduling and the filing and the agendas and the cleaning, erseyntin the cleaning, for a few years and then some three-year-old got promoted over me, I would be volcanic, I mean, I know you're not dumb enough to do that, but, just... ::running out of steam:: wow. ::Diego broke out into a laugh, partly because he hadn't even considered the 'erseyntin cleaning' and partly at the image of a three year-old Ops officer. The closest thing he could imagine was Fleet Captain Turner's daughter wearing a starfleet uniform and bossing people around.:: Herrera: No-one's going to resent you, or go volcanic. We're all professionals. taJoot: Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, but you know how weird this looks from my end, right? Like, I barely speak one language, I only got out of the Academy four months ago and I'm not in engineering because all the seats in diplomacy were taken, you know what I'm saying? Someone is going to ask you why you put a wrenchnoob in charge of ops. Herrera: ::Regaining his composure:: So I'll tell them that I put the most skilled officer I had into the position and that I have every confidence that they'll excel in it. taJoot: ... I guess. I ... wow. ::looking down at the lemonade he has yet to sip, like he's not sure how it got there, then suddenly back up at Herrera:: Holy cow, helm falls under ops. I can't fly the ship! I mean, I can fly the ship, but I can't do what Fox does. ::eyes narrowing:: Actually, I'm not sure who we have who can. Can you do what Fox does? ::It looked like Dueld still needed some convincing.:: Herrera: Well, I could give it a brave try. I did basic piloting, so, I mean, I could fly the ship forwards and engage the warp engines, maybe even throw out some evasive manoeuvres if the computer was feeling generous enough to help. Other than that, no..., I'd just have to say "I'm a doctor, not an aerial stuntman." In your case you'd just have to organise people to sit in the chair. taJoot: I guess it's no different than you commanding Thomas, I suppose-- assuming that you yourself can't redesign a warp core. ::nodding::... okay. This is just so...I mean, I am related to my sister and my mother, who are both really pushy and take charge, don't even ask, I just... it was always easier to just do things myself, you know, than to get other people to do them? ::face blanks out :: Wow. Wow. Suddenly it is like my sister is right here, and she has her "Okay, I ran out of time for this five minutes ago, yes or no?" face on. ::taking a breath:: Okay, sir, I guess I'm in. If she can herd cats, so can I. It ... can't be harder than hacking a Klingon ship... can it? Herrera: No, compared to that I'd say it's gonna be a walk in the park. taJoot: ::frowning again:: Sir, what about the virus that's chasing me? If it eats anything with my name in it, and suddenly my name is all over the ship's file systems... what if it evolves, and defeats the data echo system we have going? Whoever built it is going to upgrade it eventually, right? Suddenly there'd be gaps everywhere in the ship's operating systems. ::Brow furrowing, Diego thought on that problem for a moment. He'd received notification of that particular problem from Lieutenant Zehn in and amongst the other reports that had been filed, and he'd picked it up relatively quickly due to the urgent flag that showed up next to its title. There was little action that he could take other than grant his Chief of Intelligence all possible latitude to investigate it. There had to be some way around it, though.:: Herrera: I think short term we could probably create you temporary access with a different set of codes? Hopefully we'll get some answers about who's responsible for this quickly enough to do something about it. taJoot: Hmm. I guess we have time to try to think of what we'll do next, or... whoever Zehn knows has time to think of what they'll do next, I mean. ::blowing out a breath:: I'm really glad that you think I'm doing a good job, sir, and I'll do my best. I can handle the systems stuff, but I will need advice on dealing with people. I can think of at least two people in Engineering that I have been glad Thomas had to deal with, not me. Herrera: ::Smiling:: Any advice you need on that, feel free to ask. You seemed to do well enough with your last team and if it makes you feel any better, I've not heard the crew talking trash about you in the corridors, which has to be a good sign. ::Dueld snickered.:: taJoot: True, but you're the captain, right? You'd have to lurk to get the real dirt. ::Diego raised an eyebrow and replied with the wickedest of all possiblegrins.:: Herrera: Who says I don't? taJoot: Cue ominous chord, okay, I got it. ::shaking head with a smile:: ::So, official business seemed to be taken care of. There was still the matter of taJoot's nerves to address, though. If it really was a part of his personality then it was something that was unlikely to ever disappear in a puff of smoke, but there were certainly ways to make him feel a little more comfortable in his working environment. Making him feel like the Vigilant was home and that he was part of the family was one of them.:: Herrera: On a less threatening note... do you have any plans for shore leave? taJoot: Uh, some, not superbooked. I have to take the official hardcopy of the Zalkonian data over to the station in a couple of days, it's a big deal, apparently, there's a marine escort-- Brown, I think it is?