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  1. [FLASHBACK] ((Starfleet Academy, San Francisco Campus - Colleen Bancroft’s Quarters - 239105.10 11:10 Hours)) ::Colleen was just finishing up a paper for her Hostile Species Diplomacy course when a ping came in on her PADD. She wrote the last couple paragraphs, saved the paper to her terminal, and then grabbed said PADD. A private message sat in it from one of her instructors, Mike Logan, who she had trained under since she’d gotten to San Francisco. He owned a dojo in ‘Frisco proper, where he taught Aikido, Judo, and Jiu-jitsu, as well as an Anbo-Jytsu class. Mike also taught Anbo-Jytsu at the Academy, as well as one of the basic Unarmed Combat courses.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy Hey Colleen: Happy Friday. I’ve got a student in my class this semester who is massively struggling. At this rate, he’s going to fail, and yes, I know we still have two and a half months (or so) to go. I know you’ve got your own class load to manage, what with the dual major and all, but is there any chance that you can do some private lessons for him? -Mike // ::Colleen sat back in her chair and considered. He wasn’t wrong that she had her own course load, and it wasn’t simple or very easy, but she also hadn’t been training as much this semester - she could use the training time, as well as a chance to teach. Besides, it was unarmed combat. She had yawned her way through the course and still would have gotten an A+ if it’d been possible. Leaning back forward, she pulled up her reply box.:: // To: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Mike: Yeah, I can do it, favor to you. Can I count this towards my Judo ranking? (Kidding) Do you mind if I use the dojo for it though? Trying to schedule time at a campus dojo is a bitch. -Colls // ::It only took a minute for the Master Chief to respond.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy Yeah, go ahead and use the dojo. You have your key, but you also know the rules, no interfering with regular classes! And I’ll think about counting it. -Mike // // To: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen I was kidding about the ranking, but thanks. After two and a half years, I definitely know the class schedule; I’ll be sure not to interfere with regular class. Send me your student’s details and I’ll get him into shape. -Colleen // ::Colleen exchanged a few more messages with him, getting the student’s details in the process, before bringing the conversation to a close. She glanced at the student’s profile - Choi Ji-hu. He was an Engineering major and Mike’s note said that the guy was miserably failing the class. Couldn’t throw, couldn’t get thrown, couldn’t… well. The guy needed help.:: ::Colleen sighed, and then composed a message to the other student.:: // To: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Cadet Choi: Your TAC101 instructor has asked me to provide you with private lessons in the curriculum, so that you might pass his class. Would you please send me your current schedule, so that we may figure out when best to train? Sincerely, Cadet Colleen Bancroft // ((Starfleet Academy - Choi Ji-hu’s Dorm Room - 239105.10 11:20 Hours)) ::Ji-hu was sprawled out on his unmade bed, halfway through reading a paper on Denobulan nanotechnology in the treatment of degenerative neurological disease for his end of term course paper when a ping came from his wrist-mounted PADD. He keyed in a command, summoning his VI assistant.:: Choi: Turing, put the message on screen. ::He flopped off the bed and into the chair in front of his console. The private message was from a fellow cadet, a third year, which was odd until he read the body of the message with mounting horror. He had fumbled through the basic combat courses as best as he could. His shooting was dismal, but he’d had managed a C- in small weapons, miraculously. Unarmed combat was another matter, he was failing, dismally, in terms of both grades and skill.:: Choi: ::sweating slightly:: Crap, crap, crap… Turing, crap. Send my schedule… and answer in the affirmative… Send message. CRAP! ::He tossed himself on his bed, chest heaving, trying to get a breath. It was one thing to embarrass himself in front of a cohort of 30 first and second years and Instructor Logan, now he was going to have to take remedial combat with an upper year! Why couldn’t he just stick to tech and science?! Nanotechnology, math and systems architecture made sense. His flailing limbs did not.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu Cadet Bancroft: Affirmative. I am attaching my course schedule. Sincerely, Cadet Choi Ji-hu (Message prepared by a VI Assistant) // ::Colleen received the message and quickly glanced through it -- a VI Assistant? Huh -- and then looked over the schedule. The way she figured it, if she was going to get this guy into shape to pass this course, they’d need to practice a minimum of two to three times a week, every week. Based on the schedule, and compared against her own, she figured lessons on Wednesday and Friday nights, and Sunday afternoons, would be best. She attached the schedule and a map to the dojo before composing the message.:: // To: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Cadet Choi: I have attached a schedule of when I think would be best to practice. I have secured space on a dojo off campus, where we will be able to practice without any interference from others, including your classmates. Please respond as soon as possible as to whether the attached schedule will work for you. Thanks, Cadet Bancroft // ::The response came back shortly after Ji-hu had calmed himself enough that he was considering a trip to the dorm’s cadet mess hall for some noodles, but the message sent him into fresh terror. A dojo?! Was he going to be fighting a ninja or something?! Ji-hu responded in the affirmative, dread mounting. He had hoped the instructor would let him squeak by and keep what little dignity the cadet had left, but that was not to be the case. This would mean a couple of months of extra lessons before the end of semester. A couple of months of endless embarrassment. He found he wasn’t hungry anymore.:: ((Mike’s Dojo, San Francisco - 239105.10 18:27 Hours)) ::Colleen brought the push broom down the last section of mats before shaking it out the window. It was a beautiful spring evening outside, and the skylights in the ceiling cast brilliant beams in from the west, giving the large room more than enough light without turning on the internal lights. She had already dressed out in her gi, but had hesitated before tying her black belt around her waist. Instead, she had placed it back in her bag and pulled on her old white belt, which had so much use that it fell completely limply at her waist - and stayed tied easily - and was more a dark grey than white at this point. Putting up the broom, she glanced at the clock. She expected her new student here momentarily. But first…:: ::Colleen sat down in seiza, facing towards the north wall of the dojo, and bowed to the Shomen before going over to the small desk against the south wall and resuming her seiza to review the dojo logs.:: ::Ji-hu had arrived half-an-hour early--he was always early, especially when it came to traversing the bewildering geometry of San Francisco’s layout--but dithered outside the dojo before finally taking the plunge. As instructed, he came in his school issue Academy tanktop and jogging shorts, which made him feel like a gangling mass of noodly limbs, unlike the majority of other students, more athletically inclined, who seemed to fill in their exercise outfits perfectly.:: ::To his intense relief the school seemed quiet, and he left his sneakers on a rack in the first room. He followed Bancroft’s instructions and soon entered a large room straight out of an old action flick, sun glancing through the windows above, casting dramatic shadows through the beams.:: ::A woman sat on her knees inside the room in the white dojo robes Ji-hu was sure had a fancy name, but which escaped him. He cleared his throat.:: Choi: Uh… C-C-Cadet Bancroft? I’m… uh… Cadet Choi. ::Colleen flicked off the PADD she’d been reviewing and turned towards the door, where a man in Academy standard issue workout clothes had just entered. He looked nervous as hell.:: Bancroft: Hey! Yeah, I’m Bancroft. Welcome, Cadet Choi. Hope you found your way here easily enough. ::Ji-hu nodded and placed his backpack down just inside the door and took a few steps in, feeling awkward.:: Choi: Th-thanks for… doing this. ::clearing his throat nervously:: Ma’am. ::Colleen smiled and rose to her feet to move towards the door, offering a hand to the other Cadet to shake.:: Bancroft: Yeesh. Ma’am? I’m only a year ahead of you. Call me Colleen. Please. Choi: ::feeling his face burning red hot as he shook her hand:: Okay. Ji-hu. You can. Call me. ::He kicked himself inwardly. As graceful an entrance as he could have expected walking into a dojo. At least there weren’t any other students to observe his fumbling, both athletic and social.:: Bancroft: Ji-hu it is then. Pleased to meet you. You can relax here. We’re the only ones here and the next class isn’t scheduled until tomorrow morning. ::Colleen flat ignored how red Choi’s face was getting. She understood social anxiety, although maybe not to the level it seemed the other Cadet had it at.:: Bancroft: So. First things first, we’ll run through the same warmup routine as they do at the Academy, yeah? Ah. Yeah. And another quick thing: I don’t expect you to have already known this. Before you get on the mat, please be sure to bow towards the front. ::She gestured towards the Shomen at the north end.:: ::Ji-hu nodded and pivoted on his heel, giving a respectful bow towards the shrine-looking setup at the far end of the room. As a polite Korean son he could at least manage that much.:: ::Once Choi had bowed on, Colleen ran them through the warmup routine with efficiency, but made sure not to run through it so fast she lost him or caused him to overheat or give up. Once they were finished with the warmup, Colleen began.:: Bancroft: Okay, so. First things first. Punch me. Choi: ::eyes going wide:: M-m-ma’am?! ::Colleen raised her eyebrow at him.:: Bancroft: No, seriously. Punch me; you’re not going to hurt me. ::For emphasis, she gestured sharply towards her stomach.:: Good punches and kicks are crucial to everything from here on out. Also, learning to fall, but we’ll get there. ::Ji-hu felt a sweat breaking out across his back, he was having trouble breathing. He attempted to channel his inner action hero, like a loose-cannon starship captain who doesn’t play by the rules from the vids he loved, tried to remember Instructor Logan’s lessons, and swung his fist back before bringing it out in front of him.:: ::He sort of missed her stomach and punched her in the left boob, but it was more like her chest deflected his fist entirely. Ji-hu took a couple of steps back, mortified.:: ::As Ji-hu flailed to hit her - and hit her lightly in the left boob, far enough off to the side that she barely felt it - she sighed inwardly.:: oO We have a lot of work to do. Oo A Joint Post By: Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0 AND Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0
  2. (( Tar’rec, Conference Room)) :: A few hours had passed since the leader of the TFM had contacted him. It had been the first time that he had personally spoken with her and the woman had irritated him slightly. There was something in her voice that had not fitted and the irony of their words had not passed him entirely. D’Nal had decided to see how things shaped up with the TFM and then adjust his plans if necessary. Another point of interest was that the Warbird tracing the second federation ship had managed to scan the Thunder while passing. She was obviously in a critical stage of her repairs and so vulnerable that Merek’s hands itched. A potential target of that caliber was hard to ignore however an open attack on a federation vessel was not an option and other paths had to be followed. The experienced officer gazed out of the window contemplating methods to reach his goal. A success at this point would help secure his position and while Admiral Turner had proven to be an accomplished opponent so far, the loss of another ship in orbit of the same planet currently struggling through yet another crisis would hardly improve her standing with her superiors. Federation citizens got so touchy when loved ones were killed and D’Nal was aware this was especially the case when it happened twice in similar circumstances. What he needed here was either official backing making an assault legitimate, or a more subtle approach which had many far more positive aspects. Then again there was always ... . His watch chimed a reminder and he turned back to the large table and took a seat at its head where he continued to look over the data pads before him. Three other officers silently entered the room and made themselves comfortable and waited until Merek deigned to notice them. :: Merek: :: looking at his flag officers :: Gentlemen the current situation on Duronis provides the empire with an opportunity to strike. The movement against the governing body of the Laudean people is no longer growing but thriving, unfortunately however once again the Federation has chosen the wrong party to side with. It is time to act. The Thunder is incapacitated, their second ship, the Bronwyn has teeth but is no match for our vessels while there is a reasonable chance that a third federation ship is in the vicinity. :: He let his words sink in, aware that the two captains were no doubt intrigued why he was speaking to them rather than just giving orders to attack. Over the years Cr’air had slowly grown used to the fact that his Riov preferred listening before acting, and now he himself wanted to know what the two latest additions to his commanding staff thought about, well thinking. That is voicing and defending an opinion rather than just backing an idea because it came from their superior. The two men at least had the poise not to look at each other or to Cr’air for help before answering. :: Virinsus: Riov, the fleet stands behind you as do I. I ascertain that you do not wish an open conflict with Starfleet? Merek: ::shrugging:: Why use a hammer when a feather can have the same effect? Our tactical position is strong and an attack would likely be successful, however we do not have the resources to occupy Til’ahn, the TFM have not yet gained the full support of the population and the Laudeans have the regrettable tendency to be unreliable partners. Virinsus: And the Federation would no doubt send ships to ‘investigate’ any losses. Jechrohk: If a direct assault will only net a temporary gain, then I suggest we use our allies instead. Let them strike into the heart of the federation forces and we will pick up the pieces. Virinsus: Indeed and if the assaults fail then nothing would point at us. Merely a regrettable incident. Merek: ::waving a hand irritably:: Yes, yes. We are already supporting the TFM as much as we can without openly showing ourselves. Other means need to be employed to cripple the Thunder and if possible destroy the Bronwyn in both cases without our direct involvement. With most of their counter arguments burning in orbit of the planet the Federation will have no choice but to vacate the Embassy. :: There was general agreement over the fact. :: Merek: Of course if and when the TFM succeeds we will dissuade their further influence and steer the populace towards our own goals. ::smiling ::, ‘erhwi u’mnhei mhivoi na nneikha’! (divide and rule for the empire!). :: The Romulan commander had no difficulties in speaking cursively. :: Jechrohk: Mhivoi na nneikha! Merek: Then I wish reports on how we go about achieving our goal. How do we get the TFM to remove our strongest enemy? Reports within the hour. :: The men nodded in his direction and rose to leave. Merek found himself contemplating Cr’air who had remained silent, a trait he would normal welcome. This looked different. While he pondered this he looked spoke up again without looking to his captains. :: Merek: Oh, that reminds me. I was informed that two of our vessels were spotted and knowledge of our presence is compromised. The D’Entin with her older cloaking abilities will continue shadowing her target. As the Federation will no doubt begin scanning for cloaked vessels she will be no doubt found soon enough, however they are hardly in a position to object to the D’Entin’s presence. We in the meantime will remain in the shadows of the sand bar where their eyes can not find us. Jechrohk: That may hinder our indirect support of the Laudeans. Merek: Maybe, however we will continue as I have ordered. If we need be in closer proximity of the planer then the Tar’rec and Deuxis will do so under the cover of our superior cloaks which the Federation have yet to counter. You both will only join us if we openly attack. Jolan tru. :: After the two officers had left D’Nal turned his attention to his aide once more. The younger man had been attentive and was even now alert, his silence no doubt had a reason. :: Merek: Your thoughts Cr’air? Cr’air: Riov, the Thunder may be an easy target. Especially as it is clear that they are replacing a large part of their hull and armor and truly are defenseless. The Bronwyn however is far better armed than the Laudeans ships and I have no doubt that Starfleet intelligence is far away. :: Yes that Chang never seemed to be far whenever the Laudeans had a crisis on their hands. D’Nal ignored the urge to clench his fists at her mention. Anger was not the best ally when planning the downfall of others. :: Merek: I agree. We should use caution. The Thunder’s demise is possible so we should try and achieve that at least. Everything is a bonus. I suppose you have an idea? Cr’air: But you just ordered Virinsus… Merek: ::raising a hand:: They will no doubt come up with something. Maybe it will work maybe it won’t. As I said the Thunder is possible with the right tactic at the right time and I know you have an idea. Cr’air: If the Federation scan for our ships they will no doubt employ tachyon technology and subsequently find our vessels. As said vessels are not doing anything illegal, the Laudeans have no cloaking technology and a Klingon fleet is also not present then we should react accordingly. :: Merek liked the way Cr’air thought most of the time, but the man could be trying at times even for an amicable commanding officer. :: Merek: I can follow you thus far and would approve if you made your point. Cr’air: I was thinking that we could flood the system with static and other things deemed nasty by their sensors. They will no doubt react and a disagreement will ensue, raising of shields powering of weapons, the D’Entin repositioning herself at the Thunder’s location. I believe the terrans call it sabre rattling. Merek: So now we have one blind and invalid Thunder, still protected by their Bronwyn and no doubt that b**** Chang and many sabres being rattled, pray continue. :: Merek liked where this was heading, though he had to admit not much intelligence was needed to paint the picture. :: Cr’air: We have one ship very susceptible to an antimatter warhead cloaked with the superior cloaking technology that the Tar’rec utilizes. ::smiling :: Her guards are not likely to leave her side and they will not see us strike. One blow and three targets. Merek: ::smiling distantly:: By using the correct materials they will not even be able to ascertain where the explosion came from even after the attack. Cr’air: Indeed. As such they will not be able to lay the blame on us. With the D’Entin close by and her also sustaining damage… well sabre rattling… antimatter explosions it is understandable that a captain opens fire on enemy vessels after such an unprovoked attack and only justifiable that our other vessels rush to her aid. Merek: Very impressive. I see your time spent out here is not being wasted. Too many possibilities to be able to clearly point the finger at us. Very regrettable incident … loss of life… strongly condemn this 3rd party attack … :: chuckles :: See to it, Cr’air a report within an hour. Tag! Commander D’Nal Merek Romulan 3rd Task Force Duronis Sector Simmed By Jaxon Mc Ghee Civilian Advisor Duronis II Embassy Writer ID: E238801JM0
  3. ( Ready Room ) IC: ::Once they were inside and the doors had shut, Roshanara turned around and leaned against the edge of the small desk in the room. Kelrod remained standing in front of the captain, looking at her trying to know what her reasoning will be to have ordered the locals to be brought to the ship.:: Rahman: Why did you order the sedation of the locals? Was it a medical situation? Kelrod: oO Interesting question to start Oo As we’re to bring a pre-warp civilization into a far more advanced vehicle and see Aliens, I wanted to prevent a cultural shock, seeing themselves surrounded by strange things. Rahman: Did Dr. Ryan concur and approve? Kelrod: Dr Ryan was in the planet and we’re in a rush to retrieve them, to avoid them to be caught by the local pursuers and to get back to the ship in time so you don’t have to leave us there for nine months. :: Kelrod said that in the calmer tone he could muster, but he didn’t understand why she’s asking him those questions instead of explaining to him why she’d ordered them aboard. :: ::She crossed her arms.:: Rahman: I can appreciate your caution and wanting to minimize the damage that can be done to these people. ::She looked right into his eyes.:: But we need to make one thing clear: that was not your call to make. Kelrod: And who was Rahman: Dr. Ryan is the chief medical officer of this ship. That means all medical matters are under her authority, and even I as captain would only overrule such authority in the most extreme of exceptional circumstances. I expect you will respect such professional boundaries in the future. Kelrod: I will, but I considered that this was one of those circumstances. It was clear that she’s emotionally compromised with those people, so in my opinion she’s lost objectivity about the repercusions of them being transported what could be about four centuries of biological diversity and technological improvement. :: he took a deep breath, conscious that after all, she’s the captain. :: However,... I’ll remind this conversation for any future situation like this. ::She nodded.:: Rahman: Now, that said, we do indeed have a rather… “complicated” situation on our hands. You needn’t remind me of the prime directive, commander. I am well-aware of my responsibilities and duties as captain to uphold Starfleet's most sacred mandate. Rahman: But there’s a reason the prime directive has 47 sub-sections. And as one of Starfleet’s greatest captain’s once said, "There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute.” Kelrod: Yes, but The Prime Directive isn't just a set of rules; it's a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proved again and again, that whenever anyone interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results could be disastrous" Rahman: You and the rest of the senior staff will be debriefed soon, but in short, the society on that planet has been found to have been previously interfered with by non-Federation citizens—in this case, the Valtese smuggler we picked up. Mr. Ver has revealed that he has helped resettle these refugees across various planets in the Shoals. If we’re to have any hope of dealing with the fall out of this interference, we’re going to need to hear their side of the story to understand the full picture. Kelrod: :: That was an interesting piece of information that he didn’t know about. :: So, they’ve already been made aware of life outside their planet? I wasn’t sure that he’d revealed himself to be from out of this world, if I’ve known that I could have... considered leaving them conscious. Anyway, they’re in sickbay waiting for you to give the order to wake them up. :: Kelrod was facing the captain, ready to ask the uncomfortable questions, but that was part of being one of the senior officers of the ship, and the second with more pips on his collar. :: Kelrod: I have a few questions captain,... ::She nodded for him to proceed.:: Kelrod: Are we to assume that the whole planet knew about life outside their world? I mean, did Mr. Ver revealed himself as a force against the ruling forces that pursued those locals? Rahman: No, from what I understand thus, Mr. Ver smuggled locals out from persecution in exchange for dilithium. Whether the rest of the planet’s population knew about his presence is unknown but unlikely. That said, this is why we will need to speak to the locals themselves to learn more about what was the arrangement they had with Mr. Ver. Kelrod: I know they’re primitive and with very limited resources, but how will we be sure that they’ll not seek revenge over the people that tried to kill them, asking other aliens like Mr. Ver to help them? Rahman: We don’t. We don’t even know the full extent of the diaspora across the Shoals. Kelrod: Will the Federation or the the Shoals government take any measure to ... respect that planet’s civilization to evolve on their own way? Will we be taking care of their well being and safety? ::She took a deep breath.:: Rahman: These are all questions I’ve asked myself as well. Ones that Mr. Ver and those who violate the directive brush off or never even examine. In Mr. Ver’s case, he is not a Starfleet officer and was never bound by any obligation. We are. ::She took a moment to glance at his commander’s pips, now no longer provision but the same as any other fully commissioned officer. The pips she had agreed to allow him to wear that came with the highest of expectations now for him as Kelrod, the Starfleet officer—not the soldier.:: Rahman: While I cannot answer these questions at this moment, you can be assured that I as your captain, we as a crew, and Starfleet and the Federation will be examining every possible measure and implementing those that are appropriate. Kelrod: Sorry sir, ::He stood at attention.:: I just wanted to have things clear and understand the ramifications and our policy about what we’ve done today. You’ll have my report about the whole away mission in a few hours. Rahman: I can understand that, commander. That desire to know more about why decisions were made and wanting to make sure they were the right ones. And all I can tell you is that what may seem clear and straightforward is not always so from the view while sitting on the chair out there. ::She gestured back to the bridge that stood just outside those doors.:: Kelrod: :: Kelrod nodded in agreement, remembering his time on the Veritas, including the time when he had to put Captain Blueheart under arrest for destroying a ship full of Romulans from another time when they're defenseless :: Been there, done that. Rahman: I look forward to reading your report. Kelrod: It'll be complete and fully detailed. Rahman: Also, now that we’re in calmer waters, give me an update on the SAR shuttle project when you get a chance. In addition to Commanders Mei’konda and Walker, I’d recommend you get in touch with Commander Core. He is a components expert and now working back in R&D. I think he’d be an asset to your team. ::She was aware of course of the potential awkwardness of the captain asking a subordinate to put her partner on a project, but she was confident in the Rodulan’s abilities to help with what Kelrod wanted in the new shuttle. Kelrod: I'll see to it. I planned to talk with them tomorrow when we've all rested a bit. I'll be sure to inclued Commander Core. ::She gave him a final nod, and decided she'd throw one more quote back at him. She almost smirked.:: Rahman: "Make it so." Dismissed. :: Kelrod simply raised an eyebrown in the most Vulcanoid way and left the room. :: TBC:
