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  1. ((Brice’s Quarters, USS Apollo)) :: Walking into his quarters, Ethan rubbed his hand over his eyes. He was tired. Strike that, he was knackered. Every muscle ached. Muscles that he wasn’t aware he had ached. His brain felt like a rubber ball bouncing around in the empty space between his ears. What time was it? He knew it was late and he was late. He was supposed to be calling Matthew. Going to the replicator he replicated a bottle of synthetic beer, popped the cap off and collapsed onto the sofa.:: ::The dimmed lights in the room made the stars outside the window shine like glitter thrown over a dark blanket covering the vessel. Ethan lay on the sofa, one arm tucked behind his head watching the universe float past the window with a gentle softness that he hadn’t felt before. He couldn't’ describe what he felt inside. Calm? Tranquill? He couldn’t put his finger on it. Half the time he felt as though he were balancing on the edge of a knife; one slip and the “half the time” might be a permanent condition.:: :: But then another part of him poked his heart and yanked on the strings. His wife, Karynn, was out in the universe somewhere, maybe missing him, maybe not. He longed for her, yearned for her and wished they could be together.:: :: Man, she bowled him over sometimes. He grinned in the darkness of his quarters, lifting the single serving beer bottle up to his lips. He remembered the first night he saw her. Was it love at first sight? Probably not, she would say. It was a chemical reaction in the brain that caused the feelings of attraction. His heart had pounded to the beat of the bass drum pedal. Counsellors were always a pragmatic bunch. She was Pavlov, he was the dog.:: :: She was his strength, his faith, everything that held him up. Without her by his side, filling him with that courage he felt empty. His hand fell on his stomach and he raised his head slightly, looking at the holo-image of Karynn and Matthew. Matthew. He couldn’t bring him on board the Apollo. It was far too dangerous being out in the Expanse to have him there. He missed his little face, his little laugh... he didn’t miss finding FederationMan accessories sticking out of the carpet though. His feet were on a break.:: :: By now, Matthew would be asleep. He would have been asleep hours ago, if Rebecca was sticking to their routine. Ethan let his head fall back against the cushion again.:: Brice: Computer, compose a message. “I wish you were here.” Transmit to Commander Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) K. Brice: Lights. Half. ::The door closed behind the Haliian officer as the room brightened. With a slow sigh she looked around. The emptiness hit her in the pit of her stomach - not a lack of things, but a lack of his things. She missed the shoes in the middle of the floor, the engineering journals on the couch, the coffee mug on the table instead of a coaster. After unzipping her uniform jacket and dropping it on the arm of the sofa, a soft flashing caught her eye. She had a message.:: K. Brice: Computer play message. ::The welcome sound of her husband's voice, sent from lightyears away permeated the air. Not only was it a salve to soothe the pain of separation, it was confirmation that he was still ok. The message was simple, direct. A glance at the monitor showed her that his message hadn't been sent that long ago.:: K. Brice: Computer. Record message. "Me too." Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) :::A beep from up above his head signalled that a message was being received. He wondered if it might be Karynn. Something doubted that. They had both been so busy lately that they hadn’t been able to find the time to speak. He, playing Engineer of the Year, she doing Science in another part of the Universe.:: E. Brice: Computer, play message. ::His stomach turned to mush as he heard her voice; soft and gentle, a reminder that his wife was out there and she hadn’t changed at least that aspect of her wonderful self. He smiled to himself. If she were there, they would be cuddled up on the sofa, perhaps doing different things, but they would together.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “What am I doing without you, Mrs Brice?” Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::The computer beeped. Karynn smiled. Bandwidth was limited, especially for personal calls, and they were saving up. But bouncing these messages back and forth was essentially free.:: ::She laid back on her bed and put her feet up.:: K. Brice: Computer. Play message. ::It was a simple question that she could answer in one of two ways. She decided on cheeky.:: K. Brice: Computer. Record message. "Falling to pieces?" Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) :: Another beep. He smiled again and asked the computer to play the message. Karynn had a good sense of humour, although it revolved around poking fun at him. He missed that. Looking at the table, he realised his beer bottle was sitting pleasantly on the coffee table without a coaster underneath it. She would have had his head if she could see.:: ::He got up and ordered another from the replicator before lying back down on the sofa.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “Keeping it together, just about. Enjoying the peace and quiet?” Send to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::Karynn had gotten herself a White Russian from the replicator while she waited. It was synthehol, of course. She could almost hear her human husband's complaints, but she had grown to not mind the stuff... much. After all, it still had effects, but they were more easily reversed should she find herself suddenly called back to duty. And she could really only taste the difference between the synthehol and the really good stuff.:: ::It was quiet. Too quiet. The silence was almost deafening really. She missed the sound of Matthew playing, of Ethan getting ready or coming home.:: K. Brice: Computer play instrumental music, Europe, Earth, Nineteenth Century. ::Having been raised by a professional musician - her mother played a Haliian stringed instrument akin to the terran violin in their city’s symphony - the scientist had great appreciation for orchestral music from all cultures. And with Ethan being from Earth, she had developed an interest in terran music.:: ::Through the melody she heard the distinct sound of the computer beeping, alerting her to a new message.:: K. Brice: Computer pause music, play message. ::There was a momentary pause of silence between the end of the music and the start of her husband’s voice. She laughed lightly to herself. He knew her too well.:: K. Brice: Computer. Record message. "Not really. I can understand your love for the ambient noise in engineering now. What about you? Have you put water marks on your coffee table yet?" Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) ::The new message came through. He placed the rugby ball back down on its stand and looked at the ring markings on the table. He had, though he doubted she would have been in such good spirits about it had it been their coffee table. The young man laughed aloud in the dark room.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. "I don't know what you're talking about. I heard that you're posted in the Science department. Set anything on fire yet?" ::Remembering her mishap with a locked door on her training exam brought a smile to his face. He had to wonder, what she'd be like around a bunsen burner.:: E. Brice: Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::With a laugh, the Haliian set down the PADD containing the issue of the scientific journal she had been reading. During her stints as Counselor and First Officer in her last posting she had gotten out of the habit of keeping up with the latest developments in the scientific community. Now that she was back in science - her first love - she realized that she had a lot to catch up on. She had immediately subscribed to a few general journals as well as a few more specialized ones, including the main publication for biochemists in the Federation.:: ::To be sure, it was no Vulcan epic poem. But it was interesting, and even fascinating, to see what her colleagues had been up to. It reminded her of why she decided to join Starfleet in the first place.:: K. Brice: Computer, record message. “I’ll have you know that I can find my way around a science lab just fine. It’s you darn engineers that make things overly complicated.” Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. (( USS Apollo )) ::The message made him laugh, taking another swig from the bottle. Karynn was more adapt at most things, not that she would ever think she was or profess to being. There were a few memories he had that he treasured the most; memories that he would treasure until his dying day, holding his wife’s hand while he slipped into the next big adventure. They used to watch stars together, laugh about the most ridiculous things, look forward to tomorrow, caught up in the moment as the universe carried on revolving around them.:: ::He looked over at the images on his desk of their wedding day and a smile crept onto his face.:: Brice: Computer, compose message. “Are we too old to run away together?” Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::The Terran music was again punctuated by a computerized alert and the haliian couldn't help but grin. Even though she knew it was all in her head (they had been separated by lightyears for far too long for any true residual connection to remain for the touch empath), it was almost as though she could feel the pair growing closer again as they talked. She sipped her drink as she played his message, a smile playing across her lips.:: ::She did wish they could just take off together - some days more than others. But her sense of duty was too strong for that, not to mention her love of knowledge, exploration, and adventure. She felt far too young to return to civilian life.:: K. Brice: Computer, record message. “Not too old, too responsible. Besides, could you really see yourself as a civilian?” Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. (( USS Apollo )) ::His chest was starting to niggle at him again. He rubbed it absent-mindedly, skimming through some of the repair reports on his padd. The last few days had been hectic; for one, he still needed to shave, the face fuzz didn’t look too professional, and for two, he was knackered. At one point, he had resorted to bunking down in the office from sheer exhaustion while the night shift worked. At least everything was going well now.:: ::Karynn’s message came through, bringing a slight smile to the man’s face. She was right, he couldn’t see himself in civilian life any more. Maybe a few years ago, but now it was ingrained in his very being. There wasn’t anything in civilian life that could come close to what they felt as part of the Federation, as part of Starfleet, flying the flag out in the nethers of the Universe.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “No, I couldn’t. We’ll retire from this life, but it doesn’t mean I can’t dream. There’s something inviting about a family house on the bank of an estuary somewhere where starships don’t torpedo us in the night.” Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::The beep startled her and the haliian’s eyes shot open. Without meaning to, she had drifted off into a nap. From a scientific perspective, the journals were interesting, but for someone who was increasingly tired, it wasn’t exactly easy to stay awake while reading the dry, precise language employed by scientists. It took her a few moments to realize what was going on. When she finally had enough clarity to listen to his message she smiled.:: K. Brice: Computer, record message. “I agree. Retirement will be nice someday. I’m just too young yet.” ::She paused.:: Computer pause recording. ::She was tired, and no doubt he was too. But talking to him - it was easily the highlight of her week. Her brain told her to say goodnight, her heart told her to keep talking until she collapsed. Of course, Dr. Shelley would not be happy to hear that her charge had collapsed from exhaustion. After a moment more of debate she spoke again.:: K. Brice: Computer resume recording. “Got a place in mind for when we’re old and get drummed out of service?” Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) ::Ethan’s head was resting on the arm of the couch, his eyes staring up at the ceiling. He remembered the last time that he and Karynn and been in the same room, when they were saying goodbye on the Tiger before their transfer; he to a posting at the behest of Captain Jaxx while Karynn to a Science calling in the mid- galaxy, unable to do such a large journey so soon after her illness. Neither had wanted to leave, both were at the mercy of Starfleet. He could remember her smell, the sound of her voice, almost hear her soft footsteps walking around.:: ::He closed his eyes as he listened to her message. He could picture a house somewhere in the midst of civilisation, at the edge of a lake with a vineyard spreading out beside it, not that either of them knew anything about growing grapes or making wine. A dream was a dream after all.:: ::He looked at the digital clock on the computer screen, spinning around. The hour was late and he knew Karynn would be tired; he could hear it in her voice. He needed some sleep as well, it hadn’t come easily lately and the more he tried to reach satisfying slumber, the less likely did he grasp it.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “As long as I have you, we could go anywhere you like. We should take Matthew to Halii. What do you think?” Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::Karynn let out a yawn, stretching her arms above her head, as the alert of a new message interrupted the tranquility of her quarters. With a smile she played her husband’s communication.:: ::Halii. She hadn’t been back since about halfway through the academy. She’d seen her parents at their wedding, but she hadn’t really been “home.” Not that Halii felt like home to her any more. Home was on her ship, with her husband and stepson now. That was part of her difficulty in adjusting after this move. She would love to go back, though - and the opportunity to share her heritage and the planet where she had grown up with her family would be amazing.:: ::She had been able to go to Earth with Ethan several times. They had explored all sorts of locales on his home planet together. She remembered their trips to Japan and the British Isles quite clearly. She was already thinking of places she would love to take Ethan and Matthew. Her home town of Larysta had an animal preserve that she was sure Matthew would love, for one thing, and she was pretty sure that they would both love the pink beaches that dotted the western coast. She also wanted to introduce them both to some of her culture: music, art, and architecture for example.:: K. Brice: Computer, record message. “I would love that and I bet he would too. I bet Will would let me coordinate leave with you sometime.” Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) ::It was a distinct possibility that Jaxx might let him do that very thing; synchronising his shore leave with his wife’s with enough notice. It would have to be when they had come out of their first delve into the abyss in the sector that they were currently inhabiting. He stretched up off the sofa, pushing his hands into the flat of his back to achieve the backstretch he so desired, lifting onto his toes to really get it right. He moved slowly into his bedroom, the light coming on automatically to a dim level.:: :: He sat on the edge of the bed with a heavy sigh as he started to pull his socks off his feet, listening to her message before lying back on the bed, one arm beneath his head and eyes closing.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “In the words of our dear Ben Johnson, “In the hope to meet shortly again, and make our absence sweet.” You realise that if I get you in my arms again, I may never let you go.” Transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ((USS Drake)) ::Karynn had given up most pretenses of trying to stay awake. She woke with a start, breathing in sharply at the sound of a new message. Shaking the sleep out of her head (or at least trying to) she listened to the communication from her husband. With a sigh she smiled.:: K. Brice: Computer, record message. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I certainly wouldn’t be in any hurry to let you go either.” ::She paused, reticent to end their conversation but knowing that they both need sleep.:: K. Brice: “I’m tired ... knackered is the way I think you put it.” ::She laughed, hoping that her husband would appreciate her attempt to pick up his idioms.:: K. Brice: “As much as I hate to say goodnight, I think I must. Sweet dreams, Kiimosa. I hope to see you soon.” Save and send to Ethan Brice, USS Apollo. ((USS Apollo)) ::Ethan listened to the message, hearing his wife’s voice for the last time that evening as he asked the computer to switch off the lights. His eyes were heavy, his breathing now shallow in the quiet room, lying back on his bed with little thought to what was going on inside the vessel. Sleep found him and tonight it wasn’t letting him go so easy. Before he slipped off into the night, he managed to get a final message across to his love, thousands of lightyears away.:: E. Brice: Computer, compose message. “I’ll only dream of you. Goodnight, Kiimosa.” Save and transmit to Karynn Brice, USS Drake. ::For the first time in many nights since they parted ways, the young Engineer fell asleep with a slight smile on his face.:: TBC Commander Karynn Brice Chief Science Officer USS Drake & Lieutenant Commander Ethan Brice Acting Chief Engineer USS Apollo
  2. ((Thunder, Deck 9 Main Engineering)) :: By the time Jaxon had climbed back up to Deck nine, he was beginning to feel the last 30+ hours for sure. If anything because the damages to the ship were also forcing the teams, himself included, to take detours along the Jeffries tubes get to their destinations. The Welshman was thankful that his unwelcome guest had vanished back to whatever part of his mind that S’caan housed in. While his presence was undesirable, Jaxon knew it was only a temporary situation and if things got bad… well S’Caan wasn’t completely useless. The thing he needed now was a good four hours sleep and another three invested in some deep meditation. :: Mc Ghee: ::to himself :: Shame it’s not possible. :: The Chief arrived at the bottom of the ladder and crawled out of the hatch to the doors leading to main engineering. Here teams were still busy coordinating the repairs and Jaxon saw that some more of the lighting had been restored, the warpcore was still dull not that he had invested too much initial hope. Moving over to a group of technicians that were obviously preparing for another repair march, the Chief nodded to the team leader and accepted the offered Padd. Giving his consent the, the two teams of three took up the assortment of cases and headed to the warpcore. One of the larger access panels, usually sealed for security reasons, had already been removed and the team members entered the Jefferies access system. :: ((Thunder, Deck 11, Jefferies Tubes)) :: The team climbed up two decks and began a long crawl through the main connection tube that ran the length of the deck. Jaxon became aware that they were approaching the Red Zone after the doors that split the maintenance tubes into separate sections refused to open. After an unsuccessful attempt of forcing them open, he stretched a hand out behind himself wordlessly and was handed a door manipulator from one of the team members. Still bracing himself against the metal hatch, the heavy man pushed and as the twin doors parted with a hiss, his ears picked up the crackled of a force field as it powered up. :: Surel: The section is still considered a hazard by the ships computer. Mc Ghee: Of course the environmentals on that side are down to 10%. Kill the field and I'll then go and power one of the atmosphere subprocessor at the end of the corridor. Surel: Affirmative. :: While the Vulcan Ensign got to work disabling the forcefield, Jaxon turned awkwardly in the narrow Jefferies Tube; while being shorter than most, this advantage was quickly quieted by his heavy build and broad shoulders. The blue skinned Joe offered Jaxon a face mask that would filter the most harmful elements out of the air and few tools that would be necessary, yet were not standard issue in his personal case. The field separating the two sections fell and immediately the burnt and dead air of the passage up ahead flowed through the open doors. :: Mc Ghee: I’ll need a few minutes, I’ll drop my Tricorder as a signal enhancer and send a confirmation when I’m done. :: The others waiting behind them murmured their agreement and the Chief moved forward into the metal-clad tube, hardly covering a few meters before the field behind him was raised again. Hearing his own breaths rasping on the filter covering his mouth, without which he would already be in trouble, he could understand why the team were so quick to restore the field; the air processors on their side had drawn the stagnant air into the Jefferies tube. By the time he had reached the end of the corridor thick swirls of smoke were gathering. Forcing his entry into the Red Zone corridor, Jaxon straightened up gratefully, raising one arm to light his surroundings. The beam of light illuminated the detritus covered hallway, ceiling supports had come down and many of the computer panels lining the walls were blown out; a sure sign of an EPS conduit rupture. :: Mc Ghee: :: tapping his combadge :: =/\= Some serious damage here… moving on to the environmental controls… the entire ODN relay for this section might have been lost... the power conduits to decks ten and twelve appear to be intact… =/\= :: The chief made his way down the corridor, stepping over the fallen struts, the crunch of the charred glass from the panels accompanying him. The air must have been bad as the first smells of burnt materials began to penetrate his breathing mask. The searching cone of his flashlight caught the entrance he was heading to and Jaxon moved carefully over to the double doors, applying the manipulator and heaving them apart. He stepped through the egress and ran the beam of light over the simply designed control room; it was more a large closet with vital environmental equipment installed. It seemed that the system had suffered total failure as the polluted air was much thicker here, the beam from his torch hardly cutting through the wafting shrouds of smoke. Jaxon took another step into the grey gloom, ignoring the bitter taste of the biting fumes in his mouth. The Welshman frowned as his boot registered something beneath it. Directing the flashlight downwards, Jaxon saw a micro calibrator and other tools glinting in the smoke-dulled light; it seemed that someone had been working here during the battle. With the two doors open, the thick wafts of murky air began to thin out into the corridor and Jaxon could see a multicolored hue up ahead; the control console appeared to still be online at least. Reaching the interface, the chief set down his tool case and peered at the screen, realizing that the system was almost recalibrated to begin and atmosphere purge. Response crews must have already begun battle repairs here when the deck was hit bad and had to be evacuated. The chief began to complete the order routine, not surprised that the commands sequence were slightly out of order; an understandable mistake during a combat situation. :: Willie: =/\= Chief Mc Ghee, is it now safe for me to take my teams into the red zones? Do we need the EVI suits? =/\= :: Jaxon had wondered when Tindall would call in, he had been meaning to call himself, but had been busy, then again Willie and Dave were in their element in SAR. :: Mc Ghee: :: still typing :: =/\= No, we’re not entering any decompressed red zones yet. We’re concentrating on the easier areas where our help might still be needed. =/\= Willie: =/\=Do you have an update on what’s going on? =/\= Mc Ghee: =/\= The red zone spanning deck ten, eleven and twelve has been opened and we’re securing the enviro’s as we speak; the decks should be marked yellow plus within 20 minutes. The red zone on decks four and five are still taboo until we can set up a portable generator strong enough. =/\= :: starts command routine :: =/\= Commander Vess is leading the taskforce into battle soon, so time is running short. =/\= :: The computer chirped as the program began its routine, the hissing of air being sucked into the ventilation systems increasing quickly. Jaxon began to repack his tools, thankful that the stinging air would soon be gone and he could remove the mask. :: Willie: =/\= Oh crap, do you have orders for me, sir? And I suppose I’m wasting my breath telling you to take a break? I just asked Commander Hendon to take one as team leader. The dogs and I will be okay for a couple of hours. :: break :: I could always ask Patrick to help out the engineers. Well he'll be able to help with the menial tasks.=/\= :: Jaxon wondered briefly whether Willie should lay off the coffee; so many questions and assorted pieces of half information at once! Anyhow, a break indeed! Due to its size and being so close to the environmental systems, the small room began to lighten even as Willie spoke. Replacing the last of his tools Jaxon remembered the tools he had left on the floor and turned to pick up the strewn tools; every little bit helped in a situation like this. The air cleared further and Jaxon got up and turned back to the console, now seeing that he indeed wasn’t the only person that had been working at it. :: McGhee: :: emotionlessly :: =/\= You can report to deck eleven for further SAR. :: break :: don’t worry about the air by the time you get here it’ll be all right for you and Dave. =/\= Willie: =/\=Alright, sir; I was only joking. Alright, sir I'll meet you at the first red zone, Tindall out.=/\= :: The com now closed, Jaxon moved silently to the gold shouldered figure that was slumped, face down beside the control console. Hardly 30cm had been separating him from the man lying on the floor and the computer screen where he had worked; in the gloom that had hung in the air, the chief hadn’t noticed anything. The short man hunkered down and placed his hand on a shoulder, as his fingers registered the unnatural chill emanating from it, his arm paused, before then slowly pulling the man over onto his back. Mc Ghee recognized the familiar face straight away, his memory relentlessly providing his mind with a multifold of unhelpful and misplaced information; Lieutenant JG John Richards, 29, from Mars, his second long time deep space assignment. Jaxon remember that he had been considering a promotion evaluation for the Lt. come the end of his time here at the Embassy. Jaxon’s eyes looked back to Richards’ hand which still held a tool in it. The Chief reached out for the combadge and detached it, turned it between his fingers and saw it was still functioning. Jaxon had been serving on starships long enough to know that Richards’ must have heard either the call to abandon the deck, or at least the emergency signal that was sent in such a case. Even with the vicissitudes of battle accommodating a multitude of unknown factors, it didn’t take much to add the numbers together and still be sure to have hit the right result. The almost programmed console and the tools lying around; Richards had been trying to finish his work and had been [...] close at that. The chief lent back against the console and swore quietly under his breath while he tried to get the picture out of his head. He had refused to leave his post in times of danger in the past, relying on his skills to get the job done and restore power to the systems or whatever had been necessary. Jaxon swore again for no reason he could think of, other than a tiny valve trying release the pressure within a warpcore. Again Jaxon didn’t need to see him; he simply knew. :: Mc Ghee: :: quietly:: oO Not now S’Caan. Leave me alone. Oo Vulcan Mc Ghee: (speaking) Are you sure you want to keep the gates locked Jaxon? Mc Ghee: ::growling, voicing shaking with anger :: Get out of my head! Vulcan Mc Ghee: :: teasing :: You need a phaser to get me out of your head, Jaxon. :: softly, needling voice :: I am a part of you. Mc Ghee: :: getting up :: Maybe a Phaser is a good idea! Vulcan Mc Ghee: :: teasing :: Don’t threaten me! I’m growing stronger Jaxon. Sooner or later the gates... the walls ... they won’t hold me. :: Jaxon glowered silently at the other himself leaning against the wall without a care in the world. He knew S’Caan was right, eventually he would get through, but Jaxon comforted himself in the sole knowledge that it wasn't that easy. :: Vulcan Mc Ghee: :: [...]ing his head, unemotionally:: Richards… :: break, amused :: …well he came [...]close to being hero didn’t … :: Jaxon let out a deep throated roar of anger as he jumped in S’Caan’s direction, his clenched fist already scything in a blur through the air, aiming directly for the entertained face of the Vulcan hybrid. Jaxon fell a step fore as the blow continued right through his own manifestation’s smirking visage, his fist moving onwards, thus disrupting the engineer's balance. The chief’s bunched fist slammed into the wall, the unleashed force depressing an entire section of wall cladding, as the massive crash reverberated off the walls of the small room. While the tremendous thud still echoed in Jaxon’s ears, so did the bemused voice of the once again vanished S’Caan. :: Vulcan Mc Ghee: :: amused :: That’s right, my old friend make it easy for me. :: laughter :: :: Jaxon stood his shoulders still rising and falling as he breathed hard. Then Mc Ghee slowly removed his fist that was still resting on the destroyed wall panel, he then flexed his hand forcefully, Jaxon turned as he heard other voices; no doubt his team was arriving now the air was clearing. Jaxon gave Gamma Joe a weak smile as he looked into the room, saw the dead Lieutenant, nodded to the chief and silently stepped inside to cover Richards body with his jacket. Jaxon eyed the wall cladding that had fallen victim to his outbreak of anger and felt the pain still coursing through his hand and up his arm. It felt good. TBC Lt. Cmdr. Jaxon Mc Ghee Chief Engineer Duronis II USS Thunder, NCC 70605
  3. ((Officer's quarters, USS Mercury)) ::When her shift in Sickbay was through, Gypsy went back to the quarters she shared with Rick. She wasn't surprised that he wasn't there, just like she wasn't surprised that he hadn't put yesterday's uniform in the cleaning processor. She smiled, rolled her eyes and did it herself, making a mental note to remind him that as she got bigger, it was going to get harder to bend down and pick up his discarded clothes. A little guilt would go a long way.:: ::Before she was through tidying up the room, her stomach growled.:: Hawker: ::to her belly:: Are you hungry, too, little one? ::She gently rubbed her abdomen, which seemed to her to grow firmer and rounder every day, as she made her way over to the replicator.:: Hawker: What do you think Daddy wants for dinner, hmm? Pot roast and mashed potatoes? Spaghetti and meatballs? Chocolate-covered pickle chips? oO Wait. That might just be me. Oo ::Gypsy was trying to decide between pork chops smothered in stewed onions and tomatoes or macaroni and cheese with ham when she heard her fiancee's voice through the comm.:: Rawden: =/\= Rick to Gypsy.=/\= Hawker: =/\= Gypsy here! You've got good timing, honey. I was just trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Are you in the mood for anything special? =/\= Rawden: =/\= Sorry angel, I’ve got to go on an away team.=/\= ::Her throat closed up. Those were words no spouse or soon-to-be spouse ever wanted to hear from their partner. The last time she'd gone on an away mission, she'd come back infected with alien DNA that had nearly killed her and the baby growing inside her. What might happen to Rick? She couldn't imagine. Didn't want to imagine.:: ::But that was life in Starfleet, wasn't it? Nothing was ever certain, and all you could do was to make certain that the people you loved knew, without a doubt, that they were loved. Because tomorrow was not a guarantee.:: Hawker: =/\= Oh. Well...I guess I can have chocolate-covered pickle chips, then. =/\= Rawden: =/\= RESPONSE =/\= Hawker: =/\= Nothing. I was kidding. Mostly. =/\= ::Hand on her belly, she drew in a deep breath and released it slowly.:: =/\= Be safe and we'll see you when you get back. =/\= Rawden: =/\= Take Care of Junior=/\= Hawker: =/\= I will. =/\= ::Her lower lip trembled; she caught it between her teeth to steady it.:: =/\= I love you, Rick. Rawden: =/\= RESPONSE =/\= Hawker: ::whispering:: =/\= Bye. =/\= ::Although she'd lost her appetite, Gypsy replicated a bowl of split pea soup, her favorite comfort food, and managed to get down most of it, for the sake of the baby. After she finished, she retreated into the bedroom, curled up with Rick's pillow and surrounded herself with his soap and sandlewood scent. It must have been the pregnancy that made her eyes slowly close, because otherwise she would have been wide awake until he returned.:: ::Gypsy's last thought before she fell into a dreamless sleep was that she would gladly pick up Rick's uniforms for the rest of her life as long as he was there to leave them on the floor.:: Crewman Gypsy Hawker Medical Crewman, First Class USS Mercury Simmed by LtCmdr Velana CMO: USS Mercury