-- and a schedule and checkpoints and everything. And Lt. Cmdr. Reinard and I are hoping to get in some time at the Nebula. Herrera: I'm pretty much free at this point. How would you feel about meeting up and doing something on the holodeck? taJoot: ::blinking:: Uh, sure, that'd be great. ::These days, whenever Diego stepped through a set of holodeck doors, he ended up on a Parrises Squares court. He fancied a change.:: Herrera: Something active? I'd like you to choose though. Maybe something that you might find yourself doing back on Catulla? taJoot: Uh, mostly I windsurf, sir. Do you-- I mean, I don't actually know what you do in your free time. Is that interesting to you? ::Despite having grown up in a town next to a bay, windsurfing was one sport that Diego had actually never found his way around to. He'd seen people doing it and it always looked like fun... and a challenge. To his mind, that was the perfect combination.:: Herrera: You bet, although you'd have to teach me how to do it. I'm more of a Parrises Squares guy usually but I'm definitely up for trying something new. I guess windsurfing is another of your CVable skills? taJoot: Well, sailing, surfing, anything you can do with sand or sails or water, for a lot of Catulla that's what you get, you know? But I don't know if I'd say it was, like, an employable skill, except maybe if you were going to teach it on Risa or something. Herrera: ::Shrugging:: Hey, well maybe teaching it to your captain qualifies? It sounds like it should be a blast. Where's your usual setting? taJoot: Well, I normally play the Big Skenemmo surf series, they sim all the big surfing locations. But this time, see, I heard about this cool resort sim, Rubica. It's kind of an all-islands-to-all-people kind of thing? It's got a lot of different open air pavilions, there's a casino lounge and a spa and a sunbathing deck and a tea house, and a couple of different docks on differing water conditions for different activities. It's a mountain peak, so there's hiking and cliff diving and hang-gliding and stuff too. Since it's so multipurpose I don't know if the surf programming will be as good. But the variety might make it worth it. Skenemmo gave it four out of five on his blog, anyway. ::It sounded as though that particular program had been designed with more than just sporting activities in mind. Diego found himself looking forward to testing it out already.:: Herrera: Sounds ideal... taJoot: The real appeal is the easter eggs, apparently-- that's a Terran thing, right? Easter eggs? Like, every so often, at random, the island changes its layout a little. One day there'll be a grotto with hot springs, the next there could be an aviary or a bonsai garden. ::Having been brought up by a vaguely religious immediate family, he had heard of Easter Eggs. He remembered having bought back into that ancient tradition with some of his friends in school all those years ago, but he hadn't heard that term used to describe holoprogramming before.:: Herrera: They call those Easter Eggs? I honestly didn't know that. So it constantly changes its layout to stop people from getting bored? taJoot: Well, the big features stay, I think-- like, the billiards tables and the lounge chairs and the docks are always there, you know. But little things come and go, different hiking trails, little hidden mountain valleys, keeping it fresh. I'm probably just going to stroll around quickly and then head for the waves, though; I need to be on the water and the island could take weeks to explore. Herrera: I'm up for skipping straight to the waves. The island does sound interesting, though. Maybe I'll stick around afterwards to scope out the other facilities? taJoot: Well, then, sure, company would be nice. If you have a wetsuit or water shoes, bring them. My holodeck slot is tomorrow, kind of late, 2200h, is that okay? ::Diego figured that he would either be at some bar on DS6 by 2200 or sat in his quarters reading reports by that time; late night windsurfing sounded more tempting than either.:: Herrera: 2200 is fine. I'll check the replicator patterns and make sure I'm kitted out. Talking of which... ::He stepped over to the desk and picked up a smaller version of the rosewood box he had taken to the last promotions ceremony.:: Herrera: You'll be needing this. Oh, and you get to keep the box too. No expense spared. ::Still firmly in informal mode, he tossed the box over to him from the desk.:: ::With his free hand, Dueld caught the box, a grave look on his face. (Okay, if it hadn't been for all those tools Stoltzy had thrown at him on the Joyous Hope, he probably wouldn't have been able to catch it, it wasn't like he was using his holodeck time for jekker practice, but hey, silver lining there.) Tauscherstin. He was still stuck with the mustard uniforms. Well, too much good fortune attracted the envy of the spirits, right? Or entropy, or.. whatever.:: taJoot: Thank you, sir. Herrera: ::Nodding:: No problem, you earned it. taJoot: I'll see you outside Holodeck 1, tomorrow night? Herrera: Sure. You are qualified as a lifeguard... right? taJoot: Absolutely-- I can call Sickbay in under 5 seconds. ::Diego laughed at the idea of lifeguarding by proxy.:: Herrera: Then I'll leave my oxygen cylinders in my quarters. See you tomorrow night. ::taJoot nodded, and took his leave, glancing down at the box he carried.:: _________________________________________________ Captain Diego Herrera Commanding Officer USS Vigilant NCC-75515 & Lt. Dueld taJoot, Chief of Operations, USS Vigilant NCC-75515
  20. ((Blueheart's Quarters, USS Discovery-C)) ::He emptied the fifth glass of whiskey, relishing the bittersweet afterburn at the back of his throat and the stinging vapors snaking up his nostrils, drawing tears from his eyes. His head expanded and contracted with each gulp of the honey-colored liquid. He stood surprisingly steady, staring silently out the view screen, the vivid magenta nebula large and close and painting the bedroom a matte violet. It was akin to watching a sunrise on Earth, the deep purple hues fading into lighter bluer tones, as the starship drew closer to the stellar gas cloud. Only it didn't feel like the dawn of a new day. It felt like the end of time. The crystal pendants, refulgent and dangling from his neck, were obscenely quiet, as if taunting him, teasing him. They had not been so reticent a little while ago, spilling secrets beyond one's imagination. Secrets not necessarily welcomed. He fondled and rolled them between his fingers.:: RAVENSCROFT: Computer, begin personal log. Ravenscroft, Emerson