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  1. ((Sickbay)) ::Jen sank heavily into the chair behind her desk. She cracked then flexed her knuckles to ease the stiffness out of them from holding the delicate instruments that she had been using to repair some of the damage done to Davies eyes.:: ::She sighed, and using her arms as a pillow, rested her head atop her desk:: ::As Zonhar finally made his way to sickbay, carrying the small box of goodies he had brought specifically to help cheer up the good doctor, he couldn’t help but be more than a little worried about her and how she was holding up. Though he had only made her acquaintance the one previous time before, she had actually been one of the few members of the crew who had not gone literally running at full speed as far away from him as possible (or else in the case of T’lea literally run him off the ship!). He wanted to make sure she was holding up ok, and that he could do what he could to alleviate some of her stress and concerns.:: ::Walking through sickbay he quickly made his way to her office and was about to knock when he saw Dr. Malcolm with her head in her arms atop her desk. Almost thinking he should come back another time, he decided speaking to her would still be best and lightly wrapped his knuckles on the door frame.:: Zonhar: Excuse me Doctor, I hope I’m not disturbing you too badly. ::She raised her eyes, then sat up quickly. She knew this meeting had been coming, but thankfully she’d been so busy tending to Davies that she’d had little time to think about it.:: Malcolm: No, come in. ::She watched him move into the room and thought about the last time she’d spoken with a counselor. It had been under orders during a stay at Starfleet Medical.:: Zonhar: Thank you Dr. Malcolm...it has been a while...May I call you Jen? My visit here believe it or not is every bit as personal as it is professional. ::Smiling at her gently, and walking over to her desk he placed the box on her desk in front of her.:: And I come bearing gifts. ::She spared the box a quick glance:: Malcolm: Thank you. Have a seat. And yes, please call me Jen. Zonhar: Thank you Jen. ::He sat down lightly and rubbed his hands on his legs rubbing his muscles slightly. The Avandar was a much larger ship and he had been making quite the circuit of it lately in attempts to learn every nook and cranny that he could, and of course to give himself much needed respite from his time spent with Li’ainea. He loved her dearly but it would take time for him to get used to having his mate so close to him again. Pushing those thoughts aside however he focused on Dr. Malcolm, with calm sympathetic eyes, knowing from her file and previous life experiences that today would have been a very challenging day for her indeed.:: Zonhar: I hope you will like what is in the box...I think i must have raided the Mess Hall for every known type of apple that they possibly had. Mackintosh has to be one of my favorites...hopefully there won’t be any cores left in the box. ::He chuckled:: ::Jen opened the lid of the box and the aroma of fresh apples filled the room, instantly reminding her of home. A smile found its way to her lips at his thoughtfulness:: Malcolm: Thank you, that’s very kind of you. ::She took one out and set it on her desk. There was a joke scratching at the back of her mind about this being an attempt to keep her away, but she couldn’t muster the humor to actually say it:: ::As if reading her thoughts, Zonhar knew himself the old joke about keeping the doctor away as she placed the apple onto the desks surface. He knew that she must be very weary, but thought it best to slowly help her unwind before asking any of the really deep questions. Sometimes it was much more effective with patients to let them speak about things in their own time, than to consistently badger them to death, even he knew that. oOThough badgering is so effective sometimes, but not such when you have such kind-hearted patients.Oo :: Zonhar: And before you mention it...no I am not trying to keep you away, good Doctor. ::light chuckle:: Quite the contrary...I just knew how much you seemed to love apples on our first meeting, and with all your hard work and struggles you’ve had to endure just since coming aboard the Avandar again...I just thought it would be a small gesture to help show how important you are and how much all of us are thankful to always be in your capable hands. ::Jen cracked her knuckles again and nodded.:: Malcolm: So, could we proceed with what you wanted to ask me? ::Though he’d only been in her office for about two minutes, every second that prolonged the inevitable was just increasing her suspense:: ::Zonhar nodded:: Zonhar: Of course, Jen. Not meaning to draw things out. Of course I know today’s events had to be especially traumatic for you. Davies was a close colleague and friend was he not? One of your own? ::She laid her hands on her desk to keep herself from repeatedly cracking her knuckles.:: Malcolm: Yes, it’s hard to seeing him like this. ::She looked up at him:: And, the situation reminded me of one I was put in a long time ago. Zonhar: I have read your file. I was quite certain it had. I know that the situation today must have really brought a lot of painful memories and feelings back to the surface. I could tell you were rather shaken eariler, though you have always managed to put up a rather professional face to those around you Jen. But right now...at least here with me, you don't have to have your guard up. I’m not here to send you to a locked room because you had a hard time seeing a close friend suffer so while having to rush to save his life. ::Pausing slightly:: Zonhar: I know those in our line of work are supposed to almost be impartial and objective individuals in the face of some cold realities, but the truth is...you are only human. And even I have had many a time where I got too close to a patient because I genuinely cared for the outcome. It is natural. And actually should be what drives us to be in these professions anyways. ::She looked across the desk at him, wondering if he expected a response from her. Maybe to agree with him? As there hadn’t been any sort of a question from him, she kept silent, thinking. It took her a while to start speaking, and when she did, it was slowly:: Malcolm:: folding her hands:: So, you’ve read my file and know I was under a counselor’s care at Starfleet medical for a while... ::She squeezed her eyes closed. Working on Davies reminded her so much of the operation she’d preformed on Jonno, who would later become her husband, the operation she’d been unable to finish, the one that had her questioning herself whether or not she was still fit to be a doctor. She picked up the apple from her desk and clasped it in her hands:: Malcolm: It took me a long time to get my confidence back. ::She took her eyes from the apple and looked up at him::: I worry that one day everything I’ve worked back up in myself is going to come crashing down again. ::It had happened once, after all:: ::Zohnar nodded at her words, sizing up everything that Jen said to him. He could certainly relate to her on many levels, perhaps for even graver reasons than hers. After all...she had never had a patient wield a scalpel on her in desperation because she had pushed too hard. He knew how long it had taken for his own confidence and vigor to return to him, and even now he still carried the same “scars” with him. He straightened up in his chair, and crossing his arms, looking at a point just to the left of Jen focusing on his thoughts more and the right words to say to her.:: ::Suddenly when it had seemed like the silence was about to become awkward, finally an idea “struck him” much the way as it had the man in his story that he wished to relate to the good Dr. Malcolm.:: Zonhar: Tell me Jen...by way of arriving at a rightful and proper point of reasoning and insight...can you tell me the reason why, that fruit in your hands is unquestionably of superior reigning importance out of all the fruits on your homeworld of Earth? ::She let her fingers fall from the apple and looked at him in confusion:: Malcolm: Huh? I mean, what? Zonhar: What I am meaning to say dearest Dr. is the reason the apple is the most important fruit in all of human history, is exactly the same reason you are such a vital and fully capable doctor in your own right. For, as you will remember...it was the supposed apple that fell upon sir Issac Newton’s head one day that struck him and instantly formed in his mind the very concepts of gravity. Which would only later fuel all his other great works as the Father of Physics. ::He paused letting his words sink in a bit.:: Zonhar: But in order to understand that importance of that single moment, and to understand your own life in a more positive uplifting light, we must examine that very self thing which is quite literally...the apple of your eye. ::Smiling he reached over and plucked a big golden apple from the box:: Jen...what do you personally love about apples? Why do you enjoy them so? ::She narrowed her eyes, uncertain about his line of reasoning:: Malcolm: They taste good. And they remind me of home. Zonhar: Yes, they are quite lovely, a very luscious and thirst quenching type of fruit I have always found. You say it reminds you of home. Tell me, I bet you have picked fresh apples many many times have you not? ::She shook her head:: Malcolm: Yes, plenty. I’m sorry, counsellor, what’s your point? Zonhar: My point, Jen...is that youve witnessed and been apart of the very parable many times in your life that you have actually displayed with your very life up until this point. Allow me to explain. You know as well as any, apples come in all manner of lovely hues. And I’m sure there is a certain splendor at seeing an apple tree blossoming and preparing to bear fruit. But no one, not even you would care very much for them if they were always meant to be up there in the