  4. Voting closes Sunday, September 30th, 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!
  5. ((Space)) ::Within the eternal silence of the all encompassing vacuum, there was only death. Where life erupted outwards from the violent conflagration of a million tiny points of light, darkness remained ever patient for the moment of ambuscade; where atomic motion and cellular mechanisms coalesced to contrive creations never before imagined, the inveterate Cimmerian shade began its inevitable encroachment on life's sojourn. Life, despite its ignorant declarations, did not endure. Only annihilation endured as the darkness of the universe closed in and suffocated everything it surrounded.:: ::And in time, all that existed sought absolution.:: ::The Terran beings had a saying; nothing lasts forever. But they too were shortsighted even in this. Going about their inconsequential routines, seeking out meaning, matriculating upon new paths, and evolving, the tiny, complex combinations of pieces that were at one time stars, rode furiously straight into oblivion. Reaching out into the heart of caliginosity had only prolonged the inexorable truth that the end was just around the corner.:: ::But the Terrans, and their allies, were inconversant with the very universe they traversed and professed to understand. Though they could see into the inky blackness, they did not know her. They did not recognize the persistent tightening of the noose, nor, in their self-proclaimed enlightenment, did they comprehend the nefarious malignance that was inherent within the very absence of all. Nothing was intrinsically auspicious as the creatures believed. And it would be that belief that would guide them all to a potentially premature eradication.:: ::Contrary to the purported cogitations of those same creatures, who, in reality, knew far less than their egotistical minds asserted, space was far from the vacuous vacuity it was postulated to be. No, it was saturated with things and concepts that the fracturable beings could never hope to comprehend. Waves of information traversed vast distances in ways yet to be discovered by the simple minds housed within the metallic structure, against which those very swells broke as if they had found their way to some cosmic beach. With the compounded force of the universe's lackadaisical stance and the pernicious tendencies of the dark nonexistence, it reverberated through the so-called marvel of Terran engineering at incomprehensible speeds.:: ::What was not known, or understood by those that resided within, was that the constricting tendrils of suffocation, made of the timeless endurance of nothing, had allies. If there was an inherent malevolence all around that simply waited out life as it came, and went, there was an even more inherent defect in life itself. Where the nothing remained apathetic and patient, life was filled with the whims of loathsome indifference, obscene greed, vile lust, and an overwhelming need to create pain while tearing the good asunder. Life, as it were, took care of its own annihilation, leaving the [...]able nonentity to snuff out only the dying embers of it all.:: ::In time, the war whose existence made itself known on the trails of subspace waves and informative streams the Terran's were unable to detect would also pass, but not before oblivion laid claim to souls too numerous to count. Klingons, Romulans, Terrans and many others would be caught up in the righteous event, each seeking something that even the bulk of spinning metal in space knew to be only a weak dream of mildly sentient life. Altruism was a laughable ideal; love did not exist outside the minds of the most fragile of all species in the universe. And yet, they fought. They simply did not know what they truly fought against.:: ::The wispy fingertips of asphyxiation reached now for the structure that seemed so huge to the creatures that inhabited it, but which, it knew, was really barely an afterthought within the context of the enormity of the universe. They grew ever closer as a prodigious shadow fell across two empires and began to devour it all.:: -- 'Starbase 118's Perspective' Simmed by Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer Starbase 118 / USS Victory
  6. ((Diplomatic Building ; Brek's Office)) ::Between internal reports and requests, time was passing by pleasantly for Brek. Most diplomats wanted reassurances that the Federation wouldn't let its allies down during the Klingon conflict. The skill here was to emphasize the positive actions that SB118 would be taking, without disclosing too much information, since some of those cables would no doubt be intercepted. In fact, ever since Lt Zehn had spoken at the meeting, Brek couldn't help thinking that the Starbase was infested with spies, all with their secret agenda and even the desire to kill, it seemed. His door chirruped and within second his aide appeared with a batch of documents that needed to be signed. Those could have been sent directly to his message box, which implied that Dakarai was here for a different reason. Terrans often arm themselves with a fake objective when they have something important to ask.:: Brek: What is it this time? ::The Ensign sighed and allowed himself to drop in a chair, doing a pretty good impression of anxiety.:: Dakarai: I'm afraid that this time it's our department that's likely to be the victim of gossip. ::That got Brek's undivided attention. He had been about to open a packet of biscuits, (conveniently stored in his desk), but abandoned the idea right away.:: Brek: How so? Dakarai: It's to do with Ensign Evprak. See, she was dating this strange bloke, Patrick something... or Patriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick as she used to call him. I warned her right away that he was a swindler. He looked the part too; wearing the type of old fashioned three piece suits you only see in the Dungeon, but she wouldn't listen, of course. The silly goose was in love. Brek: ::Raising a hand.:: Stopping you there, Monsieur Dakarai. You don't happen to have a short version of this tale? I've already been subjected to Evprak's antics and I'm that close to nailing her on a fictitious wooden cross. Dakarai: Très bien... As I feared, he took her to the cleaners. Pretended he was stranded on Duronis, needed some funds to come back to the Starbase. This developed into various complications where he always ended up either losing the money or where his life was in danger... And now that all her savings are gone, he dropped her. Brek: ::Scratching his chin.:: When you entered into my office, was it written `Counselor' on the door? Dakarai: Non. Brek: You came to the wrong office, then, my `little' Jean Baptiste. I happen to applaud what this Mr Patrick did. He saw an opportunity, and he took it. I've seen this type of operation in action on Risa. Believe me, each target demands a lot of work, finesse and preparations. ::He reopened his top drawer and grabbed the box that was there.:: Besides, let's not forget that in a case like this, the fake lover always provides a service. He offers a dream, albeit a fairly costly one for the victim. Do you want a biscuit? Dakarai: Non, merci. Think what you want, Lt Cmdr Brek, there is only one outcome to this: the reputation of our department is going to suffer. One of ours has been conned and the CDO didn't provide any assistance to his own secretary. Brek: ::Indignant:: `Assistance?!' Are you completely.... oO What's the funny word they use in such circumstances... oO off your trolley? I couldn't comfort a female even if I had memorised an A to Z method on the subject. ::He took a biscuit and began to eat it, making as much noise as possible.:: Dakarai: That's not what I meant. Something needs to be done to stop this scammer before he makes more victims in this sector. With your financial savoir faire, I think you are the best candidate to tackle this problem. Brek: ::Spitting out a few crumbs as he speaks:: Dishing out compliments at a moment like this, Dakarai... this is low. Dakarai: I am not asking you to do it for Evprak, but for the department. Think of the impact such an action would have for our image. Isn't it best that, as diplomats, we stick together? It would also paint you as a Chief who cares for his staff. Brek: Which isn't essentially good for my reputation among Ferengis, I might add. Dakarai: Unless you appropriate the riches that this scammer has amassed, for yourself. In which case you get the best of both worlds. ::That got Brek thinking, but he soon concluded that before long he would have half the Corps asking him to restitute the money that his dumb secretary had lost. Terrans aren't afraid of begging and they never know where to stop.:: Brek: ::He took the time to eat another biscuit, and then made up his mind.:: Right... I've got the perfect solution to this pathetic little issue: I'll ask my grandmother to deal with it. She is relentless when she believes in a cause and I feel sure that this case will be right up her street. Dakarai: Oh mon Dieu... your grandmother. I had forgotten about her. Brek: Oh mon Dieu all right. This means that if there are any complications in this affair, you and Evprak can deal with the old crone directly. I don't want to hear another word about it, is that clear? Dakarai: Oui mais, what if she... Brek: ::Getting up and heading for the doors, with his packet of biscuits.:: Time to move on, Ensign. We are going to visit the main Embassies. If we play it right, we might learn a few things here and there... The sooner we get this done, the sooner I can talk to my wearisome relative. tbc Lt Cmdr Brek Chief Diplomatic Officer SB118/USS Victory
  7. Voting closes Sunday, September 16th, 2012. 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!
  8. ((Dreamscape, Jaxx's Mind)) ::Standing in the bright white abyss, Jaxx looked at himself noticing he was wearing a silk Betazoid ceremonial robe. He was confused. There was nothing around him but light. He felt alone, not being able to see anything. He started walking, but quickly realized there was nowhere to go. The longer he walked, the more he was confronted with the same sight. Andrus felt lost, with no clear direction in mind. He became anxious as he realized he had no control over the situation. No matter how hard he tried, there was nothing he could sense. It was as if he were in a void that did not exist. After what seemed like hours, he finally stopped walking and sat on the ground. It had been years since he meditated. It was another part of his culture that was easier to neglect. Closing his eyes, he found it hard to center himself. There was no noise, no distractions...only light. After a few moments, he heard a voice.:: Saraa: ::in an angry tone:: What are you doing? ::Quickly, he opened his eyes. He looked around him in a panicked manner. Still, he could see nothing, feel nothing, sense nothing. He began taking deep breaths to enhance his level of calmness. A loud bang echoed around him. In an instance the light turned to darkness. Quickly jumping to his feet he began looking around once more.:: Saraa: ::in a voice from behind him:: You have forgotten? ::Quickly turning around, he expected to find someone. For the first time he could feel something other than the ground beneath him. A subtle breeze was flowing from what seemed like every direction. The air was warm and moist. Andrus could still sense no one. The vast existence that was now black, continued to house nothing. His emotions began to race. Was it her? How could she be there? Was he dying?:: Saraa: ::whispering:: Not yet... ::Turning around once more, he saw a shadow emerging from the darkness. The woman in front of his was an older reflection of the girl that died in his arms. He could not understand what was happening. He remembered his visit to the Mercury...returning to his quarters, but nothing afterward. He was flooded with questions that seemed more illogical than anything he had ever faced.:: Jaxx: Who are you? Saraa: Andy, you were never one for stupid questions....::coyly:: why start now? ::There was a slight gasp. He had not been called that in years. Even then, she was the only one that did. It was a sort of pet name that he allowed her to call him. The truth was, he hated his first name. Andrus was his fraternal grandfather's middle name. It was something that his parents thought was important. His brother Leton, was named after their maternal grandfather. His parents thought it was important to honor their memories. Jaxx watched the figure closely as it neared him.:: Jaxx: I find the question to be as valid as any other. ::shrugging:: I know very well who you look like, but since she is dead...you cannot be real. Therefore, you are either a figment of my imagination, or something else. ::The woman smirked slightly and folded her hands in front over her.:: Saraa: Something else will do for now. ::Jaxx felt as if he had no control whatsoever. He prided himself on his ability to command a situation. There was once when he was more docile, but the death of the woman appearing in front of him changed all that.:: Jaxx: Dammit, I want some answers! Saraa: ::snickering slightly:: Temper, temper. That is not the boy I once knew...he was so ::pausing:: carefree. Jaxx: ::rolling his eyes:: Things change, you for one should know that. ::Her death hit him hard. He was unable to stop it from happening, and her final breath was taken in his lap. They were betrothed, another great idea his parents had. He grew up with the girl and knew her well. As they matured, their parents thought genetic bonding would be the best course of action. She was the daughter of another house, and developing strong abilities. His mother, Bjenta, thought she was a prime candidate for introduction into their family. Back then, Jaxx did was he was told. He desperately wanted to do what was right for his family.:: Saraa: Life has a funny way of facilitating that change. So...I ask again. What are you doing? ::Jaxx looked at the woman quizzically. He was never one for mind games, and came to the realization that he was not in control. There was nothing he could do to change that fact. He stowed his anger, and shifted to his [...]y, sarcastic self.:: Jaxx: Apparently, I am standing here talking to the ghost of wars past. I figured you would have chains or something. Saraa: Well, that is a complete dramatization. Jaxx: ::laughing:: And you are not? ::tiling his head:: Tell me...what emotional response are you looking to illicit? ::The woman kept that smirk on her face as she began walking in a circle around him. He could hear her heals hitting the ground. It was the first time he could hear anything outside of her voice. It was growing hotter, and the air was slightly heavier with moisture.:: Saraa: Do not know...what is there? Jaxx: What is that supposed to mean? Saraa: Are you daft? Jaxx: I guess so...so how about you take a moment of your non-existence to explain it to me. ::shrugging:: I am obviously going nowhere, ::lowering his brows:: and I do like a good story. ::Jaxx kept spinning in one place as the woman did laps around him, slowly.:: Saraa: I die, and look at you! You have become a joke. Jaxx: I have actually been quite successful, thank you very much. Saraa: ::scoffing:: I forgot, captain sir...::giving a mocking salute:: That is not what I mean. You have never moved on. You have halfheartedly approached everything in your personal life since. So what? I died, Jazra died...it was WAR. What did you expect, uttaberries and sugar blossoms? ::Jaxx thought of the two women. He always felt guilty for falling for Jazra so quickly after the loss of Saraa. He tried over the years to justify what it was they shared. They were young, and he was grieving. Did he really use her to help get his mind off of Saraa? Or was it that she reminded him of Saraa so much? They were both among the strongest women he had never known.:: Saraa: Then Talon gets attacked and almost dies. As soon as that happened...BAM! You shut down emotionally. ::rolling her eyes:: Then there was the Morgan girl...do you have any idea how much she loved you? She knew that you were so unsure and so scared, ::raising her voice:: She was Betazoid! Did you think you could hide that from her? ::maniacally laughing:: Then there was the little Gideon...what was her name? Tressa? Way to screw that one up! Jaxx: Do not presume to know me! ::yelling:: You have no idea what I have been through! Saraa: Are you so certain about that? I know everything you are too afraid to admit to yourself! One of the most brilliant psychologists, and you are clueless when it comes to yourself. Your mighty career...does it keep you warm at night? Does it share your joy? Your fear? Your anger? ::leaning in and yelling:: NO! So, I will try again...::in a loud tone:: What...are...you...doing? ::Jaxx looked that the woman. He tried to wrap his head around what was going on. He could sense nothing from her, and felt at a disadvantage. What did she want from him? To talk about his personal life? It was irrelevant next to his career. He watched the woman and her expressions. It was as if she could sense every thought, even though he could not even sense her presence.:: Saraa: Your career is a pathetic replacement for love. You hated StarFleet! ::mocking his words as a teenager:: 'I will worry about Betazed, they can worry about everywhere else.' What happened to that, you sure seemed to join awfully quick. Jaxx: I finished school, and took a year off. Saraa: For your own form of retribution! What were you doing on Romulus? You ran right into the arms of the Federation and became their bloodhound! ::His eyes widened. His history between college and the Academy was classified, beyond StarFleet. He had never uttered a word about what he had done. It was not something he cared to remember. Those were different times, and he was still raging over the memories of the war.:: Saraa: Then you join the Academy, become an officer and you have never looked back. Offering up any personal joy as a sacrifice to the mighty pip! Jaxx: ::raising his voice:: You have no idea what you are talking about! ::In a moment, the woman morphed into the likeness of Sidney. His eyes widened slightly at the unexpected shift. A different flood of emotions began to surface. He recalled the night before, and the sleeping woman he left in his bed that morning. He centered himself and looked at the figure in front of him.:: Saraa(Sidney): And how long until you push me away? A month? Three? What is another broken heart? If you cared at all, you would end it now! We both know you are incapable of being happy. You still cling to all the pain in your past, and you use it as a scapegoat to seclude your feelings. Jaxx: ::shaking his head:: That is not true. I did all I could! ::Once again, she morphed into the likeness of Jazra.:: Saraa(Jazra): ::rolling her eyes:: Did you? It seems like the bare minimum is all you could muster. How long did it take you to see someone after I died? Six years? Eight? Jaxx: ::quietly:: Ten. ::The woman morphed into the likeness of Saraa once more. She stopped walking in he circles and stopped. She walked toward him and softly touched his face. The feeling of her skin was cold. He did not pull away, as there was no fear within him.:: Saraa: Why? You keep pushing them all away..what are you doing? Jaxx: I am not... ::Before he could finish his sentence the woman morphed once again into a copy of Jaxx in his uniform. Taking a step back, he looked at that man in front of him. The only thing he could sense was his own feelings. The man employed the same [...]y grin Jaxx had trademarked over the years.:: Saraa(Jaxx): What am I doing? ::Thinking for a moment, Jaxx looked at himself. He took a second to relieve everything in the past. It was all true. He was using his starship to run away from the very thing he could never escape...himself. Inside, he was still that boy fighting a man's war. The scars had never healed, and as soon as he was reminded of how great life could be...he shut down. For the fist time, he was able to identify the problem. Fixing it was another story altogether. Looking at himself, he finally had an answer...even though it was not much.:: Jaxx: I do not know, but I intend to find out...and fix it. ::The darkness deepened and once again there was nothing. The light, the voices...it was all gone and there was nothing there to replace it. He was unable to continue with his train of thought, but mentally he found himself reaching out...with nothing in sight. The darkness was all he knew, and all he could know.:: TBC Captain Andrus Jaxx Commanding Officer USS Apollo, NCC-71669 Captains Council Magistrate
  9. (( Space battle )) :: With the two marines, Valentino and Hunt, flying in sync, the Klingons couldn't keep up with their movement. With Angelo using his guile and experience and Mike Hunt using his exceptional piloting and sharpshooting skills, it already led to the destruction of a B'Rel cruiser and a K'Peck corvette. Commander Vess chimed in. :: Vess: ::Smiling.:: =/\= If yeh two keep flyin' like that, we'll be all out o' targets before long.=/\= Valentino: =/\= Just get that Klingon ship off our tails and we'll do the rest. =/\= Vess: =/\= We're on it. Vess out.=/\= ::To everyone on the Bridge.:: Yeh heard him. Let's take care o' tail. :: The Rodimus Prime aptly drew the Klingon's attention and fire away from Valentino and Hunt. :: Valentino: =/\= Ok Mikey, let's do this. Follow my lead to the next on. Evasive pattern Beta 2. =/\= Hunt: =/\= On your mark Tino man. =/\= :: The two ships were flying is extremely close sync, evading Klingon fire. The approached another Klingon K'Peck corvetter. They split the Klingon's attention and viciously destroyed the Klingon ship with impressively accurate firing. :: Valentino: =/\= Let's send these Klingon's running back home! =/\= Hunt: Yeeeeeee Hawwwwww! :: Angelo checked his console and saw another B'Rel class ship. Angelo led the line, with Hunt following closely. Impressive flying by the marine pair. :: Valentino: =/\= Approach the stern of the ship on the starboard side. =/\= Hunt: =/\= Why the rear man? =/\= oO What is he thinking Oo Valentino: =/\= Because the weapons on that side are damaged. Fire everything you have at that side. I'll draw their attention from the front. =/\= Hunt: =/\= I'll tear it up like a tin can! =/\= :: With the Klingon ship firing at Valentino, who approached from the bow side, he kept the damage to his fighter to a minimum by using sharp evasive techniques. With Hunt rapidly firing at the damaged vessel, it's shield on that side was destroyed also. A couple of fighters would have no chance against a B'Rel class ship, but luckily, this one was very damaged. :: Valentino: =/\= Nice shooting Hunt! =/\= :: Valentino performed an impressive manoeuvre taking his ship sharply under the Klingon ship, continuing to fire at its underbelly and positioning himself next to Hunt. :: Valentino: =/\= Fire at will mate! =/\= Hunt: oO Just like when I was a kid on the Hun tOo =/\= I'll give em everything but the sink =/\= :: The two small ships continued firing until the rear end of the Klingon ship exploded and broke off.So far, the two marines had led to the destruction of a K'Pek corvette, and 2 B'Rel cruisers. :: Valentino and Hunt: =/\= Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire! Oo (OOC: Just like Maverick and Goose say! Lol) Hunt: =/\= So where you born this good or did you need to practice? =/\= Valentino: =/\= Hahaha, thanks buddy! You know I was born this good! But seriously, couldn't do this without you, you're making me look good mate! =/\= :: Valentino noted what looked like a heavily armed B'Rel class bird of prey. It was firing heavily on Federation ships and taking little damage. :: Valentino: oO OK, let'd do something no one ever has. Oo =/\= Hunt, make your way to that B'Rel class bird of prey, the R'Ver. Make your approach erratic and from the port/bow side. Be careful and don't get hit! =/\= :: Angelo has thought about the construction of the R'Ver. The necelle type features at the back of the ship didn't have much rotational weaponery and the shields were weakest there. Cue Valentino's imaginative ideas! As Hunt's ship approach the front of the B'Rel. :: Valentino: =/\= Valentino to Rodimus Prime =/\= Vess: ::Alucard tapped his console.:: =/\= Rodimus here, what do you need, Valentino? =/\= Valentino: =/\= Commander, I need your firepower! Vess: =/\= We have that in spades. What do yeh need? =/\= Valentino: =/\= I need Lt. Sharpe to focus all his fire at the R'Ver. I have an idea. =/\= :: The Commander patched Sharpe, who was working tactical. The comm system was open and Hunt was able to listen and pitch in. :: Valentino: =/\= Lt Sharpe, approach the R'Ver from the stern side and focus all fired at the rear end of the ship. =/\= Sharpe: =/\= Targeting required location, that's the weakest area if I am not mistaken =/\= Valentino: =/\= Yes Lt. The shield is weakest there at the moment. I am approaching the R'ver from underneath. =/\= Vess: =/\= What's yer plan, Captain? =/\= Valentino: =/\= My Plan? I'm going to rely on Lt. Sharpe's sharpshooting skills and disable the shield to the back/bottom of the R'vek. Hunt: =/\= That all sounds good Tino, but then What? Why the bottom of the ship? =/\= Vess: =/\= Antimatter. =/\= Valentino: =/\= Exactly sir, you took the words from my mouth, that's where the antimatter and impulse engines are stored. A recipe for a BIG explosion! =/\= Hunt: =/\= But you don't have enough firepower to affect that area, even with the shields down. If you remain there to fire, the R'vek will just destroy you. =/\= Valentino: =/\= Well...I'm going to slam my fighter into the underside and back of the R'ver. =/\= Hunt: =/\= TINO! MAN THAT'S CRAZY. Commmander Vess? Tell him he's crazy! He has a death wish! Stop being a hero, Tino =/\= Vess: =/\= He's right. Are yeh tryin' t' get killed?! =/\= Valentino: =/\= Well, that's where I'm going to place my life in your hands Commander. =/\= Vess: =/\= How so? =/\= Valentino: =/\= Just before I make it slams into the R'Ver, you'll have to beam me out. =/\= Hunt: =/\= See you soon Tino...I hope it not on the otherside. Hunt out. =/\= :: With Hunt firing at the R'Ver from the bow and the Rodimus Prime from the stern, Angelo's ship was left unoticed. :: Valentino: ::To himself:: You always have to be the hero! I better not die! :: There remained a couple of K'Peck corvettes and a single B'Rel crusier. The B'Rel class ship waas soon to be no more. Valentino timed his approach and concentrated on the console and the status of the R'Ver's shields. 75%....51%...35%...12%...0%. Lt. Sharpe screamed through the comm system to inform the whole fleet, it seemed, that the sheilds were down! Hunt's fighter pulled away and sped as far as possible. The Rodimus prime also turned. :: Sharpe: =/\= You okay out there? =/\= ::Sharpe asked.:: Valentino: =/\= Thanks Sharpe! Nice shooting! I feel the need...the need for speed! =/\= (OOC: Another Top Gun tribute) :: Valentino increased speed to maximum and targetted the underside of the B'Rel class ship. The computer voiced the decreasing distance: 200km....150km....80km....10km....2km... Valentino's fighter slammed at maximum speed into the underside of the B'Rel ship. The explosion was immense. :: TBC. A joint post by; Marine Captain Angelo Valentino Duronis II Embassy USS Thunder NCC-70605 & 2nd Lt. Mike Hunt Duronis II Embassy USS Thunder NCC-70605.
