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  1. ((Lathu's Quarters, USS Tiger-A)) :: At first Zinna was a bit scared. Why? Because what if she'd prove Velana right? What if she proved that she wasn't capable of helping Lathu. T'Mihn had told her that if she couldn't help Lathu then she wouldn't be the chief counselor in the first place, and she was right. Surely Captain Riley had faith in her or she wouldn't hold that position. Zinna then consider becoming a security officer if she failed Lathu. That would give her a chance to use her telepathy to solve crimes and interrogate people and be a lie detector and basically be a forensic scientist. As a counselor she felt restricted and confined sometimes. Zinna felt as if she wasn't nearly as important as the rest of the officers. If she'd said that to someone they'd call it nonsense and probably reply, "you're the one that keeps us together and focus. Without you we'd all be crazy and sad and unable to work properly. But that was the thing...did they really *need* her? Most people preferred talking out their problems with their friends, so was Zinna really helpful. :: :: She had enrolled and took the major of counseling because her friends had told her it was perfect for her. She was from the race of "listeners" and that's what counselors needed to be able to do: listen. But was Zinna a listener? or did she just tell people what she thought was best? But that was what counselors were supposed to do right? They were supposed to give suggestions, but also listen. They weren't there to lecture their patients. Zinna always tried not to lecture people because she despised being lectured. Now she asked herself if she was being a good counselor. She had had hardly any real sessions. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't given any psyche evaluations in a long time. It seemed like every time she tried to offer listening to someone, they refused with some excuse that basically stated: "I'm more busy with this than worrying about my mental healthy." They had always been able weasel their way out of talking to her. So the question was.....:: Zinna: oO Am I so bored that I have to fight to get someone to talk to me so I can do my job. Is that how useless I am? Oo :: She sat in a chair that she had replicated in Lathu's quarters. She had a smile that gave the Suliban encouragement, but she didn't know if it was working or not. She didn't know if he could tell her true emotions. Zinna had said she could take care of herself, but was that true, or was she just trying to act tougher in front of Velana and Lt. Beaufytor? But why would she need to impress them? What did they have that she wanted? *Happiness?* :: Zinna: Hi Lathu. Lathu: What's up counselor? Zinna: How do you feel about finally getting out of sickbay and being in your room? Lathu: Like the luckiest man in the world. Do you know how awful it is in there? Zinna: ::jokingly:: Oh...I think I have a picture of it, ha ha. :: Lathu looked at her with curiosity and scratched his head. :: Lathu: Why do you want to talk to me? Zinna: Because I'm a counselor, and that's what I do. But I'd rather listen. oO Yes, listen, that's what I need to do. Oo So go ahead. I think someone whose been through all the things you have, you'd want to pour out some of those feelings. Now if you don't mind, I'd like for you to start from the very beginning. Please. :: Lathu sighed for a moment. :: Lathu: I started off being transferred to the Tiger because of "emotional stress". My CO seemed to think that I needed to get off a starbase and go on wild adventures and get some stress relief. This was after my...demotion to ensign. Zinna: Do you think that was a reasonable punishment? Lathu: I'd rather chew a yellow rotten toenail. Zinna: Oh...well...that's an interesting punishment. Please continue. Lathu: And then I met Ens. Vistain. She was really nice to me. Zinna: So you're friends with her? Lathu: Not anymore. ::sniff:: I nearly killed her. Zinna: But I bet she still wants to be friends with you. :: Zinna could feel the security officer outside the room with his phaser ready to stun Lathu if he would get violent. What would the engineer do to him? Would he jump up from the bed, replicate a rope, and choke her to death. Or would he beat her, like Fulian, her ex-husband, beat her in the past. Could Zinna *really* defend for herself. On earth, a zinna was a type of flower, and that's exactly what Zinna was, a flower. She was a froufrou like woman. She didn't like to get down and dirty. She had sworn an oath to never take a life again, not that she *would* try to kill Lathu, but what if he got violent with her and somehow defeated the security guard. She would call for backup of course, but there was always that short time she would have to calm Lathu down or try and restrain him. She wasn't a martial arts expert, but surely she could fire a phaser. :: Lathu: Ens. Taylor hates me, counselor, what do I do about that. Zinna: First tell me, what are your feelings towards Danielle? Lathu: I like her, a lot. She's the only one that's really my friend. Zinna: Are your feelings stronger towards her than Amber? :: For a moment Lathu looked as if he didn't know how to answer it. He shed a tear and wiped his eye. Zinna felt sadness within in heart. She knew this was a hard question for him, but that's why she asked it. She needed something to work with. :: Zinna: Lathu?-- Lathu: WHAT?!!!! :: He voice was loud and forceful and it sent his quarters' door to open. The security guard looked at Zinna, who gave a him an expression to signify that it was okay. :: Zinna: Stand down crewman. Lathu, please answer the question. Lathu: ::he stood:: I love Amber! I LOVE HER! Zinna: Are you sure? Or are you obsessed? Or lust? Lathu: I LOVE AMBER WITH ALL MY MIGHT! YOU'LL NEVER TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME! I WON'T LET YOU! I'LL DIE FIGHTING BEFORE I LET YOU STEAL HER AWAY FROM ME! :: The security guard raised his phaser, and Zinna didn't tell him to stand down, because veins were popping from Lathu's neck. He was getting angrier. :: Zinna: Lathu, I don't want to steal her away from you, why would you think that? Lathu: IT'S WHAT ALL YOU WANT TO DO! YOU, VELANA, TAYLOR, AND THAT CADET! WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LET US BE IN LOVE!!!!!!!!! Zinna: Let's think about what you just said, Lathu. Are you certain Amber loves you back, or is that just your fantasy? There's a difference between something that IS true and something you WANT to be true, Lathu. Think very hard about that because I'm going to ask it again. Are you certain Amber loves you or is that just your fantasy? :: He didn't answer at first because he slumped in his bed. :: Lathu: I don't want to talk anymore. Zinna: Are you sure, Lathu? I was only trying to--- Lathu: LEAVE ME ALONE! :: Zinna stood to get ready to exit Lathu's quarters. :: Zinna: Lathu, I know this is hard for you at first but the only way to get through this is to talk to me, so I can provide suggestions. I'd love to help you. I want to. If Amber doesn't love you, then you'll have to accept that. You can't force love.You may think you're the only one with love issues, but you're not. Thousands of people are, but they keep trying. And you shouldn't blame yourself for Danielle's injury. Although you may have been the cause of it because of carelessness, you did take the blame which was a brave thing to do. You just need to restart your life, Lathu. You need to be more happy... Lathu: I'll start when you start. Zinna: oO What's that supposed to mean? Oo What's that supposed to mean? Lathu: You're telling me to be happy, but you can't even be happy yourself. Is that really being a good counselor? Being a hypocrite? Zinna: Rest and get better, Lathu. :: Zinna left the quarters and the security officer gave her a nod, whatever that meant. :: Zinna: oO Goddess, what in heavens does he mean by that? Oo :: As Zinna walked off, she could here Lathu singing "I'm Walking On Sunshine", but she didn't pay any attention. She was heading for the bridge now, for something new to do. To be useful and do some good besides run her mouth about not being able to do her job. She could do her job any time she liked, but she was just into impressing people and trying to be someone else. Who *was* she trying to be? Zinna was certainly different now. She was way different. She used to be tranquil. She walked and wondered what was different about her. What was she doing wrong. Where were her friends? Why wasn't she hanging out with officers off duty or on leave? Why was she so invisible? Why was she a mystical enigma feeling useless? She helped people or she thought she did. She was different from when she was an ensign. Had her pride as Lt. JG gone to her head? She didn't sing anymore. She didn't garden anymore. She didn't spend time with Taxo anymore. She didn't do anything besides get better at her job. She was trying to hard. Did Lathu know some dark secret about her that she didn't? :: Zinna: oO He'll save it...and use it as blackmail...Oo He knows me better than I know my own self.... ((OOC2: I will sim Zinna either on the bridge, sickbay, or in science labs next. Thanks)) T.B.C. ~~~~~~~~~~~ LtJG Zinna Chief Counselor USS Tiger-A
  2. ((Jeffrey Tube 2, Main Engineering level 2, Deck 8, USS Tiger-A)) ::Darius Clack peacefully took in the hollow sounds of the dark horizontal tunnels the made up Jeffrey Tube number two. In a seated position on the floor, his back rested comfortably against the wall. His feet were firmly planted on the floor and his bent knees served as a resting place for his arms. His chin rested against his chest as he listened to the churning sounds of the Tiger. All ships spoke in a coded language. The trick was having the ear to understand their words. The Tiger had a strange accent, similiar to the one that the Ursa Major possessed. Strange that everything in the universe communicated in its own language.... Many conversations, few listeners...:: (Time jump, past) ((Outskirts of Wheeler Colony)) Clack: I envy you Mr Hahn. ::turning toward the robust man dressed in tan overalls:: Hahn: That's something coming from a Starfleet officer. There is not much to do but to wait out the storm. You're welcome to join us at the Cantina when you are off duty. You can always find me there, if not, the Colony-wide comms will the best next alternative. ::The two stood alone on top of the ridge overlooking the valley toward Capital City.:: Clack: By membership only? Hahn: Anyone's always welcome there, just leave your weapons at the door. That might be the only house rule...oh, yes and the new guy buys the first round. Clack: You have a wonder talent Mr Hahn. Only a man of superior abilities could have keep the power grid operating as long as it has given the circumstances and equipment. Perhaps, you should reconsider and request a transfer. It would be a shame to waste that talent. Hahn: Oh yeah, I have been meaning to. I think that they have a vacancy over at the western sprawl- the guy just never make it home one night. Pah! Talent nothing, you keep that Starship going- now that kind of engineering work...it will take a many liters of ale to get me through fixing that. I am sorry, I am just bitter and sour, I would like nothing more than to die here- it is home to me, for better or for worst. I do this because that is all I know. Sure, it has its downside, but I enjoy it, it is a puzzle to me. And I have a wife who, for whatever reasons, have not run away with some other person. ::He took out his PADD to make a note on the cable box. :: Hahn: What about you, Lieutenant? Clack: Myself? ::pausing as he chose his words carefully.:: I just remember awaking one day to this reality. It is a good life. I don't regret it for one-second. ::kneeling on one knee.:: However, I was thinking recently that I haven't been home in ten years. You see your home everyday. Ten years. ::closing his eyes.:: There are times I wonder what have I accomplished in all that time. What difference your being there at any time made to anything. Hardly made any difference at all, really, in the grand scheme of the universe, particularly when compared to other men's occupations. ::He paused as he looked across the desolate valley.:: Clack: Looks like your party has left you behind. Hahn: Can't get good help these days, Lt. Clack: I will definitely catch up with you later, Kevin. I have to get settled in and report back to the ship. ::Clack watched Hahn walk away to join the others as if he didn't have a care in the world. It was funny that some people could live like that. The sound of thunder echoed off into the distance as he rested. The melody of the storm began to echo in his head. It was a different tune than that of the Ursa Major but a beautiful one to say the least. Darius paused and looked across the green meadow. The flat terrain stretched as far as the eye could see. Two hundred miles precisely it stretched to the North according to his tricorder. The setting sun was now hidden by a blanket of black mid-level clouds. Closing his eyes, he deeply inhaled the cold southerly wind that flowed along the prairie like a lonely specter in search of comfort. Darius could feel the air burning his heavily scarred lungs yet somehow the oxygenated air brought a renewal of life to the diseased cells....:: (Present) Lightfoot: Darius? ::He opened his eyes to find Cocheta Lightfoot standing over him. Her facial expression was stern as she waited for his response.:: Clack: Is Kesi here? Lightfoot: Kesi? Clack: Yes. ::Cocheta stood speechless before answering the question.:: Lightfoot: We said good-bye to her at the Gateway. ::break:: Don't you remember? ::Slowly, Darius rose to his feet. As he stood, he had to momentarily steady himself with his hand against the wall as his legs were not up to the challenge just yet.:: Clack: Yes, ::looking away as he remembered::, yes of course we did. ::speaking softly:: (later) (( Robotics Lab )) ::The dark shadow entered the Robotics Lab to find Atimen, Firestarter, and T'Mihn present.:: Atimen: I'm sorry about the delay, have you started yet? Firestarter: ::Looking at the contraption.:: I would have to say more than started. Care to tell us what you have gotten done so far? ::At first it seemed the group was not aware of his presence.:: T'Mihn/Atimen/Firestarter: Response Clack: Excuse me, ::in a low voice:: do you have anything to report? T'Mihn/Atimen/Firestarter: Response tbc Lt Cmdr Darius Clack FO USS TIGER-A and PNPC PO 3rd Class Shoodi Cocheta Lightfoot Engineer USS Tiger-A
  3. ((Captain's Quarters Aboard the USS Victory)) ::There were no stars outside her window that afternoon. Instead, Kali watched the few ships that were arriving come in to dock, a few others leaving, and smaller workerbees moving about the empty space between. Everything was gliding in the total weightlessness of space, lost in the silence of the vacuum, and all that was left to be heard in that moment was her own breathing.:: ::Somewhat lost in thoughts of the distant past, the woman who was the Captain of the ship on which she stood, as well as the massive Starbase that contained it, slowly and absentmindedly wrapped the long tendrils of her pitch black hair up and around itself, taming it as if it were an otherwise wild beast. It was a motion that she had come to know well and one that she had done many times before. The difference now was that she wasn't the same carefree girl she had been back then. No; now she was a Starfleet command officer responsible for far more than cleaning her bedroom, setting the table, the family dogs, or even a small contingent of Marines.:: ::Yet, perhaps it was that responsibility that made such trips into the wild blue necessary.:: ::Once, chasing the demon that had at one time lived in the air had been her obsession. After her own death, a moment that forever changed her both physically as well as mentally, it had become a means to an end. Now it was almost an escape from a time that was far more safe than the days of old, while being far more dangerous at the same time. She almost felt bad for running off for a few hours, thinking that something else would need her attention. It was a feeling that loomed over her mind causing her to feel as if she were forever at the beck and call of her position.:: ::But in the end, the thought was one she had to consciously fight off. Before Kalianna Arashi Nicholotti was, or could be Captain, she had to be many other things first; woman, friend, lover, confidant, leader, follower, guardian, and as her father had always called her, doch'ka. That was, perhaps, her favorite of them all. Her favorite, that was, after the nickname her grandfather had bestowed upon her.:: ::In the stillness of the room, Kali had no trouble hearing the words reverberate through her mind.:: ((Flashback, Earth, 24 Years Ago)) Hawk: Come now, my malien'kaia gadyuka. You have much to learn. ::A much shorter Kalianna, one who had barely turned five, ran to keep up with the taller man as he walked out of the small building towards the rows of metallic rectangles that sprawled across the seemingly barren desert landscape as far as the eye could see. There weren't too many places left in the world like this, so it was no wonder that it was big. The fact that her perspective made everything that much bigger only solidified the awe with which she looked into the distance with.:: Nicholotti: Where are we going, Dedushka? ::The man stopped and smiled down at her then. Even though his face, worn with the wrinkles of age, was partially obscured by the sun, she would never forget that smile. Reaching to pick her up, his somewhat gruff voice alluded to what would be the most pivotal moment in her life.:: Hawk: Up there. ::His eyes looked up and the little girl now in his arms tilted her head back to look up at the stark blue sky. It hadn't made sense to her then, but she had learned not to question her grandfather. If he said that was where they were going, then that was exactly where they were going.:: ((End Flashback)) ::A warm smile had appeared on her lips as she remembered the day when she had taken her first trip into the skies. It had sparked a love that she had carried with her throughout her entire life and one that she would soon share with a man who was fast finding his way into her heart as well. The way things seemed to fall together just how they should never ceased to amaze her, and as she considered her long path from the day of her first flight to the day in which she now stood, she wondered if Hawk didn't know more about the universe and how it all worked than he let on.:: ::A contented sigh slipped through her lips as she secured the last pieces of her hair and put her arms through their sleeves, pulling the suit up around her body where it could be zipped up. Ready, and excited, she grabbed the helmet that her dedushka had left behind for her years ago and stepped out into the hall. Destination? Holodeck 2. Mission? Scare the seemingly unshakable Chief Tactical officer with an antique method of transportation and war that was an exact replica of the one that sat at home on Earth awaiting her return.:: ::The mischievously impish grin appeared on her face as she moved through the empty corridors towards her impending freedom. It would not last forever, but the time she had would be plenty to re-energize her. Like the younger child who had often begged her grandfather every single weekend years ago, Kali felt the excitement building as she moved faster and faster through the halls.:: ((Holodeck 2, USS Victory)) ::The blue sky inside the room was a stark reminder of her home. A quick glance around told her that all was as it should be; the weather was perfect, the sky empty, and the sprawling hangars stretching into the distance like fingers reaching for some unknown goal. Kali took as deep a breath as she could, enjoying the air that smelled decisively of Earth before she set off across the tarmac to the rectangular building where she knew she would find her most prized possession.:: ::Without hesitation, she approached the heavy door and, after a few seconds of pulling, moved it open just enough for her to slip into the large room. A thin beam of sunlight spilled into the musty smelling space, illuminating the outline of a sleek jet. She approached it, stepping around to one side and reaching out to touch the metallic hologram as if she almost didn't believe it was there. Her fingertips quickly made contact, though, and she felt the reassuring cold metal right where it should have been.:: ::Moving on, Kali drifted further to the side and moved up to where the canopy sat propped open. Her eyes were automatically drawn to a point just below it. Had anyone else been around to read it, black letters were barely visible just below the glass canopy.:: "Mikhail 'Hawk' Nicholotti" ::Below the faded black lettering, shinier new letters stood out in the dim light.:: "Kalianna 'Viper' Nicholotti" ::Kali ran her hand across the letters, letting herself get lost momentarily in the past.:: ((Flashback - Edwards Air Museum, California, Earth)) ::She looked good in her new flight suit. Well, it wasn't really new, it was actually an antique, but it was new to her. The hot sun cast a glare over the high desert of California that day, reflecting off the metal of the ancient fighter. Some people might call it an old hunk of metal, but for Kali, it was escape from the reality of daily life. It lived and breathed as the fuel hose pumped gallon after gallon of oil based petroleum into its tanks.:: Hawk: Saddle up girl. You aren't gonna fly 'er from down there. ::Kali had to shield her eyes from the sun to look up at her grandfather. Hawk was what he was designated long ago when he first joined the Corps, and ever since he had kept the nickname. Kali had yet to earn her call sign, a name already granted to her by the man climbing into the plane, but she was hoping to solidify all that today. Though she had logged many a happy hour in the incredible machine before her, today would be the first time that she would take the front seat. It had been a day that she looked forward to since her first flight, when she was 5 years old. Today would be a day to remember and she wanted to remember everything. Taking one last look over the monster in front of her, she strode up to the ladder and climbed aboard.:: ::Listening as her grandfather went through the navigator checklist, and two of his Marine friends secured the fuel hose and other gear outside the plane, Kali settled into the form fitted seat. The five point restraint took some time to adjust, but Kali relished the fact that it would never have to be adjusted again. After today, this baby was all hers. She patted the side panel as she started in on her own pre-launch checklist. It was all second nature and soon she looked up ready to go.:: Nicholotti: Here we go. Hawk: Good, let's see what you got. ::Her hands went to work, flipping switches and bringing the beast to life. Gauges sprung to life, and the sounds of air traffic control filtered up to her ears from the helmet in front of her. Grasping it, she pulled it down over her long hair and adjusted the mask so that it was comfortable.:: ::After signaling her intentions to the tower, Kali sat back and waited. She listened to the sounds around her until her clearance came through her headset.:: ::She lined up the centuries old jet with the equally old taxiways. The dust swirled around them as she throttled up the engines just enough to get them moving. Though they were old, they had been restored back to pristine condition, giving the impression of a brand new plane. In its time, the Super Hornet, as it was called, played a huge role in both military as well as space related missions. It had been one of the first to avoid the radar of the time, and it could fill a variety of roles. Everything from high g-force experimentation to the air combat superiority needed back then, could be completed by this so called 'hunk of metal'. Now, in a time when such machines were obsolete, she still found it thrilling to take it up. No failsafe systems to balance them, and no inertial dampeners; in this machine, speed could truly be felt.:: Tower: Hornet one three five, Edwards Tower. Runway zero four left. Taxi into position and hold. ::It was a process that she had been through so many times before when her grandfather had been in the front seat, and one that was nearly useless, but anyone who flew these antique planes still followed the old ways. It was tradition.:: Nicholotti: Position and hold, Hornet one three five. ::She spoke into her headset.:: ::She felt the engines rev up behind her, the power reverberating through the [...]pit. Carefully, she moved the aircraft into position.:: Tower: Hornet one three five, wind three one zero at niner runway zero four left, cleared for takeoff. Nicholotti: Hornet one three five, cleared for takeoff zero four left. ::As soon as she had gotten the clearance, she slammed the jet into overdrive. Reacting to her controls, the plane shot forward, leaving the ground behind as she maneuvered it into a steep climb. Perpendicular to the ground below her, she pushed it nearly to the point of a stall, spiraling off into the sky. The G-forces pushed her back into the seat, and her breaths came faster as she shot the plane through the air..:: ::Old test pilots used to say that there was a demon that lived in the skies, and anyone who tried to break the sound barrier would surely die of his wrath. Kali looked at the gauges in front of her and triggered the afterburners. The jet shuddered slightly beneath her, gathering even more speed. Seconds later, the airspeed indicator passed the mach one mark. The demon had been defeated yet again.:: ::Kali grinned as the feeling of the G forces pushed her back into her seat. The ground rushed by faster and faster until she finally pulled the nose up and shot off into the sky. It was as if the whole world belonged to her now, and no one could catch her. Flying at mach 1.8, she pushed the Hornet faster. The roar of the engines masked a distant beeping, which was threatening to intrude on her daydreams. Looking around, Kali felt the plane, her grandfather, and the slick exhilaration suddenly drift out of focus.:: ((End Flashback)) ::A padd, which she had put into her pocket before leaving her quarters, was beeping steadily alerting her to the time. Shutting off the alarm, she halfway tossed the padd on a nearby table, the only other thing in the room aside from the plane. Colt would be there soon and she wanted it all to be ready.:: ::Letting her fingers fall from the engineering marvel before her, she turned to push the door the rest of the way open and get the jet towed out onto the tarmac before he arrived. In the back of her mind, the excitement was building; not only was she going to fly, but she was going to share the moment with him. And that was when she realized that despite the pain of the past week, some things made the pain worth it.:: TBC -- Commander Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer Starbase 118 / USS Victory