  4. (( Day 4: Morning )) (( Intelligence Office, Deck 2: USS ATHENA )) ::Lan was reviewing the latest reports, with various degrees of satisfaction. The deployment of the sensor buoys had progressed nicely, but their newly-acquired Gamma Owls had so far failed to find Basai's tracks, nor his kidnappers'. He looked up from his work when he heard the door to the Intel suites activating. Curious... all of his team members were here, and the Captain usually called before coming down. Maybe the Queensguard? He hoped it wouldn't be z'Tholia, he wasn't in a mood for arguments or apologies today.:: ::A few seconds later, Hawkins walked inside his office with a smile.:: ::Hawkins didn't know what procedures he'd be going through in Intelligence for Executive Officer clearance. It was probably the department he knew the least about. He stepped in and found Riel. He offered him a smile.:: Hawkins: Good morning, Lieutenant. ::Lan got up from his chair to welcome his guest.:: Riel: Good morning to you, Commander. And allow me the congratulate you on your recent promotion, by the way. To what do we owe the pleasure? Hawkins: The Captain ordered me to report here for an Alpha-Two clearance briefing. I'm to be assigned a... command authorization code as well. Riel: Aaah, yes. Can't have our XO kept in the dark, of course. Can you spare a few minutes right now, or do you want us to schedule an appointment? Hawkins: I'm ready whenever you are. Riel: Good. The sooner, the better. In that case, allow me to inform my team... :: He activated the comm terminal in his desk :: =/\= Riel here, I'll be giving an Alpha-Two VIP briefing in the Dark Room for the next few minutes. =/\= .. and I'll gladly give you the ten credits tour. This way please. ::Hawkins nodded, wondering what a "Dark Room" was. He hadn't heard anything about it, but he didn't know much about the intelligence department as it was. Hawkins followed him into a meeting room that looked unremarkable, and saw Lan pluck his badge off of his uniform and drop it into a box. Hawkins glanced from the Box to Lan's face.:: Hawkins: Problem with your badge? :: Lan closed the door of the office behind them and they walked the short distance to the Dark Room. As soon as they were inside twhat looked like every other meeting room in the ship, complete with a replicator and an oval table, Lan put down his commbadge and placed it in a box by the door. :: Riel: Please leave your commbadge and electronic devices here, Commander. This room will be perfectly isolated from the rest of the ship for the duration of the briefing, and you wouldn't want the scrambler to mess with your gear. Hawkins: I see. ::He swiped his off his uniform and laid it in the box.:: :: Lan punched a button, and the door closed. He walked to the safe embedded in the opposite wall, and placed his hand in a small cavity besides it. He winced slightly as the door opened, retrieved a PADD from the inside and closed it again. :: ::Hawkins watched Lan open a secured wall container and produce a PADD. It was clear to Hawkins that Lan was a cautious and careful officer, which was necessary in his department perhaps more than most.:: Riel: I really wish they could upgrade it to a DNA lock that doesn't involve a needle. Oh, well. Take a seat, please. I assume that you are aware of the official pretense for our presence in the Gamma Quadrant? Hawkins: The standard mission, of course. What do you mean by pretense? Riel: :: With a smile :: Wouldn't have phrased it better myself. To boldly go, and so on. Now, on a much less official side, we are hunting artifacts left behind by the ancient and now extinct civilization known as the Yeltans. :: His fingers danced on the PADD, and the holo-display embedded in the table came to life. A piece of stone covered in Yeltan scripts hovered silently before their eyes. :: ::Hawkins watched the hologram spring up with a chiseled stone. It rotated in slow, lazy circles. The characters were foreign to him. He turned to look at the intelligence officer.:: Hawkins: Yeltans? I've never come across them. Riel: I wouldn’t be surprised. Their very existence is classified, and the crew of the Athena only heard of their name on a need-to-know basis. Same goes for our main contenders in the race for Yeltan artifacts, the Sentinels. Short for :: a quick look at his PADD, as the symbol of the cult replaced the Yeltan artifact :: Sentinels of the Black. A doomsday cult that routs for the eradication of sentient life in the galaxy, so that it could start with a clean slate. Charming people. ::Hawkins pursed his lips into a thin line.:: Hawkins: So there must be some information contained in the artifacts that would allow these Sentinels to further their agenda. What's the connection, and how much do we know about the artifacts and the Sentinels progress in finding them? :: Lan gave Hawkins a smile and a nod of approval. Apparently their new XO was a perceptive one. :: Riel: An excellent question. The information I just summarized has been shared amongst the senior staff. Now, we’re about to enter strictly code-black territory. Hawkins: Code-black. Go on? Riel: Commander, my clearance level is Beta-Two. In other words, the Captain has asked me to brif you on something even I shouldn't theoretically know. Communicating any of this information outside of this room is strictly forbidden, barring a direct order from the Captain. And… I apologize in advance, Frank. :: The file on display bore the markings ‘Top Secret - Code Black’, ‘Level 5 Clearance required with Need to Know authorization.’ In other terms, none of them was supposed to see this. Lan had to fight the urge to close his eyes, for he had already seen the images and information that came next, and they still came back to haunt him in his sleep sometimes. :: ::Hawkins saw the file with its ominous flag. He looked from it to Riel, wondering what could be so important as to require such secrecy. Riel's obvious discomfort at discussing the material made Hawkins uneasy.:: Riel: Lieutenant Commander Hawkins, meet the Hunger. They’re currently trapped behind an energy barrier at the edge of our galaxy. When they break through - when, not if -, they will treat us as an all-you-can eat buffet. I won't mince words: we are not, not by a very long shot, ready to face them, and the Sentinels are trying to let them in. ::Hawkins jaw hung slack at an angle with his lips parted. It took him a moment to get his mouth working. He studied the file on Riel's PADD, sliding a finger over it to scroll through the scant information. His finger trembled as he read more of the speculations, analyses, and directives.:: Riel: Out there, Starfleet explores the galaxy, meets new civilizations, forges new alliances, seeks new knowledge. Gathers strength in knowledge and numbers. Our job here is to stall the Apocalypse long enough for the galaxy to be ready for it. Hawkins: You've got to be kidding. We're just one ship. Well three, technically. It brings so many questions to mind. Why don't we have more ships out here? Starfleet should have every available vessel searching for these artifacts, and a task force looking for the Sentinels. :: Hawkins had gone a shade paler, and a fine sheen of perspiration made his hairline glimmer. Lan replied in a soft, pained voice, trying to quell the Human’s budding panic before it overcame his own mental barriers. :: Riel: Commander, you didn’t know of this menace until a fistful of seconds ago. How do you know we’re the only ships with a similar mission? Hawkins: The whole time we've been out here, wasting precious time on these... installations and minor affairs. We have a slipstream drive, we should be spending every second we have on this. What about the Dryary? They have a right to know. :: Ah. A hint of revolt there. The fight-or-flee switch leaned towards “fight”. It was something Lan could work with. He put a touch of bitter sarcasm in his voice. :: Riel: Barely a minute in the know, and you’re already contemplating a breach of confidentiality? That’s a new record. Hawkins: I'll abide by the protocols, but I don't agree with them. Keeping it secret seems like a mistake. I don't see how anyone benefits from keeping it under wraps. ::Good. That was the spirit. A sad little smile came to play on Lan's face.:: ::Hawkins noticed a strange melancholy smile form on Riel's face. He wondered what it was like working in his field, knowing all manner of terrible secrets and probably unable to tell his closest friends about them.:: Riel: A perfectly respectable opinion. But allow me to give you a few pieces of information to help you with the bigger picture. Hawkins: All right, what's the big picture? Because the only picture I'm looking at is a galaxy headed straight for oblivion. All my friends, my family--they have no idea what's coming. Even if we can delay them, it doesn't look hopeful for anyone. ::Hawkins took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He felt bands of muscle tighten around his stomach. He felt queasy and wondered if he was in danger of puking as he tasted the tang of acid at the back of his throat. He swallowed it down.:: Riel: We could be chasing blindly after rumors of Yeltan artifacts or Sentinels sightings in an unknown Quadrant, that’s true. Instead, we are establishing a base of operation, and ingratiating ourselves with a local power. One with access to centuries worth of information on this quadrant, allies, a network of informants... :: He looked directly into Hawkins' eyes:: Believe me, we’re not losing time here, Commander. We’re investing it. ::Hawkins ran the palm of his hand over the sweaty back of his neck and paced across the room, shaking his head. He turned at the end to face Riel again, swallowing a few times more. He didn't feel well at all.:: Riel: And as for broader disclosure of the Hunger’s existence... :: He shrugged, going for brutal honesty. :: Actually, I’m partially in agreement with you, in that I would like to be able to share this intel within the senior staff at least, so that everyone could have the necessary information to operate at their best. But I would oppose spreading it further. Hawkins: On principle or because of regulations? :: Lan shook his head, and his voice started to take a metallic edge. :: ::Hawkins frowned as Riel shook his head. Listening to him was like walking down a corridor of logical twists and turns. On top of feeling queasy, the byzantine labyrinth of the conversation fractured his thoughts along different paths.:: Riel: How do you think the Sentinels came to be, Commander? Some people learnt of the Hunger, and seeing that we’re fighting a nigh-desperate battle here, they chose to fight for the winning side. Such people exist. In every group we haven’t vetted ourselves beforehand, we are likely to find some of their kind. And on the other hand of the spectrum, you’ll find the well-intentioned extremists. Hawkins: Extremists? :: A quick dance of his fingers on the surface of the PADD, and the display changed to show another dossier, with a stylized dagger on the front page. :: Riel: Heard of Sicarius? Terrorist organization? They’re technically on our side in this. Except they have decided to strengthen the galaxy against the Hunger by any means necessary. If it means culling the ones they consider ‘weak’, so be it. If it means conducting unethical experiments, or causing massive collateral damage, they will. To give you an order of magnitude, their last attempt at developing an anti-Hunger weapon ended up causing the Prometheus Incident. Hawkins: Isn't it better in the long run to release it anyway? You might have a few more groups like this pop up, but how many people could be helping the cause? I think that equation is balanced in our favor, if you think about it from that perspective. Riel: That being said, if you want to petition the Captain for the diffusion of this information among the senior staff, I certainly won't oppose you. ::Hawkins nodded slowly, the nausea settling a bit as he breathed more. He took a seat at the table all the same.:: Hawkins: I'll consider it, if you help me draft a proposal. Writing isn't one of my strong suits. ::Lan nodded gravely.:: Riel: Gladly. It will be a good opportunity to give you a refresher on dissemination limiters and the rest of the Intel lingo. But maybe this can wait until another time? I'm afraid building an Intel network in the Gamma Quadrant essentially from scratch is a rather time-consuming endeavour. Hawkins: Let's get these authorization codes done and I can let you get on with your work. I'll be honest, this has really shaken me up. I'm not going to be able to think about much else today, and I've got a full morning. I'd much rather go to ten-forward and get a few drinks in my system. :: With a sympathetic smile, Lan put the PADD back into place and closed the safe before deactivating the Dark Room protocol. He remembered the day when this information had been released to the whole Intel department, due to an accident that was still under investigation. To say that this had shaken them to the core was more than an understatement. Sometimes, he wondered how Iael managed to keep the terrible truth a secret from his wife. :: Riel: It won't take long. I'll just need a voice and DNA sample for the higher-level code, and you can be on your way. As for the need for a few drinks... :: he sighed :: I know where you come from. :: Except he couldn't hold even synthehol for the life of him, and couldn't afford spilling out the truth in a bout of tipsy honesty. So... coffee. :: :: He motioned towards the door, and picked his commbadge back on the way. :: Hawkins: We'll have to toss back a few when we're off duty sometime. Hawkins: We'll have to toss back a few when we're off duty sometime. :: Lan let out a chuckle and patted Hawkins lightly on the back in a sympathetic fashion. :: Riel: It would be a pleasure if we manage it. But from my observation of your predecessors, First Officer Hawkins? There doesn't seem to be much 'off' to you duty. :: He closed the door behind them, trying to lighten the mood of the Human officer by making small talk on theur way to his office. Selene still had to tell Hawkins about the other secrets - the ones that he had excluded from the briefing. Time travel, alternate universes, Selene herself... Hawkins deserved all the jokes and friendship he could get. His wild trip into the rabbit hole had just started. :: Respectfully Submitted by, Lieutenant Lan Riel Intelligence Officer USS Athena Writer ID: G239107LR0 F. J. HAWKINS Lt. Cmdr., Starfleet Executive Officer USS ATHENA, NCC-97780 Fleet ID: A239312FH0
  5. (( Starbase 104 - Promenade-07, Haeng Syo Boys )) ::Ji-hu had the largest, most glorious plate of kimchi fries he’d ever seen in front of him. He and his mother had been connoisseurs of junk food back in Seoul. She was a homebody, but she’d venture out when a glutinous mood took her. They’d sampled every bit of junk food from Goyang to Guri, from every culture and species they could find, but Ji-hu’s favourite always came back to the divine dish that had emerged triumphantly out of the 21st century. Kimchi fries. Nothing could top them.:: ::He’d arrived at Haeng Syo Boys an hour early, partially out of a need to taste the fries, but also to scope the place out before his crewmates arrived. It was a trendy, casual Korean fast food place. Bibimbap dishes of every variety were freshly prepared, bulgogi, meat or soy-based, sizzled on cast iron skillets, kimchi stew was a speciality, the eomuk bokkeum, “fish cakes,” made Ji-hu drool, but it was the kimchi fries that Turing had tracked down. Ji-hu didn’t know the next time he’d get the chance to have fresh, non-replicated Korean food, so he’d take advantage of the unbelievable chance to grab some on the Starbase.:: ::It was also nice to speak Korean with someone other than his parents, he conversed with his server as he grabbed a cola and waited for his meal. The server, a teenage boy, was a spacer, but his grandparents had immigrated to Starbase 104 with a few other Korean families from New Pyongyang, and were the founders of Hongdae Alley, a trendy little slice of Seoul in the middle of the Earth sector of Promenade-07.:: ::His plate arrived and he almost cried he was so happy. French fries topped with a layer of caramelized kimchi and soy bulgogi, sprinkled with cheese and an intimidating dollop of chili mayonnaise. Diced onion, cilantro, sesame seeds and chili sauce topped this masterpiece, a fusion of the best that Earth had to offer. Ji-hu would gladly order a second play to share with the others when they arrived. This plate was for him.:: ::He was glancing over the FNS feed on his wrist-mounted PADD, a belly full of fries, when he saw Lieutenant Wynter walk in. He stood, smiling, and gave a wave. Tucked in a booth in the back in civvies, a hoody, a pair of jeans and replicated black Converse, he wasn’t exactly as recognizable in his yellow collar.:: Choi: Lieutenant Wynter! Back here! Wynter: ::waving:: Lieutenant Choi, there you are. Choi: ::grinning:: I’m so g-glad you came! P-pretty cool place, huh? Wynter: Yeah and easier to find than I thought. ::looking at the plate in front of Choi:: You have already started? Foster: Who started already? ::The CMO’s brash voice called from across the way.:: ::Not that he was particularly surprised. He and Rue were a bit late. Fashionably late one might say. If Wyn was a normal person the rest of the crew might think Rue and Wyn were dating and they had been caught up in getting ready or finishing a quick morning lovers tryst. Nope. In truth Wyn had overslept and Rue had been kind enough to wait for him - mostly because she knew his predilection for getting lost in any map he hadn’t completely memorized. But, hey, better late than never!:: Blackwell:: Let’s just hope they ordered plenty. ::Rue walked along the Andorian - she was dressed a pair of denim jeans, a black shirt and a red leather jacket with rather “vintage” combat style boots- an antiquated fashion that she couldn’t help but adore. She hadn’t been surprised when Wyn wasn’t ready to go when she arrived and so she had patiently waited, reading a new book from her PADD while he made his fashion decisions. By now, however, she was starving and quite ready to eat:: Wynter: Yeah, I hope you ordered something for us too, Choi. Choi: ::giving a sly smile to the Andorian:: Well, I h-had to make sure they’d b-be up to your stringent standards, Commander Foster. Foster: ::Settling down, Wyn let his antennae crane forward, sniffing the mix of spices on the plate before them.:: Hey, I haven’t met a fry I didn’t like! Blackwell::She smelled towards the food and considered:: This is going to be interesting. ::She chuckled and settled down in a seat, perusing the choices of drinks. Hmmm.. .a wine with the taste of blackberries - Count her in! She looked to the waiter who was approaching to take the new guests orders:: “I’ll try the Bokbunja please… and water to go along… and I’ll start with spring rolls for an appetizer ::She smiled and the waiter looked to the others:: Wynter: ::looking bewildered at the foreign selection on the menu:: I’ll have water, too. And a… uhm… Baek-se-ju? As for food, Choi what do you recommend? Choi: ::taking a breath:: We’ll have a party size plate of kimchi fries to share, and we’ll also split an order of veggie deep fried dumplings--you’ll like them, Lieutenant Wynter, I promise--and then we’ll each have a bowl of spicy tofu soup, and I’ll get the bulgogi for myself. And water. ::he glanced at Foster, a devilish challenge in his eye:: Foster: Is that a challenge? Me? I’ll take the bulgogi, and I don’t mind spice. ::He had a bit of a familiarity with that particular dish as there had been a Bulgogi counter nearby the college where his Dad worked when Wyn was growing up. Counter being a fast serve restaurant that catered to busy students.:: Wynter: ::closing the menu:: Sounds good, we’ll have what he said! Blackwell: ::She shrugs:: Works for me, you only live once! ::she chuckles:: And if anything, ::glancing at the drink menu:: I am going to need the food so that I don’t end up dead drunk from the alcohol. Choi: ::giggling nervously as the waiter walked away:: I h-hope I wasn’t too… uh… assertive. I just come from a f-family who take their meals v-very seriously! Blackwell: ::She chuckles:: Oh, I can understand that. Food is important stuff! Wynter: ::laughing:: Relax, it’s fine. You are the expert on korean food here. Foster: No worries, we all gotta be strange about something otherwise we’d be boring. Choi: Do any of you ever c-cook on Constitution? My quarters don’t have kitchen, but I’m garbage anyways. ::grinning:: Blackwell: ::She eyed Choi carefully:: I’ll assume you mean your cooking skills are poor and not your person as a whole. ::She chuckled:: And I cook a bit..I prefer it to baking. I can do both but cooking ...is more “ throw in the pot and see if it works” while baking is all about precision. Wynter: ::grinning:: Oh, we have a chef among us! Blackwell::She shrugged, sipping her drink:: I don’t know about “Chef”. I’ll go with home cook - I do make a good spaghetti and meatballs. Foster: I can cook. ::he said nonchalantly, shrugging it off as if it were nothing. There were some thing Wyn never spoke of - cooking skills were one of them.:: ::The server brought over three little individual dishes to share that contained kimchi, a seaweed seasoned sweet vinegar and salt, and a boiled, seasoned sweet potato shoots dish, with a little bowl of individual rice for each of the dinners. Ji-hu picked up his chopsticks and spooned some of the seaweed onto his rice before chowing down.:: Choi: ::to the server:: Actually, m-maybe I’ll grab some Baek-se-ju, too! Thanks! ::Rue smiled as she saw her wine and water and looked at the rice and decided to take a few bites of that -before- taking in the alcohol. She also sampled some of the other shared dishes, and chewed thoughtfully as she considered the dishes taste, and swallowed:: Blackwell:: Not bad at all. Unfamiliar, but not bad. ::She smiled and then took an indulgent sip of the wine and made a pleased sound:: mmmm….This wine is lovely. ::Damian started on the dumplings. With his mouth full he sighed delighted. This was really good. After chewing down the dumpling he tried the rice wine. It, also, was really good. Not to sweet, with a subtle taste to it.:: Wynter: ::spearing another dumpling:: This is fantastic! You’ll have to try these. Foster: Don’t mind if I do… ::One dumpling was deftly snatched by chopsticks. Those nimble fingers that were so good a microsurgery were also good at snatching snacks it seemed. He cast a gaze over towards Rue.:: Getting drunk already are we? Blackwell:: Now now, I promise not to be a painful lush. I’ll...just be a hilarious lush ::she winked:: Foster: I’ll hold you to that ::He waved a second dumpling at her before chomping it down in one bite.:: ::At that moment, Ji-hu watched the server come out of the kitchen area carrying a tray in his hand, only it wasn’t a tray. It was a single plate, and piled on top was the single largest mound of kimchi fries he’d ever seen. Chili sauce dripped off the mountain of fries, caramelized kimchi slid down the sides like an avalanche, crushing the little sesame seed people unfortunate enough to be in its path. Tears of joy filled his eyes. It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.:: Blackwell: ::batted her eyes at Foster and then looked at the plate of Kimchi fries:: Holy moly. That… puts Chili Cheese Fries to shame. Foster: I wonder how many ways you can serve fries… ::he mused stuffing one into his mouth.:: Wynter: ::swallowing his dumpling:: A new frontier! Choi: ::stuffing a mouthful of fries into his mouth, grinning, mouth full:: “V-Veni, vidi, vici.” Blackwell: ::she munched on a dumpling and looked to Choi:: Well, I think you achieved the first goal of the day. Wynter: Ji-hu Choi, culinary guide to Starbase 104! Choi: ::chewing, mouth full:: Set c-c-course for a starbase with a traditional Canadian p-poutinerie! Foster: ::With a fry held high:: Huzzah! To Ji-hu, master of the kim-chi fries! TBC As simmed by: Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 & Lt.jg. Damian Wynter Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B A239203DW0 & Lt. Commander Shar’Wyn Foster Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B E239010ST0 & Lt. JG Blackwell Comm/Helm/Ops U.S.S Constitution-B G239308PB0
  6. (( USS Constitution - Deck 22, ESPO ))::Ensign Frag came up with nicknames for everyone—Ji-hu was “Jitters.” Ensign Berenez loved to talk about his favourite game strategies, and didn’t like being bluntly corrected when he made mistakes. Crewmen Ix and Te loved to take things apart, and had to be ordered not to with specific items, or else they’d claim anything in ESPO. Ensign Tor… well, they didn’t seem to like anything, but especially not Ji-hu.::::After Sindri had introduced him and given him his orders as provisional Engineering Systems Programming Office head, Ji-hu had spent a few days settling in to his little corner console in the deck 22 office, next to Tor and Berenez’s workspaces—the Bynars and Ensign Frag kept their section a little too chaotic, even for Ji-hu. He mostly spent that time organizing the backlog of maintenance requests and systems reviews—and there were a lot of both that had not been dealt with since the last office head had retired. What he quickly learned was the ESPO personnel liked to take their favourite tasks and leave the others conveniently unanswered. Even Tor, who claimed to have run the office without problems, avoided tasks outside of their expertise.::::Mostly, though, he listened and started to learn about the ESPO crew. Once they realized Ji-hu wasn’t there to march them out of an airlock or report for group counselling they left him alone, and it gave him a chance to observe, learn a little about the others. Frag insulted anyone she could at any given point, but like other Tellarites it was simple common courtesy, and if she tried to argue with you it meant she liked you. Berenez had an astounding knowledge of games and a fierce analytical mind, he would’ve made an amazing STARSHIPS teammate. Ix and Te were adorable, Ji-hu had to admit, and they both had these odd little smiles whenever they spoke binary to one another. Tor… well, Tor was insecure underneath their self-assuredness and ego.::Frag: - -think you understand, Berenez! I’ve tried to explain to you about ten thousand times, but it doesn’t seem to penetrate those little cheek flappies! Parrises squares is about brute strength, you puny, hairless Ferengi mono-testicle! Strategy only gets you as far as you can whip a stick around!Berenez: Ensign Frag, you fail to see the intricacies of the sport. There are some theories that say Zakdorn minds work fractionally faster than other humanoids, and applied to physical competition, this woud- -Frag: ::barking, amused laughter:: Not if you’re too chubby to get off your chubby butt, Creet! Have you ever even been on a court?!Tor: Shut up, you two! How’s anyone supposed to hear themselves think with you two cretins blabbing all day?!::Ji-hu sighed. There was a certain camaraderie between the four… no, five, Ix and Te were two people… five of them, maybe born out of just being stuck in the same room together, but they wouldn’t work together by choice. Frag didn’t take any of the others seriously, Berenez was witheringly condescending, Tor got frustrated when the others didn’t listen to them, and Ix and Te seemed to just do whatever they felt like.::::He had the message written. Ji-hu took a deep breath and pressed “Send” on his console.::::He heard a series of pings from throughout the room. Ensign Tor’s head snapped around to fix a glare on Ji-hu.::Tor: We’re right here, you know!::Ensign Frag ambled around the corner of the central console, with the Bynars in tow.::Frag: ::casually scratching her butt, to Ji-hu:: Hey Jitters, ::to Tor:: Smiley, ::to Berenez:: Flaps. Hear there’s an ESPO meeting.Te: Crewmen Ix…Ix: … and Te reporting…Te: … as requested, Lieutenant Choi.::Ji-hu nodded as Tor crossed their arms, scowling. Berenez turned in his chair, keeping his face neutral.::Choi: A-alright, thank you all for c-c-coming. ::he looked down to his wrist-mounted PADD and pushed a document through, and five sets of eyes went to their PADDs, consoles or implant feeds in the case of Berenez and one of the Bynar:: I’ve b-been working on grouping the b-b-backlog of maintenance requests and routine s-system reviews we need to finish b-b-before shore leave is over.Tor: ::scowling, looking away:: There was a backlog before Lieutenant Sarolk retired. We’ve been trying to get caught up.oO Yeah right, and I’m Fleet Admiral Wolf’s glorious Klingon masseuse… Okay, deeps breaths. Tor is just insecure. OoChoi: I’m n-n-not blaming anyone. ::maintain eye contact, even though it’s the absolute worst:: Listen, I g-get that everyone likes focusing on their specialities, b-but other d-departments have been p-picking up our slack. Here’s m-m-my idea. I’ve grouped the jobs based on particular complimentary skills with the m-most important tasks at the top. Ensign Tor, you’re g-going to work with Crewman Ix and Crewman Te on the maintenance requests that have to do with programming errors, data recovery and computational systems circuitry hardware.::Tor gave a begrudging nod, while Ix and Te blipped at each other for a second before nodding their assent.::Choi: ::glancing at his wrist-mounted PADD:: Mr. Berenez I’d like you to h-h-head up some data analysis and system reviews. ::Berenez nodded, but Ji-hu wasn’t finished:: And I’d like you walk Ms. Frag through it. We n-n-need someone else who is g-g-good tackling routine m-maintenance checks online and off, and handling the data flow.::The pair started to argue, but Ji-hu ignored them and pushed on, his hands trembling.::Choi: Ms. Frag, you’re going to be handling the b-bulk of the physical systems repairs, and there’s a lot of them…::Including an analysis port in Main Engineering Ji-hu had accidentally set fire to, but there was no need to mention that.::Choi: B-b-but I’d like you share some of your expertise with Mr. Berenez. ::the Zakdorn looked horrified at the idea:: Consider it a challenge, Ensign.::That shut him up. The Zakdorn had fallen into a sullen, contemplative silence.::Choi: I’ll m-move between b-b-both groups and tackle some of the backlog on m-my own. Uh… sound g-g-good?::The group started to turn away to collect tools and head out to their first tasks, but Ji-hu cleared his throat and they turned back.::Choi: A-a-actually there’s one more thing… oO Deep breath. Oo The Constitution’s been flying for almost th-thirty years, and even though it saw an overhaul with the QSD, the computer system is still operating on Class XIX. ::he glanced down at his PADD and pushed the proposal through to them:: We’ll n-need to bring a proposal to M-Main Engineering, we might even need to speak with the Command Officers, but we’re g-going to come up with a plan for strategic retrofitting, including systemwide hardware and software updates. I w-want to bring the system up to at least a Class XXI.::Except for the Bynars, the ESPO crew’s jaws all dropped open in shock at the proposal.::Tor: That would mean…Choi: ::nodding:: Yup. We’re g-going to improve overall system processing speed by .015%.::There was a shocked silence. Berenez shook his head.::Berenez: ::muttering:: You’re a madman… you’re… a madman…::The Tellarite took a couple of menacing steps forward. There was a moment’s silence before she reached up and clapped Ji-hu on the shoulder, hard enough to leave bruises, grinning an enormous toothy grin.::Frag: Jitters, you may be as hairless as a Laudean molerat, but you’re worthy of my mother’s bushy, glorious [...]-beard!Choi: ::terrified:: Uh… th-th-thanks?ENDThe Engineering Systems Programming Office PNPCsEnsign Creet Berenez, Ensign Frag, Ensign Tor and Crewmen Ix & TeAs simmed by:Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-huEngineering OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239402CJ0