  10. ((Breeman's Quarters - Starbase 118)) ::The night had worn on a long time and when it was finally over Kevin felt rejuvanated and yet also tired. He knew he would sleep tonight and that he would be much more alert tomorrow morning than he had been today.:: ::When he lay down he went over the peculiar discussion with the Orion woman earlier today. She'd been angry, demanded to know what had happened to Michael Ryan Kelly. He stared up into the darkness, trying to replay events from one year prior in his mind. He remembered the man materializing nearby. He'd felt a sense of relief. He'd seemed healthy, gone about his business. The transport had been fine.:: Mbeki: You know Kevin, just because you can see it doesn't mean it's working. ::Where had that come from? Her voice echoed through his mind from all those years ago. He again felt himself huddled beside her in the navigator's chair of the escape pod as they hurtled from Jupiter to Mars at some fraction of the speed of light he didn't care to remember.:: ((Flashback : Escape Pod near Jupiter)) ::The world outside the window was black now, save for a single brilliant mass directly in front of them. The stars were invisible, obscured by the oncoming glare of the slightly blue-tinged sun. He knew they still had weeks to go before they'd reach the gravity well of Mars. And once they reached that they'd need to wait another week to drift into a long-range orbit.:: Mbeki: So you're saying that because you can see the droplets outside the waste extraction system is working? ::He sighed and said,:: Breeman: Look, this is the forty-ninth time today you've asked me for the full checklist of items. You didn't care the other forty-eight times what the status of that system was but now you're suddenly interested? ::He was angry. He was tired. He vaguely remembered weeks ago finding Mbeki an attractive and fun-to-be around young woman. That had ended when she'd mentioned having a boyfriend. And in any case she had become more of a nuisance, calling back to him whenever he'd feel like he had just relaxed and alleviated his anxiety. He had hoped that she too would understand what had happened only a week ago, when they'd been set to perform a standard landing procedure on Europa when something went wrong.:: ::Around them the computer aboard the Epimetheus had reported rapid decompression on all decks and then an imminent warp core breach. He remembered running toward the nearest escape pod and then following Mbeki into one of the few remaining open hatches. Looking back it had been a stupid decision. They'd run headlong into a long-range survival pod designed for interplanetary trips. If only they'd ducked into one of the smaller pods. That was the first horrible truth he'd come to grasp when he'd understood what was really happening.:: ::This was the Academy survival practicum. He'd realized this when the impulse drive controller aboard their pod exploded almost the moment they'd ejected. But Mbeki still seemed to believe there really had been an accident and that that was the reason they were now adrift with nothing but their maneuvering thrusters combined with the momentum from the Epimetheus's ejection cycle to send them on their way toward the nearest Federation outpost. Mars. The second horrible truth had been that Mbeki still refused to believe that this was a survival practicum, and that no one was going to rescue them until they made their way themselves. She had been, subtly at first, refusing to acknowledge that their escape pod's gravity was a short-term luxury and not something she could take advantage of throughout the rest of their trip. And now he was dreading her vomiting, accompanied by more angry tirades, when the gravity net finally did give out.:: Mbeki: If that system fails, Cadet, we'll be more screwed than just having to deal with the smell of each other's [...]. ::Kevin shot her an angry glare and said,:: Breeman: Yes, thank you. I'm aware of that, Cadet. ::He wanted desperately to go to the back of the pod and look at Jupiter again, to watch its receding swirling face for a while.:: Mbeki: Now please. What is the status of the waste extraction system? Breeman: Functional. ::He said it with emphasis on the first syllable.:: ((Present - Breeman's Quarters)) ::In the darkness of his quarters he felt almost as alone now as he had then. Had he made the right decisions? Was it necessary for him to re-check his work on the off-chance that something somewhere might have failed? And inevitably systems did fail.:: ((Flashback: Escape Pod near Jupiter, Two Weeks Later)) ::He scratched at his growing beard, opening his mouth and bearing his lower teeth as he watched the readout. They had only three weeks of water left.:: ::They weren't going to get through this. He could feel it in every fibre of his being. It had been three weeks. They still had at least eight before they would reach Mars.:: ::He thought of the last few conversations he'd had with his father, when the man had grown ever more skeptical of his decision to join Starfleet as the date of his departure neared. Perhaps he had been right. At this moment Kevin could have been sitting in a comfortable chair sipping a coffee while debugging code in some animation studio or at an engineering firm. He could have been sitting in a meeting room where there would have been so much space he could look out for meters without his eyes making contact with a single object. But instead everywhere he looked the spaces were cramped and more often than not his eyes fell on Mbeki, her round curves and dark skin at once visually appealing and yet also forbidding. She was an annoyance. She whined and complained about everything he did. He had grown to hate her every gesture and movement. He hated her because he knew that if he allowed himself to feel any more deeply than tangentially what he was now feeling she would see him cry and she would judge him for it exactly the way everyone else would.:: ::”Crying won't solve anything!” he envisioned her saying, and thereby scoring another point for the Mbeki side of their on-going spats.:: ::That brushed up against the real memories of conversations he really had been in, when he'd slammed his bedroom door in his father's face, screaming, “I'm joining Starfleet whether you like it or not!,” or when he'd solemnly declared during one dinner table spat, “I will not prostitute my mind before your working class ideals!”:: ::The words hung there in space, the context surrounding them now all but gone so that they arranged themselves around him like constellations on a zodiac of his past mistakes.:: :: “You have to take responsibiliti for yourself!”:: The words had rung muffled through his bedroom door just over three years ago. “You can't keep looking for people to do it for you!” ::His lips quivered and he barely suppressed a tear and then said, nearly growling to keep the emotion at bay,:: Breeman: Listen... Bathing. We can't keep sponge bathing with that much water any more. ::Mbeki crawled over toward him and stared at the readout as well.:: Mbeki: Great. Three weeks. That's just goram great. And what about the gravity situation-- ::The topic of the escape pod's gravity came back again as it always did whenever he'd discuss their current power situation with her. And, as he'd taken to doing over the past week, he cut her off and pretended to ignore the question.:: Breeman: And that's not the worst of it. Valve two on the transfer pump is failing. I'm going to have to use power to do an EVA to fix it. ::She nodded now and the river of relief that gushed through him threatened to cause him to faint. He would be able to spend some time outside this accursed pod and away from her.:: Mbeki: Oh wait. Why don't I do it? I need you to work the latches on my way out. ::He didn't bother to suppress his disappointment, which by now was turning to rage again. He rolled his eyes and said,:: Breeman: Oh anyone can work the latches! Come on! Mbeki: It's delicate work out there, okay? Frack! And we've only got two people in here, not a whole crew! ::Kevin sighed.:: Breeman: ::Barely under his breath:: And it's a good thing too. ((Present - Breeman's Quarters)) ::In the end he had been glad to have a bit of time to himself, even if he spent it opening and closing a bunch of latches. He'd gone over a thousand different versions of the things he'd say to his father when he returned. He'd thought to apologize, to break down crying, to let himself go and crumble. He'd sobbed there in the dim lighting of the aft control panels whenever it looked like she was out of view. The clank of the airlock had been signal enough for him to regain his composure, and when she finally had returned he'd thought to try to get on more friendly terms with her by asking how the view had been.:: ((Flashback: Escape Pod near Jupiter)) Mbeki: I don't know! I just fixed the [...]ed transfer pump and got back inside! ::He glared angrily at her. He was stuck with this shrew and there was nothing he could do about it, save fling himself out the nearest airlock and asphyxiate to death. He'd heard about suicidal ideation during prolonged survival situations in his psychology courses last semester.:: ::Unfortunately that had not prepared him for the survival practicum. He knew there was a very real possibility that they had dropped completely off the grid and were not traceable on anyone's sensors. To be sure, if a rescue ship were dispatched they might be able to find them. And he knew that located in the back of this pod was probably an emergency distress beacon that he could press, indicating he wanted out of the practicum. And then he could go back home in spite of the protests of people like David Owens or Mbeki, if she finally did catch on that this was an exercise.:: ::They were within one thousandth of a lightyear of Earth, their home. And yet right now the space around them in this local neighbourhood of planets called the Sol System was the most inhospitable place he had ever known.:: Mbeki: Well? Are you going to put this away? ::He nodded, taking the tool kit and setting it back down in the provisions trunk below the floor. Soon their gravity net would fail. He didn't want to tell her.:: Mbeki: I'm going to take a nap. ::Without thinking he said,:: Breeman: Mbeki. Mbeki: What? Breeman: The uh... gravity won't last for more than 24 hours. Mbeki: How could you know-- Breeman: Because it's not designed to. Mbeki: What? Breeman: This is an emergency escape pod. It has one purpose. To keep us alive. And it's designed to do that no matter what the cost. Mbeki: Are you saying we'll be weightless? Breeman: I'm afraid so. ::She looked at him as though he'd told her he'd killed her family.:: Mbeki: No. ::Her voice shook with anger.:: We are not going to live like that for eight weeks! ::Kevin's frustration and exasperation consumed him as he glared at her angrily.:: Mbeki: I didn't join Starfleet just so I could float around in space! ::She swallowed and spoke evenly,:: Fix it! ::His father again. He shoved the memory from his mind, forcing down another sob.:: Breeman: I can't. Mbeki: Fix it, [...] you! Fix it! ::He shook his head briskly, terrified at the horrible place he was now. He couldn't keep them alive while maintaining gravity. He could go nowhere where Mbeki wouldn't be just around the corner or just behind the door.:: Mbeki: God [...] you! ::He wanted to let the words tumble over him. But here he was. Kevin. Alone, cut off from the family he'd done everything to reject during those final days just before he went off to the academy.:: Mbeki: We'll be just floating. Our bones will atrophy and we won't ever be able to walk again. We'll be just falling! ::He ignored the first comment about the atrophied bones. He suspected it wasn't true.:: Breeman: We are falling! Look outside. Look around you! ::There was a brief flicker as one of the lighting panels switched off.:: Mbeki: What was that? Breeman: It's the power redistributing itself, Mbeki. Now do you want to be able to see or do you want gravity? We can't have both. And don't think the sun will give us enough light. Those front windows are polarized. And I can't turn that off. We'll go blind. ::There was a brief grinding sound as one of the air filtration units began to give out. And then another light switched off, plunging them into total darkness. The grinding stopped and soon he heard a whir. He could hear Mbeki breathing unevenly in front of him. Nevertheless he felt relieved. The escape pod had made the correct decision.:: ::But now his decision not to deactivate the gravity grid for Mbeki's sake was costing the escape pod dearly. Its onboard computer was having to make ever more drastic decisions. Lighting or air filtration? Transfer pumps or water rations? He looked at her in the dark, hoping she would come to the decision herself and ask him to turn off the gravity. Inwardly he sighed. There was no chance of that happening.:: ::Instead she walked briskly toward the makeshift bedroom she'd made for herself inside the utility closet, yanking at the door so it clanked as it slid closed behind her.:: ::Kevin sat down on the floor in the dark, and heaved a sigh. Finally he stood and turned around.:: ::Opening the power systems panel he accessed the gravity control. Replicator rations were the most tempting place for the extra power to go. He flicked the switch beside the gravity net and suddenly he felt himself falling while the world around him remained stationary as it had been before. He resisted the temptation to reach out and grab hold of the nearest object, while his stomach tightened up as his core tried to regain his body's stability. In a few moments he calmed that impulse as well and moved his concentration around to different parts of his body in order to acclimate himself.:: ::He felt the bones in his legs and arms drift apart ever so slightly, now held in place only by the tendons that connected them. He let his body remain frozen while the fluid in the semicircular canals inside his ears drifted around freely, brushing up against random combinations of nerve endings as his brain demanded to know just what direction up was. Finally it was time to let Isaac Newton have his way. He tapped lightly on the console to move the power into replicators and illumination, knowing that this would be his last act standing on any kind of surface. As the lights came back on he gently drifted away from the panel, his torso tumbling backward, his hips and legs finally following. Briefly the world around him started to spin again as he let himself register the end of the last visual clues as to which direction was up, while the fluid in his inner ears sloshed around some more. Now at his feet, the panel closed with a mechanical whir. Moments later he heard the sounds of several latches around him clicking open. Hand grips now protruded from all the walls.:: ::He could hear a soft sobbing from behind the door to the utility closet. He wanted to call out to her. “I'm sorry,” he wanted to say. But if he did would she come flying out, a flailing mass of hair and arms and legs, and hurt herself or Kevin, or worse yet do damage to the escape pod? If he tried knocking on the door and comforting her would she interpret that as his being improper? Instead he settled on simply floating there a while, condemning himself for having been so angry with her now that she was crying. He had taken matters into his own hands and frightened someone, a woman no less. He knew what David Owens would have said, were he still teaching at the Academy. But now both David Owens and his father were millions of kilometres away. Somewhere his father would be hard at work cutting branches off an old tree, or repainting the living room. His mother would be slaving in the study, working on her next book. His father might even now be dwelling on something he had said, doubting his ability to be a father. Or worse yet maybe he was crying somewhere, ruminating on the hurtful things the two had said to one another, confiding in his mother or his brother things Kevin now remembered with horror. His brother would be somewhere painting, or perhaps working with his father as he often did. Would he still be angry at Kevin? This was where his exodus had brought him, to a desert where up and down no longer existed, and he had lost the ability to walk and let off so much of the 'thought energy' that always built up inside him, demanding he release it by flapping his hands or walking. He clambered his way back up to the flight controls and pressed himself into the chair, securing every last strap he could find around himself. Then he wrapped his arms around his face and cried until his midsection hurt.:: ((Present - Breeman's Quarters)) ::Looking back that had been the first time he'd made a decision without anyone else's input. It felt good to know that. Owens had told him he couldn't keep retreating into himself the way he always had, expecting others to make the decisions for him. Soon he would have to face people and even tell them what to do.:: ::He'd done a horrible job during their survival exercise aboard the escape pod. Mbeki had eventually calmed down, after several long sessions of crying in the utility closet. He hadn't bothered to try to talk to her. Instead he'd spent the first three weeks afraid he'd provoke her anger. And he had been ashamed of himself as well. Why hadn't he been more adamant about telling her this was really all an exercise?:: ((Flashback: Escape Pod Between Jupiter and Mars, One Week Later)) Mbeki: I closed the air shunt vent down in the water control section. ::He had to smile at that. He turned to see a wispy-haired Mbeki drifting slowly toward him. He had to marvel at the way she had adapted to zero-G life so quickly. She now looked like an orangutan as she clawed her way, hand over hand up along the grips, from the rear of the pod.:: Breeman: Good idea. I think we should be okay for now. Mbeki: I want to apologize for my outbursts earlier. ::She spoke with a professional-sounding tone. He wanted to ask which outbursts in particular she meant but thought better of it.:: Breeman: It's okay. This is new for both of us. Mbeki: Yeah... ::Kevin turned back toward the front window and they were silent for a while. He focused on the blue-white sun, but when he saw Mbeki's reflection in the window he looked down at the controls, to the mechanical comfort they gave him.:: Mbeki: Are you scared? ::He nodded before he realized he was doing so and then turned to face her. He thought for a moment about saying no, but realized that would create dishonesty in an environment where the two of them needed to work as a team.:: Breeman: Kinda. Yeah. ::Then she said the unthinkable.:: Mbeki: Why? ::He let his hands hover near his ribs, allowing his shoulders to float more freely. It wasn't like he could let them slump.:: Breeman: Because I don't know if we'll overshoot Mars' gravity. I'm scared we let Jupiter's gravity well alter our course, maybe by drifting too close to Io. And I guess because... We're going to have to cross the Asteroid belt. ::Mbeki laughed loudly and said,:: Mbeki: Yeah but the asteroids are so loosely packed that we probably won't even notice we're there much less see an asteroid. ::He nodded. She was right. Indeed the objects would whiz by them so quickly that even a close flyby would be unnoticeable.:: Mbeki: Believe me Kevin. I re-checked the calculations a hundred times. I've looked at the gyros. We're fine. ::He knew she had but that the readings wouldn't be accurate enough because they didn't have gravitic sensors on board. All she had was the on-board computer's last known trajectories of all objects in the Sol System about which the Epimetheus had bothered to concern herself.:: ::And yet he had to use that. He couldn't allow this fear that they would drift on forever to eat away at him.:: Mbeki: We'll get there. And maybe.... ::She waited a moment, her eyes falling on Kevin's. He felt a surge of anxiety, as though she was expecting him to do or say something but he didn't know what. He looked away and at the instrument panel to her left.:: Mbeki: I'm scared too. ::He nodded, watching her.:: Mbeki: I've done the math a thousand times but I can't tell we're moving. It's like we're just hanging here. ::He smiled.:: Breeman: I know. I never thought it would be like this. ::And then he decided he might now be able to share with her what he'd been using to reassure himself that they were in fact moving..:: Breeman: You see the sun? ::She looked toward the front window.:: Mbeki: Yes. Breeman: See how it's sort of blue-white? Mbeki: Uh huh. Breeman: That's because we're flying toward it to reach Mars. You can tell we're moving by looking at the visible light. Mbeki: Oh yeah! The Doppler effect! The wavelength is bunching up because we're moving toward the source. ::Kevin was relieved. That same blue-white mass of light in front of them seemed to stay in only one place, gently bathing the surrounding blackness in contorting waves of light as the corona shed energy. Nothing anywhere around them seemed to be moving.:: Breeman: It's too bad we don't have any telescopes because then we could look at the contracting visual field in front of us and do some experiments with relativity-- ::CLUNK. He stopped a moment and Mbeki spun her body until she was facing the diagnostics panel.:: Mbeki: Frack! Water distillation system is gone. Oh God. ::He froze. Without water they would survive only for another two days.:: Mbeki: Wait. What about the heat exchangers? They're fine right? Breeman: Yeah but what does that have to do with-- Mbeki: Well we could rig something up with one of the air filters and boil-- Breeman: What air filters? We've only got one left! Mbeki: I don't know! Help me here! Breeman: I.. well... Mbeki: Okay hold on. I'm sorry. Calm down! ::He did his best to do so, as he looked helplessly toward her fearing another tongue lashing. He could still feel the knot in his stomach as parts of him continued to register just what had happened.:: Mbeki: It's not the air filtration system itself. It's the biofilter we'd need. We've still got one extra site to site transport. Now it's a gamble but if we used the biofiltering from that and tied it into the heat exchangers we could boil our water and then pass the steam through that filter as it condensed. ::His anxiety melted away and he felt himself smiling. He reasoned aloud,:: Breeman: We'd lose our last site to site. But that's nothing compared to going without water. Mbeki: We'll need to conserve our subspace beacon power. If we get too close to Mars or risk overshooting we'll need to call for help. That's allowed right? ::Kevin smiled broadly. She really did understand that this was an exercise.:: Breeman: Right. Let's get on it. ::He felt more happy now than he had ever felt in his entire lifetime, he decided. They were a team if only for this brief moment.:: ((Present - Breeman's Quarters)) ::The feeling of the bed beneath him came back with a jolt. Inside his legs his joints again registered gravity. He could tell that his face was pointing up, that down was beneath his back and buttocks. He imagined a pool of fluid inside his semicircular canals touching all the right nerve endings for his brain to form the picture of how he was oriented in space. He smiled now. These simple sensations always reminded him that he'd made it. In the darkness he remembered the last bout of three days' isolation in the regravitation tank.:: ((Flashback - Carl Sagan Memorial Hospital, Mars, 3 Hours After Landing)) ::He still couldn't stand. Whenever he attempted to do so his knees would protest, shooting pain out from his joints. He envisioned his femur and tibia sliding up against each other if he put too much weight on them. How did the nurse manage to stand like that?:: “Our bones will atrophy and we won't ever be able to walk again.” The words stung him every time he tried to sit up and felt his spine protesting as his head threatened to droop behind his pitifully arching back.:: ::And yet he felt contentment. He'd never longed for people in quite the same way. And when he'd think back on Mbeki he'd reach for his communicator and contact her again.:: Breeman: =^= Mbeki, how are you feeling? Mbeki: =^= Stiff. Like lead. God! But my boyfriend's here now! ::He smiled at that, feeling horribly guilty for every time he'd eyed her a little too long as she'd floated there in space over the course of the past eight weeks.:: Breeman: =^= That's good. Glad to hear it. ((Present - Breeman's Quarters)) ::The first night he'd felt like a rock pressed into the warm blankets as he'd slept. He'd dreamt in zero gravity, always beginning with numerous and painful hypnagogic jolts as his dream self switched off the gravity again. And he'd awake a few hours later and see vestigial images of floating padds and tissue papers drifting past his bed as the covers began to float up and fade away, only to reveal the real covers over his now awake body.:: One day his father and mother had visited the ward to see him. His mind had raced around with the things he'd thought to say, but every time he'd wanted to speak the words had seemed as foreign to him as utterances he might make to the native speakers of a new language he was learning. His father had hugged him and his mother had done much the same. They'd talked and laughed about stupid things, but everything had remained unspoken.:: ::He'd learned over the years to speak more openly. He'd even managed to express his love for a woman. What if he became a father? Would he end up having children as opinionated as he? Would he show his more opinionated side one of these days to Savannah and thus risk hurting her?:: ::But maybe his father had already helped him get over those tendencies. He'd shown no disgust when Kevin finally had apologized to him for all the things he'd said to him. His last thought as he drifted to sleep was an observation that he could no longer count the number of times he'd found himself in situations where so many barriers he'd put up for himself throughout his childhood and young adult years had been destroyed.:: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Breeman Chief Engineer Starbase 118