tree. So luscious and inviting, so full of good things, and yet...unwilling to drop. :: He held the apple up to the light gesturing with it as he spoke:: Zonhar: You see, Jen...all apples must fall, or be actively plucked from the comfort of their branches. But even in their fall it is what happens to them that makes all the difference. Apples, after all, are very valuable to most people...and whether they are eagerly plucked or quickly rescued from the ground...most don’t waste anytime at making so many wondrous things with them. It’s only the ones who stay on the ground, which never budge, that actively rot and waste away and become of no use. And you, Jen...are an apple. A very luscious apple...and it is true...that once in your life you did suffer a great fall. And you were shaken. This is true. But Jen...if you will look at your actions today..I am here to tell you, that you rose to the occasion. You have become Newton’s Inspiration...or rather...the very self same gravity that holds us all together when our lives and dreams are on the line. ::She sighed and put her apple back into the box:: Malcolm: That’s a nice story, Zohnar. ::She smiled at him::: And I appreciate what you’re saying. But, while today was hard for me, and it’s not over being hard, I’m not unhappy with the way I conducted myself. It just brought up memories that I’d rather not have to think about. But, I was able to put them aside and do my job. Zonhar: As I am sure you were. As I would have always expected you had. I actually did not come her with any intention of telling you that you did not live up to your role. Instead, I came to encourage you and say you did exemplary, you acted swiftly, delicately and decisively under circumstances that a less experienced doctor might have fumbled. But, because you did what you did...your friend is still alive and breathing because of you. It will be a difficult road ahead for him, I’m sure. But Jen...trust me when I say...anyone on board the Avandar will be very thankful to have you as Chief Medical Officer. You have definitely earned it. Malcolm: Thank you, Zonhar. ::Her eyes traveled past him out into the main area of Sickbay:: How is Ensign Gray? Zonhar: ::Zonhar cleared his throat slightly:: He is...remarkably composed. He did not appear to be as phased by it as anyone else might have been, but then again, everyone has different levels of tolerance to tragic events. I have gone ahead and cleared him for active duty, but I have also set out a regular weekly counseling session with him to monitor his progress. To say that I want to get to know the man...more properly is an understatement, but we shall see. ::She simply nodded:: ::Smiling, Zonhar spun the apple in his hand and gave it a little toss, catching it easily:: Zonhar: Now, good Doctor. I think I shall accept one of your apples as a token that I should be kept away from you for a while, and keep my long winded stories to myself ::chuckling:: You definitely have things covered here. Though that doesn’t mean my door isn’t always open...or that I wouldn’t make time for someone I wish earnestly to call a new friend. Malcolm: Thanks. And thanks for checking on me. Zonhar: You are most welcome Jen. Now it is away with me. I suppose I should check in on Li’ainea and see how she is adjusting to life aboard the ship. She’s always fancied travel, and always been raised with an education centered around diversity...among..other things ::chuckling:: But then again...this is not my counseling session now is it? ::Standing and promptly taking a big meaty bite out of his apple:: Zonhar: The Golden Ones...you simply must try. ::And with that he was off and away.:: ---------------------------------------- Lieutenant Jen Malcolm Chief Medical Officer USS Avandar & Ensign Zonhar Counselor USS Avandar
  2. ((Malcolm farm, Iowa, Earth)) ::Nighttime settled on the farm. Children were tucked into bed; dinner guests returned to their homes, dishes were washed and put away. The house was quiet, but instead of the satisfied quiet of a calm evening, the air was tense with an unspoken unease that had settled on the house during dinner and had yet to dissipate:: ::Justin Malcolm stood at the kitchen sink, rinsing apples and plunking them down on a towel to dry. As the screen door closed, his shoulders, broad and muscular from years of outdoor labor, tensed, but he did not turn to see who had entered. The light steps could only belong to his sister.:: ::Her footsteps did not continue through the room and without glancing back he knew she was leaning against the table and staring at him. It had always been her favorite position for arguing with him.:: Justin: Jen. I’m not in the mood to fight with you. ::Behind him he heard her sigh.:: Jen: I don’t want to fight either. ::Justin turned off the water and dried an apple with a fresh towel from an adjacent drawer. He turned and faced her. He could see she was still angry, as was he, but it appeared she was trying to keep her