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  1. ((USS Darwin, Deck 1, Captain’s Ready Room)) ::She didn’t know what to make of it, but she was indeed free, and could not deny it.::Reynolds: =/\= I am. =/\= ::She played it cool, thinking that was how ne wanted it to be handled. Deep inside, however, her heart longed for the expressiveness of kisses, and the tenderness of touch.::::If ne had expected her response to bring relief ne would remain disappointed. Ne felt more anxious, more tense and slightly nauseous. Ne was going to need to say some things ne really didn’t want to say. To open nir heart, be honest and make nemself vulnerable. Why? Because it mattered to nem greatly that ne try to fix this, that Poppy understand the truth. She was an absolute joy to be with and ne really craved her company but certainly didn’t deserve it. Even if they never spoke again outside a work capacity after this, ne wouldn’t feel satisfied until ne had tried to resolve this.::Renos: =/\= Good, thank you. Where do you want to meet? =/\=Reynolds: =/\= My quarters? I really could use help unpacking. I’m the worst procrastinator ever...=/\= ::It didn’t take long for the captain to arrive and as soon as ne had confirmed they were alone ne launched into nir explanation, mainly as a product of how anxious ne was about it. If ne didn’t set it out all right now then ne would overthink things and inevitably bungle that too.:: ::Renos, had not been much help unpacking. Instead, ne behaved in a way that suggested ne needed to get something off nes chest.::Renos: About the other night… uh morning. I meant what I said. I am sorry and you deserve better. I’m not good at dealing with my romantic feelings. Heck I’m not used to having them! It’s alien to me and I handle it very very poorly. I’ve only ever felt this way about one other person in my life and that went catastrophically too. Why? Because every time someone gets close I freak out and pull back. I can’t help myself. I’m afraid of letting people get close. Of being hurt. It’s not just that either - I’m wanted by the government and I can’t stand the thought of them using the ones I love to get to me. That’s why I can never be involved with anyone. ::Poppy hadn't known about nes wanted status, but it dimmed light on the fact that Renos lived an already complicated life, with a history, and disappointments all their own. She appreciated the explanation, and didn’t blame him for it, and at least now, whatever the resolution ne was admitting there were feelings to be had. There was in that idea, a sliver of hope.:: ::She smiled the grin of relief. At least, there was nothing freakish about her.:: Reynolds: Can I admit something silly and girlish? Renos: Of course you can. ::Offering a reassuring smile and opening nir body language intentionally:: Reynolds: Part of me wondered if it was because you found me unattractive...mannish in some way, and given….that I am…. Renos: Given you are what? ::Renos had a feeling ne knew what Poppy was about to say but didn’t want to assume too much, just in case she was wrong. Either way ne wanted her to say it, to put a name to that fear and express it. Then maybe it could be dispelled. She paused. She had...never in her life, uttered the next words conversationally to a friend before, to anyone other than a doctor. It was time to let it out.:: Reynolds: ...a hermaphrodite. I thought maybe you regretted touching me… ::She shrugged with a reluctance to admit personal shame, where none should have existed. For years she had accepted who and what she was. It wasn’t until very small minded men whom she had come to be romantically attracted to repelled to the idea of her, and cringed at her touch, did she wonder if she might not be a freak.:: Renos: Not at all, I’m pansexual and you are absolutely beautiful to the core.::What that meant was that gender wasn’t a limiting factor to nem. As a doctor ne had seen many reproductive systems and of course just because ne was aware of them did not mean ne found them equally appealing due to it. J’naii had evolved over time from a species with two genders to an androgynous species with one. If anything she found her own species least attractive but that was more due to social rather than physical reasons. Ne had found humans males as attractive as females, ne didn’t know why, nor did ne question or worry over it unduly. Perhaps ne was simply attracted to those who showed nem kindness since there had been so few of those individuals in nir life - at least ones ne would let get close. Whatever the reason, Poppy was one of the most attractive and enchanting individuals ne’d ever met.:: ::She smiled a grin as wonderful and luminous as the sun. Did he really like her? Physically? Then he, or at least the parts of nem that Poppy considered masculine, became complementary to her. And for the first time in her life, Poppy was glad to be desired for the physical aspects of her body, internal chemistry and all.:: ::She was really beginning to like Renos, and like a deep cool well with no visible end, she wondered where the breadth and depth of that feeling extended to.:: Reynolds: Really? Well… wow...I’ve never had anyone say that about me before...and not mean it as a joke… ::She blushed a bit at the physical attention, but allowed herself to bask in it.:: Reynolds: So what’s next for us then? Renos: Well, that’s your call. I have some free time, so if you don’t mind me tagging along, what do you want to do? ::Now there was an open ended question. When a prospective lover handed over the reigns in this way they were asking for trouble. Poppy smiled a devious and intense smile. Renos was going to get what he asked for this time!:: Reynolds: Well I was about to explore Iram of the Pillars. How about we make it an adventure for two!?Renos: That sounds good to me! Lead the way chief explorer. ::Playfully::::Renos smiled and the duo headed out the door. The captain hadn’t completely fulfilled nir objective of keeping Poppy at arms reach. Ne had made nir feelings of attraction very clear and could only hope Poppy understood why ne didn’t want to be involved in a romantic relationship. Ne craved Poppy’s company and when ne botched things up like ne did with Gordie then ne wouldn’t be able to enjoy it any more. As they headed towards the holodeck ne wondered how many liberties Poppy would have taken with this program. They were supposed to be going to a desert but anything could happen, maybe they would get sand and snow. It would be no stranger than nir last adventure with chief explorer.:: Fleet Captain Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A * Executive Council & Captain's Council Member * Academy Commandant A238805EB0 And PNPC Poppy Reynolds Simmed by:- Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer Mission Specialist USS Darwin-A E239107NW0
  2. ((Morty's Italian Eaterie - Ashalla Section, StarBase 118 Commercial Sector))(about thirty minutes ago)::It was the dawning calm just before the lunch rush at Morty's Italian Eaterie in the Ashalla District. It was also a beautiful day and the St. Mort family was expecting a fine turnout of customers ready to dine in the simulated sunshine.::Vivain St. Mort: Morty.... Morty... ::She called in a wavering tone while her hands were full of racks of freshly cut pasta:: Come here sweetie.Mortimer St. Mort: What is it sugarcakes? I'm trying to finish the pesto...Vivian: The wine cellar... it's... leaking...Mortimer: Leaking? ::The chopping stopped suddenly:: What do you mean leaking?::The broad shouldered, barrel chested form of Mortimer St. Mort appeared in the archway, his eyes full of careful curiosity at his wife's rather cryptic proclamation.::Vivian: ::She indicated the direction of the cellar floor with a thrust of her elbow:: Look for yourself!::Mortimer gasped. What he found exonerated his wife from being cryptic, but didn't bode well for his wine. A large spreading red stain leaked out from under the doorway. That probably mean something smashed or tipped over - but how? None of the staff were back there...::Mortimer: Who was back there?Vivian: Nobody I could see...::He picked up his big cast iron frying pan and stalked forward, grabbing the door and swinging it open in one mighty heave, baring the intruder to the light of the sun.::Duchess: ::Hiccup::Vivian: What IS that thing?::Mortimer narrowed his eyes. That was a very good question. It was a pig...dog...thing... It rather looked like a targ, but it was tiny and bright pink. And it had chewed open a cask of wine and from the red-stained snout it had been drinking heavily.::Mortimer: It DRANK MY WINE! ::He roared.::::Duchess perked her head up, saw the frypan and sensed danger. In another moment she made a mad dash directly through Mortimer St. Mort's legs and out into the street and towards freedom, leaving only a trail of wine soaked hoof prints behind...::~*~((Jumja Smiles Candy Shop - Ashalla District- StarBase 118 Commercial Center))(about twenty five minutes ago)::Little Sandy Waller loved the Jumja Smiles shop. It wasn't just because her best friend Geno Jinda's family owned the place. It was because it will filled with some of the most colorful, delicious and wonderful candies on the Starbase.She kicked her legs as she and Jinda sat on the picnic table outside the shop giggling about their latest holodeck adventure in the Forest of Imagination when an absolutely adorable little pink doggy wandered up::Sandy: Hello doggy! ::She waved a chubby hand at Duchess::Duchess: ::Gave an adorable little whine and sat down, looking up at the children with big, adorable, begging eyes.::Jinda: It's pink!::Sandy leaned down to pat the mane and Duchess reached forward. She was gentle, but determined to steal the girl's cotton candy::Sandy: Oh! ::She laughed a bit at the melting candy fluff on the targ's snout:: Do you like cotton candy, doggy?::Duchess grunted as if to say 'yes, she liked cotton candy very much.'::Sandy: So cute!::She held her stick downwards, letting Duchess greedily gulp at the fluffy confection.::Jinda: She really likes it! ::Hopping off the picnic table, trying to be oh-so-helpful:: I'll get more!Sandy: Hurry! It's almost gone!::Jinda rushed into the shop, nabbing a massive bag of multi-colored cotton candy from a store room shelf and running back.::Jinda: Here, here! This should keep her busy for a while!::If it kept their cute new pink friend occupied, Jinda would keep on bringing cotton candy until the shop ran out... or her parents noticed...::~*~((Alleyway - Ashalla District - StarBase 118 Ops))(about ten minutes ago)::Fun science fact! A targ's digestive system cannot process sucrose. The common Terran sugar is not present in Klingon habitats and therefore targs never encountered the substance in their natural diets. Sucrose passes directly through the digestive tract in a largely undigested state.::Kimmy: Look, Mommy, Unicorn poop!::Kimmy Kagiso looked up to her mother, waving her hand with delight at the large, fresh pile of rainbow colored dookie.Makena Kagiso stopped dead in her tracks, getting a whiff of the horrendous decomposing scent::Kagiso: Ugh! Kimmy, don't touch that! ::She waved her hand over her nose::Kimmy: But it's magical!Kagiso: Not the kind of magic you want to play with, Kimmy. ::She took a step forward to scoop the little girl up::Kimmy: But, unicorns, Mommy!Kagiso: Kimmy... ::She sighed:: Even the stuff that comes out the bottom end of unicorns isn't something we touch, OK?Kimmy: ::Big wide, innocent eyes:: But unicorns are real, right?Kagiso: Yes, Kimmy ::She sighed, giving in:: Yes they are...~*~((Golden Favor Pawn Shop - Ashalla District - StarBase 118))(five minutes ago)Lenk: Tog, get over here! Check this out!::The lanky young Ferengi nephew of Tog, the owner of the Golden Favor waved his favorite uncle over. Actually, Tog was the only family Lenk had left - his parents had been killed when he was just a child - they had been freighter owners killed on route to Bajor during the Dominion war. Lenk never knew them, but Tog had taught him all the rules of acquisition and how to hear profit in the breeze. And right now Lenk was listening to the silver bells of profit chiming in the wind.::Tog: ::He ambled over to where his nephew was gesticulating:: What? ::Looking down into the small green space behind the shop, he peered at a curiously snoring pink beasty:: Hey, that looks like a tasty dinner!Lenk: Uncle Tog! ::Lenk protested:: Don't you know what that is?Tog: ::Wondering if this was a trick question:: ...Bacon?::Which was quite possibly the best thing to come off of earth. It paired deliciously with beetle paste.::Lenk: ::Sighing:: No, uncle, it's a teacup targ. People pay a fortune for these things...Tog: ::He stopped and his massive ears perked up:: A fortune you say?Lenk: I do say. To the right buyers.Tog: ::Chuckling with good fortune:: Oh, my nephew, I have the right buyers. ::He looked back out into the yard.:: But you, son, you have to get the critter into a cage...::Of course Tog gave him the hard part, but Lenk had always risen to the challenge. He was smart for a Ferengi, and clever for a teenager. He was sure he could figure something out::Lenk: Ok, Uncle... watch this!~*~tbc...~*~Various NPCsCommercial SectorStarBase 118Simmed by: Sal Taybrim
  3. ((Bridge -- USS Za)) ::The Deep warship had made its move in firing upon the Klingon ship. Trellis had moved his own pieces on the board, positioning the Za between the Defender-21 and the Krorgh. The game was coming to a close, he considered. The Deep were in check and weakened. Now the Za waited for them to realize that.:: Vondaryan: Can we beam the Captain and her team back yet? Petras: We will need to remodulate our defensive shields to pull them through… Baxter: Transporter room has locks on all the away team. One of the life signs are showing weaker than the other indicating that someone has been injured. Williams: Its useless as long as the Deep shields are operating. My scans show they are still up. And even if they are not I hate to drop ours while taking fire… I think the captain is better of where he is right now. The Deep ship can take a beating too. ::Trellis didn't like the information that one of the signs was weaker than the rest. The away team was in danger and he should be over there leading it. He was frustrated there was not more he could do about it here.:: Vondaryan: Acknowledged. ::The turbolift doors opened, but Trellis was too focused on the viewscreen to notice who came in. It was only when spoken to that he noticed a Klingon officer now on the bridge.:: Socxo: Commander I was wondering where the Captain is? I got a plausible theory for the illness… Williams: I doubt they’ll listen right now ensign. As you can see we are in the middle of a battle. Vondaryan: The Captain is aboard that ship there, ensign. ::he nodded in the direction of the viewscreen showing the Defender. He looked to the science officer and tilted his head:: Does this mean you've discovered a cure? Petras: I have been monitoring the science-medical team. Awaiting confirmation from medical. Vondaryan: Well, that is good news. Continue working as quick as you can. There should be an available science console over there. ::he motioned toward one of the empty work-spaces along the wall:: ::Stationed as they were in between two ships it was inevitable that they would take a stray shot or two. Thankfully Falcon was managing to dodge the majority of them and, when she couldn't, the shields absorbed the rest. Still, he didn't expect this stalemate to last much longer.:: Williams: The incoming fire its takings its toll on our energy reserves commander! Falcon: I think they’re getting mad at us. Vondaryan: Make no aggressive moves. Keep us between them as long as you can, Falcon. Baxter, can you increase energy to the shields? Shut down any non-essential functions necessary. Falcon: If it’s just them, I can keep this up for a while. I make no promises if the Defender starts moving, too. ::Thankfully Baxter was able to increase power to the shields for a little longer, as the Za continued to get rocked by an occasional stray blast. They