  11. Voting closes Sunday, September 2nd, 2012. 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!
  12. ((First Officer’s Quarters, USS Apollo)) ::A puff of steam rose from the plain white mug that sat alone on the small dining table. It lingered for a moment, as if testing the air around it, before finally dissolving into the nether. In a chair that matched the architecture of the table, with her chin on her knees, her knees pulled up to her chest, and her arms around them, Cayden sat in the silence and found herself simply watching the steam that the mug of coffee was emanating. The simplistic nature of the moment, in a dimly lit room that was supposed to mimic the luminosity of the early dawn, caught her mind somewhere between the delicate fantasy of a dream and the much harsher way of reality; in a place where she walked with herself.:: ::There were no sounds, save for those of the breaths she took and the subtle hum of the ship as it too breathed around her. So often these days, noise filled the air around her. So often, her mind was filled with the darker simulacrums of her past or the brilliance of her future, but rare was it that she found herself caught within a moment in time. Rare was it that she found herself between the two ends of the vastly capacious spectrum. And yet here, as another puff of white steam met the cooler air that hung just above her table, it was in that existence that she now found herself lost.:: ((Flashback, 195 Years Ago, Trill)) ::Having rolled up the legs of his pants and tossed his shoes to the side, a rather good looking man grinned somewhat mysteriously at an equally stunning woman as they walked, arm in arm, down the length of an empty beach. The waves lapped softly up to them as they walked, missing their bared feet by only a few inches. White spray, filled with the scent of salt, splashed up around them as if responding to the tiny grains of dark brown sand that their own steps were tossing haphazardly into the wind that blew both of their hair back. In the distance, the sun was just beginning to fall down beneath the horizon, giving off the distinct impression that the star itself was dying as rays of yellow, red, and orange bled into the water and spread in the waves.:: ::The chill of the night was already upon them, and though the scene on the beach would lead onlookers to believe something else, the only warmth that existed in that moment was that caught within the fragile flesh that walked between the ever growing night breeze and the cold winter ocean. But the two continued to walk, unfazed by the chill or the growing darkness. Indeed, all light that was needed was provided by the stars, and as Rodan would have said, the look in her eyes.:: ((Flashback, 121 Years Ago, Aboard a Small Research Station in Low Planetary Orbit of Trill)) ::One day, she dreamed wistfully, the barriers that existed would fall. One day, the mind would understand far more than it did now and the stars themselves would be theirs to hold in the palms of their hands. There wouldn’t be the need to pick and choose between one way of living and another; both would be able to thrive within a rapidly growing exosphere that only expanded as knowledge moved forward. Diseases would be vanquished, pain would fade, and questions not even asked yet would have answers.:: ::A sigh escaped her as she stared out into the darkness of planetary night. It was the only period of an orbit where she could see the stars in all of their brilliance and glory. As such, she’d stop her work for just a moment each time the station passed into the darkness and let her thoughts travel along the very same cogitation. The future seemed so incredibly far away, and yet, it was something she was reaching for anyways. And while, in the end, she knew that it would not be her that was able to walk among those points of light that were the stars, at least she would be there in some manner of thought.:: ::Subconsciously, her hand moved to the area of her stomach where the symbiont had recently been placed. Still working on integrating the previous hosts memories into her own, she had requested this assignment, but now she wondered. Just how much isolation could she take? It was a question that she asked herself; one that mirrored the one her boss had asked her just before launch.:: ::Yet somehow, the answer she had given then – that she’d always have Rodan to speak with – held much less water now than it did then.:: ::The first glimmer of the sun could be seen as its light scattered across the atmosphere of the planet below. Within seconds, it would return to its complete blinding brilliance, and so, Eliza turned back to the terminal and began to run the numbers of the experiment again. Under the microscope, tiny nano probes began their workday all over again.:: ((Flashback, 64 Years Ago, USS Andromeda)) ::The darkness around him swirled and coalesced into images created by his own imagination. Beneath him, the bed seemed far softer than the chair he spent most of his time in during the day and when coupled with the soft tones of the ‘music’ he’d heard since the ship entered the area of space known as the Typhon Expanse, his body simply let the trappings of the day fade into nothingness. It was this time of the day he enjoyed the most; when the neoteric quiescence of night allowed the voices of the past to whisper directly into his mind. The very epitome of being Trill, it was in this experience that everything existed.:: ::Sleep, itself, never came easily, but he didn’t mind. He had freed himself from the constrictions associated with the uniform that lay draped across the back of a chair in the corner of the room that he could not see, but knew was there. And in his newfound freedom, deep contemplation danced a complex waltz with introspection. Intuition wrapped itself up in the ruminations of whatever situation faced them and answers were found.:: ::The dance continued long into the hours that constituted night aboard the tiny, when compared to the universe it explored, vessel that drifted nearly silently deeper into the perpetual night of space. With the continued backdrop of music, provided by the Expanse itself, Alaryc found a chance to really listen, and learn, from the history that had come before.:: ((Flashback, 17 Years Ago, USS Valor)) ::On the padd that was firmly grasped in her hands scrolled the words that answered every wish and prayer that she had ever had. They were simple, and they explained only what her next steps were, but it was one word at the top of them all that had her literally jumping for joy. Accepted. The word created ripples of elation within her entire body, instigating the intense flow of endorphins and bringing her to a level of jubilation she had never experienced before.:: ::Still tightly holding the padd, the young girl ran out of the quarters that she shared with her parents to share the news that she would not be sharing them for much longer. Everything she had worked for, and everything that she had wanted was finally coming true; having been accepted to the University in Medara, soon she knew that she would be leaving her current life behind. There would be no more red alerts, or danger, or stuffy air that was simply recycled through the ship. No more warp core centered discussions at the dinner table, and no more going over emergency procedures that would take her to the lifepods; Jazra was about to set out on a new course.:: ::It was a course that she had been striving for ever since she had first set foot on a starship. Having lived there most of her life, she had thrown herself into school, excelling past those that shared her age, and never making friends. Now, her long nights spent studying, and her lack of a social life, were finally paying off. And while she knew that her parents were still on duty, she didn’t care. This was something she needed to share, even if her running through the halls of the Valor brought quite a few strange looks. Even if the whole ship found her odd, or troublesome, or anything else. It didn’t matter anymore. All that mattered were the words; words etched into history on her padd.:: ((Flashback, 14 Years Ago, Trill)) ::It was funny how things often came full circle.:: ::Standing in the courtyard in the capital city of Mak’ala, Norah let his eyes take in sights the Adyr symbiont had not seen in quite some time. Around him, people came and went, busy in their lives and wandering about their business. Each of them seemed too caught up in the moment to think about what might come in the next, but that didn’t stop him from contemplating his own end. Having just been joined, the susurrations of Jazra, and those that had come before, were bubbling up in his mind. Together they sang, as if in a chorus of voices that gave him insight into his own end; an end that was coming towards him faster and faster, with no brakes available to slow inevitability down.:: ::And though the idea might have been disturbing to some, the old diplomat simply smiled at the oncoming cliff. His time had been long ago in days that were remembered with pleasant thoughts. Now, at least, he would be able to pass those moments on through the eyes of the symbiont he never thought he’d have. Perhaps, somehow, his experiences as a peace seeker, negotiator, and overall diplomat, would bring knowledge and patience to a place and time where it would really matter.:: ::Though pained by the circumstances of her death, and the intense feelings for a certain Betazoid man, Norah knew that it was all part of the grand scheme. Together, Jazra’s short life would coalesce with those that had carried Adyr prior and build a legacy unlike any seen outside the planet on which he now stood. It was in that legacy that he found peace. Death was certain to come find him, and soon, but with a legacy like he had now, what more could he ask for?:: ((End Flashbacks)) ::A final puff of steam floated towards the ceiling as the most recent host of Adyr looked on. History danced around in her head, coming together into stories that were far better than fiction as her coffee fell inevitably to an undrinkable temperature. Perhaps it was the lack of steam, or the fact that her legs were cramping from how she had been sitting for so long, but she suddenly knew that it was time to go.:: ::Standing, Cayden left the dining area and moved to the room to prepare for her day. In her wake, on the small dining table, sat a now-cooled mug of coffee that had not been consumed as one might have expected. Though it remained in the mug, and the mug on the table, it had become the catalyst for so much more.:: TBC --- Lieutenant Cayden Adyr Mission Specialist/Command Advisor USS Apollo
  13. (( Bridge, USS Drake )) ::Many of the Drake's crew were down in the holodeck attending Lt. Shryker's wedding, leaving the bridge looking rather sparse. Sparse enough, in fact, that Didrik craned his neck to quickly survey the area. He wondered whether he was the ranking officer at the moment, and thus in temporary command of the Drake. He couldn't be certain, however, because of what Starfleet pilots called the Miranda-class "blind spot," an area of the bridge nearly impossible to see from the Conn without actually getting up out of the seat. Satisfied that he was, at the very least, 'acting second officer,' he returned his attention to the viewscreen, where a live feed from the holodeck was broadcasting the wedding in its entirety.:: ::Commander Rogers walked Jade down the aisle, to an arch of flowers positioned at a precipice over a wooded valley. It was at that point that Didrik admittedly began paying less attention to the ceremony, and more attention to the officiant: Aron Kells. It was the first time he'd seen Aron since they'd parted ways on Alpha Centauri. He was surprised to have gotten the brief message from Aron that morning, inviting him to meet on the holodeck after the ceremony was over, but pleasantly so. He was looking forward to getting the chance to reconnect, even if it was with a holographic transmission of the Drake's former science chief in lieu of the real thing.:: ::The brief ceremony drew to a close, and soon after, members of the Drake's crew who'd attended slowly repopulated the bridge. Didrik relinquished the helm to another officer and entered the turbolift, deliberately keeping a steady pace.:: (( Holodeck One, USS Mercury )) :: All the guests had left, the bride and groom had retired, the captains and officers from the other ships had walked through those double doors, back to their lives. Aron was left alone on the Mercury’s, and he simply stood for a moment, surveying the detritus of the wedding and the reception. He was glad that he wouldn’t have to clean up. :: Kells: Computer, end program. :: There was the grid, back again. He waited a moment, as he had said he was going to, as presumably Didrik was doing -- waiting for the emergence of Will from the holodeck, so he could transform it. The program was set to start immediately when Didrik called up its corresponding program on the Drake, though in the long moments when the yellow grid ruled the day, Aron felt each breath and each heartbeat as though it were the longest he had ever experienced. And then there was another. And then there was another. And then, finally, the holodeck transformed. :: (( Outside Holodeck, USS Drake )) ::Didrik waited until he was certain the holodeck was empty, then activated the control panel on the outside bulkhead. The link between the Drake and the Mercury was still active, and the transmission was still stable, something he wasn't certain the old girl's circuitry could maintain. He accepted the transmission, and the doors opened.:: (( Holodeck link-up, USS Mercury/USS Drake )) ::Didrik entered, and saw Aron standing amongst the yellow-and-black grid in the split second before the surroundings came to life. The setting was nothing special; a nondescript café with windows overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, no doubt based upon any of the hundreds of such establishments in the vicinity of Starfleet Headquarters. Didrik smiled at Aron, pleased that the holodeck recreated him faithfully. He closed the distance between them.:: :: Aron had the presence of mind to swipe some of the real flowers before he’d come to the wedding, and though he’d played them off as being as holographic as the rest, he was left with the dozen khesuris in his hand. The flowers were vaguely lily-like, though they sparkled with a natural luminescence unlike any flower from Earth. Aron offered them to Didrik, and watched as holo-hand took true-stems. :: Kells: Happy birthday. ::Didrik took the holographic flowers, which were unlike anything he’d ever seen. His smile widened, the glow from the flowers reflecting in his face.:: Stennes: Thank you for remembering. ((beat)) We were mid-mission on the actual day, so I hadn’t really stopped to think much about it until things quieted down a bit. Twenty-nine... ::Didrik paused, not certain how he was going to finish that sentence.:: Stennes: Not so much an ominous birthday, but it puts me in reflective mood nonetheless. Kells: And what have you been reflecting upon? :: Aron didn’t wait for an answer; instead, he waggled his finger at the space on his face that matched Didrik’s glasses. :: Kells: These are new. How has it been? Stennes: I’ve been okay, recovering well. ::adjusting the thick black frames of his eyeglasses:: Still not used to corrective lenses, but I’m hoping I won’t have them much longer; there’s a specialist on Starbase 118 who is interested in researching my particular... condition. Kells: Ah, say no more. I understand: A subject is a subject is a subject. Stennes: Speaking of Starbase 118, I understand you’re not there anymore. What happened? Kells: A promotion. You’re looking at the valorous commanding officer of the deep-space explorer Mercury. ::Didrik nodded, his assumptions confirmed. When Aron first contacted Didrik, inviting him to this holo-reunion, the message originated from the USS Mercury, with a Starfleet Command signature that indicated he was either the ship’s CO or XO. That, coupled with watching him officiate at Jade’s wedding, connected enough of the dots that the news wasn’t a complete surprise to Didrik. He gestured to a table near the window of the unpopulated café. As they sat down, a holographic fog crept eastward toward the bay.:: Stennes: Is there more to that story? How’d it come about... Captain? Kells: It just sort of (beat) happened. I’d only been on the starbase a few weeks when I received the new order. And then, bam, straight into my first mission. I thought, you know, it’d be perfect, that sort of ship and me, but no, not that first time. Stennes: What happened? Kells: The Borg. ::Borg. Even the name was terrifying. Anyone living on Earth in the 60s and 70s knew enough of the Borg to know that only by sheer chance and perhaps a bit of good timing did their planet narrowly avoid assimilation, not once, but three times.:: Stennes: It’s the first I’ve heard of a Starfleet ship crossing paths with the Borg in a while. I can imagine it’s not what you expected out of your first command. Kells: Well, we got out of it alive, and that’s a plus in my view. (beat) Since then, things have been a little more, hm, normal. We just finished exploring an old space station. (beat) But, hey, I’m talking too much. What about you? Stennes: Nothing as substantial as all that, I’m sure. Still flying the Drake, still working my way through the Klingon military analysis that Lt. Commander Danzia gave me last Christmas. :: Aron watched him field the shadow of a smile, and at once he was frustrated. Sure, their lives were interesting, but they were talking about the monoliths, not the minutiae they’d once shared. What were they skirting around? :: Kells: Let’s go back to the reflection. Tell me what you’re thinking. ::Didrik hesitated, not because he felt uncomfortable articulating what he was thinking, but because choosing the right words was a greater challenge than he’d expected.:: Stennes: I’ve thought a lot about my job. When Dr. Mike told me that he couldn’t repair the damage to my vision, I was afraid I was going to lose my job. It’s not exactly a tactical advantage to have a pilot who can’t see without a piece of millennium-old technology. Kells: But it’s definitely better than having no pilot at all. :: This time it was his turn for an awkward smile, which Didrik -- no pun intended -- barely seemed to see. Aron lost the levity. :: Kells: It was a scary thing. Stennes: That fear made me realize something. (beat) I actually like my job, and I want to keep it. Kells: You should! You’re [...] good at it-- Stennes: Considering how I felt about my job when I first came here, it’s like night and day. I had this (beat) vision of who I thought I was supposed to be when I finally graduated from the Academy, and being a pilot on the Drake wasn’t at all what I imagined. ::Didrik couldn’t help but be ashamed of the contempt he had for his job when he first reported for duty aboard the Drake. It was only last year, but remembering himself at that time was like looking back at oneself as an adolescent. This past year had matured him, and provided him with invaluable perspective into who he was.:: Stennes: You remember the map I kept when I was a teenager? Tracking the progress of the Dominion War? Kells: Yes. I do. :: But he had to think, and if not hard then at least for a moment, as the faces of the new men and women he knew -- of Arden Cain, Alexander Matthews, Velana -- fought him for a recollection from a different time, a different place. He saw the memory, at last. :: Stennes: I think the decisions I made–enrolling in the Academy, choosing Tactical as a focus, the topic of my honors thesis–were all based on what I thought I knew about myself back then. And for ten years, I never tried to grow, or challenge myself, or understand what I was really supposed to be. (beat) But I’m doing all of that now, and I don’t think it was a mistake anymore, that I was put on the bridge of a starship. :: Aron shrugged. :: Kells: There are no mistakes. You were put in a situation you weren’t prepared for and you responded. You responded well, which is perhaps what no one expected; but then again, maybe they did expect that, and maybe that’s why you were there, yeah? (beat) There are no mistakes. Stennes: And then there are the weddings. Three couples, all getting married back-to-back; I can’t help but think about my own relationships. And you. Kells: (too quickly) I think about you, too, out in the black. Seeing the marriages … I mean, marrying two of my staff, that’s something -- two friends, I never thought. Well. (more slowly) I think a lot about that day. You know, the last day. ::Didrik thought about it too. On the surface, it seemed perfect; the Centaurian sunset, the way their fingers interlocked into each other. Except that it wasn’t “the last day” for no reason. It was “the last day” there existed any potential for them to get closer. It was “the last day” they served together. It was “the last day” they’d spoken to each other, until now.:: Stennes: I think about it too. Retrospect provides some perspective, but it was still... Kells: Wonderful, and terrible. Because I didn’t want to go, and I wanted to go, and I never wanted to go. So what did I do? I went. And now I’m a CO. ::Didrik looked across the table at Aron, still in dress uniform from the wedding. His brown eyes met Aron’s green ones.:: Stennes: It suits you. Kells: (quietly) There are no mistakes. :: He looked away, afraid to meet Didrik’s eye. ...Was that right? Afraid? But he thought he was -- knew he was. And so he looked away. :: Stennes: So tell me more about your new command. A ship like the Mercury would bring out the scientist in just about anyone. It would appear the two of you are well-matched. Kells: That’s what I thought, especially since it was last captained by two men without science backgrounds. Why me, and why now? But it’s like the perfect ship for me: A flying laboratory. (beat) Perfect. Stennes: How does your departure from Starbase 118 leave the Jaborrhik planet? What kind of a role will you have in that now? Kells: I’m still in charge, even though I won’t get back as often as I’d thought -- but there’s this holoconferencing, which I’m still getting used to. Actually, speaking of that.... :: Aron didn’t like what he was about to do, but he did it anyway. :: Kells: Computer, load the [...] things. :: And while it should have balked at this request, the computer beeped: It knew exactly what Aron wanted. The awards appeared a moment later: The Daystrom Award in Biosciences (2389) on his left, and the J. Bruce Award (Bioengineering) on his right. He picked them up and held them out to Didrik as though they were rotten fish. :: Kells: I have the real things in my office, of course. Ostentatious -- enough gold that a Ferengi would bemoan the lack of latinum -- and of course I was devastated to receive them. All for bringing an experiment back to life. ::Didrik studied the awards, conceding that they were somewhat gaudy, and not at all something he’d expect Aron to have displayed prominently for all to see. They weren’t the real articles, just holographic re-creations of them, but Aron’s body language gave the impression that even the simulacra carried infectious disease.:: Stennes: They certainly are... ornate. Kells: You like ‘em? They’re yours if you want ‘em. Why not hang ‘em in your quarters? Stennes: ::laughing:: Are you serious? ::beat:: I’ve been promoted y’know. I’ve got my own quarters now, so I’m no longer actively looking for ways to annoy Ensign Mouthbreather. However, I It’d be nice to have something that reminds me of you. Are you sure you want to part with them? They don’t just give these things away. Kells: I think I am, too. (beat) But, listen. I’m coming back towards 118 in the next few weeks. We’re taking a Cardassian dignitary and her staff in on a humanitarian mission. Maybe, if the Drake swings by, we can manage a little actual time together. Stennes: ::grins:: I might be able to make that happen. I do fly the thing, after all. ::glancing down at the awards:: Plus, now I’ve got some belongings to pick up at the Assay Office. ::beat:: I’d love to get some real time with you, and not just a force field that looks like you. Kells: Me, too. (sudden laughter) It’s ridiculous. I can talk about anything -- anything -- but I can’t talk about this. Stennes: ::feeling the tone of the conversation change somewhat:: Talk about what? Kells: Us, of course. Is there anything more frightening and more wonderful? I’ve seen everything, Didrik, and I don’t think there is. Stennes: I’m hoping we’ll both get to experience more wonderful as time goes by. Because I believe there’s more to come. :: Aron opened his mouth, let out a breath that was meant to be a word, and closed it again. He gave himself a moment, then tried again. :: Kells: I want to believe that, too. I mean, I suppose I do. But I wish, I do wish that I knew. The same way when we first met. Not for the power, just for the feeling that we, you and I, could make everything right again. :: But he caught himself before he went on: That, Aron, is power. He shrugged. :: Kells: There is more to come. I do believe that. Stennes: It’s not impossible; the Drake has a lot of officers who’ve served together previously. Who knows? Maybe someday we’ll end up assigned to the same ship again. I’d be okay with that. Kells: And I believe (beat) we will. ::The tranquility of the empty holographic café was disturbed by flickering lights and the sound of malfunctioning circuitry. Didrik turned to see a corner of the wall vanish in a field of energy, replaced momentarily by the yellow-on-black grid, then reappearing.:: Stennes: That’s probably me. I’m surprised the Drake’s holodeck lasted the entire wedding ceremony, let alone our whole conversation. I’d better go soon, unless I want Lieutenant Pandora to come after me for breaking the ship. :: Aron laughed -- guffawed, really -- that half-choking sound that recognizes the previous life. Not that the Drake was really a previous life -- he’d been there only six months ago -- but, well, things had changed. Obviously. :: Kells: You’re right. You should go. (beat) But I don’t want you do. Stennes: I don’t either. I miss you. And I don’t want months to go by before I see you. I’ll start bringing up 118 to people; plant the seed, as it were. Hopefully soon, we can make some concrete plans. Kells: Definitely. And, hey, if you need any help convincing anyone, just remember that you’ve got a CO on your side. ::Didrik stood up, suddenly sad, and already feeling lonely again.:: Stennes: I don’t know how one says goodbye in a holo-conference. Do we wave, can we touch each other? Kells: The tech’s not-- I mean, if we do.... :: He held out his hand, and Didrik took it. But there was nothing there, no reassurance that each felt the other that he’d left behind. Didrik’s hand was the same cold holoflesh, devoid of intention or emotion, that Aron had felt one hundred times before. :: Kells: It won’t be you. It’s just the hologram. ::Didrik let go:: Stennes: It’s not how I want to remember it. Kells: It’s incentive! No, it is: To meet again, to see each other again soon. Really. Stennes: We will. Kells: Until then.... Stennes: Goodbye. ::Didrik exited back onto the deck of the Drake, still able to see holo-Aron standing inside the holo-setting. He waited for the doors to close before he ended the program:: Lieutenant JG Didrik Stennes Helm Officer USS Drake Commander Aron Kells Commanding Officer USS Mercury
  14. ::The story so far… it is over a year since disgraced Master Engineer Victor Handley-Page and his lady Lucinda Mountbatten-De Havilland managed to escape from Star Fleet’s clutches after yet another unfair court martial. Following a short and unsuccessful attempt to become trampolining acupuncturists, Handley and Lucinda have sailed for pastures new, but not before a chance meeting up with Leo Beaufighter, our hero - gentleman adventurer, author, artist, activist, astronomer, professional daydreamer and rural spaceman. Leo had already resigned from the USS Tiger-A after the Hologate Affair – and was in search of new adventures. The wise and venerable Handley-Page showed Leo numerous ways to enhance his own spaceship, and was even able to add his own consciousness to the ship’s database, giving it the ability to learn and evolve. Also, Handley was able to pass Leo crucial information on the modus operandi on the evil Mons Vor (Leo’s biological father) who with his Pythron army was laying waste to the planet of Byzatium. With this knowledge now known to him – Leo has assembled a team of friends old and new – and returned to his homeworld on a new mission – to thwart the megalomanic plans of the evil Mons Vor once and for all.:: ::Now read on… dot dot dot dot dot… dot…:: ((Stream of Consciousness Shuttle; Approaching Byzatium)) ::Leo approached Scania, and brushed her long hair away from her face.:: Beaufighter: It’s been too long my dear. Calderan: Aye. And to think I found you adrift in space. Beaufighter: Adrift? I was merely dozing. Calderan: Is that what they are calling it now? Beaufighter: You can call me anything you desire old girl. Calderan: Less of the old. Beaufighter: Just a turn of phrase, ma’am. I’ve called you a lot worse, ne c’est pas? Calderan: That is true. Beaufighter: So, any news from my old man? Calderan: Nothing so far, I think you are in the clear. Beaufighter: Then that is tickety-boo indeedy. Calderan: Never say never. ::Leo adjusted his white tunic.:: Calderan: You look frightfully dashing Sir. Beaufighter: Frightful AND dashing? That’s an improvement. Calderan: You know what I mean. Beaufighter: Someone has to. Calderan: Why do you say that? Beaufighter: You are mystery my dear, one of the great mysteries of our age. Calderan: I’ll take that as a compliment, although I’m not sure it is. Beaufighter: Everything I say is with the best of intentions, you know that. ::He winked at her.:: Calderan: Smooth talking will get you everywhere. Beaufighter: That’s the plan. ::Pause:: oh, thank you for meeting me here today. Transports are so hard to come by now. Calderan: I’m not a taxi service. Beaufighter: Never crossed my mind. ::The starfield zoomed past the shuttle as it sped towards it destination. The war-torn planet of Byzatium.:: Calderan: Almost there, I better turn off auto-pilot. Beaufighter: Not a moment too soon neither. Sedrin looks like he’s about to fall asleep. ::Leo’s ship rendezvoused with the others of Nova Fleet X as they entered the atmosphere over Byzatium. Nodding once again to Scania, Leo turned and went to the back of the control room. He lifted the crystalline helmet over his head and typed the necessary buttons on the console in front of him.:: Computer: Transferring neural net patterns to master databank. Beaufighter: Jolly good show. Computer: The Handley-Page mindscape is locked in. Shuttle transmogrification complete, welcome back Sire. Beaufighter: It’s good to be back. Now his mind is running the whole bally craft. Computer: Space Shuttle Handley-Page, at your command. Beaufighter: First class! ::He tapped the comm button.:: Beaufighter: This is Leo Beaufighter of the Handley-Page to Nova Fleet X. We are preparing to land upon the surface at 10:00hrs. Check your predefined plans and locate the second rendezvous point. ::There was a signal of acknowledgment from the other six craft, and they moved forwards into the clouds below.:: Beaufighter: How are you doing ma cherie? ::Scania looked over her shoulder at Leo, her long auburn hair resting prettily on her forehead and shoulders.:: Calderan: Fine thanks. Sedrin here is doing all the hard work. ::She smiled and nodded to the pilot next to her.:: Belasi: Heeeeeyy… ::he said in his normal chilled out tone.:: ::There was a clunk, and behind approached a small lumbering shape. One of Handley’s creations.:: Trundlebot: Noooonaaanoonaaah Beaufighter: Ah dearest Trunders, are you also patched into Handley’s mainframe? Trundlebot: Neeeenaaaanoooneeenah! Beaufighter: Excellent! ::There was a squeaking, and from the shadows a small, furry, excitable little creature bounced into view and sat atop Trundlebot.:: Beaufighter: Little Smidgey, can’t leave you behind. Smidgey: Wheee, it looks spooooky out there. ::Squeak:: Beaufighter: Where’s you sense of adventure? Smidgey: ::higher squeak:: Like sleeeeep more than venturessss. ::Leo smiled and patted the Smidgey on the head.:: Beaufighter: Alrighty, let’s see what delights this war-torn hell hole has for us. I doubt I’ll have a welcome home party. ::With a gentle splot, the Handley-Page touched down on the muddy surface.:: Beaufighter: Follow me! Calderan: Right behind ya! Belasi: Yeeeeeaaaahhh Trundlebot: Neeennooo nanana Smidgey: It is spoooooky out here! ::Service phaser in hand, Beaufighter led the team into the wastelands.:: To Be Continued… Leo Beaufighter (PNPC) Adventurer, Author, Artist, Activist, Astronomer, Professional Daydreamer and Rural Spaceman; Commander; Nova Fleet X Simmed by: Lt.Cmdr Eyas Wulfantine Chief Tactical Officer: USS Mercury