temper:: Justin: Want an apple? It’s from our trees. Jen: Sure. ::He tossed her the one he held and she caught it expertly with one hand. He leaned back against the counter and watched her twirl the apple stem to remove it. :: ::Seeing that he wasn’t going to speak, she huffed and set the apple aside:: Jen: Look, Justin. We need to get something straight. ::He crossed his arms across his chest:: Justin: Ok. ::Jen frowned. Of all her brothers, she and Justin fought the most. It seemed her whole life he’d been bossing her around. She supposed it was because he was the oldest, but really, the time for that had passed:: Jen: Justin, I didn’t ask for your advice. I’m a 32-year old woman, and I can make decisions own my own. You’ve been trying to tell me what to do ever since we’ve been children. I have a father, I don’t need two. ::She took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down:: She’s my daughter, Justin. I get to make the decisions for her. She’s coming with me. ::Justin shifted his weight to his left foot, remaining silent:: Jen: Well? Justin: Well, what? ::Jen’s hand gripped the back of the chair that stood beside her:: Jen: Do you agree? ::Justin unfolded his arms and pushed his hands into his pockets:: Justin: Jen, you know I disagree. And I said I didn’t want to fight. So, I’m going to listen to you and then I’m going to bed. ::Jen’s grip tightened on the chair and she closed her eyes:: Jen: Justin, how can you be like that? Justin: Like what? ::She was trying her very best to keep from shouting:: Jen: So holier-than-thou. ::opening her eyes:: You basically just told me that what I say to you doesn’t matter. Justin: In this case it doesn’t. ::She slammed the chair against the floor:: Jen: Where do you get off having that attitude toward me? ::Justin pushed himself off of the counter and walked across the kitchen.:: Justin: I’m done with this Jen. You’ve made your decision. ::She watched him walk out of the room. She stood unmoving for several minutes , breathing deeply and staring at the door. Ten years ago she would’ve gone running to her father for mediation, but knew now, his gentle words would help calm her but do nothing to change Justin’s opinion. She released the chair, picked up her apple and threw it in the garbage. Her father might not be able to change her brother’s mind, but he could help. She walked out to the porch where she found him rocking gently on the porch swing. There was no pretending he hadn’t heard their argument; there was no way not to hear it from where he sat:: ::She sank down next to him and laid her head on his shoulder. He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head:: Victor: Oh, Jenny. He means well. ::Jen sighed and closed her eyes:: Jen: I know. ::They rocked together in silence, Jen simply appreciating the sounds and smells of the farm and the embrace of her father. She would miss them when she was back aboard the ship, but was content in knowing they would always be there for her when she came home:: -TBC- Dr. Jen Malcolm CMO USS Avandar
  3. Hello Everyone! Round 20 was the LAST SUBMISSION PERIOD of the year! Here's some information about how the end of year stuff is going to work. Run Off Round 1 Voting Thurs 11-10 Through Wed 11-30 Run Off Round 2 Voting Thurs 11-10 Through Wed 11-30 Run Off Round 3 Voting Thurs 11-10 Through Wed 11-30 FINAL ROUND Voting Thurs 12-1 Through Sat 12-31 What about submissions through the end of the year? Submissions may be submitted through the end of the year, but they will not be voted on until the first two weeks of next year. The sims will remain in the Tops Sims Forum until January 1. We'll cull down the list to 10 sims, (Through run offs if necessary) and then vote on them in the first two weeks of the year. How will run-offs work? Since there are 21 sims and three run off rounds, we will divide 21/3 which is 7. There will be seven sims chosen at random in each of the runoff rounds. What I will do is list all the sims that have moved into the runoff phase. I will give each of them a number, with the first sim to win this year being #1, and the last sim to win being #20. I will then use the Random.org tool to choose a number between 1 and 20. This sim will be the first option in the first runoff round poll. I'll continue this way until we have seven sims in runoff round 1. If a number is selected twice by the random number generator, I'll simply request another number until a new number is chosen. Links will be provided to each sim. Everyone will then vote on the best sim. The winning sim then advances to the final round. For runoff round 2 and 3, I will re-number the remaining sims as #1 through #7. I will again use the Random.org tool to choose a number between 1 and 7. This sim will be the first sim in the second runoff round. I will continue this way until the order of the remaining five sims have been chosen. (Doing this to ensure there is no bias in the way the sims are placed in the poll.) Again, these five sims will be posted in a poll. Everyone will vote, and the winning sim then advances to the final round. How will the final round work? In the final round, there will simply be three sims posted in a poll. Voters will have the whole month of December to vote on the final three sims.