  4. (( First Officer's Office - USS Apollo)) :: Liam had lost track of how much time he had spent in his office, though his chronometer had kept perfect time and indicated that it had been about forty-five minutes. He looked at the monitor in front of him, taking stock of how far he had gotten with the message he had prepared for the family of Daniel Brandon.:: :: Nowhere.:: :: There were, at times, words on the screen in front of him, but none of them seemed appropriate, and none of them seemed to stay there for long. Of course, there would be a note made in the Apollo's official logs, and Starfleet would likely forward that information once it was processed. But it seemed so impersonal. If anything happened to him in the line of duty, Liam had always felt it would be better for his family to find out personally, from someone like the Captain, or even Sidney.:: :: But the Solstice had been missing for nearly twenty years, and her crew presumed lost along with her. It was possible that Commander Brandon's family had moved on since then and made peace with their loss. If that was the case, would contacting them about it simply be opening old woulds that had been healing for more than half of Liam's life. there was the chance that saying something, anything, to them might just make things worse for the family.:: :: He spent long moments pondering it, what he should do. He considered asking someone, Jaxx or even Cayden, how to act. But he couldn't bring himself to put it on either of them. They carried the same burden, or the memories of it, and to put that weight on them seemed more than just unfair.:: :: He took a deep breath, and a long sip of coffee before entering a few commands into his terminal. He waited for a few moments while the subspace relays of the Apollo connected to the ones that he had requested. After a few seconds, the Stafleet logo was replaced by the face of a woman a few years older than Liam. He could tell she was the woman she was looking for, she bore an unmistakable resemblance to the man who's Starfleet record he'd been looking at a few minutes ago.:: Woman: Hello. :: Liam did his best to keep his voice neutral.:: Frost: Lydia Brandon? Brandon: Yes. And you are? :: He could tell she was at least mildly confused. She was a civilian. And to be contacted directly by a Starfleet officer was at least the slightest bit strange.:: Frost: I'm Lieutenant Commander Liam Frost, of the USS Apollo. Brandon: How can I help you, Commander? :: He allowed himself as long a pause as he felt he could without creating any unnecessary tension. He needed to choose his words carefully, but he had to do so quickly.:: Frost: I have some information that I though you would want to here. :: He paused a moment longer.:: Frost: We recovered some wreckage this morning, as well as the body of a Starfleet officer. :: He could see her expression begin to change slightly, as though she were steeling herself for the information that she was about to receive. That she had always know that she might receive.:: Frost: We found your father. :: There was nothing for several long moments except silence while Lydia Brandon finally absorbed the fact that she had suspected would come for so long. There were no tears, no visceral reactions, no anger. Just a solemn acceptance of what she had suspected for so long.:: Brandon: I see. Frost: I'm sorry that you had to find out this way. After so long. Brandon: I think a part of my always knew this day was going to come. The Solstice was declared lost when I was a kid. :: This time it was her time to spend a few moments choosing her words.:: Brandon: Can I ask you something, Commander? Frost: Of course. Brandon: My father... do you know how he die? :: It was the most loaded questions he had ever faced. The answer raised questions about the nature of life and death that human philosophers had grappled with for centuries. from a strictly biological stance, Daniel Brandon had been alive right up until the moment Liam had shot him. But was he still Daniel Brandon at the time? Some might argue that Daniel Brandon died twenty years ago, the day he was assimilated. He ceased to be an individual, and became a drone. He followed the will of the collective, and was no more a person than a character on the holodeck. In the end, it didn't matter what the answer was, he couldn't bring himself to place that burden upon her. He looked the as straight in the eye as the connection would allow him to, and told her exactly how her father had met his end.:: Frost: Bravely. :: She stared at him for another long moment before nodding slowly. She knew there was more to the story than he was telling her, she had to. There would be time for her to read the official reports, to find out what had happened. But for now, It was enough for her to know that her father had died the way he lived, bravely in the face of danger and the unknown. And perhaps, with that information, she would be able to better handle that report. Or perhaps, he could only hope, that would be enough. For a moment, the faintest smile appeared on her features, as if a small portion of the weight she had carried with her was lifted. Brandon: I see. I never knew quite how I would feel when I found out what happened. It's nice to have some closure. Frost: If there's anything I can do, please don't hesitate to contact me. Brandon: I won't. And, Commander. Thank you. Frost: You're welcome. :: He reached forward and closed the connection before leaning back in his desk chair. He let his head fall back slightly and closed his eyes as a small wave of relief washed over him. It wasn't a pleasant duty to perform, but one that was necessary. In spite of himself, he was slightly relieved that he had never known Lieutenant Commander Brandon. It gave him a small degree of separation from the situation that he wouldn't have had otherwise.:: :: After a few seconds, he stood, taking a one last sip of his increasingly cold coffee before replacing the mug into the replicator to be reclaimed. He had, once again, emerged from the situation with his humanity intact, and that was something to be grateful for. He moved towards the door, straightening his uniform jacket and letting a long breath out before he stepped back out onto the bridge and into reality.:: LtCmdr Liam Frost First Officer USS Apollo
  5. ((Outside the Mansion)) ::Blackwood and tr’Khellian snuck down the stairs and out the front entrance of the Count’s big, creepy Mansion, being careful not to follow too quickly behind Derrick. They shut the door ever so gently behind them and snuck into the shadow of the closest home.:: ::Blackwood craned her neck trying to get a view of what was going on down in the town. There were still occasional shrieks and if Blackwood had thought it was spine chilling before it was ten times worse being so much closer to the source.:: :: They were crouched down, behind a decrepit house on damp cobblestones and Blackwood could feel herself shaking. She didn’t consider herself a coward by any means and in fact there was very little that frightened her. In fact her parents had often commented that she could use a healthy dose of it to curb some of her more outgoing, trouble attracting talents. She was feeling the flight instinct pretty strongly but she held her ground. The message they’d received on the ship had suggested something was going on down here and perhaps this was it. The same curiosity that drew her to the sciences drove her to find out more.:: ::tr’Khellian grew concerned. Very concerned. Blackwood seemed to be losing it. He put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.:: It’s all good. As long as we have each other’s backs. Clear? ::Looking her directly in the eyes.:: ::Blackwood nodded her head firmly and plucked up her courage once again.:: T’Lea: =/\= T’Lea to Blackwood, what is your location? =/\= Blackwood: =/\= We’re just outside the Mansion. =/\= ::Talking just loud enough to be heard.:: T’Lea: =/\= Any indication what caused the alarm? It was not *you*, I hope. =/\= :: Blackwood frowned, she was always on the receiving end of suspicion it seemed. No wonder she was getting along so well with the intelligence officer, they were like two peas in a pod.:: Blackwood: =/\= Not sure yet, that’s what we are going to find out. =/\= tr’Khellian: =/\= I think many Starfleet mice are lost in this maze. We have taken care and used countermeasures. What are your orders Commander?=/\= T’Lea: =/\= Since you are already outside, proceed to the shuttle craft, make certain it is secure, and report back.=/\= Blackwood: =/\= Aye, Aye ma’am. =/\= tr’Khellian: =/\= Roger that. Moving to the shuttle.=/\= ::Blackwood looked at tr’Khellian. She was the ranking officer but he was more experienced and better trained for these kind of scenarios. He seemed a lot more confident and comfortable than she did and it was with relief that she allowed him to take the lead.:: tr’Khellian: I’ll take point. Stay right behind me. We are gonna move faster. ::They moved quietly and at a good pace . Their journey punctuated by random sounds coming from their left or right at times. tr’Khelllan ignored them as he moved the pair to the shuttle.:: ::Something was not right. He turned. Blackwood was not there:: oO Frak Oo ::He began backtracking:: oO Double [...]ed steaming pile of FRAK-ity frak! Oo ::He could not risk actively searching for her combadge using his primary tricorder. That sort of ping would show up on even passive scans. oO FRAK. MY FAULT. Oo. ::He picked up the pace.:: ((Elsewhere)) ::Blackwood had paused for a second as something had caught her eye. She hadn’t even meant to stop for long. She ran her tricorder over a strange, putrid smelling goo that coated a railing, the device didn’t know what to make of it. She cast her eyes around the scene and notice what she thought looked like fresh scratches on the door. :: ::She looked back to where tr’Khellian had been only moments before and he was gone. A wave of nausea and panic washed over her and his words floated back to haunt her. oO*Never* leave the group. You hear a noise, you stay with the group.Oo She scurried in the direction she thought he went, paying less attention to her surroundings than she should have been. She didn’t have the same training that would be second nature to one of the security, marines or intelligence staff. She was just a curious science officer who had dropped the ball for a few short seconds and was now on the edge of a panic attack.:: tr’Khellian activated his earpiece:: =^=Evanna.=^= Blackwood: oO Oh thank goodness! Oo =^= Sorry! I stopped to look at something. It was just a second!=^= ::Feeling exceptionally guilty.:: tr’Khellian via earpiece: =^=It’s no big thing. Where are you? =^= Blackwood: =^=I’m outside. I can’t see the shuttle.=^= tr’Khellian: oO That was a bonehead question. You know better. Oo =^=What landmarks are in your eyeline? Anything to help me triangulate on your position.=^= Blackwood: =^= Erm let me see.=^= ::Blackwood looked around at the place she’d ended up. She was crouched behind a low wall and could see through the darkness the outlines of some trees and what was maybe a bench. Perhaps she’d ended up at a small communal garden, though given the air quality Blackwood was amazed anything could grow outside at all. The air quality seemed to have become particularly rancid but she wasn’t sure if it was her imagination playing tricks.:: ::She felt a few drops hit her shoulder but paid it no mind.:: Blackwood: =^=There isn’t much to see. Just a indistinct wall and maybe some trees. Maybe. Sorry.=^= ::Glumly.:: tr’Khellian: =^= Can you climb up on on that wall to get some elevation? =^= oO(Evanna) I can do climbing, I’m great at climbing.Oo Blackwood: =^=Hold on.=^= ::More confidently.:: ::Blackwood looked up slowly, assessing the wall. It wasn’t too high, but then it wouldn’t give her much of a better view either. It was then, as some more drips splattered her that she realised she was not alone and she wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d heard her shriek from the shuttle, wherever it was.:: *SHRIEK* tr’Khellian: oO That was to my left and *close*. Oo =^=Evanna. Do you read me? Evanna, please reply.=^= ::The comm remained silent.:: tr’Khellian =/\= tr’Khellian to all crew. Lt. Blackwood is missing in the streets of the old shanty town. She is not responding to hails. =/\= Anyone: ? ::There was no response because whoever had found her had their cold hands tightly clasped around her mouth and was pulling her back through the garden, or wherever it was. Evanna reached for her knife and nearly fumbled it. Unfortunately the mishap had alerted her attacker and another hand wrestled for control of it. Evanna tried to remember her self defence classes and tried to get her attacker off balance but ended up being the one heaped on the floor.:: :: tr’Khellian had the tricoder in hand and pushed the power level to max and began to actively scan for Blackwood’s lifesigns and combadge.:: ::During the struggle that followed the blade was dropped and lost in the dark. She also lost a sleeve and there were several chunks of fabric ripped away from her uniform. Blackwood found herself again being dragged into what appeared to be a small bunker. She instinctively went to hit her combadge, wishing she’d thought to do it sooner and found it to be missing. :: ::*Beedeepbeeep* tr’Khellian’s tricorder blurted:: oO (tr’Khellian) oO *THERE* Oo. He had her for a second. His tricorder was showing her lifesign to be about 100 meters to his left then a second later it disappeared off his scan. oO (tr’Khellian) What the frak? Oo :: Her lifesign disappeared but her combadge was still registering at that same location.::: ::tr’Khellian broke into an all out run.:: ((Underground)) ::A heavy stone covering was closed over their heads and Blackwood finally got a look at the attacker. It was one of the colonists and she recognised him from the dinner party.:: Blackwood: What the frak do you think you’re doing? Senile Simon: Saving your skin. Blackwood: By jumping me? Senile Simon: I didn’t have time to warn your people properly before, at the dinner party. The Count has eyes everywhere. Blackwood: Get me out of here right now! Senile Simon: Can’t do that. ::Blackwood activated her earpiece and tried to get hold of someone.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to tr’Khellian.=^= ::She waited for a reply but there was none.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to the away team, respond.=^= ::Still there was no answer.:: Senile Simon: It won’t work you know. ::He rapped the surface of the “stone roof” with his fist. Now come with me, I need your help. Unless you’d rather face what’s out there on your own? Blackwood: What is out there? What’s the big emergency? I need to get back to the shuttle my people are getting the frak outta here. Senile Simon: The Count’s experiments got loose. He won’t like that but I had to show you. Blackwood: What? Are you saying *you* let them in? Senile Simon: Had to. Didn’t figure you’d come outside to see ‘em though. Miscalculation. I’m getting old you know, brains not what it once was. Had to expose the horror. Blackwood: What horror? I didn’t see any horror. ::She looked at her PADD and the strange readings, and thought about that shrieking. There certainly was *something* out there. Senile Simon: There was a vessel in this system in distress, but it’s not now. There have been several over the decades. They all end up the same. Blackwood: Go on... Senile Simon: He has a puppet in the stars that attacks any vessel stupid enough to wander by. They disable the ship and the crew are turned into mindless abominations. This is a mining colony alright but it’s not the ore the Count cares about harvesting. ::Blackwood stared at the dishevelled man. Under any other circumstances she would have written him off as a blundering, stinking drunk old man. Under these conditions she felt much more inclined to listen.:: Blackwood: Spit it out then. ::She was anxious to regroup with her team and hated being out of communication.:: Senile Simon: It’s blood. The blood of the transformed beings has properties that are prized in the potions he creates and sells. It’s this trade in rare and exotic potions that supports the colony and keeps it rich. Anyone who steps out of line disappears... transformed into a horror. Blackwood: So what can we do? ::She noticed he kept itching the same spot and wondered if it was a nervous habit.:: Senile Simon: I captured one of the horrors. You have fancy technology. Use it, find a cure. They were people once and if they cannot be cured then find a way to destroy them so they might find peace. ::Blackwood nodded, this practice did indeed have to stop.:: Blackwood: I need to contact my team, they will be looking for me. If they have to come outside to do it they will be at risk. ::He pulled her over to a corner of the room and as they approached she could hear the sound of scratching and shuffling.:: Senile Simon: Here it is. Find out what you can, I will inform your team. ::Rubbing the underside of his forearm again.:: Blackwood: No can do. I’d rather see to it personally. ((Aboveground)) ::tr’Khellian finally arrived at the location of Evanna’s combadge. It felt like forever. Using his tricorder he made another full scan. Looking down he used his foot to uncover Blackwood’s combadge. Moments later the combadge dematerialised.:: tr’Khellian: =/\= tr’Khellian to Away Team . I found Lt Blackwood’s combadge but no sign of her. Scans are negative. Beginning a house to house search. =/\= Anyone: ? ((Underground)) ::Senile Simon turned nasty at this point and a row broke out. Evanna noticed the smell was getting increasingly stale and unpleasant. She thought she might vomit or suffocate from it. The man’s skin, particularly around the face and eyes appeared to be blotchy, loose and very pale. It was hard to tell in the lighting which was poor and probably responsible for the illusion. oOWas that drool?Oo Blackwood shuddered as she pulled out her tricorder and started to scan the horror to see what had happened to this lifeform. :: ::Blackwood yawned and wondered how long she had been here as another scan completed. She had a lot of data to gather and she didn’t even know what species this poor creature used to be so it was hard to measure the changes. Hot breath was on the back of her neck suddenly.:: Blackwood: Look i’m going as fast as I can and I really do need to report to my team! This is kidnapping you know. A very serious offence. I understand your problem but I really shouldn’t be helping you out... ::There were a few more drips on her shoulder and Blackwood turned to see a big set of rotten teeth inches from her face. Somehow his appearance seemed to have deteriorated, but how was that possible? It must have been the lighting. All the same she glanced from the horror, to him, and then back again. oOHow long does it take to become a horror? How is it spread?Oo She thought it could be airborne, or by a bite like rabies perhaps. There were a lot of possibilities but what seemed clear was that something was very wrong with Senile Simon.:: ::Blackwood swung her tricorder round to analyse Senile Simon and try to determine if he was infected. While she did that she backed away and looked around, hoping to see some way out of the bunker, or whatever the place was. Senile Simon responded by leaping at her but she side-jumped out of the way just in time. A snarl erupted from Senile simon and Blackwood continued to back off. She momentarily forgot about the bound zombie and jumped in fright when it let out one of those ear piercing sounds.:: ::Blackwood dashed to the only exit - the way she’d come in, and scrabbled at it, trying to get it to open. She saw the big padlock but didn’t remember it being locked at first. Then it hit her, when she’d been released and pushed forward slightly, she’d heard a faint click as she’d gotten to her feet again.:: oO(Evanna) Why did he really lure me down here?Oo ::She darted away, trying to avoid the man-horror that was clearly eyeing her up as an appealing appetizer. She needed something to unlock the big padlock and had seen nothing that could break such a lock. She needed the key and unless he’d dropped it on the dusty floor then it had to be in his pocket, or around his neck. She was going to have to incapacitate him/it and get the key.:: ::During the fight that followed Blackwood traded blows with the horror whose long sharp fingernails dug into and tore at her exposed flesh. She cursed and hoped not to be infected but had no choice but to carry on. She clung to a last tiny hope for survival as she fought in the way only a cornered animal can. At one point she felt sharp teeth sinking into her and she howled in pain, but carried on fighting until she finally emerged the victor.:: ::She was sore and shaken from the fight but made her way quickly to the lock and started to open it. The stone covering was incredibly heavy and she struggled to move it, but eventually managed to slide it and give herself enough room to squeeze out.:: ::She felt dizzy as she stumbled back through the gardens but had enough sense left to activate her earpiece.:: Blackwood: =^= Blackwood to tr’Khellian, can you hear me?=^= tr’Khellian: ::Activating his earpiece:: =^= Whew, Evanna.... ::sounding relieved::: Where did you go? I was...concerned. =^= Blackwood: ::She felt weak and out of breath:: =^= Kidnapped. Got free. Where are you?=^= tr’Khellian: ::Activating his tricorder he started to actively scan for her lifesigns:: =^= Evanna, I am on the edge of a garden near a large two story white and red timbered house. Maybe an inn? =^= ::*Breepep* exclaimed tr’Khellian’s tricorder. :: tr’Khellian: =^= I have you. I am 40 meters out. Wait there. It’ll be ok. I’m coming. =^= Blackwood: =^= Wait wait... I’m injured and need to be quarantined. I’m infected. It’s a disease. A rotting disease.=^= ::Something came at her from the right, knocking her down and tearing into her and she struggled to regain the upper hand.:: ::Over his earpiece tr’Khellian’s hears a wet ripping sound accompanied by a gasp of pain followed by sounds of scuffling.:: ::tr’Khellian activated both comlinks:: =^= =/\= Blackwood may be injured and under attack. All converge at my coordinates. Warning...she says she may be infected. Keeping my combadge open so you can track me. =/\= =^= Anyone: ? ::The sounds coming through his earpiece from his open line to Evanna cut off abruptly after 30 seconds right as tr’Khellian rounded the corner and headed at a full sprint into the small town’s square. The square was poorly light with few distinguishing features, only a simple fountain in its center.:: oO (tr’Khellian ) OH GODS...no! Oo ::Blackwood lay still on the ground, slumped against the fountain... blood mixing into the spray of the fountain’s water. It was pouring out of several arteries and a pale skinned, reeking monster perched atop her, it held something in its hand. :: :: Still 3 meters away tr’Khellian who had been moving at a full sprint launched himself, transforming into a 200lb hate-filled projectile. His flying tackle connected at full speed sending both he and the female attacker off of Blackwood and clear past into the other side of the fountain. Both hit the far edge of the fountain. *POP* tr’Khellian felt his left shoulder dislocate. This was followed almost simultaneously by a *kerack* as the female attacker’s head hit the stone wall surrounding the fountain’s pool. :: ::tr’Khellian was about to plunge his knife upward into the attacker's neck when he noticed her head was bent at a 90 degree angle from where it should have been.:: oO Doom on you. Oo ::tr’Khellian got up, turned and begun to move to where Evanna lay bleeding when he heard something rising from the fountain’s pool behind him. He pivoted 180 barely fending off a lunging attack. It’s arms reaching for his throat. Teeth chomping in a hideously hungering manner. Head lolling impossibly at 90 degrees.:: oO No FRAKIN WAY! Oo. ::tr’Khellian flips the knife in the air, catches the knife in a reverse grip, this time blade facing downwards and drove the blade directly into the forehead of the creature. Stepping back into a ready position, hands extended and ready, stance almost 50/50 weight distribution front to back, he prepares to meet the next attack. :: ::Which never comes...the woman’s now inert body slides like a rag doll into the fountains pink waters. :: ::Out of his periphery he notices the away team members have begun to appear from each direction leading to the small town’s square. :: ANY? :: Turning his full attention to Evanna, the full horror of the situation hit him. Blood is no longer flowing from the huge tear in the side of her neck. He checked her vitals and...:: oO Dead Oo. ::tr’Khellian gently lifted Lieutenant Evanna Blackwood’s lifeless body into his arms. The fountain’s spray washing her body, cleansing it of all her transgressions, failures and successes; preparing it for her final journey. The spray obscuring one final item of note, the tears streaming down tr’Khellian’s muted saffron colored cheeks.:: ANY? -Fin- Lt Blackwood CSO USS Avandar and Lt (jg) tr’Khellian Intel Officer USS Avandar