  15. ((Officer's Quarters, USS Mercury)) ::As she approached the door to Velana's quarters, Alaxa looked down at the furry bundle in her arms.:: Alaxa: We're almost at your new home. Try to look as cute as possible. ::The black and white kitten stared up at her with huge eyes and let out a tiny meow.:: Alaxa: Perfect. Keep doing that. She won't be able to resist you. ::The kitten batted at the end of Alaxa's long braid.:: Alaxa: ::moving her hair off her shoulder:: Not that. No one likes that. ::Upon reaching her best friend's door, Alaxa pressed the chime and redjusted her hold on the kitten while she waited for Velana to respond.:: Velana: Come in. ::Alaxa could smell Velana's favorite incense. For a moment, it was almost like they were back sharing a room at the Academy. She missed those days. Velana couldn't stand clutter, so Alaxa had never really had to clean up after herself. Her clothes had always miraculously found their way back into her closet.:: ::Her best friend was sitting at her desk, reading something on a PADD when Alaxa entered. She looked up and immediately zeroed in on the kitten.:: Velana: Oh! ::She stood up.:: You got a cat! Alaxa: Well...sort of. ::The kitten meowed as Alaxa held her up to Velana.:: I got her...for you. Velana: ::blinking:: What? Alaxa: Lieutenant Lerner's cat had a litter about six weeks ago. Once they were weaned, they were all adopted pretty fast, but she still had this one baby left. I just thought you could use a little companionship. ::After a second, Velana hesitantly reached out to touch the kitten's soft fur. She pulled back her hand at the last second.:: Velana: I don't know. Alaxa: What do you mean, you don't know? You like cats. ::She frowned.:: You do like cats, don't you? Velana: Yes, I like cats. Although you might have thought to ask me that before now. Alaxa: Noted. So, what's the problem? Velana: I'm just not certain I have enough time to take care of a pet, at least not as much time as one deserves. Alaxa: It's a cat, Vee, not a dog. Cats don't like it when you get too clingy. It cramps their style. ::She held the kitten out to Velana.:: You can't deny her; she's ridiculously adorable. ::A slow smile turned up the corners of Velana's lips.:: Velana: She is precious. ::A moment passed before she took the kitten from Alaxa. Immediately, the little furball started rubbing her head against Velana's chest, purring loudly. Velana laughed.:: And she likes me! Alaxa: 'She' might be a 'he.' We should probably check. ::But Velana was too busy scratching underneath the kitten's chin to pay attention.:: Velana: ::to the kitten:: You'll need a bed and some toys and a litter box. A water bowl...maybe a scratching post... ::She looked at Alaxa.:: I know what I'm going to name her! Alaxa: Mr. Something? Really, I think it might be a boy. It likes your chest a lot. Velana: ::ignoring her:: Matya. Alaxa: Um...doesn't 'matya' mean 'cat' in Vulcan? Velana: You don't like it? Alaxa: You're going to name your cat 'Cat'? Velana: When someone gives you an animal completely out of the blue, you can name it whatever you want. ::She carried the kitten to the replicator.:: Are you hungry? Let's get you some dinner. ::Alaxa watched, amused, as her Vulcan friend replicated a dish of feline supplement specifically designed for young cats. She set Matya down in front of it and smiled when the kitten started nibbling at the mush.:: Alaxa: Well, I'll let you two get acquainted. Velana: Allie. ::Walking to Alaxa, Velana put her arms around her friend.:: Thank you for always knowing what I need when I don't have any idea myself. ::Alaxa hugged her back for a second before drawing away.:: Alaxa: Listen, I know the wedding was hard for you. Velana: ::shaking her head:: I am so happy for Jade and Alex. Alaxa: Didn't say you weren't. But it was still hard...right? ::Velana glanced away.:: Alaxa: You have to let him go, Vee. He's just not worth it. He never really was. oO Even if he had married you and given you babies of your own...he still wouldn't have been worthy. Oo Velana: I wish it was that easy, but... ::She was quiet for a second.:: It's been seven years. Any day now, Allie...any day, it will hit me again. The real thing this time. And I have no idea what I'll do when it happens. Alaxa: In case you haven't noticed, this ship is lousy with good-looking men. Velana: I'm sure I could find a willing partner, but I want someone who will stick around afterwards. ::Before Alaxa could say anything, Velana shook her hand, dismissing the topic.:: Never mind. It's fine. I'm sure it will work out. ::Alaxa studied her friend for a second. Did Cade Whitman have any idea of scope of the damage he'd inflicted on Velana? Probably not. If it hadn't been for Alaxa's strongly-worded suggestions to keep his distance, he might tried to worm his way back into Velana's life by then, especially if he knew she was about to go through another pon farr. But Cade wouldn't have stayed. It wasn't in his nature. And Velana deserved someone who was willing to put her first.:: Alaxa: All right. I'm going to go. ::She pointed at the kitten who had abandoned her food in favor of exploring Velana's meditation area.:: You'd better watch out. Lerner says the kittens aren't fully litter box trained yet. ::As she left, she could hear Velana gasp as she scooped up Matya just in time to save her Triaxian silk floor pillows.:: Lt. Sen Alaxa (PNPC) Communications Officer USS Mercury with Lt. Commander Velana Chief Medical Officer USS Mercury __._,_.___
  16. ((Private Bathrooms, Executive Tower, Starbase 118)) :: A kitchen staff was no different from a senior staff, assignments and departments broken down into who was in charge of and overlooked a key critical element of what was going on the plate for both enjoyment, aroma and consumption. A chef coordinated the people who brought it all together, from those responsible for fresh ingredients (something David would have done under normal circumstances), to the Lieutenant who developed the stock, and the Ensign who chopped ingredients to a precise measurement by eye, because his experience and his knowledge far surpassed anyone elses, including David. :: :: He was thankful to the kitchen staff, because they allowed him to step in tonight in lieu of the actual Chef who ran this kitchen. Perhaps more than most, David knew what it felt like to stand outside of it all, and sometimes the only role he could be in was that of an observer. This kitchen staff didn't know him, but they welcomed him. They were willing to work with him. :: :: For some reason, David saw the parallel. Here he was, finally, cleared to return to active duty. He knew he could have asked for his former rank. Maybe they would have given it back. He chose not to, at least not right now. Because of something not that Jessa taught him, or either Hollis, or Jenn Mar. Not what his old captain in the civilian trade, Michael Blade, passed on to him from an entirely different generation. :: :: Because his life before coming to Starfleet wasn't rank-based. From Ensign to an interrupted Captaincy, David knew that the cherished moments came from working alongside the people he wanted to get to know, and learn from them. He thought briefly about when he first met Ben Walter aboard the first Independence while stepping out and borrowing a private bathroom that had a replicator. :: :: He thought about the Furies Furnace, and about Shepard. About Walker. Meeting Jenn Mar for the first time and the furious blush because she was exceedingly beautiful, and reporting in to Admiral Anassasi. He thought about Makno, which made him think about Alana Devar, and Marcus Dickens, Allen Cruise... Faces and people engrained into his memories, and while they weren't always pleasant, they were cherished, for the opportunity to get to know them, even if only for what life allowed. :: :: He thought about this as he pulled on the gleaming white of the Dress, using a mirror in the bathroom. He straightened the cuffs and smoothed the shirt. Stiff, formal, uncomfortable... and this time he wasn't presenting awards or commending the performance of a crew. He was even able to get access to the ribbons and medals he had been awarded by Starfleet, along with a few others outside of Starfleet that belonged to a former life, a good life, that allowed him to meet and get to know people, even if sometimes it meant their arrest. :: :: No. David studied himself in the mirror, searching his own weathered face. He didn't know this crew. Perhaps with the exception of Ben and Kevin. He was glad to have this opportunity, though. So much happened so fast, and the faces of those who didn't make it graced his thoughts. Men and women who had died under his watch, or while serving with them, that forced his eyes closed to relive every action that had been taken. Sometimes they weren't by the book, and sometimes boarding on the edge of protocal. :: :: The truth of it was once he was out of the departments, whether it was tactical, security, science, intelligence, even as a marine lliason, once he was put into the command chain, he was never entirely sure what his role was, other than to be there when they needed him, and make the decisions that would affect the entire crew. And it was hard for him, because he was used to being actively involved and having something to do. He wasn't used to sitting in a chair, or having someone else do the work. :: :: He wanted to be in the frontlines, he wanted to be with them, out there in the field and active. Not stuck flying a desk, or limited to the chair. He wanted to search databases for clues, or stardive with his fellow crewmembers onto a planet to help search for whatever was the hot topic. He wanted to laugh, and sit co-pilot to the Helmsman and pull some Gs... as much time as he could get working the time together alongside people with distinguishing personalities, skills and experience that made them shine. :: :: David finished pinning the rest of his replicated medals and ribbons, glancing for a minute at his pipless collar. And he nodded finally. It was fitting. He didn't have to be an Ensign. He didn't have to be a Captain. He could just be himself, and approach either Katy Orman or Johanna MacLaren and ask for a dance. Hell, maybe even Kalianna Nicholotti. He could just hang out with Silveira and check out dive bars, be his wingman or backup. He could go down and take down terrorists with Ben on some military exercise, or maybe with the Marine officers. :: Cody: ::to himself, smiling:: Steal a ship out of drydock and go sail off for a few hours with some old and new friends. :: Court-martial was overrated anyway. He grinned in spite of himself. No. He was going to leave the pips off tonight. Besides, the replicator glitched and gave him five solids instead of just three and an open pip... or perhaps the system hadn't been updated. He stared at the solids briefly, then dumped them into the incinerator. oO Screw rank. Let's just have all the time in the universe and enjoy them together. Oo :: :: He nodded to himself and gave himself once last once over. :: ((Kitchens, Exectuive Tower, Starbase 118)) :: Returning to the kitchens, David saw his Sous Chef, Alfonzo, who glanced at him up and down, and nodded with a smile and wink. David returned the wink and took the opportunity to check on the Filet Mignon, then the mushrooms and eggplant. The aromas briefly swooned him, and for a moment, David felt like he was back home on Mars, in the kitchen and watching his father, Barnes Cody, futz around the kitchen preparing supper and opening a bottle to let it breathe. :: :: Heading over to the wines for the evening, David uncorked them. Since he had no way of knowing whether they came out of a temperature controlled environment, he took a small taster glass and splashed a little bit of the Picard, bringing the mouth under his nose to drink the aroma, then tasted the crisp, almost fresh green apple, and lingering short crisp finish. :: :: It was nice to step in and just be a part of a team that whipped up such fabulous food. He poured a taste of the Chateau St. Jean and held it up to look at the colour, and caught the unmistakable reflection of a Japanese woman with braided black hair down past her waist adorned in a Dress White uniform. Nicholotti's reflection captivated David a moment, studying her features captured in the refraction of light and glass. She stopped and just stood there inside the doors and blinked. He tasted the Cabernet and nodded, pouring another splash taste and turning around to greet her. :: Cody: :: smiling :: A good evening to you, Commander Nicholotti. :: A pair of blue-gray eyes landed on him. :: Nicholotti: You look... busy to say the least. Cody: Oh trust me, they could do this with their eyes closed without me. The kitchen staff here are the real miracle workers. :: She laughed slightly and her gaze wandered around the room. She nodded and David glanced back, catching Silveira back in the kitchen, and shook his head while silently laughing. oO Of course. Oo Did he blame Vitor? Not in the slightest. He was only glad the tactical officer was enjoying himself. :: Nicholotti: Ensign Silveira. Making more nougat? Silveira: Commander. It is a pleasure to see you again. ::Vitor nodded respectfully.:: Not really Ma'am, this night menu is far more exquisite. :: David found himself lingering on Kalianna, watching her. There was a light within her blue-gray eyes that shone bright. :: Nicholotti: I'm not sure when all of this will be ready, but I have a feeling that we're going to have some of the early birds here shortly. Cody: Thanks to Ensign Silveira here, both the appetizer and Pinot Gris should be out ready for them to consume and mingle. Silveira: And I was about to start placing them at the banquet room. ::Vitor was starting to move but glancing at both officers he said with a smile.:: I hope both of you don't take this the wrong way, but I am also a pretty good tactical officer, besides kitchen helper and escort. :: Nicholotti moved herself out of the flow of traffic and came near, loitering near the wall. A cook handed David a sampler plate of the Filet Mignon. :: Nicholotti: So what is that? :: David grabbed a fork and set it on the plate, handing it over to the Commanding Officer. :: Cody: A sampler of the main course, Filet Mignon. Enjoy. Nicholotti: It’s good. Almost too good. :: David passed over the glass of the thirty year old Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon. :: Cody: Paired with this. Nicholotti: You know, you may have missed your calling. :: David flashed a normal smile for a change, instead of the crooked one so many knew him by. He took the glass from her fingers and set it aside. A cook frowned at him and took the used glass off the stainless steel table as she passed by. :: Cody: I don't get many chances to cook, so when the opportunity rises, I snag them. Amidst all this chaos, for me it's relaxing, and fun. Maybe in another life, I'll be a chef instead of a roving jack-of-all-trades, master of none. How about you? Nicholotti: Perhaps something less chaotic. :: Chuckling, David grabbed two fresh new glasses and measured a small pour of the appetizer paring, the Pinot Gris, one for her, and one for himself. :: Cody: What I know is in this moment, right now, right here, I don't have to be anything but David Cody. Out there, we're commanding officers, executives, department heads, and specialists with ranks from Crewmen up to Rear Admirals. In here, we're Vitor, and Alfonso over there, the sous chef, David, and if you want, ::winking at her:: just Kalianna. TAG! / TBC... =============================== LtCmdr. David Cody Chief of Operations UFOP: Starbase118
  17. ((OOC: Tracey wasn't invited )) ((Holodeck One-Deck Four-USS Mercury)) ::The holodeck had the smell of cedar as the sky above was a blue as a robin’s egg in the nest. The clouds above were like dreams floating in the mind of God. The grass, the trees, the mountains, were just made for this day. A day of joy, a day of happiness, a day of joining. The chairs on either side of the white runner leading to the arch of flowers the looks out over the valley in Ohio. :: ::Alexander stood under the arch of flowers in his dress whites on the top of the hill overlooking the family home in the valley below. The breeze was cool but not enough to be uncomfortable. The morning sun beamed down upon him as he looked down to see the morning mist in the lower valley where Jade and Alexander’s cabin sat waiting for them when there was time for them to go home. He stood there with his hands sweating a little as he waited for his bride. :: ::The guests started to enter the holodeck from their different ships and virtual connections.:: ::Eerie was dressed in his formal uniform and he entered the holoprogram. He didn’t know anyone for a moment as he looked around the scene. He had done some research on weddings and his duty as best man. Eerie still did not liked public affairs but this was for Matthews and he wanted to be there for him:: :: Aron Kells was late, but not so late that he arrived after the full wedding party. In fact, he was pleased to see that while perhaps half the party had arrived, neither the bride nor the groom were yet present, and so he excused himself as he hurried beyond the arch. Frankly, he was surprised he wasn’t later, given the dislike he carried for the white-on-white dress uniform ensemble required of Starfleet COs. He’d considered simply dressing in something else and attaching his pips, but he was certain there was some rule somewhere that forbade that, and he wasn’t so hateful of his milky complexion against the dress whites that he was going to risk the legality of the affair for either of the officers. :: ::Alexander walked over to greet his friend, it had been sometime since he seen Eerie. Then the Captain had come, he turned to introduce them to each other.:: Matthews: Eerie, it’s good to see you. How are things on the Avandar? Eerie: Alex, Things are good, thank you. ::Eerie could see the excitement in his friend's eyes:: Matthews: ::Turning to Aron.:: Captain, this it Lt. Commander Eerie of the Avander. Chief Tactical and Security officer. Eerie, Commander Aron Kells, commanding officer of the Mercury. Eerie: Captain, a pleasure to meet you. ::Eerie almost came to attention and then remembered that is was a social affair.:: Kells: And you, Commander. I know your ship by reputation, and your captain likewise; and neither of those reputations is anything less than stellar. Eerie: Thank you. Sire, I have heard good things from Alex about you and your crew as well. :: Still, Aron had never spoken with a Brikar before, and he was -- well, not intimidated, exactly, but more than a little wide-eyed. He knew that the Brikar were only rocklike creatures in the same way that he was a fleshlike creature, but he could barely restrain the impulse to be the ensign he once was and whip out the tricorder that, even now, he kept at his side. But he forced his impulse down, swallowed heavily, and looked out over the grass at the new arrivals. :: ::Looking out out over the landscape that appeared as the doors to the Victory’s holodeck parted, Kalianna Nicholotti gave herself a moment to take it all in before moving forward. Tugging at the jacket of the dress white uniform, a uniform she found herself in far more often than she would have liked, she stepped forward and made her way towards the one who had invited her. Though she admittedly did not know the officer as well as she might have liked, she knew that he was a good officer who deserved the happiness this day would bestow upon him.:: ::Locating Matthews, near a few other people including one rather familiar face, Kali made her way down towards the arch where the magic would happen. As she got closer, she looked towards Kells and nodded in greeting before turning to Matthews.:: Nicholotti: Commander Matthews, this is all very beautiful. ::She gestured around her at the view.:: Matthews: ::Turning to look at the woman.:: Captain Nicholotti, I’m so glad you could make it. Thank you this is my home on Earth, I’m glad you like it.. By the way. ::Motioning to Eerie.:: this is Lt. Commander Eerie of the Avander. Nicholotti: It looks perfect. ::She turned her face towards the officer he indicated.:: Nice to meet you, Commander. Eerie : Thank you Sir, it is a pleasure. Nicholotti: And good to see you again, Captain. How’s life on the Mercury? :: Aron caught the shadow of a wink, and could’ve sworn he returned it with one of his own. Certainly the few weeks he’d spent as Nicholotti’s XO stood out in his memory, if only because of the crises in which he’d suddenly appeared. :: Kells: Well, no more storms of daggers, my friend. No, my first mission out, we had to run into the Borg. (laugh) I would’ve taken the political machinations of the Alliance again in a heartbeat. ::Entering at this point, Eyas could see that there were a number of familiar and not so familiar faces already present. Dressed in Star Fleet whites, he felt quite dapper. Full Pythron ceremonial with his golden cuirass and long flowing blue cloak would have been a tad excessive, even for a wedding. The giant man went forward and nodded to the assembled officers.:: Wulfantine: Salutations. Matthews: ::Looking back to see Eyas walking over to the group.:: Welcome Eyas, you know Eerie. ::Motioning to Kalianna.:: Lt. Commander Eyas Wulfantine, Captain Kalianna Nicholotti of 118 operations, and the USS Victory. Nicholotti: ::Nodding slightly.:: Commander. Wulfantine: Pleasure to meet you, Sirs. Eerie ::Nodding:: Good to meet everyone.::Trying to quickly to stick names with faces:: Wulfantine: Alex, my good friend, you don’t look too nervous… yet. Matthews: ::Looking at Eyas, and smiling.:: You just had to say that. ::Looking over to see Frances and Jefferson walking towards the group.:: Mom, Dad, here are some people that I would really like you to meet. ::Looking over to the holodeck entrance.:: I’m not sure who is coming in. ::Looking to Commander Kells and Captain Nicholotti.:: Ma’am, sir do you know this officer ? ::As the turbolift doors to the holodeck opened on the USS Apollo, Jaxx stepped through in his dress whites. He found himself attending these things more and more. It was a brilliant way to include people over great distances. He would rather attend in person, but it was the life they had all chosen. He had to give a minute for the sensors on the Apollo to adjust the visual data. Their position left communications and sensors a bit of a problem, but so far the relays were working correctly. Once the processors caught up, the holodeck was replaced with a beautiful view of a valley. He assumed that the location meant something to the bride or groom. He spotted two of his colleagues and found himself gravitating in that direction.:: Jaxx: Captain Nicholotti, what a small universe. ::smirking at the Terran woman, he gave her a small hug and kiss on the cheek. Turning to Aron, he smirked:: Captain Kells, how have you been? ::extending his hand:: Nicholotti: Indeed it is. ::Kali smiled and thought about how long it seemed since she had seen her dear friend, though quickly put it out of her mind and simply enjoyed his company then. After all, this moment was all we ever really had.:: :: Aron again kept a fine lid on his wide eyes: Because he had not seen Jaxx for many months now, and not in the way the officer standing in front of him would’ve remembered. No, the last time he’d seen a man named Andrus Jaxx, it had been in 2396, and that had been aboard a different starship, in a different time. True, Aron had met this man before, but the other meeting was much fresher in his mind, and much less focused on the man before him. :: Kells: ::taking the hand:: If I complained too strenuously, I’m afraid the balance of the universe would fall away. (beat, slight wink) I’m fine. Thank you. Jaxx: ::extending his hand:: Commander Matthews, I have heard a lot about you. It is an honor to meet you. Matthews: ::taking the hand of the Captain.:: Thank you sir, you have heard about me ? I’m honored also sir. Thank you for coming. ::Looking to Eerie and Eyas.:: Sir, Lt. Cmdr. Eerie of the Avandar and Lt. Cmdr. Eyas Wulfantine, Captain Andurs Jaxx of the Apollo. ::He looked over to see his mother and father walk over and another officer walked into the holodeck.:: Everyone, My mother and father. ::Turning to Rogers.:: Pleasure to meet you Commander Rogers, it is my honor to meet you. Jade has told me about you. Wulfantine: A honour to meet you Ma’am, Sir Rogers:: Having just arrived Will smiled at the assembled group.:: A pleasure to meet you Cmdr Matthews. So I get to meet the man who stole my ACOS.:: Will smiled to show he was only teasing the man.:: Jaxx: ::nodding to the other officers, then glancing to his parents:: Mister and Misses Matthews, I am pleased to meet you. ::with his trademark smirk:: Eerie: Mister and Misses Matthews a pleasure. ::Frances and Jefferson Matthews did not know any of the guests just yet. They only knew of what Alexander had told them of the crews that he has served with.They walk over and introduce themselves.:: Frances: Hello everyone, I’m Frances Matthews, and this is my husband Jefferson. It such a pleasure to meet you all. Alexander has told us about you all. Kells: Oh, has he? ::with a glance at Matthews:: I shudder to think what monstrous figures we cut. Rogers: A pleasure to meet you both. I had the good fortune to have Jade serve as an officer on my ship until your son spirited her away. Jefferson: ::Looking at Frances.:: Dear, Alex has not served with all of them. Frances: I know that dear... ::Looking at him with a glare.:: Jeff. Jefferson: Yes my dear ? Frances: Shut up. ::Looking back to the guests with a smile.:: Thank you for coming, we are so happy to have you here, excuse us while we get a few things ready. ::Looking to Jefferson.:: Come on, you have to get ready to escort Jade. ::Looking to Rodgers.:: Unless you would like to Commander Rodgers ? Rogers: ::bearing the mispronunciation of his name with good grace Will smiled.:: I would be honored. Matthews: ::Smiling.:: Thank you sir, they are just as nervous as I am. ::Alexander just laughed as he watched them walk back to the main house, he knew that they were just as nervous as he was. He looked up to see Sen Alaxa walk into the holodeck. Following behind her was Askade D’ciq, sparring partner and best friend to Alexander. On this day that will change, she will take a step back as Jade becomes his best friend. She will be there to watch over and protect them both. He then saw someone else from the holo conference that he held on from the Mercury.:: :: T’Mihn walked into the holodeck wearing a solid colored, flowing cranberry silk dress of Vulcan design, a midnight blue hooded over robe with a copper lining. Her family sigals in a very old flowing calligraphic style were embroidered on the robe. The weather was chilly for her, the sight of the verdant valley was amazing. Earth never ceased to amaze her, she would need the rest of her life to explore the planet. She saw the faces of Eyas,being glad the Phytron had not only survived his ordeal but was happy. She had trained with Jade on Centris, during the cadet cruise. and a short while on Tiger. She looked forward to seeing her again, and a few friends. :: Matthews: ::Looking to T’Mhin.:: I’m very glad that you could make it Lt. T’Mhin: I’m glad I could too. Congratulations to the both of you. Matthews: Thank you very much.The connection from the Tiger must be pulling a large amount of power. T’Mihn: ::Smile:: A little jury rig here and there fixed that problem. Matthews: You know Jade ? She will be glad that you came. T’Mihn: I do, she was on my cadet cruise and I look forward to seeing her again..::Tilting her head to the side with a smile .:: I think she’ll be busy for a while. Matthews: Do you know anyone else here besides Jade ? ::The Vulcan CSO scanned the crowd.:: T’Mihn: I know Velana, Lt. Eyas, Commander Nicholotti via a conference. Matthews: That’s good, but there have been a few changes. Eyas has been promoted, and so has Captain Nicholotti. So you were in a training class with Jade ? T’Mihn: :: Noding:: It’s the nature of the job. Actually she was with me on USS Centris during the cadet cruise. Matthews: Very nice. How are things going for you on the Tiger? T’Mihn: All is well on Tiger, it’s challenging as Chief Science Officer though. What about you on Mercury? Matthews: The same, we just finished a mission. It was a long one. ::Looking around.:: I’m not sure where Jade is, but I know the doctor is with her. I would imagine they are in the main house. In fact, Lt. Sen Alaxa is here somewhere. ::Getting anxious.:: Just not sure where she is right now. ::Understanding his anxiety, since she felt the same way nearly five decades ago. Giving the nervous groom a comforting look.:: T’Mihn: It will be alright. Jade is in safe hands with Velana. Take a deep breath, you’ll have the rest of your lives together. A few moments more is only a short time. Matthews: Thank you very much for the encouragement. I do have to get ready upfront. I am so glad that you could make it. T’Mihn: ::Bowing head.:: You are welcome and I thank you for inviting me. When it comes time for me, I’d like to extend the same to you and your family. I think you might find the gardens pleasant. Matthews: It would be my honor to attend. Please enjoy yourself. ::Nodding to her as he turned to head for the flower arch.:: ::Alaxa entered the Holodeck and looked around, seeking out a familiar face. She’d never been a fan of the dress uniform, so she’d opted to wear a short, backless emerald green dress that hugged her curves. Her long, blonde hair was pulled into a high ponytail.:: ::She didn't exactly know Jade Shryker, but she knew that Velana was good friends with the bride; Alaxa had never heard the entire story of what had happened to them in the mirror universe, but it had apparently been a bonding experience, so much so that Velana had been asked to be Jade Shryker's maid of honor.:: ::Alaxa did, however, know the groom. She and Commander Matthews had worked together on the puzzle of the abandoned station and its mysterious distress call. He was a decent guy and she was glad to be able to wish him well on his wedding day.:: ::Her scan of the growing crowd proved fruitful when her gaze landed on Commander Wulfantine. Her lips curled up into a smile. Standing a few inches over almost everyone, he was hard to miss. Squaring her shoulders, Alaxa came up behind his massive body.:: Alaxa: I've always thought that the Starfleet dress uniform does way more for men than it does for women. ::Eyas smiled at the blonde Bajoran. She made a fetching sight.:: Wulfantine: Hello Lieutenant. I think you are too hard on your half of the crew. But I see you’ve gone for something even more becoming. Alaxa: Flattery will you get you everywhere. ::She paused.:: It's good to see you, Commander. Wulfantine: You too. Alaxa: Are you sitting with someone? The only person I really know here is in the bridal party. Maybe we can sit together? ::Eyas sensed an opportunity not to be missed.:: Wulfantine: I think that would be most conducive. ::When he offered his arm, Alaxa slipped her hand into it without hesitation.:: Alaxa: And they say chivalry is dead... Wulfantine: There aren’t many of us gentlemen left. We’re an endangered species, don’t you know? Alaxa: Oh, believe me...I’m aware. :: Alleran Tan always cried at weddings. The Trill was determined, though, that this time would be different. He knew both the bride and the groom through his service in Starfleet and, although they no longer served on the same ships, Tan was determined to make this the first one. Yep. For sure. :: :: Alleran stepped into the holodeck. He’d been without his cane lately, but walking with the limp was still a little painful for him, so he bought it. :: :: He gave a warm smile to the large gathering of people who’d managed to make it. Particular attention was paid to Eyas, whom he had served with previously, and he stepped up behind Eyas. :: Tan: Mister Wulfantine! I bet you thought you’d escaped, mm? Wulfantine: What?! oO Tan? Oo :: Alleran reached out with his non-cane hand, grinning and clapping his friend on the shoulder. :: Tan: Yeah, it’d take more than being across the galaxy to miss Jade’s wedding. ::Eyas turned around and a broad smile shot across his face. It had been months since he’d chatted to Alleran, even seen Alleran.:: Wulfantine: Salutations my friend! How are thee?::Eyas gave Alleran a hearty hand-shake and the two men exchanged their news.::::Meanwhile, inside the house, away from the music and the chatter of the arriving guests, Lt. Cmdr. Velana had traded her medical tricorder for a mascara wand and was currently putting the finishing touches on the bride's makeup. Stepping back, she admired her handiwork.:: Velana: Perfect. ::She smiled.:: You look beautiful, Jade. ::Jade smiled at her friend. Her companion on so many missions. The two women had shared terrors and joys. Jade was so happy Velana was with her on this most important day.:: Shryker: Thanx Velana. ::Jade smiled.:: Velana: Commander Matthews won't be able to breathe when he sees you. ::She winked.:: I'll have to resuscitate him. Shryker: Leave that to me! ::she laughed.:: ::Jade looked into the distance for a moment. The Fleet was her family. Velana her sister, Alex her man. Jade had never expected this to happen to her – changing ships and all the hurts she’d been through. Things were getting better now, much better. She never expected her own father to attend. She not heard from him for nearly twenty years. She barely remembered him. Her Mom was missing, presumed dead. Her brother Ryan who she had protected and helped raise now never returned her calls. Jade did not know what she had done to so anger him, but it seemed their bond was broken. She sighed, but was not letting old hurts intrude onto her special day anymore.:: ::As Jade stood up from the dressing table, Velana made sure that her veil was straight and that not a single hair was out of place.:: Velana: Can I just say again how incredibly honored I am to be your maid of honor? This is a first for me, you know. Shryker: I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather have here with me at this time. :: It is a first for me too. Velana: ::Shaking her head.:: I never imagined that something good would come out of being tortured in the mirror universe, but then I got you as a friend. I'm so very glad for that. ::She hugged Jade, still careful not to mess up her hair or veil.:: And I am so happy for you! ::So much so that Velana had given herself a hypo of inaprovaline before coming into the Holodeck, just to make sure she handled the emotional day without any trouble.:: Shryker: Thanx Velana. I hope someday to return the favor. ::Pulling back, Velana untucked the loose waves of her hair from behind her pointed ears, letting her dark locks swing freely around her bare shoulders. Knowing how much Velana loved clothes, Jade had given her carte blanche on her bridesmaid's dress. She'd chosen a strapless mauve chiffon number with a fitted waist and a full skirt that ended just at her knees. Her shoes were open-toed silver heels that made her legs look even longer.:: Velana: Are you ready for this? ::Jade swallowed nervously. The huge moment dawning open to her.:: Shryker: Yes__ Yes I am. ::nervous smile.:: ::Nodding, Velana reached for her bouquet of moon blossoms and Bajoran lilacs.:: Velana: Then, I think it's time. Shryker: Let’s go. ::Frances Matthews was escorted to her seat by Chief Rockwell Donalson. She looked back to the musicians for them to start playing the music. The friends of the bride were seated to the left behind the pictures of her family in the front seats. The friends and crew of the groom on the right. Jefferson waited at the end of the aisle to escort Jade, but the commanding officer from the Drake came by and Jefferson smiled and stood aside as Commander William Rogers walked with Jade. Jefferson walked the other side of the chairs and sat next to Frances. Askade stood over to the side in a white sundress then sat down behind Frances and Jefferson. She knew that Jade and Alexander would end up being together. She smiled at him standing there nervous, she laughed to herself at the first time she took him to meet her on the holodeck. He was so nervous that he could barely stand wearing his dress whites on their first date. Just then The music started for the bride to walk down the aisle. :: :: Aron, meanwhile, stood vigil at the aisle’s beginning. He didn’t have the full text of his speech in his hand, but he’d written points as bullets in ink -- how quaint -- on the palm of his left hand; and if his mind left him in its entirety, he had entered the speech fully onto his tricorder, so he could simply remove it, throw in some shtick about being a science officer, and read from there. But he grinned: It wouldn’t come to that. :: ((OOC:The Bride’s Walk down the aisle.)) youtubedotcom/watch?v=6iOqxvF3aL8&feature=related Rogers:: Walking down the aisle with Jade, Will was filled with an almost parental pride. He had grown to admire Jade in the short time she had been on the Drake and he rather thought Cmdr Matthews was one very lucky man. He could feel her excitement as they proceeded down the aisle. Leaning closer he whispered encouragingly:: Almost there. Shryker: Thanx for everything. I am so glad you are here to walk with me. Rogers: ::smiling:: It is a day I will remember and cherish. ::Jade glided next to her Commanding Officer, her long white satin dress fitting her better than she hoped. Today was a day not to feel over self-conscious. She squeezed the Commander’s arm. Close behind her Velana walked slowly, holding her train.:: ::Eerie stood next to Alex and the procession came down the aisle. He was amazed at the pageantry of it all. He had the two rings carefully secured in his only small pocket in the dress uniform. The only thing he wished he didn’t want to where was his anti gravity unit. on his belt. :: ::Alexander heard the music start as he turned to see his lovely bride walking down the aisle, like the goddess she is when he first saw her in the holodeck, but this time she was not a hologram. She was really there, he could touch her and hold her close in his arms. He saw her as she walked like she was gliding across the ground without her feet touching it. To him she had that natural beauty and walked with the grace that only she could carry. He marveled at her beauty in the white satin wedding dress, He smiled openly to her as he held his hand out to her taking it and standing before Commander Kells, next to the woman he loves.:: ::Jade looked up at Alex, through her veil. Her green eyes full of love. He was so handsome, strong and would protect her forever. She smiled and whispered.:: Shryker: I love you. Matthews: ::Whispering back to her with a smile.:: I love you too. ::Looking at her with the love in his heart.:: ::More than ever, Velana was glad for inaprovaline. Just seeing the utter joy and love on their faces...it was almost too much emotion to bear. If not for the medication stabilizing her synaptic pathways, she might have cried. As it was, she could feel her chin trembling as she moved into her place beside Jade.:: Rogers:: Stepping back Will gave Aron a cheeky grin of encouragement then took his seat.:: :: Aron met Will’s grin with a wink, and looked out over the assemblage, above the heads of the bride and groom. He knew the folks assembled there, many of them for a long time now -- and many of them for longer than they were aware, though they weren’t necessarily the same people sitting before him. He took a deep breath, smiled at the two directly before him, and began. :: Kells: A Starfleet crew is unlike any other group of people. To say that you must trust your life to the people around you is an understatement. You'll do more than trust them with your life -- you'll trust them with your deepest secrets, your worst fears, yourself when you've been twisted by those into the darkest creature you've ever been. But you'll also find that the experiences you have, the intimacies you foster, will create, quickly and irrevocably, the firmest, finest friendships you will ever experience. The hardest circumstance, then, is the knowledge that these relationships may be torn apart -- by reassignment, by promotion, by death -- and though we hope -- I hope -- that when all is well, when the Architect smiles because her plan has come to fruition, that life may continue on, riding high, sometimes it comes to an end. But as the best may end, so may it begin, and that is why we are gathered here today, and why I have the unique pleasure of joining these two people together in the bonds of matrimony. Though they didn't meet whilst both members of my crew, I can now count among my most benevolent fortunes the strong link between these two people, there at the heart of my crew. (beat) And so it is my honor to unite you, Jade Elizabeth Shryker, and you, Alexander James Matthews, together in matrimony. (beat, grin) Now, why don't you kiss, and make this group of people very happy? ::Alexander nodded as he took the rings from Eerie and placed one on the ring finger of Jade’s left hand. She took his left hand into hers and placed his ring on the ring finger of his left hand. He lifted her veil back over her head as he looked deeply into her green eyes.:: Matthews: I Alexander James Matthews swear upon my honor to love and cherish the woman of my heart, Jade Elizabeth Matthews with my life to protect you from harms way.... I love you. Shryker: I Jade Elizabeth Shryker swear upon my life and my love that I will always be your wife and your best friend, for as long as I live. (beat) I love you too. ::Alexander took her into his arms as he touched her face gently, then kissed her lips with the passion that he held for her during the time they were separated by the vastness of space, but no longer he felt the softness of her skin and the smell of her perfume engulfed him. Her lips felt soft like fresh rose petals, her skin was softer than he could imagine. Each kiss was as the first. He remembered the first kiss on the holodeck, even though they were just images to each other then, it was still the first kiss. He felt his heart flutter and he held her close as he moved his head back and smiled at her as he looked into her eyes. Jade was lost in the moment. All the years of hurt and loneliness were over, this was the happiest day, the happiest moment of her life.:: Shryker: Alex, my man, my mate. ::She kissed him for what seemed forever, and still it was not long enough.:: Matthews: Jade, my woman, my heart. ::He held her hand as they turned towards their friends and family. They were now as one, one heart, one soul, one life. They were now Mr. and Mrs. Alexander James Matthews of Starfleet.:: ((Matthews Family Home-Music Room)) ::The morning mist had burned away from the valley as Alexander walked with Jade to the center of the dance floor in the music room of the main house. He looked her in her green eyes with the love in his heart.:: A. Matthews: May I have this dance Mrs. Matthews ? ::Smiling at her,taking her hand in his.:: J. Matthews: I am Jade Matthews and I have never been happier.. ::Alexander placed his arm around her waist, held her left hand and placed it on the heart that belonged to her. He looked into her enchanting green eyes as the slow rhythm of the music engulfed them into the moment of happiness for them both. He held her close feeling the joy from her body flowing through his as the dance took them from the floor into the air of joy and happiness. The only thing on his mind was Jade, the beauty of her and only her.:: ((OOC Bride and Groom first dance music.)) youtubedotcom/watch?v=rtOvBOTyX00 ::Jade gazed into his eyes. So long she had searched for this man, this moment, and now she was here – living it. She would have waited for a thousand years for this moment, and now she wanted it to last for another thousand.:: J. Matthews: Alex__ thank you for saving me. A. Matthews Jade...we saved each other. ((OCC: Dance Music for the guests.)) ::Eerie found a drink and tried to find a wall someplace out of the way. He wasn’t sure on what else had to do. There was the toast of course, and he was pretty sure on what he was going to say. But Eerie dancing was another matter completely. It wasn’t going to happen without a direct order.:: ::Jade and Alexander continued to dance, the music changed and the rest of the guests joined in with them as the day continued on for hours:: ::Eyas moved forward, smiled and congratulated the happy couple. He then turned and smiled at Alaxa. With an outstretched hand, he beckoned her to join him on the dancefloor.:: Wulfantine: Shall we? Alaxa: ::taking his hand:: I thought you’d never ask, sir. ::As the lieutenant commander with the massive shoulders and kind eyes led Alaxa onto the dance floor, she happened to catch sight of Velana out of the corner of her eye.:: ::Her best friend was sitting at the bridal party’s table, dragging the tines of her fork through the leftover wedding cake icing on her plate. To Alaxa’s knowledge, she hadn’t joined in any of the dancing and that was just a [...] shame. Velana had been alone too long.:: ::Alexander looked over to see Velana sitting in the chair, to him it looked she had not danced. Alexander asked Jade if she would mind if he danced with her maid of honor, she nodded with a smile. He walked over to the CMO of the Mercury and held out his hand to her and asked if she would like to dance with him.:: A.Matthews: Doctor, may I have the honor of this dance ? Velana: ::smiling:: How could I say no to that? ::Alexander took her hand into his as he walked her out to the dance floor.:: Velana: You’ve made Jade so happy. I see it when I look at her. Thank you for that. A. Matthews: ::Smiling.:: I could have not asked for a better friend and mate. You're very welcome doctor. Velana: It was a beautiful day, from start to end. I hope... ::She stopped herself in time.:: A. Matthews: ::Looking at her with a puzzled expression.:: Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. What do you mean Doctor ? Velana: This is just...well...it’s a dream come true, isn’t it? Something everyone wishes for, but that few ever experience. ::She shook her head.:: I’m sorry, sir. This isn’t a day for melancholy. A. Matthews: ::Giving her hand a squeeze for comfort.:: May I call you Velana, no ranks right now. I thought I would never find anyone. If it had not been for Askade, Jade and I would have never met. As for your question....::He looked over to Jade.:: Yes it is. Velana: Thank you. ::She smiled.:: And of course you may call me Velana. A. Matthews: It is my honor, and your welcome. ::He smiled.:: ::Alexander and Velana continued to dance to the music, the day continued on as he understood how Velana felt. She was Jade’s friend and as of this moment he had become hers as well. When the music changed her escorted her to her seat and bowed to her with honor. He then went on to find Jade and take her to meet his friend Eerie.:: ::Jade met Eerie.::J. Matthews: Hey Sir, so glad you were there to stop Alex fainting. Eerie: Alex, never faints, he just had a biobed on Avandar with his name on it. ::It came out dry and formal. Eerie still had little understanding the nuances of inflection on grammer.:: J. Matthews: Thanx. ::She hugged Eerie’s massive body:: ::Eerie was caught off guard, and he would have blushed if was possible. Luckily there was little brikar blood or what was called blood, near his extremely dense hid to change any colors.:: Eerie: Thank...you....I hope you two all the happiness in the world.::Recovering quickly.:: ::Jade then spotted her friend from the Independence, now on the Avandar, LtCmdr Tan.::J. Matthews: Hey Alleran, how are you? :: Tan gave Jade a broad grin, proud of himself. He’d barely cried a bit! :: Tan: Jade! Hah, I’m getting there, you know? Serving on the Avandar now -- it’s a quieter posting, just perfect for a shot-up old pilot, huh?::Jade hugged the trill. Last time she seen him defending the ship. Tan wrapped his arms around Jade, squeezing his friend tightly. ::J. Matthews: so glad you could come.Tan: I promise, I wouldn’t miss it for the universe. You’re a beautiful bride and this was an absolutely perfect day. :: Tan grinned at her, gently patting Jade’s shoulder.She smiled at him, her eyes misting :: J. Matthews: Thank you. :: He leaned in, conspiratorially. :: Tan: Go Jade, go Jade... ::Jade remembered her favorite phrase when she first joined the fleet.:: J. Matthews: Heehee, yeh! Go Jade! :: The Trill laughed. :: Tan: Okay, you. I have to duck out to say hi to someone... J. Matthews: See ya soon Sir. :: Taking cane in hand again, Tan slipped over to Velana, a wide smile on his face. :: Tan: Well well well, guess I missed the honour of dancing with the maid of honour, huh? ::She recognized his voice before she turned around to see his face. Her melancholy disappeared as if someone had snapped their fingers and wished it away.:: Velana: Lieutenant! ::She took in the extra pip on the white collar of his dress uniform:: I mean, Commander. ::It suddenly felt very silly to be so formal. Besides that, as she looked her old friend up and down, she zeroed in on his physical condition.:: You look so much better than the last time I saw you, but I still have to ask...are you... ::He laughed and her shoulders relaxed. The last time they’d spoken had been during a mind meld, as she desperately tried to keep the Tan symbiont from rejecting his broken body. It seemed to have worked; he was the same sweet, smiling man she remembered from the Independence.:: Tan: Heh, oh, no. Slowly getting back into the swing of things. I’m actually scheduled for surgery soon -- going to hopefully get the ole’ body straightened out again, then I might even requalify for my wings, you know? Velana: That’s wonderful. ::She wanted to reach out and embrace him, but something stopped her. It might have been the crowd all around them...or it might have been the touch of sadness in his eyes that she only recognized the longer she looked at him.:: :: He smiled warmly. :: Tan: It was great seeing you again, Velana. If there’s enough time, maybe I could steal you for a quick dance? ::Maybe she’d been wrong. Maybe she was projecting her own feelings onto her friend.:: Velana: ::nodding:: I would like that. A lot. ::She caught her lower lip between her teeth before it could tremble.:: I’ve missed you. :: Alleran extended his hand, taking hers in his, then moved slowly towards the open area with her. :: Tan: I’ve missed you, as well. I’ve been missing the old crew a lot, although it’s good to see that despite it all... despite being scattered over the universe... we can still come together for something like this, you know? Velana: Absolutely. :: The music played, and Alleran found the tune to be easy to follow. :: Velana: So, tell me...how have you been? Tan: Things have been good. We were... well, the crew was trapped in a thing. It was like a dream, we were all playing different roles, but there was a bit of us too... it lasted ten years. In a way, it’s been a lot longer since I saw everyone, but... at the same time, it wasn’t real, so there’s that, too. Velana: Ten years... ::She shook her head in amazement.:: What did you do in all that time? Tan: Oh, you know. The usual... what you’d expect. Hooked up with someone on the crew, started a family. Four kids, would you believe. :: The song changed, so he paused a moment to let the music switch back. :: Velana: A wife and children? Tan: Mmm, yep. That’s all... gone, though, I guess. But Kira and I are still close, despite her transfer. ::A chuckle:: What about you, mmm? How’s things going for you? Velana: Nothing nearly as interesting, I’m afraid to say. :: The music started again and Alleran resumed the slow dance. :: Tan: Congrats on your extra pip, by the way. It looks good on you. Velana: I keep forgetting that I was promoted, yes. ::She could feel herself blushing.:: Chief Medical Officer on the Mercury. :: Entirely unsurprised, Alleran just grinned. :: Tan: You’ll do well at that post. I hear good things about the Mercury. :: The music ended and he let her go. :: Tan: Anyway, let’s go say goodbye to Jade and Alexander. It’s getting late, and if I don’t hop off the holodeck and get back to work, I’ll turn into a pumpkin. Velana: All right. Just...don’t be a stranger, all right? Tan: You know I won’t. ::Alexander walked over to his friend Eerie and thanked him for standing with him on this day of happiness. He introduced Jade to him, he looked as his mother and father and enjoyed his friends and shipmates having fun in his home, but it’s now Jade’s home too. He found peace within himself at last. He looked to Jade and smiled as the afternoon sun entered the windows of the music room. Alexander has spoken the vows of honor to his bride, now his wife forever. Jade kissed him on the lips.:: ::While Eerie was stoic as usual, he was very happy for his very good friend Alex. He still wished they were crewmates. But one never knew what adventures the Federation had in store for both of them. Meeting his bride and the people that meant the most to him, was an honor for him and he was sure to spread the good news to the rest of the crew of the Avandar.:: J. Matthews: ::whispering:: Us forever. A. Matthews: ::Smiling.:: Our hearts together forever. TBC Lt.Cmdr. Alexander James Matthews Chief Of Operations USS Mercury NCC-99812 & Lt. Jade Elizabeth Matthews Chief Of Security USS Mercury NCC-99812 & Lt. Cmdr. Eerie Chief Tactical/Security USS Avandar & Commander Aron Kells Commanding Officer USS Mercury & Cmdr William Rogers CO USS Drake & Lt.Cmdr Velana Chief Medical Officer USS Mercury & Lt.Cmdr Eyas Wulfantine Chief Tactical Officer USS Mercury & Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer Starbase 118/USS Victory & Captain Andrus Jaxx Commanding Officer USS Apollo & Lt. jg T’Mihn Ah’mygahn Chief Science Officer USS-Tiger-A 52199 & Lt. Cmdr. Alleran Tan Operations USS Avandar
  18. ((Ready Room, USS Apollo)) ::After finishing his discussion in the holodeck with Hugh, Jaxx thought of orbital skydiving. He started down the corridor and realized that he really was not feeling up to it. He considered heading back to the casino, but decided that it was getting late. Turning around, he headed toward the turbolift. He took the lift up to the bridge and quietly made his way to the Ready Room. As he made his way in, he poured himself some Saurian brandy. With the glass in hand, he picked up a PADD and moved over to the door on the back wall. As it opened, he stepped into the small "crash room" that was connected. It contained a bed, and a lavatory with a sonic shower.:: ::It was something new to the design of a starship. The thought was that there were times when a CO or XO would need to take a power nap during a crisis. Having a bed in the room kept them from having to leave the area of the bridge. He was not aware of many ships that had the accommodation, but was curious if all new classes contained the convenience. For Jaxx it was a way to avoid his quarters. He glanced to the uniform hanging up, as he took a sip of his beverage. They were on their way to the Trinity Sector, but he felt more stressed out than he did during the confrontation with the creature. He hated not knowing where and why they were diverted. Glancing down he looked over some reports on the PADD. Relations with the Klingons were not what they once were. During the Dominion War they were the Federation's greatest ally. Now they seemed to be acting like a spoiled child that had to have their way. The latest report placed a Klingon Fleet amassing in the Mempa Sector. Jaxx feared a power play for Romlulan held territories. It only made sense since that is where their destination was.:: ::It had been some time since he last visited the Trinity Sector. His last official action in the area was to transfer command of StarBase 118 to Commander Nicholotti. He found himself hoping there was time to see his old friend. No matter what, he would make time to visit with her before leaving he area. It was hard to tell when the next time he would be in the area was. It was the life of a StarFleet officer. It had its up and downs, but never knowing where you were going to be one day to the next took its toll on many things. Relationships were not something that were easy to maintain. He was now single once again, and it was starting to become a cycle. The only saving grace was the fact that Tressa was alive. With losing his first two loves to the Dominion War, it left him slightly jaded. He found himself unable to open up like he should. It seemed that in his recent past, he was only able to open up to other Betazoids. It was due to the fact he could not hide his feelings from them. It was also the reason he avoided returning home. He looked at himself as a man of strength and it bothered him to have moments of weakness.:: ::Finishing his drink, he kicked off his shoes and ditched the special attire. Laying down in the bed, he stared at the ceiling. After a few moments, he picked up the PADD and began looking for something to read that would keep his mind off of the way he was feeling. There were times he felt isolated among his crew. There were people he could talk to, but only about certain things. It was not the lack of accessibility, it was his lack of will. He was the captain of a starship, and felt he should not carry as much emotional baggage as he did. He worked hard to keep up the facade that everything was alright. He found himself burying his mind in work so that he could avoid thinking about where he was in life. For every success in his career, he had an equal failure in his personal life. One did not really affect the other, it was just a self observation.:: ::Tossing his PADD onto the nightstand, he pulled the blanket over him. After a few moments he felt restless, tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position. He realized that the bed was just as comfortable as the command chair. There was something about new vessels that did not cater to comfortability. He kept his eyes closed, seeking a peaceful slumber. It took quite a bit of time, and countless rotations in his tossing and turning, but in the end he was finally able to fall asleep.:: ((Ready Room, USS Apollo - 0615)) ::Usually he liked to start the day earlier, but he had forgot to set an alarm. He found himself moving from the edge of the bed to the shower. Once he was completed with the cleansing ritual, he put on the uniform that was waiting for him. He finished his morning routine of brushing his hair and teeth, and found his way out to the office. Replicating a cup of vreeca, he moved toward the desk. He opened the latest operations reports and was not surprised to find nothing new. He had only fallen asleep a few hours prior. It was an increasing problem for him. He found it harder and harder to fall asleep. It was the worst it had been since his coma a few years ago. He had not noticed any issues with his telepathic control, so he considered it an isolated incident. Had he not been the CO, he would have visited Sickbay to see if something was wrong. In his mind it would be admitting he had a weakness, or illness of some sort. He had no ambition of dealing with tests and scans from any of the medical staff. He trusted their skills, but was the type to only go to Sickbay when he absolutely had a good reason.:: ::He continued to sit at his desk reading anything new that he had not laid eyes on. There was a good amount of information on the Klingons, and even some reports on Romulan movements. Since Romulus was destroyed, the Romulans kept having increasingly difficult times trying to reform. There were too many people seeking power, and the Empire was divided. He feared that the Klingons would use this as a reason to capitalize on the situation. He pressed a few buttons on the console and waited for the computer to chirp before speaking.:: Jaxx: Personal Log, Stardate 238908.07. We finished locating and transferring the survivors from the Nelson. I have made the recommendation that StarFleet dispatch another vessel to the area for an extensive search. There were still escape pods that were unaccounted for. ::sighing:: Tressa is gone now, she and the kids transferred over to the Carpathia to hitch a ride to DS5. From there, they will be leaving on a transport for her next assignment. Having her base-side will be good for the kids. Honestly, I do not know what to think. I wish I could forget, and take away my regrets. If we could've started again, would it have changed the end? I do not believe in fate, I never have. I think that where you end up is a victim of circumstance and your choices along the road. ::scoffs:: Maybe I should avoid non-telepaths. It seems every time I do, it ends badly. Why am I so closed off? I swear by the deities, I have known me, my entire life...I have a doctorate in psychology, I have been a counselor...and I am still a mystery to myself. How can I expect anyone to "get me" if I cannot get myself? The only thing I seem to do right is perform my duties. Do I pour so much of myself into it, I am bound to fail at anything else? ::snickering as he shook his head in frustration:: They say "ask the questions" for that is the only way you can seek answers. I have been asking these same questions for years, yet here I am...still asking. I just...I do not know. End log. ::As the computer chirped once more, he rubbed his face and cupped his hands behind his head and leaned back. There were so many questions he had, and could not find answers for. He had no desire to see the counselor, or receive the cookie cutter treatment it would involve. It would have helped if Jaxx did not spend any time in the field. He had the same ability to ask the questions and give insight into the situation, but for him it did not help repair the feelings. Life was a compromise of happiness and unhappiness, he just wished they would find a better balance. Why did one have to be in his professional life, leaving nothing but unhappiness for his personal one? He sighed deeply and turned to the crew files. He had a 0800 meeting with a few officers, and it was time to get his mind in the game. He thought of each of the ones he had seen the night before. Just as a precaution, he sent Ra-Uleyra a message in case Viktor forgot to relay it. Once that was complete, he sat alone in silence waiting for the day to officially begin.:: TBC Captain Andrus Jaxx Commanding Officer USS Apollo, NCC-71669 Captains Council Magistrate
  19. Voting closes Sunday, August 19th, 2012 at 23:59 PM. This round of voting only qualifies one sim FROM ROUND 13 to move on to the next round of judging. With only a single nomination for Round 14, the winner for Round 14 is LTJG Lanius: "The Truth Hurts". 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!