weren't suffering any damage yet. ::From the bottom of the viewscreen a smaller ship suddenly appeared, firing a different color phaser bolt that hit the Defender. Where had that come from?:: Williams: Commander, unless my sensors deceive me the small Deep ship just fired on the Warship. Baxter can you confirm sensors are working? ::Ah, that would explain it. Trellis had almost forgotten about Arbiter Ydem.:: Vondaryan: The Arbiter has fired upon the Defender? ::he tilted his head and smiled:: Excellent news. ::he'd never heard of a piece changing color in the middle of a game. It was an interesting development.:: Baxter: Yes, Ydem-18 has fired a low energy phaser beam at the other Deep ship. Petras: There is some significant damage to the Defender… Williams: It doesn’t make sense… why would they do that. That are no match for her, or the Klingon ship for that matter… ::Trellis was fairly confident he knew what was happening. When the communication came through from the Explorer he felt vindicated in his belief.:: Ydem-18: =/\= This is Arbiter Ydem-18 aboard the Explorer-46. We have fired upon our vessel Defender-21 because we want to show, as strongly as we can, that we disagree with their course of action. Though our actions may have been brash in dismissing support from Captain Bron and the Krorgh, we would never think of provoking him and his crew into battle. We stand now with the Krorgh and the Za against Defender-21. Defender-21, stand down. =/\= Williams: Well that is an uhm… Baxter: Interesting turn of events. Falcon: Good way to put it. Vondaryan: How are the Klingons holding up in this battle? Has the Defender moved its target? Do we need to move into position to defend the Arbiter's ship? ::Trellis could feel the adrenaline pumping through him. He was nervous. He could not understand why Ryael had continued this game for so long already. Surely she must give up now being outnumbered 3 to 1. Her king was surrounded on all sides and close to checkmate. It was an inevitable outcome, and her delays only drew out the game for no purpose.:: Williams: No sir, she is still targeting the Klingons. Lucky Ydem... one or two shots and she’d be space dust… ::Trellis shuddered at the thought. That would be a horrible end to the first contact mission.:: Williams: Commander, if I may. I suggest we move ourselves towards the scout ship. It’s in no position to defend itself and it seems the Klingons and Deep are unable to finish each other off at this rate… Vondaryan: Yes, make it so Falcon. Falcon: On the move. Baxter: The Deep ship is signalling surrender. ::His eyes widened at that. He had been hoping for this outcome. He let out a small sigh of relief. Ryael had knocked over her king.:: Pandorn: =/\=Pandorn to Za. The Defender-21 is standing down. Repeat... the Defender-21 is standing down. Prepare to beam the away team back and have a medical team standing by. We have an injury. =/\= Vondaryan: ::he stood up:: Get them out of there as soon as you can! Have a medical team prepare to meet them in the transporter room. Falcon: We’re still well within transporter range. I intend to maintain position. Petras: I have signaled the transporter room and sickbay, Commander. Baxter: The Deeps shields are still up. Falcon: I don’t like this. ::He gave a small growl of frustration. ::He sat back down as they were waiting for the Defender to actually power down to fully signal its surrender. Trellis looked around the bridge. Most everyone was looking slightly more relaxed now than they had mere moments before. Except for Williams at tactical.:: Williams: What is THAT?! ::Trellis looked to where the man pointed on the screen. It zoomed in to the top of the Defender where some sort of cannon structure started to appear.:: Williams: Is that our missing piece of the puzzle? Baxter: I thought they were surrendering. Vondaryan: I believed that, too. What can you tell me about that cannon? Baxter: That thing is drawing a lot of power. It seems to be a very powerful phaser, from the power output I’d guess it would fire a beam of 10 times our phasers. Petras: I do not believe our shields can handle a weapon with that kind of output for very long. ::The blood drained from his face as his heart rate zoomed back up. His hands broke out in a cold sweat. With a weapon that powerful they stood no chance of survival, even outnumbering the Defender 3 to 1.:: Ryael-3: =/\= This is Defender-21. Our cannon is now armed and ready to fire. We will defend ourselves and the Explorer from any hostiles -- even from the Explorer itself. =/\= Ydem-18: =/\= You would fire upon your own people? =/\= Ryael-3: =/\= You have already done so, diplomat. =/\= Williams: If that thing is really as powerful as Baxter just told us we can only withstand a few hits sir… And a few less for the Klingons. Baxter: I suspect it would need time to recharge between shots. Falcon: Depending on the speed of their shot, we can probably shift to take the hit to the port and starboard fringes of the shields. Might buy us some more time… ::Clearly Ryael had been moving toward this position all along. The supposed surrender was merely a ploy. This was like another piece being added to the board in the middle of a chess match. Trellis had no defense against it.:: Vondaryan: Open a channel. ::he paused as the communications opened.:: =/\= Defender-21. We have no wish to engage in a fight. Our actions must have proven that to you by now. All we've wanted to do is help. Surely we can talk about this without any further rash actions? =/\= ::he motioned to mute the channel so the chatter from the bridge wasn't transmitted:: Baxter: Maybe it’s a deterrent. They did seemed to want to surrender and hopefully talk things through. ::Trellis gripped the ends of his chair. If anyone looked at him they would see his hangs going white with effort. He certainly hoped Baxter was right. He so wanted her to be right.:: Vondaryan: How long will it take that thing to activate? Baxter: I’d estimate it will be operational in less than 10 minutes from the way the work is progressing. Falcon: Then maybe we close the distance? So close they can’t track us and get a shot off? Ryael-3: =/\= No. No more talk. This poor exercise in exploration and assistance from outside ends now. We are the Deep! We need no help from beyond our borders. We need-- =/\= ::Her voice was cut off mid-sentence. Something was happening over there. Trellis wished he knew what.:: Vondaryan: Status? Damage report? Falcon: Nothing on our end. Petras: All system optimal. Shields holding. Baxter: Confirmed. Williams: It sounded like a hand phaser being fired in the background… Maybe there is a mutiny? Maybe the captain took over? Porus: Firing on a Deep diplomat would be an usual diplomatic maneuver… Typical among my people but unheard off in the Federation. Williams: Shields of the Deep warship are dropping sir. We have a lock on our people. ::So, the Defender was finally lowering their shields. The king had been toppled after all. Unless there was some other last-minute piece added to the board.:: Vondaryan: Get that away team back, now! Falcon: Still within transporter range. Baxter: Shields are still up. ::Moments after he gave the order, the Captain's voice came through their system.:: Solzano: =/\= Solzano to Za. Four to beam over. Beam th'Enise directly to Sickbay and have a med team standing by. =/\= vav Felvh: =/\= Acknolwedged. Energizing. =/\= Williams: =/\= Williams to sickbay. Prepare to receive injured. =/\= Baxter: The Deep have lowered their shields. :: She watched the reports come in from the transporter room.:: We have all the away team back. ::Trellis let out a huge sigh and slumped into his chair. It was over. Everyone was back aboard the Za, and mostly safe. Now they just needed an actual cure and they could leave these xenophobic peoples to their own devices. Still, a part of him wanted to learn more about them.:: Vondaryan: Socxo, how's the cure coming along? Socxo: The cure is in progress and we found the reason behind their problem. It was caused by cadmium. Vondaryan: ::he smiled:: Well done. Very well done indeed. Beam the information over to the Explorer at your earliest convenience. Socxo: I will sir, the Commander is working now to send the relevant data over towards the Deep. Vondaryan: Well, the Captain did order me to send you over there, but I think I'll belay that order in this instance. ::he smirked:: Unless you'd prefer to give them the cure in person? Porus: I would be happy to accompany you… Socxo: ::Shaking his head:: I rather stay on the USS Za, I have other projects to attend to sir. ::Trellis let out a hearty laugh.:: Vondaryan: Yes, indeed. First round will be on me. ::he tilted his head:; I wonder if Zogi has any good wine's I haven't tried... tag/tbc -- Lieutenant Commander Trellis Vondaryan First Officer USS Za O239208TV0
  4. ((Commodore Kinney's Officer - Embassy of Raskor I)) ::The trio had been lead into the den of lies. Behind the desk, stood the disappointingly average looking Commodore Kinney. After a few strained, forced pleasantries, the reason for the visit had been revealed and the discomfort level was raising with each near blatant accusation Kinney spat out. The meeting hadn't started out well. What was originally bored annoyance, was quickly dipping into hostile territory. While Sal and Trel'lis kept their cool, firm tone, Mirra decided to try a bit of the suggested gestures. Not exactly sure the possible fallout. But...they weren't here for conversation alone...::Ezo: ::keeps her eyes level, taps her temple in nonchalance as suggested by Captain Taybrim, her tone clear, and even:: The disturbance being the stolen Romulan vessel piloted by a mad man..Trel'lis: ::nods:: A driven mad man. ::The gesture did not go unnoticed. It was almost amusing with the flash of his eyes, assuming she had crossed beyond the acceptable boundaries. Mirra decided to push a bit further, exchanging a "knowing glance" with the Captain. Although, the "knowing" just translated more to the "Whoa, do you see how bulgy that head vein is...?".::Taybrim: We still had a plan, one that was not followed. ::He countered, slowly realizing that Kinney was leading the conversation:: Whether L'Trena meant it or not, he drew the Sienov's wrath before backup was available.Kinney: Backup, yes... convenient thing those Klingon allies of yours showed up when they did... ::a vague tone of accusation in his voice::::A poorly timed complication for him, but what had resulted in their life line. It was clear the Commodore was less than pleased at the actions of their allies, but what could he truly say? Risk a diplomatic firestorm by condemning the actions of the Klingon's who ensured the prevent of a total loss of Starfleet life? Not even he would be that naive.::Ezo: ::smiles with saccharine sweetness:: We owe our allies a great deal. Had they not been on a patrol of their own nature, ::tilts her head slightly:: Well, who could say what would have happened...?Trel'lis: I don’t even want to consider the possibility of ‘what if’! A man of *your* caliber, would know patrols are conducted by ships of other peoples, especially after such a vicious attack, prompting the Avalon even being dispatched.::It seemed the Commodore didn't appreciate Trel'lis tone, Mirra however, loved it. She managed to keep her face neutral, although she added a slight head tilt in his direction. A supposed unconscious act when someone might overhear something...::Kinney: What exactly are you insinuating, Lieutenant?Trel’lis: What I am saying is, I would think a covert recon would have been ordered *first* before sending ships in overtly.Kinney: How do you know one wasn't done? We knew that the Sienov was commanded by Haz Arrhimen after all...::Keeping her focus straight on Kinney's face, she once again tapped her temple with a quick glance at Sal. It meant nothing of course, but she had to admit it was more entertaining for her than should be.::Taybrim: ::The Captain's voice was diplomatic and cajoling:: Perhaps, Lieutenant, you'll explain the reason for your misgivings.Trel’lis: I suppose my original security/tactical thinking kicks in, as that was my first career, prior to switching to the Diplomatic Corps.Kinney: You were sent out with the information you needed. In fact, you had more time and more advantage to prepare yourself than the Avalon did and yet she followed orders without question. ::His voice raised in pitch, getting to a point where it was barking and hot.::Taybrim: And the Avalon lost nearly five hundred crew...Ezo: ::eyes narrowing:: Four hundred and ninety two, to be exact. Kinney: Did you tell L'Trena about the Klingons? No, you didn't. You were an integral part of that fight, and you failed to share decisive information to a fellow Captain.Taybrim: We warned him to stop, told him to wait. The Klingons were uncloaked and it was plain to see they were on our side.Ezo: And yet he disregarded our warnings and continued, to their detriment...::her eyes narrowed further:: ::She let the passive expression fall away, she didn't need to be violating any mental boundaries to tell his was clearly deflecting. Trying to pin this disastrous on them, and one he shouldn't have had to because he truly expected them to not return. His distaste for them was abundantly clear. If anyone should have suffered massive casualties, in his mind, it should have been them. Let the Avalon return victorious, while he feigned sorrow at the loss of the trouble making Captain and his crew.:: Trel'lis: Or were *told* to disregard the warning??Kinney: ::Loud, angry:: Unacceptable!::His control was slipping, she had no idea what he honestly expected out of this meeting, but by his outburst, it certainly wasn't going his way. She wondered how this engagement would end, would he throw them out of his office? And turn around and say that they had been insubordinate and accusatory?::Taybrim: ::Calm. Dangerously calm.:: Commodore Kinney, we did everything we could to save the Avalon. Even after her warp drive exploded we mounted a rescue effort to bring back any survivors. Had the Avalon heeded our warning she might still be in one piece today.Ezo: As it stands...we were able to rescue twenty three. Twenty three souls, out of over five hundred... Trel'lis: THAT is what’s *unacceptable*, sir! ::Kinney stalked off, attempting to burn off a bit of the rage swirling within him. He had to know there was no spinning this to his favor. The data they presented supported their claims, and that didn't include the data that wasn't presented...yet.::Kinney: You see a threat in everything, Taybrim. You and your crew are conspiracy theorists of the worst kind. You could have followed L'Trena's lead, backed him up and the outcome would have been much different.Taybrim: Yes, we would have all been dead. ::The words slipped out, the bitter truth as Sal saw it. It wasn't diplomatic, but he stood there, unabashed at having said it.:: ::Mirra jolted in her seat. Something was wrong. No, something was very wrong. The anger in this room was near suffocating. So the cold, determined focus she felt slashed through like a frozen spike. Confidence, malice, a hint of gallows humor. Where was this coming from? Not within the room, that's for sure. She dropped her mental shielding, pushing out her abilities farther than the immediate screaming anger of the room. Easy target, job done then payload. The window, it was in direct line of the window. Her warning call came barreling out of her mouth in a near shout as her body automatically reacted. Launching out of her chair, her mind was surprisingly clear. Get to the Commodore, get him down. No other thoughts dared impede her on her mission. With the grace afforded only by the surge of adrenaline, Mirra's arms clasped around the man's middle, as the shared momentum focused through her shoulder brought them both tumbling down, landing hard on the ground. She felt a sharp pain above her brow, and tiny [...]s of along her as the world around them showered in tiny, glinting pieces. Something warm was sliding down and pooling in her ear. More blasts rung out, she wasn't sure where