  6. ::There was a cakey kind of taste in the air as her friends mingled around her; green swirls of light in her blackened world. Nessa was giggling as Levi slipped on some spilt beer and sprawled on the floor. The green swirl flashed with red, then blue and back to green as he picked himself up, brushed himself off, and went to the bar to collect another drink. Nights like this were rare, and they were getting rarer as the group got older. Nobody muchly cares what a group of kids get up to in the big city during the night, but as you approach adulthood certain things are expected of you, it seemed. Even kids like them. The lost, abandoned, broken children of the world. "The bigger you get, the more useful you become so the more people notice you" is how Arlie had put it. She hadn't seen Arlie for months now. People must've noticed him for something. Nessa hoped it was something good - she'd liked him. He'd been the one that had saved her all those years ago, and also the one that had introduced her to the little pills that made everything so colourful. That was an accident on his part, but she was nonetheless grateful for it. It was always so dull and boring without them.:: ::She often wondered why she was the only girl around on nights like this. Sometimes, when they went to the nightclubs or holomovies, there'd be other girls around. But they were never with her group. They were just... there. They all seemed very pretty; maybe that was it. Maybe they were too pretty to be hanging around with the likes of her, with her man-face and short hair. Arlie said she looked pretty, but he was the only one. He was probably just being nice. Besides, the hair was his fault in a way - though she couldn't rightly blame him for the face.:: ((Flashback - 6 Years Previously)) Arlie: 'ere, Euan. Be a good boy and look after this one, will ya? ::The big burly one they called Arlie presented Nessa to the kid as if she was a present. Perhaps she was. She certainly felt delivered, from somewhere very dark and scary that she didn't much care for to... here, wherever this was. Some half-empty warehouse in the middle of a stinking shipyard. There were bits of shuttlecraft everywhere, and some bigger pieces that Nessa had never seen before. None of it worked, though. That would've been too easy. She could climb in and fly away into the sky, leaving smelly London and all her troubles behind. Of course, she'd quickly be apprehended by Starfleet, or even more likely die in a massive fireball, but she was never one for foresight.:: ::Arlie couldn't have been older than eighteen years, but little Euan made him seem fatherly by comparison. The Welsh accent really didn't give the boy chance to even pretend to be older, either. In truth he was twelve, only a year older than Necessity. Though he tried to stretch that year out as far as it would go. It was hard to believe she would become friends, of a sort, with Euan and his ever-cheerful sing-song voice.:: Euan: Alright there, is it? What's your name then little'un? James: ::Stroppily:: Necessity. And I'm not little! Euan: ::Thoughtfully:: That's a weird one, never 'eard that name before... you one o' them aliens or summut? Lots o' weird names they have like, Arlie tells me stories about 'em. ::A grin of triumph crept across Necessity's lips.:: James: Arlie *gave* it to me. I didn't 'ave one before. Or if I did I dunno know what it was, nobody never used it. ::She beamed:: Said I'm special and res... resor- ::The strange word gave her pause, so - true to it's meaning - she found a way around it.:: summink what means I find ways of doin' fings. Even when they's too 'ard. I get's 'em done. Euan:: Resourceful, is it? Well, gotta be that out 'ere I suppose. James: Arlie says necesserty's the muvver of invention. Says I'm gonna be an inventor. Euan: ::Under his breath:: 'spect she'll be the mother o' more'n that 'fore long. ::He s[...]ed, then spoke louder, to Nessa:: That 'air o' yours. Breedin' rats in it, are we? ::As much as Nessa scrunched her face up in offence and annoyance, she couldn't actually remember the last time she'd washed her hair. Or any of her, for that matter. Instead she resorted to the age-old defence of crossing her arms and stamping her foot.:: James: You're mean! ::A scathing riposte, sure to win any argument.:: Euan: Sorry precious, only commentin' like. Looks a bit of a mess, that's all. 'course, I could fix that for you, y'know. ::She had been so eager for the remedy. Looking back, there were several points along the way where a more suspicious girl - the cynic that she would later become, for instance - would have noticed what was happening. But for eleven-year-old Necessity James it wasn't until her fringe fell to the floor in front of her eyes that she noticed. She'd screamed then. Screamed so loud that Arlie had come rushing up the stairs and stormed into the room.:: Arlie: Euan! What in 'ells name, boy?! Euan: Quicker than washin' it, isn't it? Lovely now it is... ::Nessa's eyes had narrowed in rage at the smile Arlie couldn't quite conceal. Looking back, it must've been pretty funny for everyone except the victim. Worse still was that Arlie actually restrained her, so that Euan could finish the butchery! Hours later when she was put to bed that night, Arlie came to her with a mirror.:: Arlie: I know you're angry, Ness. But in time you'll realise that actually, young Euan might've saved you a lot of trouble with that 'aircut. ::The restraining made sense almost immediately, when she realised how she must've looked with only half her hair cut off. The actual cutting didn't make sense to her until much later, but he was right. That was the defining thing about Arlie; sooner or later, he was always right.:: ((End Flashback)) ::Nessa smiled as she read the message on her PADD the next morning. There was to be a 'meet and greet' in the Holodeck on the Victory tonight. A chance to get to know everyone. She recalled bitterly the last time she'd "gotten to know everyone", It was shortly before the entire bleedin' lot of them were shipped off to the USS Apollo along with the Captain she'd met for the most brief of moments, and left her on the station with another bunch of strangers. Except for a Caitian named- no, she wasn't even going to try that one from memory. What had happened to her, anyway?:: oO They'd better not take Luna away... Oo ::Puling herself out of her bed, she had a little giggle at the mess that greeted her in the mirror. Nessa pulled on some cargo pants and a vest top, and stumbled over to the replicator.:: oO This one's for you, Euan. Ya little taffy git. Oo James: One pair of hairdressing scissors, left handed. Computer: ::Playing a discordant error tone:: Access denied. James: ::Incredulously:: I'm denied... a pair of scissors? Computer: Access to sharp implements and cutting blades restricted in these quarters. ::Necessity stood, staring at the replicator in awe.:: James: Oi, I ain't bein' told what I can and can't 'ave by a metal box. What am I, six? Computer: Restriction implemented by Starfleet Counsellor Lisa Hyatt, 238901.18. ::The date Nessa graduated from Starfleet Academy. She'd forgotten about the Hyatt woman, and her objections to Nessa even entering training, let alone graduating it. Nessa had expressed quite plainly that she was not "a mental case", that a Starfleet Cousellor should not be using such a term even if she was, and finally had given quite a detailed description of where she thought Dr. Hyatt could store her psycho analysis report. Nevertheless, it seemed Lisa had gotten the last laugh. Well, Nessa would just have to consult Lieutenant Valyn about that, wouldn't she...:: Walker: =/\= Commander Walker to Lt. Valyn and Lt. James. =/\= James: ::Trying not to sound annoyed:: =/\= James 'ere, sir. =/\= Walker: =/\= I need your assistance in setting up the meet and greet tonight, I'd like to get your opinions and determine what supplies we can utilize. =/\= James: ::With a mischievous grin:: =/\= Not sure the kinda parties I'm used to 'aving are what you've got in mind... oO nor the type of supplies, for that matter Oo. But I'll give it a go, sir. Fancy discussin' it in person? Feels like I ain't eaten for six weeks. =/\= Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\= James: =/\= Sounds like a plan, sir. I'll meet you there in, what, an hour? =/\= Walker: =/\= [Response?] =/\= James: =/\= Five-by-five, sir. See ya then. =/\= ------------------------------------------------ Lieutenant (JG) Necessity James H/C/O USS Victory/SB118
  7. ((Sickbay, Deck 8, USS Mercury)) ::He had never encountered the Borg before, yet even without doing so they were an anathema to him. To one trained to protect and fortify one’s mind to any outside incursion, the idea that one could be overrun by nanites and one’s consciousness irresistibly subverted to the greater Collective was abhorrent.:: ::Avoiding or ignoring the issue would, however, have been illogical. And so he had studied the Borg, as he studied any fascinating alien species. Not that they were truly a species, rather a disease caused by these nanites, and as a doctor he studied them as such. Unfortunately there was no easy cure. Yes, if an individual could be separated from the Collective it was possible to restore both physical and mental function and individuality, to a greater or lesser extent generally dependant on the length of their time as a part of the Collective. But it was difficult and time consuming and not applicable in the case of a mass infection.:: ::So he had pondered the problem, and resolved that, as in all things medical, prevention was better than cure. The question that was the focus of Saveron’s current research was whether it was possible to prevent assimilation. Infecting nanites did provoke an immune response, that had been proven, but the response was far too slow. The situation was similar to many old infective illnesses, against which now most Federation humanoids were vaccinated. Thus, he wondered, was it possible to create a vaccine against Borg nanites? The donation of a sample of Lt. Wulfantine’s adapted nanites had given him new material to work with.:: ::That was what he had been doing, until the red alert klaxon sounded. The Vulcan quickly shut down the analyser he was using, secured his samples, straightened his blue doctor's coat and walked quickly from the Medical Science laboratory to Sickbay proper. Staff were already moving to their stations, efficiently taking Sickbay to full alert. The CMO nodded silently to Dr Del Vedova, who was on duty.:: Kells: =/\= Kells to medical, emergency on the bridge. =/\= Del Vedova: =/\= Responding. =/\= ::As Dr Del Vedova left for the bridge, Saveron stepped quietly to the fore, grey eyes meeting those of his staff with that impenetrable calm that all Vulcans portrayed. There were few things in the galaxy more frightening and more implacable than the Borg.:: ::The ship rocked suddenly, inertial dampners failing to compensate for what was clearly an impact. The logical deduction was that they were under attack. That was regrettable, but not unexpected. However a few moments later faces blanched as the intruder alarm sounded. They had been boarded.:: Saveron: Orderlies, arm yourself from the emergency weapons locker. ::Which would now be unlocked.:: ::As staff normally dedicated to the healing of injured beings acquired weaponry, Saveron’s thin lips pressed into a thinner line, the only outward sign of the intense emotions that he suppressed beneath his calm exterior. This was a scenario out of his worst nightmares.:: ::The fact of the matter was that Borg were known to adapt to Federation phasers within a few shots. The few hand phasers that the orderlies had would not serve them for long. He made a mental note to recommend to Security that they acquire some projectile weapons. Against physical weaponry the Borg had only their body armour. Unfortunately his lirpa was in the armoury.:: ::Moving to the medical equipment replicator, Saveron overrode it’s normal menu limits with a few quick keys and his CMO’s authorisation code.:: Saveron: Anyone with experience with hand-to-hand combat has permission to replicate and arm themselves with their accustomed weapon. ::He said curtly, and put words to actions.:: Anyone: Response ::Vulcans were pacifists, and Saveron found weaponry and violence disagreeable. His people were not, however, unskilled. Something that Commander Parker had been slow to understand was that a pacifist was not someone who could not fight, for they had no choice in the matter. A pacifist was someone who could fight, and chose not to do so unless all other acceptable options had been exhausted. The doctor who normally refused to handle a phaser now hefted the traditional Vulcan polearm, crushing weight at one end, disembowelling blade at the other. Violence was always abhorrent; occaisionally it was necessary.:: ::It wasn’t long until there was a whine and green sparkles hung in the air, coalescing into three Borg drones.:: Saveron: =/\= Saveron to Bridge, intruders in Sickbay. =/\= ::He said in the same bland tones that he might convey the arrival of expected supplies or the discharge of a patient.:: Bridge: =/\= Response =/\= ::As the Borg drones started to lurch towards them, Saveron hefted his weapon and regarded them expressionlessly.:: Saveron: Remove yourselves from this ship, or you will be removed. Borg: Response Saveron: Resistance is not futile. Borg: Response? TAG/TBC Lt. Commander Saveron Chief Medical Officer USS Mercury
  8. Voting closes Sunday, May 27, 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!
  9. JP - Lt. Commander Ethan Brice and Commander Karynn Brice - Stolen Moments ((OOC: This occurs sometime en route, I'm thinking the night of the briefing. We hope you all enjoy reading this as much as Ethan's writer and I enjoyed writing it and I hope this gives you a bit of a glimpse into Karynn's life )) ((Just outside the Holodeck)) ::To say that she was a giddy schoolgirl would have been a dramatic overstatement. It was hard to be that giddy about someone she had known for years. But she was certainly excited. Having a relatively high rank in the ‘Fleet did have its perks. She smoothed out the skirt on her light-blue sundress and pulled the light green sweater closer. Her stomach was in knots, glad to be seeing her husband “face-to-face” live for the first time since they had parted on Deep Space 17. Then again, it was a holo-meeting and deep down inside she knew that it just wouldn’t be quite the same.:: :: On the Apollo, Ethan had been finishing up the final pieces of the code that Karynn had put together. There were bits and pieces that would serve as a reminder to him of where they were; a certain flower that had been in the garden the first time they’d taken a walk together, starting off a very wet set of traditions from then on. He adjusted the jacket, really unsure whether it was a good idea to wear one of not. After a few strange positions in front of the mirror, he took it off, opting for the simple shirt and pants. He wasn’t sure why he was so bothered about it; they’d been together for years. She’d seen him with a full beard, after all...:: ::Stepping up to the arch on the Drake, the Haliian uploaded the program, and her code to initiate her end of the long-distance chat. The doors opened and she stepped inside. They wouldn’t have long - it was more to test the feasibility of this way of staying in touch than to have a real date. Scheduling for bandwidth was just too tight for that right now - not to mention the difficulty of scheduling time off for the two Brices that coincided. The pull of a Commander only got them so far. At least they could work the bugs out for the real date they’d have in a couple of weeks.:: ::The setting was simple enough. A park bench, shrubbery and flowers, a path leading off into another area of the garden, trees to provide shade. Complex programming took time to put together and used more resources. Karynn sat on the bench, then stood up, then sat again. How to greet him? Finally (although it had only really been a minute or two since she walked in) an arch appeared.:: :: The simple setting was a lot easier on the eyes than the black and yellow grid of the holodeck would have been. He wasn’t expecting Karynn to be there, anticipating that he would be the first as usual, but there she was, sitting on the bench, looking as lovely as ever. The young Engineer couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face and he slipped his hands into his pockets as he walked over.:: E. Brice: Any sprinklers in this version I should be aware of? ::Karynn smiled and shook her head, remembering fondly their first date and their surprise when the automatic sprinklers had come on, drenching the two of them. She had included another water-reminder of one of their dates - not far away she had recreated the fountain from Ethan’s Paris program. She paused only for a moment. She had been trying to be calm, reserved... but then she let all decorum get sucked into a black hole. Leaping off the bench she ran to him and within a few strides she was wrapping her arms around him, burying her head in his shirt. The holodeck was remarkable at reproducing him and for a few moments he felt real. His warmth, the feel of the fabric, his scent, it was all there.:: K. Brice: It’s you. ::As she ran into his arms, he lifted her from the ground, burying his face in her hair, loving every second that she clung to him. her could smell her, he could feel her and it was like she was all around him once again. The warmth of her, the touch of his clothes underneath his splayed hand in the small of her back, even the light green sweater that caught the breeze at the edges. It was all too real but all too not as well. He couldn’t push out the small niggling engineer voice that told him it wasn’t real.:: :: He kissed her temple, nuzzling his nose into her for a precious moment that he knew couldn’t last forever. Then he smiled gently:: E. Brice: Were you expecting someone else? K. Brice: No. It was just hard to believe until you were here. ::Karynn laughed lightly nuzzling his cheek. And then the bit that was wrong came flooding in. As her skin brushed against his, the skin felt real but he didn’t. Her own gifts gave her a sense that even the best holodecks in the galaxy couldn’t replicate. So while she could touch him, she couldn’t feelhim. The man... image... she was touching had about as much emotion as her bedroom wall. Without thinking she pulled away.:: ::Part of Ethan had expected that reaction. He kept his arms in the same position for a moment before dropping them to his sides. Even he was used to feeling something emanating from her when their skin touched. Years of having that kind of connection with a Haliian tended to leave the resonance of feeling behind even when apart.:: E. Brice: I know; it doesn’t feel right. ::he attempted a smile:: I might as well be a vegetable in designer labels. ::Karynn tried to smile, attempting to shake the startled look from her eyes. Intellectually she had expected this, but that didn’t mean that she was prepared for this. What came out was a wry half-smile. She nodded.:: K. Brice: Sorry. It’ll just take some getting used to, I guess. :: He nodded and stepped in a little closer, reaching for her hand and holding it in his, running his thumb over the back of her fingers. It didn’t feel like her hand. He didn’t get that familiar drip of feelings into his system emanating from her, even though she stood in front of him. It wasn’t normal, but they didn’t exactly live normal either.:: E. Brice: It won’t be forever. ::She paused, forcing herself to maintain the contact. Slowly the feeling of panic that she felt inside subsided to a tolerable level. It wouldn’t be forever, and this was a lot better than just a delayed message on a flat screen. She gently squeezed his hand with her own.:: K. Brice: No... not forever. ::She smiled quietly:: I’ve missed you, Kiimosa. :: That made him smile softly. She was light years away from him, yet in that moment they were close enough to at least touch one another, even if they couldn’t feel each other.:: E. Brice: I’ve missed you too. ::he kissed the backs of her fingers:: Happy Anniversary. Hard to think that we’ve been married for a year and you’ve been napping for half of it. ::The Haliian chuckled gently. It certainly didn’t feel like a year, but then again he was right. She’d been unconscious for around six months, in a coma in sickbay.:: K. Brice: Maybe that’s why I almost missed it. All of a sudden it was our anniversary. It snuck up on me. ::She paused and sighed.:: It’s been an eventful year, that’s for sure. A promotion, an illness... and now separated on two different ships. ::The Engineer lifted an eyebrow, with a slight smile at the corner of his lips.:: E. Brice: At least while we’re separated, they’ll be no