  7. (( Starbase 104, Level 7 )):: Tad silently contemplated all the life choices that had culminated in him standing at the entrance to Garkon's Meatatorium and Boot Repair. The area was surprisingly quiet. He was the only person in sight, and the only sound was the buzz and grinding hum of the oversized neon bat'leth that continuously pivoted up and down above the restaurant's door, appearing to slice through the neck of some pig-like tusked neon beast. Tad was so engrossed with the sight that he never heard his "date" approach until she spoke up behind him, nearly making him jump out of his skin. :: Jordan: Punctual. I like that.:: Tad spun around to greet her but froze when he saw her. At least, he assumed it was her. The voice was familiar but the woman before him wore a cornflower blue dress with dark ankle boots and her hair was done up in a ponytail that fell below her shoulders. Most surprising of all were the light violet eyes, no longer hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. For a long moment he wasn't entirely sure she really was Jordan. ::Jordan: ::She pointed up at the neon sign.:: Targ got yer tongue?Cooper: oO Yup, it's her. Oo Ah, you're just...ah, not what I was expecting, Deputy.:: Jordan's smile was yet another thing Tad hadn't seen before. ::Jordan: Jenny. :: Jordan noticed Tad's eyes widen in surprise, even through his dark lenses. ::Jordan: I'm off duty, ya know. Can't be on all the time, right Tad?:: Tad reeled as if she'd punched him. ::Cooper: You know my name?Jordan: We're both Starfleet security, it's not like it was hard to find out. ::She held her arm out toward the door.:: Shall we?:: Of course, his name wasn't a secret. What surprised Tad wasn't so much the fact that she'd discovered his first name, but that she'd taken the time to look for it. He pushed the thought aside and accompanied Jordan into the restaurant. Immediately upon entering his ears were assailed by a loud banging from his left. Turning toward the source of the sound he saw a full workshop where several Klingons took hammers to the thick soles of sturdy looking black boots adorned with all manner of studs, spikes and other adornments. So it wasn't just a name, they actually did repair boots here. Apparently Jordan was accustomed to the sight because she walked by without comment. ::Jordan: The place keeps a standing reservation for station security. ::She shrugged.:: I think they figure we're Starfleet's version of warriors, so they don't mind us droppin' in. It's a nice corner seat, good for keepin' a wall to your back. Cooper: Lead the way. :: The further they moved into the restaurant the dimmer the light became. By the time they reached their red cloth covered table Tad felt comfortable removing his tinted glasses. They were seated for barely a minute when a friendly looking - for a Klingon, anyway - waiter handed them each a menu. ::Waiter: Good evening. My name is Kras and I'll be taking care of you. May I start you off with a beverage?Jordan: Bloodwine.:: Tad winced inwardly at the choice, but decided to play along against his better judgment. ::Cooper: Same for me. :: As the waiter strode off toward the bar, Tad opened the leatherbound menu to find a single page, completely blank save for the word "MEAT" printed neatly in the center. He cast an uncertain glance to Jordan, wondering if it was some kind of joke. Jordan gave him a knowing look in return, shaking her head slightly. ::Jordan: Don't worry, it's no one you know.:: Somehow that failed to put Tad's mind at ease. :: Cooper: That's ah, a little vague.Jordan: ::grinning:: That's the Meatatorium. You get what they got. Could be ostrich, could be wild targ, could be Cardassian vole. It's not just a meal, it's an adventure. The only guarantee they make is it won't be anything sentient. :: Well, that was something at least. Kras returned, placing a glass of bright red liquid before each of them. ::Waiter: Here you are. Have you decided yet?Jordan: ::She closed her menu and handed it to Kras.:: I'll have the meat.Waiter: Excellent choice! And for you, sir?Cooper: Ah, the meat, also.Waiter: Very good! ::He collected the menus.:: I shall return momentarily.:: In the silence that followed the hammering from the cobblers' workshop could clearly be heard. Tad craned his neck to look in that direction, then turned back to Jordan. ::Cooper: Are you sure they won't try to serve us any of that boot leather? ::He was only half joking, and managed half a smile. ::Jordan:: ::Holding a finger up to her lips:: Shh! That's on the secret menu. :: Jordan gave another smile. The unusual atmosphere of the place combined with the sudden and extreme change in Jordan's personality filled Tad with a sense of unease. He reached for a drink to calm himself, but paused when he felt the warmth of the wine in his glass. In this place, he couldn't help wondering whether the bloodwine was more blood than wine. ::Jordan: ::making a tsking sound with her tongue:: You need to lighten up, Tad.:: The way Jordan - make that Jenny - seemed to be reading his mind didn't help matters either. He dared a sip of the wine. He expected Klingon alcohol to be intense, but even so he wasn't prepared for how quickly it seemed to go to his head. He blinked rapidly as the liquid burned its way down his throat. ::Jordan: Did that help?Tad: ::in a choked voice:: Affirmative.Jordan: ::rolling her eyes:: Oh yeah. I can tell you're really loose now.(( TBC ))(( OOC: List of police codes: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Tad_Cooper/Police_Codes ))PNPC Ensign Tad CooperSecurity officerSimmed byLieutenant JG Jerome MilsapAssistant Chief Medical OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239208JM01
  8. (( Planning Chamber, Deck 2: The Jade Geming )) Romani: The all-knowing, all-seeing vision of the council of gods ends. Today. ::Romani waited in the darkness along with the people standing behind him. He shifted from foot to foot, and tapped the fingers of his left hand against the insignia on the glove of his right.:: Vinpri: Message sent, Demra. Romani: Thanks, lights up please? ::A collective sigh hissed around the room as the thick shadows dissolved. Most of his crew departed on their way back to Main Control. Romani moved forward to sit at the planning table. Chanko and Lorana remained and took seats to either side of him.:: ::Chanko had an imperious, thoughtful demeanor that suited him as the Ohan, Romani's strategic commander of the organization. Lorana contrasted this with a more outspoken personality, more suited for her role as Mishra, his council. The fact that she was Romani's mate sometimes made things far more complicated than he cared for on more than one occasion.:: ::They sat in a mellow silence for a while. Chanko perused a holographic screen of information. Lorana had her own screen up and was responding to a few messages, and Romani had his own thinking to do.:: ::When he'd completed a few trains of thought, he broke the quietude by tapping on the table with his right-most finger.:: Romani: Well, what do you think of the speech? ::Chanko and Lorana exchanged a silent glance, apparently deciding who was going to speak first. They were equals in terms of qualifiers such as rank or position, and contrasted each other to a fine degree. Romani looked back and forth between them, and opened his mouth to repeat the question but Lorana beat him to it.:: Lorana: My honest opinion? It sounded like a villain delivering a monologue. Pollution protocol, Usah? ::Chanko broke his normal routine by delivering a quiet laugh.:: Romani: ::Parting his lips to smile.:: Good. It's precisely the image I wanted to convey. Lorana: The image of a villain? Then I would say you succeeded on a grand scale. ::Her small shake of the head was one he'd come to recognize as mockery riding on the winds of disdain.:: Romani: It's a caricature. An exaggeration to get their full attention and evoke strong emotions. It's the only way I can reach them. As we've seen, appeals to logic won't work. ::Chanko permitted himself one of his slow, ponderous nods and slid one hand over the other indicating understanding.:: Chanko: An appropriate tactic, and one that was well executed. ::Lorana narrowed her gaze at Chanko and tipped her head up a fraction. Romani shifted in his seat, and hoped they wouldn't begin an argument that he would have to reign in.:: Lorana: Of course you agree with him. But was all the posturing necessary? Gods of pollution, council of gods--it borders on a secular attack on their ideology. Romani: It has a strong impact on the technocratic mindset. Comparing them with deities should at least get their blood boiling. ::The door slid open and Ebso, a male Kunjai, poised on the threshold. Physically intimidating, he had hardened layers of muscle and sinew visible under the dark, violet-hued skin. Lorana regarded him with a smile.:: Lorana: Yes, Niffidi? Ebso: Thank you Mishra. Important message from Vedima. ::The Kunjai's fate was one of Romani's chief reasons for taking up his cause. The uplifting bio-techs had enhanced their physicality, but more importantly their brains ability to rapidly process information. Their minds broke things down into chunks, storing them and iterating over the whole with supremely fast analysis. The result was a fearsome combatant, who could react to multiple situations in an engagement with swift precision. Romani had seen a holorecord of a Kunjai warrior facing no less than six trained soldiers. It was over before it began.:: ::This alteration had an unforeseen side effect. This chunking tendency carried over into speech processing. They rarely spoke in more than four or five words between pauses, as their brains were simply too fast for their speech center to handle.:: ::The Dryary technicians had done their best to mitigate this with each new generation, but Romani's position was they never should have tampered with them in the first place. He'd done what he could, taking in any Kunjai that wanted to join their cause and offering them any position they were suited for.:: Romani: To the main display. Thank you. ::Speaking to them using the same structure was a courtesy that Romani insisted his crew adopt, as it made it easier for them to analyze the words.:: ::Ebso bounded over to the screen and tapped his fingers over the wall panel. A female Dryary appeared, but the colors were offset and reversed, an effect of the encryption methods they used.:: Chanko: Receiving, Vedimi. Vedimi: There is a complication. The council has moved to ask for help from the human presence at dreaming star. Iristi is meeting with their leader now, a Captain Selene Faranfey. Lorana: So their alliance is all but official. Romani: Wonderful. Do you have any more information on them? Vedimi: They have three vessels at their disposal. The largest is capable of incredible speed, and the report shows they defeated Agragonian warships with one of the adjunct ships. Chanko: Impressive, and troubling. Lorana: What is their stance on the u-protocol? Vedimi: Their own protocol is opposed to it, from what I gather in the planning chamber. Romani: That's splendid news. Vedimi: I must close the transmission now. Remember them forever. Lorana: They are remembered. Chanko: Forever. ::The screen returned to the flat, grey gradient. Ebso made a quick hand gesture, almost too fast for the to catch before speaking.:: Ebso: Return to work now? Lorana: Yes. Thank you Niffidi. ::After he quit the chamber, they sat in a contemplative silence. Romani's heart and mind throbbed with the new information. Chanko, as usual, was waiting for someone else to speak. Lorana, as usual, was happy to oblige. She looked between them as she spoke.:: Lorana: Usah, you have to contact them. Maybe this Faranfey will aid us, and convince the council to at least consider stopping the program. ::Romani offered a few taps on the table with his fingers. He knew she would suggest it, and he would have liked nothing more than to take the advice.:: Romani: Assuming they'll listen, what makes you think they'll have an easier time of it than us? The council won't concede, especially to outsiders. Their judgement is clouded by technocratic rigidity. It's a cultural psychosis. Chanko: The immovable pillars of science and vision. Romani: It's far too late. No doubt they've heard my ultimatum since it was broadcast openly. Vedimi indicated in a previous message that they've already helped the Directorate. As you said, their alliance is all but official. Lorana: Be reasonable, Usah. At least make an attempt? ::Romani stared back at her. She wasn't going to let this go, and he had too much on his mind for an involved argument.:: Romani: I can't be reasonable. Don't you see? The council's reason is their foundation. It's unbreakable. I must be fully unreasonable to get around it. This Stellar Federation, once a legend, has now come to aid them. My ultimatum will irk them, if Vedimi's assessment of their culture is right. Lorana: ::Spreading her fingers on the table:: Then you're hoisted by your own petard. If you'd only waited before delivering your villainous pledge, you wouldn't be in this situation. Romani: I'm only Dryary. I make mistakes. Chanko: She's correct-- Lorana: Thank you, Ohan. Chanko: --but so are you, Demra. It's far too late. I recommend accelerating the plan. ::Romani looked between them, then stared at the table for a moment. His breath felt hot in his nostrils.:: Romani: Accelerate it how? Chanko: Destroy the UP7 laboratory ahead of schedule. It would show them you are unpredictable, and put pressure on them. ::Lorana rolled out an exasperated sigh, and swiped her hand across the table.:: Lorana: Moving quickly caused this new dilemma, you want to make it worse? Romani: I'm not sure how things could get any worse. We're already in league with the Cardassians, and have a mutual agreement with the Romulans. Lorana; I'm just waiting for those to backfire. And trust me, they will. ::Romani sighed and swallowed a few times, licking his lips. He picked at a wrinkle in the folds of his glove, staring at the symbol etched on it. He blew out a breath and looked at Lorana, then Chanko.:: Romani: Is UP7 evacuated? ::Chanko went back to his personal screen and flicked his hand over it. Lorana sat back and folded her arms a few times until she had them situated where she wanted them.:: Chanko: ::Looking at Romani:: Yes, the personnel evacuated an hour ago due to the threat. Lorana; Don't destroy it yet. Wait to see what the Federation will do. Romani: ::Exchanging a long glance with Lorana before turning to Chanko.:: Let's contact the Federation. Lorana is right, we can explain things and perhaps they will put a small dent in the council's armor of scientific faith. Chanko: You can't do that, Demra. Lorana: ::Unfolding her arms and leaning forward:: Why not, Ohan? Chanko: We can't risk it. I have no doubt they have a very capable crew to run that sophisticated ship. They will certainly have a signal technician, or an equivalent. The chances they'll locate the source of our position are high. If they choose to side with the Directorate, the most likely scenario, we'll have to evade and your agenda fails once again. ::Romani leaned forward himself and rubbed at the middle of his forehead with two fingers. Every solution brought with it unwanted complications.:: Romani: ::Taking a breath.:: All right. Open a channel to the operative. Lorana: This is a mistake. Chanko: ::Touching his screen.:: Channel is open, Demra. Operative: Jade Raven receiving. Romani: This is Jade Leader. Proceed with UP7 detonation. Operative: Understood Jade Leader. Detonating now. Chanko: ::Glancing at another inset on his screen, he slapped the table with the flat of his hand.:: Wait, it's not clear. A construction crew is still-- Operative: Detonation in progress-- Romani: ::Glaring at Chanko.:: What? Jade Raven abort, abort-- Lorana: ::Shouting:: Stop Raven stop! Operative: We can't, detonation complete. Facility destroyed. ::Charged silence filled the chamber in all directions. Lorana shot up from her chair, her eyes glassy and wide. Romani stood slowly, closing his eyes and bringing his hands together. He touched his fingers to his forehead.:: ::Chanko stared at the wall, his gaze downcast.:: Operative: Further orders, Jade Leader? Romani: ::Dropping his hands, his voice hoarse.:: No. Further orders. Jade Leader out. Lorana: ::Storming past Romani:: Don't come to our chamber tonight, I'm through with you today-- Romani: ::Reaching for her arm, grasping it.:: Lorana, please-- Lorana: ::Yanking her arm out of his grip, her eyes moist.:: Don't touch me with those hands. They reek of blood... Demra. MISSION SEQUENCE 2 - The Romani Gambit MSNPC's Usah Romani / Lorana / Chanko / And others: Respectfully Portrayed And Submitted By... F. J. HAWKINS Lt. Cmdr., Starfleet Executive Officer USS ATHENA, NCC-97780 Fleet ID: A239312FH0 Player Mentor
  9. ((Play Room)) Garth: ::looking out the window:: I's board. Wish wees cood goes outs and pay in da trees. :: The tiny Tr-omu-vulc, sighed her frustration as well and dropped her armful of toys on the floor.:: T'Sara: Me too. If we was at dah ranch we could play wiff my ponycorn, Sir Twinkles The Brave. Garth: ::turning around to look at her:: Watts a ponycorn? :: She picked up a couple of building blocks and stacked them in a horse shaped animal.:: T'Sara: Oh, deys neat! Dey for riding, and petting. Dey like big dogs with a horn wite in dah middle of their pony-head. :: She stuck a block up to her head to demonstrate.:: Garth: Wow! Wish I's cood sees um. ::thinking:: Where's ya ranch at? Maybe we cood go dare. :: That was an exciting thought, until she saw the Nanny pass by.:: T'Sara: I don’t finks we can. ::whispering:: Deys always lookin at us. It kinda creepy. Garth: ::excitedly:: All wees gotta dos is get pass da Nanny an da guards outside, din wees is home free. T'Sara: OOoo… like a mishun? Like our mommies go on Garth: Yup! Ands no body knows where we goes until wees gets back. T’Sara: I kin bees dah enginesneer lady, like Lootienant Oddie. What do you wanna be? Garth: I's bees a capin likes capin Wallers. T’Sara: Like your daddy. Garth: ::beaming a smile:: Yeah, likes my daddy. T’Sara: I gots my tool kit! I kin make a d’strakshun, an’den we kin got to dah beach, an’den we kin get to dah ranch from dere. But you gots to get us past dah nanny and dah s’curity poopies. :: She pulled her bag of goodies up to her chest. It was the kit LtCmdr Oddas gave her. She never left home without it.:: Garth: Yup, wees need d'strakshun to get passes dim. T’Sara: Otay! Let’s doo’ed it. :: She tucked her tool kit close, and they sneaked across the hall into the bathroom.:: T’Sara: You keep watch. I’ll make a ‘straction. Den we goes. Garth: I'll watch real goods here at da door. I fink da Nanny went downstairs. :: T’Sara headed right over to the sonic shower and started dismantling the control panel. Having learned a lot from her friend Mo, the little girl began to screw with the harmonic frequencies, and then reroute it into all of the basins and cleaning stations throughout the house.:: T’Sara: Weady? Garth: Weady! T’Sara: Cover your ears. It gonna be weally loud. Garth: ::sticking his fingers into his ears:: Okee dokee! Done. :: With that done she set off every shower, stall, and basin in the house with a deafening screech of sonic sounds. There was no way anybody could hear the two little jailbirds running to their freedom.:: :: She giggled and came up behind Garth tapping him on the shoulder and waving for him to lead the way out of the house and past the grown-ups.:: Garth: Com'on, Dat was welly louds. But da Nanny is louders. Hers screamin'! ::When the Nanny came running up the stairs to check the bathrooms, Garth lead T'Sara downs to the kitchen to the back door, grabbing a plate of cookies on the way.:: Garth: Hear, puts these ins your bag cause wees mites get hungry, then watch and learn. :: Waiting until she had the cookies in the bag, he opened the door, yelling:: HELP! HELP! SOMPIN TRYIN' TA GETS US! ::The guards came running and wanting to know what was wrong, but the noise in the house told them all they needed to know, and went running inside. As soon has they passed by the children, Garth grabbed T'Sara's hand.:: Garth: Wees gotta makes a run fer it! This way, T'Sara. Wees needs to get to da bushes so day won't sees us! :: T’Sara gladly followed along, taking refuge in the bushes. This was exciting! This was just like all the stories her mommies told her about.:: T'Sara: I fink deys gone. Should we go? Garth: Da beach it dis way. Its ain't far. T’Sara: We bettah hurry. Dey gonna be mad. :: She giggled. She couldn’t help it. She was having so much fun! Off they went, running for the beach. T’Sara was a little lost already, so she was happy to let Garth take the lead. As they stopped at the sandy shores, T’Sara looked in her tool kit and frowned.:: T’Sara: Deh cookies is broked. Garth: Oh nooo! Watt we gonna eat ifen wees gets hungry? :: She pulled out a little bandana that she liked to use to “pretend” to wipe down her dirty tools. Laying the cloth on the sand, she dumped the contents of the bag out.:: T’Sara: We’s better eat dees now, or dey gets all in my tools. I has snacks at home. Garth: ::brightly:: Otay wet's do dat. Captins need lots of food to gets strong to do dare jobs.. :: The two picked at the broken cookies and crumbs. T’Sara grinned at her little boyfriend.:: T’Sara: Did your new daddy teach you how ta trick growed-ups like dat? Garth: No, mommy did. She say if I gets into trouble, and someone trys ta takes me, I should yell as loud as I cood. Where did ya learns to make noise wif da water pipes? T’Sara: ::she shook her head:: I learnded to play wiff the shower from Uncle Mo. He teaches me neat stuff about Kwantum Mechnix and far away places dat live next to us, but we can’t sees them. Garth: Dat wuz a good tricks. T’Sara: He’s weally smart. He says dere’s lots of Garths and Aunt Tonie’s out there, but they’s all different. Garth: Welly? I didn't knows dat. T’Sara: Like dere might be one of you that is still wiff your other daddy. But he says I’s only one in the verse. Ain’t no others of me out dere. He says I has a special porpose, and I need to learns stuff. Garth: I's haves porpose too. I's welly be a Capin someday. T’Sara: Mo helped make me, cos my two mommies couldn’t. I’s his protojay. I dunno what dat means, but it important. I think. Don’t tells nobody about him though. He’s a secret. Promise? Garth: Promise! T’Sara: Pinky swears? :: She held out her pinky.:: Garth: ::hooking her pinky with his:: Pinky swears, but we welly need ta goes now. T’Sara: Yeah. Deys gonna be lookin’ fer us. My ranch is dat way through the forest. Den we kin plays with my ponycorn, and show you dah Qoots, n’ Wesos. We get milk and eggs from dems. Garth: Wow, I's can't waits to sees your ranch. :: She collected her things, and noticed they were leaving tracks in the sand.:: T’Sara: What do we do ‘bout dose feetprints? Garth: ::breaking to branches from one of the bushes they had just come from:: Wees drags dees behines us and day brushes da feetprints away. ::showing her:: See? Alls gone! T’Sara: Looks, I’s a ponycorn and dis is my tail! :: She held the branch behind her and swished it around as they headed off toward the forest.:: Garth simmed by: Rear Admiral Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Author ID number: E238209TT0 T'Sara simmed by: Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Chief Science Officer Embassy, Duronis II Author ID I238301T10
  10. ((USS Blackwell, Deck 4, Brell’s Quarters)) ::The young Bolian sat down his bag as he entered his Uncle’s quarters. The bag though small contained everything he had brought with him to the Blackwell. Three grey and teal tailor made cadets uniforms; plus the one he was wearing, his academy workout clothes, the holoimages of him as a small boy with his mother and father, a small hand carved model of the the Daros’ll homestead resting against its undersea trench walls that had been made for him by his artistic cousin Viau, and a PADD that held his school work. Everything else he had in his dorm room in San Francisco he had sent back to Bolarus before he left to come to the expanse.:: ::He liked to think his parents would be proud of him being out here doing well in his studies and everything else, but they were little more than a memory to him now. The stories of the larger family unit the only thing keeping their faces, their lives and how much they loved him from fading. With his uncle Brell he did not have to wonder, he had been there in person or correspondence to offer his praise and reassurance usually with a bad pun or two along the way. It was why he had requested a room reassignment to live with him. They were Bolian after all and liked to live close to family even out in the depths of space.:: ::He also felt like his uncle needed to know he was here for him during this time of strife in the family. The news of the affair that Brell kept hidden from his spouses was a shock and made him feel for Lyldra and Hars. He felt his own trust slightly shaken but was looking at like a warning of possible side effects when getting close to an alien. Humans were often as repressed as the were enlightened. He knew there was a good deal of anger going toward the human involved though it was odd as they did understand things were complicated. He had never met Didrik Stennes but he had looked him up and didn't see what all the fuss was about other than he was mildly handsome. He felt worse for Lyldra as she had apparently been working side by side with the human while as this was going on.:: ::As much as he cared for his uncle Brell and his spouses, he was a more interested if his own love life would exist out here. He had a girlfriend at the academy but she was two years ahead and broke things off when she got her posting. That had been tough and he had not dated anyone since. Here many were older than he was but not by that much. There were Bolians here and on the starbase but he had always told himself he would never limit himself that way. He didn’t know if he felt that way still with everything that had happened but he had to hope most would be more open minded.:: ::He looked out of the window seeing the planetoid Debin VII below, he knew right now there were teams on the surface and on the freeworlds starship.:: Morin: oO And I’m up here. Oo ::He loved being here on Blackwell and serving his cadet cruise on such a start of the art medical starship. But he often was close, but far away from the action.:: Morin: oO There are a lot of people here that are not on the away missions. … They don’t have to miss out due to having to sit through a lecture though. Oo ::Almost on cue his PADD beeped alerting him he had five minutes to get to a terminal. He took the PADD silencing it and moved over to the desk where he could use the terminal and have workspace. He logged in and was connected to the Academy distance learning class link up. Starfleet had officers and cadets in subspace distance learning curriculums on many remote outposts and starships. Today he along with the other distance medical cadets would be hearing a lecture on variations of endocrine systems of Vulcanoid species by professor T’Vaili. He found her lectures to be enjoyable, which was odd as most of his other professors that had been Vulcans tended to near put him to sleep with their lack of inflections.:: ::The tone that signaled the lecture was about to begin sounded and he screen changed to the live feed from the professors location. Often he had to view these lectures after they occurred by right now there were no problems with the connection to DS26 and then from the starbase Academy facility T’vaili was at. Stylus in hand ready to take notes on his PADD the Vulcan took her podium and began speaking, the images accompanying her presentation displaying on the sides of his screen. He tried to get into the topic and keep his mind and eyes from drifting to looking out the window and thinking about the action he would one day get to be apart of.:: PNPC Cadet Morin, Medical Trainee, Uss Blackwell, NCC-58999 Simmed by, Commander Brell - First Officer Andaris Task Force, USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Academy Deputy Commandant E239109B10