Sal and Trel'lis were, she felt them close, and prayed they got cover in time. Someone had just tried to kill Commodore Kinney. Getting to her knees, she turned to the face down Kinney, struggling to flip him over so she could examine the damage.:: Ezo: ::strained:: Commodore? Commodore can you hear me? ::coughing slightly:: Commod- ::She was instantly cut off as a large hand wrapped itself around her throat, and began squeezing with deadly purpose. Her eyes shot wide as she looked down at the hysterical expression of the man beneath her. His pupils dilated to the point that his eyes nearly matched her own. Fight or flight had taken over, and it seemed the Commodore was strongly in the "fight" category. She struggled to free herself, scratching wildly at his arm, to no effect. He thought she had attacked him, he was defending himself. Although he had been attacked, it did not come from her. She heard scrambling around her, felt arms at her back. Someone was trying to help release her from his death grip. Her vision was starting to get fuzzy on the sides. She needed air, and she needed it now. It may have been the result of a cut off of oxygen, or her mind trying desperately to stay conscious, but for whatever the reason...she suddenly heard Tyler's voice. His voice was in her mind, clear as if he were standing beside her. His firm, patient tone of voice he carried during thew few failed attempts to get her more comfortable with self defense. For a brief moment, the room faded away as was transported to the Holodeck on the Columbia, back when they had been assigned. Tyler, standing in front of her, working hard to keep an amused smirk off his face. His comment about her looking "adorable" when she attempted to look scary hadn't been appreciated. (((Flashback - Columbia Holodeck))) Kelly: We're going to try this...again. A patient has gone violent and you are alone, what do you do? Ezo: Uhh...make peace with the Gods and hope I am remembered fondly...? ::He cradled his face momentarily, while taking a deep breath through his nose. She got the distinct impression that was the wrong answer.:: Ezo: ::grinning sheepishly:: Right, sorry. ::getting back in stance:: I fight. Kelly: Yes. You fight. Now, Keep your wrist tight, push with your shoulder. It's all about follow through. Aim for the jaw, not his head. We're trying to tenderize his face, not your knuckles. Ezo: ::grimacing:: Gross.. Kelly: ::exasperated:: Just do it Mir! You or him. You're fighting for your life, not making friends. ((End flashback)) ::Acting on impulse, her fist clenched, wrist tight, she swung wide and hard, throwing everything she had into it. The punch landed right at the hinge of his jaw. The power behind it less than she would have liked, but she still felt the distinctive crack of bone in her hand as the jolt of pain slammed up her hand into her arm. Whether it was the hit, or the efforts of the others, the hand was gone. Falling onto all fours, she gasped in air greedily, coughing uncontrollably. Her vision evening out with each deep inhale. It could have been the remaining adrenaline, the bittersweet pang of memory, or the culmination of events, Mirra shot to her feet in a fit of pure rage. It might have been the blood dripping into her eyes, but never the less, Mirra saw red.:: Ezo: ::shouting:: Is that how you thank someone who just SAVED YOUR LIFE?!? Trel’lis: ::whispering:: Ingrate! Kinney: ::His hands flew to his face to protect it:: Wh-what are you talking about? Saved? But... Taybrim: She's a telepath, Kinney. She could sense the assailant before they shot. She saved your life. ::He reaffirmed in even, commanding tones.:: Ezo: ::gravely:: Yeah! You're welcome by the way! ::She fought the urge to kick the man hard in the shin, but at that particular moment, the adrenaline took the most inopportune time to leave her. Her legs began to shake, and she crumpled back into a chair behind her. Later, she would realize it had been the Commodore's own chair, but for now, she focused on the throbbing pain in her throat, her head, and pretty much every where else. She automatically applied pressure to her forehead using the mostly clean sleeve. Noticing the increasing discoloration oO And this is why I hate dresswhites....Oo:: --------------------------------------- Lieutenant Mirra Ezo, MDChief Medical Officer Starbase 118 OpsC239205ME0
  5. ((Holodeck - USS Darwin-A)) ::Some time during the leave, Ren Rennyn found time to get in a holodeck for a relaxing bit of nonsense.:: ::One day years ago, near the Starfleet Academy campus on Earth, on a whim, Ren picked up a copy of Winds of Change, a cheap romance holonovela in a delightfully over-the-top old Terran style. Something about the program’s stylistic excessiveness appealed to the Trill, who occasionally reveled in the melodramatic himself. There was no end to the campy, over-dramatized characters and situations Winds of Change had to offer.:: ::The glamorous woman currently shaking Ren by the lapels of his evening jacket was example number one.:: Janet: No, Bruce! No! Can't you see that I love you?! ::Ren Rennyn gently but silently pulled the edges of his tuxedo from Janet's clutches. Her sequined magenta evening gown with absurdly layered ruching rustled as she followed him onto the mansion's moonlit veranda, where Ren threw himself dramatically against the stone banister.:: Rennyn: Don't you see that we can never be together? I made a vow to Gina, Janet. For better or worse, I'm married... to your twin! ::Ren enjoyed the program with its sensationalized, stagy style. Set on 20th century Earth, it followed the histrionic lives of its exaggerated characters in a fictional town called Generic City. There were personal intrigues, corporate power plays, torrid love affairs and sometimes murders. His character Bruce had gone from fashion model to business executive to perfume designer to cop in just a few levels of the game. Generic City was rife with career opportunity.:: ::On the veranda, Janet reached him, her eyes shining tearfully, her bosom heaving with fury. Ruby nails gleamed in the moonlight as she slapped his face, hard. The crack stunned him, as he watched her face turn to cold fury.:: Janet: Your vow won't mean anything when Gina is DEAD! ::Janet stormed off, and Ren stood quietly, listening. The program continued to run, but nothing else happened. Canned nighttime sound effects surrounded him. The lush, nearly tropical foliage surrounding the veranda gave no fragrance, and didn't look quite real. He went back into the lavish mansion, blinking at the garish lighting that shone off gold and crystal fixtures. All was quiet.:: ::He’d hit the dead end again.:: ::Ren had been playing Winds of Change for a number of years, minus the breaks he took when his own life started to feel every bit as over-the-top as this recreational world. For a while, he was in and out of love with a mixed up Vulcan who sort of loved him too, but they never could get it together. There was Rover, the talking purple space cloud who wouldn't stop interrupting his every moment, until he too went away. Then there was Navin, or the memory of him, and the threat of his evil Borg doppelganger who might come back to haunt Ren some day, to throw his whole life right off the track. Or it might just be in his imagination. Yes, Ren was one brain surgery and a dastardly moustache away from from being a holonovela character himself.:: ::Between all that, and his Starfleet adventures, too, Ren didn’t always have the time or the energy left to spend figuring out the mystery at the heart of Winds of Change. Still, he'd spent countless hours playing this simulation again and again, but this was all the further he ever got. Janet slapped him, walked off into the night, and then… nothing.:: ::Alone on the veranda in the cool night air, Ren undid the tight bowtie and stretched in the luxurious yet constricting jacket. Bruce’s cousin Devin had designed it in Chapter 2 as part of the launch of his new fashion line, “Devin-aire.”:: ::The computer recognized this as Level 4: Janet's Threat. The index said that next should be Level 5: Debbie's Gold. He didn't know what the plot of Level 5 might be. He couldn't figure out who Debbie was. Nothing he did or said seemed to unlock it. Again and again, Janet slapped him, threatened Gina's life, and that was it.:: ::Ren had tried everything up to now. He'd let Janet leave and waited patiently for something else to happen. He’d run after her, only to find that she had disappeared. He'd run into the mansion and thrown himself dramatically on a divan and tried to cry big, fake tears, but no one ever showed up to notice. Nothing worked. It was if the game was stuck at that moment. He couldn't get to Level 5. And he couldn't stand it anymore.:: ::Ren refused to look through the programming code to find the next plot point subroutine. He was determined to find the thing he was supposed to do to unlock the next step, without looking at the code or getting any external help.:: ::He wandered through the mansion into the front hall, where a grand staircase ascended in glory. Janet had pushed her mother down those stairs in Level 1, he remembered fondly. That was where it all began.:: Rennyn: Computer, replay Chapter 4 from the beginning of the veranda scene. ::The mansion’s interior dissolved, to be quickly replaced by the veranda he’d just left. Janet materialized in front of him. There wasn’t much he hadn’t tried, but Ren had the afternoon free. Why not take a few more slaps to the face in the name of progress?:: Janet: Your vow won't mean anything when Gina is DEAD! ::As Ren’s stinging face caused him a twinge of regret for not shutting down the program and going home to a good book, Janet stormed off again. Ren called after her.:: Rennyn: Please don’t go! ::She went.:: Rennyn: Computer, restart again from the same spot.:: ::Slap!:: Janet: Your vow won't mean anything when Gina is DEAD! Rennyn: I AM Gina! ::She looked at him like he was crazy, and left.:: ::Slap!:: Janet: Your vow won't mean anything when Gina is DEAD! Rennyn: Computer! Why was the slap harder that time!? ::Slap!:: ::Slap!:: ::Slap!:: ::Furious at himself and furious at the programmer and furious at the whole game, Ren called with all his might.:: Rennyn: JANET! ::Something changed. For the first time, Janet stopped and turned around. She was perfectly framed in the doorway, the lighting hit her perfectly, and her tear-streaked face appeared softly in a gauzy haze.:: Rennyn: I was wrong to say no. I will run away with you, after all. ::Janet smirked condescendingly, her perfectly arched eyebrow rising in unison with the corner of her hot pink lips.:: Janet: You lost your chance, Bruce. The ship has sailed, and you missed the boat. ::Then she turned and made her normal exit, the one he’d seen dozens of times.:: ::Ren looked around. It wasn’t exactly progress. But it was a response. Had it changed anything? He waited for someone else to appear. He waited for something to happen. No, it was still the same dead end.:: ::Maybe the point of Winds of Change was to make you feel defeated. Maybe it was to see how many players would beat themselves up trying to move forward. Maybe there was a subroutine sending metrics back to the sadistic designers on just how many times he let himself be slapped in the face before he gave up.:: ::Ren wasn’t a quitter, but this was ridiculous. Slipping off his couture jacket and slinging it over his shoulder with one finger, he called for the arch and slunk away through the night. As he looked back one last time and call for the program to save and close, Ren didn’t quite see something sharp and metallic gleaming in the dark behind the topiaries that lined the mansion’s formal garden. A mysterious watcher in the night was about to threaten him.:: ::Instead, the stalker disappeared along with the rest of the program. Next time, on Winds of Change, Ren Rennyn was going to have a whole new challenge to face.:: LtCmdr Rendal Rennyn Ops Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A A239102RR0
  6. ((Personal Quarters, USS Darwin-A))::After their wild shuttle ride, Iniko was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to go back to jheas quarters and take a nap, or maybe head up to Sickbay to check on Lambert. Jhe couldn't relax, though, and the thought of seeing anyone else right now made jhea feel sick. Jhe finally had to admit to jheaself that what jhe was feeling was guilt. Whatever it was that had caused such an emotional reaction in the rest of the shuttle crew had only given Iniko a headache, but it had made focusing difficult, and they still didn't have any idea what had actually happened to them.::::Jhe was certain that jhe could have figured it out and been more useful if only jhe had spent some time developing jheas fielding abilities. Up until now it had seemed unimportant. There had never been much need for it on missions before, and while it could occasionally come in useful in jheas normal tasks as an engineer, it had always seemed like a minor added bonus. So jhe had just kept putting it off and putting it off, even when jhe had discovered jhe couldn't use the holodeck any longer due to interference headaches.::::This mission had changed all that, though. It was time to stop waffling and start practicing. Luckily jhe had been slowly going crazy during jheas extended leave back on Til’ahn, and during a fit of boredom had contacted the Fielding League and asked to be assigned a tutor. After securing a promise that Iniko would send them reports on interesting new effects or applications of the skill jhe might discover while in service with Starfleet, subject to Starfleet’s willingness to disclose the information, they'd been very accommodating. Jhe had walked away with the contact information for a new tutor, immediately been swept up in another of jheas mother's emergencies, and forgotten all about it. Now it was time to resurrect that plan.::::Upon reaching jheas room, jhe sat down at jheas personal console and initiated a call to Til’ahn. Jhe punched in the contact information the Fielding League had sent jhea, and sat back. The call took a while to connect, and Iniko began to hope that maybe the new tutor was too busy. Maybe jhe should put this off for a while after all. Jhe wasn’t entirely sure why jhe was so nervous. This wasn’t going to be like Dr Cook poking around in jheas brain. It was just like exercising a muscle, right? Surely jhe didn’t need to be so wary of the process. But that nervousness remained.::::Finally, the call connected. A face appeared on jheas monitor. A familiar face, not because jhe had seen it many times, but because jhe had relived that single experience so many times in jheas memory. Jhe almost flinched back, but just managed to keep jheas face calm. This must be a mistake.::Chalor: Hello? ::the lomale on screen raised jheas eyebrows as jhe took in Iniko’s uniform and surroundings.:: Can I help you?Mpeba: ::coldly:: I don’t believe so, no. I was given this number by mistake, I believe. Don’t worry, I won’t contact you again.::Sawat Chalor narrowed jheas eyes, peering closely at Iniko, and then huffed and pursed jheas lips.::Chalor: Ah. The younger Mpeba. You look just like your mother and father. I had forgotten that you were supposed to call.::Iniko sat back, a little stunned. Jhe had known about this? And hadn’t objected? The memories flashed through jheas mind again, still stunningly at odds with Sawat’s current behavior.::((Flashback, 12 Years Ago))::Iniko's mother had that worried look on her face again. She was talking with a friend, and as usual they had been discussing the aliens and their bad influences, how they were destroying Laudean culture and values. Iniko always felt nervous when they talked like that. Jhe wasn't sure what sort of things the aliens had planned for them, but jheas mother always made it sound like they were lawless pillagers, out to take every resource of their world and steal all the lomales to breed their own race of fielders. Jheas mother usually seemed most worried about Iniko’s future during those discussions. She was off the comm