  4. (( Outside the Ventral Battlebridge, USS Independence-A )) m-Velana: I've already killed you once; it didn't take. Mapak: oO Well, better luck next time! Oo :: Alleran shrugged the stunned Trill off his shoulder. The stunned woman landed in a heap at Velana's feet. :: Mapak: I don't care, as long as I get THAT Trill. You can kill the other me if you want... and I'm just saying, let's rush through there. Murder everyone. m-Velana: That is perhaps the most illogical plan your parasitic brain has ever... :: She stopped, seeing something. Mapak was on such a high he didn't care.:: Mapak: If you kill him, just make sure you finish the job this time, okay? :: Alleran began moving towards the door, disrupter in both hands, glancing at Velana as if waiting for her to follow him. :: m-Velana: Go! Now!! :: Together, they covered the short distance to the ventral bridge doors. But once they stepped inside, their weapons disappeared in the blue haze of a force field. :: Tan: ... doooooor...? :: Amada was already in the same predicament as them, although the captain still appeared to have her weapon. This bridge had a few scattered officers, but all Alleran cared about was the lack of disrupter and the lack of dead people he'd create. :: Mapak: [...]. Tan: [...]. ::Velana glanced at Shannon.:: m-Velana: We had no choice. They were closing in on us from behind. Amada: ::to no one in particular:: Is there a Julia Amada amongst your crew? :: The Vulcan T'tala [...]ed her head. She was sure she knew most of the names of the Independence crew, but also felt it was not her place to talk... :: Amada: ::a little louder this time:: Is there a Julia Amada amongst your crew? T'tala: Not to my knowledge. I'm- :: the woman caught herself. So informal...! The mind-meld again... it was affecting her... :: ... *I am* not certain. Amada: Is there a Julia Amada in your prime universe? Anyone: response Amada: I see. ::pensive:: Then it wouldn't violate any law of physics should I choose to remain on your ship and return with you to your universe. :: Mapak raised a single eyebrow at that. Weren't they here to loot the ship? Was Amada switching sides? She'd die for that. :: m-Velana: ::through her teeth:: With a little warning, this could have been avoided. ::Ignoring Amada for the moment, Mapak turned his attention back to the rest of their duplicates. The Romulan-ish looking woman chuckled at the image of them all standing there. Mapak, for his part, gave the woman a distinctive leer. :: ::Mapak made a wide, smirking grin. :: Mapak: Seems we're at a stalemate... :: His comment seemed right on the money... the Romulan acted with predictable results. :: Walker: Stalemate? You think so huh? :: A few taps and a blue flash around the duplicate deprived him of their metal weapons, including his precious dagger, but hopefully not- :: (( FLASHBACK: 2385, apartment on Cardassia Prime, Mirror Universe )) :: Fire. :: :: It was an assassination attempt. He was drinking -- Mapak was always drinking -- and someone had thrown a device about the size of a ping-pong ball through the open window of his apartment, which had quietly emitted a flammable gas, followed by a spark. The first inkling he had of something going wrong was searing pain all over his body, surrounded by fire on all sides, including the walls... :: :: Hell of way to wake up. :: :: Fortunately, he had run himself a bath the night before and left the water in. Staggering, scorched and blind, over to the water he threw his body into the shallow liquid. :: :: Flakes of roasted, spotted skin floated to the surface. It was agony -- similar to the agony booth, but less focused -- because of his experience Mapak was able to think through the agony of feeling his cells die in the tens of thousands all over his body from the heat. :: :: In this universe, you either acted, or you died. Mapak had lasted this long... :: :: Yanking a towel into the rapidly heating water, Mapak wrapped the soaked cloth around his head and made a blind sprint for the window. As he ran through the roaring sheets of flame his skin seemed to melt right off him in the face of the intense heat; he shielded his face as best he could, but already it started to melt and stuck to his flesh, burning him even further. :: :: With a crash he burst through, fell two stories down to the garden below. He would have died from the fall alone, but a thick shrubbery broke his fall. :: :: Perhaps he'd crossed someone he shouldn't have, perhaps he hadn't crossed someone who'd been a little quicker off the mark. All he knew is that when he woke in the Cardassian hospital, the list of prosthetics was as long as his now cybernetic arm. If he wasn't an agent, he'd