  11. ((Debin-DeepDive5 - Rosette Shaft, Debin VII)) ::It was dark. The lights along the mine shafts had died due to the generators that had shut themselves down, this was due to everyone who had come down with this illness that there was hardly any staff working and those who soldiered on were alone and no one was able to reset them. Luckily for them, there was light at the end of the tunnel as the backup generators had kicked in, the only bad thing was, apart from being ill the generators were required to provide light, and a fresh oxygen supply in and extract all the toxic gases that would build up. Gone were the days where they would bring an exotic bird down and when it stopped singing and was still, it was time to evacuate to the surface.:: ::The Rosette Shaft was as it was named, a new grade of laser that mined the resources, gave a strange shape to the internal structure of the walls and once the supports were in place, from a bird's eye view it would give a rose shape to the caverns that had just been mined, so it was aptly named the Rosette Shaft. This was the shaft that Mihai Bratic and his three best friends were working in. A few hours before, the alarms had begun to blare as an announcement was broadcast warning that all personnel was to report to the medical areas for tests. By the time they received word over the noise of the lasers and other mining equipment the safety doors had closed and sealed them in, once the equipment had died down that's when they then noticed the broadcast. By that time Mihai and his friends were trapped. They attempted to call out for help however as there was a mass quarantine it would take some time to recover them, crews were stretched thin and they weren't the only crews stuck down the shafts. Mihai, Bajic, Petro and Sulim grew up together on the the planet Oscion, which was a planet with many islands and got into the labour of mining under the sea however the four wanted to use their skills and explore a part of the galaxy and the Tinaldax Heavy Industries company offered them that, pay was good, accommodation was great and the holidays granted were not to be sniffed at. They trained together and knew what dangers lay ahead but they did the job and loved it. Mihai made his way to a communication panel and pressed the emergency button these panels acted as a two-way comms with someone at the other end if someone was at the other end which they were but usually asleep. But for once they were awake.:: Mihai: Hello tower, this is Mihai, worker number 5398332, I’m trapped here with Bajic, Petro, and Sulim… we missed the broadcast what has happened, and how long till the doors open? Tower: This is Tower I read you loud and clear that illness that was going about has been ::Cough:: affecting more and more people it has gotten out of hand and the medical teams have declared that all employees are quarantined… ::Mihai, knew this was a standard procedure. The same would happen if there was a gas leak or a cave in teams would declare areas shut down and they would become inactive and special teams of dedicated workers would then go and aid in restoring said areas as quick as they could as not to cost Tinaldax Heavy Industries any losses in profits.:: Mihai: Ok so how long have we got to wait this out till we can get to the surface and join the quarantine… Tower: Sorry guys I don’t have an answer there is a lot of people who are confined to quarters the medical bays are over ::Cough:: flowing with sick people. But I’m on this end and will be here for ages I can’t leave until my relief comes… ::Mihai turned to his friends who were stood listening to the conversation. Bajic was around six foot four and four feet wide he was a powerhouse, he loved to do anything that involved heavy lifting, had begun to feel angry for such a large man he began to feel claustrophobic and pushed Mihai out of the way to get to the panel.:: Bajic: ::In an angry tone:: You listen here I want you to go and get a rescue team to get this hatch open and get us the hell out of here… Tower: I’m sorry I can’t… ::Cough:: There is no rescue team free at the moment, you guys are not the only ones trapped. :This was bad news, every shaft had provisions for each team from first aid kits, blankets water and a week's worth of rations that would be used in such emergencies. There are teams out there they just need to get to them.:: Tower: ::Cough:: News just in… There is a note made on your location and our own Navy is on its way... ::Cough:: Man this must be big especially if the navy is coming… ((Time skip 9 days)) ::The messages stopped and the hours became days. The four friends had sat and played games and shared stories of each other when growing up, laughing at the times they had shared, the rations and water were divided to last a little longer than the week they were intended as situations like this there was no time frame, but at least they would have two more days worth of food left.:: Bajic: ::Cough:: I don’t feel good… Mihai: Hold it together it won't be long how much ::Miahi was the only one who looked normal, his friend's flesh looked pale and almost as if they were malnourished, their hands began to show black fingertips and it almost looked as if their hands had been on a barbecue and extremely burnt. They had lumps that were protruding in their groin, armpits and neck, what they didn’t know was this was their lymph nodes, swollen from fighting off an infection. He looked to the other two who were sat slumped over Sulim was resting against Petro. They had not spoken for a few hours, Miahi, thought they were asleep and left them to it, it was the only time they weren't coughing or spluttering, rest seemed to be the best healer. He moved over slowly and began to study them, something was not right there was no movement at all coming from them. They weren't breathing. In a panic Miahi separated the pair and grabbed a wrist in each hand and checked for a pulse, his hands slide from their wrists due to their skin being all clammy, and parts of their flesh were beginning to rot. Not from they were dead but something was eating at them and decaying their flesh at an alarming rate. He grabbed a shock box and attached it to Petro’s chest and shocked him. The body jerked and stopped moving, no output on the reader, he shocked him again and again and again. A large burnt looking hand touched his shoulder.:: Bajic: I ::Nasty cough:: don’t think you're going to ::Painful cough:: help them, they are gone… Miahi: ::Tearful:: But they… we were… ::Bajic placed his finger to his own lip to silence him.:: Bajic: Come sit with me ::Extremely painful cough:: ::He winced as he sat upright. Miahi, squatted down next to him offering support the best he could to take some pressure from the sore parts that ached.:: Bajic: I feel we ain't going to make it but you're not coughing… Miahi: Your right.. I feel fine why am I not ill??? ::For nine days he had shared the same small confined space, air and company with his three best friends and he was the only one who wasn’t ill. He scratched his head and began to wonder. Bajic tried to drink some water and threw it up all down himself. He coughed violently and beckoned Miahi to come closer:: Bajic: We were there… when... Wamukota found a strange material… ::Cough:: The process… ::winces:: The process of finding a new material was to…. Miahi: Shut down the machines and get the teams in and scan also run tests and… What did he do???? ::Miahi had a bad feeling he already knew what Wamukota did. This was the one-time Wamukota stepped in as Miahi had a slight near miss with an old cavern collapse on him, he was pulled out and sent to the medical centre to be checked over. One day he was out of action and replaced where his team had made a discovery and he wasn’t there to be apart of their achievement.:: Bajic: He took a laser and decided to cut a small chunk off… ::Cough:: I don’t know what he did with it after… after… ::Bajic’s head slowly tilted forward.:: Miahi: Bajic… ::He shook the giants shoulders vigorously, nothing. Miahi knew instantly he was gone with his brothers who lay just a few meters away. He grabbed three blankets and lay the bodies flat on the ground and covered them individually. He was now alone.:: ((Time skip 2 more days)) ::It was dark. The lights along the mine shafts had died due to the backup generators that had shut themselves down. The air was getting thinner and he knew he was breathing in large amounts of carbon dioxide. He felt his breath begin to shorten, He wasn’t getting the adequate oxygen levels in his bloodstream, his blood had more co2 and he was starting to feel drowsy, very drowsy. He closed his eyes and thought of joining his Caraadian brothers in the fields of Azure where they shall be free with the great ones. He felt the ground around him rumble, a small breeze tickled his face.:: Miahi: oO This is what it must feel like to go to the great beyond… Oo ::Voices rang around his head, some he thought he knew and others that he didn’t understand. He felt as if he was a rag doll being tossed about and thought this must be his spirit moving and travelling to his final resting place, every often he would get a glimpse of a bright light then it would disappear.:: ::Two days ago Miahi was rescued by a rescue crew from the Navy. He had been brought to and placed into an Oxygen tank to reverse the effects of carbon dioxide in his system by getting a very high level of oxygen into the blood system in an attempt to get the inert gas out of the system.:: ::Miahi hadn’t joined his brother. After his recovery and a green light from the quarantine team. He now stood looking at the amass piles of bodies that he helped stack in rows on top of crates which were specifically designed to burn. He now stood in front of his three best friends that he called his brothers. A tear ran down his face as he was passed a lit torch. He leant in and began to touch the cloth that surrounded the bodies with the torch. Each part he touched shot up in flames. He stepped back.:: Miahi: Rest easy brothers…::Cough:: MSPNPC Mihai Bratic As simmed by Lieutenant Cook - Chief Medical Officer USS Blackwell NCC-58999 - Andaris Task Force D239206GC0
  12. (( U.S.S. Constitution - Deck 03 - Sol’s Quarters )) (( The Day after the party. )) :: The party the night before had been fun but after she'd had gotten back to her quarters she had spent a lot of time thinking about things. She had found her ribbons and her new pip sitting on the desk. And that had gotten her thinking again. Maybe it was time to talk to the Captain. The worst that could happen was… well a lot of things, actually. :: McLaren: Computer, locate Captain Rajel. Computer: Captain Rajel is in her quarters. :: Sol picked up the PADD containing the official requisition to SB104 for their new Flyer and headed out of her quarters. :: (( Deck 02 - Captain’s Quarters )) :: Sol’s hand hovered over the button, almost as if hesitating for a moment, before she pressed it. She was still wearing her new cloak. Being off duty had its perks. :: :: Jalana had enjoyed the party, the music, the people, seeing everyone relax and enjoy themselves. That was what made a lot of things worth it. Now she was looking forward to her date with Jerry, but had to do a few things before she could fully jump into that. Like finding the right outfit for example. She was now dressed in a sporty spandex outfit with a loose shirt covering the top part of it and sneakers. She was quite sure that as soon Jerry saw that he’d try to get out of their adventure, but she was looking forward to it. The Trill dug through her little drawer to find her hairband when the door chimes went off. :: Rajel: Come on in. :: Sol stepped in. :: McLaren: Hello, Captain. Rajel: ::Without looking up she recognized the voice and rummaged through the things in the drawer, planning to sort and order this sometime soon..:: Hey Sol. McLaren: I hope I’m not intruding? Rajel: Of course not. ::Her fingers brushed over a smooth material and she dug in deeper pulling the hairband out. :: HA! Gotcha. ::She raised her hand triumphantly and turned to Sol, blinking once, twice.:: Nice cape. ::A wide grin.:: McLaren: Its not a cape… :: Sol grinned. :: It's a cloak, it has a hood. :: She chuckled. :: Find what you were looking for? Rajel: Oh this old thing. ::chuckling, she grabbed her hair and with help of the newly rediscovered hairband put it in a ponytail.:: What can I do for you? :: Sol stepped further into the Captain’s quarters. :: McLaren: You remember that shuttle idea I pitched to you? :: Jalana gestured to the seats, and sat down on one herself, pulling her legs up and getting comfortable. :: Rajel: Yes, I remember. :: Sol took a seat, producing the PADD from within her cloak. It was almost as if the PADD had just appeared. :: McLaren: I checked with the 104 Quartermaster before things took off last mission… they have a Flyer we can requisition. So I drew up the appropriate paperwork for you to submit, along with a list of equipment the shuttle would need. :: Sol handed the PADD to Jalana. :: Luckily, we have or can replicate nearly everything needed to outfit the ship properly. ::She took the PADD and browsed over it, reading some bits here and there. She had liked the idea the moment Sol had proposed it, it was exciting to see that they could bring it to life. :: Rajel: That is great news. How long do you think until it’s done? McLaren: Depends. Once the requisition is approved and we get the shuttle, it shouldn’t take that long to modify most of it, if I got Engineering involved. The longest job would be the hull plating modification… the rest of the Flyer-class is pretty modular. I’d say a couple of weeks at most and we would have a proper intel prowler ready to go. Rajel: You have some great people helping you with this. I’ll send the files today, so you’ll be able to start as soon as possible. ::She smiled and looked up to Sol.:: I have the feeling though, that this is not everything you have on your mind. :: Sol nodded, smiling faintly. :: McLaren: No… if this were the only thing… I would have just filed it to you electronically… Rajel: Thought so. ::She placed the PADD on the table.:: So what can I do for you? :: Sol leaned back in the chair, playing with the edge of her cloak. She looked back to the Captain. :: McLaren: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since the other day after everything went on on the Starbase… and especially after last night. :: Jalana nodded, the events could have that effect on people. She herself had thought a lot about many things ever since they had come here. For some reason it appeared that Sol was nervous about what she was going to talk about, so Jal didn’t want to hold her back so she could get it out and gestured to Sol, to go on. :: McLaren: I think… it all came to a head when I got around to looking through a box of my grandmother’s things… she was so much like me… but with a drive that I didn’t have… or at least one I didn’t think I had... Rajel: ::She listened carefully, and her observations did lead to a conclusion, but she did not want to take the matter from Sol’s hand. So instead of doing some guesswork, she asked a question.:: And now you found that drive? :: Sol was sure the Captain could see where this was going. :: McLaren: I want to look into command opportunities… :: One thing to be said was, that Jalana had been right in where this was going. She had seen the reports, she knew that Solaris had done great work during the last mission on the bridge keeping everything in mind, in her eye, coordinating not only the Conny’s departments but also with SB 104. She had seen many people have the bridge, but not all of them kept a cool head in a chaos like that. :: Rajel: I believe that is a great idea, Sol. McLaren: Really? :: Sol seemed surprised, especially after having previously explained what her outlook was to the Captain. :: Rajel: I know that you enjoy your job in Intel, but I have also seen you in action outside of your department. ::She leaned forward, her arm resting on the arm of her chair.::I don’t think there is any reason for you not to pursue … more. McLaren: What would that mean? Rajel: We can look into this together. There would be the possibility to get the bridge more often, to lead away teams, to lead team building exercises. Just for starters, since nobody starts that path on the top. ::smiling:: What do you think? McLaren: I’d like that… how would it work? Rajel: Well, I try to give everyone the chance to shine, to show me what they are made of. So I can’t promise that you’d be ‘up there’ every time, since others are waiting for their chance as well, but if you are willing to put the work into it, I’m absolutely willing to work with you and get you there. :: Sol nodded. That all made sense to her. :: McLaren: I'm willing to work to get there too. Rajel: So where exactly do you see your ‘there’? I do recall you saying that you couldn’t imagine you in the big center chair before, so that info might need an update. ::smirking:: :: Sol chuckled, but shook her head. :: McLaren: No… I don't think the center chair is exactly right for me… not full time. Second officer, yes. XO even, yes… but I don't think I could ever fully command a starship. Not for a long time anyway. Rajel: ::chuckling:: Fair enough. It is good to know your limits and what you want. That’ll make it easier to work towards that goal. :: Sol smiled. :: McLaren: I'm sure this will be a good move for me, plus I think red might look better than black does.. :: She stood, her cloak closing around her, making her look almost as if she were just floating there. :: Thank you, Captain. I’ll let you finish getting ready for your day… Rajel: ::Jalana watched the cloak fascinated, wondering if that would be a good look on herself, but then followed suit and got up from her seat.:: Anytime, Sol. ::She grabbed the PADD from the table.:: I’ll get this going for you right away. :: Sol made her way toward the door, before pausing. She looked back. :: McLaren: Have you heard anything from Essen? I know she took leave, but not much else. Rajel: Sadly not. She and her sister might have some things to take care of, since both left, but I don’t know anything else. McLaren: No, I didn’t think so, but I thought I would ask. I think about her pretty often. :: She smiled faintly. :: Lá maith, Jalana. Rajel: ::Smiling, she was not surprised that Sol did think of Essen.:: If I hear anything I’ll let you know. ::The farewell did not go past her, she had caught a few words while visiting Viktor’s family on Earth years ago. So she nodded, trying to keep the smile on her face.:: Same to you, Sol. :: Sol turned and left the Captain’s quarters with a bit of a flourish from her cloak. :: :: Jalana looked after her, tapping the PADD against her fingertips. Before she would do anything else she’d make good on that promise and signed the paperwork, before transferring it back to SB 104’s hands. Sol’s visit had been a pleasant surprise, seeing Sol grow from her first days on board to the woman she was now had been quite something. Jal looked forward to see more of that in the future. ::
  13. ((Ruwon’s Office - Deck 4 - USS Za)) ::Ruwon absently twirled the [...]tail glass in his hand as he read the reports in front of him. Their newest transfers had a history - a long one, both together and apart. The list of misadventures was longer than usual, though the whole ‘ended up in an alternate reality that nearly killed us all’ bit stuck out, to put it lightly. And one, Skyfire, had a requirement for mandatory counselling. Privately, Ruwon wondered if a few others in the crew couldn’t do with some of that, but he wasn’t going to force anyone onto the couch that wasn’t interested. He set the glass aside as the man in question opened the door, right on time.:: Ruwon: Mister Skyfire. ::He smiled, broadly, and offered a hand.:: Counsellor Ruwon. It’s a bit late, but welcome to the Za. :: Chythar smiled and took the offered hand when it was offered. He was never one for formality, though being called “mister” seemed so long ago. He hadn’t been called that since he first started in the academy, so it was a bit of a throwback for him. :: Skyfire: Ah prefer the label “Doctor”, actually. :: He glanced between the couch and chair. :: Which do yeh prefer tae conduct business in? Ruwon: The couch or chair is fine; whichever you prefer. Can I get you anything to drink? Skyfire: Jasmine tea, please. :: As he took a seat at the desk, he took a breath while the Romulan got the tea. Once it seemed Rin..no, Ruwon...was ready to begin, he began with the long boring part of his demographic information. He’d spent the better part of his morning memorizing the educational history, because counselors for whatever reason loved starting with all the boring stuff. :: Skyfire: Lieutenant Chythar Daniel Skyfire, MD. Serial DC-981-851, medical officer, USS Za NCC-65305. Age discrepancy of one year in my records, which state ah’m 32. Actually 33. Current telepathic status, T4/E6. Educational history. Diploma, Roosevelt High, 238007.06. Doctor of medicine, University of Washington, 238402.05. Starfleet Academy, science - xenobiology major 239002.17. Sexual orientation, prefer not to answer. :: It wasn’t because he didn’t like the question, as he knew it was a necessary part of these evaluations, but he didn’t want to jinx it. His relationship with Alex was still solid, just a bit strained since he mentioned the level of connection with Lael. :: Ruwon: That all matches your records. ::He sipped from his own cup - black coffee, in his case - and flipped the PADD over, shoving it away across the desk.:: I’ve read them over. I suppose the best place to start is with what it is you’re here to see me about. :: CD nodded faintly and allowed the counselor to begin with the interrogation questions in earnest as he considered some of the questions he was asked in his last mandatory meet the counselor discussion. As he began, his accent dropped. :: Skyfire: Yes. Social anxiety, mild autism, and a list of loathing about as long as my forearm. Probably a bit of PTSD mixed in. My record doesn’t say it, but it’s probably there. Likely because of the time spent in the alternate universe. Hope to gain an outsider’s perspective on mental discipline which doesn’t involve mind melds. Ruwon: Mind melds? ::He raised a curved eyebrow.:: You’ve tried those before, I take it? :: Now, he actually had a good reason to explain. He took a sip of his tea and began slowly, his accent fading as he told his story. :: Skyfire: My abilities began as limited to humans after treating a Dokkaran patient with a vision impairment. I somehow linked nervous systems with him, and he rewrote my genetics when I assisted him getting his sight back. Over the course of two years, my abilities morphed into what they currently are. I have strong connections with four people in total, 2 of which were formed out of freak accidents similarly to how I gained my gifts, and 2 which formed because I got close to them. In this universe, I used a specifically targeted set of melds to show my story to Saveron, in hopes that he’d be able to see what I went through and how I got them. Since then, I’ve used melds infrequently to gain temporary shielding help until we got stuck Over There. While we were trapped in the alternate universe, I met another Vulcan who wanted to help me gain control, so melded with him a couple times to learn additional techniques, which resulted in a fractured hand from anger when I smashed a table. When I returned here to this universe and on the Gorkon, I participated in a process known as the Exchange, which is some sort of El-Aurian telepathy with another counselor.The first time, it was fine. The second time, she lost control of it and exposed me to some of her memories of her family being assimilated by the Borg. I never want to go through anything like that again. I want help, but you’ll forgive me if I display reluctance for telepathic contact with your teaching. :: He didn’t add that he needed this in order to sort out the mess he accidentally caused with Lael by refusing to let go. He hoped that Ruwon was understanding enough to provide the help he asked without engaging in the need to see his mind. :: Ruwon: ::He laughed, softly.:: You don’t need to worry about that with me, trust me. I’m afraid I find such techniques, mmm - ::He paused a moment; the correct answer there was distasteful, fuelled by his own long-held fear of having other people in his head. In the end he went with a more diplomatic answer.:: Situational. If they haven’t worked for you in the past, there’s no reason to pursue them further. ::He set his cup down, running a thumb over the curved handle as he thought.:: Ruwon: It sounds as though your goal is mental discipline, then. Why are you pursuing that? :: He raised a quizzical brow, but the reasons now were probably different than when he began receiving counseling. He had another sip of his tea as he contemplated an answer. :: Skyfire: My mind is mostly a disorganized mess of chaos. All my mental training has either come from mind melds and the occasional Betazoid interaction. If my gifts are to be of any use to anyone besides myself, I need that structure and sense of control. If any of that will help me keep foreign influences out of my head, then it’s a welcome fringe benefit. I’m taking jiu-jitsu lessons, but it’s not helping with the mental part. Ruwon: Well...I’m not sure I can help you improve your telepathic talents, as I’ve not been so blessed. But if control and calm is what you’re after… ::Ruwon sipped his coffee as he considered.:: Ruwon: There are many methods that are almost purely cerebral. Meditation, of course; programming, writing, and music can be helpful. Personally, I tend to lean towards music, but that’s personal taste. I suppose it would depend on your own interest and what form your mental chaos tends to take. :: That made a lot of sense, though how writing and programming helped, he had no idea. He knew music had a purpose in this, but he hadn't considered it seriously enough to help with his meditation. :: Skyfire: How do you figure? Ruwon: ::He crossed his legs, steepling his fingers.:: Intrusive thoughts, night terrors, physiological distress…humans in particular have a lot of things that can lead to a feeling of lack of control. :: That was true. There were many things in this whole business he didn’t have control over. One of them was apparently forming these sorts of empathic links with patients, as he didn’t want that to happen again. Although, now he thought about it...why didn’t one form with Quinn when he pulled her back from the brink of death four times? It didn’t make sense at the moment, but it probably would later. :: Skyfire: Makes sense. What would you suggest? Ruwon: For your purposes, a regimen of meditation, cerebral skills and self-control is where I would start. Skyfire: Regimen of meditation already integrated into my days, along with incense and light meditative music. I do occasionally have nightmares, and my current meds are not helping with that. Ruwon: Meditation isn’t necessarily so complex. ::He tilted his head slightly; medications being ineffective wasn’t surprising, exactly, but coming from a medical man it was a bit surprising.:: What medications are you currently taking? :: CD nodded slightly as he considered, a lock of hair falling across an eye. He brushed it back behind his ear and ran his hand along his chin for a moment. When the question came up, he reached across the desk for the PADD and pulled his records with the prescription information in it before sliding it back to the counselor. :: Skyfire: Anxiety meds, mostly. Any reading material you can recommend for either the skills or self control would be helpful. Ruwon: Hmm. You mentioned music, incense, the meditation ceremony - do you find that effective? Can you do it easily? :: Ceremony? A bit more formal than most regimens, perhaps, but it was working for him. Just not so much on the self control bits. :: Skyfire: Yes. Sometimes more easily than others, but it’s all dependent on the circumstances. After code blues, meditation takes a lot longer. Otherwise on a low impact day, it’s a cakewalk. Ruwon: Makes sense. What do you do in moments of immediate anxiety? :: He reached under his collar to pull the chain of tags out and started rubbing them, offering a brief explanation from his previous posting. :: Skyfire: In my work with my previous counselor, she had me on a behavioral therapy program. It started with a rock in my pocket. Once Alex gave me these, I’ve started rubbing them instead. :: He paused and realized he hadn’t explained what they were. :: His dog tags from his days as a marine. Ruwon: So you use physical stimulation as a way to center your thoughts? :: The doc’s brow furrowed thoughtfully and offered a silent nod, his fingers idly running over the pressed metal within his hand. It was probably not the best place to start, but it helped. :: Ruwon: ::He nodded, as if in answer to the man’s silent affirmation.:: What sort of thought exercises do you do? Skyfire: Haven’t tried any. Ruwon: Really? ::Alright, that did surprise him.:: Are you familiar with the concept of centering? :: He thought back to his days on the Garuda, and the work he did with his family after he returned from the alternate universe. After a minute or so of silent recollection, he nodded. :: Skyfire: Yes. Ruwon: In what form? ::He watched Skyfire curiously.:: Skyfire: Rhythmic breathing. It’s been a while since I last did it regularly. oO May need to start adding that to the meditation regimen again. Oo ::Ruwon nodded, considering. After a long moment he got to his feet, walking to the shelf behind his desk and pulling out a small stack of PADDs. He flipped through them as he sat back down.:: Ruwon: I think, given your goals, you might find the concept of physical centering useful. It’s a skill that can be difficult to acquire, but has quite a few benefits - especially with anxiety attacks. ::He found the PADD he was looking for and handed it over.:: Ruwon: It’s a focus on the purely physical - draining one’s mind of all conscious thought until you can focus single-mindedly on sensation. :: CD’s brow furrowed as he accepted the device, then fired an inquisitive glance at the man before him. Purely physical techniques to gain mental control was probably the point, but Chythar was a bit of a skeptic. :: Skyfire: And you think that, given what I’ve explained, this will help? Learning how to focus on sensation rather than a physical stimulus? Ruwon: It may, yes. Learning to use your own body as your stimulus and having the mental control to shut down rushing, intrusive thoughts seems a good place to start. It’s similar to meditation, so I imagine you’ll be able to determine if you find it helpful fairly quickly. :: Again, Chythar gave a nod. He was intrigued by the notion of being able to shut the thoughts down before losing his calm in high-stress situations. If he had to start somewhere, that’d probably be as good a place as any. :: Skyfire: I’ll give it a go and get back to you. :: Then he paused and considered again. :: Do we need to adjust my meds, given this conversation? Ruwon: Mm. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’ll need other’s opinions. I’m not intimately familiar with medications, unfortunately. ::He smiled apologetically.:: But we have others on board who are. I’m sure we can safely make adjustments if you’d like to go that route. :: As much as he didn’t like the idea of mentioning it, he knew Shira was aboard and could be of some assistance in this regard. :: Skyfire: I’d recommend you touch base with Dr. Yishira Somlen, one of my previous counselors. She’s another recent transfer who is familiar with my case and meds. :: He paused again, and decided not to bring up his other issue during this meeting. He’d seek advice on that one later. CD left out the part where she was the above-mentioned El-Aurian, but Ruwon would probably figure that out when they met. :: Ruwon: ::He inclined his head.:: I will. I have to ask, though; would you prefer to continue seeing her? Skyfire: I’d rather not. She’s a good person and all, but I’m not comfortable with her methods. Ruwon: Understood. I’ll do what needs to be done to make sure you’re content. ::He smiled.:: I trust you’ll let me know if you feel uncomfortable? Skyfire: :: nodding :: You can count on it. Ruwon: I appreciate it. ::For a moment, the Romulan’s face shifted - a flicker of doubt, before returning to his typical placid look.:: Do you have any concerns about your current post? Being a medical officer offers a unique challenge, no? Skyfire: It can, at times. No concerns about it at the moment. I am intrigued though that the present CMO is a jay-gee. Ruwon: It’s an odd situation, to be sure - are you concerned about serving under her? :: He nodded slightly in understanding of it being a unique situation. He knew he was only a medical officer here, but he had worn the title of CMO with distinction across a couple vessels now even before his demotion took effect. If he could be of any help to his boss, he would do so in a heartbeat. :: Skyfire: No. Not looking to replace her, just looking to help her become more comfortable in the role. :: He paused thoughtfully, running a hand along his beard. :: Are you worried I will intimidate her somehow? Ruwon: To be honest? ::He shrugged.:: Nurse Cattan is competent, but also new to her position. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t intimidated. That said - I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Skyfire: oO She’s a nurse, but leading a department. Impressive. Oo Ruwon: Sometimes people need an extra push to prove themselves. Perhaps you can supply that. Skyfire: Totally understandable. I look forward to the challenge. Is there anything else you feel we should go over before I leave you to other appointments? ::Ruwon considered for a moment, glancing at the PADD in front of him. Then he smiled.:: Ruwon: I think that’s it for now. Try the techniques I mentioned; we can reconvene in a week, when I’ve had a chance to speak with Dr. Somlen. Does that work for you? Skyfire: Aye, it does. Thank you for your time, counselor. Ruwon: Any time. Let me know if you have any questions before then, Lieutenant. :: He stood up and left Ruwon to his thoughts, deciding now was a good time for a stiff drink. He had a long overdue appointment with the barkeep. :: === Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire Medical Officer USS Za O239002CS0 & Ensign Ruwon Counselor USS Za O239303T10