chance of other surprises waiting in the wings. ::he exhaled a laugh:: Oh, I have something for you. ::Slowly they walked hand in hand along the path. She smiled, passing on the opportunity to make a crack about giving Matthew a younger sibling, and instead commented on the second half of his statement.:: K. Brice: Oh? E. Brice: I don’t have it here, it should be in your Quarters when you get back. I had to call in a few favours from the Operations department. You know how Customs can be. ::he rolled his eyes skyward:: It's a tradition on Earth for your wedding anniversary present to be a specific gift. This year, it’s paper. ::They walked along the path together, the fountain from their Paris escapade coming into view. Ethan laughed, remembering the soaking he had received from that particular fountain and what that night had meant. He squeezed Karynn’s hand gently. A large part of him had forgotten what it was like to feel human when touching another being. Her hand was warm and soft, unlike his. It was a simple fact of his species that he hadn’t appreciated in a long time.:: E. Brice: I’m pretty glad you can’t feel this. ::he wiped his face with his free hand and laughed:: I can’t believe I’ve given you paper for our anniversary. K. Brice: ::laughing:: Well its not like paper is a common item. ::pausing:: I’m sorry I didn’t get you paper. I didn’t know. ::He clicked his tongue against the back of his teeth.:: E. Brice: Having you here is good enough for me. Although, I do feel like I’ve been in this marriage longer. ::he laughed:: Anyway... I hope you like it. If not, I’m too far away to get it thrown at my head. ::She laughed.:: K. Brice: I sent a few pictures. They should be waiting for you so you can make holoprints of them. And it will take longer, but before we leave Alpha Centauri, I’ll be shipping out a gift from here. It’s just a trinket, but its something to remind you of me. It will probably take weeks to get to you though. ::The fountain came in view. The soft gurgling of the water flowing was almost musical. She smiled, remembering how she’d splashed him from a fountain just like this early on in their relationship. An exact replica actually. She momentarily thought about repeating the incident, but decided against it. She was more “adult” now than that Ensign had been. Not that such a thing was necessarily better...:: ::For the young Engineer, being with his wife was like no time had passed at all. They were together, they were healthy, save from being thousands of miles apart for whoever knew how long a time that spanned ahead of them. He stopped in front of the fountain and kissed the back of her hands again.:: E. Brice: When I get the chance, the very first chance, I’ll be coming to see you. ::Karynn smiled and nodded.:: K. Brice: And I’ll be on the first runabout to you the first chance I have. ::she laughed:: The bed’s so cold without you. And I even miss your coffee stains on my table. E. Brice: My coffee stains have to be better than your cold feet on my legs. ::he smiled:: I actually get some quilt at night now, I miss having to turn the heating up. ::The downside was that they were running out of time together. The sway of a Commander could only hold so much weight when the ships needed the power they were using. Taking that into consideration, the computer decided that a subtle reminder would be more appropriate and gave them a delicate warning in the manner of a quiet alert.:: ::One minute. That’s all they had. She held his hand tightly, forcing herself to smile, to hold back all of the sadness that threatened to spill out. She wanted to remember this as being happy - and she wanted him to remember her happy, not sad, not crying.:: K. Brice: I love you, Ethan. More than I can express. ::Smiling, albeit sadly, he brushed his thumb over her cheek and swallowed as the familiar green eyes looked back into his. He felt as though his world could collapse at any moment, looking into those eyes, he could melt into his boots.:: E. Brice: I love you too, Karynn. ::he nuzzled her nose:: More, every single day. ::Stretching upward, her lips brushed across his. A kiss goodbye. She was almost getting used to the lack of emotion ebbing and flowing through her. His skin felt warm as her fingers brushed his cheek. She closed her eyes.:: ::He felt her kiss him, felt her hand reaching up to the back of his neck and he closed his eyes, hoping to remember the final few seconds of contact with the woman who held his heart. His arm held her close, his hand touching the small of her back and almost willing the moment not to end.:: ::And with that he was gone. Faded away as the link dropped. She was alone again and life went on. The fountain still gurgled, the breeze was still blowing. Her heart ached and a single tear wound its way down her cheek.:: ::Ethan’s arms dropped back to his sides. The dull ache across his chest constricted, letting him know it was still there. His jaw tightened and he held back the sadness that crept up from a heart that wasn’t whole. He paused for a second, looking at the place where her image had been.:: E. Brice: ::softly:: Sweet dreams, Kii. ::The arch formed in the grass and the Engineer started the walk back to it. He pulled the padd out of his pocket, closing off the program from the Apollo’s holodeck, taking a last look before it faded away.:: K. Brice: ::quietly:: Goodbye, my love. ::pause:: Computer, End program. ::A black and yellow grid replaced the world around her. She walked out, back to the starship, back to work. Life went on.:: THE END Lt. Cmdr Ethan Brice Assistant Chief Engineer USS Apollo and Commander Karynn Brice Xeno-Anthropolgist/Psychologist USS Drake
  10. Guest

    Round 8 LtJG Didrik Stennes - Keeping up Appearances

    PNPC Minister Kin Zaht (( Jektim Central Government Complex, Jektim Capital )) :: Kin Zaht secured the doors to his vehicle and ran, head down, through the hoverpark, clutching his attaché as if it were a child. This morning was worse than yesterday; the number of Betazoid protesters outside the Government Complex had grown overnight, as did their level of agitation. Across the reflecting pool, in the forecourt of the Jektim Historical Archive, a more morose group of Trill had gathered, presumably as a counter-protest to the Betazoid protest. Things were still peaceful in the Capital City, which was far more than could be said for the rest of the Imperium.:: ::Kin Zaht reached the secured doors at the end of the long row of parked hover-riders, and had his infochip out and ready to be scanned. He barely slowed to a trot as the scanner recognized his credentials and allowed him access to the Complex. As the door slid shut behind him, too slowly for his liking, he breathed a sigh of relief. He'd be safe. For now.:: ::He passed a multitude of offices on his way to the Department of the Executive, and noticed all the empty desks. It seemed as though each day, fewer and fewer Trill and Bajoran government employees reported to work. It'd been days for some, weeks for others, and Kin doubted he'd be seeing them again soon. "Self-segregation" was the buzzword all the news reports were using, and it seemed as though it was actually happening. His own neighborhood, previously an upscale--and relatively integrated--quarter of the Old Capital, was now almost exclusively Betazoid. Zaht hadn't yet stopped to wonder where his Trill and Bajoran neighbors went, nor did he mind terribly the rapid demographic shift. Property values were always higher in homogenous neighborhoods, anyway.:: VOICE: Minister Zaht, sir. ::Zaht turned to see one of his assistants, a young Betazoid female with just the faintest of Trill spots hidden behind her thick black hair.:: ZAHT: Yes, Tura, what is it? TURA: It's the Federation, sir. They've contacted us on subspace. I think they're considering our request. ZAHT: What did they say? TURA: Nothing yet, sir, but they want to talk to you. Just called a moment ago, before you walked in, sir. ZAHT: I'll take it in my office please, Tura. ::Zaht continued the several dozen meters past a virtually deserted cluster of offices and desks. Out the window, he could see for kilometers, almost to where the Vabu Estuary blended into the sea. It was a beautiful sight, one he'd seen pictures of since he was a boy in school. The Capital was built on the banks of the Vabu because its three sections, the River, the Estuary, and the Sea, represented the Jektim Peoples. For some reason, however, it didn't look so inspiring as of late.:: ::Zaht sat at his desk, smoothing out hair that had become mussed by his dash from the hoverpark to the Complex. He closed the shades behind him, not because he wanted to, but because he was nervous some intrepid protester might hurl a piece of garbage or a rotten kukri melon at the window while he was speaking to the Federation. The last thing he needed was for the Federation to think things were out of control. For that reason, Zaht's most recent executive order was to ban all communications between the Imperium and other states, save for those that took place inside his own office. No one else but he would represent the Jektim to the rest of the Quadrant, and he made sure everyone, especially those pro-independence terrorists on Fiyo, knew the penalty for violating the new law.:: AMBASSADOR: ((on screen)) Minister Zaht. ::Zaht plastered on his best PR smile. It was good; he'd had decades of experience as a politician to perfect it.:: ZAHT: Ambassador, so good to see you again. I must say, it's been far too long. ::The Ambassador grinned. She must not be used to getting compliments. Just for good measure, Zaht threw her another one.:: ZAHT: And I love what you've done with your hair. ::The Ambassador's smile widened. This was too easy.:: AMBASSADOR: Minister, I am calling because the Federation Council has met to consider your government's request for humanitarian aid, and they've decided to grant it. ::Thank whatever-those-ridiculous-gods-the-Bajorans-believed-in. Help was on the way, and soon this ethnic nonsense would be put to an end for good.:: ZAHT: Ambassador, I speak for all the Jektim when I say we are truly grateful for any assistance you can provide. AMBASSADOR: Unfortunately, we weren't able to accommodate everything you asked for. I'm afraid we can spare only a single starship, but she's well-equipped, and staffed by some of the best Starfleet officers we've got. The Drake has a dedicated engineering team assigned to her that can help make improvements and repairs to your infrastructure as well. ::Zaht scoffed through his smile, trying to downplay the Ambassador's offer.:: ZAHT: Oh, Ambassador, you certainly don't think things are that dire, do you? The Jektim prides itself on his technological and industrial achievements, and I think our cities can withstand a few minor instances of civil unrest. AMBASSADOR: Nevertheless, they're on their way. The Drake should reach the border in ten days. ::Zaht's plastic smile cracked slightly. Ten days? Was there no other starship closer? He tried to think of all the damage that could be done in ten days, but even entertaining the notion made his blood run cold.:: ZAHT: I understand, Ambassador. Please, tell the commanding officer of the…Drake, was it?… that we eagerly await their arrival. AMBASSADOR: You'll be able to tell him yourself soon enough, I asked Commander Rogers to contact you as soon as they get underway. ZAHT: Very good, Ambassador. And thank you for all you've done to help us. I'm sure your assistance persuaded the Federation Council to act in our favor. ::In the distance, Zaht heard a disturbance in the air. Something sounded… wrong. A buzzing… no, more of a humming. It was voices, many of them, but to his ears, the cacophony sounded like one, low, rumbling voice. And it was getting louder.:: ZAHT: ((hurriedly)) Well, Ambassador, if you'll excuse me, I really should be going. Government work is never complete, I'm afraid. I look forward to speaking with you soon. ::Before the Ambassador could reply, Zaht cut the transmission, and dashed to the window. Lifting back the shade, tried to pinpoint the source of the sound. He squinted into the distance, nothing. And then, he knew. Everyone knew.:: ::The Trill protestors in the forecourt of the Historical Archives building scattered backwards, creating a large, circular open space around a singular protester. Zaht looked at the lone dissident, and for a split-second, Zaht swore they locked eyes. But that split-second ended too quickly, as the protester tapped a panel, detonating some kind of incendiary device inside his clothes, and himself in the process. Zaht stared out the window at the ensuing panic. This was it. The dissolution had begun.:: ZAHT: Ten days. How can I keep it together for ten days? ::He knew how. He'd known how all along. But now it was time to act. And he would.:: PNPC Minister Kin Zaht Interim Leader Jektim Imperium -as simmed by- Lieutenant JG Didrik Stennes Helm Officer USS Drake
  11. Guest

    Round 8 Major Whale & LtJG Weston - Staying Sharp

    ((Assimilated Corridor, Deck 17, USS Nimitz)) :: The team moved quickly through the eerily green lit corridor at a cautious pace. A tight three man V moved slowly behind a fourth team member at the point position. Oliver's head was on a swivel as he advanced on point, his gaze swept left and right but always returned to the motion scanner he held before him. The blue-silver light it cast made the sweat on Oliver's brow stand out clearly as they stopped at a four way junction. :: WHALE: Weston...? :: He adjusted his grip on the phaser rifle and kept the stock pressed against his shoulder. The first time he and Weston and several of the Constitution crew had walked these halls, he’d carried the larger Type 28 rifle. Though he’d always felt more comfortable with it, it has made more sense to arms the team with the Type 33 Close Quarters Combat model. The lower profile and more compact design of the CQC was far better suited to combat within the close confines of starship and space station corridors. Which made perfect sense, as it was created based on recommendations arising from Operation Bright Star. :: WESTON: I know Major. Just give me a minute. TARALLO: Engineering can't be far, which way Lieutenant? WESTON: :: Oliver shot him a dark look over his shoulder. :: I don't have the whole floor plan commited to memory yet, I'm sorry. WHALE: Just concentrate. You know the layout. WESTON: I know. :: He paused a moment and closed his eyes before answering. :: This way. :: He pointed right. :: :: With a nod, Whale raised his rifle and took a step down the corridor. :: WHALE: Weston behind me, Tarallo watch our six. :: Before he could give a response Alton called out a warning in unison with Oliver's scanner. :: TARALLO: Contact, nine o'clock. :: Their heads snapped left and a trio of drones were marching their way down the corridor. The heat was becoming unbearable now and Oliver wished he could tear of his ISARAS vest and get a little bit more air. He turned at the light touch on his shoulder from Whale, and led the way down the right corridor to what he hoped was Main Engineering. As they ran he snapped the portable scanner into a prototype mount on his left wrist to free up his hands if he needed to climb or draw his phaser. At the end of the corridor their jog petered out to a walk and then a full stop when they were faced with a dead end. The outline of a double door could be seen off in the distance, but it was mostly obscured by a massive pile of debris. A major support beam from the deck above punched through the ceiling, dragging with it a snarl of wires, cables and massive sections of jefferies tubes. :: WESTON: [...]. WHALE: Alternate route? WESTON: Thinking. TARALLO: Contacts closing. WHALE: Defensive positions. :: Tarallo, his Marine training kicking in perfectly, automatically dropped to one knee to cover from a low angle while Whale took up a standing position against the opposite wall. Feeling a trickle of sweat run down his back, Whale tried to shrug off the oppressive sense of dread that had been settling on his like a thick black cloak. Holodeck simulations were supposed to be realistic, but this one was cutting far too close to reality for his liking. The last time he’d set foot on the USS Nimitz, he’d nearly lost Fiona Shelley, and over four hundred members of Starfleet had been swallowed up by the Borg. :: WESTON: :: Oliver cursed inwardly and gritted his teeth as he tore his phaser free of his vest. :: Up. WHALE: Full sentences would be nice, Oliver. Or even sentence fragments. :: Oliver turned around and waded into the debris and grabbed hold of a mid-sized piece of torn tube flooring. With a hard wrench he tore it out of the pile and moved a little further up the massive beam. :: WESTON: This beam punched through a jefferies tube. We can still get into it and find a way back down on the other side. :: He was halfway up the beam when he finished and turned to look at Whale for approval. :: WHALE: As long as it gets us where we need to be, I’ll crawl through the solid waste reclamation centre. Tarallo, you head- TARALLO: Contact. Twenty metres Major. :: Whale quickly turned back around, the muzzle of his rifle rising as if it were part of his body, following his gaze. A T-junction twenty metres down the corridor. Movement. A Borg drone, black and grey and pale and dead-looking rounded the corner, it’s doll eyes barely appearing to focus on its quarry. And then two more rounded the corner, heading toward the trio of Starfleeters. :: WHALE: Move, I’ll cover! :: Firing at the advancing Borg in quick bursts of two -- the ubiquitous “double-tap” taught in all assault training, be it marine or security -- Whale knew he’d hit at least one of the Borg, but didn’t wait around to see the effect. As soon as Tarallo was up, Whale followed, dropping a grenade down the hole as soon as he was up. :: WHALE: Cover! :: They all ducked their heads as the grenade exploded in the corridor beneath them, hopefully taking out the three Borg. :: WHALE: All right... :: Taking a moment to catch his breath, Whale wiped the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his SDU. :: WHALE: So we’re in a jeffries tube, which means direct access to engineering from here, right? WESTON: Bingo. Forty meters. :: He pointed. :: This way. WHALE: Then let’s move. :: No sooner had they started forward than they began to hear a shuffling sound at their backs as from somewhere further back, the Borg had gained access to the jeffries tube. Neither Whale nor Weston nor Tarallo needed to say anything -- all three instinctively picked up their pace and within moments that were at a hatch that would lead them into the main engineering section of the Sovereign Class starship. Weston waited, hand on the latch, while Whale and Tarallo took up position. :: WHALE: Ready when you are. :: Though in truth, he felt anything but ready. A nerve was twitching in his left eyelid and his entire jaw ached from having been clenched the entire time. :: :: The hatch was popped and Whale stepped through into engineering, Weston at his back and Tarallo taking up the rear and before Whale’s eyes could adjust to the lack of light, there was- :: BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP :: Weston’s scanner. :: :: Olivers jaw dropped as he saw the screen fill with blips. Twenty plus. :: :: Though they’d been avoiding their use for stealth reasons, Whale flicked on the rifle-mounted flashlight and immediately swore. There were easily two-dozen drones milling around engineering. They were just as he’d remembered them, just as they appeared in the dreams that kept him up at night. Not your typical Borg, these drones of the SubCollective were a haphazard amalgam of humanoid and found technology, rather than tailor-made Borg enhancements. :: WESTON: Twenty or more Major. WHALE: Form up! Don’t waste your shots -- make them count. :: He fixed his sights on the first drone caught in his flashlight beam, an abomination who in life would have been an Andorian female who looked barely old enough to serve, but who went down in a shower of blood and circuitry when she took two phaser bolts to the forehead. As Whale adjusted to focus on another target, he saw a drone go down, but had no idea if it was Tarallo or Weston who’d notched the kill. And he didn’t give a [...] either, as long as it meant one less Borg in the universe. He’d entirely lost sight of the fact that this was a simulation. :: :: Oliver fell in next to Whale on his right side and levelled his hand phaser at the closest drone. The SAR version spat phaser fire in bursts, not beams and the single shot dropped the drone at centre mass. Alton was firing as well, his rifle twitching between targets as his mind worked out distances and priority. Oliver twisted as another drone disconnected itself from a darkened alcove and stepped towards him. Had he been using the larger Type 33 he'd never have been able to bring it to bear, but thankfully the smaller phaser pistol spat once and saved his life. The drone staggered back, its right arm terminated in a viscious looking saw blade which it used instinctively to steady itself. The blade bit into a console and burst as it tore through the digital readout. Sparks and then flames flew as the console came apart and black smoke started filling Engineering. :: :: Engineering was dark enough, with the SubCollective leeching power from the lighting systems to feed itself, but now somewhere, something was on fire, a haze of smoke darkening things even further. They could barely see three feet in front of their rifles. :: WHALE: This is no good, I can barely see! WESTON: The elevator! Head right - WHALE: Son of a-! :: He yanked his arm away from the Borg that had suddenly appeared next to him through the smoke and immediately rammed the butt of his rifle into its face. He felt, more than heard, the satisfying crunch of bone and as the drone staggered back, Whale shot it twice in the face. And then twice more as it fell. And then twice more as it hit the ground. All the death caused by these THINGS, all the sleepless nights, all the times Shelley had woken in the night, screaming or sobbing... those were not things he could let slide. However he may have changed over the last year, the pain of the failure at Duster’s Range and on the USS Nimitz had not dulled in the least. :: :: Feeling another hand on his shoulder, Whale jerked back an elbow at what he presumed would be face-height as he turned to bring his rifle to bear. :: TARALLO: Sir-Gah! :: Oliver staggered back from the frozen drone that had half stepped out of the blanket of black smoke and let out a long shuddreing sigh. The room was eeriely silent, or would have been if David wasn't cursing a blue streak off to his right somewhere. He turned in time to see Alton approach the Major and reach out a steadying hand. Oliver shouted for him to wait but it was too late. :: WESTON: Major! Stand down! :: Breathing heavily, Whale looked around, first at the frozen holographic simulation of the Nimitz around them, then at Tarallo clutching his nose when Whale had hit him, then at Weston. He had been so caught up in his anger that he hadn’t even heard the computer’s announcement that they’d failed to reach the objective and the exercise was over. And then with a roar, he smashed his CQC rifle onto the deck plates. :: WHALE: FRAK!! TARALLO: Don't worry Sir. It was an accident. :: His voice was muffled as he pinched the bridge of his broken nose. :: What's so important about this simulation anyway? WHALE: Because one day, the Nimitz is going to show itself again, and when it does we’re going to have to do this for real! And I am not going to frelling fail! :: Not again. :: :: Oliver walked up to Niner and turned him around to see the damage. He moved the marines hand and sucked in his breath in sympathy for him. :: :: He waved a hand at Tarallo, still scowling, still looking like he wanted to smash something else. :: WHALE: Go get your nose looked at. WESTON: See a medic Niner. We don't need sickbay asking questions. TARALLO: I fell down some stairs Sir. WESTON: Good choice. :: The door slid shut behind him and Oliver turned back to David. :: WESTON: Want to run it again? WHALE: Yes. ---- Major David Whale XO & SAR Commander USS Drake http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Whale,_David ----- Lieutenant JG Oliver Weston Intelligence Officer USS Drake