now, and came over to talk to Iniko.::C. Mpeba: Iniko, come with me. I have someone you need to meet.::Iniko nodded and followed along, trying to be properly demure. Chioma sat jhea down on the seat next to her and started another call. It took a few moments to be picked up, but when the picture appeared it was of a serene and elaborate garden, full of carefully pruned trees, delicate flowers and exquisite sculptures. The person sitting in the middle of all of this was a handsome lomale a few years older than Iniko's parents. Jheas hair was piled in an sophisticated knot on jheas head, and jhe wore finely embroidered robes of a shimmery and slightly translucent fabric that showed glimpses of jheas form in the afternoon sunlight. Iniko was entranced. This was what jheas mother kept pushing for, and jhe had never been able to grasp. This person was poise and elegance and sensuality personified. Iniko didn't believe jhe could ever achieve such a thing, wasn't entirely sure jhe even wanted to. But it was certainly a beautiful sight.::Chalor: Hello, how can I -- why, Chioma, isn't it? What a pleasant surprise!C. Mpeba: Sawat, it's so good to see you again!Chalor: It is always a good day to see you, my dear. How have you been? It's been far too long.::The older lomale’s drawl was hypnotizing, but jheas words made Iniko blush. Jhe was finally starting to grasp who this person was, and the images that conjured up were not something jhe wanted to contemplate.::C. Mpeba: It has been too long. So much has happened recently. But that isn't what I called you about. I wanted you to meet our child, Iniko.::The lomale on the screen flinched, momentarily losing jheas composure. A moment later jhe had it back, but the smile jhe offered Iniko was weak and brief.::Chalor: Hello, child. Would you mind running in the other room for a moment? I need to speak privately with your mother.::Iniko wasn't sure what to make of that reaction, but given jheas mother's crumpled frown, it hadn't been what she had been hoping for. Iniko felt guilty, wondering if jhe had done something wrong, or if it was the lomale on the call who had disappointed her. Chioma turned to Iniko, though, and gave jhea a small nod in the direction of the open doorway. Iniko stood and left the room as quietly as jhe could, but stopped as soon as jhe turned into the hall. Jhe leaned against the doorframe, just out of sight.::Chalor: Chioma, what were you thinking? I thought we made this clear in our agreement!C. Mpeba: But Iniko is your only lomale child! I checked the coven records! I thought jhe would mean something to you, especially now that jhe is approaching the age of apprenticeship!Chalor: ::sternly:: I don't know how to make this any more clear. You and Akinade I would be happy to see again, anytime. You two have always been wonderful fun. But the . . . results of those encounters? I want nothing to do with them, regardless of their age. That was made clear from the very beginning. They are yours, not mine, not in any sense. This child is not my responsibility, and I am entitled to no part of jheas life, nor do I want any.C. Mpeba: But, surely if you just spoke to jhea for a moment.Chalor: Do not press this, Chioma. It is a thoroughly inappropriate request. I will not be a part of this conversation. Goodbye.::Iniko felt jheas throat close up. Jhe stifled jheas anger as best jhe could, but a little squeal of indignation escaped. What jhe was saying was perfectly reasonable, of course. Iniko was well versed in the basic tenets of lomale duties, even if jhe struggled with the more complicated aspects, and this was about as basic as they got. Lomales had no rights or responsibilities regarding their offspring, except in extreme circumstances. Chioma opting to pursue this in opposition to the decrees of the Fielding League she respected so much spoke volumes about her worry for Iniko's future. But it had been for nought, and now they were both humiliated.::((End Flashback))::If Sawat had been so set against having anything to do with Iniko previously, why was jhe expecting Iniko's call now? Whatever the reason, Iniko wasn’t sure jhe wanted anything to do with Sawat now. Iniko set jheas jaw firmly and hid behind the most formal manner jhe could produce.::Mpeba: I apologize for the intrusion. I have no intention of intruding on your peace any further. Goodbye.::Jhe reached forward to end the call, but Sawat held up a finger to forestall jhea.::Chalor: Please. Wait a moment. There is no need for you to go so soon.Mpeba: I was under the impression you wanted nothing to do with me.::Sawat bowed jheas head, and just for a moment seemed frail. A moment later, though, jhe raised jheas head again and frowned seriously at Iniko.::Chalor: Listen well. I want nothing to do with any progeny of mine. You are not my child, and you will never be. But I have been asked by the Fielding League to instruct a student in the art of fielding, and this is a task I will undertake without qualms. We will relate to each other solely as master and apprentice. There will be no familiarity between us, and you will not forget your place. Do you understand?::Iniko felt the heat rising in jheas chest, and forced it down. Jhe would remain civil. Jhe would. Jhe counted to ten before answering, and was satisfied to hear jheas voice come out even.::Mpeba: I believe you are under a false impression. I am no child, and I have no intention of being spoken to as such. If you were anyone else I would give you the respect due a teacher, but since you have clearly expressed such a disinterest in me, I don't believe there is any possible way we could work together civilly. You will have to excuse me. I will seek another course.::Jhe leaned forward again to end the call, but this time Sawat threw up jheas hand more urgently. Iniko halted, more at the expression on jheas face than anything else. Jhe looked afraid, not an expression Iniko had ever imagined on jheas perfectly composed features.::Chalor: Please, listen.::Despite the request, Sawat bit down on jheas lip, bowed jheas head and remained silent for some time. Iniko glared at jhea for a moment, but finally leaned back away from the console in surrender, folding jheas arms sullenly.::Mpeba: Fine. What do you want from me?::Sawat didn't raise jheas head, but jheas hands began clenching and unclenching, a nervous tic if Iniko had ever seen one. Jhe had to admit, jhe’d had plenty of fantasies of seeing Sawat so discomfited when jhe was younger, but jhe had always imagined it being in response to some lecture Iniko had given jhea. Now Iniko was just confused. Sawat finally looked up, not quite meeting Iniko's eyes.::Chalor: You must understand, these are very strange times. This world is not the same one I was raised to.::Iniko desperately wanted to roll jheas eyes at the obviousness of that statement. Jhe was very proud that jhe managed to merely nod an invitation to continue.::Chalor: The Romulans, of course, were not to be emulated, but this Federation of yours is perhaps not so abhorrent as I had initially believed.Mpeba: Oh really?::Jhe couldn't entirely keep the note of sarcasm out of jheas tone. Jhe’d had this conversation far too many times with jheas mother, and it left a sour taste in jheas mouth. Sawat merely pursed jheas lips and continued, looking a little more calm now.::Chalor: I have had some informal interactions with members of some Federation species, while acting on behalf of the Fielding League, and, quite by accident, I assure you, have had occasion to, well, play. With their children. It was not precisely as distasteful an experience as I had expected.::It was Iniko's turn to raise jheas eyebrows. Jhe kept the rest of jheas face calm, but jhe could feel her heartbeat speed up significantly. Jhe willed it to settle down, unsuccessfully.::Mpeba: What exactly are you trying to say?::Sawat cleared jheas throat.::Chalor: Well, to put it succinctly . . . I requested this assignment.::Iniko's eyes went wide as saucers, and jheas voice went faint.::Mpeba: You what?::Sawat squirmed slightly in jheas chair. The movement was surprisingly childlike, but jheas eyes looked ancient, haunted by something Iniko was only beginning to guess at.::Chalor: It was not a popular request with the Fielding League. They didn't want me interacting with you, and for good reason. This is just not done.Mpeba: You asked to speak with me? To teach me?Chalor: It was just going to be professional. I told them it was purely professional. I told myself it was purely professional.::Sawat looked like jhe was talking to jheaself now, retreating. Iniko leaned forward, wishing jhe could reach through the screen and grab Sawat’s shoulders, drag jhea back from the panic jhe was working jheaself into. That being impossible, Iniko tried to project calm reassurance with jheas words.::Mpeba: It's okay, this is okay.::Sawat let out a slightly hysterical laugh.::Chalor: No, child, this is very, very far from “okay”. You've been corrupted by the Federation for far too long if you can simply be “okay” with this. On the contrary, this is very nearly heresy.::Iniko didn't know how to respond to that. Jhe was certain Sawat was going to change jheas mind and walk away again, but Iniko didn't have any words that could stop jhea. But Sawat sat up straight, setting jheas jaw in a gesture that Iniko surreally recognized from the mirror.::Chalor: Forgive me, this is not as easy as I had hoped. I will need to erase this message from my logs, in order to ensure no one can acquire unsavory information they can use against me. But I do not rescind my offer.Mpeba: And what precisely is that offer?Chalor: I will teach you to use your fielding skill, if you so desire, and if you can retain any modicum of respect for me after the spectacle I have made of my myself just now. Additionally, or alternatively, as you prefer, I would . . . not be entirely averse to the concept of attempting to develop some sort of more . . . familial rapport between us.::Sawat broke eye contact at last and stared down at jheas fidgeting hands intently. Iniko sat back in jheas chair, floored. Jhe had wanted this. Fantasized about it, when jhe wasn't fuming. But not the smallest part of jheaself had ever believed it could possibly happen. Now that it had, Iniko didn't know what jhe wanted. A part of jhea wanted to seize the chance at that impossible relationship jhe had dreamed of. But jhe had fought so hard to escape all the ridiculous conservative nonsense jhe had been raised with. Did jhe really want to deal with more of that? There was also a significant part of jhea that had spent so long being bitter and angry at Sawat and all jhe represented, and that part of Iniko wanted nothing more than to throw this back in Sawat's face and see jhea deal with rejection for a change. Iniko squashed that last feeling down mercilessly. Jhe was not going to allow jheaself to be ruled by bitterness. Jhe resolutely leaned forward again, before jhe could change jheas mind.::Mpeba: I accept. I'm willing to try if you are.::Sawat's shoulders sagged, jheas hands finally stilled, a gentle breath of a sigh escaped jheas lips. Jhe raised jheas head again, slowly, and met Iniko's eyes.::Chalor: Good. That is. That is very good to hear.::Iniko smiled grimly. Jhe was not at all certain this was going to work out. This might very well be one of the biggest mistake jhe had ever made. But jhe was absolutely certain that not trying would be an even bigger mistake.::Mpeba: Okay then. Where should we start?Lieutenant JG Mpeba - Engineering Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-AD239205IM0
  7. (( Sickbay, Deck 13, USS Athena )) :: Alex slipped away from consciousness again as the pain slowly overtook his being. His physical body, now drenched in sweat, lay utterly still on the biobed while his medical staff worked to help Commander Kaji and treat her wounds. The last thing he remembered was being told that he would lose his foot from the injury that he had endured on the planet. Ghastly images began to haunt his vision. :: :: Deep in a dream state, and unable to be woken, Alex sped ahead in his mind to several years later. The crew of the Athena looked weary and battle worn to him and the all too familiar sound of the red alert klaxon rang out yet again. They had encountered another Hunger ship. Alex reached for his phaser out of habit. He could barely remember a time when the medical staff did not have one strapped to their side all day long. :: :: Alex stood there waiting anxiously and waited for injured crew to be sent to Sickbay. But this time was different. They had always been able to repel the attacks before, but this time the sounds of mechanical constructs clattered on the ground and walls. They had come to attack Sickbay. Maybe they had finally learned how best to cripple the Athena. :: :: In horror, Alex watched small silvery mechanical spider-like constructs enter sickbay. He aimed his phaser and shot at the first one as it crossed the threshold. Unlike in previous encounters, the beam from the weapon was absorbed by the creature. This was a new development. Previously these creatures would just be destroyed and it was the overwhelming numbers that was the reason for alarm. But now they were evolving, adapting, and learning. :: :: Alex awoke with a deeper understanding of what the Hunger were and could do if unleashed. He knew why Selene frequently woke from nightmares after having lived through this. While the details might be off, the threat was still real. Alex wasn't certain if he would ever sleep again. :: ~ Lt Commander Alexander Bishop - C239112AB0 Chief Medical Officer USS Athena, NCC-97780
  8. ((Deck 3, USS El Corazón)) ::Thump.:: ::Thump!:: ::Thump!:: ::The corridors onboard Federation starships were composed of deuranium, tritanium, and a variety of other, nigh unbreakable substances. The combat-based nature of the Defiant class meant that even more reinforcement was present. Ablative armor lined the hull, and a consistent SIF enveloped the framework. Nothing short of a volley of photon torpedoes should have been able to jostle the deck.:: ::So it was easy to understand Medical Technician Hampton's confusion. He'd simply been walking along, carrying out the day- to-day duties expected of him, all the while idly daydreaming about a plethora of topics; the girlfriend he'd left behind in Tycho City, what he'd have for lunch, and his hope for admission into the Academy as a cadet someday. Being a noncom had it's advantages, but he hoped to stretch his horizons. Shake things up a bit.:: ::Thump!:: ::He hadn't meant it quite this literally.:: ::The deck seemed to shudder with each concussive blow, but as he searched for an explanation, he realized he had none. It occurred to him that they might be under attack- it certainly felt like someone was shooting the floor from under him- but than the red alert klaxon would be gouging holes in his eardrums. No one else was in the corridor with him, and he suddenly felt very, very alone.:: ::His eyes darted back and forth, taking stock of the situation. He should find a superior officer, and find out what was going on. At that thought, the deck rocked so hard that he nearly fell on his rear. He regained his balance with some difficulty, and suddenly came to a startling conclusion.:: ::The thumps...they were footsteps.:: ::He couldn't decide if that made him feel any better. At least the Tholians weren't invading. But what on Luna walked with such noise?! It couldn't be a crewman.:: ::Could it?:: ::The sound continued it's pattern, and steadily increased in volume and severity. The deck wasn't jiggling under him now, but still vibrated with abandon. He looked to his left, where the corridor banked sharply, obscuring much of it from view.:: ::And then a dinosaur appeared.:: ::It's body was at least ten feet high, with a head just under a quarter of that length. Immensely powerful-looking jaws jutted forward, overshadowing an enormous, muscular neck and body. Green like an iguana, the beast moved itself using legs that bulged with yet more muscle, supported by claw-tipped pads the size of anti-grav units. A tail- a tail!