D'Arcy. ::He sat at the edge of the bed, elbows resting on his knees, hands cradling the whiskey glass at a breathtakingly sloping angle, the contents of which came dangerously close to spilling. He never took his eyes off the glorious nebula. He offered it a smug smile. Perhaps, if he was still conscious at the end of the personal log, he would even offer it a toast.:: ((Personal Log of Lt Emerson D'Arcy Ravenscroft – Stardate 239004.04)) Today, I have seen my future self. The Preserver crystals hold within them a technology beyond my comprehension. An unknown intrinsic mechanism allowed for temporal displacement and hence, time travel. We, or our counterparts – I do not know who is whom for this is all still so confusing – had apparently fought the Breen, chased them to their homeworld, crashed on their planet. Thawed back to life from cryostasis, the survivors banded together to travel back in time to prevent the tragic fate that befell the Discovery from ever happening. The plan worked. I know all this from the messages we recorded in the crystal. I know this because I exist in the here and now. And while I applaud their noble endeavor, I find myself asking, am I grateful they sacrificed themselves for us? Yes, I am. Am I happy to be alive knowing what they did for us? This, I am not certain and cannot answer this question now. It is indeed a strange and peculiar place to be knowing time was reversed to keep us alive. I cannot even begin to ponder who and what in some place and time had to disappear from existence when the timeline was corrupted. Once more I cannot say for certain if I will ever be able to live with myself knowing this answer. What is tearing me apart is not that Raj is a corpse or that I am a mad disfigured cripple in the future timeline. Or that I was one of the lucky accursed few to catch a glimpse of the future. What torments me is that I hold, in my hands, what could possibly be the most powerful weapon mankind has ever seen. Someday someone somewhere is going to figure this all out and destroy all of humanity. All life in all universes. I have, in my hands, this very moment, the end of Time itself. So what should I do? What shouldn't I do? The messages are inconsequential. The recipients shall have their messages, including Raj. They will know what transpired 189 years from now. But none will have the crystals. A repeat incident cannot be allowed to take place. The price is too high. And someone somewhere is even right now paying this hefty price. ((End of personal log)) ::The nebula took on a few streaks of green at this distance. The plasma cloud seemed to grow tendrils that began reaching out to embrace the approaching starship. He looked at the crystals at the end of their long tethers, tickling the bare skin of his chest with every breath he took. He finished whatever remained in the glass in one large gulp, then moved to the nearby counter to tilt the contents of a decanter into the emptied glass. How many glasses had he imbibed? He downed the drink in another large gulp, enjoying the singe to his throat and head. He casually slipped the pendants over his head and gave them one final vacuous look, chuckling as he did so. No, none shall have them at all.:: TBC ================================= Lt Emerson Ravenscroft Xenolinguist USS DISCOVERY-C as simmed by LtCmdr Raj Blueheart XO USS DISCOVERY-C
  21. ((Treatment Room 2, Sickbay, USS Mercury)) ::He had greeted the Marines as he passed them and checked the integrity of the quarantine fields at the door. Everything was excluded; not a virus nor a signal could get out, certainly not a nanite. Not even air particles, the environmental system was on closed-circuit recycle with reclamation and replication of air molecules. The internal monitoring system showed that the majority of the raw materials that Engineering had delivered had been used, and the Borg Queen appeared whole, and was using the power module placed at the back of the room.:: ::Saveron keyed an exclusion forcefield half-way across the room, effectively cutting it in two, before he accessed the force-field airlock that was now in place in the entryway. The forcefields were transparent, he could see the Queen the instant the door slid back, and over their faint hum he could hear the whine of the powerpack.:: ::Stepping patiently through the fields as they cycled to let him in without letting anything else out, the Vulcan doctor at last stood with nothing but a forcefield between himself and the Borg Queen. He looked her over with a neutral expression, but a more compassionate eye than most would use. She was here because of him, he didn't doubt that most of the crew would have gladly destroyed her. Yet the doctor could only wonder how she must feel, bereft of her connection to the Collective that had created her. Could she even function independently? He would find out.:: Saveron: Sochya. ::He greeted her traditionally, for want of a better idea. He had insisted that she be treated as any other prisoner would; it was logical to be polite.:: :: The Queen raised her eyes to her visitor: an important motion, since it was one of the simplest left to her. She was pleased with her ability to execute it, since so much of what she had been -- so much of what had been given to her -- had so recently been taken back.:: Borg Queen: You are Vulcan. (beat) Perhaps it is logical to tell you that resistance is futile; but I do not doubt that you will disagree. Saveron: You are correct. ::He confirmed.:: oO So she does have independant reasoning. Oo Borg Queen: Then tell me why you are here. Have you come to observe me? The creature who was once Borg -- who, without the song in its mind, is now fit only for your menagerie? Saveron: Affirmative. ::The doctor assured her evenly.:: I also wished to converse with you. Borg Queen: You would be happier if you allowed me to assimilate you. A collective of two -- a collective beginning with two. Our voices, in each other's heads. (beat) Are you not