be left to die. :: :: Ironically, his heart was one of the few organs that hadn't been affected in some way, but Velana's dagger had seen to that about a year later... :: (( Flashback ends )) :: The transporter took his "possessions", which included the foot-long dagger strapped to his belt -- the spare little knife he kept in his boot, the disrupter in his hands, the one stuffed into his *other* boot, the stun grenade he kept stuffed down his pants (that was a little joke to himself; the gear in his pants was *stunning*)... so all his weapons. :: :: Fortunately, it wasn't enough to take his -- :: Walker: How about now? :: With a few more taps there was another blue light, which lit up his face, chest, left arm and back. When it faded, the "Alleran" that remained was positively ghoulish. It appeared as though he had been... less than honest about the number of prosthetics he carried and the metal content of those "extras". :: :: The metal faceplate which occupied the left half of his face where skull used to be, along with the rubbery false-skin that covered and disguised it, was transported away -- revealing a horrid criss-cross of muscle, tendons, and the last of his jawbone on that side, exposing a view straight into his mouth through where his cheek used to be. What remained of his left arm, which was almost entirely prosthetic, hung by a thin thread of skin -- the bones, plastic and surgical tritanium, were gone now, so the appendage simply flopped by his side. Fortunately he kept some function in his right arm, despite the missing skin, which casually rested itself on his hip. :: :: His left eye was an empty socket. :: :: The flow of blood down most of his body was ignored. It didn't hurt and wasn't too serious; most of those blood vessels had since closed anyway. He knew also that, while it would prove fatal in short order, Mapak couldn't let weakness show. The majority of the missing skin was, after all, on his shoulders and chest -- which were safely concealed beneath his clothing, which somehow the transporter hadn't taken. :: :: More's the pity. Seeing Amada, Velana and/or Shannon without a stitch on would be worth the beating they would inevitably deal out, or a slow death by blood loss. :: :: Giving the Romulan woman an absolutely ghoulish smile with half his face missing, Mapak licked his tongue over his molars, which would be visible in the giant hole of his left face. When he spoke, it was with the pronounced lisp that came with having half your face missing. :: Mapak: ... ohhhhhh, take my clothes too, you delectable little pointy-eared bundle of sexilicious fun... hell, let's just forget all the hate and just have a little *fun* shall we? After all, we're even now, and you can take my word that I'm not missing anything *below* the waist, so- :: That apparently pushed the Romulan woman right to the edge, her face twisting into a vicious snarl which Mapak found absolutely adorable. :: Walker: Please. Please push me further. Who knows, maybe the transporters will work enough to send you to the brig. But you have torn apart my ship, I don't even want to think about what you've done to it's crew, and have the audacity to say we're even? No. No more. You'll sit down, answer any questions asked and say NOTHING else unless you want your next breath to be inhaling vaccum. Got it?!? :: The Prime Alleran cupped his hand over his mouth, horrified. Mapak craned his head and blew him a kiss with half his lips, which caused the Prime-universe Trill to look away with a shudder. Mapak turned his attention back to Walker. :: Mapak: Sitting will be difficult, but I'll be passing out shortly. Will that do? Tan: :: muttering:: I think I'm going to be sick... Walker: Fine. But these fvai ruined my ship, they are not going to threaten or taunt us any more. :: Mapak glanced beside him, the macabre grin on his face specifically intended to be as grisly as he could manage. :: Mapak: I guess we all have our secrets, don't we, my dear? How about a kiss? Anyone: Response? :: Mapak rolled his shoulders, dark blood seeping through his clothing throughout his chest, still acting oblivious to his injuries despite the waves of agony suddenly being deprived of a large portion of his skin caused at every motion. He felt like just keeling over unconscious, but that would be tactically disadvantageous so he elected not to. :: Mapak: It burns like the fire of a thousand suns, actually, but after the agony booth pretty much *nothing* phases you any more. Blood loss helps. The infection's going to be a killer, though... :: Silently, Mapak hoped that Shannon would be too shocked and horrified to question how all that expensive Klingon/Cardassian implant technology might have found its way into his body. He gave Luna a wink with his empty eye socket. :: Mapak: I don't suppose you could help me out, my green blooded little sweetcake? You know, return my organs before I die and all? :: The irony of him, only minutes ago, being prepared to tear out the Trill woman's symbiont -- and still being eager to -- was not lost on him, but he just didn't care. :: Anyone: Response? Tag! TBC... ----- PNPC Subcommander Alleran Mapak Undercover for the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance Mirror Universe And Lt. Alleran Tan CAG USS Independence-A