  12. Voting closes Thursday, May 13, 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!
  13. (Katherine's Quarters, USS TIGER-A) Sharkey: I WILL NOT! ::Cocheta slapped the PADD hard into Katherine's stomach. The Indian laughed slightly as she observed the expression on her face.:: Sharkey: You had something to do with this. ::annoyed:: I know you did. Lightfoot: ::laughing:: I assure you, I didn't have anything to do with it. ::still laughing:: It apparently came from higher up. Sharkey: Higher up? ::break:: Lieutenant Walker? ::thinking harder:: Darius. Lightfoot: You guessed it. Sharkey: What am I suppose to say? ::sarcastically:: What if I can't answer their questions? Lightfoot: I don't know. They are capable of asking a lot of very strange questions, according to my understandings. ::Mona leaped onto Katherine's back and began to pat the woman on the head with her little hand.:: Lightfoot: Mona thinks it is a good idea. (Later) (Dorsal Module) (School Room, Deck 5) ::Katherine entered the school room dressed nicely for her presentation. She approached a woman who apparently was one of the ship's school teachers.:: Sharkey: Excuse me. I am Lieutenant Katherine Sharkey. ::taking a deep breath:: I was sent to talk to your class today about life in the Engineering Department? ::The Bajoran woman smiled brightly at the engineer. She moved with grace and motioned to students seated in the room.:: Laeni: Welcome to our class Lieutenant...I am Laeni and this is these are the second graders on the ship. We're so happy you could join us today to tell us about your work in engineering. Class, let's welcome Lieutenant Sharkey. ::She began to clap and the students followed suit.:: Sharkey: ::smiling weakly:: Thank you. Laeni: Please, come in...come in... like I said, we're really happy you're here. The students are just finishing up an art project, but we'll be ready for you in two minutes. ::She let a somewhat sterner gaze fall over her class.:: Sharkey: Art project? ::Katherine observed the obvious disarray among the students. They looked like an army of pygmy soliders.:: Laeni: Don't be shy, no need to worry. Just here in the front of the room... ::She gave the woman an encouraging, sugary sweet smile.:: Sharkey: What ever. ::smiling nervously:: ::The teacher moved to the front of the room and then clapped twice.:: Laeni: Okay...it's time to put up all of your art supplies. Quickly.... we don't want to keep the Lieutenant waiting. ::A murmur ran through the rows of seats as the students began to clean up their area and then focus their attention on the engineer named Katherine Sharkey. Two of the boys, a Klingon hybrid and a Terran, whispered something to each other and then pointed at the woman.:: Sharkey: oO Watch that finger there, ridges. Maybe I should extract it for my collection.Oo ::When the desks were clear, Laeni moved to the center of the room.:: Laeni: Everyone, this is Lieutenant Katherine Sharkey, she works in engineering and is here to talk to us about what it is like to be an engineer. Lieutenant... ::She motioned for the Terran woman to take center stage.:: Sharkey: ::trying to smile.:: Hello. Laeni: Tell us what is it like, the day in the life of an engineer? Sharkey: Well to begin, it varies from day to day. You never know what to expect when you serve on a starship. ::The teacher tilted her head slightly as she watched a couple of students talking near the back of the room, her eyes focused on the them while she spoke.:: Laeni: And what area of engineering do you work on every day? Sharkey: I am skilled in many areas, mainly I assist in whatever area is needed on a daily basis. I didn't choose a particular area such as R&D, I like to keep my options open. ::break:: One day I could be working on shield modifications, another assisting in shuttlecraft repairs. Laeni: I see...I'm sure the children have some questions they'd like to ask. Sharkey: ::nervous:: Okay. ::big smile started to emerge on her face:: Go ahead. ::Several hands shot up around the room, a young Terran girl was the first one the teacher called on.:: Girl 1: Do you like being an engineer? Is it fun? Laeni: That's a good question Sara.. ::She looked over at Sharkey.:: Sharkey: It is like any other job. It has it days, good and bad. ::A young boy was next.:: Boy 1: Can you take us to see the warp core? Sharkey: Sorry, I am afraid that would require permission of the Command Staff. Girl 2: Have you ever had to fix the waste reclamation system? ::A funny look came over Katherine's face.:: Sharkey: oOWhat kind of a question is that?Oo Yes I have, on the Wheeler Colony during my time on the Ursa Major. On a starship? No. ::Laeni nodded, so far the questions were going very well. The class seemed genuinely interested in the engineer. She was happy to see her students so engaged in the process.:: Boy 2: Are you married? ::Katherine appeared shocked by the question.:: Sharkey: Am I what? Boy 2: Are you married? Sharkey: ::in a low tone toward Laeni:: Interesting group of students you have here. ::sarcastic tone:: Laeni: Oh, I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it Lieutenant. Students are naturally curious... ::She gave a warning look to the class...:: Sharkey: Are YOU MARRIED? ::directing her attention toward the student:: That is a very personal question. Boy 2: My mother says that if a woman isn't married by 30, she is either damaged goods or has personality issues. Sharkey: Well, ::break:: your mother is a regular philosopher. Boy 2: No, she is a family counselor. ::Laeni looked at the young boy horrified, it took her a minute to recover her own composure.:: Laeni: Now Eric, I'm sure that isn't true... ::She gave a soft concerned look to the engineer as she tried to recover.::... did you all know the Captain is over 30? ::The class looked stunned and several kids gasped and laughed.:: Sharkey: ::under her breath:: Well that is another conversation. ::The teacher smiled brightly and looked over at a smart looking boy on the third row.:: Laeni: Rin, do you have a question for Lieutenant Sharkey? ::The boy looked up with a sly smile.:: Rin: Do you know the Captain Lieutenant? ::Katherine paused as she chose her words carefully.:: Sharkey: Hmmmm. ::trying to smile:: Yes, yes I do. Next question. ::quickly changing the subject.:: ::As the Lieutenant finished speaking another girl raised her hand and began yelling from the back of the room.:: Girl 3: Oooo! OOOooooo! Choose me! Choose me! Sharkey: Okay. ::pointing to the girl:: Girl 3: How old are you? ::She gave Sharkey a scrutinizing look.:: Are you over 30 and damaged goods? Rin: Stupid! Don't you know you're not supposed to ask a woman her age? Sharkey: Next question. oO Little brat!Oo ::Laeni raised her hand and covered her face, her cheeks turning a bright pink color as the conversation got worse by the minute.:: Boy 3: Do you have kids? Sharkey: No. Boy 3: Why not? Girl 3: Don't you like kids? ::Her eyes narrowed with scrutiny.:: Boy 3: Yeah, don't you like kids? ::There was a chorus of nods around the room.:: ::Katherine turned to give Laeni a very unpleasing look.:: Sharkey: Nice little.... kids you have here. ::The teacher looked at the woman with sympathy. She was very embarrassed, her face was bright red and she was sweating.:: Laeni: They're usually very nice... Sharkey: I'll bet. They are as deadly as a nest of Ceti Alpha Eels. Laeni: I'm so sorry Lieutenant...I don't... ::Just then another kid raised his hand.:: Sharkey: Yes? Roy: My name is Roy. Why is the word engineering spelled so funny? Sharkey:: ::nodding her head in a sarcastic motion:: You know kid, I've wondered that myself many times. ::finally giving in:: Roy: Are you of Chagga descent? ::Katherine looked at Laeni.:: Sharkey: ::looking back at Roy:: You are a funny looking little boy aren't you? Roy: Not as funny looking as you are. ::Class erupts in laughter.:: Sharkey: ::sarcastic laughter:: You have a good head on your shoulders there, Roy. ::stern look on her face:: Care to see it in the floor? Laeni: Oh dear... Please, everyone quiet down... ::Her voice was soft, but commanding. She gave the children a stern look which seemed to quiet some of them. She then turned to Sharkey.:: Laeni: Lieutenant, it was very nice of you to visit.... ::Before she could finish her sentence the room suddenly plunged into darkness. Screams erupted from where the children were seated, Laeni gasped.:: Sharkey: DO THESE LITTLE THINGS DO THAT ALL THE TIME! ::voicing loudly to Laeni:: ::The screaming continued, fluctuated, grew louder, softer and then became exaggerated. It seemed like the lights were off forever...and then there was movement, from near Laeni headed for Sharkey.:: Laeni: Who? What is that? Sharkey: WATCH THOSE HANDS, LITTLE ONE! ::staring in the darkness at the small figure in front her:: I should have known, ROY! ::The little boy laughed as he let go of Katherine's leg.:: Sharkey: Don't do that again. We are not that intimate. ::When the lights came back on, a desk had been moved in front of Katherine Sharkey and the children were on the floor, hiding under their desks, some still screaming enthusiastically.:: Sharkey: CAN YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT.....! ::motioning to Laeni:: THEIR SCREAMS ARE EXTREMELY PAINFUL! Laeni: Now class! ::She raised her voice to be heard over the loud talking as the kids began to get back up into their seats.:: Get back in your seats! You know we don't do that! I'm sure everything is fine... ::She looked over at the engineer.:: Sharkey: ::adjusting her uniform after it had been stretched out of shape in areas thanks to Roy:: I would raise more than my voice if I were in your place. ::The ship quite suddenly went to yellow alert.:: Rin: We're all going to die! Laeni: Rin! Sharkey: ::annoyed:: I am terribly sorry but I need to report to engineering immediately. oO Thank God for yellow alerts.Oo ::Laeni gave the woman a sympathetic look.:: Laeni: Thank you for coming Lieutenant, it was interesting. We're so glad you could join us. Sharkey: My pleasure. ::forced smile:: Until next time, ::motioning a wave toward the class:: I must be tending to my ship. Au revoir. ::Katherine departed the classroom without looking back. Never in her life had she been more happier to have seen a yellow alert.:: tbc PNPCs Lt jg Katherine Sharkey Engineering USS Tiger-A PO 3rd Class Shoodi Cocheta Lightfoot Engineer USS Tiger-A Laeni 2nd Grade Teacher USS Tiger-A Submitted by Lt Cmdr Darius Clack FO USS Tiger-A and Fleet Captain Sidney Riley Commanding Officer USS Tiger-A
  14. (( Boardwalk outside Starlight Chateau, Alpha Centauri )) ::Didrik fought an impulse to pace back and forth across the boardwalk that separated the beach from the busy avenues of the major Centaurian resort city, but his nerves won out and his legs returned to autopilot, marching an ovoid route between the street and the entrance to the Starlight Chateau, where the Drake's crew were already assembling.:: ::It didn't help that he was wearing a rather ill-fitting dress uniform, one that bunched and tugged in all the wrong places. It made him feel even more awkward, even more like a goofy schoolboy, than he already did. On his eighteenth trip past a particularly gaudy fountain, he finally unfastened the restrictive collar, easing the flow of oxygen into his lungs. As each new person––dress-uniform wearing crew and formally dressed civilians alike––approached the entrance to the Chateau, he experienced excitement and disappointment in rapid succession. Excitement for who it could be, and disappointment for who it actually was.:: ::Didrik was peering into the Chateau's main entrance, wondering if they'd missed each other, thus missing someone beaming down several meters behind him. He was surprised when he rounded the fountain and saw exactly who he'd been waiting for standing before him.:: STENNES: Aron, hi. KELLS: (cautiously) Didrik. ::Didrik must have looked somewhat foolish, hunched over with his head poking round a corner into the building's entrance, and felt the need to explain what he was doing.:: STENNES: I was going to go in, but actually, I was waiting for you. KELLS: Oh. You were. :: Their positions had been reversed, Aron thought: Where once he had been exuberant to counter Didrik's recalcitrance, now Didrik was fairly pulsating with excitement while Aron was distinctly guarded. :: STENNES: I think the ceremony and everything has already started, but would you mind walking with me for bit? KELLS: No. I wouldn't mind at all. :: And yet his heart felt like a marathoner's: but still he agreed, perhaps to allow himself time to say a difficult thing in the next twenty minutes. :: STENNES: Thank you. ::The two officers stepped out onto the busy avenue, bathed by the light of two setting suns. Following Didrik's lead, they moseyed past a row of shops and eateries onto a quieter, more pedestrian-friendly street, before Didrik spoke again.:: STENNES: Nice evening, isn't it? KELLS: I've seen better. :: What a thing to say! He shook himself, told himself to become "more me." :: KELLS: But I've seen a lot worse. It is beautiful, I think, the binary duality. STENNES: It must take a lot of getting used to, living on a planet with two suns. KELLS: Maybe if you moved here, but if you were born here, if you grew up here, it would be normal. Going to Earth, now, that'd be strange. STENNES: Can you tell I'm stalling? :: Aron blinked. Actually, he hadn't been able to tell, so invested had he been in his own emotions and worry. Cocooned, really. But he lied: oh, he lied. :: KELLS: No. I couldn't. (beat) Tell me what you want to tell me. STENNES: I guess I should. When I was on that planet in null space, after Jane and the others had beamed back aboard the Drake... (beat) half-blind, my atoms being dissolved by that mist... ::Didrik shook his head and adjusted his glasses, still uncomfortable with how they invaded his field of vision.:: STENNES: It was the first time in my career that I thought I would probably die. :: Aron's first instinct was to show off his own veteran status and say, oh, one of those moments -- but, as he did so often when Didrik was around, he thought better of this impulse. :: KELLS: What did you think? STENNES: There was a moment, when I had given up. I couldn't get the propulsion system back online, and I gave up. KELLS: And yet you're here. So... STENNES: It was the encouraging voice of one person that shook me out of it. :: Aron's heart kicked into overdrive as it flip-flopped, flip-flopped: Please say it. Please don't say it. Please say it. Please don't say it. :: KELLS: Whose? STENNES: It was yours. KELLS: (quietly) Oh, Architect. STENNES: Sometimes it's hard to listen to someone who knows you better than you know yourself. But I'm glad I did. Because it got me off the planet. Back to the Drake. And back to you. ::Didrik reached for Aron's hand and took it in his own.:: STENNES: Aron, I have mustered every bit of courage I have to tell you this. I know I'm not the same person you left behind, nor do I want to be. I can't re-write your past anymore than I can my own. But we both have an unwritten future, and I know I want you in mine. I just can't go another day ignoring the feelings I have for you. :: It was now or never. Aron kept Didrik's hand in his own, squeezed it to remind them both of their lives, and dropped the bomb. :: KELLS: I've wanted to hear you say that for months. Oh, Architect, since I arrived. But I respected your boundaries -- or I tried. I wasn't perfect. We weren't perfect. But, now.... (beat) Didrik. I'm leaving. I've been reassigned. ::If Didrik had an eternity to ponder each possible response that Aron could have given, he'd still never have guessed it would've been what he'd just heard. His heart had been pounding from his own nerves, but now everything seemed to be thrown into slow motion. The beating of his heart echoed up his temples and into his ears, too slowly, it felt, to keep his brain from shutting down. Aron's fingers, woven into Didrik's own, felt newly warm; his hands had gone cold.:: STENNES: Soon? KELLS: Immediately. I'll still be in the general area, but I'll be on the starbase -- you know, Starbase 118. ::The Drake's nominal home port. In a perfect world, she'd return to Starbase 118 regularly, as any other member of the fleet would do. In reality, Didrik hadn't heard a word about the station since the day he stepped foot aboard the Drake, and what with the Marine and SCE teams recently added to her complement, he doubted her future would be spent quietly docked in the Trinity Sector. The adrenaline that fueled his half of the conversation thus far was beginning to wear off, unmasking self-consciousness, and now, embarrassment. He looked slightly upward, into Aron's eyes, and forced a smile.:: STENNES: I know how it is. Life in Starfleet, we go where we're assigned. And reassigned. KELLS: I say reassigned, but I had a choice: they offered me a choice. I chose (beat) and I hoped we'd have this discussion. Because, Didrik, I want you to come with me. STENNES: Aron, I'd–– ::The sheer weight of the emotions behind his own words and Aron's made it so easy to begin that sentence. "Aron, I'd love to." But halfway through, his mind caught up with his heart, and began calculating the real weight of what Aron was saying.:: STENNES: I'd–like to ask you something. KELLS: Then you should do so. STENNES: Are you prepared to make a commitment to me? To call Commander Rogers and ask him to hold a ceremony for us? KELLS: Yes. :: But he had answered quickly, and without thinking -- which, to Aron's brand of scientist, was no meaningful answer at all. :: KELLS: That's what I want to say. But, Didrik, it's not a rush-- there's no hurry-- we have time-- :: And how he lied! :: KELLS: No. The hell with it. Yes, my answer's still yes. ::Didrik closed his eyes at Aron's reply. Who doesn't want to be loved? The fact that he knew, in his heart and his mind, that Aron meant it, only made it harder. With every millisecond of silence that followed, Didrik found it a million times harder to say what he needed to say.:: STENNES: I… I'm not. ::Didrik let the urge to apologize profusely come, but didn't do it, not yet.:: STENNES: I want to be with you, Aron. I want a future with you… but I'm not ready to give up everything I've worked for to do it. I wish I were, I really do, but I'm not, not yet. (long beat) I'm sor–. ::Never before had words been so hard for Didrik to say. He lowered his head, hoping the emotion welling up wouldn't break.:: KELLS: Don't say it. Not unless you mean it. (beat) I don't just love you, all right, I respect you. Never apologize for the reasons I respect you. ::A deep breath did wonders for Didrik's composure.:: STENNES: You and I have never had this conversation, but I'm sure you and your Didrik did. You know about Bajor, right? And Tiro? KELLS: Once upon a time, there was something similar. (beat) You were leaving, not me. But I do remember. STENNES: I don't want to hurt you that way, Aron. I don't want to walk away from this, but–– ::There was always a "but.":: STENNES: I've only just started to figure out where I belong. I've made friends, stretched myself beyond what I thought was possible. I'm actually proud to call myself a pilot now, and not just a failed tactician. I know where I belong right now, and it's on the Drake, not on the Starbase with you. KELLS: I (beat) knew you would say that. I know I can't keep you in my pocket -- that you, and I, are functions of ourselves. But I can't.... :: He didn't choke; his voice was steady. But he felt as though someone had scooped him out, from clavicles to pubis, and left the illusion of sanity behind. He had been so certain that he could convince Didrik, so sure of his clarified vision, that it seemed as if he had failed, that love had gone from the bright world in a moment, leaving it without two stars, without one star, without a star in the sky at all. :: KELLS: But I will miss you. STENNES: I meant what I said before. Someday, it'll be the right time for both of us. I believe that. KELLS: (beat) You know me, now. And you know my faith. I don't want to lie so I'll tell you right now that it's tough, all right, to be a scientist with a strong faith. Biased, I've been called. A fruitcake, too, and, less politely, delusional. (beat) But we make our experiences. I have a mantra: "I have faith." I'm not damaged; I made a choice. STENNES: That's all any of us can do, I guess. To believe. To choose. They're not really that different from each other, are they? KELLS: I believe what you believe, because I choose to have hope and not despair. STENNES: And I think when the time is right for us–and it will be–we'll know it, and we'll know what to do. Do you? KELLS: I do, especially about what I'm saying. (beat) But I-- at night, when I know you're away, you're not on the same ship, a simple call but too many light years away (beat) I don't want to be afraid. But I'm afraid I'm going to be. ::Didrik took Aron's free hand, and eased into him until their bodies touched. He rested his forehead against Aron's, and they both let the flood of silence wash over them. Eventually, Didrik spoke.:: STENNES: I'm afraid too. But I don't want to be. I want to us be happy, and complete. Not afraid. KELLS: Then we'll be strong. Because we've chosen our lives, and in them we have faith. ::The larger of the Centaurian suns dipped lower against the horizon, leaving its smaller counterpart behind to carry a dim torch until morning.:: STENNES: So, what happens now? KELLS: We.... :: But he wasn't sure, exactly. What did you do, after all they had just done? :: STENNES: Well, I know it's not technically "standard procedure" for an event like this, but... ::Didrik refastened the collar on his dress uniform, and looked into Aron's eyes with a smile that seemed to radiate from within him.:: STENNES: Commander Aron Kells, will you be my date to the promotions ceremony tonight? KELLS: (quickly) Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely I will. Ensign Didrik Stennes Helm Officer USS Drake & Commander Aron Kells Executive Officer Starbase 118 Operations & USS Victory
  15. Guest

    Lt Cmdr Solok - Old Times

    ((Holodeck 1, USS Drake)) ::Solok stood in the center of the yellow-black grid, as if waiting. As if hesitant to begin, really, although he was a Vulcan, and Vulcans did not hesitate.:: Solok: Resume program Solok-alpha-one. ::A fairly ordinary holographic replica of fairly ordinary officer's quarters aboard a Federation starship, appointed in a relatively outmoded design, filtered into existence all around him. From the marked absence of personal effects, the low lighting, the higher-than-Starfleet-standard temperature, and the lower-than-Starfleet-standard humidity, a casual observer could likely surmise that these were a Vulcan's quarters. Had one accessed an exterior view of the stsrship, one would know that this Vulcan's quarters were situated aboard the USS Kodiak. Beyond that, however, only two people stationed on the Drake would be able to recognize the room for what it was -- and one of them had written the program.:: ::He began typing rapidly into the PADD he was carrying, revising the program or adding elements that were missing. He did it all from memory, of course, but had no reason to believe his memory was inaccurate.:: ::He was doing it, in the end, for himself as much as for her. A familiar place, where they once met for lessons in the Vulcan meditative techniques and mental disciplines, where their life together had begun. He did not see the sentimental value of the place, or of his decision to re-create it here, but he expected she would see something sentimental in his actions. He valued the holodeck version of his quarters on the Kodiak -- of their quarters there -- as a quiet, comfortable place for meditation and inquiry. He did also value, however, what harmony existed, or could be salvaged, in their marriage. They had had something like harmony there -- here -- on the Kodiak.:: ::Much had changed since then, and logic dictated that one leave unchanged that which does not admit of the possibility of being changed. Perhaps, his marriage to Sakorra could never be what it once was. Perhaps -- :: Reed: =/\= Ensign Reed to Commander Solok. =/\= Solok: =/\= This is Solok. Go ahead. =/\= Reed: =/\= I require your presence on Alpha Centauri VII, 2000 hours, Pier 32. =/\= Solok: =/\= Understood, Ensign. I will be there. Solok out. =/\= ::There was little left to do. He turned toward the doorway, his thoughts a million miles and many years away from this little holographic room on a starship no longer in service.:: Solok: Computer, end program. ::Leaving that place behind, he headed for the transporter room -- by way of his office, of course.:: === Lieutenant Commander Solok Chief Operations Officer USS Drake
