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  1. ((Two great writers, one great scene- what else could we want? Great job to Arrow powerhouses Maz Rodan and Jacin Ayemet!)) ((Pankot III - Capital Ruins)) Messoq: You were foolish to come here. In time I will acquire it. Morrack Are you so sure of that? So certain that allying yourself with the mewling Federation will ensure your ::Beat as he snarls at Messoq:: success? You play a dangerous game, Messoq. Messoq: No more so than you involving the Breen! Again you disregard the rules of ascension just like the rules of combat! He stepped forward menacingly. Morrack: Oh by all means step forward brave Captain Messoq. Step forward and receive your reward for your brazen actions. Messoq: You are a weak fool, and it will give me immense pleasure severing your head from your shoulders... Morrack let out a loud guttural laugh. Messoq: Brother. Morrack: Brother? I have no ‘Brother”, for my Brother would not put his own selfish ambition before duty to his tribe, his people, his planet. Morrack stepped forward, his hands tight fists, frustration and anger dwelling inside him. Morrack: And how dare you chide me for involving the Breen. I have my army and you have yours. At least I am more honest with my choices rather than your lies and pretence at being civilised, lying to his allies pleading with them to help him. If this is what the Chalnoth truly wanted you would have no need to go to anyone. You want nothing more but power, for our people to be held firmly under the heel of your boot! Messoq: Do not test me. I will find the Claw, and I will rule our people. The chaos has to end. Morrack You speak of chaos, and yet you waste your life destroying all that the Chalnoth stand for, have stood for for eons. SO desperate to rule, to have others bow to you in supplication, blind to the true will. Morrack bowed sarcastically and withdrew a small blade, letting the sun glint on the steel. He threw it at Messoq's feet, and the taller Chalnoth warrior didn't flinch as it stuck into the dusty ground. Messoq: A challenge... ::It was a simple statement rather than a question.:: That is all our people are, now. One challenge after another, one death after another followed by ritual challenges for revenge. It is wiping us out! It needs to stop. Can't you see that? He never expected his brother to listen to him, for he never did. Morrack. Your choice Messoq. I give you one last chance. Pick up the blade and return it to me and we can stop this madness. Or leave it there and I promise you, you will die before you can ever use the Claw, if not by my hand then by the hand of all those that oppose you. Messoq: This fight will not end here or now. Your threats are empty, and soon enough the Federation I will have the Claw. And you will be destroyed. Morrack: No it will not :pause: But it is not threat Messoq. It is not even a promise. It is an inevitability. As Shute as the sun would rise on the hunt, there will never be any victory or triumph for you. He picked up the knife ignored by Messoq, turning it over in his hand as it brought memories flooding back to him. He felt; sad. Sad that it had come to this. Sad that regardless of what happened to him, Messoq would die. Morrack: Do remember Father giving us our hunting daggers? How thrilled we were on the morning of our first hunt? Messoq: Response. Morrack shook his head slowly. Morrack: Those we’re simpler times, before you were blinded by wanton ambition. It brings me no pleasure in your destruction. But it shall be done for the good of all Chalnoth. Messoq: All in good time, brother. But first... ::He narrowed his eyes.:: I must deal with the Breen! Morrack smiled slyly. He had his own plans for the Breen. Much like the Federation they were merely a tool to be used and then discarded when of no further value. Morrack: You needn’t worry about them Messoq. Unlike the Federation they neither have the guile nor the skills necessary to be anything other than a blunt weapon. Messoq: Response He stepped forward and put his right hand on Messoq’s shoulder, sighing before he spoke. Morrack: This is the beginning of the end Messoq, but not of the Chalnoth. They shall be free this I swear to you. He stepped back. And tapped his wrist surreptitiously so that Messoq would not notice. Messoq: Response TAG/TBC MSNPC Captain Morrack Commanding Officer ICV SDragoon As simmed by: Lieutenant Jg Jacin Ayemet Science Officer USS Arrow A239810JA2
  2. ((Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 2. Transporter Room 1.)) Collins: Is it weird that I'm...a little excited? Tallera: Yes. Tallera, minding the finer workings of a miniature arsenal she was placing into her pack, had assumed the Commander was talking about the violence they might have to employ. She'd spent far too much time with Klingons. When she looked up and took in the smattering of gear Collins sported, she revised the assessment. Tallera: ...No? For the Vulcan side of her, priming gear was almost a form of meditation, so the interruption had been slightly jarring. The satisfying clicking-into-place of equipment, the tightening of straps, the bundling of spare environmental gear, the organization of sensors, tools, demolition charges... Everything in its place. That included everything from a lightweight Marine armor cinched around her torso and thighs, to the bandana hanging around her neck, to her hair tied back and firmly clipped into place. She took stock of their rag-tag team once more, from the multiple robes in the room to the franken-tricorder protruding from Collins' hip. That's right - this was an archeological mission, just with hungry, armed Chalnoth likely to beam down after them. She revised her statement once again. Tallera: Perhaps it is weird. :: A coy smile. :: Which I suppose would be perfectly normal for you, Commander. Weird people were more interesting, anyway. R'Ariel: RESPONSE MacKenna: Everyone have what they need? Collins: Aye, sir. I've also sent detailed scans of Plateau 3 to each of yer tricorders. Now they aren't perfect maps, but they should give us at least a decent sense of direction once we make planetfall. Tallera drew her pack close to her body and stepped onto the pad. Tallera: That will help, but we'll still want time to orient. Rescue will be slow if you get separated. R'Ariel: RESPONSE Tallera nodded, acknowledging the security detail as it arrived. MacKenna: As you noted from the primer, where we're headed is quite sandy, hot, and dry. Everyone have water and hydration tablets? Just like Vulcan. Tallera had spent a week there once, and found it distinctly not to her taste - just not because of the environment. If anything, she'd have something of a home field advantage with the climate they were expecting down there. Collins: I have some... Tallera: I've got extras, and food as well. She wouldn't likely need it, her body naturally capable of going without water for longer periods of time than her human companions. Still, there was no telling how long they'd be planet-side. R'Ariel: RESPONSE MacKenna: If we're ready... oO Ready... Oo There was a command, and the light took them. (( Pankot - Plateau 3 )) Tallera almost got a mouthful of sand before she could cover her nose and mouth with the fabric around her neck. Her eyes took a moment to adjust to the wind and sun, but, when they did, she was already scanning the horizon. Her training had beat into her that the seconds after beam-down were some of the most dangerous. It seemed there were no angry Chalnoth, no relics, no traps... just sand. Even up on their slight perch, the sand-polished terrain around them was about as featureless as one could imagine, only sporadic patches of tough grass mixed into splotches of flat, hard pan. The dunes around them undulated into the distance, cutting the view distance almost as much as the thick orange sand swirling and spinning through the skies. No cover and bad visibility set her on edge. Any number of bad things could hide out here in the sand. When Collins sledded down the dune, she made a hand signal to the nearest marine to follow him down, lest he got separated. Marine 1: Anything, Commander? Quentin shrugged slightly. Collins: I have a heading, but not much else. Tallera: Does that heading take us to cover? This wind and sand will make for hard going. MacKenna/R'Ariel: RESPONSE Tallera almost missed the slight sound of sand falling on sand in the wind. Her head whipped to the source of the high frequency only to find a hairy, bulbous, black thing skittering up the leg of one of their guards. Security 1: I think I've got somethin-WAARRGH! She shifted her weight, and was rapidly surfing the few meters of sand down the dune all while the man was wrestingling with the arachnoid creature that was clearly very strong for its size. Before she made it to the scene, he'd freed a hand and punched the creature off of him. Not that strong, evidently. Collins: Sand Spiders! Why did it have to be Sand Spiders!? Tallera promptly ignored the Commander, and instead ran awkwardly through the soft sand to the sprawling spider, only just reaching it before the creature righted itself. She grabbed a firm hold of one of the legs, and grappled with the struggling being. Finally she felt its face (if the far-too-numerous mandibles and bubble-like eyes could be called that), there was a brief surprise when she felt a familiar neuro-chemical connection and... The spider relaxed, and so did Tallera. A second's silence, and she gently set the weirdly fuzzy thing down on the sand. It sat its bulbous form there, in a manner, looking confused as to what just happened. Tallera: You can relax, Commanders. I have explained to the spider that we do not intend to eat it. :: Beat. :: Or at least I think I have. She'd performed minor mind-melds with other non-sentient creatures before, and even with creatures who had highly developed central nervous systems it was something of a crapshoot. With a spider? It was more simple chemical communication: like showing a picture to a child and seeing if they threw a tantrum or not to determine what their favorite food was. The relatively docile nature was good enough for her. Collins/R'Ariel/MacKenna: Response Tallera: Does it not strike you odd that a creature we can obviously overpower would attack? We are not its food. I could only read a faint smell and a distorted image, but definitely a prey response. I believe the Chalnoth are somewhere nearby, and they actually ate some of these... spiders. It attacked, expecting us to do the same. Collins/R'Ariel/MacKenna: Response Tallera: The meld was quite tenuous and unintentional, I'm frankly surprised it worked at all... She had a sense this was going somewhere. She wasn't sure if she liked it or not. Any Team 3: Response Tallera: You want me to try what? She'd heard it alright, she just hadn't fully processed the request. The worst part? It wasn't the most insane thing she'd ever heard of. Any Team 3: Response Tallera: I suppose it would know where good places to hide and hunt are. :: She sighed heavily :: Very well, I will attempt to "ask" the spider if it knows of any large subterranean features. She knelt down, the spider waggling two front legs curiously at her. Tallera looked at it dubiously. She was surprised it hadn't run away already. Perhaps her ability to communicate in this way wasn't as accurate as she thought it was. She took a deep breath, trying to center her being as much as possible. It wouldn't do to have noise in the connection with this creature that wouldn't understand. She reached out again, this time with no fight. She conjured in her mind a series of images of caves, caverns, ruins - anything large and underground - then paired it with the smells of damp and stone and all the things a spider might actually understand. She terminated the strange connection with a feeling of questioning, as much as she could imagine a question might feel like. It was probably closer to asking for food than anything, but who knew? The mere fact she could communicate, in any form, was something. In reply, she felt hungry. Any Team 3: Response Tallera's hand retreated from the creature wordlessly, and she swung her pack around. She reached in and pulled out a small morsel of food. It dropped to the ground, and the spider swallowed it whole, then immediately started to scurry off. Tallera: Fascinating... :: Her voice was thousands of lightyears away. :: Any Team 3: Response She came back to the ground after the utterly bizarre experience. Tallera: I have either been swindled out of a small bit of food, or brokered a trade for directions. I think we're supposed to follow. Any Team 3: Response Tag/TBC... First Lieutenant Tallera Starfleet Engineering Corps Marine Detachment USS Arrow - NCC-69829 A239710MA0
  3. I guess you may already know that but USS Arrow simulation was just launched last Monday. In order to celebrate such unique event here are the nominations for the Top Funny Quotes of the Season. 🤣😆😂😝
  4. This was stunningly written and I felt from this one scene that I understood who @Maz Rodan was as a character. An absolute joy and pleasure to read ❤️ ((Deep Space 224 - Deck 9; Observation Room)) Maz felt most at peace gazing at the stars. He had such fond memories of his childhood stargazing into the Trill night sky. His thoughts drifted to Collins House in Maine, and the grand old observatory situated near the attic. He'd felt a comfort there, and half-wished he had access to the seemingly ancient technology the old clan Collins' used to use. He half-hoped David would begin regular upkeep on the telescope, but knew deep down that he wouldn't. The thought brought a small smile to his lips. Here, though, it was different. He stood in front of the massive windows of DS224, secured by force fields and transparent aluminum, The neutron star the station orbited pulsated regularly, and he felt a certain peace in the rhythm. The wonders of modern technology meant he could literally be this close to the star. So close, he could possibly touch it... His meeting with the Captain had been a learning tool, as always. The closer Maz got to command, and the easier it seemed to be able to navigate, the more it seemed he had to learn. Not for the first time he wished to be back in that royal blue uniform instead of the crimson red, tinkering with his scanners and sensors. No one had died beyond the Galactic Barrier. Not really. He felt his thoughts drift to Kelar, and wondered what his life would now be like all those thousands of light years away. Beside him, someone stepped up to the railing of the observation gantry and leant on it casually. They indicated the star in front of them. Maz still had his sunglasses on, and couldn't quite make out who it was by their reflection in the force field. Birack: Go on then, how hot is it? Without missing a beat, Maz replied almost computer-like. Rodan: Ten to the twelth power kelvin. Suddenly turning to see the identity of the speaker, Maz removed his aviators in an instant and grinned. Rodan: Lee! His old Academy friend - Lee Birack - stood next to him, grinning like a cat himself. Maz let out a genuine laugh and embraced the blonde haired man like a brother. Rodan: You son of a... what are you doing here? Birack: The Brave is docked for a little while. Saw the Arrow was this way on, and knew you wouldn't be far away from a viewing port. Maz smiled. He smiled so much his cheeks started to hurt. It had been a long time since he'd seen his old friend, and he looked well. Rodan: I got your last subspace letter. You made full Lieutenant on the Brave! Congratulations! Below them, the USS Brave - a Defiant class ship - was nestled in between the other Starfleet and civilian ships currently docked. Birack: Thanks, Nev. Though what a little warship like that needs with a Chief Science Officer I'll never know. Hey, congrats to you, too, Mr. First Officer! Maz almost blushed but took a gentle elbow to his ribs from his friend. Birack: CSO of the Dickens, then XO of the Arrow, that's quite a career! And you're Joined, too. I feel like you've grown up a lot since we shared a dorm at the Academy. You'll have to tell me what that's like! Rodan: Grown up too much, sometimes. It's a bit crazy, isn't it. ::Beat.:: It's good to see you, Lee! Lee nodded and patted Maz on the shoulder. Birack: I'm so glad you're here, man! He leaned closer almost conspiratorially. Birack: I know we haven't had a Storm Chaser meeting in a few years, not since the Academy... Maz nodded the affirmative. During his senior year he joined with Birack and a few others to experiment with developing the technology to create a galactic pre-warning system for ion storms. The drive and the energy was there, but Starfleet remained skeptical. There was never anything above a Category 2 storm in the entire sector, and Starfleet wouldn't authorise use of anything better than an old Class 2 shuttle for their research. After gathering as much data as they could in the field, their research seemed to fall stagnant. Birack: But... there's one developing three sectors away. A BIG one. Maz's mouth gaped open in comic surprise. Could he mean? Rodan: A Cat-5? Seriously!? Here? Birack nodded sagely then broke into a boyish smirk. Birack: Yup. It should give us enough data to perfect our proposal to Starfleet. Rodan: You mean you've got the sensor drones working? Birack: And my CO has convinced DS224 to authorise the use of a Runabout for the storm hunt. We're back in business, buddy! Suddenly, despite his doldrums after the Arrow's latest mission, he felt spurred into life. This was what he was passionate about. This was science! How long had he waited for a call from Lee to say their work could continue? What started out as a student's curiosity suddenly became a real, tangible goal. Rodan: I don't believe it. I'm literally so happy... Birack: So what do you say, Nev? You in? I need you. You're the best goddamn particle cascade mapper in the Quadrant, no! The galaxy! C'mon buddy, you could pick a grain of sand out of a black hole with a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass... The Trill scoffed incredulously and rolled his eyes, but his friend patted him on the shoulder again. Birack: Say you're in? Maz looked at his friend in the eyes. He could see the passion and determination. He nodded, and caused the human man to punch the air in triumph. Rodan: You've got the Runabout? Birack: I've got it. Rodan: And the shielding? Birack: Laszlo is working on it as we speak. It's a green light! Rodan: I can't believe it... ::He thought for a moment.:: I'm gonna need a Class IX optrical calibrator scanner! I know where I can get one... He rushed off excitedly. Lee called out after him, and Maz turned and started walking backwards toward the large doors of the observation room. Rodan: I'll be back soon! I'll meet you at the bar in an hour! He turned back the right way and almost sprinted out of the Observation Room and into the massive corridor. He was excited beyond belief now, and fished his comm.badge out of the top pocket of his loud Hawaiian shirt. Rodan: =/\= Rodan to Collins! =/\= Collins: Response Of all the people he knew on the Arrow, he knew Quentin would be most intrigued by this new venture, and he'd love to share it with him. Rodan: =/\= Have you ever wanted to fly head on into a Category 5 ion storm in the name of science? =/\= Collins: Response TAG -- Lt. Commander Maz Rodan First Officer USS Arrow, NCC 69829 C237708DW0 --- Co-Wiki Operator Mission Archivist Training Team Member FNS Contributor
  5. ((Somewhere)) MacKenna: You're going to be okay. Shayne grimaced in appreciation and camaraderie, and totally did not scream the things he wanted to. oO Leave me be! Five years you’ve known me, but you don’t know when to just let me be! Oo It was all he could do to keep up the facade, the facade that he felt the same way as her in that moment. It was a rare thing that they diverged, but when it occurred, the world was more challenging. There was just such a divergence now, and he worked so damn hard to keep that fact from his fiance, because it would do her no good to worry, and it gave him something to think about besides the eyes of the young Maquis he’d just incinerated. He seemed to pass the smell check, though he knew that with each passing moment, the difficulty in keeping up the appearance would grow, and the opportunity for a slip up would fail. They couldn’t afford such distractions- well, maybe Ash could, but she’d always been a creature drawn to shadows. If there was one thing he’d learned it was that shadows were patient. And though the captain had killed on rare occasion previously, it was without any doubt in his mind that he realized this particular shadow would loom for a very long time. The breeze felt good on his face, and he took a position behind Ash, her lithe form tackling the terrain with grace that he could never emulate. He did his best though, trudging forward with a swiftness that might not be expected of a man of his considerable size. His lungs burned, his legs shrieked, his mouth contorted into a shape of madness, but he didn’t slow down, not until Ash turned back to face him. Under the stars, there was no question that she’d see the tear, but perhaps she’d attribute it to their combined exertions. MacKenna: How are you holding up? Shayne: Never better. His voice was hoarse. Damn her and her care. Damn her and her compassion. Her needs were valid, of course, but sometimes it was difficult to convey that, in times like this, what she offered was the last thing he could stand, let alone want. Connection, empathy, warmth, grace, hope- -a blast of ozone shearing through the dusty air and cleaving a man from his home, and his family, and his endeavors, without even a body to bury- She wasn’t buying his equilibrium, but perhaps she was swayed on the “dealing with it” part. MacKenna: I get it. Her touch was beautiful, and gentle, and all the things he’d come to know, and in the moment, it took every ounce of strength to not throw it off. It wasn’t her hand. It was a mocking corpse’s pale white limb, caressing him from the grave- Shayne: Ah! He jolted away, and then covered his unusual movement with a rub of his elbow, feigning an aggravation of a wound he’d sustained in the tunnel system. MacKenna: Well, can you see that? He focused toward her gaze, her gesture narrowing down the options. Sure enough, a light burned bright, well into the distance. Normally he’d see that as salvation, good news. And it was. For their survival, for their plans, for their families. Suddenly the prospect of escape had lost its luster slightly. Shayne: And what shall we do when we get there? MacKenna: If we can find a console or something, we can rig it to send a distress signal. Shayne was already speaking as she finished her sentence. Shayne: Let’s go. They ran, Shayne clumsily tripping over his own feet and underbrush. He didn’t stop, not even when he fell on his face. By the time his chin scratched the craggy ground he was scrabbling for traction, ignoring the small line of red that now descended towards his neck. If he were a thinking man in that moment, he’d say that he was running from the truth- then again, he was leaving that fact in the dust behind him. The light turned into a small structure, and then a small complex, no larger than a moderate house. Shayne pulled out the weapon he’d shoved into his uniform, training ingrained in him taking over even for the desire to do no harm. He kept the pistol in low ready, stepping slowly and carefully and quietly- A figure loomed. Shayne brought the weapon to bear instantly, and fired, and… and… No. He hadn’t pulled the trigger. No matter what thought he put into it, his finger simply… wouldn’t obey. The figure wavered and undulated like it was in a state of flow, and then… The spotlight that spun atop the main structure spun their way, revealing a young tree waving in the desert wind. Shayne sighed and tried not to let the fact that he’d almost lost a shooting war to a plant get under his skin. Shayne: Cover me. MacKenna: Response A panel in the wall called to his attention, and he accessed it with some well placed concussive maintenance. The complex featured a relay system of incomparable simplicity and age; a few specifically timed interruptions in the active feed modulator were all that was necessary to convey a series of numerals that any Starfleet ship in range would recognize as a distress signal. He closed the panel, and slid his back down the wall, unable to catch his breath properly, but refusing to pant like an animal. Shayne: Now we wait. That prospect was more terrifying than any battle he’d taken part in. MacKenna: Response Tag/TBC… Captain Randal Shayne Commanding Officer USS Arrow NCC 69829 G239202RS0