intrigued? Are you not curious? ::She had him there; yes he was curious.:: Saveron: Not in the manner which you presume. ::He replied.:: Being Vulcan, I am already aware of what it is to have my mind bound to another, but unlike the Borg my bond-mate and I retained our individuality. ::Although in the depths of an intimate meld even that could be difficult.:: That is not something I wish to lose. Borg Queen: By sacrificing your individuality, you will expand and grow in ways you cannot imagine. It is illogical to assume that you would not benefit. Saveron: When the Collective assimilates an individual they become a drone and lose their individuality. It fascinates me that you have not come to understand how this weakens you. Or perhaps you have? The Nimitz Borg are different to those with which the Federation is acquainted. Borg Queen: It is true that we are -- and that I am -- different from those Borg encountered by your Federation before. We are connected, and yet each drone retains a sense of self. I've given them this gift myself. Saveron: So you begin to gain an appreciation of the benefits of a different point of view. Many thought that the Collective assimilated everything, and learned nothing. Borg Queen: Oh, yes. We have grown and learned much as we've evolved towards perfection. Saveron: The Collective assimilates, it incorporates, but it does not create; it cannot. To be creative requires subjectivity, and that is something that you lack. An individual point of view is subjective. And it is that point of view, that difference in perception and understanding, that leads to creativity, invention and improvement. Without it a species stagnates. You steal ideas because you cannot make your own, this makes you as a parasite dependent on your host species; that is a weakness. Borg Queen: Perhaps. You cannot hear the thoughts of those around you; that is a weakness. Whose is worse? :: She did not wait for a response before continuing. :: Borg Queen: I would take my own life and allow my children to grow another Queen if I believed I would never return to them. But their strength is such, and your weakness is likewise, that I trust that I -- that we -- shall overcome. :: She turned away from the Vulcan man. She had no more to say to him. :: Borg Queen: Leave us. :: Only the quiet swish of the door told her that she was, again, alone. :: TBC! Dr. Saveron CMO USS Mercury & The Borg Queen (sans collective) by Cmdr. Kells
  22. Voting closes Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 23:59 PM. This round of voting only qualifies one sim to move on to the next round of judging. REMEMBER: This is NOT a popularity contest. Vote based on MERIT, not the fact that someone is your crewmate. Any crews found “stuffing the ballots” or ratings, will be disqualified PERMANENTLY. Yes, that means the whole crew!
  23. ((Lathu's Quarters, USS Tiger-A)) :: At first Zinna was a bit scared. Why? Because what if she'd prove Velana right? What if she proved that she wasn't capable of helping Lathu. T'Mihn had told her that if she couldn't help Lathu then she wouldn't be the chief counselor in the first place, and she was right. Surely Captain Riley had faith in her or she wouldn't hold that position. Zinna then consider becoming a security officer if she failed Lathu. That would give her a chance to use her telepathy to solve crimes and interrogate people and be a lie detector and basically be a forensic scientist. As a counselor she felt restricted and confined sometimes. Zinna felt as if she wasn't nearly as important as the rest of the officers. If she'd said that to someone they'd call it nonsense and probably reply, "you're the one that keeps us together and focus. Without you we'd all be crazy and sad and unable to work properly. But that was the thing...did they really *need* her? Most people preferred talking out their problems with their friends, so was Zinna really helpful. :: :: She had enrolled and took the major of counseling because her friends had told her it was perfect for her. She was from the race of "listeners" and that's what counselors needed to be able to do: listen. But was Zinna a listener? or did she just tell people what she thought was best? But that was what counselors were supposed to do right? They were supposed to give suggestions, but also listen. They weren't there to lecture their patients. Zinna always tried not to lecture people because she despised being lectured. Now she asked herself if she was being a good counselor. She had had hardly any real sessions. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't given any psyche evaluations in a long time. It seemed like every time she tried to offer listening to someone, they refused with some excuse that basically stated: "I'm more busy with this than worrying about my mental healthy." They had always been able weasel their way out of talking to her. So the question was.....:: Zinna: oO Am I so bored that I have to fight to get someone to talk to me so I can do my job. Is that how useless I am? Oo :: She sat in a chair that she had replicated in Lathu's quarters. She had a smile that gave the Suliban encouragement, but she didn't know if it was working or not. She didn't know if he could tell her true emotions. Zinna had said she could take care of herself, but was that true, or was she just trying to act tougher in front of Velana and Lt. Beaufytor? But why would she need to impress them? What did they have that she wanted? *Happiness?