  20. (( Deck 5, Holodeck 3, USS Apollo)) :: Vik stood in the center of the room, looking at all the projection arrays and lifelessness of the room. It had always fascinated him how such a place could instantly be transformed into anything you could set your mind's eye on. He was wearing the preferred off-duty garb; a black wool pea-coat, a thin henley-style black undershirt and a pair of faded jeans. they were probably the only articles of clothing he had left from his time on Earth. His wardrobe mostly consisted of uniforms and the occaisional black suit for espionage. Non of that here tonight. :: :: He took the photo-file he was holding and opened it. It was the original electronic version that his father had given him right after the family split apart. He always told him to hang onto what he had left. Vik had looked through it from time to time, usually when he was thinking of his mother. He'd only been through a small portion of the videos stored inside, mostly because of the pain he felt; the pain of never being able to have those memories again. The smell of the faded metal enveloped him as he took off the leather casing. It wasn't very often he took this thing out of the leather, for he never knew what atrocity or accident might be waiting to take those memories from him. He closed his eyes and savored the moment. The very first picture was a picture of him and his mother standing in the kitchen. He pushed the button on the bottom signaling the book to play the video. :: :: He never remebered being that short or frail, or even the idea of baking in the kitchen with his mother. He smiled at the thought of who was behind the camera, and what it meant at the time. His father was capturing some important parts of Vik's childhood for him to remember always. Young Vik would stand up on his tip-toes and poke his finger in to the dough, with his mother turning to scold him. He laughed slightly with a broad smile on his face. He looked up and to the console by the door. He walked over briskly and connected the photo-file to the port. :: Lanius: Computer, run a file scan on the input I've supplied. render all points exactly as they are interpreted. Computer: Processing request, stand by... :: The room lit up all at once. The first thing to change was the smell in the room. Instantly he could smell bread baking. It was always one of his mother's favorite things to make, not to mention the most practical of all things. His mother appeared, along with the pint-sized Viktor standing right by her side. the fresh oak cabinets, the sun outside rising through the window, the table and chairs with the permanent coffee rings where his father once sat. It was all there. Even the breeze blowing through the open porch door could be felt, the same warm all-encompassing blanket that caught him every morning. It was real. :: Lanius: Computer... :: he paused for a moment biting his lip :: begin playback... :: The computer chirped and the action began. He was curious to this experience, as it was one that he didn't remember. It was something that his father recorded for him and his wife to recount after years of marriage. He didn't count on having to give it to his son to remember them by. The breeze could finally be heard, the door creaking as it shifted back and forth. His mother began to knead the dough in front of her, with pint-sized Viktor moving in for the kill. The finger made it to its target, as did his mother's :: Mary Ann: VIKTOR FAELRUN! How many times must I repeat myself, lord knows I'm soundin' like a broken record by now... :: Her irish accent was thick, just the way he remembered it. The computer had done a mint job in translating the audio feeds into reality. Little Lanius just looked as his mother and smiled a devlish little look. Vik couldn't help but laugh out loud, knowing that even though he didn't remeber this moment in time, it didn't surprise him at all. She turned to him and picked him up and set him on the counter. :: Mary Ann: D' you know what I'm bakin' boy? Any ideas? Little Lanius: No ma, none t'all. Mary Ann: This is your fadder's favorite... Friendship bread. And so it goes, dat whoever ya share it wit will be with ya forever. :: She offered him a piece of a finished loaf. :: :: He watched as the boy took the piece of bead and looked at it. He broke a smaller piece of it off and ate the other. He quickly hopped off the table and ran to the other side of the room, undoubtedly where his dad would have been standing. He knew that that little boy truly believed in what his mother had told him, and he knew exactly who he wanted to give that piece to. He just looked blankly for a moment at the small boy in front of him; the look of joy on his face, the sheer excitement of being able to share a family tradition with someone he loved. Vik closed his eyes as he felt the water welling. He bit his tongue striking away the urge to let loose. :: Lanius: Computer... Move to the last file... explain. Computer: Accessing. File contains verbal data stream, author, Faelrun Lanius III. Lanius: Generate male author, use files contained in the input I've provided. Use this model for playback of the audio. :: He knew it wouldn't be the same as hearing it straight from the old man's mouth, but it would have to do. He wasn't quite sure what he would be watching in the next few minutes, but in his mind, it was propbably something he needed to hear. He'd been avoiding that portion of video for long, long time. :: Computer: Acknowledged... *chirp chirp* :: At once the room turned black and a single light could be seen shing from ceiling to floor. Within the confines of the light the image of his father had appeared. The man was roughly 6'3 and of average build. The characteristic cleft graced his forehead signaling his lineage. His hair was still that jet black, and Viktor recognized him to be in his late 40's. He'd recorded this right after the splitting of the family. His face was expressionless as he seemed to stare right into Vik's eyes. He couldn't look away, not for a second. He hadn't seen the man since the happening. It was almost as if he simply vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. :: Lanius: Dad? :: The figure didn't move, or speak. He stood silent and stoic in a room of darkness. He wondered if the image created by the computer wasn't just some recreation of Viktor himself. He brought himself back center and remebered he was looking at an empty hologram, nothing more. :: Lanius: :: he said in an almost whisper like tone :: Computer... Begin playback... Faelrun: === Boy... I know that there's gonna be some things that I'm not gonna be able to explain to ya... Some hard things that, you wouldn't understand. Your mother and I... We both love you very much, don't ya doubt that for a second. It's just that, you're mother and I split for some reasons that I'm not proud of. Some things I did when I was away. I told ya both it was business... :: The man looked at the ground now. The computer had rendered what emotion it could into the hologram :: I'm sorry for being such a scoundrel son... Boy... the truth of the matter is that I wasn't faithful. I met someone in Dublin. We'd been seeing each other for quite a few months... The day I left is the day I told yer ma. I love you boy... I do. :: The tears were welling in his father's eyes, and Viktor's :: I just wish I could have been around to see you grow up, to see you in your uniform and to hold you tight on your graduation day. To be able to see your future family, your wife, your kids... I threw all of that away on account of a lust that lasted a few months. Don't hate me boy... I guess, what I'm telling ye... is don't be a hard callous man like myself. Don't throw it all away, when it's right there in front of ya...=== Lanius: Freeze program... :: He was crying now, standing there in the holodeck with his holographic father. It wasn't the words that had hurt him the most. It was the realization of just how much he'd lost by trying to understand his father. He'd turned into the man without ever realizing it. He began to feel the sadness slowly slip away and become replaced by anger. It was true, he was angry at his father for what he'd done. But now more than ever he was angry for taking his character from him and replacing it with his own. He instantly felt a rage take over, and he lashed out throwing a punch straight through the hologram and into nothing. He fell to the floor on his knees and collected his face in his hands. He began to scream into his hands. He jumped up and turned to the image :: Lanius: YOU KILLED US! YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM US YOU OLD WRETCH! AND WHAT ARE WE LEFT WITH.... :: he was breathing heavy as he spoke :: Nothing but shadows and dust... :: He sat now on the floor of the holodeck. oO Was it worth it? All of this? Oo. He thought about it intensely, about how this would affect him for the rest of his life. The man that he thought he knew to be one of chivalrous intentions, who taught him about how important family was, and how at no cost should it be broken up. And to learn that the polar opposite was true of him, it made the last 7 years of searching for the real reason seem like a huge void that could never be filled. He decided right then and there on the floor of the holodeck aboard the USS Apollo, that no longer would he be living in the shadow of the father he could have had. Instead, this was his time. :: :: This was the time to learn who he was, not his father. He knew the truth, and because of that, he no longer had to live in the dark. And to think that a trip to memory lane was sparked by a simple dinner in C39, amongst all the madness that had just ensued, it made Vik smile. He wiped the tears from his eyes and stood once more. he turned back to the image of his father. :: Lanius: And sometimes from the dust rises the courage to carry on... And carry on I shall... :: He turned and gathered the photo-file putting it back into it's leather case. he grasped it tightly for a second, and slipped it back into his coat pocket. He turned to his father once more, and with a smile spoke :: Lanius: Computer... End program... -- Lieutenant JG Viktor Lanius Intelligence Officer USS Apollo, NCC-71669
  21. ((Ready Room, USS Discovery)) ::His arm still hurt from being mauled, even though Dr. Morning-Song had assured him it was fully healed. There were wounds that ran deeper, and to distract himself on the way back to DS-285, the Ba’ku Captain had ensconced himself in his ready-room, burying himself in reports and catching up on the new crew that had arrived during the mission. The ending was, to say the least, unexpected-to find Zero as an ally and Starfleet personnel as the enemy. He tapped away on the console, filling out the forms he could have easily left to Blueheart. Instead he’d left his XO on the bridge, babysitting the Sovereign as she arrived at the starbase. Outside the door Captain McCall stood with a padd, he had actually been outside for a few minutes but was yet to press the chime. He read and reread what was on the padd, eventually before eventually pressing the door chime.:: WALTAS::Head barely rising:: Enter. ::The doors hissed open and Tyr continued to type.:: MCCALL: I see that even as we arrive back at the station you are still trying to keep up with the paperwork. WALTAS::Continuing to type:: Hey Steve. Glad to hear you’re alright. I assume you’ve read the reports. MCCALL: I have and there is something that sticks out. WALTAS::Switching to another PADD:: What is it? MCCALL: The person, the people behind this have not been found and we are not going to find them from here. What they did is unacceptable. Too many people have died who need to get justice for what has happened and I think that I am the person to do it. ::The hands stopped typing. Raising his deep blue eyes to meet those of his friend, mentor and former CO, the Ba’ku pulled his graying hair back and blinked.:: WALTAS: Say again? MCCALL: ::handing over a padd.:: This is my formal request for transfer to Starfleet Intelligence Sol system so that I have a better chance to hunt down those that are responsible for this ::A storm of emotions struck him, all at the same time. He’d been with McCall since he was an Ensign. He’d learned everything there was to know about being a Commanding Officer from him. Now…the words that came from him were almost inconceivable.:: WALTAS::Putting down the PADD:: Steve…you can’t be serious. MCCALL: I am afraid that I am. WALTAS::Waving dismissively:: We’ll track the perpetrators down. And Starfleet Security already has half the sector on lockdown. We’ll find them. There’s no need for you to get directly involved. ::He paused, gazing at his long-time friend with a measured look:: There’s something else driving this. MCCALL: We have some of them but not those really behind this. More importantly, I have a wife and a son that I have not seen in ages. I think I am missing some of the better years. WALTAS::Sighing:: Well, that at least makes more sense. Although I pity those behind the bio-weapon with you on their trail. ::Rising from his chair, he stood at the window, gazing out at the stars. His voice was quiet when he spoke again:: WALTAS: We’ve served together since the very beginning. MCCALL: All things change Tyr. WALTAS::Turning:: Discovery won’t be the same without you, Steve. MCCALL: True, you will just have one less person to order about ::Nodding, he stepped toward his friend.:: WALTAS: I can’t change your mind? MCCALL: Not this time I am afraid ::The storm subsided, just for a moment. The Ba’ku extended his hand.:: WALTAS: Fair weather, Captain. MCCALL: Same to you and the crew ::When McCall grasped his hand Tyr pulled him into an embrace, knowing the businesslike Captain would never do so himself. He clapped his friend on the back and then let go.:: WALTAS::Blinking away tears:: I’ll let the crew know. MCCALL: No fanfare if you please. WALTAS::Innocently:: Of course not. No ceremonies. You can go quietly on your way. MCCALL: Thank you Skipper. ::Smiling, Tyr watched his friend leave, then sat back down, immediately sending a message to the crew to assemble on the docking area in 15 minutes in dress uniforms.:: WALTAS::Quietly:: And pigs will have warp capability.. ((15 minutes later, Docking Ring, DS-285)) ::The dress whites were a little more snug than they used to be, and definitely more snug than when he was an Ensign. He stood at the end of a long line of officers, resplendent in their dress whites and all standing at parade rest. Tyr kept his eyes fixed on the door that linked Discovery with the station. When they opened and McCall appeared with his things, Tyr snapped to strict attention and spoke in a loud voice.:: WALTAS: Honors, HUP! Officer departing. Attention! ::The entire hallway filled with the crew of the USS Discovery, and, Tyr knew, the ghosts of the past as well, stood in quiet attention and respect as McCall made his way toward him.:: ::Tyr smiled as McCall reached him.:: MCCALL: You just could not help yourself could you? WALTAS: This? Oh, we just all happened to be in our dress whites as we left the ship. New procedure. You know Starfleet. There’s one every day. ::Growing serious:: I couldn’t let you leave without giving you the respect you deserve, Steve. This ship is losing one of its best. MCCALL: Sure you will get by without me. WALTAS::Snapping to attention:: Yes sir. :: Steve McCall turned to the assembled officers, some like Rode Mitchell he had known for years and years, others sure as Meng Tian who he had really only just got to know. Others had arrived during the current mission and he had never really even me them.:: MCCALL: I have always been a man of a few words and this is not going to be an exception. I have served with some of you for a long time, others of you for practically no time at all. In one form or another I have served on a ship called Discovery for a long time. During all of this time officers come and go, one person does not make a crew, you will get on fine without one person whoever they are. Whether you realize it or not you as a crew are a family. When times are tough you will need to be there for each other. I suppose in many ways this last mission is a good example of that. Goodbye and good luck crew of the USS Discovery. :: McCall turned away from the crew, gave Tyr a quick nod and headed through the docking hatch to go to Earth and his wife and son.:: Captain Tyr Waltas Commanding Officer USS Discovery -and Captain Steve McCall Director of Intel Starfleet Command
  22. Voting closes Sunday, August 5th, 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. ((Operation block, Infirmary, a few minutes later, USS Discovery-C)) ::Fenna Fax laid down on the operation table, her long blond hair spilled on the thin white pillow. Her body was muscular, just the right side of athletic, without being masculine. Though her face was calm now,Telice could perceive the tension in her body as she laid her hands on the future host's abdomen, proding gently. :: SHAGAN: ::softly :: It's all going to be fine. You're making the right decision. FAX: When there is only one course of action for your people then that is the course of action one takes. A symbiont to us is more than an individual. It is a collection of memories and lives. More precious than the will of the individual. Do you understand? SHAGAN: I understand. ::She didn't. God knew what she would have done.:: VARAS: Everything is ready Doctor. ::looking at Fax::You are in good hands. ::Telice took the hypospray prepared by the nurse and checked to contents. Satisfied with the solution's color, she set it against Fax's neck, not pressing the tappet yet.:: SHAGAN: As nurse Varas has explained to you, I will inject you with a sedative and begin with the procedure once you are unconscious. If the implentation is successful, you should wake up soon after the symbiont has attached to your body. FAX: IF! ::pause::You think something can go wrong now. Is that what you do, hook somebody then after they are strapped down you then tell them IF! SHAGAN: ::a pause:: If anything goes wrong, I'll be there to take the symbiont out, I promise. FAX: No you won't. The symbiont is more important. I did have time to find out that your Ensign Cogud is a Trill. I know he is not a candidate because he is infected with the plague. You will keep the symbiotic alive at all cost until Cogud can be treated and then see if agrees to be a host. I did not come all this way for nothing. SHAGAN: ::losing patience:: Alright, let's do this. ::Telice injected the sedative into the Marine's bloodstream. Fax's eyes fluttered, instinctively fighting the effects. Telice put a hand on her forehead, stroking the hair out of her face. It was unprofessional, but she couldn't help the feeling of protectiveness welling inside of her. This was her patient, and it didn't matter that Fax was older than her and more experienced, and that her consent had been forced. She was still vulnerable under her hands, just like the symbiont. It was her responsibility, and as per each time she had found herself in this situation, she was humbled by their trust.:: VARAS oO When she wakes up she will not be the same person ever again. People come out of surgery missing limbs, losing memories. She will be changed forever with the memories of previous hosts going back centuries. That is a life changer! Brave girl.Oo This should be successful right? SHAGAN: No reason it shouldn't. Especially since she is a prepared host. But what do I know, I've never done this. ::Fax was completely under now. Telice pushed the thin sheet covering her body down to the Marine's knees. In a flash, she saw Herlon's body lying down cold, looking up at her with blood injected eyes. She blinked, and the image was gone, Fax's serene face resting on the pillow. Taking a deep breath, Telice snapped her gloves on and gestured at Varas.:: SHAGAN: Exoscalpel. VARAS: ::slapping the instrument skillfully into Shagans hand::Exoscalpel ::This time, managing the patient's blood flow was of the essence, and a lot trickier.:: SHAGAN: Take that protoplaser. ::she told nurse Varas.:: Now, when I cut through with the exoscalpel, I want you to laser the blood vessels closed as I go. It won't be too hard to reconnect them when we close the wound. VARAS: Fortunatley for you and the Gunny I specialized in ER and trauma surgery. won't be a problem. SHAGAN: Excellent. ::Tricorder in hand, Telice prodded the area of Fax's abdomen once more. The device emitted a satisfying bip to indicate the presence of the cavity all trained Trills possessed, and Telice marked the area with a swift hand.:: SHAGAN: Going in. ::she started cutting, keeping an eye on Varas' progress with the protoplaser.:: Steady, steady. ::Some blood trickled down the Marine's hip, silently absorbed by the biosterilizers.:: ::Telice had studied implantation procedure on her last year at the Academy, and she was certainly glad for it now. The opening didn't need to be as large as it had taken to get the symbiont out of Helron's body, but then symbionts weren't supposed to be pulled out of a live bodies anyway.:: SHAGAN: Cutting through muscle now. Watch out for the pancreas. ::Pushing carefully.:: Good. VARAS: Ready for the Helron symbiotic? SHAGAN: Yes, bring the vat please. ::The nurse rolled the vat to the edge of the table. The steri-field hummed in the background.:: Grabb the cellular microsutures. I'm not sure how smooth this is going to be so I want you to start suturing as soon as the symbiont had pushed past the pancreas. VARAS: Got it. I can recess the pancreas also to give you two hands. ::Telice plunged her hand in the vat and took hold of the symbiont carefully. It didn't try to swim away, simply stopped moving as if it knew what was happening. And it probably did. Telice brought it up and out of the nutrient-rich water to slide it at the gap she had opened in Fax's body, round head first.:: ::As soon as it touched the Marine's organs, the symbiont took on a life of its own, wriggling to get to the comfortable safety of the Trill's abdomen, between the liver and the pancreas. Telice smoothed out the way with the tip of the protoplaser, and pushed it back up slowly as nurse Varas started suturing the organs and muscles back together.:: ::If any other situation, it would have been disgusting. But here it was- :: SHAGAN: Beautiful. VARAS: Just like birth. I have taken life out of a body, never put one back in. Amazing. ::Soon the symbiont was out of sight. Telice alterned between the protoplaser and the dermal regenerator as they got closer to the surface of the wound. The nurse was doing a excellent job, and Telice made a note to congratulate her later for a job well done. If they finished successfully, of course.:: ::Eventually, there was only the skin to regenerate in order to avoid scarring. Nurse Varas pushed the vat out of the way while Telice made liberal use of the dermal regeneration devices. Color was returning to the newly regenerated flesh, blood flowing under the skin. Telice smoothed her hand on the site of the operation, palm flat.:: ::It was done.:: SHAGAN: Now, we wait. VARAS: I will stay with her. The other patients are all stable for now. ::Except Cdr. Mitchell who was entering the final hours of the plague:: SHAGAN: ::yawning:: I think I'll wait here too. I don't want to miss the moment she wakes up. ::smiling:: I'd ask someone to bring us a snack, but that wouldn't be very sterile, would it. ::Fatigue settled in her bones like lead. They had been at it for more than four hours now, between the extraction of the symbiont and the implantation. Telice yawned again, opening her mouth wide.:: SHAGAN: ::laughing softly:: Sorry! You should go and get some rest. No need for us both to stand there looking at that pretty face. VARAS: ::pulling up a seat::I will stay. My boyfriend, Meng, is busy right now. Busier than we are I expect. SHAGAN: Your choice. ::But Telice was glad the nurse preferred to stay.:: Have someone clean the devices, would you? ::While Varas went to fetch another nurse, Telice grabbed a stool and dragged it near the operation table. She folded her arms and leaned on the side of the table, resting her chin for a second. She closed her eyes, fighting the urge to sleep.:: TBC Ensign T. Shagan Medical Officer USS Discovery-C Ensign Ziyal Varas (PNPC) Nurse USS Discovery-C Gunnery Sgt Fenna Fax Platoon Sergeant SB-284 as simmed by: Lt. JG Meng Ishkan Tian Director of Intelligence USS Discovery-