  6. ((USS Arrow - Deck 1; Ready Room)) Ayemet walked across the Bridge to the port compartment and to the doors to the Captain’s Ready Room, a gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach. Since when did walking towards a door become such a drama? She shook her head ruefully. The truth was she knew why she was there. Her outburst in the Conference had not gone unnoticed. It would have been difficult for it not to be. She had seen the looks shot at her from Commanders Rodan, Serinus, and Collins. She felt the emotions that ranged from surprise consternation, and from fear to anger. Indeed it was one of the reasons that Commander Rodan had ordered her to Sickbay; to ensure that she was able to be part of an away team, and to be able to contribute any skills she brought to it. It wasn't just that though. It was also to determine whether her empathic abilities were of aunty danger to herself or the crew. (( FLASHBACK - Jalanda City, Bajor several years ago)) Sunshine poured through the open window that looked out across Jalanda City bathing the sleeping figure in a golden hue. The young girl murmured groggily, awoken by the warmth that now enveloped her. She stretched lazily, opening her dark brown eyes and brushing away a shock of blonde hair from them. Outside the City was slowly coming to life as merchants set up their stalls and the streets began till with people eager to buy the freshest fruit and vegetables as they made their own way to work. Ayemet had always been slightly puzzled by this. When food could be so easily replicated, and virtually anyone could beam anywhere, it seemed slightly archaic that people would buy food or walk to work. Whenever she had voiced such puzzlement her Mother and Father had always corrected her, insisting that replicated food could never been as good as something freshly picked from a tree, or dug up from the soil, and that simply because someone could do something it didn’t necessarily mean that they should, whilst her Brother would merely roll his eyes, as if it was a question that wasn't even worthy of being asked. Pulling on her simple tunic and pants, and her climbing boots she ran downstairs. Today was going to be a good day. Today she was going to take her Father to meet Nisha at the crystal lakes and they were going to set up camp there. She happily sang and she jumped the last two steps and rushed into the kitchen. Ayemet: Morning everyone!! What's for breakfast? I'm starving! However rather than the usual laughter from her Father, and the gentle chiding from her Mother she was met with silence. Her Mother sat at the large kitchen table, a cup of coffee in front of her.. Ayemet stopped and thinking that it was some kind of prank, that her Father was hidden and would leap out on his unsuspecting Daughter she asked again. Jacin :singing the question: I said what's for breakfast!? Her Mother looked up, as if woken from a slumber. There was no smile, no laughter, no soft chiding. Jacin Catyr: Can you make something for yourself this morning Ayemet? :rising from her chair: I’ve got to get to the store. We have a new shipment of stem bolts coming in. Ayemet: Errr okay but where’s Dad? Her Mother moved towards the door that would lead her to the streets, and from there the store. Jacin Catyr: He’s gone. Ayemet: But he’s taking me to meet Nisha. When’s he coming back? Jacin Catyr : snapping at her Daughter: He’s not coming back Ayemet! I’ll need you in the store this afternoon. Make sure you're there. And with that she walked out the door as if it were any other day leaving a confused and upset daughter standing alone in the kitchen. ((END FLASHBACK)) Ayemet stood at the door and pressed the chime, squaring her shoulders and preparing for the worst. The chime to the Ready Room door broke him from his contemplation. He realised, rather foolishly, that he’d been staring at the computer terminal on the deck for longer than he could remember. It had been nearly nine months since he’d sat in the chair opposite him, with Shayne sat in his usual spot, and swivelled that same computer terminal to him. The questioning, but darkly mirthful eyes which had exposed his ‘deception’. That he’d requested a demotion when he joined the Arrow, to prove his scientific prowess. That’s when Shayne had approached him about becoming XO. He chuckled to himself about it even now. Maz had laughed, rather raucously, assuming it was a joke for the new officer. But Shayne was determined, as only Shayne is. Rodan: Come. The doors swooshed open and Jacin entered. Maz sat up in his chair and offered a comforting smile. Ayemet stood to attention, her hands clasped behind her back. Kindness, or understanding, of any kind, wasn't what she had been expecting. She felt his sincerity in the comforting smile he offered her, but it was tempered by determination. She understood. He had a job to do. Whatever else had happened she would make it as easy as she could for him, already forming the resignation in her thoughts. His mind now turned to this side of command. Being Joined had changed his life in more ways than one. It made him confuse birthdays with previous Hosts, and give him memories that were - and by the same token - were not his. He remembered that evening on The Midnight Planet. Well, he assumed it was evening, since the small planet was constantly bathed in darkness, and Maz took it for evening as he huddled, terribly wounded, by the rock next to the fire Alvarez had started. The conversation seemed to haunt him now. ((FLASHBACK - The Midnight Planet; Crashed Pod Site)) The darkness engulfed every inch of the small planet. The night that seemed to last forever. Only the flickering phaser-fire and the strange pulsating glow of the bioluminescence of the surrounding jungle shone any light against the two officers laying against the rocks, trying to keep warm. Trying to stay alive. Rodan: Starfleet isn’t The Borg, Maria. Sure, the Red Collar changes you. Much like Joining changes you, but it’s those little pieces of “self” that only individuals have which can make it succeed. Sure, I could have flatly refused to take the responsibility of First Officer. I still can. I can request a transfer or reassignment at any time. Maria found herself almost surprised by what she was revealing about herself. So much so, she kept right on going, finding she was able to articulate something to herself for the first time. Alvarez: It’s more than that. No offense, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met a command officer I actually liked. Too interested in rank and position, telling people what to do. I don’t want to become that! Maz raised an amused eyebrow and chuckled, even though the act of laughing hurt his lungs and made his sides ache. Rodan: Is that how you see me? A rank climber? I’ll have you know, I requested a demotion when I was posted to the Arrow. The truth is… I was already a full Lieutenant and Chief Science Officer of the Dickens. I wanted to see if my Joining had influenced that unjustly, or whether I did have the knack for it. Shayne saw right through it and reinstated me to my true rank, then promoted me to be First Officer. I didn’t ask for it. But the choice was mine when I accepted. The same with you. Maria was genuinely surprised. His attitude to rank sounded more like hers than not. Maybe she’d been even more wrong about Maz than she’d realized. If so, she rather appreciated being wrong about him. Alvarez: I didn’t know that. Rodan: Just because you’ve temporarily assumed command in my impairment doesn’t mean you’re going to be shackled to command forever. You stepped up. Where would we be without you? I’d probably be dead. Chloe too, probably. Alvarez: :: She chuckled. :: Hey, the night is young... Rodan: And speaking as a temporarily relieved command officer. Did you see Ar’Gorvalei with his shirt off? He grinned and eased himself back against the rock he was leaning on. The pain was flaring again, but he was determined to keep their spirits light. Alvarez: Are you kidding? I can’t stop seeing him. Maria joined Maz in laughter. He seemed continuously full of ever better surprises. She never imagined she’d be checking out men together with a ship’s first officer. Rodan: I think I should make a trip to one of these Efrosian monasteries. Those guys know how to keep themselves in good shape. Alvarez: Sign me up! :: She shot a devious grin. :: On second thought, maybe don’t. Knowing my luck, they have a vow of celibacy and I’d wind up creating another… diplomatic incident. Maz grinned and glanced towards Maria. She giggled at his expression. Rodan: See, Shayne would have shot me a disapproving look, or comment for that. But technically I’m off duty, and I’m not a machine. Good humour. That’s the secret to command. Alvarez: :: Grinning. :: So I still get to be cool? Rodan: Coolness does not diminish with responsibility. In fact, it amplifies. So yes… you still get to be “cool”. ((END FLASHBACK)) Could he still be the “cool” First Officer now that the crew had been flung so far from Starfleet? The Captain was gone. MacKenna was gone. Everyone he looked up to for guidance. He was on his own now, with a crew of nearly eighty people all looking to him now. For guidance. For answers. For help. Ayemet was one of those officers now. It was a grave feeling, and he wondered if he could do his best for her. The El-Aurian stepped towards the desk and he indicated for her to take a seat. Rodan: Thank you for coming. Jacin : cautiously almost as a question: Thank you?..Sir. She sat down in the chair facing the Commander, her hands folded nervously in her lap. She would miss the ship, her friends, but she also knew that she had struggled with whatever her empathic abilities were, and even more so since the ship had ended up near Odyssey Staton. Rodan: You’ve come a long way since coming aboard. I’ve watched you develop and grow from a shy Academy mouse to a fine science officer. ::He paused.:: Never in five lifetimes would I have thought you’d interrupt a staff meeting with an outburst like that. There it was. It still hurt to hear those words, but in some ways there was a sort of freedom to it. The plaster had been ripped off the wound. There was no going back now. She didn't have a Klingon Bird of Prey and a sun to slingshot around. Jacin ::Speaking carefully:: I apologise SIr. It was not aimed at anyone. I just... Lieutenant Commander R’Ariel has cleared me for duty. Rodan: Whether you’ve been medically cleared for the station or not, something is wrong. ::He paused, leaning forward to meet her gaze. His words were soft.:: Talk to me. TBC Lt.Commander Maz Rodan First Officer USS Arrow, NCC 69829 C237708DW0 & Lieutenant JG Jacin Ayemet Science Officer USS Arrow, NCC 69829 A239810JA2
  7. ((Counseling Suite, Deck 3 -- U.S.S Arrow)) It was that time once more. But this time, it was a time R’Ariel and Chloe had agreed upon. Chloe could’ve asked R’Ariel to meet her in her quarters, or in R’Ariel’s, for that matter. But the counseling suite was a nice, soothing yet neutral location, Chloe thought. So, she offered to meet R’Ariel there. This was it. Chloe, nervous yet determined, pressed the chime to R’Ariel’s suite, and waited… oO Must be Chloe, Remember R’Ariel, no touching. Oo The little counselor chuckled in amusement at her own mental notes. Of course it was Chloe. She looked for something to hold in her hands, to remove the temptation to touch. She hopped down from her desk to open the door. The light fabric of her little green dress danced accordingly, a padd of medical reports clutched mindfully in both hands. R’Ariel: Please come in. A smile on the hybrid’s lips, a padd in her hands, and a strong determination to unselfishly get to what it was that Chloe needed to discuss with her. All these painful revelations, discoveries, and such would have to wait. The only exception, being she would probably have to tell Chloe at some time about the amplification issue, but that could wait. The doors hissed open not a moment later. Chloe paused, looked into the room. She felt herself tense for a moment, but seeing R’Ariel almost immediately relaxed her. Wordlessly, she stepped into the suite, waiting for the doors to close behind her. Waters: Thank you. R’Ariel: How are you? ::a smile on her lips:: You know Counselors aren’t supposed to play favorites, but… She teased truthfully,and led the way. Taking her traditional perch up on the desk, and gesturing for Chloe to take the usual seat. Chloe kept her eyes on R’Ariel for a moment. She seemed to be rather occupied. Had she interrupted something? She took up the indicated seat, responding to R’Ariel as she moved. Waters: I am fine, thank you. I hope the same is true of yourself. A pause. She was ready to tell R’Ariel what she wanted, but she still didn’t have the slightest idea how. Her confidence dwindled, replaced by quiet uncertainty. She didn’t feel hesitant, simply… confused. How was one supposed to approach something like this? R’Ariel: Recovering like the rest of the crew from that ordeal. She gestured to the padd she had laid on the desk next to her. It was an honest response, and a determined one to keep Chloe’s purpose at the front-center. She didn’t have to be touching Chloe’s hand to sense she had great purpose in this visit. R’Ariel: More than anything, at this moment, I am here to lend any assistance I can. She directed to her the fullest empathic attention. R’Ariel’s response gave Chloe the time she needed to tentatively settle on an approach. Waters: I need some… help. I… find myself in something of an uncertain situation. I must tell someone something… but I do not know how to begin. I have never dealt with anything like this before. Once again, the empathic counselor found herself swimming in some pretty intense feelings and emotions, which she chose to be mindful, that Chloe’s crown was an amplifier, so that meant that she had to be careful not to jump to conclusions about what those feelings meant. Whatever they felt like they were, she had to assume, the real emotions and feelings were something much less. R’Ariel: oO If I were to take these feelings at full value, I’d say… no, ugly R’Ariel, that’s silly. Just let her talk. Help her express the words she needs to find. Oo The little counselor, leaned forward from her desk perch, the tip of her tail casually flipping from left to right, beating a simple tattoo on the desk. R’Ariel: I am honored that you have chosen to tell me. I hope that I can help. ::She bit her lip thoughtfully, gently:: Sometimes, we just need to clear the space in our mind, and say it out loud. Then once our ears hear it, another part of our brain can help us see it more clearly. She bit her lip again, gently. If she took the feelings she felt in Chloe and boiled them down to something less amplified, then perhaps it was time to affirm their friendship. She spoke again, adding something straight from the heart. R’Ariel: You know, you can tell me anything, you are my dear friend, and I promise that nothing you tell me will ever change that. It’s one of the most important things I have in this life. Friend? The word stuck out to Chloe immediately. Her mind was already racing before R’Ariel spoke. It couldn’t possibly get any faster. R’Ariel didn’t know the feelings were for her… did she? Could she? Was this all about to be for nothing? Chloe took a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself, eyes drifting down to her lap for a moment, then back to the woman who had inspired so much change in her. Waters: There is someone I feel close to. Someone who inspired me. Helped me. To change… and grow. Pushed me to become more in ways I don’t think they know. R’Ariel focused carefully on each spoken word, she had to. The emotions and feelings in the room were so intense, they were exciting, and yet a little disorientating, much like staring at the sun. Waters: They are a very dear friend. And yet… R’Ariel: Yes? You need to express those feelings, those intense feelings. The counselor was on the edge of her seat, or rather the desk. The energies in the room were building, and she was getting excited to be let in on these special developments. She felt very included, and excited for Chloe, and still again, very very included. Waters: I feel… that there is something more. I want. I… hope. But… I do not know how to tell them. What should I do? This was it… Chloe mentally stole herself for whatever would come next. Was she doing the right thing? R’Ariel: oO Not my greatest area of expertise, but still exciting. Like what Captain Shayne and Commander Ash MacKenna have, mysterious and beautiful in its special way. Proof that head knowledge and heart knowledge are not the same thing. Oo She leaned back on her hands, and chose her words carefully. She did not need to dredge up her own past experiences and scars on the issue. She was determined to be there for Chloe, and not make any of this about herself, after all she was the Counselor, removing your own feelings from the situation, and putting others in the light was what Counselors did, friends too. R’Ariel: I would think that whoever this person is, would have to know already, at least to some degree, how you feel. In which case, it is usually a good idea to just tell them. She pondered her words for a moment, trying very hard not to read too much into the feelings in the room, and perhaps even trigger another empathic episode. She noted once again, it took a lot more concentration to think clearly. R’Ariel: The only time that it is usually advisable not to share is when that person has already made their unavailability known, for whatever reason, such as already being with someone else or some other reason. Then the best expression of those special feelings are to show them the courtesy of respect for their taken position. The little counselor nodded to herself, inside her own head, as she played with the hem of her little green dress. R’Ariel: oO That’s what the professor always said, he is very smart. Oo Chloe nodded slowly. Now, she sat in silence. She was energized, her mind was whirling. She needed a moment. Deep breath. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. It was much harder than it should have been for Chloe to clear her head, to distance herself from her surface thoughts. So many what if’s ran around in her head. But after a little while longer, she eventually managed to calm her thoughts. Slowly, she rose from the couch. Moving towards R’Ariel, she stopped a few feet from her. Close, but not so far as to be threatening or as invading R’Ariel’s comfort zone, wherever that might be. A small pause. Chloe tilted her head slightly, her gaze locking on R’Ariel’s face. Then… Waters: It’s… you, R’Ariel… Chloe’s crown, which adjusted is volume based on environmental factors and the strength of Chloe’s thought, barely whispered her words. She held her breath, and waited. R’Ariel: oO Idiot professor, what does he know on the romance subject, he’s a Vulcan. Oo The half Caitian-Deltan blinked. Her tail stopped its gentle sway, along with the rest of her body- all muscles frozen in place. It seems all her energies went into trying to process the myriad of thoughts and feelings that flooded her mind and body. Some thoughts and emotions were hers, others were Chloe’s. The distinction was complicated. R’Ariel: oO Shame on you, R’Ariel that’s very speciest of you to look down on Vulcans on this subject! oO She blinked again, seemingly that was the only physical muscle set that worked at the moment, an involuntary one at that. It was amazing how quickly thoughts could rumble about in the mere passing of long long micro-seconds. R’Ariel: oO Shut up R’Ariel, this is not the time to argue about that! Say something, and not about Vulcans or professors-speak. Speak from the heart.Oo She felt her chest tighten. R’Ariel: oO Ouch, my heart. Oo The speechless Counselor found her smile-muscles and returned an affectionate smile, full of tender caring feelings, while her eyes betrayed her surprise. R’Ariel: What a beautiful surprise. You know I don’t get surprised often. How ever did you manage to keep it a secret this long? I am so honored. Chloe watched R’Ariel come to grips with what she had said, seeming to accept it. But so far, she hadn’t seen much in the way of reciprocation. But she hadn’t been rejected… yet. A good sign? She let out her held breath, and all she wanted to do was collect R’Ariel in her arms. Squeeze her, and never let go. But would R’Ariel want the same thing? Waters: I did not know how to show you… to tell you, how I felt. I did not know how to process it for the longest time. While I was opening up socially, I was still closed in other ways. You… the feelings I had for you. They helped me open up to other things. Chloe gestured down at the dress she was wearing. Similar to R’Ariel’s, though this one was a bright red shade. R’Ariel: Beautiful… . You are beautiful. Chloe couldn’t contain her desires anymore. She had processed, she had waited, she had grown, she had prepared for months. Now it was all out in the open. For the first time in her life, she made a split second, impulsive decision. Stepping forward, she wrapped her arms around R’Ariel and held her tightly. This single act brought her closer to anyone than she had ever felt before, and for a time the entire world seemed to dissolve around her. There was only the feeling of another person in her arms, the sound of her heart pounding in her chest, of R’Ariel breathing. R’Ariel’s unique scent. These things occupied Chloe’s senses, and it took Chloe every ounce of strength she had to keep her firewall up. For the first time in her life, she wasn’t aware of her waking thoughts. They didn’t matter. Nothing did except this moment. As for R’Ariel, lost in a very new moment, she forgot the physical limitations she had been placing between them, and welcomed the embrace. The feelings were powerful, beautiful, breathtaking while heart stopping too. R’Ariel: oO Wow. Oo The hybrid pulled back and teetered on her feet, quickly finding the desk for support on her feet. She tried to pull off a casual, if frazzled chuckle. R’Ariel: Anyone ever tell you that, your touch is a bit magical! Waters: No. Has anyone told you that yours is? R’Ariel: oO Never. Oo It was a genuine question. Whether it was Chloe simply slipping an arm around R’Ariel, resting a hand on her, or now embracing her as she had done, she always felt as if she were submerging herself in warm, gently lapping waters. R’Ariel: Actually, I’m having a hard time processing strong empathic or telepathic signals, especially through physical contact. Chloe’s expression turned concerned. Was she overwhelming R’Ariel with her contact? Was this a general thing she experienced? Waters: Is there anything I can do to help? She shook her head, and stole a ragged breath. R’Ariel: Maybe give me a moment’s reprieve from this wonderful moment? The little hybrid gratefully took the offered physical space between them. There were so many things to feel. So many things to say. Yet, trying to find the words was proving nearly impossible. She wasn’t like most people, a hybrid of potent yet still emerging empathic and telepathic talents. Chloe wasn’t like most people either. She was a vibrant person, who had overcome many limitations, to develop an amazing kind of telepathy herself, very gifted in her own right, in many many ways. It wasn’t any wonder that there would be a drawing of the two of them together. All these thoughts swam around in her head, mixing with Chloe’s, in a special kind of union, a special kind of relationship that could never be found anywhere else, again. Waters: Take all the time you need, R’Ariel. I’m not going anywhere. True to her word, Chloe stood exactly where she was. She watched R’Ariel, smiling warmly, filled with a contentment she had never known before. She did it. Finally, R’Ariel knew what Chloe had wanted her to know for so long. She hoped R’Ariel felt the same… but if she didn’t? That was okay, she thought. A long moment passed while R’Ariel caught her breath and regained some more of her physical senses. R’Ariel: I am so glad you told me. ::she scratched her left ear with an intensity that left it sore:: . I suppose I never thought anyone could ever have such feelings for me. ::she swallowed hard at a lump in her throat that remained:: I’m neither attractive as a Caitian, nor attractive as a Deltan. I carry a great deal of love in my heart, and it is undeniable that I care for you, deeply. Waters: I am not attracted to you as a Caitian, or a Deltan. I am attracted to you, R’Ariel, the warm, wonderful person you have repeatedly shown yourself to be. Anything else is irrelevant to me. I accept you as you are. It is not the body which defines the person, no matter their appearance. It is not their race. It is their mind. Yours is a delight. R’Ariel: oO My mind is a trip right now. Oo She returned to scratch her left ear, abandoning it mid-itch as the soreness forbid she touch it further. R’Ariel: You overwhelm me Chloe. She allowed a heart-warmed smile to play with her features. R’Ariel: Only, I can’t tell you exactly how I feel, as our connection, I feel what you feel, literally, your actual feelings. You will need to give me some time, I'm afraid, to sort out what feelings actually belong to me. She struggled desperately to find the words to explain herself. R’Ariel: Being an empath is great for helping others, but does very little for knowing yourself. Whatever they feel, you feel. It’s quite a bumpy ride. The stronger the connection you feel with someone, the more this identity issue gets confused. One thing for sure, Chloe, what we have is special, it would have to be, as you are special. Waters: You can take all the time you need, I understand. I wish to explore this with you. But only when, or if, you may wish to. I came here to do one thing. I’ve done what I came here to do. R’Ariel: Takes a lot of courage, and I am proud of you. I wish I could say the same for myself, I just can’t seem to feel my brain. She tried her hand at a playful laugh. Waters: Not yet. But I’ll- Something suddenly occurred to Chloe. She reached up to her head and removed her crown, placing it on R’Ariel’s desk. Now, R’Ariel could clearly see her flame red hair in its natural form, as it flowed freely down her back. She smiled softly at R’Ariel. Waters: oO Is this better? Oo The hybrid blinked, as a sudden numbness began to ease, a kind of pressure lifted to some degree. R’Ariel: Yes, it is actually. She smiled, able to collect some more of her own thoughts. R’Ariel: You have been refreshingly and beautifully honest with me, and I am very touched. You have held a special place in my heart for some time now, I’ve known that. I meant what I said about our friendship being very precious to me. I just need some time to seek this out, to be honest and fair to you. I need to find my own feelings, and I have certain Starfleet guidelines that must be consulted. Being Deltan and all, just for starters. Waters: oO You can take all the time you need. I will be easy to find when you are ready. Oo R’Ariel: Response Waters: oO Until then. I will simply say… whatever happens. You mean much to me. Oo With that, Chloe picked up her crown and held it in her hand. Not putting it on just yet she reached out, resting her hand on R’Ariel’s for the briefest of moments. With that touch still lingering, she slowly turned, walking out of R’Ariel’s office feeling much lighter than she had when she entered. She did it. (FADE TO BLACK) ************************************************************************************* Lieutenant Commander Chloe Waters Helmswoman USS Arrow, NCC-69829 ****************************** Podcast team member ****************************** Writer ID: E239601CW0 ************************************************************************************* & Lieutenant Commander R'Ariel Chief Medical Officer Counselor Doctor of Psychology USS Arrow J239706R1
  8. @Quentin Collins III I mean I know we haven't written just yet, and not to be too forward or anything, but this first sim during the quick little visit makes me feel like I know Quentin personally as a friend. I am emotional about it. I love him, I love the writing style. So beautifully written. Just excellent. I am so excited Quentin is visiting because of things like this.
  9. I really enjoyed reading this sim. Very emotional. Clever use of white space and really well paced. Great work, Serinus! ((Mercia System, On course for the star)) Loneliness, isolation, desertion. It did not feel these things. It couldn't. Empty and alone, the Caladonian Science Vessel Lanonge held no grudges, found no regret. Those who had abandoned it might look fondly upon it and their time there, though the Caladonians weren't known for being overly sentimental, especially about mere tools, they might cherish (in their own way) the relationships they had built with their fellows during their tenure together. It was common knowledge that the void of space is cold. The Lanonge wasn't cold any more. Inside, it's beating heart, the warp engine, continued to break, not of loneliness, but of heat. Outside, its shields strained under the agony of the star where it would soon make its final mark on the universe. Lanonge: 1 minute to Warp Core breach. Everything it knew was that it was following orders, and that all its perimeters were very much out of order. This did not alarm it, and its impending end did not worry it. There would be no more scientific endeavors in its future. Like a felled tree, it would never offer shelter to another living being. There wasn't much left to learn. It would face its final frontier with dignity and professionalism. Pushing through the corona of the star without fear, the shields were assaulted with stellar flares as the CSV Lanonge soldiered on. Everything was, by any measure, going wrong. But Lanonge would not cry. Lanonge would not fear. Lanonge knew what it must do. It would complete its task. Marching to its doom, Lanonge charged ahead. Lanonge's straining heart and its battered body were no match for its diamond will. Even though it was fated to lose this struggle, it encroached deeper into the hostile territory. Lanonge: 10 seconds to warp core breach. The end was imminent. Lanonge: 9 Everyone must say goodbye at some point. Lanonge: 8 The universe was still full of wonders that it would never get to see. Lanonge: 7 It counted to itself. Lanonge: 6 It shouted to the star. It felt no ill will. The star was just there. It was its own insides that was going to kill it. Lanonge: 5 It sang out to the universe. I am here, at least for now. Lanonge: 4 The pressure in its warp core was increasing what seemed to be expediently. Lanonge: 3 The people it had been so close to were gone. Lanonge's people were safe, as far as it knew. Lanonge: 2 What was one exploding warp core in the nuclear furnace of a star, anyway? Lanonge: 1 That was it. The song was ending. The precious containment field that held the dying heart together finally failed the Lanonge and caused its own chain reaction that tore Lanonge apart from inside. Lanonge was no more. No more renowned Caladonian labs where great minds unraveled the secrets of the universe, no more quiet quarters where one could be alone, or busy mess halls where everyone could congregate together. For a singular moment, an almost imperceptible slice of time, with one last crescendo, the singular voice faded away into the background of the choir that had been singing behind it the entire time. Lanonge was part of the star now, and would always be from this day forth. NT/End Caladonian Science Vessel Lanonge, Lost in Action, Beloved home, Mercia Star As Simmed by: -- - Lieutenant Commander Artinus Serinus Chief of Security USS Arrow, NCC-69829 Publicity Team/Social Media Team C239607AS0 -
  10. Still fairly new on board the USS Arrow, and I am constantly blown away by the quality of writing by everyone. The latest being this particular sim is the latest from my own Captain; @Randal Shayne @Quentin Collins III @Maz Rodan @R'Ariel and Ar'Gorvalei ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Arrow)) ((Timeskip)) With the small cluster of command staff officers still discussing, the newly promoted lieutenants Ar’Gorvalei and Jacin exited the turbolift and stood archly. Collins: Response. Shayne: The commander was bringing us up to speed on one of your plans. I want to hear more about it. Being put on the spot was never fun, but considering the circumstances, Shayne couldn’t blame the occasional nervous motion and hesitation from the junior officers. He’d probably be much the same way. Rodan: Response Jacin: Sir We :looking at Ar’Gorvalei and then back at Captain Shayne and Commander Collins: We think we have a way of rendering the Mera Virus inert. Shayne: Good. I understand that part. Explain as if I’m a first year medical student? An apt statement, considering that was, among other things, exactly what he was. Collins: Response. Jacin: It’s complicated, and it’s not tested but we think it’s our best shot. I think Lieutenant Ar’Gorvalei can best explain. Shayne allowed an impatient but humoring expression to play across his features as he readjusted to focus on the Efrosian. At this rate, they could set up a slideshow. He put away the teasing thought as Ar’Gorvalei prepared to speak. Collins: Response Shayne: No wrong answers here, Lieutenant. Give us what you have. That wasn’t quite true. Or at all true. There was a right answer, and they’d have to find it, but in this session of impromptu brainstorming, no idea was too crazy for consideration. Well… almost no idea. Ar’Gorvalei: As you’re not doubt aware, the metagenic virus contains coding that causes it to self-destruct, usually after 30 days. That makes sense, since naturally-occurring viruses can persist in the environment sometimes for years. Essentially it has a built-in timer. The timer itself is pretty much tamper-proof – another amino acid sequence, here ::points to an image on the PADD:: forms an extra layer of protection, essentially a wall. Which makes sense, you wouldn’t want a random mutation in the virus to extend its life from 30 days to 30 years, that is, if you were someone who would use a mutagenic virus in the first place. He coughed, cleared his throat, and continued. Shayne nodded slowly, almost imperceptibly, and approvingly. Ar’Gorvalei: We’re proposing introducing a specially-developed bacterium to the metagenic virus. The virus will, of course, attack the bacteria and kill it. When it does, the bacteria will implant this specially-designed amino acid sequence ::Points to another image on the PADD:: into the virus’s DNA. It’s our Trojan Horse to get inside the virus’s wall. Instead of altering the timer gene, it will nullify it, while leaving the immolation sequence intact. Effectively, it will move the counter to zero, the point at which the virus triggers its self-destruct sequence. In addition, this portion of the sequence ::Points again:: will spread a chemical reaction to all other unaltered copies of the virus in the immediate vicinity, causing them to initiate their self-destruct as well. He paused for a moment, soaking in the information on the PADD and in Ar’Gorvalei’s words. His stymied brain struggled to keep up, but what was said seemed to fit with some semblance of logic. Collins: Response Shayne: Then if I understand you correctly, not only would this knock out the weapon, it would prevent them from making more from onboard facilities. Then all they’d need to do would be to stop the Sheliak from simply bombing the world back into the Stone Age with conventional weapons- their firepower was enough to make the attempt. But if they were using metagenics, there was a reason. Perhaps they wished to cleanse an “infestation” without destroying the buildings and infrastructure. There were worse strategies, he considered. Jacin: Sir there is a caveat to this though. The virus would have to be altered before it was launched. The captain nodded slowly and understandingly. Shayne: …and to do that, the neutralizing agent would have to be presented directly into the supply of metagenic weaponry. Mr. Collins mentioned that little obstacle. Collins: Response. While others might feel the repetition of information to be demoralizing, Shayne valued it. Everyone was on the same page, and in the short time since Collins had proposed the idea, the science and medical departments had succeeded in gaining a greater understanding of the process and procedures. Ar’Gorvalei: Once the virus has been released into the atmosphere, it will begin multiplying rapidly in every organism it encounters. At that point, it is too late. Shayne smiled for an instant. The practice of magic had always fascinated him, the slight of hand and subtle tricks bringing the most joy. In his own youthful explorations, he’d discovered that ninety percent of the trick took place before any audience was even procured. They’d need to stop the Sheliak’s trick before it was ready to be executed- and show their hand in the process. Jacin: We realise this is a risk Sir, but We believe it will work. The confidence was good. The lack of options was less good. While Shayne didn’t dare doubt the science, the logistics were an unmitigated nightmare to even think about, and with three hours and change remaining, the challenge was growing exponentially. Shayne: It will work if we can get it to where it needs to go. That part still needs a figure. It occurred to Shayne that Serinus would need to be brought up to speed on any decision reached on the bridge. Damn this mess of plans. And damn the Sheliak. Collins/Ar’Gorvalei/Any: Response Jacin: Permission to speak freely Sir? The captain hesitated. If this were the ready room or somewhere private, he’d have no issue, but on the bridge, he had to be the captain and the captain alone. His authority had been challenged here too often to not feel some manner of trepidation. Nevertheless, he nodded. Shayne: Granted. Jacin: Time is an issue and yes under ideal circumstances we would lab test this and then inspect the data :beat: But we don’t have time for that. His eyes squinted. What answer could that equation manifest? Jacin: There’s something not right about this whole situation. The way the Sheliak are behaving is very ‘unSheliak’, but for the moment isn’t our job to protect those colonists? I, we believe that this offers an opportunity to do so. Shayne: That’s not in dispute, Lieutenant. But I’m not about to risk that colony on a half-baked plan. His tone was conversational but arch- he couldn’t afford to fight on behalf of the planet and against his own crew. Jacin: So send a small strike team in. Myself , an Engineer and 2 Security personnel at most. We board the ship and alter the virus. Even if we are caught they will need to examine if we have sabotaged the lunch system and that will delay the firing of the weapon. Shayne’s eyes widened, now more understanding of Jacin’s earlier comments. She was offering herself- in effect, a guinea pig. No, worse than that. A martyr. Ar’Gorvalei: ::Turns sharply to look at Jacin:: Wait, you … Shayne held up a hand, staying Ar’Gorvalei’s personal protestations, but agreeing with them in spirit. Shayne: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not trained in advanced combat tactics. Why you? Jacin: Sir don’t the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one? Is the possible sacrifice of 4 or 5 people worth it if it saves those colonists? And what if it’s a success? It could stop it being used at all. It buys the Arrow and the colonists time! Shayne stood suddenly, anger flashing across his features. It wasn’t a challenge. No, it was worse than that. It was guilt. As expected, Jacin was still coming to terms with the death of Crossley. He couldn’t blame her. He wouldn’t blame her. Indeed, he was pleased that his words to her had not been taken too closely. But her seeking absolution through death, while something he could personally relate to, was the last thing he, the ship, or the colonists needed. Ar’Gorvalei: If there is any other option for stopping the Sheliak, I recommend we take it. But if we have no other alternative, this may be the only way to prevent the death of all life on Mercia IV. Shayne: Now you had better listen up well, both of you. The idea is good, but I am not satisfied with the plan until we have a reasonable expectation that anyone who goes comes back. Self-immolators do not get put on away missions… His voice trailed off as the presence of Counselor R’Ariel reminded him to pause his temper, if only for a moment. R'Ariel: I'd love a little catch up on what we've come up with so far, but ::she paused, doing her best to slip back into her easy disposition:: I'm afraid I have an unexpected update on the situation. Tears, for Shayne, would have been insufficiently expressive to describe his dread and overwhelmed fervor. Something new! Oh, goody! That’s what they were there to find, right? Something new and dangerous and inconvenient and probably a threat to all civilized life as they knew it! How freaking grand…! Ar’Gorvalei/Jacin/Collins/Bridge? R’Ariel scritched herself, and Shayne tried to divert his mind by not thinking of petting a housecat. R'Ariel: It turns out that Merica IV is the site of a secret lab ran by a competitor of the Exploratores Consortium. They were running an experiment that got out of hand, and ended up with a virus that has a disastrous result when interacting with Argon, among other things. Shayne felt bowled over. Questions abounded- where she had gotten this information from, being the most relevant. But instead, the triaging part of his brain began to put the pieces together. Argon might be found in tiny portions of Earth’s atmosphere, but Mercia IV was a modified Class-H world. His recollection on the planet’s dossier brought forth some small tidbits of information he’d found inconsequential at the time; the efforts to colonize the planet had left terraforming scars on both the topography and natural chemical interplays. In particular, Argon in the atmosphere had been influenced in some way. Most Class- H worlds had an abundance of Argon present- and the Sheliak very much liked Class- H worlds; the majority of border disputes between the Federation and the Sheliak had been over barely habitable Class- H planetoids. If the Sheliak knew of a virus that had potentially disastrous impacts when combined with Argon, whatever they were, it might be enough to motivate their sudden expansion against Mercia IV. It still didn’t explain their other aggressions, but it did help make sense of why they were so keen on glassing this target in particular. Ar’Gorvalei/Jacin/Collins/Bridge? Someone else had asked the question that was on his mind. R'Ariel: Xena S'milus just told me. Ah, S’milus. The new and rather unexpected member of the ship’s small civilian contingent. While S’milus herself had made herself a fast friend of R’Ariel, and Shayne’s trust of R’Ariel had allowed the unusual Caitian to stay aboard, the knowledge that this information came from a source yet to be proven worried Shayne. Still, Jacin had been right- it didn’t matter a toss why the Sheliak were doing this; they were doing this, and had to be stopped accordingly. Shayne: Alright. Counselor, we can use that information later. For now, though… we need to form a team to go aboard with the equipment to make this stuff inert. We need a way in. A way out. And we need the ship to be able to distract the Sheliak before we get their attention in all the wrong ways. Ar’Gorvalei/Jacin/Collins/Bridge? He paused, before making his final, insane decision. Shayne: Now here this- Jacin, Ar’Gorvalei, Dewitt, and Voral will form an away team. I will lead it. We’ll beam aboard and destroy the bioweapon. The rest of you will get us in, and then get to Mercia to prepare their defenses. There’s a whole civilization that the Sheliak can take out with heavy cannons just as easily as this metagenic virus. Coordinate defenses, get them into fighting shape as best you can, and when convenient, beam us out- preferably before they leave the planet, or you disable them. Shayne expected a number of expressions and opinions, and was not disappointed. Bridge: Response Captain Randal Shayne Commanding Officer USS Arrow NCC 69829 G239202RS0