* :: Zinna: Hi Lathu. Lathu: What's up counselor? Zinna: How do you feel about finally getting out of sickbay and being in your room? Lathu: Like the luckiest man in the world. Do you know how awful it is in there? Zinna: ::jokingly:: Oh...I think I have a picture of it, ha ha. :: Lathu looked at her with curiosity and scratched his head. :: Lathu: Why do you want to talk to me? Zinna: Because I'm a counselor, and that's what I do. But I'd rather listen. oO Yes, listen, that's what I need to do. Oo So go ahead. I think someone whose been through all the things you have, you'd want to pour out some of those feelings. Now if you don't mind, I'd like for you to start from the very beginning. Please. :: Lathu sighed for a moment. :: Lathu: I started off being transferred to the Tiger because of "emotional stress". My CO seemed to think that I needed to get off a starbase and go on wild adventures and get some stress relief. This was after my...demotion to ensign. Zinna: Do you think that was a reasonable punishment? Lathu: I'd rather chew a yellow rotten toenail. Zinna: Oh...well...that's an interesting punishment. Please continue. Lathu: And then I met Ens. Vistain. She was really nice to me. Zinna: So you're friends with her? Lathu: Not anymore. ::sniff:: I nearly killed her. Zinna: But I bet she still wants to be friends with you. :: Zinna could feel the security officer outside the room with his phaser ready to stun Lathu if he would get violent. What would the engineer do to him? Would he jump up from the bed, replicate a rope, and choke her to death. Or would he beat her, like Fulian, her ex-husband, beat her in the past. Could Zinna *really* defend for herself. On earth, a zinna was a type of flower, and that's exactly what Zinna was, a flower. She was a froufrou like woman. She didn't like to get down and dirty. She had sworn an oath to never take a life again, not that she *would* try to kill Lathu, but what if he got violent with her and somehow defeated the security guard. She would call for backup of course, but there was always that short time she would have to calm Lathu down or try and restrain him. She wasn't a martial arts expert, but surely she could fire a phaser. :: Lathu: Ens. Taylor hates me, counselor, what do I do about that. Zinna: First tell me, what are your feelings towards Danielle? Lathu: I like her, a lot. She's the only one that's really my friend. Zinna: Are your feelings stronger towards her than Amber? :: For a moment Lathu looked as if he didn't know how to answer it. He shed a tear and wiped his eye. Zinna felt sadness within in heart. She knew this was a hard question for him, but that's why she asked it. She needed something to work with. :: Zinna: Lathu?-- Lathu: WHAT?!!!! :: He voice was loud and forceful and it sent his quarters' door to open. The security guard looked at Zinna, who gave a him an expression to signify that it was okay. :: Zinna: Stand down crewman. Lathu, please answer the question. Lathu: ::he stood:: I love Amber! I LOVE HER! Zinna: Are you sure? Or are you obsessed? Or lust? Lathu: I LOVE AMBER WITH ALL MY MIGHT! YOU'LL NEVER TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME! I WON'T LET YOU! I'LL DIE FIGHTING BEFORE I LET YOU STEAL HER AWAY FROM ME! :: The security guard raised his phaser, and Zinna didn't tell him to stand down, because veins were popping from Lathu's neck. He was getting angrier. :: Zinna: Lathu, I don't want to steal her away from you, why would you think that? Lathu: IT'S WHAT ALL YOU WANT TO DO! YOU, VELANA, TAYLOR, AND THAT CADET! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LET US BE IN LOVE!!!!!!!!! Zinna: Let's think about what you just said, Lathu. Are you certain Amber loves you back, or is that just your fantasy? There's a difference between something that IS true and something you WANT to be true, Lathu. Think very hard about that because I'm going to ask it again. Are you certain Amber loves you or is that just your fantasy? :: He didn't answer at first because he slumped in his bed. :: Lathu: I don't want to talk anymore. Zinna: Are you sure, Lathu? I was only trying to--- Lathu: LEAVE ME ALONE! :: Zinna stood to get ready to exit Lathu's quarters. :: Zinna: Lathu, I know this is hard for you at first but the only way to get through this is to talk to me, so I can provide suggestions. I'd love to help you. I want to. If Amber doesn't love you, then you'll have to accept that. You can't force love.You may think you're the only one with love issues, but you're not. Thousands of people are, but they keep trying. And you shouldn't blame yourself for Danielle's injury. Although you may have been the cause of it because of carelessness, you did take the blame which was a brave thing to do. You just need to restart your life, Lathu. You need to be more happy... Lathu: I'll start when you start. Zinna: oO What's that supposed to mean? Oo What's that supposed to mean? Lathu: You're telling me to be happy, but you can't even be happy yourself. Is that really being a good counselor? Being a hypocrite? Zinna: Rest and get better, Lathu. :: Zinna left the quarters and the security officer gave her a nod, whatever that meant. :: Zinna: oO Goddess, what in heavens does he mean by that? Oo :: As Zinna walked off, she could here Lathu singing "I'm Walking On Sunshine", but she didn't pay any attention. She was heading for the bridge now, for something new to do. To be useful and do some good besides run her mouth about not being able to do her job. She could do her job any time she liked, but she was just into impressing people and trying to be someone else. Who *was* she trying to be? Zinna was certainly different now. She was way different. She used to be tranquil. She walked and wondered what was different about her. What was she doing wrong. Where were her friends? Why wasn't she hanging out with officers off duty or on leave? Why was she so invisible? Why was she a mystical enigma feeling useless? She helped people or she thought she did. She was different from when she was an ensign. Had her pride as Lt. JG gone to her head? She didn't sing anymore. She didn't garden anymore. She didn't spend time with Taxo anymore. She didn't do anything besides get better at her job. She was trying to hard. Did Lathu know some dark secret about her that she didn't? :: Zinna: oO He'll save it...and use it as blackmail...Oo He knows me better than I know my own self.... ((OOC2: I will sim Zinna either on the bridge, sickbay, or in science labs next. Thanks)) T.B.C. ~~~~~~~~~~~ LtJG Zinna Chief Counselor USS Tiger-A