- swung behind it's vast form, providing an elegant counterbalance.:: ::None of this truly registered for the medical technician. A surge of fear bubbled to the surface, squashing out most semblance of intelligent thought. He wanted to run, but his legs stayed stubbornly still.:: ::The beast came closer to him, and Hampton watched it's inexorable approach, eyes as wide as saucers. It stopped before him. It studied him.:: ::It's jaws began to open. He clenched his body, waiting for the death blow...:: Ferentis: Good morning. ::Hampton simply stared at him. With a nod, the creature began to move away, along the corridor. Phillip waited until his heart rate had come down to a nice, easy 300 beats a minute before taking a more critical look at the giant lizard that had just offered him a greeting. Now that he looked, he saw a mustard-yellow collar around the dinosaur's neck- the same color as other engineering personnel. A commbadge was fastened his chest.:: ::As difficult as it was to believe, the cause of his acute fear was a member of Starfleet. He was family. And now that he looked closer, he realized that the newcomer stood just over a tall human. It wasn't so enormous after all. But if it was going to be serving on this ship, he'd have a lot to get used to. Hampton shook his head, and continued on his way. It's Starfleet, he reminded himself. Weird was part of the job.:: ((Deck 2, Main Engineering, USS El Corazon. )) ::Thordec Sende Ulthex Ferentis moseyed along, seeking the chief engineering officer, to whom he was ordered to report. There was no particular need to rush. And even if he did feel compelled to move quickly, he didn't yet trust himself to not break down a bulkhead by accident in his haste.:: Ferentis: oO Of all the ships to assign a seven-foot Theropod to. Oo ::He'd served on far more constricting vessels, of course, in his ample years before Starfleet. But he'd hoped to be one of the lucky few placed on the luxury liners of the fleet- a Galaxy-class, or maybe an Odyssey. Such was not his fate.:: Ferentis: oO Shame. Oo ::He wasn't one to worry about his situation, or the future. What came, came.:: ::At last he arrived in the main engine room. Even here, in the heart of the starship, there wasn't much room to move about in. He'd studied the personnel files, and recognized the chief engineer across the room. He made his way toward her.:: Ferentis: Commander Kalayar? ::His voice was calm, pleasant, and subtle- completely opposite to the sound most would suspect he'd make.:: Kalayar: Hm-! Y-yes? ::Ferentis smiled as subtly as he had spoken. He had long ago learned to enjoy the reactions of others to his appearance. But he always made sure not to smile fully. Doing so exposed more teeth than was socially acceptable, apparently. People tended to become less polite when they felt you were about to eat them. Of course, like so many other things, he'd given up the simple pleasure of hunting one's own meal to pursue a life in space.:: Ferentis: Ensign Throdec Sende Ulthex Ferentis, reporting for duty. ::He handed her a pad.:: ::Kalayar accepted it, and thumbed the authorization tab.:: Kalayar: ::Still a little stunned.:: Thank you, ensign. Carry on. ::Ferentis gave a polite, respectful nod, and exited the engine room. Most engineers preferred to examine the ship's engines and systems the moment they came aboard, but he preferred a far more...intimate session with the internal structure of the vessel. Of course, the room would be manned 24/7, but gamma shift would have a smaller crew operating in the room. Solitude was better for getting the pulse of a ship. It was beyond important that he learn his vessel properly.:: ::But until then, there was little to do. His...souvenirs were safely aboard. His first duty shift didn't begin until the next day. There wasn't much to do aboard a Defiant class starship besides work, eat and sleep, and he wasn't tired. Eating was generally a...messy business, but he could find something small and socially acceptable in the mess hall- perhaps meet some of his new crewmates...:: TBC... Ensign Thordec Sende Ulthex Ferentis Engineering Officer USS El Corazón NCC 74220 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][[][][][]][][][] as simmed by: Lieutenant Randal Shayne Helmsman USS Darwin NCC 99312-A G239202RS0
  9. ((Deck 6, VIP quarters)) :: They still hadn’t told her why her room was bathed in a sickly yellow glow. Probably because she’d been so intent in trying to escape this ghastly place. She wasn’t ready to drop the idea of borrowing a shuttle yet because no one had yet ruled it out as a possibility and now her hopes of returning home were pinned on it. :: Lyna: What is this yellow alert? Cook: It could be for any number of reasons. The ship has possibly come into contact with something and everyone is to be ready for a crises. :: All the more reason for her to get out of here then. She hadn’t forgotten about the Borg. If she had any idea about who they were or what they did she’d soon realise they were much much worse than she could possibly imagine. Ash’lie had been very fortunate in having so little contact with other species that they’d not suffered the wars and losses Federation worlds had. :: Lyna: ::Looking at him with big, round, pleading eyes:: Graeme, you pilot the shuttle and take me home. Then everyone is happy and you can return the shuttle after. I am certain my people will reward you well. :: Even Lyna could see how uncomfortable Graeme appeared. His speech became broken as he stuttered and with his head hung low, he looked off to the side. She could tell even before he’d said it that he would not help her. Her already low mood shifted again and she felt even more tired, listless and helpless than before. She was really beginning to regret her decision to remain here a little longer. Perhaps if she’d had more time to think about it, rather than having to rush to reach a decision she would have overcome her fear and made the decision to leave. Now she feared she may be stuck here for an extended time. She hadn’t realised how lonely and bored she would be here. :: Cook: I....I... I can't. As much as I want to see you returned home I have a duty. My duty is to everyone aboard this ship. ::Looking back at her.:: I don't want a reward. My reward is seeing you well and recovered. Lyna: I am well and recovered. I’m ready to go home. Cook: You are still recovering...... ::Looking away again.:: but I have to get back to sick bay I have a duty to keep. I promise you Lyna I will look after you! :: His intentions seemed sincere but Lyna did not believe she needed looking after any longer. In fact she was beginning to wonder if Graeme and perhaps everyone here was delusional. They certainly didn’t seem to be able to agree about things and it made her wonder who would get their way and what would happen to her. :: Lyna: Don’t let me keep you from your duty. :: The warmth and friendliness she’d had for him before was diminished now. She wondered how much longer she would have to remain here and what this impending crisis was. Would anyone talk to her about it? What was she expected to do in an emergency? :: Cook: I will personally speak to the Captain about what was said before. When I don't know as ne will be extremely busy as we speak. :: No promises then. Not that Lyna expecting anything to come of this any more. Graeme had shown himself strongly against the idea and had rejected her suggestion to allay his concerns. He had driven her guest out in the process. Now she was to be left alone again having not had the chance to ask any of the questions she had. :: Lyna: Of course. The Captain is too busy. Maybe it would be best for you not to trouble yourself with the matter further then. ::The corners of her mouth turned down and she looked to the floor:: ::The small, scared woman didn’t know what to think any more. He felt confused, exhausted and anxious about everything. Her concerns were colouring her view of the situation and people involved to the point she didn’t know whether she had made the right choice in trusting Doctor Cook. Maybe her initial assessment about aliens had been right, maybe her people were right to shun them all so. What was she to think for a moment that maybe she’d discovered something worthy about them that they hadn’t seen before. :: Cook: Before I go if you need anything just say 'computer tell Dr Cook I need him' I will receive this and I will call you back and then if I'm able I'll come straight away. ::He took her hand in his and caught her gaze.:: I'm sorry for before I really am. :: Lyna felt a flutter of emotion as she gazed into his blue/grey eyes. She wanted to trust him. Wanted to stay and talk to her, for him to tell her about himself and make everything okay. It didn’t seem to matter what she wanted, fate would not allow her to have it. She pulled her hand back and looked away. :: Lyna. You’d better hurry. Your duty calls. :: Her response was flat and maybe a touch bitter. She wasn’t really angry at him but she was disappointed with the whole situation and felt dreadfully alone. She did not have a place here. No duty to attend to. Lyna imagined the crew resented her for being here, using their resources and contributing nothing in return. Perhaps that was why none were willing to spare her any time. :: Lyna: oO It’s not them that’s the problem. It’s me. I’m not welcome here. Oo :: Once Doctor Cook had left she sat on the sofa with feet at the edge of the cusion and her face buried into her knees as she replayed the conversation with the Captain over in her mind, wishing she’d taken the hint and left when she had the chance. :: ​PNPC Lyna Namid - Guest Simmed by:-Captain Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Captain's Council Member =/\= Promotions Coordinator =/\= Cadet Steward Publicity Team Facilitator =/\= FWPA 2015 Co-Facilitator =/\= Training Team A238805EB0
  10. (( Laudean Resistance Vessel, enroute Duronis II )) :: Although the Starfleet ship he was watching approach was the biggest starship he had ever seen, he knew another, more dangerous ship three times her size was currently away. The initial plan was to strike when both vessels were away, ensuring that his fleet would support the ground forces and annihilate the Federation embassy and everyone in it. The thought pleased him, and the vision of a burning embassy and dead Starfleet personnell tickled his fancy. When he hailed the Federation starship, his confidence was sky high...until he saw who was staring back at him...a massive human with eyes as cold and hard as space...blinking once and keeping his composure, Kallaga spoke.:: Kallaga:=/\= This is Fleet Leader Taurik Kallaga of the Naturalist Party. Surrender your vessel. You are outnumbered and outgunned. We will escort you back to Til'ahn where you will remove all Starfleet and Federation personnel from our world. Failure to comply will doom you to the same fate as your other Starfleet brethren. you have fifteen of your seconds before we open fire.=/\= :: Never changing his countenance, he stared at the viewscreen...he had thirty nine ships, more than enough to smash one starship. His first thought would be how glorious it would be to accept the surrender of this USS Bronwyn...and he had been told the starship had been sabotaged by sympathetic Laudeans who had worked side by side with those dogs, unaware that some of their friends had been preparing for this day, right under their noses. The reply he got back only buoyed his mood.:: Parker: =/\= This is Major Hannibal Tiberious Parker commanding the USS Bronwyn. You are ordered to eject your weapons coils and come to full stop. Failure to do so will force me to open fire. This is your one and only warning.=/\= :: Kallaga had expected such defiance from one of the heroes of Bondi. He had heard the stories of the Marine, and this attack was timed when he was supposed to be off world, on Earth. The man seemed impossible to kill, but now, he would have the honor of finally vanquishing the strongest of Vail Daysas' lapdogs.:: Kallaga: =/\= Prepare to die, Starfleet. Once we are finished with you, we will remove your alien remnants from our world. All of you will die.=/\= :: Kallega saw something in the massive humans' eyes, and a cold chill ran up his spine. In his eyes, he saw death. His death, at the hands of the outworlder. He had something in his mouth, something called a ...cigar. He had no appreciation of how large this Hannibal Parker was until he stood up and looked directly into the video pickup, and he reflexively moved back in his chair as the human spoke..:: Parker: =/\= Kallaga....Heghlu'meH QaQ DaHjaj=/\= :: Kallaga had heard the language before...it was Klingon, but he did not know what it meant. It was rumored the massive human was part Klingon, part augmented human, which explained his knack of killing anything in his path. Another reason to eject such hybrid scum from their once pristine world, a world they were going to create once more. Chandra had promised such, and it was Gaev who had delivered them the ships and weapons needed to ensure that future..:: :: Shaking off his sudden chill, Kallaga ordered his ships to arm their weapons and raise shields, Kallaga's fleet closed the distance to the doomed Federation starship. An alarm, a shouted warning, and Taurik watch as the Federation starship opened fire..:: :: The resulting barrage of torpedoes detonated close to his fleet, but the effects were devastating. Alarms were sounding all over the bridge, and shouted voices pierced the air. Panels sparked as Kallaga barked for a report. Several ships were destroyed, and there was a report of another ship which had opened fire...one they had not previously detected. Another explosion close aboard caused his ship to heel hard to starboard. There was only one way out of this, one way to complete the mission before the two starships cut them to pieces...fight.:: :: Trying desperately to rally his surviving captains, Kallaga tried to hail them, but his only response was white noise...they were jamming him. Not only was the Marine fully capable of ground combat, he was also an able and treacherous commander is space. Turning his battered vessel on the Bronwyn, several other fighters joined him in strafing the larger vessel. Several others were firing wildly, trying desperately to hit the other starship which was mercilessly laying waste to his fleet. Unlike the Bronwyn, whose shields were down and taking hit after hit, the other vessel was seemingly spitting fire from the black of space itself, only becoming visible as its phasers fired. The ghost ships' profile was strikingly similar to the Bronwyn, but completely different. Gouts of flame erupted from the Bronwyn from each pass Kallaga made, but to his surprise, the starship was still there, the sabotage supposedly done by the Laudean yard crew was insufficient to completely take the Bronwyn out of the fight.:: :: Kallaga realized too late he was on the end of a losing fight. The ships he had gotten from the gangster Gaev were insufficient for prolonged combat,coupled with the limited training they had received, left him ill prepared for what he was dealing with. The ships packed with the new explosive Gaev had procured on Starbase 118, which were going to be used to pummel the Federation Embassy to dust had been all but destroyed. A surprise starship had proceeded to help the Bronwyn cut his fleet to pieces. He had been buoyed by Naturalist Party leader Chandra Ahismas' words of bringing Til'ahn back to a more natural state of life. Bitterly, he knew the dream was dead. A console exploded to his left, killing his tactical officer. On his viewscreen, another fighter exploded into a ball of duranium and plasma, the Bronwyn flying through it like a vision of hell.:: :: Kallaga was beaten, but he still had a chance to stake his claim for immortality. If he could get out of this battle, he could make a run for Til'ahn, and fullfill his mission...destroying the embassy of the hated Federation. Ordering his helmsman to break off the fight, Kallega headed straight for the Sand Bar...he knew if the