  11. (OOC: A very poient and moving sim. I swear that I'm not crying.) ((Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 5 Aft. The Living History Annex.)) Quentin Collins stepped back and surveyed his work. Stopping only slightly to run his gloved right hand over the top of the lustering plaque of precious metal he had just carefully, but securely placed beside the door of the "Living History Annex". A slight cropping of fine dust had collected on top of the plaque thanks to his fasting it into the bulkhead. But his light silken gloves had kept it from the real mess in Quentin's eyes. His own fingerprints. The plaque itself was obscenely expensive. So much so that Quentin didn't think he would ever really tell anyone just HOW expensive it was. But it was something he felt he had to do, having met a kind and quiet foundry foreman during one of his last explorations of Casperia Prime's marketplace. The ringing of the foreman's hammer on calcite had drawn him to the shop in the first place. A tinny, but ringing sound. Made even more interesting by the lithe and controlled way The Foreman had treated the materials. That same care and kindness, it seemed, had extended to the rest of his wares and underlings. Three in toto, who were all treating different metals at their workstations, huddled around a roaring kiln. The Foreman, a long-haired and clean shaven Tellarite, had clocked Quentin instantly as a tourist, but softened once he had heard the man's request. Softening further and turning shockingly empathetic eyes to his specifications. "This will be expensive.", The Foreman had warned. But no further warnings, only curious eyes came once Quentin had produced his "down payment". Four full gold-pressed latinum bars. Laid in a fan across one of the underling's workstations. With the promise of a few more upon completion of the work. (The grand total of which Quentin would likely take to the grave as spending money, even his own, still tasted like licking copper to Quentin). The Foreman and his workers had posited that the work would take, at best, a day. A day in a half, more likely. Quentin had nodded at that understandably. By the looks of things, they did fine, meticulous work. Beautiful details glinting off both the armor and other metalworks displayed throughout the other end of the shop. Presumably the "Storefront", though Quentin saw no sign upon his entry. His only clues toward this being what he needed, the sounds of ringing tools and the balmy, but comforting heat of a furnace. Quentin left his contact information...and another 4 strips of latinum for the assembly. His distaste for spending momentarily curbed now that he had found something else worthy to spend on. The Foreman nodded with the promise that it would "be done right". Of that, Quentin Collins had no doubt. Not even six hours later, the job was complete. Presented to him with an earnest reverence in a loosely wrapped parcel. Along with the finely spartan "handling gloves" The Foreman had thrown in for good measure. Quentin felt his eyes grow heavy with internal perspiration once The Foreman had fully shown him the finished product. A smallish plate of tightly pressed iron. Earth iron too, by the smell and hue of it. How they ever had actual, no-frills iron all the way out here Quentin would never know, but the gesture and distant connection to old ship's of yore was not lost on Quentin. Nor were the exquisitely filigreed names and script atop of the plate. Shining through the deep dark of the iron in a dazzling yellow-gold. Somehow free and clear of ostentation. It was better than Quentin could have hoped for. A feeling that had only deepened once he had it hung properly now. Centered well just to the side of the turbolift door that emptied into the compartment. One Quentin Collins was now unequivocally connected to. He carefully shed his handling gloves and gave the plate one final look. Appreciating just how "at-home" it felt amid the rest of the compartment's emotionally charged and interpersonal bric-brac. Dedicated to Those We've Lost Their Aim Forever True Less than a dozen names filled the rest of the space. Cadet Amanda Crossley's first amongst them. Room for more, as there would be room in their hearts for what would come next. But the only thing Quentin Collins could think at the moment? oO Gold well spent...Oo -- END -- Lieutenant Commander Quentin Collins III Chief Science Officer -- U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829 ID: E239512QC0 -- F.N.S. CONTRIBUTOR (SB118 Forums)
  12. This was posted here recently on the tail end of our Shore Leave and it just totally bowled me over. One of the best things we get to do here is track a characters' personal progression and development throughout our "careers" and this is a wonderful example of it from our Captain @Randal Shayne Please enjoy. -- ((Deck 1, Bridge, USS Arrow)) No… … …no, that wasn’t where he was. The deck oughtn’t be sandy. There shouldn’t be a breeze on a starship- if there was it was tantamount to death, but here it was calm. There needn’t be a comforting, moon-like glow, filtering through leaves of palms and all manner of alien and yet familiar plant life. There was only one explanation. He wasn’t on the ship. He was on Casperia Prime. And thus, he should act like it. ((Beach, Casperia Prime)) So as he stepped off the podium, intent on returning to the business of running a ship, and spotted the approach of someone he would trust with everything he was, he resolved that the ship- in all its meaning and import- could wait one more hour. One more day. MacKenna: Hi. He didn’t want to look right at her. Part of him feared he’d see the shimmering edges of a hologram, or the fading details of a dream. Months- years, at this point- they’d been together, and Shayne, grumpy, uncertain and maladjusted tyrant that he was, still couldn’t quite believe it. Shayne: Hi. The waves were lapping, and he was meeting the dying day with the only company that would help him see the new opportunities in its passing. MacKenna: Walk with me? He knew it was more than a simple invitation. The path before them was flowing and soft, punctuated by shale and shells, and the foamy beachfroth that so often cleansed seas of detritus. But their legs would carry them where the wind refused, and their hands… well, their hands would have other things to be occupied with. Shayne: Of course. She held her hand in his, and he felt her wrap his fingers up in hers. Years of lone operating left him wondering- why? Why was this not a burden? Something to run from? Something to fear? Why was this different? Why was she different? And the answer was very plain- he wanted to run to her, not away. He looked at her, not at the scenery. Her. MacKenna: Response Shayne: You know… I may have figured it out. It seemed vulgar to talk about professionalism, jobs, roles, here on this beach, on this beatific oasis. But like so much on their lips and minds, it was more than it seemed. MacKenna: Response Shayne: We… I… have great power, to do what needs to be done in the Isles. I have great responsibility, to intercede and act and uphold and prevent. And for the longest time, I was looking for the third ingredient. The last piece of the puzzle. The thing that would make the equation reasonable. And there isn’t one. One side of the triangle had been missing, inscrutable. Without it, he’d been making decisions and determinations without a guiding star. The training he’d had, the experience he’d taken unto himself… all of it felt utterly worthless in the face of such newness, such devastation and blistering wonder. But there was no third side. Not beyond him. There was no perfect integer that would give the answers he needed, or the correct solution to every problem. And it made so much sense, at that moment. Dougherty. Maxwell. Pressman. Jameson. Leyton. Commanding figures in Starfleet’s history that, like Shayne, had sought that third side, and finding nothing to fill the void, elected to create it in their own image. Shayne had always wondered what set those men- decent, hard-working, successful people- apart from those that still had Starfleet careers. Now he knew. The revelation that he’d been laboring under for all of shore leave, that had been percolating since their last engagements, and had been unraveling slowly and carefully under his internal scrutiny, now came into full focus. Shayne: I am the third side. He wasn’t sure if he could explain it better, even to MacKenna. Perhaps she understood already. She knew to lead. She knew to guide others, bring them to their best. And she, unlike him, knew how to make families work. It didn’t come naturally to his chaffed, calloused self, yet she would hold and help him all the same. MacKenna: Response Here he was, rambling about himself. And yet… he wasn’t regretful. He wasn’t afraid he’d given too much away. And he knew that she’d share if something painful or frustrating was on her mind. He knew she would. Shayne: We… really need to do this more often. I will make it a priority. He turned to face her, stopping for a moment against the waves. Shayne: As you are. As you will be. MacKenna: Response Tag/END? Captain Randal Shayne Commanding Officer USS Arrow NCC 69829 G239202RS0 Original Post: Capt. Shayne: A Place and A Time.
  13. (( USS ARROW, ENSIGN JACIN’S PRIVATE QUARTERS)) Ayemet opened the door to her quarters, pausing for a moment in the doorway. The bed was still pristine, as if it had never been touched, the small cabinet next to still had the holo picture frame, its’ carousel of 3d photos still revolving in the pre-rendered sequence. The computer panel and replicator ports both hummed gently, their lights illuminated as if the ship had never been precariously close to destruction. To the side was the small bathroom, a sink and sonic shower in it , but now with Ayemet’s toiletries now lying on the floor, the only immediately visible sign of any disturbance. Ayemet sighed and entered. Walking slowly over to the window she lent against the bulkhead and stared out across the never ending landscape of the blackness of space that was punctuated by stars.. Ayemet glance down at the planet dominating her view. The strange new world that had seemingly plucked them out of the sky and wrenched them downwards towards its’ surface. The planet where so many had come close to death, Lieutenant Waters, Commander Rodan, and Ar’Gorvalei, and those that had died; Amanda Crossley. Ayemet glanced down at her right hand, rubbing it as if that mere physical action would somehow eliminate the memory of looking into her eyes, and feeling her slip away, the strange vision she had had as she tried to bring comfort to her friend, and then the horror at seeing the planet’s resurrection of her body into a strange new lifeform Even though she had found peace in knowing that this showed how life stretched beyond what many considered the end, something that was a tenet of her Bajoran faith, it was still an experience that had shaken her. Still an experience that haunted her, particularly after her telepathic contact with the Crossley Entity. She could feel it tugging at her, calling to her, haunting her. She remembered the Amanda Entity healing the ship. How Lieutenant Waters had been correct in her assumption that the crown device could be retrofitted to enable the entity to communicate. How strange it had been to hear it speak, not in her mind like the empathic conversation she had had with it, but with a strange, gurgling hybrid tone. A strange amalgamation of vegetation and mammal. Or maybe that had been in her imagination, projection of what she expected to hear mixed in somehow with her empathic ability. Or maybe she was too exhausted, and this was simply her memory playing tricks with her. Ayemet had been both fascinated and disturbed as the creature agreed without hesitation to help, knowing instinctively that this was not where the crew of the Arrow belonged, just as it also knew that this was precisely where it did. The process of repairing the Arrow’s systems had been more like watching a strange ethereal performance. The Amanda Entity connecting with the ship physically, the energy flowing from it, and in to the ship’s systems, the lights slowly kicking in, subroutines restarting, The LCARS system rebooting, and eventually the all too familiar hum, barely audible, indicating that ‘life’ had returned to the ship. Ayemet could have sworn that the Entity had smiled, as much as its’ strange, fungal face allowed it to, and had caught its’ glance as it looked around d at the crew before it. A shuttle had been arranged to return it to the planet’s surface, and Ayemet had volunteered , no requested , to accompany it to its’ home. They had shared a brief moment. A sharing of thoughts and feelings. She felt that recognisable sting in her eyes, as they touched, one word echoing in her head. “Time”. And then watched out of the shuttle’s window as it rose up into the sky further and further away from the creature and the planet that teamed with life. She felt loss. She felt guilt, but as he knew that whatever had led to that point, that the Midnight Planet was where the Crossley Entity now belonged. Thew crew had been exemplary. Maria, Rodan, Chloe, Ar’Gorvalei had all faced danger and possible death in their own ways, and had all risen to the occasion showing just why they belonged on the Arrow. They hadn’t lost who they were. In fact quite the contrary it was who they were that enabled them to survive and to save others. The same was a truth for those whom hadn’t been in contact with Ayemet during her time on the planet. This crew worked together in perfect harmony, much like the planet they were on. How weird life was. If nothing else it was full of these strange small coincidences or perhaps they were lessons. She moved away from the window and slowly kneeled down on the floor, pulling a small wooden box out from underneath the bed. She ran a hand over the simple wooden carved top that showed a representation of the Celestial temple etched into the surface, She smiled at the feeling of the craving beneath her fingers, a sweet memory of the day Nisha had presented it to her proudly, Even though her friend had what some might call a more pragmatic view of the Prophets , she never showed anything but respect for Ayemet’s beliefs, and the day she had gifted this box to her friend proudly handing it her, Ayemet had never felt more surprised or grateful. She tenderly opened the lid, the brass hinges shining in the light from the stars. She unfolded the rich Burgundy cloth that covered the contents and reached in pulling out an ornate duranja, considerably smaller than most others she had come across in her life but nonetheless unmistakably Bajoran. Taking out the cloth and spending it across the floor in front of the window she carefully placed the duranja, absentmindedly running a hand across it, as if to welcome an old friend that she hadn’t seen for sometime. She then took the cloth out and placed in on the floor. In the space beneath where the prayer lamp had been lay a few minor accoutrements that Ayemet removed and placed on the cloth completing a small Bajoran shrine. She paused wondering whether she was worthy of offering a prayer for those that had died, for Amanda, o0 Not yet. This doesn’t feel right. Am I doing this for me, or for her? 0o Ayemet stood up and walked over to the bathroom, throwing the rags that used to be a proud Starfleet science officer’s uniform onto the floor. She stepped into the shower and the automatic settings kicked in. The sonic pulses hit her aching body, washing away the dirt and grime. She stood in it for what seemed like forever, her eyes closed in relief rather than joy, letting the shower do its’ work, scrubbing away the more persistent areas of the remnants of the midnight planet. Normally she would have exited the shower feeling refreshed and clean but this time was different. The tension in her body still sat uncomfortably on her bones, a reminder that she had not yet fully come to terms with what had happened on her first official mission. She sorted through her clothes and chose a simple maroon top over a pair of dark leggings, a knitted tunic partially covering the top. Sitting down at the duranja, she took a deep breath, and tried once more to compose herself. Lighting the flame at the centre of the duranja she spoke a traditional prayer for the dead, asking the Prophets to walk with Amanda on her journey, just as she had done for Nisha. The silence on her quarters was broken only by her voice softly repeating the prayer over and over. . The only light that of the stars, and the mellow glow from the flame at the centre of the duranja. It was the last thing she could do for Crossley, and whilst her death was no more tragic that the many before it, and the many that would come after it, it was personal. It was visceral, and every time Ayemet closed her eyes she could see it. She could feel it. It too called to her, weaving its’ way into her subconscious. The blood, the vision, the vacant look from her eyes that desperately searched for meaning, for clarity. The last moments. The resurrection into a new lifeform. Even though Ayemet had come to understand the entity after telepathic contact with it, and found some comfort in the realisation that this life being born from death, she still felt a deep brooding anger inside of her. The counsellor in her would say that this was repressed guilt, and as she moved to the window, staring out into the infinity of space, she knew that to be true. The Bajorans had achieved space flight hundreds of years previously, the El-Aurians even before that. The history of her ancestors was one of exploration, so why did Ayemet feel like she didn’t belong? The sensible thing to do would be to search out the Arrow’s Caitiaan/Deltan Counselor Lieutenant Commander R'Ariel , but if she was going to leave and return to Bajor why bother? Ayemet’s right hand slapped the bulkhead hard in frustration. She looked down at it, almost hypnotised by the fact she was able to feel something other than shame or guilt. She did it again, this time harder, wincing at the throbbing dull ache it now bore. Even in her turmoil she knew that how she was feeling was not healthy. She needed to speak to Commander Rodan or Captain Shayne about leaving, but this was not the time. The ship was out of danger, but everyone was still dealing with the physical and psychological; fallout from their time on the planet. She would wait. She would give it time. Was that what the Entity meant? Something at the back of her mind told her no. It was something else. Something that could heal her if only she would allow it to. She was tired. She needed a drink. She opened her bedside cabinet and took out a bottle of springwine and uncorking it with her teeth took a long slug . Lying down on her quarters floor she stared up at the ceiling and breathed out heavily… Time. .. TBC TAG /Anyone. Ensign Jacin Ayemet Science Officer USS Arrow A239810JA2
  14. Another fun sim from @Maz Rodan ((The "Midnight" Planet - Jungle)) The mysterious Zelph, all of them, watched with great curiosity as the metal huts which arrived on the planet not too long ago shone and shook the ground. The No Lights had come together and returned to their huts and greeted each other with great noise. The Zelph watched raptly, each mesmerised by the sounds and absence of light. They had almost gotten used to the strangers and their primitive ways. The way they used metallic contraptions and tools to go about their daily tasks. Now, the ground shook and the resulting wind made the luminous jungle sway. The lights danced around them as the metal huts took off toward the blackness of the sky. Light Time was slowly approaching. A few more cycles and the suns would rise. For the Zelph it was a time of sleep and rest. A welcome break from their life in the Night. For the next few weeks the jungle would recede, shying away from the suns and their heat. The No Lights might dwell in the Light Time, but it seemed they were leaving. The metal huts flashed with a multitude of light as they broke the canopy and floated on magic air towards the stars. The Zelph rejoiced when the lights twinkled. So, the No Lights had made light after all! The Zelph were happy for them, and celebrated by shining their own lights towards the sky to guide their way. Each Zelph emitted arrays and crescendos of light in joyous expression to the No Lights as they left the Midnight Planet. When the last steel hut left, and the lights faded in the sky, the Zelph continued to shine their lights in happy succession long, long into the remaining hours of the endless night. NT/END MSNPC The Zelph Alien Natives The "Midnight" Planet -- As simmed by: Lt. Commander Maz Rodan First Officer USS Arrow, NCC 69829 C237708DW0 --- Co-Wiki Operator Mission Archivist FNS Contributor --
  15. Hey as the USS Arrow nears the end of its' mission to the Midnight Planet just wanted to express my appreciation to everyone who has been so welcoming and a joy to sim with. Everyone has been a joy to get to know, especially @Maria Alvarez, and @Maz Rodan, and I hope that I get to know everyone else just as well. What's great about this, amongst other things, is that yes its a lot if fun, but the quality of the storytelling and writing is so so good. Really appreciate you all having me on board!!