  14. ((Temtibi Resort Beach, Risa))Bancroft: Hey boss, can I get a beer please?Millis: Got a nice ale. ::He turned back to the bar for a moment before returning and handing over a bottle.::Nkai: Make that two!Bancroft: Thanks.::She took the beer that was set on the counter.::Bancroft: Hey, I'll see you all later. Jayla, thanks for the race.Soyinka: Sure thing! Enjoy your evening!Millis: Welcome to the Gorkon.Nkai: Come back soon!Marshall: Look me up tomorrow!::She raised her drink to them all, took a sip, and set off in search of a quiet spot by the water. After a moment, she changed course and made a quick detour back to her hotel room to grab her personal PADD before heading back outside to resume her search of a quiet spot by the water.::::It was an absolutely beautiful evening. Colors shot across the sky above her in an amazing display of reds, pinks, purples, blues. A basically perfect evening. Close to the water, a bonfire was being lit, to which Colleen smiled - she'd always loved fire. She wandered quietly towards the water, towards a spot that was away from the majority of the people. After a few minutes of quiet wandering, occasionally sipping from the ale in her hand - it was decent, Millis was good at this - she was close to the water, and began walking a parallel path to the shore, towards a cloister of trees in the near distance.::oO When was the last time I was on a beach? Two? Three years? Not since her. Oo::Despite the relaxing nature of the drinking, it was also wearing on her depressive side.::oO Go figure. Oo ::The thought shot wryly through her head. She snorted softly. Eventually, her wandering led her to the stand of trees, and she sat down at the one closest to the water, leaning back against it. She slipped off her shoes, setting them aside, and dug her toes into the sand for a moment before removing them, stretching her legs, and letting the water lap at her feet.::oO A good tree. Blocks most of the noise from the crowd, gives a little privacy while not entirely blocking everything out. A very good tree indeed. Oo::Colleen took a sip of the ale again before digging the bottle into the sand beside her, where she wouldn't knock it over easily. The water was soothing in its sloshing, and reminded her of camping trips with her parents, when she had been a lot younger. And, of more recent camping trips.::oO Ah, Grace. Where'd it go wrong? Oo((Flashback - Campground, California Coast, Earth - c. Early 2390))::Colleen grinned as Grace Freeman flopped into the sand beside her before coming back up sputtering.::Freeman: Crap! Sand. Mouth. Bad combination.Bancroft: You dork. How did you not see that one coming?::Grace lightly punched Colleen's arm, managing to land it right over the birthmark - again. She always managed to.::Freeman: You know you love me.Bancroft: Well duh. ::She paused.:: You're still a dork.::Grace rolled her eyes.::Freeman: So you decided to take on a minor, on top of your dual major? I never figured you'd be that much of an overachiever.Bancroft: In my defense, it's only like... three or four extra classes. And I'm still going to have room left to spare in my schedule.Freeman: Colleen, you're turning into a workaholic.::Colleen snorted and lightly punched Grace's arm in return.::Bancroft: But not too much to push you out of my life. ::She leaned over and kissed Grace's cheek.:: I love you.Freeman: ::A moment's hesitation.:: I love you too, Col.((End Flashback))::Colleen surfaced from the memory to feel a couple tears rolling down her cheeks. Silently cursing, she wiped the tears away.::oO I'm strong. Grace is old news. Get yourself together, girl. Oo::With another small snort and an eye roll, Colleen took a large swig from the ale. Half the bottle was gone now.::oO Have to slow down or I'll be going right back to that bar to get another, too soon. Oo::The memory had been from January or February, middle of the first semester that year. She and Grace had taken one of the few long weekends during the Academy to go camping. Despite it being plenty warm out, there hadn't been that many people at the campground that time of year, a fact for which she remembered being thankful for. The whole trip had been like a break from reality, a time when the other worries, the future plans, the problems, had simply... not existed.::::It hadn't been eight months after that trip when Grace had broken up with her. Colleen still wasn't sure why the other woman had left, but it still hurt.::::With active determination, Colleen put her PADD into her lap and pulled up her messages. A couple random blast messages from Starfleet, a message from one of her old classmates from CAP-A, and a message from Ensign Hannah Ramsey. Smiling at the last one, she pulled it up, read it through, read it through again, then pulled up the reply function.:: >\/< Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0
  15. ((Temtibi Lagoon Resort, Risa)) ::Stars were beginning to peek through the darkening sky, while one of Risa's two moons crept above the horizon. The beach party was beginning its transition from family fun to wild night out, and the bonfire in the centre had been coaxed into life. The scent of grilled food was creeping through the air, enough to tempt even her dampened appetite. ::Her attention drifted from the antics in front of her, out towards the sea. It was as though there was a lead weight attached to her mood, dragging her down despite the buoyancy of the party around her. The healing wounds scattered across her middle were crossing the line from aches to pains, and it was increasingly hard to steer her mind away from the events that had left her with them. ::It would be easier if she could be angry at the two men who'd tried to murder her. But how could she? They were hardly wrong for hating her -- she *had* killed Væbn's brother, and Volkov's son *had* died because of her orders. Brunsig: A word. ::She startled, so lost in her own thoughts she hadn't noticed his approach. Tall and broad, with a short crop of white-blond hair and startling blue eyes, Walter Brunsig was usually hard to miss.:: Reynolds: Now? Brunsig: Well gee, Cupcake, only if there's a gap in your busy schedule of staring vacantly into the middle distance. Shall I wait here while you check your diary? ::He scowled at her, and she replied with a roll of her eyes and a heavy sigh. How often had they danced this dance? She'd lost track over the years, but there was odd kind of comfort in its familiarity. ::Lifting her hand, she gestured for him to lead on. He peeled away, at a gentler pace than his usual, which allowed her to walk alongside him without any difficulty as they put some distance between themselves and the party. It was particularly appreciated, given how sore her midriff still was. Perhaps that was why he was taking it easy.:: Brunsig: Spit it out. ::But not too easy.:: Reynolds: What are you talking about? ::He scowled at her again. Maybe he thought she was being deliberately obtuse, but she had genuinely no idea what he was talking about.:: Brunsig: You look like hell, Quinn, and I'm not talking about the fact you checked out of sickbay before you should've done. ::Their footfalls were soft on the white sands as they walked, her feet clad in sandals, his in a pair of tan espadrilles. The beach was quiet at this time of day, the setting sun sending revellers toward Risa's many restaurants, bars and clubs, and so the empty sands afforded the two some privacy.:: Reynolds: I've had a long day, that's all. Brunsig: Orrey? ::How did he know? He must have seen them talking earlier. She nodded, slow and thoughtful, her gaze on the sand in front of her. Whatever else there was to be said about him, Walter Brunsig could keep a confidence.:: Reynolds: He's sick. ::She paused.:: Dying. The doctors don't think he'll see next year. ::A long silence followed. The only sounds that of the nearby sea, lapping gently against the golden shores, and the muted music of Millis' party in the distance. There was a gentle breeze, cool but not cold, and Walter's loose, light blue shirt fluttered in its grasp.:: Brunsig: You sure can pick 'em, Cupcake. ::::He shook his head in a show of vague despair, while her answer was a weak ghost of a smile, gone as quickly as it appeared. He wasn't wrong. She really did seem to have knack for picking broken men to grow fond of: Tildaen, Pedro, Alleran, Kael, Harry... ::And of course, there was Walter himself.:: Reynolds: What would you do? If you knew you had just a few months left? Brunsig: Get drunk and stay drunk. ::An answer that would surprise no one who knew him. That was to say, as much as Walter allowed anyone to know him.:: Brunsig: You wouldn't? Reynolds: ::She shook her head.:: I have my kids to think of. And I don't drink anymore. Brunsig: You're going to tell me that story some day. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: Some day. ::Maybe. She wasn't sure how to tell the tale. Least of all to him, who was unknowingly at the centre of it. Perhaps that particular story was best kept between the counsellor and herself.:: Brunsig: When are you shipping him home? Reynolds: He wants to keep working until he can't anymore. We're probably already at that point, but… ::she shook her head.:: I've given him one more mission. ::She shot him a sidelong glance, anticipating his response.:: I know, I know; that's one mission too many, he should already be at home with his family, he should already be under the care of specialist doctors, he's-- Brunsig: --being indulged by a commanding officer who should know better. ::He had her there, and she heaved a heavy sigh of defeat.:: Reynolds: Yeah. Brunsig: Then why are you doing it? Reynolds: Because… ::She looked down at the sand, a guilty frown pulling at her brow.:: I can't decide if I want him home for his own good, or for mine. I don't want to watch another friend die. ::Ever since Jansen had told her about his condition, she'd often found herself remembering Alleran. The Trill had been betrayed by his own body, unable to sustain the connection between host and symbiont. She sat with him through his final days, watching him fade away, holding his hand until he'd passed. The idea of living through that again with Jansen was terrifying.:: Brunsig: We're all cowards when it comes to that kind of crap. Reynolds: Thanks. ::She paused, squinting at him.:: I think? ::He answered with a non-committal grunt, and they were both content to leave it at that. They walked together in an almost comfortable silence, though she found herself increasingly distracted by his physical presence at her side. ::A bright flash of light and a thundering crack sent her heart hammering against the inside of her chest. She whipped around, trying to locate the source of the explosion, stilled only by a warm hand on her shoulder and the sound of his voice.:: Brunsig: Quinn. ::He jerked his head up, toward the sky. She followed the gesture, her heartbeat as loud in her ears as the colourful fireworks booming and crackling overhead.:: Reynolds: Oh. ::She cleared her throat, cheeks beginning to burn, embarrassed at her own panic. Her heart was still hammering inside her chest, and she was mortified to find that she was shaking a little. Walter gave her long look, his hand sliding off her shoulder.:: Reynolds: I'm fine. ::She paused.:: I will be. I'm just… a little jumpy. Brunsig: A little. Reynolds: I'm fine. ::It didn't sound any more believable the second time around, and the look on his face said exactly that.:: Brunsig: You'd better be making your counsellor earn her paycheck. ::It was also her turn to scowl. She was, but that was hardly the point. Walter was every bit as bad as she was when it came to counsellors. Both of them had spent far too much of their lives avoiding the help the profession could offer, rather than embracing it.:: Reynolds: Pot, kettle..? ::His grin was a flash of lightning; electric, sudden and brilliant. It changed his face and she found herself smiling back, her fears ebbing. He held her gaze for a moment, and then the smile fell away, turning away as an expression much harder to identify crossed his face. His eyes settled on the flickering lights at the far end of the beach, providing a convenient subject to change to.:: Brunsig: So is there booze at this party? ::She almost laughed. In light of who organised it -- and the fact the Gorkon was a dry ship -- it was a foregone conclusion.:: Reynolds: Well, it's Millis' brainchild, so short of a dramatic personality change on his part… yes? ::That was all the answer that was needed, and he turned back to retrace his steps, Quinn falling in alongside. She could see their footsteps trailing away, and some had already been washed away by the encroaching tide. Would that the past could so easily be cleansed, and regrets so easily made right.:: -- Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  16. ((Deck 2 - USS Constitution)) ::As the evening wore down and everyone started making their way out of the holodeck, Maxwell was happy and content. Honored to be the Constitution's new executive officer, he was equally pleased that he had started that tenure by supping and socializing with his peers. Tired and excited for the days to come, he bid adieu to the last remaining stragglers, setting his program to close and archive once the last visitor left, and made for his quarters for a night of good sleep.:: ::There were few people around the ship at this time of the evening, even though it wasn't terribly late. With the most extreme of protesters detained on Starbase 104, it was once again safe to travel and visit South End Station for visiting ship crews, and that probably explained some of the reduced foot traffic throughout the corridors. The very few he did pass, Maxwell went out of his way to greet them. As contented as he was, it seemed the least he could do to pass on a bit of good cheer to those he met.:: ::Coming up to his quarters, it still felt strange to be all the way up on Deck 2. His stuff had been moved to the executive officer's quarters just that afternoon, and he had only really had time to ensure that Barque was settled before he left for the party. He could almost spit on Jalana's door from here, and it felt like a long time since he had such prestigious digs.:: ::The door opened to darkness, and the unfamiliarity of the quarters left him disoriented for a moment. Were it the daytime, Barque would be waiting at the door for him, but at night the lazy mutt couldn't be bothered to rouse himself off the couch to greet him. Some guard dog. So it wasn't any surprise to Maxwell when the beagle wasn't at the door, considering the late hour. However, the plaintive, almost inaudible whine from the couch was definitely strange.:: Traenor: Barque? Are you okay, boy? ::His eyes were just starting to acclimate to the gloom, and he finally noticed a strange shadow over where the couch was, right where Barque's whine had come from.:: Traenor: Computer, lights. ::The lights did not come on as expected.:: Traenor: ::concerned:: Is anyone there? Noros: Hello, beautiful. ::Maxwell nearly jumped out of his skin in shock. Having come into the quarters proper and allowing the door to close, the cut-off of light from the corridor helped his eyes adjust to the darkness that much quicker and the shadowy blob from the other side of the room resolved into the features of another person sitting on the couch. Hearing that voice, he knew exactly who it was.:: Traenor: Noros Tanna. Lieutenant, what are you doing here? Did you override the lights? ::Barque whined again, a tentative yet urgent sound. The beagle had always been well attuned to the emotional state of his humans, and could likely feel the waves of confusion and exasperation coming off of Traenor. But it couldn't just be that, thought Maxwell, since Barque had whined even before he had known something was amiss.:: Noros: I came to apologize for the other day. I shouldn't have slapped you, Max. Do you apologize for making me angry enough to hit you? Traenor: ::sputtering:: Me, apologize? For what?! You broke into my quarters, an altogether way too common occurrence, and accosted me! ::Barque whined again, accentuating the heightened tension in Noros's raised voice.:: Noros: Come now, Max! You keep leading me on, then pull away when I kiss you? I've heard of playing hard to get, but this is ridiculous! ::Eyes fully accustomed to the dark, Maxwell could now clearly see Tanna sitting on the couch with Barque half on her lap. With one hand gently petting his head, the other had a vise grip on the scruff of his neck. He was being held there against his will, and that likely explained his discomfiture.:: Traenor: ::hissing through gritted teeth:: First, let go of my dog. Second, I have never led you on. I have never professed any attraction towards you in any way, shape, or form. In fact, quite the opposite. I have told you numerous times that I do not appreciate your forward, intrusive personality. Noros: ::laughing, but a hollow, shill sound:: Oh, Max, you're always trying to act so gruff. You should know by now that you don't have to try and impress me. I like you just the way you are, silliness and all. ::She had still not let go of Barque, so Maxwell stormed into the room and grabbed Tanna's offending arm roughly by the wrist. She let go of Barque then, which allowed the beagle to scamper off the couch and towards the bedroom, but she planted her other hand on Maxwell's wrist in return. Her grip was painfully strong, and she only broke it when he released his grip first.:: Noros: ::standing, facing off toe to toe with Traenor:: Don't touch me like that, Max. Why do you always have to make me so angry? Traenor: ::seething:: Oh, you don't know angry, Lieutenant. You'd best leave now before you regret it. ::Tanna's face was screwed up in a nasty scowl, which made her look ghoulish in the pale gleam off the starbase in the windows.:: Noros: Regret it? Why, you going to use your newfound powers to make me pay? Letting your new role as First Officer get to your head? Yeah, I heard about that, even though you 'conveniently' forgot to invite me to your party. Don't power-trip on me, Max. Traenor: Look, Noros, I've taken it easy on you over the years. I've never once raised an official complaint against your infractions against the rules and my personal privacy. I've given you the benefit of the doubt, time and time again, from one ship to another. ::momentarily distracted:: How do you even end up on every ship I serve, anyways? ::back on topic:: But this has to stop. Now, and for good. If that means I have to act within my jurisdiction as executive officer to levy official punishments against you, then I will. Please don't make it come to that, Lieutenant. ::Maxwell earnestly meant that plea. Disciplining officers was never a task to be taken lightly, and he would only do so as a last resort. Besides, he didn't want to air his dirty laundry for his superiors to see, either. Filing reports for Jalana and Starfleet Command to peruse was the last thing that he wanted to happen to this unique and uncomfortable situation that he had allowed to fester for far too long.:: Noros: Oh, yes, First Officer Max. You'd just love that, wouldn't you? Write me up! ::manic, ugly expression on her face:: Tell me this, Max... Did you seduce *this* Captain in order to become first officer, like you did last time? ::It was the lowest of blows, and Maxwell visibly reeled as if she had reached out and punched him in the gut. Maxwell Traenor had loved Renos, the commanding officer of the Darwin, very much; still did, though he tried to deny that to himself. The two of them had tried very hard to keep their doomed relationship private and inconsequential to the operation of the starship. It was Maxwell's eventual inability to do just that, by nearly sacrificing the Darwin and its crew in a suicidal attempt to rescue Renos against all logic and protocol, which had removed him from his first stint as an executive officer. Not only that, but Maxwell had risen to his status through hard work and perseverance, not nepotism. He never would have accepted the role back then if it had, and he and Renos had discussed that extensively. To rend through that raw wound was beyond the pale, and Tanna had to have known that. That she would still choose to sully herself in the muck of his doomed personal life was more than he could bear.:: Traenor: ::face a steeled mask:: Lieutenant Junior Grade Noros Tanna, you are hereby relieved of duty effective immediately. Pending confirmation of said penalty by Captain Jalana Rajel, you will remain relieved of duty until you pass a psychiatric evaluation to prove that you are indeed fit for duty. If you are caught further abusing your security code privileges to violate the privacy of any other individual's private domains, you will be confined to quarters. Do you understand? Noros: ::shock, dismay:: But, Max- Traenor: DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Noros: Yes. ::The edges of Maxwell's vision were graying from stress-induced elevated heart rate and a massive dump of adrenaline in his bloodstream. He was literally seconds away from hyperventilating. It was taking every last iota of his willpower not to fly into a blinding rage.:: Traenor: Leave, now. Before I call Security to escort you out. ::Like a chastised, petulant child, the statuesque Bajoran turned to leave, but paused in the open doorway. She never turned back, but waited, as if anticipating one last parting shot before she completely departed. She was right on the money with that prescient feeling.:: Traenor: And don't you ever invoke Renos's name again, else you'll see just how far I'm willing to abuse my powers. ::The door closed, darkness complete and whole again. The room was silent, but Maxwell wouldn't know for the torrent of blood rushing through his veins that created a cacophony and tempest in his ears that matched his mood. He felt he could weep, but was afraid to let emotion rule unless he lost all control over it.:: Traenor: oO Congratulations, Maxwell. Perfect way to end your first day as first officer. Oo LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor Executive Officer, USS Constitution =/\= Top Sims Contest Facilitator =/\= A239111MT0
  17. (( Starbase 104, Promenade )) :: Tad stood in the center of the promenade floor, the eye of a storm of bustle and activity. Now that he was here for shore leave instead of on duty he had a chance to really take in some of the sights. He marveled at the sheer number of beings around him, more species than he'd ever seen assembled in one place, and wondered which ones were up to no good. As soon as the thought occurred to him he shook his head as if to dislodge it from his mind. He was here to relax, and maybe grab something to eat. On a station this large it was even possible he'd be able to track down the one thing that had eluded him since he left New Jersey - a really good cheese steak. His eyes scanned the countless shops, booths and kiosks that stretched from one side of the enormous place to the other and gave a contented sigh. It was time to celebrate the previous day's job well done. Nothing was going to get him down. :: Jordan: Cooper! :: Every muscle in Tad's body clenched at the familiar voice. He squeezed his eyes shut as if the woman would disappear if he did it hard enough. In truth he knew Jordan wouldn't leave until she'd said her piece, so he decided to get it over with quick, like tearing off a bandage. He forced himself to relax and slowly turned. He was greeted by the expected sight of the woman combining a standard Starfleet security uniform with a ten-gallon hat, cowboy boots and her unique star-shaped combadge. When he spoke, he did his best to not sound like he'd rather be anywhere else. :: Cooper: What can I do for you, Deputy? Jordan: A word. Cooper: oO Here we go. Oo Certainly. Jordan: I hear you helped apprehend some suspected terrorists recently. Cooper: That's right. Not just me though, I had some backup. Jordan: It was, what, a 10-28? Cooper: ::A look of surprise crossed his face.:: You know police codes? Jordan: I'm in law enforcement, right? :: Technically all security personnel were in law enforcement, but the only other Starfleet officer he'd met so far who knew police codes was Captain Rajel. And she only knew because one of her symbiont's past hosts was a police officer. :: Cooper: How did you know I was a cop? ::Even through her mirrored shades it was obvious Jordan rolled her eyes. :: Jordan: Please. :: Tad grimaced at the thought of being so transparent. Then again, Jordan had already proven to not be your average security officer. :: Cooper: It turned out to be a 10-28, but I was responding to a 10-26 from some of our engineers. :: Jordan crossed her arms and raised her chin, looking at Tad down her nose. :: Jordan: Ah hah. And I suppose it was a 10-22? Cooper: Well, no, more like a 10-83. Jordan: I see. I was wondering, because you didn't announce your presence to any of my staff. Cooper: I was under the impression that the base requested assistance from our ship. Jordan: We requested engineering help, not security. Cooper: ::defensively:: Now wait a minute. The first time I came on board you told me I could operate here so long as I didn't interfere with base operations. Jordan: Exactly. The first time. That don't give you permission to just come to South End whenever you want and play patrolman. Not on my station and not on my watch. Do I make myself clear? :: A bead of sweat rolled down Tad's temple and he straightened his back involuntarily, as if standing at attention. He hadn't had s dressing down like that since the academy. :: Cooper: Affirmative. :: Seemingly satisfied by his answer, Jordan once again relaxed her stance and stuffed her hands into her uniform pockets. :: Jordan: Good. ::sigh:: Look, you did good work. Truth is my team was stretched thin during the talks, and I do appreciate the help. Just make sure you give me a 10-1 next time or I'll 10-86 you so fast your head'll spin. :: Tad grinned despite himself. :: Cooper: 10-4. And thank you, Deputy. Jordan: Cooper! One more thing. :: Tad had turned to leave, but Jordan's call made him turn back. :: Jordan: 1800. Cooper: ::His brow creased.:: I'm...actually not familiar with that code. Jordan: It's not a code. It's when I get off duty. :: Tad's eyebrows shot upward as if trying to escape his face. :: Cooper: Ah, I'm not sure.... Jordan: Because at 1900 you're takin' me to the Klingon barbecue place on level 7. Cooper: Ah...Klingon...barbecue? Jordan: ::She shrugged without removing her hands from her pockets.:: It ain't cow, but it's close. Besides, it's the least you could do. Cooper: I, ah.... Jordan: ::turning serious again:: The very. Least. :: Tad knew there was no talking his way out of it, so he bit the bullet and gave in. :: Cooper: ::nodding:: 1900, understood. Jordan: Good. ::She spun on her heel and strode away across the promenade, causing the small crowd of curious onlookers that had gathered around them to suddenly remember they had somewhere else to be. She called out once more over her shoulder as she left.:: Don't be late! :: Tad let his head loll back, gazing open-mouthed toward the ceiling, and wondered why he didn't just stay on the ship. :: (( OOC: List of police codes: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Tad_Cooper/Police_Codes )) PNPC Ensign Tad Cooper Security officer Simmed by Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01