  5. ((Vulcan ship Vahklas, 2376)) ::It wasn't unusual for Velana to be called to the medical bay. In the past few years, she had become her father's primary assistant as he tried to teach her everything she would need to know to follow in his footsteps as the ship's physician.:: ::But it had been her mother, T'Lan, who had made the request and that peaked Velana's curiosity.:: oO Is Mother ill? If so, why wouldn't she want Father to know? Oo ::As she made her way through the worn corridors, she was careful to avoid engineering where Sotek was most likely to be in the middle of the work day.:: ::In less than a year, they were going to be married and there would be no escaping him. For now, though, Velana still had the luxury of choosing not to spend time with the man who already believed she belonged to him, both in body and in soul.:: ::T'Lan wasn't the only person waiting for her in the medical bay. Her brother's wife, T'Sar, was also there, looking paler than usual. Having grown up with T'Sar, Velana instinctively knew that something was wrong with her new sister.:: Velana: Mother, T'Sar? What is it? ::The two women exchanged a glance.:: T'Lan: ::to T'Sar:: Go ahead; tell her. It's hardly shameful. ::T'Sar looked up at Velana.:: T'Sar: I believe...there is a possibility that...I might be carrying a child. ::A slow smile spread across Velana's face which she only stifled for her oldest friend's sake. T'Sar seemed positively mortified at the thought that there would soon be proof that she had intimate relations with Seval. Velana imagined she'd feel the same someday, whenever she could no longer put off having a child, but the difference would be that, despite favoring logic over emotion, T'Sar did love her husband.:: ::Velana would never, could never love Sotek.:: oO How could I ever love him after what he tried to do to me in the engine room? Oo T'Lan: Her appetite has changed and her temperature has increased. Your father might not have told you, but those are some of the early symptoms. Velana: Well, let's find out for certain, shall we? ::Ten minutes later, a simple exam had confirmed T'Sar's suspicion. The expectant mother sat shell-shocked while Velana went over a few things she would need to be aware of during her pregnancy.:: Velana: The copper levels in your blood are low, so I'd like to monitor them daily for the next week or so. You also need to be aware of the ship's hottest spots for radiation. Basically, stay out of engineering until... ::Without warning, the ship violently jerked, as if it had crashed into something in the middle of space. Velana stumbled forward, but managed to brace herself with the edge of the exam table to which T'Sar was clinging, as well. T'Lan had been thrown to the ground. Just as her mother picked herself up, the ship rocked again.:: Velana: Mother! ::A console on the far end of the room exploded, filling the room with heat and smoke.:: T'Sar: We need to get out of here! ::Velana agreed, but where were they going to go? The rest of the ship might have proved to be even more dangerous, depending on the situation. If they were under attack, remaining in the relative isolation of the med bay might have been preferable to leaving.:: ::Just then, Seval's voice came through the staticky comm system.:: Seval: Velana? Velana, are you there? ::She hit the nearest panel, over the exam table.:: Velana: I'm here! I'm with Mother and T'Sar! Seval: Listen...Velana. ::His words faded in and out as the static grew worse.:: Take T'Sar and....get them to...pod. Don't stop...anything, do you understand? ::She met T'Sar's terrified eyes.:: Velana: Seval, what's happening? Seval: There isn't time....have to go now! ::The ship rocked again. A deafening alarm began, drowning out anything else her brother might have said.:: ::Velana's whole body was trembling, but she turned to her mother.:: Velana: There's an escape pod two sections down from here. T'Lan: What about your father? And your brother...we can't just leave and... Velana: They'll be fine! They'll get to their own pods! But we need to go now! ::Fear had paralyzed her sister-in-law, so Velana grabbed T'Sar's arm and draped over her shoulders, practically dragging her out of the med bay.:: ::The corridor was smoky and several metal beams were down on their immediate right. Fortunately, the escape pod lay to the left. As the trio of women made their way towards it, Velana could hear screams in the distance, blood-curdling cries for help. A live wire overhead sent a shower of hot sparks down to the floor.:: ::When they reached the pod, Velana unwound T'Sar's arm.:: Velana: ::to T'Lan:: Take her! ::Down the corridor, a plasma