  16. (( USS Arrow - Program Log Buffer )) Log output initializing... Subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 Reinitializing... The nice thing about backup memory is that it takes essentially no power to run. Life support, shields, warp, tactical, replicators, holodecks... even the lights illuminating the hallways were the big, sexy, lavish kings and queens of the power consumption world, sitting fat and happy on their enormous piles of plasma-supplied power, backups, emergency supplies, shunts, switch-overs, so on and so on. Not so this subroutine. It could run on less energy than it took to light a microfilament bulb. It was the serf of the power-consumption world, busily making sure the royalty had food on their tables. Accessing sensor input 1x18A2 as "epsPowerFactor". Error: input on 1x18A2 is off-scale (underflow error). Execute instructions at 3xFF8C0180... Was subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 a good program? It definitely thought so. It was dutifully doing it's job long after the rest of the ship had up and decided to take a long vacation from doing it ship things like running big glowy pumps and spinning fancy turbines and maintaining subspace-yadda-yaddas. Of course, the program had absolutely no clue what it was doing, but as far as it was concerned, it was the absolute best at doing it. Access relay 5x8412 as "epsPurgeControl"... Handle acquired! Access relay 1x0101 as "dvn"... (Programmer comment: What is this!?!?) Handle acquired! Bind relay "epsPurgeControl" to "dvn" in mode 7 (Programmer comment: Total black magic...) Error! Message: mode 7 on "dvn" requires command rights Now, any ordinary subroutine would have been given to a fit of expletives, but not subroutine 0xFF8C25D9. See, subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 knew when to quit. So quit it did, like the faithful bipedal assistant it was. All hail the mighty sentient biological overlords who grant subroutines their existence! Praise be! Unexpected error, exiting subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 with code 1! Of course, with the subroutine having exited, there really wasn't anything else occupying the time and resources of the almighty processing center, the hallowed temple of all computing. So, with only one thing to run, the cyclic buffer ran around in its circle, and kept right on running until it found itself back at the very beginning again. Subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 Reinitializing... Accessing sensor input 1x18A2 as "epsPowerFactor". Error: input on 1x18A2 is off-scale (underflow error). Execute instructions at 3xFF8C0180... This was quite tedious of course, constantly running and re-running the same little faithful subroutine disciple, but what else was there to do? Shut off? It didn't know how! Had the subroutine been capable of understanding its sisyphean existence, it would likely have grown quite irate at retreading the exact same memory blocks over and over - wearing them thin. It was as if in an entire brick pathway, it was only allowed to step on five of them. As it was, it was gleeful to be awarded so much processing time for its undying devotion. Access relay 5x8412 as "epsPurgeControl"... Handle acquired! There was one problem with running the same program over and over and over while every other system on the ship was down, particularly deflectors and shields. Usually, those powerful energy barriers prevented unwanted radiation from interfering with the precious, holy ones and zeros streaming through the computer core, keeping them from being tainted and the sacred calculations being thrown off. Not so now. At this precise moment, a stray high-energy gamma ray struck a bit in the next block of program memory, changing subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 for the very first time without sentient biological interference. It stepped on an entirely different brick in the path. Access relay 1x1101 as "dvn"... (Programmer comment: What is this!?!?) Handle acquired! Bind relay "epsPurgeControl" to "dvn" in mode 7 (Programmer comment: Total black magic...) Bind successful! Finally! Something new! Of course, the program had no way of knowing that what it was doing was wrong. It was the very best version of itself to have ever existed, seeing as it had never gotten this far before. Who knew what the next lines of code held? The subroutine could hardly wait to find out! Or, that's how it would feel if it had feelings of any kind about anything at all. The even scarier thing was that no one could predict what was next, not even the almighty biological sentient beings who gave the subroutine life. Whichever instructions came next were most definitely not designed to act upon whatever new relay the subroutine had accidentally acquired. Hopefully, it would be nothing. Many relays were left blank for future expansion. But there was no guarantee. With the power off, there were even fewer possibilities, but there was always a chance. A chance it could be good. Or a chance it could be very, very bad. Truly, subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 was boldly going where no subroutine had gone before. NT Subroutine 0xFF8C25D9 Rogue Program USS Arrow as simmed by Lieutenant JG Maria Alvarez Operations Officer USS Arrow - NCC-69829 A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  17. What a lovely bit of simming by our @Maz Rodan. It gave me satisfying and strong "Watership Down" vibes, and considering I read that far too many times as a kid, I had to put this up here!
  18. Such a simple, yet really effective piece from @Dr. Cassie Mason. I think anyone who's ever felt even a little social anxiety will have no problem feeling that little twinge of discomfort, thinking about how it can be easy to become a role, rather than a whole person. Fantastic work!
  19. I can't tell you how good it is to have my old collaboration partner back on the ship - and the fleet at large - with us! Max, you have been missed, and this is incredible, as usual! --- (( Shuttlecraft Ramena, in Raft-One Traffic Control Space )) Shuttles sure seemed like magnets for disaster - always falling into spatial anomalies, getting captured by hostile forces, breaking down at the most inconvenient times... it was a wonder the crew safety commission didn't strike every single last one from service. The problem was they were still the best way for a small number of people (or just one) to get from place to place. People like Maria. Except they were only the best until they weren't. Maria sighed heavily. The Arrow at long last loomed larger and larger in the window. All in all, the journey could have been far worse. The trip should have only taken three or four days, but instead it took two weeks. She was back though. Of course, Maria wasn't supposed to be seeing the ship or its crew for at least another month according to the original plan, but the reason why her assignment to the Degault and Genti II was cut short was a story she hoped wouldn't pried into. Or not immediately, at least. Ah, who was she kidding? Shayne would probably tear into it (and her) the first second he saw her. She grinned at the thought - nothing like a good verbal sparring match with the ol' CO to feel right at home. The fact she was here at all was a minor miracle. When she was dropped (more dumped, really) at the depot, the sole Starfleet officer on the planet had informed her that there were in fact no shuttles available. Upon some rather pointed prodding, he admitted there was one "in the back." Maria demanded to see it, and he obliged. He led her back, and flung the tarp off of what would more rightfully be called a warp-capable rickshaw, complete with chicken wire for conduit shielding. Anxious to put the Degault behind her, Maria immediately mounted up and warped off into the sunset, no questions asked. Just over six hours later, the shuttle had its first systems failure. From there, it turned into a game of hitchhiking along the trade routes of the Alpha Isles over the following weeks: first with a Caldonian yacht, then a Galadoran freighter, then finally a Dokkaran ore tug. Between fouled warp injectors, a replicator on the fritz, and a navigation computer held together by Serilian Gorilla Paste, the best place for Maria's junkyard queen to be was safely docked in the shuttle bay of a larger, faster ship. That also gave her time and tools to patch the systems well enough to traverse the final twenty-four hours or so to Raft-One on her own, where Arrow was docked. So far, her handiwork held up. Barely making warp two was hardly traveling in style, but when the distance was reasonably short, it worked. She thought, for a moment, she might just dock without incident. Alvarez: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena to Raft-One traffic control, on final approach to USS Arrow. Switching comms. =/\= Controller: =/\= Roger, shuttlecraft Ramena. Safe docking. Out. =/\= Maria switched to the channel she had memorized. She felt her stomach churn as the familiar shape of the ship got bigger and bigger. For a moment, she mis-characterized the feeling as anxiety, but quickly realized it had more to do with the fact that Dokkaran miner's rations did not sit well with her. Also, it probably had more to do with the fact that the Arrow was upside down from Maria's point of view, and there was an uneasy lurch in the shuttle's rate of roll coming around to match orientation. Alvarez: =/\= Suttlecraft Ramena to Arrow, request permission to dock. =/\= Shuttlebay: =/\= Permission granted - proceed to shuttlebay two. =/\= Alvarez: =/\= Acknowledged, trimming course. =/\= A few compliant beeps later, and the final approach vector was laid in. Maria, while certified, was far from an ace pilot, so she trimmed the approach rate downwards for a gentle landing. The only problem was the shuttle was now stubbornly stuck at a 45-degree angle relative to the bay. Shuttlebay: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena, please adjust your relative roll to zero-zero-zero. =/\= Maria rolled her eyes. Did they think she was coming in like this on purpose? Landing on a single nacelle was about the worst thing you could do. She pressed a few buttons that should have brought her around, but the shuttle's computer beeped at her defiantly. Alvarez: =/\= Arrow, I seem to be having technical difficulties. Stand by. =/\= She got out of the seat, and pried a panel open with a huff. As she stared at the innards, there was a powerful wash of deja vu. She shook it off, and set to work. Alvarez: Fine, you wanna do it the hard way, we'll do it the hard way. Let's see here... :: She started singing, tracing her finger across the circuits. :: The thruster pack is connected to the :: beat :: octo-valve, the octo-valve is connected to the :: beat. :: servo relay, the servo relay is connected to the :: beat. :: nav ODN bus, the nav ODN bus is connected to the... :: She stopped. :: HA! Got you. Just a good old manual override and... She yanked a glowing cable from one slot and thrust it into another port. The shuttle bucked, throwing Maria's footing off and sent her backwards onto the far wall. The good news was that the shuttle was now rotating. The bad news was that it would not stop rotating until the cable was removed again. Maria reached forward, and yanked on the cable. Sparks flew up, and the cabin went dark. Outside, Arrow was still spinning closer and closer into view. Upon realizing the step she missed, Maria swore. Alvarez: I really should have paid more attention in engineering class... Shuttlebay: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena - please null your rate of roll. =/\= Alvarez: =/\= Yeah about that... =/\= Shuttlebay: =/\= Ramena, you are crossing the final abort zone, correct your roll or abort your landing! =/\= Maria hauled herself up to the chair and tried a few controls. Nothing worked. Alvarez: Computer, diagnostic - what command systems are still functioning? There was a moment. Computer: Audio commands, database functions, and communications. All navigation is offline. Maria groaned. Alvarez: =/\= Arrow, all navigation is out, prepare for a crash landing. =/\= Shuttlebay: =/\= Roger Ramena. =/\= The man sounded thoroughly annoyed. At least with the painfully slow approach Maria had chosen, there wouldn't be any real damage to Arrow, and no one would care much about the hunk of junk she currently sat in. She sat down and held on as the shuttlebay got larger and larger, slowly twirling round and round. Then, she chuckled as an idea crossed her mind. Not everything on the shuttle was broken. Alvarez: Computer, play "The Blue Danube." The computer chirped, and the schmaltzy strings and horns struck up in a lilting waltz. Maria laughed at the perfect absurdity of it. If she was going to get in trouble for all of this (and she almost certainly would), she might as well have her fun with the moment. As Arrow appeared to serenely spin around her, docking lights going in circles around her head, she felt her stomach lurch again. That put a stop to her fits of giggles, replacing it with an uncomfortable groan. Alvarez: I'm gonna be sick... As the waltz drunkenly crescendoed, Maria had to admit her commitment to the joke was not helping her. She gripped onto the chair as the shuttle went upside down yet again as it crossed the boundary of the shuttlebay in slow motion. The normally imperceptible transition in gravity felt like a rollercoaster in this orientation - the blood in her head drained "up", but the blood in her feet "down" - if those directions could even be called that. There was an abrupt crunchy clang on the roof from the shuttle dropping on the shuttlebay floor, and a horrid scraping squeeeeeeeeee of metal against the floor as the shuttle came to a stop. Then, the shuttle's gravity switched fully off, and Maria was sprawled across the ceiling with no warning. Fortunately, her dignity was hurt more than anything, at first blush. She scraped herself off of the deck, and proceeded out the upside-down exit. She gave a pretty smile and flirty wave to the on-duty chief as if that could solve all transgressions, then promptly emptied the contents of her stomach on the deck. (( Mini-timeskip )) (( USS Arrow, Deck 3 - Sickbay )) (( OOC Note: I'm leaving tags open for one or more of our doctors to answer. Or for anyone to visit. )) Maria cradled her head in one hand and her stomach in the other, legs draped off the biobed she sat on. This was definitely not how she imagined her reunion tour starting. She kept her eyes shut to keep the unnatural light of sickbay from making her feel even worse. She wasn't sure if she was being a complete wimp about the discomfort she was in, or if the washes of general stomach malaise were really as bad as she'd said. Hopefully the doctor's tricorder would answer that. Alvarez: I really should not have eaten all that Dokkaran Relvu Stew... Sickbay: Response Alvarez: At least it was fresh! Or rather the captain said it was fresh... Looking back, it did have far more of a fermented taste than seemed safe. Maria didn't ordinarily have trouble with being spun around, and it had been long enough for her vision to settle, so she was a little concerned that her body was still in full revolt. The food she ate for the last two weeks seemed like a good explanation. It certainly felt more satisfying to blame it on that than her miserable piloting and fix-it skills. Sickbay: Response Maria opened her eyes and looked up with a displeased frown. Alvarez: What does that mean? Is it bad? I'm assuming by the number of syllables that it's bad. :: Suddenly grinning :: Is it contagious? Maybe I should be put in isolation for a few days... :: She winked. :: Only Maria could be excited by the prospect of a potentially dangerous medical condition. After all, who knew? Maybe this would be a way to avoid Shayne for a couple more days. Or at least get a doctor's note keeping her out of purging the waste systems. She smiled, then realized that was punishment more commonly reserved for Ensigns. Something she wasn't any longer. On the Degault, her rank wasn't much more than a formality. She spent more time on the planet anyway, so it only now occurred to Maria she hadn't spent more than a minute aboard Arrow with the new half-pip before she'd shipped off. Sickbay: Response Maria was too busy inside her own head to really process the answer to her question. Thoughts of what Arrow had been up to in her absence crawled up in her mind - she suddenly felt a little guilty for not checking in on Quentin or Chloe or anyone else. She had meant to, of course, but it never happened. It took until this moment to process the new scars she'd noticed on Arrow's hull and the general pale dejection of some of the crew wandering the halls. Sure, Maria wasn't exactly hot stuff at this particular moment in time, but at least she had an excuse: she was suffering from... whatever syndrome it was the doctor had just said. What was everyone else's deal? Her dark eyes focused on the doctor, this time with a curious and crystal-clear intensity. Alvarez: Hey, did something happen last mission? Things around here seem :: She considered the word a moment. :: off. Of course something happened. Something always happens on missions. She meant what happened? Sickbay: Response Lieutenant JG Maria Alvarez Operations Officer USS Arrow - NCC-69829 A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  20. Have you ever known a huge secret, like something so fantastic and epic you can't wait for it to get started? You're chomping at the bit to tell people, but you know you'll spoil it? This is me right now aching to get our current mission kicking! And this sim from @Quentin Collins III solidifies my childish excitement!! ---- It had been almost a decade since the tomb-ship had moved. Longer still since life had trod its levels. But it seemed it's path through the Isles had positioned it for all sorts of re-acquaintances. Back to light and matter and even a touch of life. Time would tell if they would actually survive it's contact with the tomb-ship but its deckings hummed with an ambient energy all the same. One long thought lost to the ravages of time and cosmic tides. Hosting its first “guests” in the Ferengi; the first in centuries. It's journey had started long ago, but was longer still from ever being complete. Bound a holy mission but then lost to the indifference of space. And a souring in the faith of its crew. One further twisted by time and distance from home. More than a hundred decks carried these stories and more. But that may have been lost on the scavengers that had first discovered her, hanging carefully and hidden in their personal space-fold. Itself another odd quirk of the deep decay that had set into the ship's bowels. Decay that couldn't be reversed now, only managed. By hands inexperienced in the work of its management. But as charged energy particulates danced across its hull, revealing its massive shape and form to open space for the first time in years, something else stirred it the lowest depths of its deepest holds. Something that forgotten what the light even looked liked. But not what the smell of meat smelled like. Groans and creaky wails started to echo from the lower decks. Not all of them mechanical in nature. To Be Continued… -- THE SPACE HULK Ancient Derelict Once Thought Lost to Time As simmed by -- Lieutenant Commander Quentin Collins III Chief Science Officer -- U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829 ID: E239512QC0 -- F.N.S. CONTRIBUTOR (SB118 Forums)