  16. ((Starbase 118 - Deck 775)) ::It was late when Kaedyn Zehn reluctantly left his office and returned to his empty quarters. With Eliaan away again on the Victory, he felt acutely lonely. That his partner could frequently be called away for duty was something Kaedyn had accepted and had not thought much about before he was joined but he was more aware of Eliaan’s absence now. In a cruel irony, now that he had the memories of all those other people swimming around in his head he felt more alone than when he was just one person and one set of memories.:: ::He stood in the middle of their quarters in the dark, not sure what to do next. He felt himself pulling in two directions: his life with Eliaan, even if it was starting to feel unfulfilling, was here on Starbase 118 but his previous host’s son was being taken by his grandmother to Trill.:: ::With Eliaan gone, he needed someone to talk to about all this but as he thought of it, he realised that Kaedyn hadn’t had much of a life prior to Joining. His own career had become mostly following Eliaan from one posting to another and somehow he had never been able to develop friendships. He thought of the new Counsellor but he knew she was on the Victory; then there was Jonesy but thought it couldn’t be someone who had been part of Jilenna’s life.:: ::Then, from deep within his subconscious, the answer came to him.The most appropriate person to speak to was within himself. While the big personalities of Leora and Zhima and the more recent hosts Reigan and Jilenna loomed heavily in his mind, there was also the quiet, kind, nurturing voice of Zehn’s fourth host Calla.:: ::The station’s caretaker, Jinto, had suggested he undertake a zhian'tara ceremony to meet all his hosts. Kaedyn had balked at that suggestion, worried that he would be even more overwhelmed by them all in person. But there was another way, the Trill Rite of Emergence, which would allow him to speak to one of his former hosts.:: ::Not knowing if it would even work, he looked up the Rite on the Trill database and replicated the necessary equipment. Having struggled so much to find some outlet for all his feelings, he was excited to now have a plan of action and quickly set up the ritual in the bedroom.:: ::Staring into the mirror, he began chanting the ancient Trill words that would allow his past host to reveal herself to him. He could feel himself shake with nerves. What if she didn’t think he was good enough to carry her Symbiont and her memories? How could he, emotional wreck that he was, ever live up to the proud lineage of Zehn? Still, he continued to chant the words that would bring her forth.:: ::In the mirror, his reflection rippled and was replaced with the image of a woman. It was amazing how different the many hosts of Zehn looked, despite being more or less parts of the same person. Calla’s skin was pale so that her Trill spots stood out more than his; her auburn hair was worn loose and sat on her shoulders. He noted that they shared a similar colour of green eyes.:: (Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, it's lovely to meet you ::There was a warm familiarity in her face, despite him having never met her before. All the apprehension he felt at conducting the ritual and asking for help melted away with her warm, accepting smile. Her voice was lower than he had imagined it to be and she seemed to know how to use it in such a manner that it sounded as if she were singing rather than talking.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: Hello Calla (Calla) Zehn: Well, you’ve not been having a great time of it recently. Have you? ::He would have laughed, if he had thought the expression of emotion wouldn’t lead him to tears. :: (Kaedyn) Zehn: No, not really. (Calla) Zehn: I’m glad you called on me for help. ::Turning from the mirror, he was aware of Calla standing beside him although he knew she was just an image created by his mind and the powerful effects of the Trill mud that bubbled in the urn in front of him. He walked out of the bedroom and into the living area and she followed him.:: (Calla) Zehn: The last time I was on a Starfleet vessel, the quarters were much smaller. ::Never great at small-talk when not directed at patients, Kaedyn found it even harder to with this person who was part of him. Acknowledging the awkwardness, he wondered whether that contributed to his inability to make new friends and forced himself to take part in the exchange.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: Yes, the quarters here are much larger than normal. This is a huge station; everything is on a larger scale it seems. ::The absurdity of the situation, of standing in a room talking to a construct of his mind and the memories held in Zehn, suddenly occurred to him and an involuntary grin crossed his face.:: (Calla) Zehn: What is it? (Kaedyn) Zehn: You’re a psychologist… don’t you think this is a crazy situation? ::She threw her head back and laughed before sitting down on one of the two sofas in the living area.:: (Calla) Zehn: Crazy isn’t a word I would normally use, its frowned upon in my line of work, but I will agree this is an unusual situation. It can help though. ::He sat down across from her, the eerie feeling of speaking to a figment of his mind fading as he spoke to her.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: Have you done this yourself? (Calla) Zehn: No, but Jilenna used the Rite of Emergence to call me forth twice. She went through a particularly bad time after her husband died and I would like to think I was able to help her out. ::In the back of his mind, he knew that. It was a strange thing to discuss the memories he carried with someone who had taken part in them. He smiled and nodded slowly, remembering the conversations between Jilenna and Calla.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: You must get tired of only being called upon when one of us has a problem. (Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, I am always a part of you, just as I was a part of Jilenna. If you ever need me then you just need to look inward. If you are finding that too difficult for whatever reason, you can perform the Rite and speak to me directly. Just think of me as the family therapist, always on call. ::He smiled and then remained quiet for a long time. Calla made no sign of impatience or irritation but instead sat watching him with a calm, almost neutral, look on her face. She had been, he remembered, a very successful psychologist and had seen patients almost until the day she died.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: Its Janel… ::She nodded slowly, leaning back into the chair and interlocking her fingers. He had caught himself sitting in a similar position recently and smiled as he realised where it had come from.:: (Calla) Zehn: Jilenna’s Janel or third host Janel? (Kaedyn) Zehn: The baby (Calla) Zehn: Good, I love Janel as much as all the other hosts but can be difficult to deal with. At my zhian'tara he actually fell out with me and refused to speak to me. My poor brother had to carry his memories for two days before he finally let up and spoke to me again. I have no idea why Jilenna would want to name her son after him! ::Kaedyn laughed and could feel himself relax into the conversation. It was, he thought, like speaking to a beloved parent or a close sibling and he realised why Jilenna had taken such comfort from it.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: Something for me to look forward to then. (Calla) Zehn: Indeed. Now, why don’t you explain to me what the problem with Janel is? ::He told her about his post-Joining experience, about how he had been determined to return to the station and make sure Janel was okay following his mother’s death and how Mezan was now planning to return to Trill with Janel. He talked about how he felt torn between the two aspects of his life and how he was terrified that he was going to mess everything up.:: (Calla) Zehn: It is very common to experience strong attachments to the families and partners of previous hosts, as I am sure you have been told. These attachments are stronger again with regard to your immediate predecessor and when there are children involved it can be virtually impossible to separate your feelings. (Kaedyn) Zehn: I guess other hosts are trained to deal with this. This is why people like me aren’t supposed to get symbionts. ::She shook her head, her auburn hair flowing over her shoulders as she moved.:: (Calla) Zehn: Your situation is rare but I don’t think there is enough training in the world to prepare you for how overwhelmed any of us feel when we are given the memories of people who have recently died. You can’t blame yourself for finding it difficult. I found it difficult, we all did. ::It was comforting to hear. He hadn’t really realised that he was blaming himself for not being able to reconcile his mixed feelings. He was locked into punishing himself for something that most people would be just as troubled with.:: (Calla) Zehn: You feel pulled between the lives Kaedyn had built for himself with Eliaan and the one torn away from Jilenna too quickly. Given the fact that you were not planning to be Joined, it is completely natural for your life as Kaedyn Zehn to go in a third direction. It is also natural for you to take elements of Jilenna’s life and incorporate them into your own. (Kaedyn) Zehn: But how do I reconcile situations where they go in opposite directions? (Calla) Zehn: Then you have to work out which direction is right for you (Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I already know the direction but am too scared to articulate it because if I get it then everything I’ve ever wanted comes true and if I don’t then I can’t work out how to live with the regret? ::Calla made no response sensing, he figured, that he had more to say or waiting for him to actually come the point that they had both knew he hadn’t reached yet. He had carried it with him since he had returned to the station. He had danced around it, too afraid to even allow himself to think it fully never mind say it out loud.:: (Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I want to stay here with Eliaan, change my job and adopt Janel? What if that’s the new life that I want? ::A broad smile spread across Calla’s face and she leaned towards him:: (Calla) Zehn: Ah, then this may turn out to be a longer session than you might have expected… TBC Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaedyn Zehn Chief Nursing Officer SB118 / USS Victory
  17. Due to the mix-up in scheduling, this round will start today and end on Sunday, May 6th. The winner will then be part of Run-off Round 2, judged in July. Sims are as follows: "Filling the job not the shoes" by Captain Tallis and LtCmdr Arden Cain "Active Duty" by LtCmdr Solok "Lights" by Lt. Sahmson & Aodhnait Cair "Personal Log" by Ensign Jacob Moore "The Bane of History, Repeating" by Commander Kalianna Nicholotti
  18. ((Deck 1 - Bridge)) ::Percival had landed the dud job as he called it. All the senior officers were off the bridge at a briefing and they needed someone capable and talented to hold the fort while they were gone. Naturally, there could be no other choice; he was probably the most capable officer on the ship aside from, perhaps, the Captain. It was a dud job simply because the ship was docked and there wasn’t a thing going on. Despite the fact he was glad of the break from the extra counselling sessions, he had a hard time staying awake because he was bored stiff. He sat in the Captain’s chair, daydreaming about what it might be like to be the person in command, monitoring the systems from time to time. :: :: Percival heard an unexpected, loud bang from behind him. Instinctively he leapt forward and over the console in front of him. He wasn’t a coward, he was being tactical… he needed cover to face whatever threat was noisily threatening him. He poked his head up over the “cover” to see what the nature of the threat was. One hand hovered over his combadge, ready to declare an emergency situation. He saw two Starfleet marines pointing weapons at him… was this a real mutiny?:: Kagran: It's ok Ensign, stand down. ::Percival wasn’t sure if this was some kind of trick designed to get him to let his guard down. He ducked behind the cover again to avoid being a direct target and tried to think how to talk these two down.:: Percival: Now see here…! ::He began:: Kagran: Are you ok Ensign? :: Percival was surprised by the question but the suspicion remained. These guys had no business bursting onto the bridge like that as far as he could see.. :: Percival: What are you doing on the bridge!? ::He demanded as boldly as possible, though less boldly than he’d admit.:: Kagran: It was only a training drill for us. Should you not be manning the OPS station? :: He stood up and puffed out his chest, trying to look big, manly and not like the sissy that he was. He gave them a dashing smile and proudly exaggerated his importance. :: Percival: As you can see it is I who is in charge of the bridge and thus the ship at this time! Naturally my place is… ::Looking a little dismayed about being cut off mid boast.:: Kagran: Forget it Ensign. Are all the staff in the meeting? Percival: Yes. Shouldn’t you be there as well sir? Kagran: Thank you Ensign. Griffon, take my weapon and helmet back to the armoury for me. Griffon: Aye Sir. :: In the next heartbeat the two marines were gone and Percival was once again on his own. He exhaled heavily in relief and sank back into the Captain’s chair. For the next few minutes he was just content to sit there simmering down from his fright. He was glad that he’d been alone on the bridge, some of the others might not have understood his brilliant tactical mind. Advanced strategies could be hard to process for some, but he was already looking forward to telling his friends about how he was solely responsible for stopping a real live mutiny! :: Eerie : All quiet, Ensign? :: As Eerie watched the chair spin around in his direction. :: ::Percival jerked in surprise at the unexpected voice. Had he nodded off there for a second? He hadn’t heard the distinctive swoosh of the turbolift doors. The voice was unmistakable, so how was it he hadn’t heard the man mountain enter? He swivelled the chair round to look.:: Percival: Yes Lieutenant, Sir! ::He declared more loudly than necessary to compensate for the slipup.:: Eerie : LT. Commander :: showing him the small box:: Good... we will probably depart in 7 hours, Ensign. Percival: Oh congratulations! ::Breaking into a genuine grin.:: Will you be taking over the bridge sir? Eerie: No, I am just checking out a few things. I am sure you can handle things, correct? ::Eerie focused on the tactical board. He placed the small box on the board and his fingers started to dance over the control panel. He started to pull up tactical information on the sector they started in before going to the Eden planet.:: ::That was unexpected and disappointing, he’d had his fun and wanted to get back to trying to clear his backlog of traumatised patients. He wanted to remain here as much as a vampire wanted the sun. On the other hand it looked like Eerie knew Percival’s merit.:: Percival: Aye sir. ::Proudly:: Eerie: I will be doing your security phaser review at some point. I have reviewed your scores from last time....I would suggest a little practice. ::Eerie turned to the Ensign and looked directly at him.:: oOSurely it can’t be due for review again already… when did I join the security department? This is ridiculous! Oo Percival: Sir I am a counsellor not a gun toting bully, but I am sure I can improve my score if it will let you sleep better at night…sir. Eerie: Good. I will be looking forward to it. Carry on, Mister. ::Percival nodded decisively, his ego inflated like a balloon as he turned back to the front, waiting on the other officers to arrive back to the bridge.:: (PNPC) Ensign Percival Maxwell Counsellor USS Avandar Simmed by Blackwood
  19. ((Chief Nursing Officer's Office - Deck 500)) ::Kaedyn sat behind his desk, catching up with paperwork and all the other trivia that appeared on his desk when Eliaan left the station. He found this work no longer held his full attention and he had drifted to reading he intel reports that his low-level clearance permitted. The difference in clearance between a nursing officer and a marine intel captain was startling but at least what he could get his hands on was interesting. As he read a report on the infant Thracian Alliance, the door chimed.:: Zehn: Come in ::The doors opened and the small, increasingly frail figure of Jilenna's mother Mezan stood in the doorway. She carried a sleeping Janel in a baby carrier in both hands.:: Mezan: I hope I'm not bothering you... ::He waved her in, dropping the PADD on the desk and getting up to join her.:: Zehn: Of course not, come in. How's my little man? ::He caught himself speaking with Jilenna's voice and recoiled slightly, worried that it would upset her. She winced slightly at the sound but tried to put a brave face on it. After an uncomfortable pause, he changed the subject and directed her to the comfortable sitting area. She placed the carrier on the small coffee table and Kaedyn cooed over the sleeping infant.:: Mezan: Kaedyn. Listen. Zehn: Uh-oh, I know what that means. ::he grinned:: am I in trouble? ::She stared down at the ground and even if he hadn't known her as well as Jilenna did, he knew something was wrong with her. Her tone was that of someone about to deliver bad news and trying to break it gently.:: Zehn: You're leaving, aren't you? Mezan: I think it might be time for us to go home, yes. ::While not suprised at the decision, knowing as he did how Mezan had disliked life on the Starbase while Jilenna was alive, he still felt himself reel at the idea of losing Janel. He remained silent for a long time, struggling to find an appropriate response.:: Zehn: I see Mezan: Of course, you are welcome to visit us whenever you want and I know this will be difficult for you but I don't think- ::He remained silent, unable to trust his voice not to crack when he spoke and show the overwhelming emotion that he was feeling at that moment.:: Mezan: I'm old, Kaedyn. I could never tell Jilenna this because she had been through so much and was trying so hard to keep her life together but I am too old to live on a starbase and raise my grandson. ::He looked down at his hands, Jilenna's guilt over the burden she had placed onto her mother became his own.:: Zehn: She knew but couldn't find a way out of it. Mezan: My baby is gone and I owe it to her to make sure her baby is looked after. I can do that better on Trill than here alone. Zehn: You aren't alone. Eliaan and I will help whenever we can. ::She smiled weakly and placed her hand on the side of his face. It was a gesture that whatever part of him was still Jilenna Zehn remembered warmly and brought tears to his eyes.:: Mezan: You and Eliaan have your own lives. Zehn: You and Janel are a part of our lives now. Mezan: Kaedyn, you are newly Joined. I remember how that feels, believe me I do. But you know that your life has to be different from Jilenna's. You have no idea how happy it makes me that part of her lives on and that you are such a wonderful boy but we are part of Jilenna's life and as you get to know yourself againw ith the Symbiont, you will realise it. Zehn: Janel is my son. I know that with every fibre of my being. I just can't believe that those feelings will fade. Maybe I was supposed to be trained to deal with this, maybe I should be able to look at it dispassionately but I can't. ::She smiled softly and nodded.:: Mezan: It isn't easy being Joined, is it? Zehn: No, I never truly realised how difficult it could be until I- ::He shook his head, knowing that despite the fact he was only host to not have been through the Initiate program, he was not the only one to struggle with being Joined and how it had unexpected impacts on his life.:: ~~Flashback: 264 Years before~~ ::Zhima Zehn could feel his cheeks ache from forcing himself to continue to smile despite the barrage of criticism his opponent was throwing in his direction. This election, and his bid to retain the governorship of the State of Zerala, was proving be the most difficult of his entire career. His opponent, an unjoined woman named Alyxa Rolan, had been hammering him on any number of issues that his first troubled administration had failed to address. She was part of a new anti-government movement that had sprung up across Trill, which favoured lower taxation and social conservatism, such as a ban on inter-species marriages that had become an issue as more Trill left their planet. They had built their growing popularity, primarily on the idea that elitist Joined Trills were aiming to create a government where the Joined ruled and the Unjoined served.:: Rolan: ... the Governor's record is shameful. Shameful and un-Zeralian. This could be the best state on the planet. I believe one day it will because I truly love this state. ::The debate audience applauded and Zhima could feel himself getting angry. Why were people falling for this nonsese, he thought to himself.:: (Zhima) Zehn: I would remind Representative Rolan that I have lived here not only all my life but my previous host lived here all her life and I reject the notion that anyone loves this state more than I do. ::As the words had left his mouth, he knew that he had walked into the trap that she had laid for him. His advisors had specifically told him not to mention his past lives or being Joined. According the most recent polls, she was gaining ground with the idea that he only represented the interests of the Joined.:: Rolan: I am shocked Ladies and Gentleman, that the Governor would so brazenly demonstrate his belief that the Joined are better than the rest of us. (Zhima) Zehn: Oh come on... Rolan: I'm sorry but I don't think its fair to suggest that because he is Joined that he loves this state more than I do.... (Zhima) Zehn: I didn't say that, Representative and you know it. ::She continued, ignoring his attempt to interrupt her flow. He could tell that she was coming to the cresendo of her argument.:: Rolan: I want to clean up this state and make it a better place quickly and not through the small, incremental steps that the Governor suggests. ::she paused, the slightest hit of a smile on her lips:: Some of us only have one life, Governor, and I want to make sure it's worth living for everyone. ::The audience exploded into thunderous applause and there was little that Zhima could do other than shake his head in dismay.:: Moderator: Well, unfortunately that's all we have time for this evening. ::Despite his protests that he should be allowed to refute her claim, the moderator concluded the debate and the audience applauded. As Rolan plunged into the crowd, Zhima remained frozen at his podium. He had been in politics for the last twenty years and had never allowed himself to be blindsided in such a manner before.:: ::Eventually, his Chief of Staff Soran Yirel managed to get his attention from the wings and left the stage. He remained silent as they marched into the small staff room that they had been given to use for prepare for the debate. When the door was closed behind them, he shook his head and formed fists with both of his hands.:: (Zhima) Zehn: Dammit! How could I... I mean, why did I... DAMMIT!! ::He stood with his hands on his hips, shaking his head in frustration. After a while, his press advisor, spoke up.:: Hira: I can try and work the issue back in the press. I will speak to some friendly reporters and deal with it. ::Zhima nodded slowly, starting to calm down.:: Yirel: Most people aren't Joined, Governor. Most people don't like the people who made it through symbiosis and are Joined. (Zhima) Zehn: Well I'm not ashamed of it and I can't deny