  24. ((Jeffrey Tube 2, Main Engineering level 2, Deck 8, USS Tiger-A)) ::Darius Clack peacefully took in the hollow sounds of the dark horizontal tunnels the made up Jeffrey Tube number two. In a seated position on the floor, his back rested comfortably against the wall. His feet were firmly planted on the floor and his bent knees served as a resting place for his arms. His chin rested against his chest as he listened to the churning sounds of the Tiger. All ships spoke in a coded language. The trick was having the ear to understand their words. The Tiger had a strange accent, similiar to the one that the Ursa Major possessed. Strange that everything in the universe communicated in its own language.... Many conversations, few listeners...:: (Time jump, past) ((Outskirts of Wheeler Colony)) Clack: I envy you Mr Hahn. ::turning toward the robust man dressed in tan overalls:: Hahn: That's something coming from a Starfleet officer. There is not much to do but to wait out the storm. You're welcome to join us at the Cantina when you are off duty. You can always find me there, if not, the Colony-wide comms will the best next alternative. ::The two stood alone on top of the ridge overlooking the valley toward Capital City.:: Clack: By membership only? Hahn: Anyone's always welcome there, just leave your weapons at the door. That might be the only house rule...oh, yes and the new guy buys the first round. Clack: You have a wonder talent Mr Hahn. Only a man of superior abilities could have keep the power grid operating as long as it has given the circumstances and equipment. Perhaps, you should reconsider and request a transfer. It would be a shame to waste that talent. Hahn: Oh yeah, I have been meaning to. I think that they have a vacancy over at the western sprawl- the guy just never make it home one night. Pah! Talent nothing, you keep that Starship going- now that kind of engineering work...it will take a many liters of ale to get me through fixing that. I am sorry, I am just bitter and sour, I would like nothing more than to die here- it is home to me, for better or for worst. I do this because that is all I know. Sure, it has its downside, but I enjoy it, it is a puzzle to me. And I have a wife who, for whatever reasons, have not run away with some other person. ::He took out his PADD to make a note on the cable box. :: Hahn: What about you, Lieutenant? Clack: Myself? ::pausing as he chose his words carefully.:: I just remember awaking one day to this reality. It is a good life. I don't regret it for one-second. ::kneeling on one knee.:: However, I was thinking recently that I haven't been home in ten years. You see your home everyday. Ten years. ::closing his eyes.:: There are times I wonder what have I accomplished in all that time. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, in the grand scheme of the universe, particularly when compared to other men's occupations. ::He paused as he looked across the desolate valley.:: Clack: Looks like your party has left you behind. Hahn: Can't get good help these days, Lt. Clack: I will definitely catch up with you later, Kevin. I have to get settled in and report back to the ship. ::Clack watched Hahn walk away to join the others as if he didn't have a care in the world. It was funny that some people could live like that. The sound of thunder echoed off into the distance as he rested. The melody of the storm began to echo in his head. It was a different tune than that of the Ursa Major but a beautiful one to say the least. Darius paused and looked across the green meadow. The flat terrain stretched as far as the eye could see. Two hundred miles precisely it stretched to the North according to his tricorder. The setting sun was now hidden by a blanket of black mid-level clouds. Closing his eyes, he deeply inhaled the cold southerly wind that flowed along the prairie like a lonely specter in search of comfort. Darius could feel the air burning his heavily scarred lungs yet somehow the oxygenated air brought a renewal of life to the diseased cells....:: (Present) Lightfoot: Darius? ::He opened his eyes to find Cocheta Lightfoot standing over him. Her facial expression was stern as she waited for his response.:: Clack: Is Kesi here? Lightfoot: Kesi? Clack: Yes. ::Cocheta stood speechless before answering the question.:: Lightfoot: We said good-bye to her at the Gateway. ::break:: Don't you remember? ::Slowly, Darius rose to his feet. As he stood, he had to momentarily steady himself with his hand against the wall as his legs were not up to the challenge just yet.:: Clack: Yes, ::looking away as he remembered::, yes of course we did. ::speaking softly:: (later) (( Robotics Lab )) ::The dark shadow entered the Robotics Lab to find Atimen, Firestarter, and T'Mihn present.:: Atimen: I'm sorry about the delay, have you started yet? Firestarter: ::Looking at the contraption.:: I would have to say more than started. Care to tell us what you have gotten done so far? ::At first it seemed the group was not aware of his presence.:: T'Mihn/Atimen/Firestarter: Response Clack: Excuse me, ::in a low voice:: do you have anything to report? T'Mihn/Atimen/Firestarter: Response tbc Lt Cmdr Darius Clack FO USS TIGER-A and PNPC PO 3rd Class Shoodi Cocheta Lightfoot Engineer USS Tiger-A