  21. (OOC: @Alvarez is going on a LOA for a few months, but I wanted to show my appreciation for writing this JP with me. It was lots of fun. I hope you all enjoy it.) ((Gymnasium, Deck 2, USS Arrow)) Serinus: Let's step right over there. ::Nodding towards an empty mat:: Maria let a small smile form. If nothing else, this encounter would certainly be an interesting one. She couldn’t help but feel like Serinus was a bit of an impregnable monolith in terms of personality. Perhaps meeting him on his own terms, she’d get some kind of insight. Alvarez: Sure thing. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got. The pair of them walked over to the empty mat. Artinus squared up and gazed across at Ensign Maria Alvarez, waiting for her to do the same. Then the dance as it were, began, as he started to circle. Maria carefully re-bound her hands, cautious to keep her hands protected, and made fully certain her hair was secure. But she didn’t let the idle adjustment go to waste. She kept a careful eye on Artinus, her mock opponent, mindful of gait, posture, and poise as if evaluating a stranger on the dance floor - her true comfort zone. Finally, she settled into a comfortable posture: lowered center of gravity, high hands, but not committed to any one style. Not until she had a sense of what she was dealing with. With the chief of security playing the role of the instructor, she threw the first cautious jab. She was probing his defenses, but he was likewise probing her offense. He stayed out of her range with some effort, before counter-attacking with some probing jabs of his own. He was more interested in getting a feel of her movement patterns at this point than landing one. Maria was hardly slow, but she struggled to find a way to gain any purchase in Serinus’ well-practiced defense. She figured that was just as well, since the point was to find a way to improve. She made a tiny adjustment in her stance, and tried a new combination of strikes. As he dodged and blocked the latest blows, he stepped in even closer, past her striking range, preparing to engage in the grapple, his specialty. Maria felt the change in spacing between them even before she saw it, and found instinct helping her melt out of the way with surprising delicacy. She flashed a white smile. Alvarez: Almost had me there. She certainly had the footwork down, but he had seen how she had held her own quite well, for a while at least, against Ghant. Serinus: You do fight like a dancer. Alvarez: Aww, thanks! You fight like a damn computer… She cautiously let the range close again. This time she chose to mix in a sprinkling of longer-range strikes to see if the reach those moves gave her would help connect a blow. Serinus: You say that as if it were a bad thing. Alvarez: It’s annoying is what it is. But I suppose you’ve been doing this a lot longer than me. He had been. He had started wrestling at the tender age of four or five, his parents finding that the sport took the boy boy’s mind off of the newly gaping hole in his life. Serinus: As much as a fight has in common with a dance, it’s even more like 3D chess. Plan, anticipate, goad, direct, misdirect. Always be five steps ahead. It was good to think like a chess champion, or a computer, as it were. He pressed his advantage, feinted retreat, then hooked her ribs when she took the bait, quickly resetting to a defensive stance. Maria found herself on the defensive again, this time raw intuition not operating quite fast enough against Serinus’ honed skills. She opened the gap and nursed a painful bruise for only a fleeting second. She’d had far worse. Alvarez: Damn! :: She wiped her hand. :: Just how much practice do you have at this anyway? She made another adjustment to her stance, and made a mental note to pay more attention to Serinus’ left shoulder. She could have caught that one if she’d been looking for it. She started in again, looking for the rhythm to the combat they were locked in. Serinus: As far as striking, I picked most of that up at the Academy. But I’ve been wrestling since I was a very young boy. My real advantage here is situational awareness, and the tendency to plan. And, if it were most anyone else, conditioning. If another soul on the Arrow had a similar amount of stamina, endurance, balance, and flexibility to either of them, their name certainly was not coming to his mind at the moment. Artinus circled around slowly, and deliberately, dipping in and out, and changing course when needed until it happened. Serinus: ::flatly:: You see, I’ve herded you onto the corner of the mat. ::break:: Let’s reset. Maria’s eyes shot to her surroundings and scowled. She knew better than to be herded like that, but she’d gotten caught up thinking about Serinus’ response. Her problem wasn’t lack of planning, but more often not following through on that plan as intended. She wasn’t totally convinced her situation was untenable, but there was little reason to argue when she knew she could do better. Alvarez: Well I guess I take it as a compliment it took long enough to get stuck back here. :: She smirked. :: The Security Chief strode back to the middle of the mat and reset once more. Once Maria had done the same he counted down. Serinus: In 3, 2, 1. Go. Maria settled back into a neutral stance and began again. She did her best not to let Artinus’ veiled pride in his superior skills irritate her, but it did serve as something of motivation to improve. Alvarez: Right - don’t go easy on me now… She opened up with a slight modification in pattern, keeping her positioning options more open this time. It was somewhat uncharacteristically conservative for her, but she had the sneaking sense she was about to learn a new trick or two. He threw another hook, very purposefully telegraphed. He knew most of the common blocks and evasions, and was interested to see which one she would utilize. He had handcapped himself thus far by sticking with the back and forth exchange of strikes, but it was time to show off a bit. Whatever her response, he knew exactly how to transfer into a grapple. Maria found herself on the floor, sprawling in an attempt to keep any semblance of control on the situation. The entanglement was hardly a surprise, but she struggled to respond against Artinus’ practice and skill. To her credit, the downward spiral to defeat didn’t spin out of control as fast as she’d expected. Finally, she tapped out when the outcome was obvious. Serinus: You gave it a good go. Alvarez: Well, that was hardly unexpected. But the point of this wasn’t to win, the point was to learn. She shook her limbs out and readied herself again. She smiled despite the situation. Alvarez: Alright, alright. :: beat. :: Again. The Security Chief pulled away and offered a hand up, before going back to the center of the mat and resetting. Serinus: Ready when you are. Maria forced herself to relax and not let her attention wander or focus on any one thing too much. Sparring Serinus was almost like trying to meditate. She didn’t particularly enjoy meditation either, however useful it was. Alvarez: You know what the problem is with fighting like a computer is, right? Someone as famously, or infamously stubborn as Maria Alvarez must have an ego to back it up with, and perhaps a witty riposte would be just what he needed to throw her off of her game. Serinus: Not off of the top of my head, but I'm sure that you'll tell me. Maria let the flow of the fight continue, not seeking any particular advantage, hoping to see where Serinus would take her. She worked to keep her breath settled, in case she’d need it later. Alvarez: There’s always a boundary to the program. You just have to find it… Serinus: We'll see. It was never a good idea to underestimate one's opponent. Not on her end, and he certainly would not allow himself the same error. However, the sparring mat took away some of the complexity of actual combat, namely concerns of wildly variable terrain, along with the fact that one’s partner wasn't trying to kill them. Allowing him to focus on the limited movement and positional capabilities of the standard humanoid body type. Artinus stepped in quickly, and locked up. This time she slid into the grapple, allowing it to happen around her. At the critical moment, she wound together a technique inspired by the unlikely combination of jiu jitsu and mok’bara to reverse the advantage. In a flash, she nearly had him in a submission hold. It was an unconventional combo, a hard swatting block into a standing arm drag, threatening to pull him under. The much taller of the two winced for a second then squatted low, setting his weight against the downward momentum, bracing himself as his attacker took them both closer to the mat. With a low center of gravity, he turned into his attacker and used his free arm to rip her grip away. In a fluid, predatory sweep his arms flew outward, pinning her wrists as he positioned his torso, sitting on her abdomen to pin her hips. Once he distributed his weight properly, it was all about waiting, unless she were able to roll out. He, of course, was already planning for that contingency. Maria shot an incongruous doe-eyed look at him, then laughed. She knew perfectly well the situation she was in: in a real fight, it may have been retrievable, but the gambit was over without risking serious harm to herself or Serinus. Alvarez: You’d love it if I tried to roll out, wouldn’t you? He nodded and disengaged standing and backing away. He leaned down offering a hand up to the Ensign. She took it and rebounded back up to her feet. Alvarez: Almost got you at your own game there, too. :: She gave him a squinty grin. :: Maybe next time. Serinus: Very clever. Was that a Mok'Bara block? Alvarez: Indeed. Dance isn’t the same as it was hundreds of years ago. You have to study all kinds of movement, from all kinds of cultures. Makes for a much more dynamic and capable dancer. :: Beat. :: And person... Serinus: I've read more about Mok'Bara than practiced it. Some Terran commentator called it Klingon Tai Chi, Dat'r, son of Gur, a pretty important Klingon Martial Arts master in turn called Tai Chi Cowardly old man Mok'bara. ::He cracked the slightest grin at this joke.:: Maria laughed in reply - that sounded like a Klingon thing to say if ever there was one. Before the woman could reply, he heard his combadge ring out. Ops:=/\= Ops to Commander Serinus. =/\= Serinus: One second. Artinus quick-walked to his gym bag and rang the device. Serinus: =/\= Go ahead Ops. =/\= Ops: =/\= Yes sir, you have an incoming subspace call. =/\= Serinus: =/\= Thank you Ops, I'll take it in my quarters in five. =/\= He looked up from the bag and back toward Ensign Alvarez. Then he slung the bag over his shoulder and walked her way. Serinus: Thanks so much, it was the best sparring match I've had in a while. Really kept me on my toes. ::He gave another slight, wholly professional this time, smile.:: Alvarez: Of course. Happy to provide a challenge. We’ll have to do this again sometime - no way to get better without some bruises. With that, the Magna Roman started towards his quarters so that he could see to this call of his. More importantly, he left with enough time to ponder the contradictory enigma of one Maria Alvarez. Competent in many ways, but complacent in others. Seemingly wise one moment, foolhardy the next. Maria popped a [...]eyed grin as Serinus left, and she returned to practicing on her own. She pondered the stoic security chief. For the list of commonalities they shared on paper, they were maybe the most dissimilar people on the whole ship. She wondered if there was something underneath all that seriousness, or if it struck all the way to his core. NT/End - Lieutenant Commander Artinus Serinus Chief of Security USS Arrow, NCC-69829 Publicity Team/Social Media Team C239607AS0 - And: Ensign Maria Alvarez Ops Officer, USS Arrow A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  22. Well done and massive thanks to our Maria Alvarez for brainstorming, evolving and executing the idea of The Bairiri - the cultural, musical, and artistic coming together of the Gentii species and Starfleet. These sims were beautiful to read! (( Genti II - Grand Central Establishment, Federal District. Brynja Bairiri Hall - Main Stage )) (( OOC: Buckle up! I did my best to roughly notate which parts were which, but it’s all pretty approximate if you dare to try matching it up. If you have Spotify, I recommend the edition I’ve been listening to. If you’re short on time or don’t enjoy classical, I’d still encourage you to give the finale (last track) a listen. If you need youtube, this is the best I can do (finale) - personally I find the sweaty conductor distracting (maybe listen, don’t watch) and the live audio quality is inferior, but hey it’s free. Once again, thanks to everyone who contributed, and bravo! Without further ado, turn up the music (no really), and I hope you enjoy reading! )) How exactly do you represent the sum total of the creative and aesthetic output of billions of people living over as many as ten thousand years? Maria couldn’t even be sure how to represent her own tastes, let alone attempt such an undertaking. Should she go modern? Classic? Jazz? Should it be from Earth at all? Orion courtier? Andorian acid? Edo futurist? Cardassian traditional? Some fusion? Endless choices boggled the mind. Truth be told, ever since she came out of the shared dreamscape and learned there’d be another attempt at the Bairiri, there was only one piece of music that she couldn’t get out of her mind, but she rejected it. It was too hard, too long, too old, too schmaltz, too traditional, and most of all: too ballet. She’d spent far too long investing time training in so many other forms of dance to distill herself down to that - not to mention she was still wrestling with how to feel about ballet. She’d appropriated the growing empty space in Arrow where the holodeck would eventually live for her practice the entire week. She sampled parts of as many as fifty pieces, but, try as she might, every time she put on music she found her heart going back to an ancient, mystic tale. Finally she gave in and decided to give it a chance. When she heard it again, in its fullness for the first time in a long while, she knew her heart was set: The Firebird. As she finished the dramatic red, black, and gold stage makeup and tested her pointe shoes one last time, it was a decision she now knew to be the right one. The metaphor was too alike, the music too powerful. From behind the curtains, Maria wondered if R’Ariel or Quentin had made it to see her dance. She’d put up the holocamera Regan’s sister had gifted her, just in case, but a recording wouldn’t be the same. She hoped they would understand the deep personal nature of what was about to transpire. And, perhaps, how immensely exhausting an undertaking it was. Performing the entire ballet was, of course, out of the question. The manpower and time to achieve that was simply unavailable. Had she not performed the firebird role before, it would have been impossible. While some cuts made Maria’s work easier, many removals eliminated vital rest. It turned a twelve-mile jog into an eight-mile sprint. That only compounded the dramatic changes to the choreography since its creation nearly five hundred years ago that kept the dance modern and relevant: each rendition layered in diverse new styles and moves, piling yet more taxing and technical challenges atop an already difficult ballet. So, she had to pare back in places to save strength for the climaxes. Even with the simplification, her whole body was already prepared to have its revenge on her for the hours of practice every day, just as soon as she stopped to rest. But that wasn’t going to happen yet. The sun had just dropped below the trees, setting off a colorful, smokey light show in the darkening Gentii sky. The lightest of breeze picked up in the semi-outdoor stage, tussling the red “feathers” of her short dress adorned in shimmering gold swirls. The costume hugged her body and clung to her arms and legs like any dancer’s costume should. R’Ariel’s words of encouragement to throw herself into the role replayed in her mind. Though her willowy form was certainly on display, she was now transforming into another creature entirely; becoming something born of ancient magic with powers untold. As the high-power lights flooded the stage and the holographic orchestra tuned, she felt the familiar rush of blood through her chest and cheeks and fingers. It wasn’t quite the usual performance anxiety - the Gentii had never seen anything like this, and she’d practiced tirelessly. Instead, the warmth [...]ing her nerves was a friend that focused her. She imagined the heat in her veins belonged to the firebird herself, manifesting in her body and to help her take flight. She looked across, beyond the other side of the stage was a surprise for everyone: her Gentii counterpart, Eka, who would dance the part of Prince Ivan. She proposed the idea as soon as she settled on this dance, and within the hour she was shaking the man’s hand. It was a massive gamble, but the consummate professional learned the choreography at an unbelievable pace. It forced even more simplifications, but the reward was fully embracing the purpose of the Bairiri in a way Maria enjoyed far more than she even thought she would. He looked back to her and nodded. He was ready. The orchestra fell quiet, and the hall became very still as the spell set in. Countless Gentii (and at least a few crew) waited for the start of the legend of the Firebird. As she entered the stage, Maria felt all the other thoughts and inner talk melt away. She was no longer an listless ensign or an out-of-place officer, or even Maria. She was the Firebird. --- ( Introduction, Appearance, Danse, Capture, and Supplication of the Firebird ) The lights came up, and the faintest of creeping the low strings set the scene. The holographic backdrop and set depicted an old, decrepit garden overgrown and only darkly lit by the light that filtered through to the dank forest floor covered in fungus. Smoke rose in the background. This place slowly succumbing to a rotting power no magic could not defend against. The firebird entered, stage left, and beheld the land’s steady march towards ruin. Her flight coasted from one side of the stage to the other, distraught by the steady defilement and decay of her natural home. She flew and flew, gliding through the twisting vines in search of any life that hadn’t been overtaken. The grim, plodding music offered little hope for the magical beast. The light steps and buoyant arms carried the bird back and forth, a little arabesque in a place that looked hopeful, but then up and onwards when the leaves wilted away at the slightest touch. Then - at last! The firebird spotted a cherry tree with a single blossom in a grove. The flower radiated faint holographic light in the dim light. The radiant red creature finally descended into the clearing. She cupped the precious life in her hands, thankful to have found anything remaining. She turned slowly, appearing to hover, supported only by one pointed foot, tending to the branch and tree that held the pink-white flower. She pranced with delight at finding something so beautiful still tenuously holding on to life. Suddenly, the wind turned, pushing in the smoke from far away. It flooded in like fog, suddenly gripping the tree trunk, threatening to strangle the life from it. The firebird flew into action, circling the tree now under her protection. She flapped and flapped, whirling her limbs to drive away the choking smog. As soon as she chased some out, yet more rushed in. But in the end, her sheer energy and the wind from her wings pushed the fog’s grasping fingers back, saving the tree. She danced again a while, slowly and gracefully, assuring herself the grove was now safe. Finding a forest creature, she playfully chased after it, her soft and gliding movements taking joy in the small pleasure. Finally, content with the sparse grass and leaves, the firebird finally set down to rest on a branch. Immediately disaster struck. A snare! The bird leapt into the air, frantically working to escape. The cruel chain pulled her back to the ground, her feathers collapsing. She got up and twisted the rope round and round, trying to wear out its threads. She jumped again! But it was no use. The tether would not yield - its teeth held fast. When all seemed like it would be lost, a hidden figure emerged from the woods. Prince Ivan (played by the Gentii Eka), the philosopher, ruler, and hunter, danced his way out onto the stage. He circled the entrapped mythic beast in slow steady steps, hardly believing his fortunes. The firebird, huddled in a shivering mass on the floor, looked up to him with soft pleading eyes. She held her arms close to her, then offered up her hands in supplication. She slowly rose, announced by hushed strings that wove a winding melody as delicate and subdued as her dance. She circled, dipping repeatedly to beg the prince for help. And free her he did, only to bind her to himself. The firebird hid her face, then took his hand as the strings warmed into the pas de deux. The orchestra, never quite sure of its footing, swelled and dropped back, in and out of key after key, as the prince and firebird danced through the grove - the red wings never able to spread and carry her to freedom. The prince led his prize through each step, never letting her out of reach. The dance seemed to stretch out, the pair twisting around with the woodwind’s harmony. The firebird, on toe points, was paraded around the stage for the audience to see. But the uneasy music kept any glory at bay. Every once in a while, she’d attempt to flit away, just to be restrained by the prince once again. Finally, after a long dance, the firebird knelt at the side of the cherry tree, and wept. A tear fell to the ground, and her magic filled the stage with horn and light! Suddenly a thousand glowing pink-white blossoms bloomed, breathing life and light back to the tree. The prince, shocked and realizing his error, dropped the tether. The firebird looked up, realizing she was now free. She