  18. ((Caraadian Battlecruiser, Deck 8, Engineering Section)) Nalai: ::sullen and angry:: Two days! It couldn’t hold itself together for two measly days. ::Sub-Lieutenant Para Nalai hit a bulkhead with his fist and regretted it instantly. He was not at all a fan of personifying ships, but right now, he was almost sure that this ship was willingly ruining him.:: ::He looked onto his display unit, the connection bars to the main computer in the top-right corner were flashing erraticly. One moment, he had perfect data uplink, one later there was no connection.:: Nalai: It cannot even decide if it wants to fail or not… ::The display showed in all sorts of red many failures in the main reaction-core room. He would just have to turn right, down that corridor, duck under some hanging pipes, go through that door and… Computer: Access denied. ::Nalai tried to use the manual opener at the side of the door.:: Computer: Access denied. ::The engineer stopped his fist mid-air while it was on its way towards the display. With his luck, the display surely would shatter and only add to the pain that was already throbbing in his knuckles.:: ::Actually, Nalai did not even know why he was trying. He had been one of the lowest of the lowest, assigning the cleaning teams to corridors and the technicians to the lightbulbs that needed changing. Sometimes even doing so himself.:: ::The display still showed error codes en masse and all of them did not say anything to him except „Do something about me!“. That was no problem, he would make something up when he found a way inside.:: ::His look fell onto a service hatch a little back up the corridor. A good idea almost made him smile. The panel was removed within seconds, that was something he actually knew how to do. Then, with some more hue and cry, he squeezed his bulky belly through the tiny opening.:: ::Luckily, behind it, the tube got much bigger and he had no trouble reaching a second hatch that would open into the core-room with his own access code, not without sending an instant warning to the bridge. Not that anyone there cared, most of them were ailing somewhere with the plague or already being dead from one of many explosions.:: ::The second hatch opened and gave way to a wave of heat. After Nalai could open his eyes again, he saw a labyrinth of fire-spitting energy conducts, unhealthy current discharges and dangerously dangling ceiling tiles. He closed the door in front of him.:: Nalai: Thats… Thats just too typical. Not one of those super-awesome smart-asses from engineering command is left. Just let old Para do it, two days before his year off! ::He took a deep breath and opened the hatch again. He would have proudly described his parkour efforts as „better than Lara Croft“ if he had actually known who that was. In reality, his thoughts were more concerned with him ending up as a roasted chicken or a current-induced x-ray-image of himself.:: ::Against all odds, he reached the console at the other side of the room. It was right next to the door he initially wanted to enter through. He was breathing heavily and his palms were sweaty. A stinging pain in his forehead reminded him that it was since two weeks time for his next cigarette.:: Nalai: ::grimly and determined:: Let’s see… ::He pushed some buttons and some of the red lights were vanishing, while others appeared instead. He managed to stop the leaking from the pipes, but the biggest read-flashing warning messages were not disappearing.:: ::By accident he summoned a navigational status map onto the screen. He saw the miniature representation of the battlecruiser directly plunging towards a tiny planet.:: Nalai: ::resigned:: Oh my, we really need some help here… ______________________ MSPNPC Sub-Lieutenant Para Nalai Engineering Officer as simmed by Lt Isabel Pond USS Darwin-A D239212IP0
  19. ((ACMO’s Office, Sickbay, USS Constitution)) ::It was one of those eternal laws that Sickbay was busy. On a ship the size of the Galaxy-class, there was always someone in need of a doctor’s attention, even if only for a checkup. It wasn’t only in times of crisis that people got sick or injured.:: ::Patience was a virtue in such places, and having been on the other side of the bench, Saveron was content to wait until he could have a private word with T’Reshik’s treating physician.:: Saveron: Doctor Milsap. I am appreciative of your time. :: Jerry stood to welcome the counsellor. :: Milsap: No problem, Commander. Have a seat. ::He waited until Saveron was settled in and sat back down himself.:: Saveron: I wished to speak with you about Ensign T’Reshik; I understand that you are her treating physician. Milsap: If you can call it that. ::There was a hint of regret in his tone.:: From what I’ve been able to find out about...her condition, there ain’t much I can do in the way of treatment. ::That earned him a faint, curious [...] of the head from the Counsellor.:: Saveron: At times it would appear that little has changed since the twenty-third century. ::He considered the situation carefully.:: What does Starfleet Medical know about the condition? ::He knew what Vulcan cultures knew of it of course, so he’d never bothered to look up what Starfleet’s Medical databases had to say about it. Now he was on the outside, looking in, and had no desire to offend the hard-working man sitting across from him.:: Milsap: I admit, I never encountered a Vulcan in pon farr before, so I don’t have any real experience. And all the cases I’ve researched, they didn’t often turn out so well. Saveron: I have noted that has generally been the case. ::He acknowledged.:: I anticipate that the problem is two-fold; a cultural reticence on the subject, and a lack of personal planning, particularly amongst young Vulcans. ::Neither of which was easy to overcome.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: It does seem to be a touchy subject, which I can understand. Lots of young people from all species find it awkward to discuss sexuality with adults. Learning about pon farr is kinda like the Vulcan version of what humans call “the talk”. Except in this case, if you don’t have it, you might die. ::That was truer than Saveron would have liked.:: Saveron: I believe that Terran culture speaks of a tall bird that puts it’s head in the sand to disagreeable situations? ::His tone was dry.:: What do you know about the underlying biology of the situation? Milsap: ::He sat back in his chair.:: Well, it’s a neurochemical imbalance that, if left untreated can cause death within eight days. It can be alleviated with a telepathic mating bond, but that could also bring on the plak tow. Then the patient runs a high fever and becomes irrational and violent, sometimes even unable to speak. And that can be deadly too. ::pause:: It’s pretty nasty, honestly. Saveron: Only if improperly managed. ::He revealed.:: Which is generally the only situation that Starfleet has cause to observe. ::But Jerry was obviously up on what happened in those situations.:: From that basis one would assume that you can deduce what the natural resolution would be. ::If he was serving as a Medical Officer then Saveron would simply have delivered a short lecture on the subject to fill Jerry in. But he wasn’t, he was the Counsellor and his job was to lead people to their own conclusions, especially when he suspected that the knowledge was there, but the cultural inhibitions were preventing the connection. And as a Vulcan he knew all about cultural inhibitions.:: Milsap: The natural resolution, so far as I can tell, is to either mate or fight someone, and T’Reshik don’t seem too keen on either of those. Saveron: That is correct, whilst the latter does not always resolve the situation. ::After you fought someone, you claimed their mate, after all. It was only if you lost the fight that you lost the biological imperative. The patient’s recalcitrance didn’t help the situation.:: Milsap: She’s done a lot of research on the condition, as I’m sure you know, and she thinks she can control the situation with isolation and meditation, and so long as she’s not in immediate danger I was willing to let her try it. If nothing else, just not giving her an argument over it might help calm her down. Cadet Thyar was willing to work with her too. Saveron: Indeed, she has an interesting background with regards to certain areas of Vulcan biology. ::’Interesting’ was one way of putting it.:: However resolution through meditation is generally only available to those who had achieved the kohlinahr. She is aware of this. Having spoken with her, it is apparent that her condition is progressing. ::More’s the pity. He would wish her every success in that endeavour, but he knew that such was extremely difficult; Saveron held no illusions regarding his own ability to achieve such.:: Milsap: Another option is medication, keep her sedated and hope she sleeps right through the whole thing. And if her condition worsens I plan to do just that. I’m fine with letting T’Reshik try to fix things her way, but not if I think it’ll wind up killing her. Saveron: It will kill her regardless. The physiological stress, if allowed to continue, is generally terminal. Is it unlikely that it will spontaneously resolve, despite your excellent care. ::He replied gravely. It the reason that such situations could be so dire.:: There are cultural mechanisms on Vulcan to manage such situations, but not here. :: Jerry appreciated Saveron’s compliment, he just wished he believed he’d really earned it. Ever since he’d graduated medical school it was very rare he’d find a condition he didn’t know how to treat. Part of the reason he’d joined Starfleet was to expand his knowledge to encompass treatment of other races and learn how to handle conditions he’d never be exposed to on Earth. Sometimes dealing with alien sickness was different from curing human maladies, but with a little research he was able to learn what he needed to do. This pon farr situation was the first time he’d encountered an affliction with no real medical resolution, and he felt at a loss. He’d had to rely on the expertise of others and, while that may have been the best course of action for his patient, it gave him an unaccustomed and unwelcome feeling of powerlessness. :: Milsap: I get the impression that T’Reshik is resolved to ride this thing out her own way, even if it does kill her. ::Saveron had received the same impression from T’Reshik herself.:: Saveron: Having spoken with her at Counsellor Taurek’s request, I believe that I have persuaded her to review her objections in light of a ‘live to fight another day’ perspective. ::He said at length.:: Her researches, if successful, would be revolutionary. But she must survive to continue them. :: That news lit a spark of hope behind Jerry’s eyes. :: Milsap: Well, that’s a start. What can we do to help her now? Saveron: She has made a request that she be transferred by direct transport to her quarters. I would consider this reasonable, on the provision that Security sweep her quarters for weapons and medication, and lock her replicator and console down to civilian functions only. ::That way the damage that she could cause would be minimalised.:: She has agreed to these conditions, but you are the treating physician, and the decision lies with you. :: As he listened, Jerry nodded thoughtfully. :: Milsap: Sure, I’d go along with that. Sometimes just a change of scenery can do a patient good. Saveron: I anticipate a relatively rapid resolution, once she has the privacy and comfort of her own quarters. ::His tone was dry.:: Milsap: But even in that circumstance, won’t we have the same problem? She’ll still be suffering the same symptoms. ::Unfortunately Doctor Milsap didn’t get the subtle hint. Even Saveron held a certain reticence on the subject, although years amongst aliens had cured him of some of it.:: Saveron: You are correct, and she will continue to suffer them until her condition is resolved. ::At least now it seemed that T’Reshik would entertain the idea of that resolution.:: Milsap: You mentioned Vulcan has ways to deal with this kinda thing. Is it possible we could reproduce them here? Saveron: Indeed, entirely possible. ::He agreed.:: Given the evolutionary purpose of the drive, the resolution is straightforward and effective. :: Jerry felt like he was missing something. He still wasn’t sure what the alternate treatment was. Unless, of course, Saveron wasn’t talking about an alternative. Jerry’s brow creased. :: Milsap: Are we still talkin’ about mating? Saveron: Affirmative. Whilst I am aware of T’Reshik’s previous recalcitrance, I would ask, has curative therapy been offered? ::His tone was one of polite enquiry, as though they were talking about a vial of analgesic.:: :: Curative therapy? He couldn’t be asking what Jerry thought he was asking, could he? Maybe to a Vulcan for which pon farr was a fact of life that kind of thing could be viewed clinically, but to a human from a tiny town in Louisiana the idea was a little more unusual. :: Milsap: You mean did anyone offer to *mate* with her? Not as far as I know…. ::The Vulcan raised a hand in a ‘wait’ gesture.:: Saveron: In fact I have done so. ::He said bluntly.:: However, it ill behooves a doctor to withhold lifesaving therapy. What I am interested to know is, had I not offered, would you? :: Jerry opened his mouth to respond, then closed it and looked down in thought. It never occurred to Jerry to offer to mate with T’Reshik, for several reasons. Still, Saveron raised an interesting point. From a certain standpoint, it could definitely be viewed as a lifesaving procedure. But was a doctor really obliged to save a patient’s life at any cost? If not, where was it acceptable to draw the line? This conversation was raising some uncomfortable trains of thought in Jerry’s mind. :: Milsap: That’s a hard question, Counsellor. Saveron: I believe that it is the Counsellor’s prerogative to ask hard questions. ::He pointed out, a certain light in those grey eyes.:: It is important that we are all aware of our respective cultural inhibitions, and I trust you appreciate that I know that of which I speak. ::As he spoke his tone became dryer. After all, it was Vulcan cultural inhibitions that had landed T’Reshik in her current situation, and Saveron was hardly blind to the problem. First, solve thyself.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: I’m sure. As for your question,I think the short answer is no, I wouldn’t have offered. Saveron: I would be as to your reasons. Milsap: Chalk it up to those cultural inhibitions. Now I’m not saying I would have just let her die, of course. If mating turned out to be the only thing that would save her, and she was willing, we’d find her a suitable and willing partner somehow. But I wouldn’t ask anyone to go against their own beliefs to do it if they didn’t want to. ::The Vulcan considered Jerry’s words. They were perhaps indicative of the reason that such situations caused such difficulties, but cultural conditioning was something they all had, with it’s associated inhibitions.:: Saveron: It’s a complex question; what is the value of a life? ::He posed rhetorically.:: Is it to be placed above one’s inhibitions? One’s comfort? One’s culture? And what are the duties of a medical officer? Can one withhold lifesaving treatment on a cultural basis? ::After a moment he made a placating gesture.:: The subject interests me because this situation continues to present a problem within Starfleet. There is only one reliable treatment, but it’s application appears to be fraught with difficulties, including lack of awareness despite all professional good intentions. ::Jerry hadn’t even been certain of it.:: You will, I trust, tolerate my endeavours to remedy that. Milsap: ::smiling:: Besides, the Academy never taught us about sex as medicine. If they had, I suspect we might have a few more doctors in Starfleet. ::He chuckled:: Heck, it might have even made my brother get into medicine! ::That earned Jerry a quirked brow accompanied by an amused light in the Vulcan’s eyes.:: Saveron: Perhaps we should suggest an addition to the curriculum? :: Jerry threw his head back and laughed, even though he was pretty sure Saveron hadn’t meant the comment as a joke. Pretty sure.:: Milsap: Good luck with that. Saveron: I have nothing further at this junction. If you will permit T’Reshik’s transfer then I will arrange the rest. Assuming that she agrees to treatment. ::He decided not to mention the euthanasia option at this point.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: It makes sense to me, and as you have a lot more experience in the matter I think you’ll agree it’s logical to follow your recommendation. As soon as I get back to the office I’ll take care of the formalities. A JP by Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01 And Commander Saveron Counsellor and Diplomatic Officer USS Constitution-B R238802S10
  20. ((Admiral's Office)) Ashana: Well, I’ll attempt to keep it brief, I will tell you what I was told. The Federation needs a strong, stable alliance with the Laudean government. With the maneuvers of the Orions and then the Romulans over the past year, there are concerns that the outer perimeter of the Federation is threatened. A firm alliance with the Laudeans would make for a strong sign to other non-members worlds we have opened talks within neighboring sectors. If they see positive benefits from the Federation, they would less willing to collaborate with those hostile to our values and interests. Turner: I can't disagree with that at all. Although Prime Minister Daysa has been more than cooperative with us, there are factions within the Laudean population, criminal elements, and infiltrators from neighboring species with an embedded hatred of Starfleet. Ashana: And yes, right when I arrive there just happens to be a terrorist attack that shows the weakness and ineffectiveness of the government at ensuring its citizens’ safety… :: Ashana's statement was more telling to Toni than the Ambassador may have thought. Did she think there was a conspiracy to discredit her as a diplomat or perhaps, even to get rid of her?:: Turner: Let me assure you that this uprising has been brewing for quite some time. It all goes back to the Romulan occupation when the Laudeans were treated like trash on their own planet. Ashana: I’ve read the briefs on Prime Minister and his administration, but it sounds like you have a working relationship with him. What should I know about him and his staff? Turner: Vail Daysa is an honorable man, who rose to power through his military service, and was instrumental in ousting the Romulans from the planet. Awhile back he did have some staff who were clearly infiltrated by Orion propaganda trying to disturb his influence with the population, but he stood up to them and peace was restored. Ashana: And that peace is unfortunately deteriorating once again… Turner: :: leaning back in her chair:: You have to understand that Daysa is a strong leader, but during the Romulan occupation their Lomales were taken hostage, causing zero growth in the population, and over the years every time the population showed growth, the planet was hit by Bluegill invasions ::remembering her second husband's death::, battles such as the one at Bondi that took a devastating toll, and other invasions, most recently, by the Orions. So you see, no matter how strong the leader, if he has no people to lead, he is pretty much ineffective. ::It appeared the Admiral had connection to the prime minister, which was understandable.:: Ashana: But it also sounds like the FTM has been garnering support away from Daysa and his government, enough to grow their movement to the point that the Laudean forces could not repel them, as you mentioned during the briefing. Do we know where the FTM has been drawing their new supporters from? Turner: ::sighing heavily:: No, not at this point. I'm hoping that Daysa will supply that information when we meet with him. Ashana: ::speaking more slowly, with Ashana's acquired British accent becoming more clear.:: While every planet and species is different, there are certain commonalities, Admiral. People join and support radical, violent movements when they are desperate and afraid. While I can’t rule out the FTM may have off planet support given the history here that could support its growth, the FTM must be striking a chord somewhere for them to have gotten so strong, so fast. They must be promising something to the population that the government has not provided. Ashana: In my opinion, Daysa will need to appeal to those segments who may agree with the FTM’s ideas. No large-scale movement can survive without its base… ::referring to her padd:: your Commander Jorey mentioned that the support for the FTM was mainly rural, but only 60 percent of the urban population was in favor of his government and Starfeet. While that is a majority somewhat, that still leaves 40 percent that may be considering the FTM’s stances… or even supporting them. Those kinds of margins may be the first signs of greater unrest. But if we can sway public opinion against the FTM…. Turner: People, in general, tend to hate what they don't understand. The rural population has not seen how the Federation has worked in their communities to safeguard the planet from further occupation from those who would try to take over the planet. Ashana: We need to find out what the dissatisfied part of the population wants and is not receiving from the government. Obviously, there is the issue of safety… but there has to be something else at hand. Turner: I agree, and unless Daysa knows, and will tell . . . :: thinking about his silence so far:: us, we'll have to start from scratch to find out. Ashana: As for us, we need to be in the supporting role. The face of hope and resistance must be Laudean… I know how propaganda works. If we are too active and visible, the FTM will turn that to their advantage, portraying him as a puppet or even a weak leader who can’t handle a domestic issue without the help of off-worlders. Daysa must represent the change, he must represent a better future for all Laudeans. Turner: I believe he can deliver on that, and our support would come from the fact that we had casualties, during the bombing of their government offices. I think we should hammer the fact that the FTM has made war on innocents, and that we are supporting Daysa, because, after 10 years of living here, this is our home, and have children at stake too. I believe that any mother worth their salt would see a common link between us. :: checking the time:: We should be leaving soon, and I need to go home and change clothes and arrange for guards to accompany us to the Prime Minister's Mansion. Will your entourage be going with us? Rear Admiral Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Author ID number: E238209TT0
  21. ((Somewhere?)) ::He was falling. No wait, he was…. No, he was definitely falling. The sun was shining, and the smell of freshly cut grass lingered in the air. Flowers of all colours danced in the gentle breeze as he walked along the path, his daughters arms around his neck as he carried her along. There were couples and families scattered about here and there enjoying a picnic or just lay in the sun. People on skates or bicycles zipped by every now and then a couple of dogs barked and yapped as they chased each other about, whilst their owners watched as they flirted back and forth. He looked her, giving her a big grin and a kiss on the cheek:: Maxwell: Love you, squidge. Amelia: Love you too, Daddy! ::Her little arms tightening in a hug:: ::They walked over a stone bridge, it’s three arches spanning a sparkling blue river that on their left opened out into a lake where little boats and pleasure craft bobbed about on the tiny waves, and birds circled overhead. He realised she was staring at him, and he smiled questioningly:: Amelia: Daddy, are we dead? ::Before he could answer, an immense pain blossomed just above his heart and he fell, losing his grip on…. On who? There was nobody there? He was lay face down on a threadbare carpet in a grotty room somewhere. He could hear the honking and stop-start of road traffic, and the slashing rain that hammered against the windows. The pain in his chest was still there, and breathing seemed hard. Should breathing be hard? He wasn’t sure… Picking himself slowly from the floor, he looked around the quite frankly disgusting room. There were discarded food wrappers all over the place, and countless little packets, dishes and hypos on a filthy coffee table. There were three sofas arranged in a ‘U’ around it. One sofa had a young couple under a blanket on it, the girl dribbling and the guy muttering some utter gibberish about giant hamsters. He put a hand to his chest in the way people have always done. As if simply touching it would make the pain go away. The occupant of the second sofa was a young woman, totally naked but for a single sock. She held a half-dispensed hypo in one grubby hand and was sprawled out in such a way as to leave no shred of modesty. Maxwell looked away to the third sofa. And his heart skipped a beat.:: Maxwell: oO Karey!? Oo ::Her arms were scored with countless old marks from razor blades and needle pin[...]s. On the sofa by her feet lay an old style manual syringe, a single drop of glossy pinkish liquid beading at its point. He reached out to brush the greasy hair clear of her face, when a second pain exactly like the first exploded square in the middle of his stomach. He doubled up, and dropped to his knees.:: Voice: MAX! ::Opening his eyes, he jumped slightly as he saw… Who? Marla? Mayra? Mirra? That was it! Mirra! She was the…? She was the? It was medical. He thought. Maybe? He looked down at the bridesmaids dress she wore and beamed at her.:: Maxwell: You’ve done the hard bit lass! Erin’s here the now, and you just need tae walk in behind her. ::A smile:: Stop her tripping on that wee dress ae’ hers… ::The blonde woman in the long flowing bridal dress looked on the verge of a meltdown as she stood before him, chewing her bottom lip over and over:: Erin: I can’t do this, Max. It’s too much! Maxwell: Of course you can! He’s in there now, twice as scared as you are! ::He offered her his arm, guiding her to the door of the little church in…? Somewhere? Did it matter? He’d been asked to give her away at the ceremony and he felt truly honoured to do so. He wasn’t sure why her father wasn’t performing this traditional role, but he wasn’t going to be insulting and refuse the part he’d been offered in this wonderful day. They paused at the church door. His stomach and chest hurt, and he wasn’t sure why. He squeezed her hand in a “Ready?” question. Getting a gentle nod in return, in they went. The priest was waiting, and with a grin, clawed at his skin to reveal a familiar blue face and a maniacal laugh. It was only then he noticed he was stood on his own. A group of people he knew but couldn’t place were all bound and being beaten by men with green skin. Orions? Here? He pointed a finger at the blue woman as a third pain blossomed in his shoulder. He cried out in agony. The blue woman laughed. The green men all drew long knives, pulling back the heads of his friends. Blackness engulfed him, and he heard a voice. Voice: Taelon! We could really use those doors to be closed right about now! ::He wondered what the point was? The church was on fire, his friends all lay in motionless heaps, the Orions gloating over them. He couldn’t move, the trio of hurts were too much. His limbs wouldn’t function. Was he being dragged….?:: Maxwell: ::He let out an agonised groan:: Anybody get the number ae that shuttle….? --- Lieutenant (JG) Arturo Maxwell. Tactical Officer. Starbase 118 Operations. O239311AM0.