Starfleet vessels followed him, they could not fire in the environment of swirling volatile gasses. He didn't know how many ships he had left, but he hoped they saw him making a run for it. His sensors (if they were reliable) told him there were three other ships other than his. Hoping they saw him heading for their homeworld, Kallaga made his move.:: :: His ship shuddering around him, Kallaga was grim faced. His tactical officer was dead, his helmsman was injured, but still performing his duty. Another alarm, another problem...his ships' engines were overheating, and beginning to vent plasma. Despite the warnings from his helmsman, Kallaga dared not slacken his speed. Even as it was, the Bronwyn was pursuing him, and the growing bulk on the screen told him she was gaining on them. Sensors showed the Bronwyn was still without weapons or shields, and he wondered what sort of trickery the toothless starship and its treacherous commander had in mind. His four ships were running full out, one abreast of him and two astern, closest to the Bronwyn. Trying desperately to reestablishing communications with the remnants of his fleet, he watched as the Miranda Class starship moved menacingly closer as they broke out of the Sand Bar and out into space, the blue green of Til'ahn just ahead. His homeworld beckoned him onward, but the hated Federation Embassy was now on the far side of the planet. Ordering his ship to change course, his ship began to make its circuit of the planet to prepare for the death dive into the embassy.:: :: It was then the Federation treachery struck. Kallaga watched his two aft fighters begin to tumble, then slam into each other, erupting into a ball of fire. The battle was long over, but he still had a chance to strike a blow for the Naturalists. Willing his plasma-bleeding engines to hang on a little bit longer, he continued to orbit his world one last time.:: :: The Federation starship had changed course, entering orbit at a much lower altitude than Kallaga. Too late, he saw the strategy. With the starship almost hugging the atmosphere, he was flying a much tighter circle than he was...which also meant the human was gaining on them that much quicker. Doing the calculations with his helmsman, they both knew it would be very close, but they had no choice..they would have to ccross the bow of the Federation starship, one which had no weapons except a tractor beam. He didn't know the range, but he was out of time. They had one mission left, and they were going to complete it. With the Bronwyn bearing down on them, Kallaga began his final dive.:: :: As Kallega started his dive, the bridge began to fill with smoke. An alert tone caught his ear, and to his horror, he knew what that meant. Somehow, the Federation starship had regained its weapons, and launched two torpedoes. It was over. In that moment, he realized the insurgency was doomed to fail, the fiery words of Ahisma Chandra ringing hollow in his head, the dream of alien interference and a more natural way of life gone. Kallaga watched the viewscreen as the torpedo drew closer..to him, it seemed as it were mocking him, teasing him like a child on playground. He resisted the temptation to close his eyes...his promise of becoming the Defense Minisiter over a new world shattered. A quiet peace settled over Kallaga, his fate sealed as the torpedo detonated against the hull of his ship.:: MSPNPC Taurik Kallaga ( Deceased) Resistance Fleet Leader Naturalist Party As simmed by: Major Hannibal Tiberious Parker Marine CO USS Thunder-A/ Duronis II Embassy C238703HP0
  11. Guest

    Captain Blueheart - Blades

    ((Backsim – before the Carnivale)) ((Captain’s Ready Room, USS Atlantis)) ::The deep red wood of the desk accentuated both the lethal curves and brilliant metal of the sword. After Tyr’s departure, after John’s congratulatory call, Raj sat there behind the ancient desk, staring silently at the blade for the longest time. How beautiful something so deadly can be. How finite and final.:: ((Flashback – 4 years ago, Migrant Colony Medical Camp, Mars)) ::Their relationship had been on the verge of collapse for some time now. Raj had continued to water and nourish the wilting relationship obsessively, not realizing that he was in fact drowning it.. drowning them both.:: MATTHEWS: ::gently leading him aside by the elbow:: A word, Raj? BLUEHEART: Sure, Dylan. ::He tore the surgical mask from his face. His heart sank.:: MATTHEWS: Look, this isn’t working out. We both know it. We both need to move on. BLUEHEART: Okay. ::He smiled. He surrendered.:: MATTHEWS: You’re hurt, I can see that, but this is for the best. If only…. ::It didn’t hurt. He had been numb for several months now. Late that evening Raj had returned home to his temporary quarters and stripped off all his clothes before stepping into the common shower room. Finding it deserted, he turned on the water to a scalding temperature and stepped under the steaming hot jet. The burn was exquisite. He wasn’t as numb as he had thought himself to be. That had to be a good thing, right, he asked himself rhetorically. Just how numb was he after all? How alive was he? How dead was he? Back pressed against the wall, he slid down till he was seated under the cascading water, naked, knees drawn up close to his chest. He unclenched his right hand where he had concealed a scalpel he had sneaked out of the infirmary. He stared at the gleaming blade for the longest time, his heart never even picking up pace. How deadly something lifesaving can be. How beautiful something deadly can be. How finite and final. He wondered how tranquil it would feel to be numb, forever. He wondered how serene it would feel to be oblivious to the universe around him, forever. How finite and final. The blade felt cold against the skin despite the scalding water.:: “No more let life divide what death can join together” ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Adonais’ ((Captain’s Ready Room, USS Atlantis)) ::Tyr’s sword was just as cold as the blade that caressed the skin of his wrist four years ago. He expected himself to be repulsed by the flashback of that bitter and shameful memory but was surprised, rather, by the lack of that emotion. It was as if he understood, perhaps only now, the intention behind that act, the consequence stemming from it, and the inevitable lesson learned. But.. was that bridge burned? Would a day come when he will have to cross it once more? He turned away from the blinding gleam bouncing off the weapon and gazed out of the window. Everything was quiet despite all the activity going around the station. It was as if time stood still, in that moment, in that room, on that ship, on that station, in that sector of space. It can never be far enough from the truth – they were all hurtling through space at a dizzying speed, chasing Light. The entire universe was carrying on, like it had since time immemorial, regardless of the deaths and births of galaxies and gnats, empires and eagles. Would the loss of one more life really tip the scale of equilibrium in the universe? Could he, Raj Blueheart, change the direction of the compass? Was he, Raj Blueheart, a God? How did it come to be that one life mattered more than the next? There on the desk was a sharp blade. Like the scalpel that he had held in a strangely calm and steady hand four years ago, it was a blade that could end a conflict or start a war. A blade that could save a life or end a thousand. Or simply a humble blade that could take one life. Just one life.. The random, cold, unwavering universe will not mind, will not notice, will not care. He thought about Emerson. He thought about Tyr. He thought about Sheila. They too will eventually carry on when the memories have faded. And when they themselves have faded? Who will remember them? Who will remember us? Certainly not a random, cold, unwavering universe that doesn’t care, that doesn’t love. But when he looked at the sword, he knew the tale from which it was forged. He knew the legacy that was passed on to him. The words, the spirit, the force within it that was passed to him. It was fundamentally the essence of a tale, HIS tale, of a lifetime ago. There, in the metal and sheen, the intricate patterns and curves, was an epic tale in which he had played a very important role. And so it hit him. Stories. We don’t leave behind our memories as we have come to believe. We leave behind our stories. Stories everywhere, in galaxies and gnats, in empires and eagles, in swords and scalpels. Stories of love and tragedy. Stories of pain and joy. Stories to build civilizations and reach for the stars. Stories that will last an eternity. Suddenly it occurred to him that the universe wasn’t as random and cold and uncaring as he had assumed. It was in fact an entangled yarn of countless lives all a part of a greater tapestry, and each string was a story that will forever change the pattern, itself a pattern that is constantly changing, constantly evolving. It was an unfinished masterpiece. And his tale was only just beginning.:: El amor es mi espada.. END ========================================== Captain Raj Blueheart Commanding Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  12. (( Del's Quarters )) Rahman: But it's okay. I'm glad it happened this way. Before anyone else could get hurt. Del Vedova: That's a little, uh, dramatic. Hm? :: He gave her a quirky smile, to which she furrowed her brow. :: Rahman: How so? Del Vedova: I mean to say, no one was killed. And whatever you're carrying around your neck, Rosh, I hope it's not so heavy. ::beat:: Engineers don't work just for Starfleet. You don't need a uniform to explore the stars. :: She tried not to laugh. :: Rahman: Yeah... but it helps if your face wasn’t all over the news streams for the past few weeks with "terrorist" next to it. :: She let out another sigh. :: Rahman: I don’t know… I’m thinking I just need to go. Del Vedova: Really? And what did you have in mind? :: She looked back at him for a moment before frowning slightly. :: Rahman: ...I don't know. I haven’t thought that far. Del Vedova: Well, let’s think, then. :: He meant the implicit “us,” too; if she was going through this thing, well -- he’d done enough to add to its difficulties already. Time to help. :: Del Vedova: Do you want to stay? Rahman: Here? :: She took a quick glance around his quarters. :: Del Vedova: Here. On the ship, or the station. Anywhere nearby, I guess. :: She scrunched her nose. :: Rahman: It’s not a matter of what I want. Del Vedova: No, I guess I knew that. Well. How much say do you have? ::beat:: Any? :: He kept his face expressionless as he spoke, or he tried. He felt a jerk of muscles after the last word that meant, he thought, that he hadn’t been very successful. This was his fault, wasn’t it? In part, anyway. :: Rahman: I mean… it’s not official yet, but I’m basically on leave now until the SCE and Starfleet Command figure out what they want to do with me. Del Vedova: Ah. “On leave” -- so you do get to have some say in it, right? :: She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms. :: Rahman: And I’m sure you’re not surprised that I’ve managed to accumulate quite a bit of leave somehow over the past year. :: Del shrugged. What could he say? :: Del Vedova: It seemed appropriate? :: She frowned again as she looked back at the bottle of shiraz. :: Rahman: No, I do need to get away. Ugh. If not from everyone else then at least from him. Del Vedova: Him? Him whom? Not -- him me? :: No, of course not. She wouldn’t be around if that was the case. :: :: Her eyes darted up back to him and she actually gave him one of her trademark smirks. :: Rahman: You’re not secretly in love with me, are you, Del? Del Vedova: Wait, wait, wait: You tell me first! You’re not secretly in love with me, are you? :: They stared at each other for a moment before they both ended up cracking up. :: Rahman: Oh, Del. I knew there was a reason I liked you. Del Vedova: Because you don’t like me -- I mean, let’s be clear on that. Obviously. :: But he smiled at her in a way he hadn’t so far. The laughter, perhaps wine-induced, had loosened them both us, and he felt as though the whole thing was, for the moment, incredibly funny. :: Rahman: Well, if it’s not overconfident Andorian pilots I have to deal with, apparently it’s stubborn Rodulan engineers… how goes things on your end? We haven’t talked much since Kotir left. Del Vedova: Apart from resigning, it’s been great. I mean, I’m on a bit of a post-CMO high, so maybe a lot of it looks great right now. :: She tilted her chin downward in the manner of a scolding school teacher. :: Rahman: You know what I meant. :: His sigh was as close to a breath as he could make it. :: Del Vedova: Yeah, I do. ::beat:: But there’s nothing to report. I thought -- for a minute -- but never mind. :: She sat back, pouting. :: Rahman: You’re such a jerkface, sometimes you know. :: Del shook his head. He could see the face easily, but the name, or the uniform color? Nowhere to be found. He took another sip, though that probably didn’t help. :: Del Vedova: It’s not that I don’t want to tell you. I just -- don’t -- remember. :: And he held up the glass, tipped it toward her. She returned a questioning glance. :: Del Vedova: Maybe it’s better that the memory is the first thing to go. Stops me from doing anything foolish after half a bottle. Rahman: God, you’re such a lightweight. Del Vedova: I also have twenty kilos on you. How does that work out? :: She picked up her own glass before sipping the water. :: Rahman: That’s why I don’t drink. Del Vedova: Because you drink large men under the table? :: He raised an eyebrow. No one would logically call Del “large,” probably, except maybe a Ferengi. In fact, with all the tall individuals Starfleet seemed to employ, he tended to feel distinctly short at around 170 cm. Rosh, of course, was always short. Maybe that was why he liked her. :: Rahman: Ahem. Anyway… Del Vedova: Right. Where were we? Rahman: I was just saying this stupid, stupid man… I brought him on board. Tried to make things right for him. And then he goes off and declares his love for me. Well, not in so many words, but… ugh. :: Again with his raised eyebrow. This time, though, he thought he knew who she was talking about. He didn’t confirm, though; if she wanted to give his name, she would. :: Del Vedova: So all the more reason to get away, am I right? :: She gave a curt nod. :: Rahman: [...] straight. Del Vedova: So. Where are we going? :: She looked back at Del and smiled again. No argument. No trying to reason with her. They truly got each other. True friendship. Or maybe that was just the wine. :: Rahman: “We?” Del Vedova: Of course. I’m no longer in charge of the medical department aboard the Garuda, and I have a lot of leave saved up, too. You didn’t think you were going to go off alone, did you? :: His look was a sort of pity, but it was couched within a smirk. He needed her to see it as impossible to escape him -- or maybe, he thought, that was a little odd. But never mind: He was going. :: :: For her part, it looked like some tears were starting to return, but she held them back. :: Rahman: I think some part of me hoped not. Del Vedova: Listen to the part, my friend. Now: Where. Are. We. Going? :: She thought for a moment, resting her chin on her hand. Then, another coy smile emerged. :: Rahman: Australia gets a lot of sun, doesn’t it? Del Vedova: You want to go home? :: His mouth hung open. Then, belatedly, he realized that he assumed: Australia wasn’t her home. :: Del Vedova: I mean, to my home? ::beat:: My old parents might be confused at first. You’re not exactly the son-in-law they expected. Rahman: Psh. And you think my parents are expecting your charming self to greet them at their door? :: But his eyes widened. Not in alarm, but with the light of an idea. :: Del Vedova: Hey, that’s a possibility, isn’t it? ::beat:: We do go home. Your home. Rahman: ::Her eyes widened.:: Oh, God. Del Vedova: ::nodding:: Yeah, it may seem that way. But, hey, I’m coming with you. You get to pick. Even if you want to pick my family. :: She sighed. There was only one way to solve this as far as she was concerned. :: Rahman: All right. Fine. We flip a combadge to decide. Heads, Australia. Tails, Lahore. Del Vedova: Sounds good to me. But how do I know you haven’t fixed yours, so it’s double-headed? :: She shook her head with a sigh before she leaned over and swiftly ripped the communicator off his chest, tossing it into the air. :: :: When it landed, they both peered over the edge of the couch to see who’d won. :: Del Vedova: ::beat:: I think I’ll have another glass. --- Lieutenant Commander Nic del Vedova, MD Emergency Medical Officer USS Garuda & Lieutenant Commander Roshanara Rahman, EngD Status: Unfit for Duty