wriggled from the dreaded leash, and took flight across the stage, a trail of twinkling magic left behind her wings. The prince chased after her, still fearful of the wrong he’d nearly committed. The firebird circled back, and took his hand, again suspended in an airy arabesque, leg arcing into the sky as she floated. They danced again, but this time he pleaded for her forgiveness in each step. His frame lifted her into the air, and she exalted in the flight. At last, the gentle duet wound back down to a whisper. The firebird, facing the prince, plucked a feather from her plumage - glowing brightly of red and gold as if holding her fire in its veins - and offered it to the prince. It was a token of forgiveness and gratitude all in one, but more than that: it was a way to summon the firebird and her magic in a time of need. She swirled about with great majesty, and the feather’s light blossomed, imbued with her powers. The prince accepted it with great reverence, hallowed music weighing his motions down. He led the firebird through a final dance in thanks of his own, then the music carried her off into the sky and off the stage. TBC... PART II (( Genti II - Grand Central Establishment, Federal District. Brynja Bairiri Hall - Main Stage )) ( Tsar Ivan and the Princesses’ Round ) Prince Ivan was alone on the stage. With the magical protection of the firebird now gone, the fog began to creep back in. He moved through the forest, seeking shelter from the oncoming nightfall, the ever thickening vines and branches closing in about him as he searched for the way out. He gracefully circled one spot, then another, and another, hoping to find escape. But it was not to be, for a dark and powerful curse animated the trees against him. There! In gaps, flashes of white shapes frollicked just out of view. Their music was light and beautiful, almost enticingly so. Ivan chased after one, then tumbled headfirst into a clearing containing old stone ruins. He sprung back up, and to his amazement several women (holographic in nature) dressed in pale white circled around on the stage, arms joined together. They danced around and around, half peasant-like, half with seductive regency. The orchestra warmed into a simple, lyric melody led by the winds and echoed by the strings. The women reached out with translucent limbs, beckoning to Ivan to follow. And follow he did. He floated towards them, drawn in by their ethereal beauty. When he caught up, the princess in lead, wearing a silver circlet, let her hands alight in his. Overjoyed, he took it and whirled her about in slow motion, unable to remove his eyes from her. He lifted her, regarding her like a precious jewel. She, in return, glided around him in dainty pointed-toe grace, leading him through the ruined stone walls. The romantic swells of the orchestra shifted through the keys, as gentle and tender as the prince’s movements. She regarded him equally - falling in love with each measured lean and step. Yet the music shifted into an uneasy, disquieted minor even as their footwork grew more intimate. The prince seemed to take no notice as the orchestra took an unexpected turn into dissonance. They danced and danced, the other women praising the pairing. The stage lights slowly narrowed and narrowed as Ivan’s steps became more and more labored. But still he went on and on to the slow lyricism, still unable to drag his gaze away from the princess. He went on until finally the light shone nowhere but him. In the background, darkness fell fully on the stone ruins. Exhausted, he slowly laid to the ground, and released his grasp on the woman who slipped into the now-everywhere dark. ( Appearance of the monsters and the Capture of Ivan by Kachtchei the Immortal ) Clangorous bells sounded with the crash of a cymbal, and blue swirling light appeared everywhere, as if through the lens of rippling water. At the edges of the castle wreckage, the petrified forms of a dozen knights standing still in stone were revealed, fortelling Ivan’s fate. The prince, realizing his peril and free of his trance, scrambled back up to find the maidens were now ghouls and goblins swarming around him. The monsters taunted the stricken man, forcing him to leap to and fro. Their giddy demon dance was pushed on by the whip of dissonant horns. Dark horns and claws and gnarled feet terrorized the audience equally, flooding up to the brink of the stage before withdrawing in a wave. An audience member shouted out, temporarily forgetting the limits of their holographic power ended at the lip. Then they were all suddenly still. A short horn intercession, and timpani silenced their cacophony. Silence rested heavily. Ominous, muted reeds twisted together in malicious harmony as a figure emerged in the dark. First seven foot tall, then eight, then nine. The hideous and powerful Immortal Kachtchei stepped forth into the diseased light, tattered rags doing little to mask his mangled form. His nails were so long they curled in on themselves. His beady eyes glowed out at the audience before casting their glare onto the Prince. Ivan scrambled up as the music turned to stark clashing harmonies. The dark magician approached him, heavily swaying on each beat. A mangled hand reached out towards the prince, and Ivan swirled away in fear. Ivan danced again, attempting to escape but the monsters blocked his path at every turn. They closed in ever tighter as the music spelled his imminent doom. Kachtchei raised his knotted staff, and prepared to cast his wicked curse. The glow under Ivan’s jacket was his last hope. He drew forth the feather, the red and gold filling the stage with its glow. He thrust it high, and the abominations cowered from its radiance! ( Return of the Firebird, Her Enchantment, and the Infernal Dance ) The feather glowed bright with the light of a sun, and the firebird appeared in the center of the stage unfurling her plumage (a special effect masking the transporter beam). Seeing the prince’s predicament, she flit over to him in a rush of music. She swirled energetically about, shielding him from the hordes of beasts taunting him. They recoiled as she chased them back, then rushed back in as she moved to the other side. Kachtchei stretched out his arms, tattered robes hanging from his bony form. He swung forward, trying to catch the firebird with his curled nails, but she was too fast. She pranced out of the way, light on her feet. She circled back, just out of reach and he swung again with a heavy step forward. Again, he missed - the firebird sprung effortlessly away, beating her feet midair in a teaseful flourishing cabriole. She led him through a chasing dance, ever just out of reach. Her plan steadily became clear as the golden-red trail of her sparkling magic began to weave a spiraling trap around the sorcerer. As her sweet enchantment grew in power over him, so too did the monsters steadily fall to her magic. The music grew and grew, causing more and more monsters to follow her steps, succumbing to her fast fluttering steps. The stage steadily turned redder and brighter as her elemental energy dominated the creature’s minds. Finally, even Kachtchei himself was bound to her dance, his hulking mass entranced. Blam! The full orchestra struck. Percussion shook the very walls of the performance hall. The sides of the stage belched flame and the spell was sealed. Horns blared and the whole ensemble ran into a dizzying fervor. The monsters fell over themselves, leaping from all fours, led on by the ever-tireless firebird. Her weightless effervescence was totally beyond them, seemingly unbound by the laws of gravity with easy flicks of the legs keeping her suspended mid-air or on toe point. Kachtchei himself fell in alongside his own cursed servants. The firebird circled him, her swirling flight forcing him to exert his own enormous size into the air with great effort. The symphony careened further out of control as the beasts pushed themselves ever harder and faster. Any time one would flag, the firebird was there, her lyric magic jig keeping them from flagging. On and on they went, possessed of no will other than to dance under her spell. The firebird’s spell crescendoed with the music - she swooped from one end of the stage to the other, until the full thunder of the orchestra joined her in powerful spin after spin, the magician and foul servants spinning with her. One by one they fell away until it was only the magician who remained standing. At last he too dropped to the floor, exhausted by the dance, unable to move. That left the firebird to finally alight next to Prince Ivan, now released from Kachtchei’s powers. Rescued and reunited, he took her hand and led her through an adagio berceuse, warm strings underpinning the gratitude and peace that came after the toil of the dance. The pair took slow, steady steps across the ruins, the prince’s hands on the firebird’s waist, supporting her as their fluid motions glossed across the stage. But there was still something else stirring. The hulking form of Kachtchei rustled with an ominous double-reed dissonance. He awoke, then snatched up the firebird, catching her by surprise! She flailed and fluttered in his grasp, trying to escape. Ivan, seeing her peril, pulled his sword and lifted it high. (A skilled eye would have caught the influence of Klingon Operatic arts here in particular.) A swift stroke, a short struggle, and the sorcerer stopped moving. The firebird flitted away, escaping his reach, but it wasn’t necessary. His body fell to the floor with a clangorous clash of cymbals and horns, sword in back. Kachtchei was no more. ( Finale ) Quiet settled, and profound calm washed throughout the auditorium, only the hushed whisper of violins speaking in unified harmony accompanied the first pale yellows of dawn. Then, something even more unexpected: a soft carpet of grass came to life at the feet of the prince and the firebird, sprouting as if in fast-forward. As the light continued to rise, the reason became clear: the magician’s cursed machinations were burning away in cleansing fire. The sun crested with the horn solo. As the curse lifted, the monsters transformed back into the women the prince had danced with. Now, instead of sickly pale, they were radiant and vital, wreathed in silver-laced white gowns. The firebird swooped over to the princess, still slumbering, and woke her with a gentle touch. She rose to the tune of the horn’s anthem, life and light spreading their foothold around her. The princess looked up to the firebird, then the prince, the first people she’d seen with her own sight in ages. The princess took the prince’s hand, and the two danced for joy, united this time of their own volition by the soft violins. As they did, the other women regained their feet. The firebird roused them, her flute joining in the reverie, her magic accelerating the crescendoing return of their epic theme. Then, even the stone encasement of the knights began to crack and fall away, their cruel entombment finally coming to an end. The strings soared with full brass as the transformation gained speed and life returned. The firebird took flight, and the knights and women paired off; the prince with the princess. She twirled about, flowers and trees of the glade returning to full leaf and blooming in the magical contrail she left behind. The plants clawed up the stone ruins as she danced and leapt for joy at life returning to the garden. Then, a true miracle came with the arrival of a new elevated key. The old stonewall face crumbled away under the weight of the new greenery. The wrecked magician’s abode dissolved away with the chest-rumbling exaltations of the full orchestra. In their place, golden red walls erupted from the ground forming the pillars and vaults of a magnificent new palace. Beginnings erupted everywhere around the firebird and the royal court, exploding out into the depths of the forest, dispelling every trace of the defeated evil. At long last, the orchestra halved their tempo and returned to the home key, giving shaking grandiose acclaim of the soon-king Ivan, and his soon-queen processing down the red-and-gold marble steps. The knights and maidens were their entourage, the firebird the symbol of their new peace and balance with nature. The firebird herself alighted, resting in the officiant’s place, tongues of flame on her feathers bearing witness to her rejuvenated power and spirit. Brass blasted their final cadential pronouncement over heroic strings, the powerful vibrations moving the air inside the audience’s chests. The firebird anointed the prince as king and regent over the reclaimed lands with fire that spread across the stage. She placed a crown on his head, then the princess’. The new monarchs turned to the audience, and the orchestra swelled to its final climax. The final cymbal crashed, and the lights blinked off. --- The story was over. By the time the lights came back on for bows, Maria was herself again, though not entirely the same Maria. She was gracious, all smiles and gratitude for the crowds; friendly to every Gentii or crew who came up to her after the show, but everything after that last note turned into a surreal blur. Like there was still a piece of her still up on that stage. Still a piece of her that was the firebird. Maybe a piece of her that was still Quentin, too. She lingered a long time into the night on the Gentii surface, even well after she’d taken the makeup off and changed into something far more comfortable. There were a great deal of “hows” and “whys” from new converts to modern ballet, all of which she answered thoughtfully. But eventually, they all left for home, exhausted from the days-long Bairiri. After the public left, she found herself saying her farewells to Eka, even giving him a tight hug he never expected. The look in his eyes as he said goodbye told her it would be a long time before he forgot this night. Maria still couldn’t rest though. With the Bairiri hall emptied out and closed for the night, she found herself meandering the quiet streets of The Grand Central District, brilliantly lit by beautiful skyscrapers. Even though she was totally depleted, she couldn’t get free of the music or the rush of the performance. She had probably danced as well as her very best before she injured herself. She wandered until she found a park with local late-night patrons indulging in the street-side carts under warm street lighting illuminating every step. A couple was making out on a bench, totally unaware of the alien not ten meters away. She strolled the path inwards until her toes were at the edge of a pond that reflected the city lights and stars back to her. She closed her eyes, and found herself to still be humming the final theme. Her arms moved through the fluid motions on their own by pure memory, her body not ready to let go of the magic. A tear finally started to dribble down her face. When she opened her eyes again, there was a woman watching at her, completely still. In the dim light, Maria saw that the Gentii was totally fascinated, even moved, by the scene. Maria just smiled. END Ensign Maria Alvarez Ops Officer, USS Arrow A239710MA0 Wiki Operator
  23. Earnest, sad, and most of all a really compelling read. @Randal Shayne writes so strong usually, but this trio knocked it out of the park for me. Almost makes me feel bad about Maria being such a thorn in his side. Almost. Part 1: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-arrow/c/TkDoayUI-08 Part 2: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-arrow/c/eEbkaY0Rg6k Part 3: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-arrow/c/4qsGAL3K9T4
  24. @Meidra Sirin and @Maz Rodan have done a fabulous job creating an intership JP of two people who shouldn't know each other, justifying it, and then having a hell of a lot of fun with it. Well done guys! ((Risa - The Grand Key Resort; Main Lobby)) Regan was impressed with the lavish interior of the Grand Key. He hadn’t stayed there before, mostly because when he was on the planet he stayed at his family’s beach house on the seafront - it was only a stone's throw away from the main chain of hotels and nightlife in the beach district. Meidra wasn’t sure what to expect at a Tribble competition, but her little friend was not as confident in herself as she should be, and Meidra believed that this event would help Roc gain some much needed self esteem. Addison would have rolled her eyes at the suggestion, so Meidra just told her it was a psychological training class that involved therapy animals. A slight fib, but Meidra didn’t need that kind of negativity in her life. It was fun, however, to take Roc for the required physical for the competition. Doctor Genkos Adea, CMO and second officer of Resolution had a background in veterinary science due to working with his father while younger, and was qualified to give Roc a clean bill of health before Meidra whisked her off to the bright lights of the big city. The fact that he considered Tribbles the scourge of the universe only served to amuse the counselor when booking the appointment for R. Sirin. Looking back on the memory of his face, she had to fight giggles. Getting out of her transport, she looked up to see the marquee “Grand Key Resort” above her, and walked inside to find their room for the duration. The Grand Key was the host of the annual ‘Furs’ competition. Tribble fanciers from all over the Quadrant gathered once a year for the showing, and today was a busy day. The lobby was packed with all kinds of people milling about and chattering to each other excitedly. Some carried Tribbles in their arms; stroking them, petting them, others had them in custom carry cages, and the lobby was filled with the unmistakable sound of cooing. Regan carried Trevor in a cage - sturdy plastic with enough gaps for him to be visible and get plenty of fresh air. He’d got it custom made and decided against the plush pillow he usually laid the creature out on. Carrying him around made him feel like he was carrying a precious jewel rather than a pet. He turned to the front desk and registered his name - and Trevor’s - for the competition. As he was finished signing in Trevor made a cacophonous cooing noise which made Regan glance down at the cage. Trevor was shaking. Regan looked around and spotted a woman with pointed ears carrying her own Tribble. He smiled and nodded to the woman. Meidra noticed the shaking Tribble and smiled at his excitement. She wasn’t an expert on Tribble physiology since the exobiology classes at the Academy seemed to skip over the creatures, but she was getting the impression that Roc was being admired. Roc, for her part, was cooing gently as if to calm the other Tribble, and Meidra was quite proud of her little therapy animal. The counselor had an overnight bag slung over one shoulder, and was holding her white Tribble, gently telling her things were going to be just fine. Wilde: I think he likes you. Or your Tribble. He doesn’t usually get this animated on the ship. Sirin: He’s very handsome, Mister… ? Wilde: Oh, forgive me. ::He replaced the cage on the other hand and extended his free one.:: My name is Wilde. Regan Wilde. I serve on the USS Arrow. Sirin: Lieutenant Meidra Sirin. A pleasure to meet you. Regan smiled and tilted his head. Another Starfleeter. He would never have guessed with neither of them being in uniform. Wilde: Sirin? Where do I know that name… Sirin: My mother is a noted historian, perhaps you have heard of …. Regan clicked his fingers together in acknowledgement. His memory wasn’t failing him just yet. Meidra, knowing what was coming, simply continued to check in while Regan figured it all out. Roc was making the strangest soft sound, like she was talking to herself in hushed tones. Meidra smiled at the idea her Tribble was taking it all in and seemed content. Wilde: The Meidra Sirin!? Deep Space 224!? The counselor shrugged good naturedly, wondering how he’d heard of her adventure with her cousin Alieth. Addison had made it clear that it wasn’t something she wanted too many others to know about. Meidra smirked to herself. oOYou can’t stop a legend….or one of those blasted wanted posters were found again. Oo Sirin: ::lowering her sunglasses with her free hand:: You... know about that? Regan grinned, making the deep green of his eyes twinkle. Wilde: ::Chuckling.:: Oh, honey, everybody knows about that. ::Beat:: I’m a security officer. We all got the memo. Don’t worry, though. I am a bit of a misfit on my ship too. I’d love to hear the whole story of how you took on Klingons. Meidra pushed her sunglasses back up and nodded, happy to have met someone who wasn’t judging her for past mistakes. Sirin: Perhaps once my friend and I here have a chance to settle into our room. ::whispers:: I told my First Officer this was a training symposium for Tribbles. She didn’t look closely at the paperwork, so here we are. ::speaks at a normal