it even if I could. Hira: Governor, no-one is asking you to deny that you are Joined but you can't deny that there are Joined Trill who do believe that we would be better going back to the old days when all leaders were Joined. (Zhima) Zehn: That was centuries ago. Even I wasn't around back then. Hira: But there are people who were and still hold those attitudes. Symbionts who are three or four hundred years old still carry memories of those times and want to return to them Yirel: You know... ::he paused and stood up, the way he did when he was processing an idea:: This might be it! Hira: Might be what? Yirel: Governor, why do you think Rolan is getting so much attention with this campaign of Unjoined Rights? ::he paused, allowing no time for a response before answering his own question:: Because no major issues have captivated the voters. People think you've done an okay job at being Governor and don't really want to vote for someone else but we haven't been able to excite them enough about the election (Zhima) Zehn: People think I've done an "okay" job? Now tell me, why didn't we put that on our campaign literature? ::Hira laughed and the Governor softened enough to manage a smile for the first time in a long while. It had been a tough campaign and as he felt like he was dealing with so much of this knucklehead stuff, he hadn't been able to enjoy it as he usually did. He was a natural campaigner, enjoying spending hours attending local meetings and listening to the endless stories of voters. Somehow, by making the campaign all about him being Joined, his opponents had taken all the fun out of it and set him apart from the voters. It was ironic since he was so different from his previous host.:: Yirel: I'm serious. The old system of the Joined minority ruling the Unjoined majority is gone but it isn't forgotten by any means. It is an underlying issue in today's society because we never addressed it at the time. (Zhima) Zehn: I agree but I don't know how that helps me. I can't lecture Unjoined people about accepting me being Joined, I can't complain about being in a priviliged minority. Hira: Why can't you? (Zhima) Zehn: It would play into Rolan's hands. Every time I mention being Joined, she gets a bump in the polls. Yirel: Imagine if you started bringer her being Unjoined into the campaign and saying she couldn't govern because of it, you'd be destroyed in the press for your old fashioned views... Hira: ... and be accused of blatant discrimination... Yirel: Exactly. Now, why is she allowed to do so with you. This election shouldn't be about who is Joined or not. There are so many more important things to deal with than that... Hira: We need to change the whole conversation. (Zhima) Zehn: I don't want to get killed. Yirel: Then make this election about smart, and not... Make it about engaged, and not. Qualified, and not. Make it about a heavyweight. You're a heavyweight. And you've been holding up this lightweight for too long. ::Zhima smiled and nodded. Win or lose, this election was about to become fun again.:: (Zhima) Zehn: Okay, let's do it. ~~End Flashback~~ ::Mezan placed her hand on Kaedyn's arm, waking him from his quiet reflection.:: Mezan: Kaedyn... Zehn: Sorry, I was lightyears away. Mezan: I better let you get back to work. I haven't made any plans to leave yet but I wanted to let you know. ::She stood and he followed her lead. She looked old, much older than Jilenna remembered her to be and he thought about everything she was going through and quietly in the back of his mind worried about a time when she wouldn't be around for Janel.:: Zehn: I appreciate that and I don't want you to feel I'm pressuring you to stay. I just want what's best for Janel. ::She placed her hand on his cheek again.:: Mezan: I know that. Don't worry, I know that. We'll work something out. TBC Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaedyn Zehn Chief Nursing Officer SB118 / USS Victory ((Simmed by Lt. Dr. Eliaan Deron))
  20. ((Transporter Room - USS Apollo)) :: The air that Liam breathed in as he materialized in the transporter room of the Apollo was as fresh as an ocean breeze when compared to the dank, stale atmosphere of the Canduc. He had only spend a total of a few hours on the ship, but it was more than enough of that type of environment to last him for a long time. Most of the crew fled out of the room made their way out and to the turbolift. Liam allowed himself to fall behind them, catching the next lift and taking it up to deck three. A short walk down the hall and he found himself in front of his own door.:: :: The lights of the room came on as he entered, enjoying the slow transformation that was taking place as he and Cayden slowly made the otherwise unremarkable room feel slightly more like a home, though he had to admit it was more by her doing than by his. He appreciated the effort none the less, as he had little talent for it himself. After a few moments of admiration, he made his way to the bathroom. He began running water into the sink, splashing and wiping his face in an effort to remove what felt like a fair layer of general grime that he had accumulated while aboard the freighter. He toweled off and took a moment to examine himself in the mirror.:: :: His memory drifted back to his first away mission on the Victory. He remembered how it felt to step off the shuttle for the first time after their rather spectacular landing. He remembered the strangest mix of pride and guilt. Pride at having gotten the shuttle down without any serious injuries, and yet guilt for not having been able to prevent the crash in the first place. He was just an ensign then, fresh out of the academy, and far less prepared for what the galaxy had in store for him than he had believed he was. :: :: He looked down at the collar of his uniform. Two gold pips and one black one. They were, to him, more than a simple denotation of rank, an indicator of his status within the hierarchy of Starfleet rank. each of them was a symbol of something he had experienced, something he had seen, something that he had experienced, something that he had lost whether he had prepared for it or not.:: :: They each sat on the collar of his dark red shirt. It wasn't any different from the collar he'd worn when he first came aboard the Victory and first taken his seat at her conn. They'd soon rushed off onto a situation more profound than many officers had experienced in their entire careers. He'd worn a gold one too, as the Chief of security for an entire Starbase and it's 118,000 residents and countless visitors. And there too he'd seen more than he could have imagined when a terrorist organization had bombed the station. He's never even found the time, or the nerve, to read the final count of lives lost in the hours of the attack and the days after. He'd had to contact a few families of security officers that had made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. And not once had it gotten any easier, though he supposed that was proof that he hadn't lost his humanity.:: :: And now he was back in red. The colour was like having come full circle. He had stepped aboard wearing it, expecting so much of himself, and the rest of the crew uncertain of what to expect from him. He had been the outsider then, joining a crew that had already established itself, and he had worked hard to find his place in it. Now he was wearing the colour again, but the expectations were somewhat reversed. This time they represented everything that the crew expected of him. They expected him to be a leader, a guide as they ventured boldly into the unknown, and to do his best to balance their interests with the mission. the Captain expected much of him too; a bridge between him and the crew, a voice of reason, someone to bounce ideas off of, and, if need be, to tell him when he was plain out of his telepathic mind.:: :: And underneath it all was Liam. Not the pilot, the security officer, or even the explorer. Just the man, the son, the brother, and the friend. History would judge him by those other things. But the ones closest to him, his parents, his brother and sister, and Cayden, would all judge him simply by what measure of a man he was and had been. And that was all he could demand of himself, was to be a man. Not the man that they saw him as, or as the man he wanted them to see him as, but simply the man the he wanted to see himself as.:: :: And in that moment, he had, for the first time, a clarity that he had not had before. A clarity of expectation and of purpose. When it had mattered, and been expected of him, he had been the leader that his team needed. And he had brought them all back safely. No one could have expected any more from him, not even himself. He looked at himself in the mirror once more, with his new found clarity and knew that he was, in that moment in time, exactly where he was meant to be.:: :: He stepped out of the bathroom, crossing his quarters to the bedroom and retrieved a fresh uniform, and discarding the dirty one for reclamation. He pulled the shirt over his head and pulled the jacket over his shoulders. He looked down at the pictures on the desk as he walked back into the living room. The picture of his family, the one of him with Sidney and Oliver on some adventure, and he smiled.:: Frost: Computer, begin recording. :: The computer chirped at him in acknowledgement.:: Frost Hey mom. I have to get back to work in a few minutes, but I thought I should let you know how I've been... LtCmdr Liam Frost First Officer USS Apollo
  21. ((Holodeck One -Starbase 23)) :: Skirting past the bar, and the green tinged Beornan, Chase let Charlotte lead the way from Starbase 23’s Comet Club, through the corridors, and to the holodecks. Inputting the program code, Chase took Charlotte’s arm in a more friendly fashion, leading her through the door and onto the Parisian street. :: :: The holodeck doors shut behind them, the arc disappearing into the program. The sun sank low, trending to set in the near future out atop the glistening water. The warm air was sweet with an unburdensome humidity, and filled with the scents of the evening. The curved, metal lamp posts were beginning to flicker on one by one down the street, illuminating the old shops and stone streets. The smell of bread and pastries drifted out of a single unimpressive glass door, swung open, and from the outdoor seating where a few holographic couples already sat. :: :: The quiet conversation became part of the background noise as Chase led Charlotte into the cafe, sitting among the few other guests at one of the small, circular tables. as a tall, lean, suited Frenchman came to provide them instantly with spring water and freshly baked rolls with jam. The man left them, and Chase broke one of the rolls, sharing half with Charlotte before setting his own half on the small plate. :: Valaine: What do you think? :: His casual smile remained constant, and his blue eyes glinted in the lowering sunlight as he looked at her, hoping she was impressed by the scenery and atmosphere. He wondered if she would notice the other women in the cafe? They had been preprogrammed to throw a few subtle, but clearly jealous looking glances her way, as if they were catty for the more gorgeous woman who had shown up... and shown them up. :: DeBarres::Looking around taking in the surroundings:: She loved the place and felt right at home, with the smell of the warm fresh bread:: This place is great....::Taking a bit of the warm bread.:: Valaine: Order anything you like. You can’t go wrong here. DeBarres: How about some cheese? Any recommendations ? :: Feeling no pain, but not yet tipsy at all.:: Valaine: Absolutely. ::he waved down the Frenchman waiting the tables:: Bring us your samplers, and your Chateau d’Esclans, please. :: He didn’t say which ones, because he meant all of them. This ended up being three different platters, one of cheeses, and two others, small meat treats, and a plate of bite-sized treats, drizzled chocolates and sweet cakes. He took a piece of the cheese and smiled as he ate the bite sized offering, watching as Charlotte took her own. A tall, gold labeled wine bottle partnered with the treats. :: DeBarres: All this for little old me? :gesting at herself:: Valaine: Champaign? ::he poured the drink, which was bubbly and bright pink:: It’s sweet, not dry at all. DeBarres: Why thank you kind sir. ::taking a glass feeling like a bit of the princess in a fairy tale:: :: Pouring them both a full, tall glass, he lifted his own glass to meet hers ever so lightly. :: Valaine: To first times. DeBarres: To first times, : taking a sip of the wine. Which was good. Charolette wasn’t sure if she was doing this right. High society stuff wasn’t something that she had ever done. But it was nice :: ::Taking another sip, and feeling the bubbles go down. Putting the glass down. :: oO(DeBarrres) He doesn’t seem like a bad sort...interesting tattoo there on the side of his face. …..Beornan Oo ::Mentally tossing the thought out of her head:: DeBarres : So, tell me about yourself.....that or I will have to look it up in the security database. ::Not that she have ever done that, but she had looked up a number of men to see their service records.:: Valiane: Oh, but mine is an interesting read. You should see my list of reprimands. DeBarres ::giggling :: Really? Come on....you are pulling my leg... Valiane: Nothing terrible. Just a bunch of “superiors” telling me to stop doing this, don’t do that. ::he waved it off:: Then they get all fussy when I do them anyway, even if it doesn’t impact my work. ::he paused, wanting to get off the subject:: What are your plans for the future? What would you like to do? DeBarres: Well, I have designed a anti energy torpedo. One of these days I will get old rock head to get a test firing of it. :smiling: Valiane: Mmm, Mr. Eerie. He’s a rather stuffy one, in my short experience. DeBarres: He kinds of grows on you like moss, on a rock ::laughing:: But really he is OK. We have a great doctor on board...in fact, I like, like pretty much everyone on board. Valaine: I’m sure I’ll come to like them all just as well. Even our gloriously sturdy Security Chief has to crack a smile eventually. :: A light laugh escaped him at the mental image of Eeries rocky face literally cracking on an attempt to smile. What a gloriously solid hide, that one had. :: DeBarres::Giggling::You have no idea. Valaine: I wonder what it’s like, to be made of such stony stuff... and what kind of woman would he pursue? Klingons come to mind. :: Of course, this was said playfully. He wasn’t insulting the chief at all, and his expression made that clear. :: Valaine: But I’d rather not talk about them all night. I’d rather... not talk all that much at all. :: Blue eyes on Charlotte, he hoped the hint wasn’t too extremely shocking to her. :: DeBarres: Your’re right. Valaine: I could have sat at any table in the Comet Cafe. Did you ask yourself why I sat at yours? DeBarres: No, I just thought you decided to come on over and see the Doctor.: surprised:: Valaine: ... because your eyes were so sad. And I couldn’t bare to see that, when you should be smiling... at all times. DeBarres::Slightly blushing trying to regain her color.::It’s just a personnel problem....:: turning away from his gaze a bit:: someone that I care for. Valaine: I get the feeling someone like you is sad far too often. You deserve better. :: For once, the thing he said was not tinged with the dirt that often filled his intentions. The simple honesty of his statement and expression were what made the comment powerful. :: oO(DeBarres) Is there someone better?...Oo ::Feeling abit sad all over again. She fought the feeling and concentrated on the the Valaine, who was mading a good effort to chase the blues away.:: DeBarres: I guess...let’s stop about him, and eat this wonderful food. ::forcing a smile, looking back at him.:: :: They ate small meals, snacked on the samplers of cheeses and treats, and Chase helped himself to three glasses of the sparkling pink wine as they talked and ate. He’d been hoping for a crescendo for the evening, but Charlotte appeared a bit non-committal as to “after dinner,” and he wasn’t one to force the issue. He’d just enjoy her company here, and hope she could say the same about his after the fact. :: Valaine: I hope we can do this again. Next time I’ll take you to Tokyo. If you tell me you love sushi, I’ll be a happy man DeBarres: Sushi,....never had it but ….I am willing to try..., but I have had a nice evening. ::Giving him a legit smile :: :: Charlotte left the holodeck, the archway appearing at her beckoning and disappearing behind her. Chase made to shut down the program, the crude bumblebee pattern replacing the delights of France. He’d hoped for more than a pleasant good-night... but then, he *always* hoped for more than that. Still, he’d enjoyed it too. :: :: Feeling lightly buzzed from the wine, he made his way out of the holodeck. It was getting late, but it wasn’t extremely so... and a bit disappointed at the early evening, Chase made his way to 10- Forward. One last drink was called for. :: ((PNPC)) Crewman Charolette DeBarres Tactical/Security Specialist USS Avandar Simmed by Eerie & Chase Valaine Chief Warrant Officer, 2nd Class Engineer USS Avandar
  22. ((10-Forward, USS Avandar)) ::Robins took a seat by the window, a data PADD in hand, and gazed out upon the starry blackness. She ought to be getting on with the reports for the non-telepathic crew members, but this evening she just wanted to relax. Normally she'd have gone to her quarters, but there were too many ghosts of the past there. She still needed to be among people, even if she wasn't talking to them. Company was better than her own, disturbed thoughts.:: ::She sighed, and eventually picked up the PADD. First up, she'd start with Captain Vetri and work her way down the ranks.:: :: Chase strode into the room, fresh off his date with the lovely Charlotte DeBarres and still full of energy. Finding Robins in the light crowd, he strode over in confident fashion and set a hand down on the table, leaning onto it and giving that famously casual grin he tended to wear. :: Valaine: Robins! Wassup, my medical miscreant? Robins: Miscreant?! ::She'd been called many things over the years, but never miscreant.:: Valaine: I’m just kidding, relax! ::he slumped easily into the empty chair without an invitation:: I know full well you’re a respectful, honorable, duty-bound Starfleet Officer. ::to accentuate his point, he put his hand over his heart diligently:: Better? :: His playful grin remained, and he leaned back in his chair. Perhaps his lips were a little looser since he was slightly inebriated from his date. He tended to get a bit more snarky when he’d had a few, though he was pretty good about controlling worse drunken behaviours. :: Robins: A bit much to be *completely* sincere, but I appreciate the thought. Valaine: What’re you doing? Working? Eww... :: He reached out to nudge a data pad, though he didn’t make any move to swipe it from her. Then he stuck a hand in the air, hoping for a new drink to add to his evening of imbibing. :: Robins: ::sighing:: Supposedly, but... I can't focus. Valaine: ::as the wait staff walked over:: Want one? ::to the person:: Gimme a double Aldebaran Whiskey, ice cold. ::he glanced to Robins, his blue eyes glinting in the light expectantly.:: Robins: ::oO Oh what the heck. Oo:: Trinaris brandy, with a speck of cinnamon, thanks. ::Normally she'd stay away from alcohol, but that glint in his eye told her he'd be less than impressed by an apple juice - not that she really cared about that glint, as long as it *stayed* as a glint - and with her slightly altered physiology, Trinaris brandy happened to be the only alcoholic juice she could drink for three days and still not even get a teensy bit squiffy. But she wasn't going to tell Valaine that bit of news...:: Robins: So what brings you to this part of the ship? Surely the confident Chase Valaine can't be after to drown his sorrows? ::Her words may have come out a little tart, but she tried to smile to offset the edge in her voice. Avoiding his eyes, she fumbled about with her PADD, turning it off, and setting it down on the table.:: Valaine: No drowning of sorrows tonight. I’ve just had a lovely evening with an equally lovely lady friend. Robins: ::realising that maybe the ghosts in her quarters weren't so bad after all:: I see. ::Thankfully the drinks arrived at that point. It may not have had any mind-numbing effects for her, but psychologically it helped. If one *thinks* one is drinking alcohol, one *expects* it to have some sort of effect.:: Valaine: Just what I need to finish off the evening. :: He took the drink and a third was gone in the first draught. When he set the flat of the glass to the table again, it was just a little harder than necessary, and he let out a small gasp at the burn, even though he’d been expecting the sensation. :: Valaine: But why does it need to end so soon? You look like you need some fun. Robins: Some fun? ::more quietly:: That'd be a miracle right about now. :: His eyebrows rose, and he swiveled the glass along its edge in slow circles on the table. His smile lapsed, and he looked truly low-spirited for a moment before speaking again. :: Valaine: Well *that’s* depressing to hear. Robins: ::glaring at her drink:: I'm sorry, it's not your fault. I'm just a tad edgy, and I *don't* want to be alone right now. Valaine: If I had my guitar, I’d sing something cheerful for you. :: The casual smile returned as quickly as it had left. The slightly glazed eyes, and the simplest truth. He didn’t appear to be shmoozing for attention at the moment, perhaps a rare moment for him. But he’d still offer to entertain her if it would lift her spirits. And the second third of the whiskey was gone. :: ::Her heart softened just enough to allow a small smile to appear. She appreciated the thought - and sincerity - behind his words.:: Robins: Thank you...Chase. Maybe next time. ::Her gaze returned to her half empty glass, thoughts of the nightmare returning. It still stung, after all these years.:: Robins: ::remembering that someone was sat besides her:: Forgive me, I've got a few things on my mind. Do you play any other instrument, or just the guitar? I have a real fancy for the Laguna Serenade on the flute. Valaine: Afraid that’s one I never fancied to learn. :: He’d mention the plethora of other instruments he could play, but at the moment, even inebriated, he could see she had larger concerns in mind. That look in her eyes was old. :: :: Old pain. :: Valaine: Mind letting it off your shoulders? Seems like a heavy load. Robins: Shame. And thank you for your concern, but no. It's nothing you can help with. It all happened a very...very long time ago. Valaine: And yet here it remains, hovering overhead. ::She glugged the last of her drink down and slammed it down onto the table, as hot tears sprung to her eyes.:: Valaine: Come on then. At least tell me it doesn’t own you. That would be the most depressing of all. :: The last third of his drink disappeared past his lips, and he held the glass aloft, indicating he’d take another. :: Robins: I didn't think it did, but... Don't you think you're drunk enough? Valaine: ::he huffed audibly, a smile gracing him again:: Maybe it’s *you* who’s not drunk *enough.