  22. ((Isolation Unit 1, Sickbay, USS Constitution)) :: It was warm, far too warm. T’Reshik took a moment to remember where she was. She lifted her head from the ground; her forehead was sticky with blood. Sutek took her arm, and she looked up. For some reason her husband was in his burial robes. She wondered for a moment what it might have been like if their marriage had been something other than a sham. In the right light, his looks were almost graceful. :: T’Reshik: What happened? Sutek: Large-scale hematohidrosis shortly before you murdered me. Do you not remember? T’Reshik: What? :: The world slammed sideways and suddenly she was in the isolation room again, gasping for breath on the biobed. The cooling packs had stopped working. She grabbed one and flung it against the wall, uttered a curse. :: ::How long had she been in here? Had she been hallucinating or dreaming? She hefted herself into a sitting position and considered contacting the sickbay staff, but a small chime from her combadge told her that someone else had got there first. Automatically, T’Reshik grabbed a second cooling pack and prepared for the throw. :: Saveron: =/\= Commander Saveron to Ensign T’Reshik. =/\= ::The voice spoke Modern Golic Vulcan, the language used around Shir’kahr and the Temple of Gol, but possessed a faint accent, breathy and musical.:: :: Another Vulcan, then, T’Reshik realized - but not one whose name she recognized. For one awful moment she wondered whether Cadet Thyar had somehow managed to locate her biological father and bring him here. Which was disturbing, because he had a really nice voice - but also promising, because caving his skull in with her fist would provide a very satisfying resolution to the Pon Farr. (T’Reshik wasn’t really giving much thought to long-term consequences right now.) :: T’Reshik: ::carefully, coldly:: =/\= T’Reshik here. =/\= ::In Sickbay the Vulcan counselor watched the patient’s medical readouts with a calm that belief professional concern.:: Saveron: =/\= I would attend you, with your permission. =/\= ::He said carefully.:: =/\= I am a trained Counselor and it has been suggested that I may be able to assist. =/\= :: Annoyance flared. The last thing T’Reshik wanted to do was speak to another counselor. She put her head in her hands for a moment and tried to clear her mind so she could work out how to get him to go away. Just to be difficult - and also because her spoken Golic was incredibly rusty - she answered him in her home dialect, Da-leb province Vulcan. Not impossible to understand for a Golic speaker, but probably different enough that he might struggle. :: T’Reshik: =/\= I do not see any benefit in having you disrupt my meditations. Commander. =/\= ::She used the deliberately impolite form of the verb, and the last word was delivered almost like an insult. :: ::The Vulcan Counselor raised one eyebrow. The choice of dialect was deliberately obstructive, and spoke volumes. This was a delicate situation; how to progress it?:: Saveron: =/\= You made a request for information... =/\= ::He began.:: T’Reshik: =/\= I only asked Cadet Thyar to find that out because I wanted her to leave. I have no interest in my genetic heritage. =/\= ::Not that angle. Perhaps the direct one? He switched to Nel Gathic Vulcan, his own native language, from the other side of the planet from Gol and once deplored disgustedly by his Academy linguistics instructor as ‘Gaelic for Vulcans’. :: Saveron: =/\= Logic serves those who embrace it. =/\= ::It was however a very common proverb. He switched back to Modern Golic.:: =/\= Without disrespect, one would observe that your meditations do not appear to be effective. Your cortisol levels are rising. =/\= ::Cortisol was the hormone that drove the whole Pon farr process.:: :: T’Reshik switched to a hybrid of Nel Gathic and Da-leb, a kind of creole spoken by the displaced second and third generations of native speakers like her mother. Most often used when her youthful behaviour had challenged her mother's composure and T’Reshik was too far away for sign language. One of the drawbacks of VSL; you couldn't use it to shout at people. She spoke it with a slightly provincial accent.:: T’Reshik: =/\= Yes, Commander, it is almost as if I keep being interrupted by interfering psychology professionals. =/\= :: It was also a very good medium for sarcasm.:: ::That was unexpected. Saveron rarely heard his own language outside of his family, and T’Reshik’s file had indicated a childhood on the main continent. Yet what she spoke was a kind of pidgin some emigrants used. Unusual.:: ::But not the distraction he suspected that she had intended. The blame-shifting of her accusation did not negate the fact that there had been no improvement in her biological indicators; rather a steady progression in spite of her efforts. T’Reshik might meditate for a thousand Vulcan cycles, and she would not bring her Pon farr into remission. And she did not have a thousand Vulcan cycles. She was dying.:: ::Respect for a patient’s preferences always had to be tempered with the ability to act when those preferences were so far beyond rational that they bore no relation at all. Unfortunately his own people’s cultural conditioning meant that their response to this particular part of their biology was often far from rational and Vulcans died, of stubborness.:: ::Keying the parameters of T’Reshik’s health and responses into the computer, Saveron received the confirmation that she was not in a rational state, and intervention was warranted. Keying the door of her isolation room he stepped inside, a couple of Sickbay staff eyeballing the back of his head before the door slid shut.:: :: Saveron’s silence at the other end of the line made T’Reshik wary. It was perhaps too much to hope that he’d given up and left her alone. Sure enough, the doors opened after a delay, and T’Reshik retaliated using the closest weapon at her disposal.:: ::There was a smack as Saveron caught the ice pack as though he had expected it, then let it fall to the floor. Pale grey eyes flicked over the tortured form of the young - by Vulcan standards - woman who lay on the biobed.:: Saveron: I am aware that I am unwelcome. Accept for the moment that to me the fact is irrelevant. ::He said blandly.:: :: T’Reshik said nothing; merely tried not to look at him. If she did, her mind would start coming up with lots of very good reasons for him to stay in the room, and she was sick and tired of having to fight that sort of thing down.:: ::Pressing a couple of keys on a wall console that was locked from the patient’s access, a short platform extruded from the wall and he sat down. Objects and furniture were kept to a minimum in these rooms; less to sterilise or cause injury.:: Saveron: Are you aware that, whilst resolution through meditation is the ideal touted by the Temple of Gol, statistics show that such is virtually unattainable for those who have not already undergone the kohlinar? Only 0.3% of the uninitiated succeed. ::And he knew from her file that she was uninitiated.:: T’Reshik: ::tersely:: Of course I am aware. I refer to that same study in six of my own papers. ::He nodded briefly. She was an intelligent woman and it was apparently an area of interest for her, in a not particularly healthy way.:: Saveron: One would suggest, having read your file, that your own markedly antagonistic view of Pon farr may itself be an obstacle for the calm necessary for such meditations to succeed. :: T’Reshik glared up at the ceiling. She was well aware how undignified she must look right now. Her eyes were deep with shadows, her hair unbrushed and chaotic; she’d given up on putting her uniform jacket back on after she’d tossed it across the room in a rage and then realized she’d have to call an orderly to get it back. It had been a long time since her wheelchair had been this far out of her reach, and she resented the helplessness that came instead.:: T’Reshik: Antagonistic. That’s an odd way of pronouncing “logical”. Saveron: I would be interested to hear your logic. ::He replied mildly.:: T’Reshik: It warps our reasoning; destroys our lives if we are not careful or fortunate. If Vulcans were not so obsessed with tradition and secrecy, we would treat it like any other pathological condition and find a way to stop it happening. Saveron: On the subject of tradition and secrecy; I concur. The Temple of Gol particularly has promoted the view that Pon farr is to be controlled and hidden. Such an overwhelming biological drive clashes with their extreme doctrine of emotional elimination. But it is not a ‘pathological condition’, it is a natural part of our biology. T’Reshik: So you are suggesting I change my views in order to preserve my own life? As if it were that simple? ::If Vulcans had been cowboys in a Western, ‘your logic is flawed’ would have been fighting words. Saveron did not say them now. He was not looking to antagonise T’Reshik but to reason with her. Flawed logic was dealt with by debate.:: Saveron: I would suggest that you be open to the idea that the extremist view is not the only one. oO Nor the most valid. Oo Consider the Romulans. Pon farr does occur, but it is much rarer, and without the same strength or impact, and when it does they resolve it in the obvious manner, without our associated cultural baggage. It was our very embracing of logic that supplied a positive selection pressure for the drive; lust is, after all, an emotion. ::And so those whose biology compelled them to mate and breed had more offspring, and the urge was selected for. A beautiful piece of scientific theory in action.:: T’Reshik: Your point being? ::He shrugged slim shoulders.:: Saveron: Consider also what you have already wrought upon yourself in your efforts to subvert your own biology. ::His words were grave. Surely the damage she had done showed the lack of logic in that path?:: I would counsel you to accept your own nature, resolve the situation naturally, and move on with your life. It only dominates you if you let it. :: T’Reshik closed her eyes for a few moments. :: T’Reshik: The… damage was caused by my methods - not my reasoning. And even if I were willing to take that option, my husband is dead, I have no close associates, and I refuse to impose that kind of obligation on a complete stranger. It is not a choice anyone should be forced to make. ::The loss of a bond-mate was always deeply regrettable, and if T’Reshik had not yet resolved that loss it might go some way to explaining her current obstructivism.:: ::It was fascinating, he mused, what a difference a few years exposed to other cultures could make to one’s point of view. Saveron’s native Nel Gathic culture was somewhat more philosophical than the dominant Golic one, but meeting Betazoids, Deltans and Denobulans had certainly opened his eyes to other ways of viewing certain aspects of life.:: Saveron: If you were willing, I would offer. ::He said simply. From her words, plainly nobody else had and she would not ask.:: Since you are not, have you considered the Holodeck? I am aware that companionship simulations have been found lacking, but there are adequate combat simulations. A Jem’Hadar would no doubt provide the necessary life threat. ::He was aware that she was paralysed, but it was not for him to say what she could or could not do. Let her be the judge of that.:: :: T’Reshik shot him a look. :: T’Reshik: Anecdotal evidence suggests that holodeck combat therapy only serves to worsen the condition after the initial catharsis. And my university ethics board refused to allow me to conduct controlled experiments to prove or disprove that hypothesis. Without more data, I must seem it an unacceptable risk. ::That was not unreasonable.:: Saveron: If you are determined not to resolve your situation any other way, I can provide you with the necessary forms for voluntary euthanasia. There is no logic in prolonging your suffering, though your loss would be regrettable. ::It was said blandly, the logical conclusion of their conversation. Did she realise that death lay at the end of the road she walked? It would be a terrible waste, in his view. But you could not help those who would not help themselves.:: :: She looked at the ceiling again, teeth gritted, but there was sadness in her expression rather than anger.:: T’Reshik: I do not wish to die. ::Those were the words he had been looking to hear. From that basis, a solution could be sought.:: Saveron: It would be vastly preferable that you did not. ::He said gently.:: I would be interested to know the basis behind your logic regarding Pon farr. ::When and how had she formed such an extreme view?:: :: She turned her head to him suddenly.:: T’Reshik: I was very young when I discovered that my parents were not who they claimed to be. Do you know why I never tried to find out my genetic origin? Saveron: Negative. ::He said evenly.:: ::He didn’t know T’Reshik beyond this encounter, and such was not in her file.:: T’Reshik: Because I already knew what had happened. Not in detail. But through a process of logical deduction and the fact my parents had withheld the information, I concluded that whatever the specific circumstance, at least one and possibly both of my biological parents had somehow been deprived of their choice in the matter. No other developed society in this quadrant possesses such a… such a glaring blind spot in their attitudes to bodily autonomy. :: She raises herself up on one elbow and looked at him, eyes aflame.:: T’Reshik: You ask me to accept my biology. How can I, when it is inherently unjust? The choice to engage in physical intimacy - it should be driven by individual decisions, not biological imperative. And the fact that it is “natural” does not invalidate my argument. Diseases are natural. We still treat them. ::Her voice weakens a little:: If I… give up, and consent to the conventional treatment, I am abandoning my commitment to the rights of all sentient beings to decide what happens to their own bodies. I am abandoning my principles. ::There were multiple reasons why an infant might be adopted out, but Saveron judged that pointing out such would be futile since he already knew that she was correct. Perhaps she had always known, subconsciously. After all, they were a telepathic species, and the developing child was exposed to the mother’s thoughts throughout the pregnancy.:: ::More concerning was T’Reshik’s apparent determination to die for her cause. Her subconscious trauma surrounding her birth and abandonment could be worked through, but only if she survived. Right now saving her life was paramount.:: Saveron: If you die, your principles die with you. ::He pointed out gently, pausing to lace his long fingers together.:: There is no law in the universe that says the results of our own evolution must be just. But we do have a choice; we can own it, or we can be subject to it. ::T’Reshik repeated his phrasing skeptically.:: T’Reshik: “Own it”? ::Perhaps an example might make a simpler explanation.:: Saveron: It has been nine Terran years since my bond-mate and I were Unbound. ::And he was certain that even in her current state she could do the maths.:: Whilst hardly exact, one’s cycle is reasonably predictable. I was stationed on the USS Garuda in the depths of the Menthar Corridor when my last Pon farr approached. Rather than being caught by my own biology, I arranged to take leave and return to Vulcan, where I reunited with a friend whose bond-mate had been killed in a shuttle accident. :: There were times when T’Reshik looked at herself and wondered how her life had got to this point. Now, detained in an isolation room, listening to a superior officer talk about his sex life and trying her damnedest not to think too hard about those strong, slender hands, she briefly revisited the thought once more.:: Saveron: We discussed bonding, but she would not leave Vulcan and I did not intend to stay. We considered a distanced bond less than preferable. ::He shrugged slim shoulders.:: But I chose the manner in which I underwent my own Pon farr. ::A faint light, the barest hint of amusement, flickered in those grey eyes.:: It was not disagreeable. T’Reshik: So we are deprived of bodily autonomy once every seven years but at least we can sleep with our friends. :: Her words were probably meant to be cutting - T’Reshik had given up on neutrality by this point - but she only succeeded in sounding bitter and sad.:: Saveron: You attempt at being deliberately inflammatory does not negate my point. One can choose to take control of one’s biology to the extent possible, or one can choose to be a victim. ::He said in mild tones, ignoring her baiting.:: You are correct that such is not ideal, but you also acknowledge that we currently have few alternatives available. I acknowledge your efforts to find such an alternative; I would consider it preferable that your research efforts not die with you. ::He faulted her approach certainly, but he could not fault T’Reshik’s reasons. The ability to stop the Pon farr cycle would be as revolutionary as contraception, and as freeing. Yet it was embedded deep within Vulcan cultures, and difficult to address. Free thinkers like the one before him were the type of people who brought about such change. If only her researches had not come at such a cost to herself. That determination could change their people forever.:: T’Reshik: Even if I did take you up on your hypothetical offer - and frankly, I try not to associate with anyone whose judgement is poor enough that they would voluntarily spend time with me, given I actively discourage most social overtures by cultivating a difficult personality -... You saw my criminal record, Commander. I have already killed for my principles. And while it is not logical… I cannot help but… feel… :: -the word was uttered almost like an expletive- :: ... that it is a kind of cowardice, not to die for them now. Saveron: Do you consider that your dying for those principles is a statement that will change the situation? ::He asked, knowing that she would not be the first.:: Principles that are worth dying for, are worth living for. ::And that was important. Also they needed to work on her self-esteem. And possibly go through her history, since her crimes obviously still concerned her. But such could be dealt with if she survived, and whatever her personal nature it wasn’t it currently a concern.:: Saveron: I am not offering to ‘spend time’, nor form a relationship. ::He said blandly.:: I am offering to save your life. I was a physician before I was a diplomat. You are dying, and I consider it preferable that you live. ::It was simply emergency medicine. And in his own logical way he assumed that, once resolved, the nature of the resolution would have no bearing on future interactions. Perhaps in that he was naive. He wondered, in that moment, what Ashley Yael, his half-Denobulan friend from the Embassy, would have made of the situation. No doubt he would have laughed himself sick over various species’ hang-ups, given his adoption of his father’s culture. Now there was one of life’s ‘what if’s.:: ::He didn’t know T’Reshik, but from what he had learned he suspected that if she survived he would be seeing her as her Counselor; it would be unethical to be involved with her. And he had no interest in being so; her views on their natural biology clashed strongly with his own, and were probably just the tip of the iceberg. What was important was that she and her views survived; Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. His offer was the logical response to her situation. Still, he was surprised that the ship’s doctors had not made the same.:: :: T’Reshik was silent for a while afterwards, looking down at her hands. The conversation seemed to have calmed her, in one respect, but it was almost as if her anger had been replaced with a kind of resignation. :: T’Reshik: May I have some time to consider this? Saveron: Of course. Your decision is your own. ::Any patient had the right to refuse treatment.:: :: She looked at him. :: T’Reshik: Could I be remanded to my quarters in the meanwhile? ::He met those pained green eyes with a level gaze.:: Saveron: If you will permit ship Security to sweep them first, removing any possible weapons and locking down the professional functions of your console, I can see no logical reason why not. Pending Doctor Milsap’s approval. ::A Vulcan in the grip of the plak-tow might do any number of destructive things, and T’Reshik could not be far from it. Still, regardless of the choice that she made, Saveron did not see why she could not have the comfort of her own quarters.:: T’Reshik: Thank you, Commander. :: She thought for a moment longer, and then her expression changed, closing off again in a determined way, as if corralling her reserves of strength for one final bout of control. :: T’Reshik: If I can be transported directly there, I will not require access to Surya or any manual mobility devices until the condition is resolved - I have a floor-level replicator and console in case of emergencies. Saveron: Direct transport would be logical. ::He agreed.:: T’Reshik: :: Now ensconced in thought again :: I assume you have sufficient upper body strength to assist me should I need to be moved for the purposes of voluntary euthanasia or, er, alternative treatment… you will of course need to administer yourself some kind of contraceptive in that eventuality… and I will require continued access to the ship's medical and recreational databases in order to conduct the required research beforehand. ::She was taking the offer seriously. That was a vast improvement over her previous determination to die for her principles.:: Saveron: To answer your requirements: I can lift three times my own bodyweight in Federation Standard gravity. ::He assured her. He might not be particularly strong for a Vulcan, but he was far stronger than human.:: I have a two-year contraceptive implant with fourteen months remaining, placed by Starfleet Medical, and the civilian console functions will remain active, including database access. ::Still... :: You deem research necessary? T’Reshik: To be candid, Commander, while I possess the relevant theoretical knowledge, I am entirely inexperienced. My marriage was a front for the purposes of illicit scientific collaboration, and as a scientist, I refuse to embark on something like this without extensive preliminary reading. Also, if I choose to accept your offer, we will need to pre-establish some interpersonal boundaries-- :: She stopped suddenly.:: T’Reshik: ::slowly:: What do you intend to tell Doctor Milsap? ::The unexpected revelation was - perhaps fortunately - overridden by the pointed question.:: Saveron: I intend to tell him the facts, as necessary. ::He said simply.:: ::And he intended to ask a few pointed questions, such as why, on a ship with a crew compliment of one thousand, no one had been found to make the same offer.:: ::For a moment it might have looked as if T’Reshik was going to protest, but instead she just narrowed her eyes resentfully.:: T’Reshik: Fine. Are we done? Saveron: Affirmative. ::He bowed and left T’Reshik in peace.::
  23. (( U.S.S. Constitution - Deck 27 - Sol's Office - The Next Day )) :: The previous day had been mentally exhausting for Sol. Directing the resources of a Galaxy-class starship was rather taxing. Still, it was good to take a challenge every so often. Of course that also meant that reports had been piling up on her desk. She took a look at the first PADD that had found its way to her desk and laughed when she found a list of potential problem groups that was known to inhabit the Starbase. :: McLaren: oO Oh... if only I had seen this yesterday... Oo :: she sighed to herself and walked over to the replicator. :: Tea, Earl Grey. Hot. :: The replicator buzzed to life and deposited a mug of tea in front of her. She picked it up and took a sip, before returning to her desk. There was one thing left to complete from her previous day, a comprehensive report for the Captain. Which was sure to take atleast a couple of hours. Sol picked up a blank PADD and began detailing just what had happened the previous day. :: (( Short time skip )) :: Sol thumbed back through her report, skimming it to check that she hadnt missed anything. She had also made sure to note everyone who had stepped up, since it seemed the right thing to do. She smiled, content that everything had been detailed. :: McLaren: Computer, locate Captain Rajel. Computer: Captain Rajel is in her quarters. McLaren: oO Hmm... best not bother her then, she's still probably trying to get some rest. Oo :: She tapped the PADD. :: File report for Captain Rajel and mark as important. :; The computer beeped in compliance and left Sol in silence for the moment. Sol sat, sipping her tea, contemplating just what to do next. With their mission complete, the crew had some shoreleave time. Sol leaned back, wondering just what to do. Hadnt her mother said something about something getting delivered to her quarters? Maybe she should check that out. She stood, and headed out of her office. :: (( Deck 03 - Sol's Quarters )) :: The Box her mother had been talking about was still sitting where it had been left by whomever had delivered it. It was a standard Starfleet storage crate, about the size of a footlocker. Though it looked like it had come from the Starfleet that had existed nearly 100 years prior. Sol knelt and ran her hand over the top surface. 'Sibeal Doyle' was written across the top, along with the person's rank and their last ship. It was as if this had gone straight into storage right after they had left Starfleet. Sol popped the latches and pulled the top off. A small note sat atop the contents of the footlocker. :: :: Sol, We found these things in storage. They belonged to your grandmother. She didnt talk much about what she did in Starfleet, but maybe this will help you get to know her. Love, Mom :: :: Sol smiled, setting the note aside. She moved back the black cloth that had been covering everything, and reached into the box, pulling out an old uniform with the insignia, of what she presumed was, a Lt. Commander pinned on the shoulder strap. The old style Starfleet delta was still pinned on the breast its shiny copper and white colour standing out from the maroon of the uniform's jacket. Sol ran her fingers over the badge, which was from a time before they functioned as communicators, before setting the uniform aside and looking back into the box. A small clear case stood out from everything else for the moment. Inside was an older styled isolinear chip. Sol fished the case out of the box and stood, walking over to her terminal. She popped the chip into it and brought it up on her screen. Log entries were soon listed. Sol tapped the first one, before returning to the box. :: Log: "Sibeal Doyle's Personal Log - Stardate 7823.5 I just receieved my first posting. Im the Intelligence Officer aboard the U.S.S. Kongo NCC-1710, a recently refit Constitution-class ship. I cant imagine she'll be around too much longer, before something bigger and better comes along, but Im excited to finally be out there." :: Sol smiled. Her grandmother sounded quite a lot like her, even down to their choice of position. Though instead of being on one of the smallest ships in the fleet, she was on one of the largest now. :: McLaren: Computer, play another entry. :: The computer beeped, as Sol pulled a small starship model out of the box. It had been carefully packed. It was of a Constitution-class vessel. 