  13. ((Underground Cave, Sotra)) :: The caves were designed to keep them hidden, sometimes it felt like it kept them hidden from themselves too. C'Lockyo had some interactions with others of her species, but they mostly seemed keen to stay to themselves. Her father was the last of her family to leave her alone, by herself in her corner of the caves when he died years earlier. :: Echo- S'kreel: Brothers, sisters do you feel it too? :: C'Lockyo did feel it, she last felt it as a young girl, a pull, where her dreams seemed real as she yearned for sunlight. When she woke in the night time, she'd find herself covered in burns, even though she never went out of her caves. Her father was concerned about her, never having seen it happen before. They'd put uakie balm on the burn, and it would be good by bed time for them. :: C'Lockyo: :: Moaning :: Yes... :: She hated that she could feel it, that when she went to sleep she would be searching for her father, calling out to him. "Papa..." She would say. When she finally found him, he was in a strange room, crying. :: (( Flashback - Dream memory )) :: Her mother was having another baby, and her father had been with her mother. They were set to be home any moment, when the scenery changed, and she was in what seemed to be an eating room, it was empty, except for some tables. She heard voices and hid behind one of the tables, that was where she stayed as her father conversed with someone else, who seemed like a doctor. When the man left, she saw her father collapse to the floor, a strange agony on his face. All she wanted to do was to comfort him. :: C'Lockyo: It's ok, Papa. I'm here. :: She moved closer to her crying father, who seemed surprised by her presence. She wasn't supposed to be there, she could tell that, but she wanted to be there for him, and she wanted to see the baby. C'Lockyo had no idea that her mother and the baby were gone, that this is what the doctor had told her father. He just looked at her in shock, like he didn't recognize her. :: C'Lockyo: Papa, it's me. .oO It's your little C'yo. I love you papa. Oo. :: She went to put her hands on his face, but then he shook his head and sobbed, she didn't understand why. :: Onil (Being seen as C'Lockyo's Father): No... It's not. This isn't...real. This isn't real. (( End flashback )) :: C'Lockyo knew that wasn't what happened all those years ago, after the cycle last hit them when her mother went away with the baby. But it seemed so real, like she was touching her father's face, and she could feel his tears. Her hands were even wet when she woke up. It was part of the cycle, she knew it. However, she also knew that memory well, she reached forward for her father's crying face, and he wrapped his arms around her burying his face into her little chest. Later she found that he did that because she was all he had left, and she tried to imagine it from her father's point of view so many times, but she didn't know what it felt like to need to hang onto the last thing you loved so that you wouldn't lose it, not until he passed. :: Echo- S'kreel: You feel it too? :: She didn't answer him that time, just merely went about taking care of the things she was charged with. :: MSNPC C'LockyoYoung woman, Species 1337as simmed by: Commander Shelther FaransterCommanding OfficerUSS Constitution-B, NCC-9012B
  14. ((Ten Forward)) ::Raissa found herself sitting in a corner of the room. Ten Forward was half empty with much of the crew on the station for shore leave. She ordered her usual tea as she tried to relax after a day full of appointments. For the time being her time was her own. Oddly enough she didn’t know what to do with it.:: ::She looked out the window. The planet below gleamed with heavenly light. She knew nothing about the world. She made a mental note to find out more about it. But the sight of it was wonderful. A few years ago she didn’t imagine she would be out in the galaxy seeing new worlds and meeting new races.:: ::Her family has supported her, cautiously at first. It was such a change from her original life path. She had trained under her Grandfather to be a shaman. To be a healer, not only of bodies but of minds. To use her gift to mend what was broken by time and trauma. Wounds that did not show on the outside:: ::She had been content with her life until one of her patients had revealed a greater world. His words had cracked the door in her mind of the desire to go further, to see more, do more. The process was smooth yet exciting. But there was one thing that had changed and nearly ended her happiness. The hurt of that fateful day stayed with her.:: ((Flashback)) ::Raissa walked in the tiny apartment she shared with her fiance, Evan Martin, brimming with excitement. She had already called her parents with the good news that her application had been accepted. They both had given her cautious approval, but that had done nothing to dampen her high spirits:: ::What she hadn’t expected was to see Evan off work standing by the window waiting for her. His handsome face was a mask of neutrality and Raissa began to feel the first stirring of doubt tapping at her heart:: Moonsong: I thought you had to work today. Martin: I took the day off. I received some news that was affecting my work. Moonsong: ::she frowned with concern:: What’s wrong? Martin: A call came in while you were out. Chappy in red, with..were those pips on the collar? 4 of ‘em? Moonsong: He found me at the Center. ::she referred to the outreach center she worked out of, helping older citizens deal with the changes in their lives. She smiled at him.:: I couldn’t believe they sent a captain…. He knew Colonel Merchant… ::She grinned wider:: I didn’t know the old man had sent a recommendation for me… Martin: Recommendation for what? You’re not telling me the guy who called was actually some sort of secret service agent or something….wait a second….new boyfriend? Moonsong: ::surprised:: Of course not, Evan. ::smiles:: Starfleet… They accepted my application to Starfleet. Colonel Merchant had more connections than I realized. Martin: For the love of...oh, hell. :: He sank into a chair, looking rather dejected. A conversation he had with a few folks who decided to join the military. He never thought his girl would be the one to drive the knife into his chest. :: Moonsong: ::The smile was fading from her lips:: Evan…. you knew I would apply… I know you weren’t happy about it… and neither of us thought I would get it… But I did. This is good news… We can be together and see the universe… Martin: You’ve been so passionate at work, and you never mentioned this guy. You never mentioned Colonel whats-his-name, you never mentioned that you’d even made any contacts. It seemed like you were so certain you wouldn’t get it and you honestly thought your app was lost in the queue trying to get in. Now you’re telling me all that’s… :: He couldn’t finish. He had a life here, and to be asked to throw all of that away just seemed like one massive uprooting he wasn’t able to handle. It hurt, so much to the point that he felt he’d cry in front of her and bit back a few tears. :: ::Raissa stared at him for a long moment as if seeing him for the first time. He was unaware that he was battering her with his emotion and she struggled to shield herself from it. She felt tears filling her own eyes. Things had been going so well between them.:: Moonsong: ::Her voice was subdued:: Colonel Merchant is a patient at the center. Retired marine. Coming to terms with his disability. He tells me stories about his time in Starfleet… good and bad. ::She hesitated:: Evan… this is a great opportunity… for both of us… can’t you see that? :: Evan made no reply. He lowered his head into his hands and was fighting his impulse to cry, not ready to leave everything he’d ever known. He had a job, friends, a stable apartment, and enough to get by moderately well. To leave all that behind was a sacrifice he was unable to handle. :: Moonsong: ::She moved closer to him, laying a hand on his forearm:: Love… Think about it… Something new and exciting. We’d still be together. We could get married before I leave… :: He looked up at her, meeting her gaze with eyes that conveyed worlds of hurt, his mind a chaotic trainwreck from being asked to make this ultimate sacrifice. What future would a simple auto mechanic have aboard a starship, anyway? He couldn’t face that truth. Or that future. Instead, he replied with only four words, very faint. :: Martin: I can’t….I’m sorry… ::Raissa stared at him in shock. Her hand jerked away as if she had been burned. Suddenly he was a stranger. All these years, how could it be she didn’t know him at all? She found herself stepping back.:: Moonsong: Won’t you even think about it? Martin: I…. :: He choked on his words. He didn’t know what to tell her. His eyes said it all -- that he was too rooted here to just rip it up and leave, like she seemed to be able to do. How could he have been so clueless that she was drifting farther away from him in the last couple of months to have not seen this coming? It didn’t matter now, he couldn’t finish his thought. His head went back into his hands, and he kept silent. :: Moonsong: ::She swallowed hard against the lump in her throat:: You won’t consider it, will you? :: She gestured at the walls around them:: This is enough for you.. This life… ::She closed her eyes against the tears she wouldn’t give in to:: How could I be so wrong….? ((End Flashback)) ::Raissa looked at her cold tea on the table in front of her. It had been five years since she and Evan had spoken. She had moved out of the apartment than night and stayed with her parents until she left for the academy.:: ::She had avoided relationships from that point on. Being a counselor was an effective way to keep a distance between herself and others, but now, it was no longer enough for her. Carter was nothing like Evan. He had ambitions. Transferring to engineering was something that clearly made him happy. Despite her shields, she could feel his growing excitement over something new.:: ::Abruptly she shook her head:: oO [...] it! Stop thinking about him. He and Skyfire are probably an item now! Oo. ::Raissa pushed aside her tea and got to her feet. She had only talked to the man twice and once was a patient. She also told him to pursue another relationship. What the hell did she expect?:: ::She needed a distraction and fast. There was only one thing to do. Shop.:: ==== Lt. (j.g.) Raissa Moonsong Counselor USS Garuda Special Guest star: NPC Evan Martin simmed by Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire Acting CMO USS Garuda NCC 73809
  15. (( Mei’konda’s Quarters, USS Garuda )) NAUGHTON: All right, I believe that's more than enough. ::He looked at Mei'konda.:: I look forward to a copy of that report. :: The Caitian nodded as Roshanara remained silent, looking down now at the floor. :: MEI'KONDA: All riight, Lieutenant. I will forwaard the report to you. :: When she finally looked up again, she saw the man catch her eyes. They both looked rather miserable, so she attempted a reassuring smile. If it were anything like the reflection of one he offered back, she hadn't been successful. :: RAHMAN: But thank you again, commander. I'm glad after everything I haven't lost all of your respect. MEI'KONDA: You haaven’t, Doctorr... when it comes down to it, Ross betraayed everyone he served wiith, hurt us, nearrly killed Captaain Reynolds... for what reason, I do not know. :: Perhaps they would never know. She frowned again. :: MEI'KONDA: But you diid the opposite. Even faacing a court martial, you riisked your life to save your crewmaates. That means a lot. And it is why I am williing to testify on your behaalf. :: She fought with every last bit of strength to maintain her composure. She wasn't going to falter now. Not in front of her former shipmate, and certainly not in front of Lieutenant Naughton. Still, the slight unsteadiness in her voice betrayed her. :: RAHMAN: I appreciate that. MEI’KONDA: Of course... If I am called to the staand, I hope it haappens soon. You may have been exploited, but you belong in this uniform. :: The sad smile returned, and she followed him as he escorted them to the corridor. As he stood at the doorway, she turned to him and he gave a final nod. She realized then that this might be the last chance she'd get to see him on the Garuda. She glanced over at the JAG officer. :: RAHMAN: Lieutenant, I'd appreciate a final moment with the commander. In private. :: Naughton exchanged glances between the three of them before letting out a sigh. :: NAUGHTON: Very well. I'll wait for you at the end of the corridor. Don't make it too long of a wait, doctor. :: After he had passed through, the former chief engineer looked back at the Caitian. :: RAHMAN: I remember when you first came aboard. How, when you suddenly found your new senior staff were about to embark on a bit of an "excursion" to help one of our shipmates, you felt uncomfortable and decided to stay behind. That was the right choice for you then. Don't ever think otherwise. But I think you understand now why we were willing to do what we did for one of our own. :: Roshanara paused for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. She needed to tell him one more thing. :: RAHMAN: One of the most rewarding aspects of this job is helping the next line of officers under your command develop from fresh-faced graduates to seasoned officers. :: She gave a final nod. :: It was a privilege and an honor, commander. Take care of the next line. ==== Lieutenant Commander Roshanara Rahman Under Arrest Awaiting Transfer to SB118 JAG