* Robins: I'd have to drink six gallons of the stuff to be anywhere near drunk enough to forget. Valaine: ::not paying attention to her last comment:: Who was he? Robins: ::glaring at him, but refusing to let him in just like that:: Who was who? Valaine: Don’t pretend. I’ve seen that look before. A woman doesn’t carry it for nothing. :: Perhaps the alcohol was making him a bit too aggressive about it, and another double Aldebaran whiskey was placed on the table as a wait staff came and went. :: Robins: ::leaning back into her chair, slowly shaking her head:: He... He was someone I knew back on Mellor IV. When I was 15. Valaine: ::sipping the whiskey this time:: And? Robins: ::getting a little irritated by his insistence, but secretly glad she had someone to talk to about it after so long:: There are...rites that a couple go through. My parents prohibited it until I was older, but Savnum convinced me to go with him. He said he'd arranged the ceremonies. But when we arrived at the archipelago...:: sobbing now:: there was no one there! No one. And within a few minutes... he... ::She couldn't finish her sentence, as the sobs took over. She buried her head in her hands, crying.:: :: Chase’s blue eyes set on her, no humor left in his expression. The drink was held near his face, the abusive liquid sloshing in the glass as his eyes landed back on it again. If it looked like he’d made Robins cry, he paid no attention to anyone who might have noticed. It wasn’t their concern anyway. :: Valaine: ::quietly:: He took advantage. ::She could do nothing but nod as old tears burnt her eyes.:: Robins: And he's bonding with my sister! Valaine: ::blue eyes flashing back up to her:: Does she know? Robins: ::shaking her head:: no one knows. No one knows at all. :: There was a stretch of silence between them as he let her cry, thinking on it. This was one of those things you couldn’t judge harshly. If one person would respond one way, another would respond entirely different, and there was no “right” answer for any of them. :: Valaine: ::carefully, despite his inebriation:: Don’t you think she *should* know? Robins: ::nodding:: I tried to contact her, but its too late. She's already started the rites, and there's no way to get hold of her. :: The silence stretched again, and Chase sighed into his drink, lifting it to his lips again, though he spoke before he drank again. :: Valaine: Scumbag... ::and half the double whiskey left the glass, burning his throat:: ... can’t stand that type... deceptive jerks. Robins: ::harshly, all the anger she'd hidden spilling over:: Oh and you're not? I don't mean to sound like a cliche, but it takes one to know one! :: His eyebrow rose sharply, blue eyes flashing with a hint of drunken but restrained anger. :: Valaine: I’m *nothing* like that. You know full well what I want, and I make sure of it. No tricks, no traps. I may be a whore, but I’m not a rapist. :: Blue eyes closed, regretting the harsh words the moment he said them, but the anger remained. She wasn’t nearly drunk enough for him to accept that judgment. :: ::She sat in silence a moment as her mind tried to make her see sense. Her eyes widened as she realised he was right. She *did* know what he wanted. Didn't mean he was going to get it, but she knew. And that was one thing - no, the only thing - that stopped her walking out of the lounge. Robins: I... I'm...sorry. ::She actually, truly, was sorry. She waved to a waiter as he passed.:: Robins: I think I need a drink. Calruddan whiskey. Valaine: It’s natural, to be angry after that. But it's been a long while ago. Years now. Can’t go on being angry forever. Robins: ::slowly, ashamed to have to admit:: I haven't let my anger rule me for years. I'll warn you now. When I get drunk, I won't be able to stop the anger. Valaine: ::he grinned:: I think I’d pay to see you really, truly angry... ::he reached out and set his hand over her wrist, a light touch he intended to be supportive:: ... just once. ::She flinched from his touch and her eyes blazed.:: Robins: Don't. Ever. I may not...hate you the way I hate...him...but. Just don't. Ever. :: His hand jerked up away from her, then hovered in the air slightly as his expression turned something far more sober than it should have been. Then the smile returned, with a light laugh of all things. :: Valaine: Amazing what you’ll tell someone you claim to hate. :: The half of his whiskey taken in a final shot, he clunked the glass back down on the table, then thought of it again, lifting it into the air for the wait staff to see. His third Aldebaran double was wisked before him along with her Calruddan whiskey. :: ::She took the glass from the waiter and downed half all at once. It stung, but nowhere near as much as the pain inside. She hadn't eaten all day, and in her professional capacity she knew it was more than a bit stupid to drink on an empty stomach, but she couldn't care less. She needed some time off from her memories and her cares.:: Robins: Give me a whole family, people who love me and care about me, and I can't tell them a thing. Give me someone I don't know and look what happens. ::she held his gaze, steady and firm:: You can't judge me. My family can. And they would. My mother would blame me for running off with him. My father, who isn't my father at all, doesn't care less. And my brother has enough on his plate to be worrying about his little sister. So can you judge me? :: It made more than enough sense. Having a Vulcan father and a Denobulan mother, he could definitely understand the effect social judgment could have on a person. Being so intimate a thing as well... made it all that much harder. :: Valaine: ::clearly, but his slur pronouncing:: Wouldn’t dream of it, Talya. So long as you can say the same about me. Believe me, I might just understand better than you think... :: And yet another heavy draught of his liquor. :: Valaine: But wouldn’t it be better for you to come to some sense of... closure, is it? There’s gotta be a way to let your sis know what’s what... or is it... who’s who... much better men out there for her and you alike. ::his smile turned dirty once again, and he was clearly indicating he was one of those men... even if she “hated” him.:: ::Robins turned her green eyes on him. As much as she hated to admit it, that smile, as dirty as it was, brought some semblance of normality back to her. The universe hadn't changed.:: Valaine: Could do you some good, relieve some of that monstrous stress you’ve been heaving around all this time. :: It was official. He was plastered, and returning to his norm. Which was to try to pick her up, regardless of the topic at hand. In his mind, not being allowed to touch her wasn’t a deal-breaker to his efforts. :: Robins: I'm sure it would, but... I think I'm a little...*damaged* for most people to handle. ::She could feel the drink beginning to take effect:: I'd need a sign printed on my forehead - don't touch, don't look, don't get hurt in the process. ::She wasn't sure that what she said actually made all that much sense, but she really didn't care. When the waiter came round again, she guzzled the last of her drink down and begged for another one.:: Robins: I'll bet you two hours on the holodeck, one more drink and I'll be under the table or screaming from atop it. Valaine: Mmm... the dutiful Talya Robins, doctor, dancing atop the tables. ::he appeared to think about the idea for a moment... very hard, in fact:: I vote that one. The bottoms of tables are disgusting, after all. Robins: ::making a show of glancing underneath:: This one's clean, and you can forget the dancing. Unless you happen to have seven hankies with you? ::Robins *never* flirted. But then, she *never* drank either...:: Valaine: Nope, not’ah one. Robins: ::the moment spoiled:: never mind. Look, I'd best get back to my quarters. My shift starts in a couple of hours. Valaine: Run, run, fast as you can. ::he drank down a good portion of his remaining drink:: If you’re scared you might say something honest, I’ll understand if you want to leave. Robins: I'm not scared. ::Actually she was lying through her teeth.:: Valaine: Why do you keep worrying about hurting others? If you letting someone know what you really think... what you feel... is harmful to them, then they donnea deserve your company. :: And the rest went down as fast as the others, the glass empty again, and it wasn’t helping that he’d already drank before meeting Robins. He could feel the heat flushing through him, and had the fleeting thought that standing was going to be an interesting prospect. :: Robins: ::stunned:: I happen to be a doctor. Want me to check you're still in possession of a heart? Valaine: You’ve already told me you hate me, and compared me to what all... an’m still here. You’ern’t capable of hurting me, sweetheart. :: That last bit wasn’t said in any friendly manner, and bit of the alcohol talking for him. :: Robins: ::getting up to leave before she said something she'd later regret, then turning back.:: Sweetheart? Let me remind you, I could probably make a very interesting ornament out of your major organs. :: Her remark brought him out of the inebriated haze for a moment, and he looked up suddenly as she turned to leave the table on her apparently final threat of decorating with his organs. She was angry, and everything in his instinct told him he couldn’t let her leave angry. :: Valaine: ::standing suddenly:: Robins... wait! :: But his master plan failed the moment he came to a standing position. The alcohol he’d been drinking before, during, and now chugging after his date with DeBarres coursed through his veins, and the sudden motion threw off his entire center. Legs going wobbly beneath him, the result was him flat on the table they’d been sparring across only moments before. :: :: Both of the glasses, hers empty and his mostly empty, skittered to the floor in a twisting clatter. The few other guests at tables far off went a bit quiet, glancing over curiously at the sudden commotion before returning to their own tables business again, letting Chase push himself up from the flat of the table with at least a fraction of dignity. :: :: But instead of standing, he slumped heavily into his seat again, having failed to complete the motion twice over. The bartender gave a warning glare in his direction, though it went entirely unnoticed. :: Valaine: ::under his breath:: ... gaw’[...]it... Robins: ::growling:: I hope this isn't some...:: She was going to say 'trick' but his words earlier were ringing in her ears. Valaine: ::his slur heavier, his hand rising to press against his chest:: ... I *do* haffa hart... can feel’et pounding... Robins: ::looking about and realising no one else was coming to his aid, she grabbed him round the waist:: Come on, drunkso. ::She shook her head vigorously as she stepped into doctor mode. The alcohol was still there, but her medical instincts were doing their job and kicking her into action.:: Valaine: Wher’r we goin? Robins: ::hauling him to his feet:: To Sickbay, with any luck. Valaine: No... quart... :: He meant to say “to his quarters,” and not for any funny business, but she smartly interrupted him. Being a doctor, she had better sense than to just let him suffer for his over-indulgence. :: Robins: No? ::she *really* wasn't in the mood to hear his protests:: Tough, drunkso. You got yourself into the mess, and if I left you to your own devices, we probably wouldn't see you through the hangover for a week. You're coming with me. :: Making the point, his arm was over her shoulder for support. Even though the destination was not what he wanted, he could still appreciate the help. What with all that complicated walking going on. But his attempts being unorganized probably made it seem more protest than genuine effort. :: Valaine: ::trying to insist:: … quarters’r fine, R’bins. Robins: ::dragging him towards the exit of the lounge:: Oh, don't mind me. If you feel you can walk... ::which he honestly couldn't:: feel free to. In the meantime, I'll just drag you along. ::Hefting him along, she was glad the turbolift was just outside. Once the doors parted, she dragged him in, still protesting, and literally let go of him. He hit the floor with a thud.:: :: The shock of hitting the floor solidly on his [...] was muted by the alcohol, and so was his response to it, which was decidedly less quick or exclamative than it should have been. :: Valaine: ::lightly::… ow. Robins: ::without meaning:: sorry. ::They passed the short trip in silence. He was no doubt nursing a bad head and a queasy stomach. Robins, on the other hand, was simply trying to focus through the haze that had settled over her brain. What idiot drinks for who-knows-how-long, and doesn't expect some sort of repercussion to go along with it?:: Valaine: R’bins... the wurld is moving... :: They were in the turbolift after all. But the words were more a warning, for her sake. If the “wurld” kept moving, so too might the contents of his stomach. :: Robins: Almost there, drunkso. ::And not a moment too soon, the doors slid open again.:: Valaine: ::quieter now:: … haffa name, yi’no... Robins: uh huh. :: Somehow he ended up in her helpful arms again, though the effort couldn’t have been graceful, and she had him out of the turbolift and stumbling toward sickbay. He’d forgotten he didn’t want to go there, no longer protesting as they went through the double doors. He was only interested in no longer traipsing all over the ship, since every step made his entire body feel the effects. :: Valaine: G’tta stop... ::his weight bearing down on Robin’s fully now:: ::She sagged under his weight, and she lost her footing slightly. Taking a deep, aggravated breath, she hoisted him up once again and...wobbled...purposefully towards Sickbay.:: Robins: ::feeling something lurch:: oh no, you can wait until we get into Sickbay. *Then* you can throw up all over the floor. ::A few relieved steps later, and Robins threw the dead weight down onto the nearest biobed. Thankfully no one was already occupying it, because she had a sneaky feeling Valaine would've ended up on that specific biobed *anyway*.:: Robins: ::grabbing a hypospray:: you're not allergic to anything, are you? Valaine: Ta... grumpy... w’men. Robins ::Finding a phial and squinting to make sure she was reading it correctly through the thick haze that threatened to settle once again.:: Good. This oughtta sort your stomach out, and reduce some of the dizziness. Though the universe knows you [...] well deserve the effects. Valaine: … fer s’mthin... er’uther... :: It was done for him, and his lack of enunciation was nearly total. The walk had sent all the alcohol still in his stomach surging through his bloodstream. Even though he felt the need to hurl, he felt the need to stay still far stronger. Thankfully whatever Robins gave him eased the surging in his stomach. :: :: And the instant he was able to relax, strewn on the bio-bed in what couldn’t be a comfortable position, he was out like a light. :: ::The minute Valaine was out, Robins knees gave out as the alcohol finally took its toll. The last thing she was aware of was the corner of the biobed looming ever closer.:: -fin- Ensign Talya Robins Medical Officer USS Avandar & Chase Valaine Chief Warrant Officer Engineer USS Avandar
  23. Only a few hours to go before submissions close for Round 5 and voting begins. Entries are still being accepted -- why not take a moment to get your entry in now. Roo
  24. ((Personal Quarters – Starbase 118)) OOC: Earlier in the day, before arriving on Victory ::Laying in bed Jacob contemplated the upcoming events for the day. Knowing full well it was going to be a busy day, just like the day before it, he savoured the relaxing in moments in bed for a few more minutes before getting up.:: ::Jacob from a young age has always kept a Personal Log that he uses to document his days and as a powerful tool for self reflection. Not being overly religious about it, he's only done a few since coming aboard the Starbase. Given the events of the last few days, he figured it a good of a time as any to catch up.:: Moore: =/\= Computer, begin new entry in personal log =/\= ::Making the customary sound of acknowledgment, Jacob knew he could start.:: Moore: Its been some time between entries, so I'll try and capture some of the exciting stuff that's been happening. Shore leave on the Victory was fun and a good chance to get away from the hectic life on the station. Unfortunately I failed to capitalise on the social aspect of the trip, tending to spend most of the time there in my own solitary endeavours. Something I want to really change in the future. ::Jacob really did like to socialise, he just really didn't like meeting new people. Its almost contradictory but fully justifiable by him if queried.:: Moore: Upon returning to the Station, the Victory was hit with a wave that was designed to take offline certain sub processors that had been purposely manufactured in such way to exhibit this reaction to the wave. It was unclear to me the motives or the people behind, although I hear that perhaps the Romulans were involved. Its not something that interests me; the who done it, but what I am interested in is what is the plan now that they have done it. Can we expect something else in the future? If they are capable of achieving this kind of success what next? ::Diplomacy and conspiracy theory ranked pretty high on the list of things that Jacob found really boring. A talkfest of what if's and trying to query who had involvement without offending anyone seemed like a massive waste of time. Nevertheless he was grateful that some found it there passion, as it meant that he could focus on his, and repair the station as fast as he could.:: Moore: Victory managed to get away unscathed..mostly due to a few quick workarounds, and some of the sub processors being replaced recently. Lucky for us as we were able to limp back to the station who was far more affected than the victory. We were also luck the Victory was around as we were able to use it to assist the repairs. ::Jacob grabbed some of the cereal mix he had stored in his room and began to chew it dry as he was going through his log entry. He also managed to shower and dress also. Multitasking was something he prided himself on doing, and this was a small example of that for him.:: Moore: I spent most of my day yesterday getting the replicators back online, so we could churn out as much repaired sub processors as we could. I ended up working really closely with Crewman Sarah Novak. She is an extremely capable worker, and someone I think I would like to get to know out of work also…. oO Why am I blushing ? Oo ::Taking a few moments, Jacob challenged his thoughts. Was he really interested in getting to know Novak on a personal level, and that is enough to make him blush? Or was it simply that he was feeling for the first time in a long time that some personal attraction was necessary, just as doing your job really well was.:: oO Wait…I don't HAVE to like someone, I didn't even know that I DID think of her like that…Oo ::Jacob was right, he spent all day with her yesterday without an honest single thought of anything other than how to get the job done as best as possible. It was only now that he was feeling anything additional. :: Moore: Ahhhh…so the both of us managed to work well and get the replicators online. I had called It quits for the night when I received a phone call at just after midnight with an emergency. A virus was working its way towards the computer core and a virus I hadn't seen before. Commander Breeman was instrumental in coming up with a harmonic equalising solution that stopped the spread in its tracks. Quite clever really, and its a bit of a shame that he's moved on to bigger and better things in command. ::The Commander had made Jacob feel quite at home in Engineering and it had left a void in that spot when her left, and no one had replaced him. The leadership vacuum was huge in the current situation given the chaotic nature of engineering during a crisis.:: Moore: Today work-wise, is all about getting communications back online. We are an important part of the sectors communications, and when we are down, we are essentially in a bit of a black spot. Internally the communications are shot also, so its important today to get that online, and also get Main Power back to all the decks. Once we can accomplish that, the rest of the work gets easier and easier. I hope I'm prioritising the jobs correctly…..there is currently no one in charge in Engineering so I'm trying to fill the spaces, but I've got about zero experience in doing so. Anyway, we'll see what today brings. Computer end personal log and encrypt. ::As the computer beeped acknowledgement, Jacob Tidied himself up, grabbed his Engineering Kit that he brought home with him, tucked it firmly under his arm and headed out. As the light of the corridor his his face, he was ready to brave another full day.:: Ensign Jacob Moore Engineering Officer Starbase 118
  25. ((Civillian Sector - Keros Gardens - Starbase 118)) ::Sahmson felt the alien hand in his, its fingers twitching slightly as it adjusted its grip. In front of them was the darkness of a path they'd not seen yet, leading someplace down toward the fluid treatment absorption matrix. There was a kind of hum, indistinct from the rest of the surrounding sounds, merging into the winds and the chirping birds.:: Cair: So I take it everything's under control? ::It was now. He was here for her for the rest of her life. He'd turned his back on Reikara, on Romulus, on home. He turned to face Aodhnait now.:: ::Aodhnait looked into the yellow irises, into the darkness of the pupils at their centers. Around Sahmson's eyes the face changed slightly, and Aodhnait's mind did its best to provide for her some inkling of a copy of what he must be feeling. Parts didn't match, twitches here and there betraying happiness amid a decidedly less optimistic haze.:: Sahmson: We're fine. ::The words were quiet, to the point that her universal translator almost didn't register them.:: ::Sahmson watched the expressions crossing the human face. The gestures seemed like variations on his own, subtle twists of the meanings of words from a language he'd half learned before he'd been forced to grow up. In her Rinanov flickered before him and then dissipated, a transient brilliant flake disappearing into the tepid liquid of so many years.:: Sahmson: Don't worry. You're safe. ::It was all that mattered. Around them several fireflies shimmered.:: Cair: I never doubted you for a second. ::She pushed her cheek up against his arm as they walked together. Sahmson felt a gentle breeze in his hair, his forehead beginning to tingle with pleasure at the sensation. In the distance he could see the trees grow narrower, the path darker. This was the less maintained area, where vast ecosystems were allowed to grow unchecked.:: ::Aodhnait looked up at the labyrinthine mark on Sahmson's forehead, marvelling again at how it changed colour. She'd only seen it do that once before. She looked ahead again, into the greenish darkness that seemed to sparkle with the distant fireflies. There was something final about all this. The narrowing, winding path, the darkening forest. The silence. They were safe at last. Life was returning to normal. Sahmson was close.:: ::He looked down at Aodhnait as she stared at him and reached down to kiss her. Her lips against his were soft, and there was something familiar in the sensation. The world seemed to stop for a moment as everything went dark. Their lips were still locked but he could see only himself. Beside him was a soft female voice speaking now, its quality eliciting in him a mesmerizing warmth, something he'd not felt since--:: Voice: Ensign Sahmson. Service Numer 422345622-B. ::Inside of himself he felt his lips move, as though his body were now a tower stretching out above him.:: Sahmson: Ma'am! ::The faint outline of a Starfleet officer emerged in the corner of his vision. She was clad in some kind of dress uniform.:: Voice: The only cadet whose pastimes included intelligence manipulation, social engineering, genetic encoding, and distributed virtual network infrastructure penetrations... Not to mention rigging every strategic maneuvers simulation. ::The clucked her tongue.:: Sahmson: Yes ma'am! Voice: Not that you really had a choice. Did you really think you were in control--:: ::He felt his fingers begin to tighten, the joints cracked. And in front of him his mother gazed into his eyes, whispering softly,:: Mother: Sahmson, you've found a girl! ::The forest returned, gentle sparks of light criss-crossing it. Their lips parted and Sahmson gasped.:: Aodhnait: What's wrong? Sahmson: Nothing. ::She pulled him in to her again, their lips locking once more, Aodhnait whispering into his ear,:: Cair: I love you. Voice: You're never really in control. Cair: I want you. Voice: You're never really who you think you are. ::The sound of her voice dissipated again, and all he could hear now was Aodhnait breathing beside him, accompanied by the sensation of her teeth gently biting at his ear. Around them the lights came and went.:: TBC Lt. Sahmson Security Officer Starbase 118 and Aodhnait Cair Student Starbase 118 all simmed by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Breeman Chief Engineer Starbase 118
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