'U.S.S. Kongo NCC-1710' was painted on the saucer. The first ship her grandmother had been assigned to. Sol stood and walked over to her desk, setting the model on it, fiddling with it a bit, before deciding a shelf might be a better spot for it. :: Log: "Intelligence Officer's Log - Stardate 8205.9 Captain Rodis' recommendation to Starfleet didn't help. The Excelsior already has an Intelligence Officer aboard so my request for transfer was denied. Captain Rodis felt that was unfair, so he's promoted me to Lt. Commander as well as second officer. As much as I wanted to move to a bigger and better ship, the Kongo has been my home for the past 7 years and I'm grateful to the Captain for trusting me as much as he has. Its not official yet, but my next log will be in my new position." :: Sol hadnt realized that her grandmother had been around during the more relaxed days of Starfleet. She frowned slightly, wishing she could have gotten to actually know her grandmother. It sounded as if her grandmothers time aboard the Kongo had been eventful, but she had been looking to move up, something Sol was unfamiliar with. Sol sat at her computer, looking at the little model that now inhabited an empty portion of her bookshelf, wonder just what that ship had been like. :: McLaren: Computer, access personnel records for Lt. Commander Sibeal Doyle. And play the another log log. :: The computer again beeped, and Sol glanced at the screen, and found herself startled at the image that had greeted her. It was almost like looking in a mirror. She had seen pictures of her grandmother before but never when she had been young. The face the looked back at her from the screen had the same red eyes that she did, and the same white hair. And a look that was unnerving, almost like she was looking right into her soul. She idly wondered if that was how people saw her. She scrolled through the file as the log played. :: Log: "Second Officer's Log - Stardate 9521.8 The latest briefs from Starfleet Intelligence came through earlier. They confirmed what I heard from Excelsior's intelligence officer. Praxis is gone. Starfleet is scrambling to put together a plan to deal with what they call "the Klingon problem". Captain Rodis has put the Kongo on high alert... Our proximity to the Klingon border makes us a tempting target. I can only hope that things dont devolve into all out war here. I dont enjoy the idea of combat with the Klingons." :: Sol raised an eyebrow. She wasnt much of a history person, but she knew of the Praxis incident. She sat back and wondered just what else her grandmother had gotten up to about that little ship so long ago. :: :: Sol leaned back in her chair, looking at the screen in front of her. It still displayed hey grandmothers service record. She had been involved in some pretty major events, even if only tangentially. :: McLaren: Computer, play next log entry. :: Sol stood, and wandered back over to the box of her grandmother's things, kneeling down again. :: Log: "Second Officer's Log - Stardate 9528.5 The Kongo and Republic have been chosen to provide security for the upcoming conference. As senior Intelligence officer between the two ships, its my job to brief both Captains Rodis and Zimmerman on the true nature of this mission... we are protecting one of the potential meeting sites, but we wont know if our site is the real one until the conference begins. Intelligence is taking this seriously, for once. Peace with the Klingons is an important thing for the Alpha Quadrant, especially after what happened a few months ago. If this goes well it could usher in a new era of peace in our quadrant." :: The Khitomer Conference. Probably one of the most important times in the Federation's history. Everyone knew about the Enterprise's involvement in making sure the conference occurred, but Sol doubt very much that people knew the names of the other ships that made it all possible. Peace with the Klingons was brokered, and her grandmother had been right, it had ushered a new era of peace in the quadrant. Sol gently pulled out a small case from the box and popped it open, finding some of her grandmothers service ribbons. She ran her hands over them, stopping on a rather non-descript one that just displayed the insignias of both the Federation and the Klingon Empire on a simple black background, and small plate below it simply stated 'Khitomer Decoy'. Sol smiled, while her grandmother hadnt been at Khitomer, her ship had served to obscure the real location. Sol closed the case and set it back into the box. These were not her awards, but she would keep them safe. :: McLaren: Play another log entry. :: Sol sifted through the box again, pulling out a picture, taken on the bridge of the Kongo. It was clear this was the senior staff, including her grandmother. A small caption was engraved on the bottom portion of the frame; 'The final flight of the Kongo.' No one looked sad about that fact though. :: Log: "Second Officer's Log - Stardate 9715.9 The Kongo has been tasked with studying a rare spacial anomaly that passed through the Sol System a week ago. I find myself conflicted, while studying anomalies is what Starfleet is all about, as far as a last mission goes, its pretty dull. Still the Kongo is an aging ship, full of her own problems. For a Constitution-class, she's lasted quite a long time. I've served as her intelligence officer for 15 years, and been her second officer for of 8 those years. She's seen her fair share of fighting, but its time for a new ship to take her place, with a new crew. I've heard rumors that Starfleet is constructing a new Kongo... an Excelsior-class, maybe they'll send me there... but it'll never be quite the same as this Kongo." :: Sol smiled. The Kongo had been her grandmother home for a long time. It surprised her just how long though, because she herself had already been through 2 ships. :: McLaren: oO I guess it stands to reason that since Starfleet was smaller back then people wouldnt switch ships as often. Oo :: Sol stood and found a place for the picture. She then strolled over to her terminal, and found that the chip only contained one more log entry. She tapped it. :: Log: "First Officer's Log - Stardate 9824.4 The rumors were true. Starfleet has commissioned a new U.S.S. Kongo, NCC-1710-A. She's an Excelsior-class, so she packs a bit more of a punch than my old ship and is much much larger. Much of the crew from the old Kongo were reassigned elsewhere, but a few of us were reassigned to this new one. I guess Starfleet was pleased with my service aboard the previous Kongo, they made me first officer, with Captain Rodis' recommendation. Even though he's retired now, its nice to know he still thinks highly of me. I'm due on the bridge in a few minutes, we're getting ready to leave spacedock for Oby VI. We're bringing a scientific and medical team to help contain an outbreak of plasma plague there. A fitting first mission for a new ship." :: A new ship. A new position. Sol smiled. Her grandmother had gone from Intelligence Officer on an outdated starship to first officer of one of the most powerful Starfleet vessels of its time. Sol moved back to the box, wondering just what she would find now. She gently pulled out another carefully wrapped object, and unwrapped it, laughing to herself. If she hadnt known any better, she would have thought the box was purposely put together by her mother. She turned the model starship over in her hands. The Excelsior class had gone through one major change throughout its life time, and this model displayed one of the latter types. It, like the Constitution model before it, had 'U.S.S. Kongo' painted on the hull, but with the registry amended with the letter 'A' signifying that it was the second starship to bear the name. There was only one place this ship could go. Sol stood and placed it next to the other model. :: McLaren: oO Hmmm... I wonder why this stuff was what she kept. Oo :: Sol returned to her chair, looking at the opened box from afar. Her grandmother was still displayed on the screen behind her. Why had she saved these things in particular? Sol scanned the objects she had placed around her room, the Uniform that sat on the edge of the box, the two ship models, and the picture of her grandmothers last mission aboard the original Kongo. In a lot of ways, her grandmother sounded like her, not just vocally, but in her career direction. But there was a major difference, Sol didnt want to move up. Her rank didnt matter. Or did it? She had enjoyed the previous day, not so much the events that had occurred, but the things she had to do. Maybe she should consider just where she wanted to be in the future. Sol glanced up at the ceiling. Had her grandmother gone through this exact same discussion? Where did she want to be? Maybe full command of a starship wasnt for her, but what about first officer? No. Maybe not for a long while, but Second officer seemed a reasonable goal, and she could still keep her position as an intelligence officer since a second officer traditionally held another position on the ship. Sol stood and made her way into her bedroom, looking at herself in the mirror. The black of her uniform's collar clashed against her pale skin. She found herself wondering just what she would look like in red instead of black. Maybe that would be something to talk to the Captain about, in addition to filing her requisition for that new shuttle. ::
  24. ((Skyfire’s Quarters, USS Za)):: It had seemed like forty eight hours since his conversation with Lael about nightmares. He was in between getting off work and getting ready for bed, just out of the shower when he heard a familiar chirp from his badge. He pulled on some sweat pants before going to answer it. ::Alexander: =/\= Alexander to Skyfire. =/\=Skyfire: :: He sighed and tapped his badge to reply. :: =/\= Go ahead, Dassa. =/\=Alexander: =/\=You and I need to have a little chat.=/\=Skyfire: oO Oh boy… Oo =/\= A’right. Ah’ll make the tea. =/\=:: He wasn’t looking forward to a ribbing from Dassa, but after the last conversation it didn’t seem like he had much choice. It was going to be a long and drawn out conversation, he was sure. He got out a couple tea cups and a pot of tea when he heard the chime. ::::She arrived quickly, having been waiting almost an hour for him to finish his shift, and pressed her thumb to the doorchime.::Skyfire: Enter.Alexander: ::steps inside, pinning him with a harsh stare:: She told me everything.:: He had poured one cup of tea before noticing the stare hot enough to melt glaciers. ::Skyfire: Alright...why are you mad at me?::Dassa sighed. She was frustrated in general, really. Lael was miserable. She didn’t need an empathic connection with the woman to see that.::Alexander: She’s miserable, Chythar. Surely you can see that.Skyfire: Aye, but it’s nae my fault! She came tae me with nightmares last night and ah helped her through it. Ah was nae expectin’ there to be a crush on me involved.Alexander: ::grimaces:: The way she tells it, it’s more complicated than that.:: He nodded. That meant she knew about the connection, then. ::Skyfire: Aye. She told you about that too, ah’m guessing...similar to what she had with you, but stronger. Final levels: T4/E4.Alexander: ::grimaces:: She’s trying to play it off, like usual.Skyfire: Again, nae my fault. :: He poured the other cup of tea and took a sip of his as he motioned to the empty space on the couch. ::Alexander: ::sighs and sits down:: I know it’s not. You didn’t ask for this any more than she did. ::grimaces:: I should have never let go...and this wouldn’t be happening.:: He sipped his tea, taking a long swallow of it and savoring its flavor to stall for time. Once he had finished it, he decided to address the frustration which seemed to be radiating off her. ::Skyfire: Just the situation, then and not me specifically?Alexander: ::grimaces:: I can only guess how hard this must be for her. I’ve been on the other side of the equation.Skyfire: Any tips?Alexander: ::grins wryly:: Not really. I mean, you saw how unsuccessfully I dealt with it. Jealous at every turn. ::shudders:::: He closed his eyes and nodded, taking another sip of his tea. He still felt tense, and kind of terrible. But, his shields were up and he was doing his best to keep Lael from the effects. He was silent and contemplative for several moments. ::Alexander: ::smiles wanly:: I wish I had a solution. But all you can do is ride it out and try not to pour salt in the proverbial wound.:: He nodded again and exhaled slowly, letting himself breathe before taking another sip of tea. ::::She laid her hand on top of his.::Alexander: As hard as it is to believe right now, everything will turn out.:: He set his mug back on the table and worried his lip for a moment. ::Skyfire: Did she tell you about the onboard approximation to an expert on the matter?:: He was referring to Somlen, but he was curious just how much Dassa was told about his conversation with Lael the previous night. ::::Dassa’s features softened and she nodded. It had been like pulling teeth, but she’d gotten more details than she’d hoped for. Lael was an immensely private person and the only reason she’d been privy to the details from the other ‘verse is because of their empathic bond.::Skyfire: Ah still haven’t come to a decision…Alexander: I wish I could be of more help in that area, too, but I’m still struggling to get a rein on controlling my emotions. ::grimaces:: Since the surgery, I’ve been without my anchor. I’m so used to having Lael in my head to help me deal.:: He didn’t know how to answer her. None of his connections, save for Alex, were on the ship. Truth be told, they weren’t anchors either, the connections just existed. Instead of formulating a response, he had another sip of tea and ran his fingers deftly over the tags again. ::Alexander: ::sighs:: You and Lael both...you know how to get yourselves into some serious messes.Skyfire: :: flippantly :: Come off it...ah didnae as to be on the away missions when stuff exploded and required yeh to do the surgery thing…Alexander: ::pauses:: What’s going on...it is just one sided, isn’t it?Skyfire: Not that ah ken of. Ah feel her all the time….and ah’ve been putting in extra effort to shield.Alexander: ::shakes her head:: That’s not what I meant.:: He raised a brow. ::Skyfire: Elaborate, please?Alexander: ::pauses:: What Lael feels for you…:: On the one hand, he was with Alex and happy. On the other hand, Lael was one of his best friends and losing her would cause a degree of pain he wasn’t sure he knew how to handle. How it pertained to Dassa though was unknown. ::Skyfire: She’s one of my best friends. Almost like the little sister ah never had.::Dassa grimaced. Hearing it out loud sealed it. There was no way out of this for Lael but through it. It would be painful...possibly a repeat of what she’d been through with Jansen. Dassa only hoped that the breaking of their connection wouldn’t make it harder for her to help her.:::: He watched her expression, his own stoic and curious. Why she was so damn interested in something that he couldn’t clearly explain, he had no idea. ::Alexander: ::pauses:: You have no idea, do you?Skyfire: Please, enlighten me. :: He wasn’t trying to be flippant, but this conversation had not provided any enlightenment so far. ::Alexander: Imagine what you feel for Alex. Multiply it by two and add that to what Lael already felt for you before this whole thing. That’s what she’s dealing with.:: He managed to keep the surprise off his face, but not out of his muscles as they tensed up. Now he was just trying to make it through the conversation. He didn’t really have a response to that. Again, not his fault… but still disconcerting. ::Alexander: She’s trying to sort through all of that to figure out what her feelings are. ::grins wryly:: With the strength of your connection, I’m surprised you haven’t gotten a blast of it.Skyfire: Remember the part where ah said ah was putting in extra effort to shield? Far as ah ken, it works both ways.Alexander: ::sighs:: I guess she’s been more open with me. I had to meditate nightly when she and I were still connected to sort through things.:: He understood that all too well. He meditated nightly because he had to in order to keep ahold of his gifts, not just because of the emotional connections he formed with Sal, Alex and Ris. Now, with this added connection, and the extra effort he had been putting in as a precaution more for himself, it was more mandatory than ever. Again, instead of answering, he gave a nod. ::::Dassa regarded him for a few moments, not sure what else she could say. She’d come here in hopes of helping her friends, but it seemed all she’d done is make things worse.::Skyfire: What are you after, Dassa? Ah barely understand what the hell happened.Alexander: I was only trying to help. ::grimaces:: She’s really hurting and without our connection, I don’t have a way to help. She’s sealed herself off from me completely. She won’t talk to Anjar, Leya, or Michael either.Skyfire: And our chat did….not help, ah’m guessin’.:: None of the names she rattled off rang any bells, except Anjar. He continued listening, though. ::Alexander: ::grimaces:: She hasn’t talked to me since just after the surgery...not really. I finally had a bit of a breakthrough earlier tonight, but she still won’t let me inside her head. I’m only relaying what she’s told me...and what I know from experience.:: Trapped between a rock and a hard place, he was. The rock being the fact he was in a committed relationship with Alex, the hard place being the fact Lael’s harboring feelings for him beyond that of a simple crush. ::Skyfire: Ah’m not sure what else to say, really.Alexander: ::murmurs:: Me either.:: He sipped the last of his drink in silence, breaking eye contact and feeling confused. On the one hand, he didn’t want to cause more harm than he had already. On the other, he didn’t want to complicate his relationship with Alex any further than it already was. This just...it was a new dimension to their next conversation he had to have. ::Alexander: ::sighs:: I’m worried about her, Chythar. Just when she was starting to get past things with Jansen, this had to come up.Skyfire: Doesn’t make me feel any better either, lass. Ah’m worried about her too, but ah’m only human. Nothin’ much ah can say tae make this better. Even Lazarus has limitations.::Dassa nodded, her gaze dropping to her hands. She missed Tobian most in moments like this.:::: He was silent again, keeping his gaze on the teacup. His body was still tense, and he was now wordless. Completely. He had a couple friends he couldn’t help at the moment because he wasn’t made of magic. ::---PNPC LtJG Dassa Alexander, PD, PDSMedical OfficerUSS ZaI238110RH0&Lieutenant Chythar SkyfireMedical OfficerUSS ZaO239002CS0
  25. ((Deck 7, Shayne and Pond’s Quarters, USS Atlantis)) ::Something was bothering the love of his life.:: ::Shayne’s back complained insistently as he hefted yet another box from the towering stack that still remained in his and Pond’s shared quarters aboard the Atlantis . It never seemed to diminish. They’d been at it for hours, but there was always another collection of things to move, place, or shove forcefully out of the way. Such tedium would normally be demoralizing, but then he would remember the reason for this extra labor, and he would lose his rancor immediately. After all, Isa needed her stuff moved in as well, and Shayne was only too happy to oblige.:: ::As he observed her, however, it was clear that she was troubled. She had the look of someone wondering how to best broach a difficult subject. They didn’t normally have issues discussing anything. Secrets were not conducive to romances. Besides that, she seemed highly uncomfortable. She’d look at him when she thought he couldn’t see, and dart her eyes away as if caught in the middle of an uncouth act. He hadn’t seen her this disconcerted since their relatively recent visit to her family on Trill. ((Flashback 1, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill)) ::Shayne stood in dismay as Isabel disappeared up the stairs, leaving the helmsman alone with her parents. Not even in his worst nightmares had he imagined something like this happening. And now he was left alone to maneuver the treacherous nor’easter of meeting the girlfriend's parents for the first time.:: Raffa: Isn’t she lovely… I am Raffa, and that’s… Kylani: ::interrupting:: I’m Kylani, very nice to meet you. ::What an odd couple. They seemed well paired, if not slightly adversarial. Raffa seemed content to render Kylani into the shadows, but Kylani herself was not nearly as ready to allow Raffa to relegate her to a corner.:: Shayne: Randal Shayne- a pleasure to meet you. Kylani: Can I offer you something refreshing? ::Alcohol- at least at this juncture- would be a dreadful idea. He never touched the stuff when his wits were needed, and in this most delicate situation, wits were the only thing that could help end this evening quickly and decently.:: Shayne: Erm, water would be lovely- ::Kylani immediately turned and headed into the kitchen area. Perhaps she was one of those exceptionally energetic people.:: Raffa: So you’re from Earth, right? We lived for a long time there, before Kylani got pregnant. Hence Isabel’s name… I guess you’re in Starfleet, too, aren’t you? Where else would Isa met someone like you… ((End Flashback)) ::He shivered at the unfortunate memories, and again turned his attention to Isabel. As she put down another box and straightened her spine, Shayne gently took hold of her hand and looked her in the eye, curious and kind.:: Shayne: Babe, is there something you want to talk about? ::Maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t. But this surely was not any of these matters where one could ask to talk about it. It was much too delicate and too important. One had to voluntarily reveal the opinion of it to be strictly truthful, of that Isabel was sure.:: Pond: Uhm, not really. But I sure hope that nickname isn’t going to stick. ::He hid his embarrassment with a smile. Pond wasn’t the type for cute, silly nicknames, and Shayne had forgotten that in his haste to comfort her against something that wasn’t there.:: Shayne: Absolutely not. ::He continued his unboxing with his face bright red, but still grinning. Something was on her mind.:: ::After the matter was settled without coming to any conclusive results about what it was that Isabel bothered, the Trill tried some careful advances from her side.:: Pond: ::casually:: What were you thinking about? Shayne: The dinner with your parents. I still have nightmares. ::Shaking his head.:: You remember it? Pond: ::laughing, emptily:: Of course I remember. My dad had known you for ten seconds and already almost blurted out the most embarrassing story of my later youth… ::Too late Isabel realised that Randal probably had already forgotten about that. After all, Raffa had barely been able to start with that before her storming off to the upper floor.:: ::He cringed anew as the memories swept through him. Just once, violating the temporal prime directive didn’t sound so appalling- he might be able to redo the dinner.:: Shayne: I was really trying to forget about that… ::There was a way of getting out of it once again, presenting itself. It probably would have been better to get things cleared out right there, who knew what Randal was imagining. However, clearly he wasn’t interested in doing that and Isabel moved on.:: Pond: Oh common, it was nothing. ::laughing:: And it was not the only story that evening that nobody wanted to hear! ((Flashback 2, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill)) ::After a while, Isabel returned downstairs. She felt quite bad for leaving Shayne that abruptly with her parents alone, but her father’s comment had been just too much. Now, she had calmed down over the nice view of the bay from the bedroom and was ready to face whatever monstrosities her dad’s humour would have in store for her.:: ::She found them at the kitchen table. Randal had somehow acquired himself a glass of water while her parents were drinking bajoran wine, as always. The father was just telling some stories from his time on earth, which surely would lead (after a considerable amount of time) to the time when he would meet Kylani, getting married and probably even conceiving Isabel.:: Raffa: … I lived in a district near London, called “Caldwell”. You know, it is one of these places that is in a constant cycle of being considered a bad neighborhood, becoming a place to be and then fall back again. Naturally over a couple of decades, of course. When I arrived, doing the last semester of engineering school on a foreign world, it was just on the brink. Not that bad anymore, but still cheap. Can you believe it, my buddy moving in across the street paid five times as much just three years later! Five times! ::Raffa shook his head, as if he was believing his own exaggerations: ::Shayne applied every scrap of will power toward keeping eye contact with the rambling Trill. He could barely stand to listen to this tirade while Isa was secluded upstairs, the result of Raffa’s insensitive words. But in the pursuit of propriety, he’d wait until she appeared again. After that, he didn’t know what he’d do. It rather depended on Isa’s bearing.:: Shayne: ::Giving an empty smile.:: There’s something to be said for financial prudence. Raffa: It was at the graduation party half a year later when I’ve met this young woman over here, just a freshman at the most renowned law schools in the area, but… ::Isabel made as loud of an entrance as possible, shuffling some glasses around while getting herself something to drink.:: ::He jerked up, delighted to see that Isabel had reappeared. Her storming away in a huff made him realize just how deeply her father’s words had stung, and until know, he didn’t know if she’d return at all. But it appeared that she had found some sort of inner peace. That was just as well- now Shayne would have someone to share the torment with.:: Pond: Dad, don’t bore my boyfriend with the whole story, that is no way to behave on the first day. Raffa: ::mocking:: At least better than abandoning him after 30 seconds, mind you. Shayne: ::Unable to stop the thought from crossing his mind.:: oO Oh, shut up, you insensitive fool! You’re the one who drove her away! Oo ::Raffa glanced at his daughter, obviously judging if there was a chance for her to take the bait a second time. But she appeared to be all calmed down now. However, there was still a slight pause which had to be filled.:: ::Shayne was furious, but he didn’t like the way Raffa was looking at his daughter. No matter how much he’d like to loosen the grip on his emotional reins, he knew he had to try and keep focused.:: Shayne: You...were telling me about your marriage. ::If there was one thing he’d learned from this whole mess, it was that Raffa enjoyed speaking. At great length. Whether he wanted him to or not.:: Raffa: ::With a sigh:: Ah well, it is such a lovely story how we were getting married… ((End Flashback)) ::Of course, the had been no way to stop Isabel’s father to tell the story anyway. Isabel had to be contented with the mere satisfaction of forcing him to tell the second or third shortest variant.:: ::At that point, Isabel had an idea that could lure Randal out into the open. It involved some truth bending on how much she liked that story herself, though.:: Pond: It is a lovely story though, isn’t it? ::He looked at his girlfriend, aghast. What had she said? How could she like the story? She actively encouraged her father to tell the abridged version. He could see his loathing for the whole thing reflected in her eyes. What did she mean?:: Shayne: ::Chuckling to voice his confusion.:: No. It bored the both of us to tears- you remember that. Pond: Ah well, you remember that, too. ::only slightly getting off track:: But it is about love and passion and after all, I have never seen anybody that happily married. Shayne: Well, I suppose it had its moments. Are you talking about something specifically? Pond: Uh noo, not at all. ::Slight pause, then an excited outbreak:: Hey, do you remember the next embarrassing thing? ::now realising that excitement was the wrong emotion, Isabel changed it to something more appropriate.:: We must have won an award back then… ::Shayne cringed as his thoughts continued upon their treacherous, torturous stroll down memory lane…:: ((Flashback 3, a few months ago, Pond residence, Leran Manev, Trill)) Raffa: So, Mr Shayne, how long did you say you and Isa are together? I am afraid our daughter is not very industrious while writing letters. ::Isabel gave him a crooked smile, which was her way to take that as a compliment.:: Shayne: Oh, um… it’s been some time. Bordering on a couple of years now, wouldn’t you say? ::Looking at Isa.:: Raffa: Wow, that’s about the time when it gets serious! So when are you planning to marry her? ::His daughter’s eyes went from “I have everything under control” to “and what’s my saying in that?” within a moment, but her mother was quicker on the response.:: ::Shayne’s eyes bugged out at Raffa’s statement. This wasn’t possible. Why was he facing this? Why couldn’t Isabel’s parent be more sensitive? Most fathers- in his painfully- were quite protective of their daughters, and would study any suitors quite carefully. Now this man was complaining at him for not tying the knot already.:: Shayne: ::To the universe:: oO You are having far too much fun at my expense. Oo Kylani: Darling, remember what we said about approaching sensitive things slowly? ::laughing friendly, now explaining to Shayne:: You know, just because we hit it off right away, he always thinks it must be like that with everyone else. ::again to her husband:: They’re still very young, they have all the time in the world. ::If it weren’t for Kylani, he didn’t know what he’d do. She seemed quite sensible, understanding, polite and sensitive- everything Raffa wasn’t. It was refreshing to be reminded that civility still existed in some capacity.:: Raffa: ::jokingly upset:: Young? My baby girl is… uhm… is 26 already… Pond: ::whispering, happily upsetting her father even more:: Twenty-Seven ::Shayne’s shoulders dropped even lower.:: Raffa: 27! ::to Randal:: You know, if we had been you, our oldest one had already been walking at this point! Shayne: oO I doubt it, sir! You would talk him to death long before that could happen! Oo ::Isabel crunched some numbers, leaving her forehead in wrinkles. They really did not add up the way her father was thinking they would.:: Shayne: ::Temple throbbing painfully.:: Well, I guess we’re not there yet. ::Isabel had enough at that point and decided to step in and try to move the conversation to a different topic.:: Pond: You know, enough of that, we’ll figure the right moment out, am I right? ::The sentiment earned his wholehearted support. And as he considered, he realized this was just a minor irritation. At the end of the day, he still had her.:: ((End Flashback)) ::Isabel smiled and glanced at Randal, judging if he had noticed the convenient point where she had ended her recollection of the events she had been talking about.:: Pond: I guess you have to understand my father, he surely was just making up for all the years he wasn’t able to tease me and for all the ones lying ahead of us. ::Now he was more sure than ever that something was going on. Something that Isabel was hoping he would notice as well. But what? For such a perceptive creature, he felt exceptionally thick at the moment.:: ::Isabel cuddled a little closer to her boyfriend, both in anticipation of these years and as a sign for him that she was indeed ready to take these on seriously.:: Shayne: ::Eyebrow raised.:: Well, your father has a way with words. But I guess I can accept that. And nothing is going to spoil my joy of the many years lying ahead. ::Embracing Isabel back.:: ::And then a horrible, flimsy wisp of thought came to the forefront of his mind, and a moment’s consideration expanded it so that he could focus on nothing else. The painful recollections about stories regarding marriage, Isabel’s poignant comments…:: ::Was she talking about getting married?:: ::The whole world stopped. Absolute joy and terror seethed in his heart. Did she want to? Well, she always said she wanted a family some day. He’d never really considered the implications of that desire. Sheer exhilaration coursed through his veins. What did he say? Should he ask to clarify? Should he pursue the topic? Should he run and hide? All of these things sounded quite good at that moment.:: ::Being tightly locked in an embrace, Isabel definitely felt a change in Randal’s posture. Some muscles definitely were contracted which normally wouldn’t be in this situation. For a moment, names in an old language flowed through the doctor’s mind, the ones the humans had decided that their muscles should have. Even though painstakingly learned in med school, she remembered only the Trill ones.:: ::Maybe thanks to that silly overflow, she wasn’t quite able to grasp that this reaction most likely meant that he had finally understood. This failure in recognition led to her continue beating around the bush.:: Pond: I have no doubts about that! You don’t want anything to change, do you? ::Her endeavour was tricky. She wanted to find out if Randal was ready yet. It didn’t came to her mind that he could not want to get married, it was just that he sometimes could be just a bit too pleased with the things how they are. To find the answer for that question, which could only be “yes” or “later”, was actually the easy part. She could wait, no problem. Not too long, but she could. What Isabel actually was afraid of was that he would take all that banter as a prompt to propose. That would be a problem, because it was a moment, which had to be perfect, maybe even more so than the actual wedding day. And the only way she could make sure that it would be exactly as she imagined it was to do it herself.:: Shayne: ::Now thoroughly convinced that she was speaking of marriage.:: Well, not for the present. Aren’t things, you know...good the way they are? ::He said that while cringing inside, desperate to not offend the love of his life. If he was wrong about what she was talking about, it could lead to a huge miscommunication, a possibly a larger argument. What if she wasn’t satisfied with the way things were? Was that why she was bringing this up? Already he could see conflict.:: Pond: Yeah sure… ::looking the other way, out of the window:: Sure they are. END Lieutenant Randal Shayne Helmsman/Ops officer USS Atlantis NCC 74682 G239202RS0 and Lt Isabel Pond Medical Officer USS Atlantis D239212IP0
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