conduit exploded; Velana threw up her arm to shield her eyes and something struck her. There was pain, sharp and hot, but she ignored it. Slamming the control panel with her fist, the door to the pod swung open. Velana: Get inside! I'll be right behind you! T'Lan: I don't believe you! ::After pushing her daughter-in-law into the pod, T'Lan faced her daughter.:: I won't get in until you do. Velana: Mother, there are people nearby who are hurt and they need... T'Lan: No. If you don't leave, neither will I. ::Velana's chest rose and fell as she stared at her mother.:: oO The moment she's inside...close the door and launch the pod... Oo Velana: All right. ::She gestured for her mother to go first.:: ::With a nod, T'Lan ducked inside. Velana glanced back at the devastated corridor. She was just about follow through with her plan when she heard a familiar voice calling her name.:: Sotek: Velana! Velana, wait! ::Velana closed her eyes, willing the voice to be someone else's, anyone else's but her fiancee. The man whose childhood pranks had nearly resulted in Velana going blind. The man who had cornered her only a few months earlier, demanding that she submit to him, whether they were married or not.:: Sotek: Velana!! Don't leave me, Velana!! ::She opened her eyes, surprised to find that they were dry. Without hesitating, she climbed inside the pod and pressed the button to lower the door. A few seconds later, the pod shot into the safety of space.:: ::There was a tiny window about the same size as Velana's face. She was glad neither her mother nor T'Sar could see out of it. No more than a minute after they'd cleared the Vahklas, it exploded into a ball of flame that was quickly smothered by the vacuum of space, leaving nothing behind of her home but a field of debris.:: ::She didn't have to say a word. It was written in her eyes when she looked back at her mother.:: T'Lan: K'Voss was on the bridge. They have plenty of escape pods. And Seval...he was in engineering. ::Her voice wavered.:: There are even more pods there. T'Sar: ::too quietly:: Velana...your arm is bleeding. ::Velana glanced down, only to see a jagged piece of metal protruding from her bicep. Green blood stained the entire sleeve of her shirt. Without flinching, Velana yanked the shrapnel away and clamped her hand over the wound.:: ::There was a ringing in her ears that was growing louder and louder, drowning everything else out. Everything but her thoughts.:: oO There are other pods. Many other pods... Oo ::She closed her eyes again.:: oO I didn't kill him... Oo ((Bounty hunter's shuttle, Mirror Bajor, present day)) ::The darkness began to lift, but Velana was still lost to her memories.:: Velana: ::murmuring:: I didn't...kill him... Shryker: (RESPONSE) ::She could hear a woman's voice, but it was as if she was hearing her through a wall of water, muffled and distant. Velana frowned, her lashes fluttering as she fought to open her eyes.:: Velana: Mother? oO No, that's not right. Oo Shryker: (RESPONSE) Velana: No...I remember now. Everything... ::Wincing, she tried to sit up against the wall of the shuttle.:: Has he...said anything? About where we're going? Shryker: (RESPONSE) Velana: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...they wanted me, not you. ::She swallowed.:: You shouldn't...have to be here. Shryker: (RESPONSE) Velana: I know. I'm not her...this other version of me. But mirrors...they're just reflections...right? Shryker: (RESPONSE) Velana: ::Shaking her head.:: I don't really know what I'm saying. ::The drug was wearing off; she was able to move her arm enough to reach behind her head. Her hair was stiff and matted with blood.:: How are you? Are you hurt? Shryker: (RESPONSE) Third Bounty Hunter: Quiet back there! ::He flipped a few switches on his control panels. The shuttle rocked as they landed on hard ground:: We're here. ::Bright light flooded into the shuttle when the door was popped open without warning, but Velana couldn't tell if it was artificial or natural. After so long in the dark shuttle, the only thing she was certain of was that it hurt her eyes.:: ::A burly figure blocked the light.:: Border Guard: What have you got, Thalen? A Terran and a Vulcan? Third Bounty Hunter: The Terran's just a bonus. But the Vulcan... ::He grinned.:: I'm taking her straight to the Inquisitor myself. Border Guard: Vulcans don't always do it for him. Third Bounty Hunter: Trust me...this one will. ::Velana had more strength this time, but it still wasn't enough to successfully fight off the arms that grabbed her and yanked her out of the shuttle.:: ::The man, whose species she didn't recognized, slapped a cold pair of magnetic restraints around her wrists.:: Border Guard: Try to run and we'll shoot to kill. ::He pushed her forward; Velana was shocked that her legs wobbled, but she still managed to stay upright.:: Welcome to Capitol City. TBC Ensign Velana Medical Officer USS Independence-A
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