  24. ((Abandoned Space Station)) ::Isaac continued his dash across the landing bay, moving faster than he ever had before in an attempt to reach a defensible position.:: Bale: =/\= Commander, incoming!! =/\= Cain: =/\= I will have men ready to cover you Ensign. How many spiders are out there? =/\= Bale: =/\= Too [...]ed many! =/\= Cain: =/\= Copy that Ensign. Keep the channel open. =/\= Bale: =/\= ::through heavy but controlled breathing:: Aye, sir. =/\= ::As he closed the distance to the control room where his allies waited, Bale started to see crates and other equipment stacked up in defensive barricades. Major Fanel had kept his men busy, it seemed. Heightened as his senses were by the torrent of adrenaline rushing through his veins, Isaac easily spotted a tripwire that had been set between two of those barricades. Whether through his telepathic senses or some visible sign barely registered in his consciousness, Isaac's instincts kicked in and he knew the enemy was right behind him. Without slowing his run, Isaac went down slightly lower with his weight shifted onto his right leg and kicked off the deck, shifting his weight back to the left as he did. Time seemed to slow down as he fell into a deep state of concentration. Isaac poured his telepathic strength into his sword as he rose, as he had learned to do from his Tassa'Akai masters. He kicked off a barricade with his left foot several feet off the floor, shifting his weight again to the right and sending himself into a vertical spin through the air. As his body rotated, Isaac lashed out with his Khrysar'Akai and cut the two spiders behind him completely in half, sending their slimy entrails spraying out to the side. Isaac continued his spin and landed several feet past the tripwire, perfectly balanced and still at a dead run. To anyone watching it would have appeared like a deadly ballet, but Isaac didn't have time to reflect on his performance just yet. Sensing another enemy closing on him, Bale was about to perform another acrobatic feat when suddenly a phaser burst streaked out towards him. He jerked his head to the side as the shot passed by close enough to make the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Whoever took that shot was either insane, or very good with a phaser. oO Fanel. Oo Isaac decided he wouldn't mention his annoyance at having to dodge phaser fire, considering the satisfying crunch of a bug popping he'd just heard right behind his shoulder.:: ::Despite having been in battle several times before, a couple of which were quite recent, as Arden stood behind the barricade he felt a different set of emotions within him. He found himself anxious more than scared as he usually had in the past. Keeping his focus on Ensign Bale, Arden watched as the man grew ever closer by the second. Once Bale had closed within a couple of dozen meters from the barricade he excuted some kind of zero-G move, Arden could only conclude that Bale thought he had no other choice and that was good enough for him. As Bale landed, Arden barely saw a pair of spiders fall dead behind him. The next thing Arden realised was a single phaser blast shooting over Bale's shoulder. Looking first to his right then to the left Arden saw Major Fanel holding the offending weapon. The shot itself was absolutely breathtaking to Arden who was clutching at the borrowed marine hand phaser waiting, not entirely trusting his limited marksmanship abilities. Sucking up the courage and focusing it seemed that the Major's first shot was the signal the marines were waiting for to commence the covering fire for Ensign Bale. Taking his time, Arden too, took aim firing at any living spiders he could get at.:: ::Isaac leaned forward and pushed himself to run even faster as covering fire began to streak past him. He was almost through the door when he felt something slam into him from behind with enough force to lift his boots off the deck and send him sailing the rest of the way into the control room. He crashed down hard to the deck and slid across the floor inside. Forcing himself to his knees and trying to stand, Isaac could feel the many legs of the creature wrapped around him. The strength of these things was incredible! Able to gain his footing, but unable to shake the beast free, Isaac turned his back toward the nearest wall and tried to slam the spider into it. The tangled pair crashed into the wall twice, then Isaac threw his head back and growled in pain as he felt something knife into his lower back.:: Bale: Shoot it!! ::Rushing from the barricade, Arden went to help Bale who seemed to be struggling. As he got closer inside the control room he realised that was because a spider had latched on to him.:: Cain: Stop moving and I will. ::With Major Fanel busy commanding his marines at the barricade, Arden was on his own to deal with this issue. Steadying his aim he fired the phaser hitting the spider directly in the abdomen followed by an unusual screech for a bug. Crudely holstering the phaser he quickly but carefully heaved the dead body of the spider free of Bale. Once the spider was free of Bale, Arden could clearly see a golf ball sized hole in the back of the Ensign's body armour which was somehow in the process of sealing itself. Adding the suits repair function to the list of unanswered questions, Arden began helping Bale to a sitting position.:: ::Isaac fell to his knees and then toppled over to one side. He lay on the deck trying to control the jerking spasms shooting through his body. The wound in his back felt like fire, and the waves of nausea threatened to steal his consciousness. Then, to his ultimate horror, Isaac felt something moving inside him just underneath the skin at his side. His eyes went wide and he snapped his gaze toward Cain.:: Bale: By the gods, there's something inside me! ::Arden was sickened just by the thought that any sort of alien organism had somehow slipped inside of Bale's space suit, let alone his body, but Arden knew full well that it could happen. Star Fleet Academy made sure of that. Almost within seconds a larger moving bulge in the back of Bale's suite could be seen and it did appear to be moving, so for the first time on this mission Arden was at odds at how to handle the situation. Obviously the organism, whatever it was, had to be removed. The real question was how though.:: Cain: ::Trying to speak calmly:: Judging by that bulge, you're right Ensign. ::Isaac reached down to his boot and pulled out one of his combat knives. He extended it toward Cain with a violently twitching arm.:: Bale: ::through gritted teeth:: GET... IT... OUT! ::Taking the combat knife from Bale, Arden immediately ran through the options in the most calm and rational way he could. The first step to solving the problem was obviously to remove Bale's suit, so that meant he would need life support in the control room or somewhere else. He didn't really have to glance around the barely functioning control room to know that it wasn't an option. His next thoughts were of the Mercury, it had both experienced doctors and plenty of air to spare but that seemed like an equally unacceptable choice. He couldn't allow these spiders to get onto the Mercury but something had to be done now, so activating his comm system he called the Ensign pilot still aboard the Type-11 Shuttlecraft to complete a site to site transport.:: ::When Arden and Bale emerged from the matter stream, he found that while the shuttle hatch was closed the shuttle craft still had no atmosphere. Leaving Bale's side he slapped the controls to re-establish the atmosphere. While Arden waited for the ability to remove his own helmet he stumbled around in the back of the shuttle in order to find the emergency medical kit. Resting the kit on a chair besides Bale, he hastily removed his helmet and gloves feeling relieved, and thought of removing more of the cumbersome EVA gear, but thought better of it. Instead he removed the helmet and upper body portions of Bale's suit. Although that task in itself was more difficult then he hoped it to be, he was mindful not to cause damage to the obviously expensive piece of equipment. Next he ran a tricorder over Bale as his basic first aid course dictated.:: Cain: There is something growing in you Ensign. I'm going to cut it out. ::Isaac grunted and growled, shooting a look at Cain that would cause any sane man to take a step back under different circumstances. Pain shot through him as he felt whatever was inside him moving along his ribcage. Both men knew what had to be done.:: Bale: Less talk, more cutting! ::rolling onto his stomach so Cain could get at the creature crawling across his back:: Cain: Oh I know. Me talking is more for my benefit then yours at this point. I only have mild pain suppressors so this will hurt. Bale: ::grunting again in pain:: Time's wastin', doc. ::As Cain moved over him, Isaac pulled out a second combat knife. The tension in the shuttle was thick enough to slice up and serve for breakfast, but Bale felt both Cain and Gerrard relax slightly when he put the handle of that knife into his own mouth and bit down hard.:: Cain: Ensign Gerrard is it, please hold Bale very still while I attempt to remove whatever is in him. Gerrard: I'm not sure, Sir. Shouldn't we wait for a doctor? Cain: I would love to, but it ain't going to happen in time so... ::As Arden pinched the man's flesh together looking for the best spot to make an incision he pressed a hypospray to Bale giving him the mild pain reliever. Running one more tricorder scan just to make sure he wasn't in immediate danger of puncturing anything important, such as the spine or a lung, he used the knife cutting into the Ensign's skin as if he were dealing with a steak at dinner time. Only this time, blood began to seep out of the incision. Wishing he could do more for the man and hoping just as hard that Gerrard could restrain Bale adequately, he cut further along and deeper until he had a five centimeter hole. Ignoring Bale's pain responses, he pinched the still growing bulge together once more, which rewarded Arden with a purplish egg sac poking out of the wound. Knowing that it was too late to panic or for second guesses, Arden reached in and forcibly pulled the sac out of Bale. As he did so, it twisted in his hand but he maintained a firm grip just long enough to extract it from Bale's body and throw it to the rear of the shuttle. Putting the knife aside he picked up the tricorder which only confirmed that he didn't cause any further damage. From that point it was simply a matter of a couple slow runs over with the dermal regenerator. While not perfect, it was certainly better then having Bale bleed to death.:: ::Isaac didn't bother pointing out the futility when he felt the hypospray press against his neck. With his naturally high metabolic rate, and the amount of adrenaline rushing through him right now, his body was going to burn through the pain killers faster than they could take effect. He didn't care. He just wanted this thing out of him. Then came the pain. As Commander Cain grabbed a handful of skin around the lump on Bale's back and started cutting, the creature inside him activated a natural defense mechanism that neither of them had expected. Most likely sensing it's own peril, it must have released some form of neurotoxin into its host. Every muscle in Isaac's body strained to the point of seizing. He stiffened at first, and then began to thrash as muscle groups worked against each other. Isaac hadn't felt pain like this since his time under the 'care' of Cardassian scientists during the Dominion War. All coherent thought fled from his mind. The knife handle fell from his mouth, and to Ensign Gerrard's credit the man had the good sense to fling it aside before Bale's head could be skewered on it in his thrashing. Eyes clamped shut and unable to exercise even the slightest control over his own vocal cords, Isaac threw his head back with his face locked in a long, wordless scream.:: ::With the egg sac removed, Arden noticed that the spasms Bale was experiencing quickly faded which allowed him to get Bale into a sitting position. Breathing a sigh of relief Arden refrained from collapsing right there and then. All things considered he wasn't too concerned with appearances at that moment, but still thought it best to try and stay composed.:: ::Isaac floated somewhere on the edge of consciousness. The pain in his back was receding, but nerve endings throughout his body still felt like he was swimming in acid. He wasn't thrashing anymore, that much he could tell. Was Cain successful, or was his body failing? He had no idea if the lack of pain in his back meant the Commander was able to get that thing out, or if it was simply being masked by the toxins. Unable to think clearly, unable to speak, and unable to care, Isaac simply relaxed and let the darkness take him.:: Gerrard: Did you have to throw that thing across the shuttle Sir? Cain: Probably not.. ::Suddenly speechless:: :: For the first time since the hasty beam-in Arden felt cautiously aware of his surroundings. He trusted both the shuttle and his two companions but he found the position of the shuttle eerie. Even the tiniest sounds coming from the hull put him on edge as he remembered that the docking bay was where the spiders had emerged from during the attack on Bale. The shuttle seemed secure enough for the time being. Taking a moments reprieve to sit on a chair opposite from Bale, just to collect his thoughts even though there was really no time for such luxuries. Taking a few deep breaths Arden suddenly paused as he moved to get to his feet. His ears were greeted by the sounds of cracking and a skittering noise filled the interior of the shuttlecraft. Judging by Ensign Gerrard's panicked reaction Arden knew he hadn't imagined it but he also saw the Ensign fell backwards as he moved toward the pilot's chair in sheer terror. Turning around abruptly he saw the purple egg sac had spilt open with a yellowish trail leading straight toward him. Tracking the slime to its source Arden barely had time to draw his phaser as a baby spider, similar to those outside the shuttle, was in mid leap toward Arden's chest. It was simply too late to move out of its path as it landed on his chest in a posture that seemed like one of attack but seconds after the creature landed on him it just fell dead. After seeing what the adult form of the spider had done to Bale, it took Arden a moment to recover from his shock and another to even start figuring out what had happened. This time he didn't even attempt to hide his reaction from Gerrard while Bale still seemed to be sleeping. The baby spider itself had fallen onto the fall at which point it seemed to shriveled up. Although he could begin to explain the reaction he was silently praying to whatever deities existed for the good fortune.:: Gerrard: Sir what happened to it? Cain: I am not even going to pretend to be a biologist but if I had to guess I would say that it couldn't handle our atmosphere. Gerrard: What do you mean our atmosphere? There isn't anything exotic or dangerous in it to most species. Cain: The adult spiders outside are exhibiting the ability to survive in vacuum space. If that's there native environment perhaps oxygen is as lethal to them, as a lack of it, is to us. Gerrard: But your not sure Sir. Cain: No but it is a good place to start. Stay here with Bale while I return to the away team. I will have a proper medical team here as soon as possible. Simmed by Ensign Isaac Bale Starfleet Intelligence USS Mercury NCC-99812 and Lt. Commander Arden Cain First Officer USS Mercury NCC-99812
  25. (( Eagle's Roost, USS Discovery-C )) :: Valdivia entered the Roost somewhat nervous. Although he was sure she wouldn't blame him at all, he still felt he owed her an apology. He took a deep breath and approached Sister Cruella. :: VALDIVIA: Sister, may I speak with... CRUELLA: ::interrupting him:: I was just thinking of you! What a charming synchronicity. Perhaps fate has brought you to me? ::The Chief Science Officer began forming a syllable as though to interject, but she continued.:: But these surroundings seem dull - People eating everywhere. Would you be so gracious as to accompany me? I was thinking of the Astrometrics Laboratory. ::The Reman woman carefully articulated the destination in her musical voice.:: :: Valdivia was a little surprised at first. For being cut midsentence, but specially for her proposal. After all, he was there when the darkening of the Roost had been planned, because she wasn't comfortable in direct light. :: :: There was something about her, something that was different. Perhaps enthusiasm significantly altered her features? No, that wasn't it -- not the most noticeable alteration. Color. Her alabaster white face had the faintest blush of pink from within. :: VALDIVIA: Are you sure? The rest of the ship is not as dark as this place. CRUELLA: I am feeling ..hale. Besides my ..vigorous health, I believe you suggested a protective set of lenses - "sunglasses". :: Valdivia smiled and nodded, glad she remembered about his idea, and they left the room. :: (( en route, Astrometrics Lab )) :: The Reman woman moved with only a trace of hesitation through the corridors. Although her garb was as funereal as ever, Valdivia noticed that it was slimmer, less shapeless than the layered shroud she constantly wore behind the bar. Perhaps it was her casual attire? :: :: They walked and Valdivia slowly started to fall behind, doubts filling his mind. :: :: Cruella paused, and turned to regard her escort. The wizened face looked kindly up at he man. If it were not for her Reman features, she could have passed for a typical grandmother. But the bat ears which poked from beneath her shawl and sunglasses suggested her unusual nature. :: CRUELLA: ::She walked to close the distance between them.:: Does something burden you? What is it? ::She carefully concealed her ears once more.:: VALDIVIA: I... I heard about what happened. Are you ok? CRUELLA: Oh, my dear child! ::She grasped his hand, her own grip unpleasantly like icy steel cables.:: I knew you were different than most scientists, but to be compassionate as well as possessed of a ..conscience -- Truly a remarkable, young man. ::She released him.:: You must forgive my familiarity, please. ::She trilled her apology.:: I forget sometimes how cold I must seem. VALDIVIA: I am sorry I got you involved in this. :: The man's rueful expression told his heart as plainly as any telepath could have read. Rather than subject him to further chilling contact, the old woman compromised, approached as near as she dared. Lowering her glasses, their dark eyes met, bridged the remaining distance. :: CRUELLA: ::Her voice sounded of a music box, the clear tones as though this tune had been repeated before and always the same.:: I am flattered that you so concern yourself with my well-being. I do wish that everyone were as considerate. I shall be fine. ::Her voice regained its more fluid meter.:: In ..honesty I find myself still thrilled that you thought of me. ::She smiled with ghastly fangs.:: Never regret your decision. I don't. VALDIVIA: ::smiling. :: Somehow, I knew you wouldn't. But still... I'm sorry. It is not your duty, but yet when we needed you... :: The Reman vampire felt a greater shadow over the Chief Science Officer. He did not disbelieve her words. No, the feeling was of sorrow, a regret older than his relationship with the bartender. Appreciating the burden of sorrow acutely, she took on a solemn, more maternal posture. :: CRUELLA: This goes beyond the two of us. Tell me, what troubles you? You have my ear. :: Valdivia reflected on the question for several seconds before answering. He had not thought about that for a long time. :: VALDIVIA: On my first mission... we were boarded. Two enemies that used energy weapons entered the science lab. I thought I could overload their weapons, and did so, creating an energy field in the lab with the same frequency. One of their weapons exploded, killing the attacker. But the other one saw the effect, and hurled the weapon at a crewman. It exploded near him. CRUELLA: Do you recollect this crew-man's name? VALDIVIA: I do remember. Lieutenant Raharu. He lost his eyes, and had them replaced by artificial ones. He... returned to Earth after that. CRUELLA: And you were left with guilt. Raharu blamed you for his eyes, and he departed. VALDIVIA: Blame me? He even called me a hero, saying we could all be dead if those Saurians wouldn't have been stopped. It made it even more difficult. CRUELLA: Not an uncommon paradox - to fabricate guilt even after absolution. We often assume more responsibility than is our part. And Raharu leaving the ship, you felt survivor's guilt, striking the man as a casualty even though he lived and walked. But you walked on as well, ever on. Maturing as an officer of peace. VALDIVIA: It took me some time, but in the end I saw he was somehow right. But each time I have to make a decision in a rush, or imply someone else, without testing or discussion, this moment still pops to mind. :: Cruella was initially taken by the sinful irony of killing someone by turning their weapon against them. As she thought of Valdivia's crisis of escaping unscathed and forgiven, her thoughts began wandering. :: CRUELLA: You acted with the best of intentions. It is still ..tragic, that some had to suffer and die. oO Violence, always fragmenting into further violent acts. Oo VALDIVIA: I'm really glad nothing serious happened to you, sister. CRUELLA: You know, every time I can be of use, I feel a bit less empty. ::a mournful bell tolling:: My eyes have seen lives burn bright, and crackling turn to ash. These withered old bones have done much. Good, at times, but I have acted in ..haste, at times. :: Less used to telepathic reading, now Cruella understood a bit more of the exchange that was conversation. Instead of offering thoughts in exchange, talking required painting a picture with words. There were times the Reman hesitated to reflect upon, felt ill about voicing aloud. :: VALDIVIA: Are you thinking about something in particular? CRUELLA: It was so long ago, and we were just getting along.. ::The musical notes faded, her words trailing off.:: :: They entered the lift for last leg of their jaunt to the lab. Unsure of the meaning of her last choice of words, Valdivia looked long at the little woman. Sister Cruella appeared to be reliving her past regardless of his prompting. Whistling whispers came from her, and when she would stop for a while her hand moved up to her face. :: VALDIVIA: Do you... want to talk about it? CRUELLA: ::sharply:: Oh! ::in a rising overture:: I feel I ought to confide in you, at the least we will be on equal terms. Equality of an unpleasant sort. My dear, innocent boy, I.. I do not know what you may think of me after I have told my tale. ::In the darker Turbolift, she removed her shades. Her eyes, haunted eyes, looked into him once more. There was fear there, real fear.:: VALDIVIA: You don't have to. But I'm willing to listen. CRUELLA: I was a girl, really only a girl. Lost in my ..the last foolish tatters of romantic hope, they still clung to my budding womanhood. How terrible for.. it was terrible that these last remnants of ignorant ideals ::She looked away as she said it.:: wrapped themselves over my eyes. ::aside, almost to herself:: My judgement was usually so sound. I was most prudent of my friends. ::she continued:: I was a young fool. VALDIVIA: It's hard to imagine you... :: too late, he noticed the implied meaning. :: err... being a fool, I mean. :: What he really meant, however, wasn't lost to her. She smiled again, but there was a beauty unmarred by fangs this time. Her teeth were orderly, more Terran. Rather than fangs curving toward eerie translucence like a deep sea fish, her smile was of pleasant, white teeth. :: CRUELLA: Oh, it is not so difficult to imagine. Just open your mind to the possibility. :: Before his eyes, she transformed. She was no longer a withered woman wearing a concealing pile of black and several life times' worth of wrinkles. :: :: A young Reman woman, really still a girl growing into her adult features stood tall where Sister Cruella had been. Most shocking of her transformation was that she was taller than Valdivia, imposing even. Her curves had the pert edges and firmness which came from being atop athletic muscle. She wore a coarse shift in fading maroon, with some threadbare patches finally beyond mending. Her clothes were actually a bit too small for her which made her seem a bit younger. The shawl (with large ears pointing up under it) did little to hide the woman's gaunt face, regarding Valdivia with open friendliness. Her soulful eyes had another character entirely - where he was used to seeing a sad understanding and acceptance there was none. Her eyes were filled with wild passion as only youth could possess. :: CRUELLA: Youth or madness. ::apologetic:: Forgive my intrusion. Nature is difficult to renounce in part, more so than refusing it wholly. VALDIVIA: This is... oO Impossible? A trick? Telepathy? Actual transformation? Oo ... impressive. :: The more robust, considerably younger Reman woman continued. Though faint, there was color in her animated face and hands. The melody of Cruella's voice seemed much more at home coming from her young self. :: CRUELLA: A young healer, well skilled in the techniques and meager resources Reman women developed since we resolved to live. Living in the dark pit, the mines of Remus. VALDIVIA: I can't even begin to imagine. Was it hard? CRUELLA: For the young it was, mostly. An idea remained, one of justice. That the Romulans would pay their due to us, and that we would be free to the stars. ::sulky:: Free as we had been when our people first came to settle Romulus and Remus. :: With relived passion of youth, tempered by the sober wisdom of hindsight, she told her tale. Unlike most Remans, she had been able to leave their abyssal world. Unfortunately, she had become taken with the powerful warrior Cenarius. Her love stuck her to the evil man's side, and by him she wandered far astray. The horrors, some completely pointless, Cenarius' loyal band perpetrated. The filthy lust and borderline abandon of the vampire bachanals caused Cruella to color a little, withdrawing from recounting the base details now as she had reserved herself from the morally degraded acts she witnessed in her past. She had succumbed to being a vampire with the rest of the Orcus Sect, but unlike the riotous blood suckers she somehow, against all she knew, believed she could bring them back around to more noble goals. By the time Sister Cruella had finished, they were lingering outside of the Astrometrics Lab. :: :: There was undoubtedly more to her tale, but more than enough had been recounted. Valdivia, however, mesmerized by her tale, and specially by her telling it, was in shock for a couple of seconds when she stopped. :: VALDIVIA: oO Why...? Oh! Oo Oh! Welcome to Astrometrics. simmed by Lt.Cmdr John Valdivia Chief Science Officer USS Discovery-C and Sister Cruella (PNPC) Bartender The Eagle's Roost as simmed by Lt.Cmdr. Inarr "Steve" Rogg d'Squamos Chief Engineering Officer USS Discovery-C
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