  25. ((Captain's Quarters Aboard the USS Victory)) ::There were no stars outside her window that afternoon. Instead, Kali watched the few ships that were arriving come in to dock, a few others leaving, and smaller workerbees moving about the empty space between. Everything was gliding in the total weightlessness of space, lost in the silence of the vacuum, and all that was left to be heard in that moment was her own breathing.:: ::Somewhat lost in thoughts of the distant past, the woman who was the Captain of the ship on which she stood, as well as the massive Starbase that contained it, slowly and absentmindedly wrapped the long tendrils of her pitch black hair up and around itself, taming it as if it were an otherwise wild beast. It was a motion that she had come to know well and one that she had done many times before. The difference now was that she wasn't the same carefree girl she had been back then. No; now she was a Starfleet command officer responsible for far more than cleaning her bedroom, setting the table, the family dogs, or even a small contingent of Marines.:: ::Yet, perhaps it was that responsibility that made such trips into the wild blue necessary.:: ::Once, chasing the demon that had at one time lived in the air had been her obsession. After her own death, a moment that forever changed her both physically as well as mentally, it had become a means to an end. Now it was almost an escape from a time that was far more safe than the days of old, while being far more dangerous at the same time. She almost felt bad for running off for a few hours, thinking that something else would need her attention. It was a feeling that loomed over her mind causing her to feel as if she were forever at the beck and call of her position.:: ::But in the end, the thought was one she had to consciously fight off. Before Kalianna Arashi Nicholotti was, or could be Captain, she had to be many other things first; woman, friend, lover, confidant, leader, follower, guardian, and as her father had always called her, doch'ka. That was, perhaps, her favorite of them all. Her favorite, that was, after the nickname her grandfather had bestowed upon her.:: ::In the stillness of the room, Kali had no trouble hearing the words reverberate through her mind.:: ((Flashback, Earth, 24 Years Ago)) Hawk: Come now, my malien'kaia gadyuka. You have much to learn. ::A much shorter Kalianna, one who had barely turned five, ran to keep up with the taller man as he walked out of the small building towards the rows of metallic rectangles that sprawled across the seemingly barren desert landscape as far as the eye could see. There weren't too many places left in the world like this, so it was no wonder that it was big. The fact that her perspective made everything that much bigger only solidified the awe with which she looked into the distance with.:: Nicholotti: Where are we going, Dedushka? ::The man stopped and smiled down at her then. Even though his face, worn with the wrinkles of age, was partially obscured by the sun, she would never forget that smile. Reaching to pick her up, his somewhat gruff voice alluded to what would be the most pivotal moment in her life.:: Hawk: Up there. ::His eyes looked up and the little girl now in his arms tilted her head back to look up at the stark blue sky. It hadn't made sense to her then, but she had learned not to question her grandfather. If he said that was where they were going, then that was exactly where they were going.:: ((End Flashback)) ::A warm smile had appeared on her lips as she remembered the day when she had taken her first trip into the skies. It had sparked a love that she had carried with her throughout her entire life and one that she would soon share with a man who was fast finding his way into her heart as well. The way things seemed to fall together just how they should never ceased to amaze her, and as she considered her long path from the day of her first flight to the day in which she now stood, she wondered if Hawk didn't know more about the universe and how it all worked than he let on.:: ::A contented sigh slipped through her lips as she secured the last pieces of her hair and put her arms through their sleeves, pulling the suit up around her body where it could be zipped up. Ready, and excited, she grabbed the helmet that her dedushka had left behind for her years ago and stepped out into the hall. Destination? Holodeck 2. Mission? Scare the seemingly unshakable Chief Tactical officer with an antique method of transportation and war that was an exact replica of the one that sat at home on Earth awaiting her return.:: ::The mischievously impish grin appeared on her face as she moved through the empty corridors towards her impending freedom. It would not last forever, but the time she had would be plenty to re-energize her. Like the younger child who had often begged her grandfather every single weekend years ago, Kali felt the excitement building as she moved faster and faster through the halls.:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Victory)) ::The blue sky inside the room was a stark reminder of her home. A quick glance around told her that all was as it should be; the weather was perfect, the sky empty, and the sprawling hangars stretching into the distance like fingers reaching for some unknown goal. Kali took as deep a breath as she could, enjoying the air that smelled decisively of Earth before she set off across the tarmac to the rectangular building where she knew she would find her most prized possession.:: ::Without hesitation, she approached the heavy door and, after a few seconds of pulling, moved it open just enough for her to slip into the large room. A thin beam of sunlight spilled into the musty smelling space, illuminating the outline of a sleek jet. She approached it, stepping around to one side and reaching out to touch the metallic hologram as if she almost didn't believe it was there. Her fingertips quickly made contact, though, and she felt the reassuring cold metal right where it should have been.:: ::Moving on, Kali drifted further to the side and moved up to where the canopy sat propped open. Her eyes were automatically drawn to a point just below it. Had anyone else been around to read it, black letters were barely visible just below the glass canopy.:: "Mikhail 'Hawk' Nicholotti" ::Below the faded black lettering, shinier new letters stood out in the dim light.:: "Kalianna 'Viper' Nicholotti" ::Kali ran her hand across the letters, letting herself get lost momentarily in the past.:: ((Flashback - Edwards Air Museum, California, Earth)) ::She looked good in her new flight suit. Well, it wasn't really new, it was