  16. ((Holodeck, USS Mercury)) ::It had been a tedious process, clearing up the Mercury. The fact that it had barely made it to DSX in one piece showed just how skilled the Engineers that put her together in the first place actually were. But now, it was Tristam's Engineering department fixing her up, getting her into a stable condition. ::The Oracle class ship's situation reminded him of how he had been stuck in a medical facility, doctors constantly working over him. The Mercury was in just as bad a shape as he had been. The only difference is that Tristam didn't know how the Mercury had gotten into this situation in the first place.:: ::The ship stable enough to have more than two teams aboard, the Rodulan had gotten to work on the holograms. They hadn't been causing any trouble recently - a few had reactivated somehow, and instead of making a nuisance of themselves, they actually assisted with repairs. Some of his teams hadn't been aware they weren't the real people, and something told Tristam that it was probably better that they didn't know. But their kindness didn't mean he didn't have to deactivate them. Until he could work out their reason for existing, he couldn't fully trust the programs. ::Surprisingly, the majority had accepted that.:: ::Tristam was up to his final few holograms. The plan had been to deactivate the operating ones, shift them onto a hard-drive separate from that of the computer core. Some of the holograms had been pretty nice to talk to, others were . . . less happy about the situation.:: Blake: Take one step towards the console and I'll fire. ::Tristam froze up, his hand clenching the PADD with the holograms details, flashing back to the situation with Rahman occurring only days before. Glancing up, he took a good look at the phaser in her hand. Type two, by the looks of things. Tristam couldn't make out what setting it was on, but he wasn't at all keen to find out. He dropped the PADD, putting his hand up in front of him, taking a step away from the console. He was cautious - he didn't want to die today, after everything that had happened, all because a hologram decided that she wanted to blow him to bits.:: Core: Okay. What are you going to shoot me for? ::She seemed to hesitate a little, eyes hard on the Rodulan and eyes blinking back tears.:: Blake: I read my file. ::Uh oh.:: ::Having heard about Alpha team's dealing with her, Tristam did that too. Sky Blake, previously holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander prior to resigning from Starfleet. Pretty interesting record, in Tristam's opinion. Blake had been all over the place behavioral-wise right up until her first-born - a daughter; Faith Blake. To make matters more interesting, Blake had apparently been pregnant with Faith whilst on board the Mercury, but Tristam couldn't see a baby bump on this holographic version. ::Had the Mercury taken that away in it's bid to do whatever it had wanted to do?:: Core: Was it a good read? Blake: After the Mercury, Lieutenant Commander Sky Blake served at the Embassy of Duronis II - Chief of Security, USS Avandar - Chief of Security, Second officer and Acting First Officer for a short period of time, and then on the Vigilant back as Security and Tactical. Resigned on stardate 239103.03, citing the need to spend more time with her growing family. ::*Growing* family.:: ::Tristam, remaining silent, could see more cracks in her composure, the hand clasped around the phaser shaking a little as she tried to regain her own composure. He frowned a little - how did the Mercury's computer lose control over its own holograms? Was she *programmed* to do this? Better yet, how had she managed to access her own file when her credentials shouldn't have been recognized? Had the Mercury changed that too? Reinstated Blake's old Lieutenant credentials?:: Blake: A few dents and bruises, but an otherwise great record. And a great woman, too, apparently. Core: I'm sure she was. Blake: Did you know I had a family? ::This was rocky territory here. As it was, the hologram was already unstable - open *that* can of worms, and she might just all out break. ::Then again, Blake breaking herself could just be the malfunction he needed to hit the deactivate button on that console . . . :: Core: Yes. A daughter - Faith, I think her name was. You were due to be married to Lieutenant Sabor, Vulcan Armory officer aboard the Vigilant. ::There was another pause as this sunk in, and Tristam took a different route - to either talk her down, or push her towards self-malfunction.:: Core: What do you remember? Before everything? ::It was a silly assumption, thinking that the hologram may share some of the actual Blake's memories, but it was worth a shot. Maybe the Mercury knew more than it was meant to – maybe Blake was quite detailed in her personal logs. ::She took a few seconds to respond, her eyes finally removing themselves from Tristam, glancing around the room in an effort to form words.:: Blake: I was . . . on the asteroid. We were inside the cave, and I was first to be beamed aboard. That was stardate 238902.08. I remember arriving in the transporter room, and then demanding to be beamed to the Bridge . . . but after that . . . it's . . . ::There was another pause.:: I don't remember getting onto the Bridge. I remember waking up in my office, knowing that we had intruders aboard. ::That explained why she was wearing a long field jacket - a very dusty long field jacket. It was relatively reasonable to assume that her character had been "borrowed" from the transporter log from that stardate. The Mercury must have tweaked certain things.:: Blake: I just . . . accepted that . . . that the new one was in command, and that we had a job to do. I didn't even question were any of them were – Tallis, Reed, Ba'Eli . . . Parker . . . ::Saying that last name caused her some form of pain, Tristam could tell. Parker. Why did *that* name ring a bell. Was it from her file? A recent message on the subspace notice boards? One of the online forums message?:: Core: I'm not familiar with Parker. Blake: Mercury's First Officer. Or, at least, he *was*. He's FO at the Duronis II Embassy now. ::*That* was where he had heard the name - the Mercury's crew history, and a complaint about the armament of the ship. Blake was under the impression that it was early, early 2389. Where was Tristam at this point in time? He would have been on DS17, coming off his medical leave. ::Not that it was all that important. He needed Blake to drop the [...] phaser in her hand so that he could walk away with all his limbs intact. Before he could get another word in, however, she started speaking again.:: Blake: I *died*! Over *three months ago*! ::Tristam looked down at his feet. So the hologram had found that small piece of information at the very bottom of her file, too. That dreaded word in red writing. “Deceased”, it had said. It probably even stated cause of death, but Tristam had been quick to close the file as soon as he saw the red.:: Core: I'm sorry. ::He couldn't think of anything else to say, and he knew nothing that would have put the hologram to ease. Tristam didn't know the real Sky Blake. He knew that Sky Blake was a Brekkian Betazoid hybrid. She was born on Brekka. Her parents were scientists. She had a daughter, and possibly another child. She was due to be married. She had been 28 years old when she died. But he didn't know *her*. What he knew of her on a personal level was coming from this hologram – this only remaining walking and talking reminder that she was once a person, and not just a file in the Starfleet database. ::Because of this hologram, he knew that Sky Blake's green eyes were one of her most striking features. He knew that her hair was not naturally blonde, and that she may once have been a brunette. They were small details, very easy to miss when skimming a personnel file.:: Blake: I died of a brain aneurysm. ::she paused, and laughed once.:: After years of getting beat up, stabbed and shot at, I die of a brain aneurysm. ::It was as if she was simply born to die.:: Core: I'm sorry. Blake: Stop saying you're sorry! You said you don't know who I am! That you've never met me! ::He must have just missed her when he was posted on the Vigilant. He now suddenly wished that he had left DS17 a few days earlier, that he hadn't procrastinated and deliberately missed his first transport, so that he could have possibly met her. Just for this specific moment, so that he could talk holo-Blake down, comfort her in some sort of way.:: Core: You're right. I've never met nor seen you my entire life. ::pause:: But I know you – this . . . version of you. May-maybe that's why the Mercury made you. ::Tristam didn't know what he was doing, making the words up as he went along, hoping they'd form something that'd make Blake drop her phaser or at least back off a few steps.:: Blake: You're saying that my ship brought me back as a hologram because it missed me? Core: It's a possibility. The Mercury couldn't bring you back in person, so it brought you back the best way it could. In holographic form. To let you do your job, like you did back in 2389. Maybe to give you a second chance, maybe as a form of nostalgia. Maybe you were the only one that could have done the job you did, the only one with a strong enough mindset. Blake: You mean the only one to bully other holograms into that sensor pod. ::Well, that at least explained a few of the "dead" holograms.:: Core: You didn't know. You weren't supposed to know. Blake: And that makes all this easier, does it? Core: It was supposed to. You weren't supposed to know about the real Blake – you were made to assume her position, believe you were her, copy her attitude, looks, anything about her that made Skyleena Blake. It's all a piece of a very large puzzle, one that we're still trying to put together. ::Finally, she dropped the phaser, and it was then that Tristam realized that the phaser hadn't been powered at all.:: Blake: So what now? After everything I've done? Blown up parts of my own ship, killed people - real and holographic and deceived your crew. What's to become of me? ::Tristam sighed. Her admission of blowing up bits of the Mercury made his arm ache.:: Core: Your program wasn't designed for self-awareness. ::None of them were. Over the last several hours, he'd watched a few holograms corrupt themselves just at the thought of them being sentient. But Blake seemed to be handling it pretty well. He'd have to check her actual readings before any real assumption could be made, though.:: Core: I don't think taking the place of real Blake would be wise, either. ::No, that would just end in a lot of conversations he didn't want to have to participate in.:: Core: I can keep you on the Garuda, work something out for you. Blake: You can do that? ::She seemed rather skeptical, and Tristam gave her a slight shrug of his fully functioning shoulder.:: Core: I'm Chief Engineer of a Galaxy class starship. I think I'm up for a few personal privileges. Especially after this week. ::Actually, he really kind of deserved a medal after putting up with all the destruction the Garuda has brought him. But really, what was to become of Blake? Of all of the holograms? It didn't feel right to leave them on a hard-drive, orders from the higher-ups or not. They were, after all, beings. He frowned a little at his own thoughts - thinking about holographic sentience made his head hurt, especially since many people were willing to put forward just how easy it was to compare a hologram with that of a hyperspanner. He gave a slight huff before he delivered his next words.:: Core: I know it might sound offensive, but if I made you a personal project of mine - no one else involved whatsoever, I think we could make this work. ::But for what? How was this any use at all for him and the holographic Blake? He might as well just put her image in a picture frame, stand there and admire it - it'd do more good than any sort of project he thought of that he could involve her in.:: Blake: What, me be a side project, just waiting for you to show up every day and turn me on? Sit there and stare at me, wondering how to "fix" me? Core:::shaking his head.:: Not fix you. ::She stared at him, crossing her arms.:: Blake: *What*, then? Core: I don't know. But you fixed yourself somehow. The command to protect the Mercury is probably still there, sure, but you're not directed at the wrong people anymore - otherwise you would have shot me first chance you got. Maybe there's something in this universe that you could do. ::There was a pause between them as she processed what he said, tightening her arms.:: Blake: Why? Why do you have this . . . hope? You don't even know me. Core: I'm an Engineer. When somethings broken, we fix it. If its running at top performance, we keep it there. If we fail at something, we keep trying until it kills us. It's just what we do. Tbc . . . LtCmdr Tristam CoreChief Engineer USS Garuda
  17. ((Sickbay, USS Columbia)) ::A sonic shower was an abomination of nature, some genetic anomaly that had taken the shower and transformed it into some medical, hygienic necessity. On the Starbase, Chelsea had been able to get a real water shower on occasion and while it did take longer and make much more of a mess, it was a therapy that she rather looked forward to after a long, hard week. The warmth, the pitter-patter of small droplets against her skin and the floor, they were wonderful.:: ::In this moment, a real shower was a medical necessity, although nobody with actual medical expertise had seemed to agree with her. Instead, she had been run through some decontamination procedure that left her feeling more like a science experiment than a victim of post-traumatic stress. "Making the best of it" was the order of the day, and while she was - still - only half-way through the procedure, at least now all of that residue had been cleaned off of her. She caught an occasional whiff of manure from time to time, despite the medical staff's assurance that it was all in her mind.:: ::She was just placing her commbadge back onto her newly replicated uniform when it chirped.:: Connory: =/\= Connory to Ames =/\= Ames: =/\= You startled me, sir. I'm here. =/\= ::She smiled as she said it. How was it that this officer, she actually felt she could talk to? She'd felt that way once before, back when she worked with Livingston on that ...:: ::The thought floated away, willed away by the same mind that had brought it unbidden to her conscious thought. She sighed as Ian continued. Maybe someday she'd remember that differently. Or not remember it at all.:: Connory: =/\= How are you doing with the Health-less Holstein and the cattle cadaver? =/\= ::A shiver pulsed through her as he spoke, rattling her. After a hot shower, she'd be still in that afterglow of warmth when nothing could go now. Sonic showers offered no such lingering protection from the world; she was thrust back into its harshness. That stink returned.:: Ames: =/\= I'd like not to think about it, Ensign Connory. Anyway, after I beamed it to sickbay's isolation unit, I figured I would never need to see the thing again. =/\= oO Good riddance. Oo Connory: =/\= Good thinking, Wait. You beamed them where? =/\= ::She slipped her shoes back on as she spoke, and headed back out to main sickbay where she'd been instructed to wait.:: Ames: =/\= Well I couldn't move it on my own - sickbay is set up perfectly for this, after all. Let the science department worry about it. It's not our oO job Oo area of expertise. =/\= Connory: =/\= No don't worry I'm sure that'll be fine. oOI hope. Oo Commander Brek is trying to see if there is a vet among the colonists. 'Til then hold tight and make sure the containment fields hold. =/\= Ames: =/\= They'll hold. I will personally reroute power from whatever systems are necessary to ensure that that thing stays in there, where we're safe from it. =/\= ::From her perch up on a biobed, she watched as nurses passed back and forth. One stopped to take her vitals, and as she breathed deeply in and out upon request, Connory continued. She wondered, was he always this chatty? Or was he keeping her occupied for some other reason? It occurred to her that he was probably trying to do her a service, keeping her mind off of the incident. Although it did seem to be what he kept talking about; the theory seemed not to hold water after all.:: Connory: =/\=Oh and Ames good work. First round is definitely on me. After you clean up that is.=/\= Ames: =/\= Thank you. I'll need a drink after this. I'm only half-way through their battery of tests, and I'd much rather just get to take a little nap. =/\= Connory: response ::She gave a small smile, and the nurse left her to compile some more data. What was in all those charts?:: Ames: =/\= I need a bacon cheeseburger. =/\= ::She imagined biting into that big, juicy sandwich. The bacon smelled as it always did, that wonderful aroma of perfect happiness, and she could feel her teeth sinking into a big, puffy bun and into -- :: Bacon Cheeseburger: Moo. ::With a start, Chelsea snapped out of the daydream she'd fallen into. Hands spread for support on the biobed behind her, she shivered from the cold sweat that had broken out on her brow. Burgers hadn't been made from actual cows in a century - at least not on Starfleet vessels. But there it had been. She'd seen it, heard it. It could not be unseen. The cold sweat returned as she realized the inevitable.:: Ames: =/\= Oh. Oh, no. I may never have a burger again. I think I may become a ... a vegetarian. I need to lie down.=/\= Connory: response ::Their conversation ended cordially, and Chelsea laid down. What would it take to undo this damage? What was the point of going to the Galactic Halo now? She'd just be conversing and eating a vegetable platter. Was there no mercy in this world?:: ----- Crewman Chelsea Ames Operations USS Columbia NCC-85279 As simmed by Commander Ben Livingston Commanding Officer USS Columbia NCC-85279
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