actually an antique, but it was new to her. The hot sun cast a glare over the high desert of California that day, reflecting off the metal of the ancient fighter. Some people might call it an old hunk of metal, but for Kali, it was escape from the reality of daily life. It lived and breathed as the fuel hose pumped gallon after gallon of oil based petroleum into its tanks.:: Hawk: Saddle up girl. You aren't gonna fly 'er from down there. ::Kali had to shield her eyes from the sun to look up at her grandfather. Hawk was what he was designated long ago when he first joined the Corps, and ever since he had kept the nickname. Kali had yet to earn her call sign, a name already granted to her by the man climbing into the plane, but she was hoping to solidify all that today. Though she had logged many a happy hour in the incredible machine before her, today would be the first time that she would take the front seat. It had been a day that she looked forward to since her first flight, when she was 5 years old. Today would be a day to remember and she wanted to remember everything. Taking one last look over the monster in front of her, she strode up to the ladder and climbed aboard.:: ::Listening as her grandfather went through the navigator checklist, and two of his Marine friends secured the fuel hose and other gear outside the plane, Kali settled into the form fitted seat. The five point restraint took some time to adjust, but Kali relished the fact that it would never have to be adjusted again. After today, this baby was all hers. She patted the side panel as she started in on her own pre-launch checklist. It was all second nature and soon she looked up ready to go.:: Nicholotti: Here we go. Hawk: Good, let's see what you got. ::Her hands went to work, flipping switches and bringing the beast to life. Gauges sprung to life, and the sounds of air traffic control filtered up to her ears from the helmet in front of her. Grasping it, she pulled it down over her long hair and adjusted the mask so that it was comfortable.:: ::After signaling her intentions to the tower, Kali sat back and waited. She listened to the sounds around her until her clearance came through her headset.:: ::She lined up the centuries old jet with the equally old taxiways. The dust swirled around them as she throttled up the engines just enough to get them moving. Though they were old, they had been restored back to pristine condition, giving the impression of a brand new plane. In its time, the Super Hornet, as it was called, played a huge role in both military as well as space related missions. It had been one of the first to avoid the radar of the time, and it could fill a variety of roles. Everything from high g-force experimentation to the air combat superiority needed back then, could be completed by this so called 'hunk of metal'. Now, in a time when such machines were obsolete, she still found it thrilling to take it up. No failsafe systems to balance them, and no inertial dampeners; in this machine, speed could truly be felt.:: Tower: Hornet one three five, Edwards Tower. Runway zero four left. Taxi into position and hold. ::It was a process that she had been through so many times before when her grandfather had been in the front seat, and one that was nearly useless, but anyone who flew these antique planes still followed the old ways. It was tradition.:: Nicholotti: Position and hold, Hornet one three five. ::She spoke into her headset.:: ::She felt the engines rev up behind her, the power reverberating through the [...]pit. Carefully, she moved the aircraft into position.:: Tower: Hornet one three five, wind three one zero at niner runway zero four left, cleared for takeoff. Nicholotti: Hornet one three five, cleared for takeoff zero four left. ::As soon as she had gotten the clearance, she slammed the jet into overdrive. Reacting to her controls, the plane shot forward, leaving the ground behind as she maneuvered it into a steep climb. Perpendicular to the ground below her, she pushed it nearly to the point of a stall, spiraling off into the sky. The G-forces pushed her back into the seat, and her breaths came faster as she shot the plane through the air..:: ::Old test pilots used to say that there was a demon that lived in the skies, and anyone who tried to break the sound barrier would surely die of his wrath. Kali looked at the gauges in front of her and triggered the afterburners. The jet shuddered slightly beneath her, gathering even more speed. Seconds later, the airspeed indicator passed the mach one mark. The demon had been defeated yet again.:: ::Kali grinned as the feeling of the G forces pushed her back into her seat. The ground rushed by faster and faster until she finally pulled the nose up and shot off into the sky. It was as if the whole world belonged to her now, and no one could catch her. Flying at mach 1.8, she pushed the Hornet faster. The roar of the engines masked a distant beeping, which was threatening to intrude on her daydreams. Looking around, Kali felt the plane, her grandfather, and the slick exhilaration suddenly drift out of focus.:: ((End Flashback)) ::A padd, which she had put into her pocket before leaving her quarters, was beeping steadily alerting her to the time. Shutting off the alarm, she halfway tossed the padd on a nearby table, the only other thing in the room aside from the plane. Colt would be there soon and she wanted it all to be ready.:: ::Letting her fingers fall from the engineering marvel before her, she turned to push the door the rest of the way open and get the jet towed out onto the tarmac before he arrived. In the back of her mind, the excitement was building; not only was she going to fly, but she was going to share the moment with him. And that was when she realized that despite the pain of the past week, some things made the pain worth it.:: TBC -- Commander Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer Starbase 118 / USS Victory
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