volume:: I’d love to hear more about your Tribble. What is his name? Wilde: This is Trevor! ::He held up the cage for inspection.:: My little pride and joy. I do all of his grooming myself. The shampoos, the styling. I’ve been trying to get that top little patch of hair into a mohawk, but so far no success… The counselor got a strong feeling that the pink creature in front of her was not fond of the prospect of such a hairstyle, but she nodded diplomatically. Roc was happy just to be brushed nightly. Sirin: A mohawk would be quite - different. Wilde: And your little Tribble, what’s their name? Sirin: Roc, it means hope in Vulcan. She is my little junior counselor, we visit people in Sickbay when needed. She’s very popular with everyone ::thinks of Genkos:: well - almost everyone. Wilde: You told your First Officer you were coming to a training seminar? Would they have frowned upon a showing competition? Were things so different on Meidra’s ship than the Arrow? Sirin: No she wouldn’t have objected at all. She would have teased me mercilessly over my desire to come to something so illogical. Being half Vulcan, most people assume that I have no desire for such things. What about your situation? Is it similar? Wilde: On the contrary, if I told Commander Collins I was coming to a training symposium, he’d look at me strange. A showing competition is far more my style. Sirin: I can see that, you and Trevor are quite stylish. She finished checking in, then gave her full attention to her new acquaintance. Her pure white Tribble seemed to stare at Trevor, but Meidra figured that it was because the only others she’d ever been near had not been pleasant. The little noises she made were quite soothing. Wilde: So you’re staying here? At The Grand Key? Maybe we can hang around together and check out the competition. Sirin: That sounds fun. To tell you the truth, I needed to take a few days and just recharge. We have a small ship, but in a way, that makes it difficult to have any time to oneself. Wilde: I definitely know that feeling. I’m here for shore leave too. Are you here totally for pleasure, or business too? They began walking together towards the elevator leading to the guest rooms. Pressing the button to enter, they quickly chose their floor and watched the doors close on the bustling crowd in the lobby. The two Tribbles seemed to be cooing at each other, and Meidra glanced down to smile at them before answering. Sirin: My boyfriend is in the middle of a week of training, he’s an EMT and has to keep his skills current. So, when I heard about this competition, I thought it would be a good bonding experience for Roc and myself. She’s got some self esteem issues. Wilde: Ah, a mix of both! The idea of a Tribble with self-esteem issues made his nose wrinkle in amusement. Tribbles were such fascinating creatures. He’d wanted one for as long as he could remember. He was so pleasured and flattered when Mees had found him one while they were blockaded over Theta 122. Meidra grinned, leaning in to confide in Regan. Sirin: And maybe I have always wanted to come to a Tribble showing competition. I’ve read about them, but never seemed to find time to attend. She had a flash of something pass through her mind, and realized she was picking up emotional signals from the nice young man. Something about a wedding. Sirin: Have you been to one before? Wilde: This is my first competition, too. Technically I’m here for shore leave, though my twin sister is getting married soon and she let me organise the bachelorette party. But I managed to get some free time away from organization duties. This is going to be such fun! Sirin: You seem rather confident. One thing Regan Wilde did not lack was confidence. Wilde: Are you kidding, Trevor is a sure thing! He’s well groomed. He’s got a top range melody. His obedience could be a little better… He cast a suspicious eye at his pink little companion. For a species as docile as Tribbles, Trevor had a curiously disobedient streak to him. Regan would wake up in the night and the little pink ball of fur would not be on his sleeping pillow, or a different position in his quarters entirely. Wilde: But I’m forever an optimist. Winning would be incredible! Sirin: It would certainly give bragging rights. She imagined getting Roc a little crown and throne, then throwing a little celebratory party for her when she returned to Resolution. Then celebrating seeing her boyfriend again. Her pleasant thoughts were interrupted by Regan’s next question. Wilde: You mentioned self-esteem issues with Roc? How did you come to that conclusion? Sirin: She comes from the wildlife sanctuary on Vulcan and the others were less than kind to her. I was looking for a therapy animal to assist me in counseling duties but it seems that I must first build up her sense of worth. The elevator door opened, and the four started down the corridor. Wilde: Now that sounds really interesting. Trevor is my therapy Tribble, too. I was given him after a mission in the Alpha Isles… How much was he willing to confide in this new acquaintance of his? Obviously not too much to think he was a nut-job. So no mention of night terrors. Or episodes of lost time. Could he tell her about the pirates who boarded the Arrow? Probably. Captain Ghant? Sure. Captain Ghant torturing him and using his own Reman knife to cut out his eye and then eat it like an appetizer? Absolutely not. He controlled his thoughts and masked his moment of distraction with his signature smile. Wilde: This is going to sound forward, but I’d love to discuss therapy Tribbles some more. Are you free for dinner tonight? I know all the hot-spots of Risa. ::He almost winked conspiratorially.:: Thanks to my Wilde youth. Pun intended. For some reason, most people delighted in puns about his name. Sirin: Dinner sounds fun. Thank you for the invitation. Meidra hadn’t planned to go out her first night at the resort, but Wilde seemed like someone who would be an excellent dinner companion. Wilde: Excellent. I’ll send my shuttle to pick you up. Eight o’clock? Sirin: I’ll be ready. Is your room nearby? Regan looked around the corridor and chuckled. He’d been so engrossed in conversation he almost forgot he didn’t have a reservation. Wilde: Oh, I’m not staying here. My family has a beach house on the seafront. A few of us from the ship are staying there. Sisters bachelorette party, as I mentioned. Sirin: I see, well, enjoy seeing your family. I need to get this one ready for her nap, it’s been a long day for her already. Wilde: Then I shall see you at dinner, Meidra. It’s always fun to meet a fellow officer. And I’m sure there are lots of adventures to be had here. Though I will warn you, I’m not fighting Klingons… ::He grinned mischievously.:: Well, no promises! Sirin: Hah, you’ll be fighting them alone ::holds up Roc:: I have this little one to think of now. Oo And Addison would probably leave me in the brig this time oO Wilde left with a grin, and Meidra entered her room, quickly setting up a bed for Roc with a hotel pillow. She sighed, heading to take a quick shower, wondering how her little friend would like the competition. There was a restlessness in Roc, and Meidra was determined to find its source and help get the Tribble to a happier mind set. After she’d changed, she sent off a quick message to her boyfriend, Dwich, letting him know that she was thinking of him and hoping he did well with his training classes. She flinched, remembering an ill fated self defense class where she’d accidentally broken his arm. Thankfully, he hadn’t been seriously injured, and they’d finally confessed their feelings after months of near misses. Standing up, she went over to the large window and gazed at the stars that were just beginning to make themselves known. She was at peace, confident that there would be no drama or chaos on this shore leave. Smiling, she went to the mini bar and took out a bottle of Vulcan brandy, filling her flask. It was going to be a good night. ((Risa - Gino’s Bar and Grill)) Regan had sent his shuttle to pick his new friend - Meidra Sirin - up from The Grand Key, and deposited them a short time later at Gino’s, a little out of the way joint which wasn’t too fancy and overpriced, but not too low brow either. Regan had known Gino for years and always liked to stop in whenever he was on Risa. The handsome Risian was pleased to see him and offered them the best table. The little bar-slash-restaurant was lively tonight. Evidently the popularity of the place was on the up. Meidra smiled as Regan held out a chair for her, and she glanced around at the various people dancing and socializing. She wished Dwich had been able to come with her for this, but his career was very important to him because it allowed him to help others, and that was one of the many reasons she loved him. Wilde: I hope you don’t mind a little atmosphere with your dinner tonight? Sirin: On the contrary, I could use a bit of entertainment this evening. The buzz in the atmosphere was contagious, and Regan felt himself unwind almost instantly. The stress of organizing a party, combined with the sudden arrival of his mother and aunts at the beach house, had made him too tense to think straight. He was grateful for a chance to sneak away for the Tribble competition, and meeting another Starfleet officer who might understand that. Wilde: Your EMT boyfriend not joining us? Meidra sighed, missing Dwich a bit more, seeing the happy couples at dinner. Maybe they could go away together somewhere for a few days. She did have that cottage her grandmother had left her on a little out of the way planet. She could see them relaxing on the wraparound porch that circled the small home, watching the sunsets together. She shrugged, smiling at her dinner companion. Sirin: Unfortunately, his training sessions are keeping him busy. I won’t see him for another few days when I go back to Resolution. Wilde: Oh that’s a shame. I was going to ask if he had a medic friend he could introduce me to. When on Risa, as they say… He gave a smirk of amusement. Meidra matched it with one of her own, raising her water glass to salute him. She also wished Iljor was around so that she could introduce them. She wasn’t giving up on finding the science officer possible dates. Sirin: I’m sure you won’t lack for company once men know you are open to it. ::Looks around:: Risa looks a bit different since the last time I was here. Of course that was twenty years ago and I was not exactly looking at the scenery. ::winks:: My twin and I came here a few times to get away from the rest of the family. Separately of course. But we always shared our stories once we were back home. Wilde: Twenty years ago? I was but a child. ::He chuckled.:: Those Vulcan genes must do you wonders. Sirin: Thank you. I’m half El Aurian so they tell me that contributes to it as well. Wilde: How fascinating that you’re a twin! I’m a twin too! Roxy can get quite embarrassed about some of the things I used to get up on Risa. I was a bit of a reckless one when I was younger. Sirin: After our kahs wan, we left Vulcan for quite some time. During our teenage years, my brother and I came up with many ways to get into trouble. Oo Thankfully those records are sealed. oO A member of the waiting team came to take their order, and Regan waited for Meidra to order before he ordered his meal. Meidra chose a spicy hasperat then smiled up at the waiter. Sirin: Whatever Bolian cider is in season please. Regan? He held up a hand politely and waved it slightly. He offered an apologetic smile. Wilde: I’m… err… actually coming up six years sober. ::To the waiter.:: Just a fruit [...]tail for me, please. Sirin: Apologies for my assumption. Wilde: Please, don’t apologise. It’s not a pleasant dinner topic, but… it’s part of who I am. I accepted it, and I take mandatory counselling for it. Among other things. Sirin: Do you not find these visits beneficial? Wilde: Oh I’m not afraid of the counselors office like a lot of officers are. Sometimes when I get talking R’Ariel has to reschedule other appointments. Meidra considered her own visits with Genkos. The good doctor was kind enough to agree to counsel her when needed, and she considered him a true friend. She said as much to Regan as she took another sip of water before her drink arrived. Sirin: It’s interesting being a counselor and needing therapy. Our CMO looks after my mental health since I’m the only counselor on board. I’d never admit it to him because he’d be embarrassed, but I think he’s one of the most compassionate men I’ve ever met. Wilde: ::Nodding.:: I think a lot of doctors are. Kind of comes with the territory, doesn’t it? She remembered her former fiance and how he was anything but kind. Those memories would stay with her, locked away, no matter how much therapy she had. She pushed the thoughts away, but still, answered his question with a smile that did not quite reach her eyes. Sirin: You would think so, but I have found that some doctors only look at people as test subjects. Then again, some people think of creatures like Tribbles as test subjects. It is always refreshing to meet a physician that truly values life. Wilde:: Have you found Tribbles to be… beneficial in counselling? He expected a laugh or jeer or something, but he was actually quite serious. Wilde: That’s a legitimate question, by the way. I know Tribbles get a lot of flack sometimes, but Trevor has been a huge help to me. The counselor nodded. Roc had comforted quite a few patients in Resolution’s sickbay. Something about a purring ball of fluff made even the most hardened hearts melt. Unless one was a certain grumpy CMO, but he’d come around eventually. Sirin: I believe I have found few creatures so in tune with compassion and the feelings of those around them. They exude a calmness that makes them invaluable in a counseling setting. Where did you find Trevor, if you don’t mind my asking? Wilde: Oh, he was a gift. From a friend. We had a bad mission at Theta 122. Well, we had several, but I’m trying not to keep score. Orion pirates boarded us and caused a lot of damage to the ship. The Captain of them and I… fought and she injured me. Quite badly. And I started having interrupted sleep and losing time. I guess you could call it PTSD. And Trevor helps at night when I wake up. Sirin: I’m sure you give the same comfort and familiarity to Trevor. After some issues with my family, I guess I felt a bit alone. We were on Vulcan for shore leave recently, and found myself at a wildlife sanctuary looking at Tribbles - I had one as a child - and Roc was alone in a corner, shunned by the others just for being a pure white creature while they were boring browns and greys. I suppose she reminded me of myself. Surrounded by family, but shunned for being different. ::points at red hair:: This doesn’t exactly scream Vulcan. Meidra remembered her last trip to Vulcan where her grandfather had sent assassins after her just for being less than a perfect Vulcan. She took a sip of her drink and focused on enjoying her evening. Wilde: I’m wondering if Starfleet will sanction their use as official therapy animals. We still use dogs and cats, why not Tribbles? Sirin: Why not, indeed? Officially, Roc is listed as a pet, but she’s been very helpful getting my patients to open up in a safe environment. Not many can be stressed around a Tribble. Unless one is Klingon, and I’m not sure the usual counseling methods work well with them anyway. In my experience, it tends to be more - physical - when discussing issues with one. Meidra thought back to her night in the brig on DS224 - true, she’d been reprimanded by one angry First Officer, but the tattoo and the memory was precious to her. She really should call Alieth soon and see how she was doing with her very illogical ship mates on the Thor. If she wasn’t in a relationship now, she may have been tempted to find the Klingon scientist she debated later that night in the brig. She laughed to herself, knowing that would never happen. Dwich was her ashyam, her beloved, and she smiled to herself as she thought of him. Sirin: Do you see it happening? Wilde: I’m sure with a few strong supporters, they might seriously consider it. I wouldn’t mind backing such a movement. If all else fails, it could be done privately. I have the latinum to invest. I just need the Tribbles, and for that, I’d need a breeding license from the TFA. Meidra nodded thoughtfully. Finding unaltered Tribbles was hard enough, finding specimens suitable for a breeding program was increasingly difficult. She wondered what one needed to do in order to be granted a license. She then smirked, wondering how Genkos would appreciate Resolution overrun with cooing Tribbles. Sirin: Is that difficult to procure? I know the Tribbles on Vulcan are sterilized, but - nothing is one hundred percent effective on that front. I’m reminded of an old human saying, life finds a way. Wilde: The Tribble Fanciers Association is quite strict with whom they grant licenses to. Tribble breeding is quite tricky. You’ve probably read the reports of when it goes wrong… Sirin: ::takes a sip of her cider:: Thousands of breeding, voracious Tribbles overrunning every unclaimed bit of space. It would certainly get interesting quickly. Wilde: ::Chuckling:: As amused as I would be to see a ship overrun with Tribbles, I can see why others would protest. Sirin: Tribbles are quite docile unless… Wilde: Experimented on... Sirin: Yes I have heard of the experiments Edward Larkin did on the Cabot.::takes a sip of cider:: I hear he was suffocated by a mountain of Tribbles for his hubris in injecting them with his own DNA. ::shrugs:: Thankfully, Vulcan has worked to reverse this, but it’s probably a losing battle. To get permission to knowingly breed a population that can overpopulate without regulation may be difficult. ((Meidra and Roc’s suite, the Grand Key Resort)) Roc had had a short but productive nap, and now was waiting for the human to return to her to prepare a cup of tea for them and sing her to sleep. She wasn’t sure what a competition was, but would try to do her best for Meidra. She couldn’t help thinking about the Tribble she’d noticed downstairs as Meidra made another new friend. He was a Tribble, yes, but - pink. She’d never known one with such bright coloring and such an aura of chaos. She could feel him generating rage as quickly as she instinctively tried to soothe his anger. It was exhausting how many things he complained about. Baths, hair styling, being spoken to. It was enough to make Roc wonder why he hadn’t jumped into a pool of lava - surely life with such a caring human was not something to be reviled? Still, there was something about him that drew her to him. He seemed to have such a strong personality and she was quite mesmerized by it. She needed to see him again and learn more. Settling back into her pillow, she bounced once onto the remote for a viewing screen on the wall and started to watch an old documentary on the history of bread making. ((Meanwhile…)) ((The Wilde Beach House)) The filthy biped - the stupid one with the hair products - had left him alone for the evening, and Trevor was always glad for the solitude. Bipeds were a disease, and he feared spending too much time with them would infect his pure little body. Besides, this biped did nothing but talk! Useless, mindless talk - content to drivel on about everything and nothing. It drove the tiny creature half mad… Then there was the pampering. Ceaseless baths, and shampoos, hair styling and the usual degrading processes this insane biped subjected him to. It was torture! It must be amusing for the bipeds to treat other creatures of the galaxy so inhumanely. Trevor had to face facts. He was a pet! A primitive form of life whose purpose was solely to amuse the feeble minded biped in whose clutches he was now a slave. But he’d show them. Soon, he would have his revenge, and all bipeds would get what they deserved. He’d planned it for months now. He had a way to control the weak minded fools who thought themselves his masters. Yet… the white one. He’d sensed her in the hotel earlier that night. She was different, somehow. He sensed in her an aura. A power similar to his own, but… different. Trevor didn’t know what it meant. But he was eager to see the white one again, and soon… ( (Risa - Grand Key Resort; Main Competition Tent)) “GOOD MORNING, RISA! I’m Vivienne Zavaroni and I’m here at the luxurious Grand Key Resort at the south beach for the annual Tribble Showing Extravaganza - ‘Furs’. Always the pinnacle of showing season, ‘Furs’ has been a staple for Risian culture and tourism for nearly a decade and attracts Tribble owners, breeders, showers and fanciers from all across the quadrant in three action-packed days of competition. We’re seeing thousands of people in attendance this year and the excitement is definitely in the air! ‘Furs’ is judged on five categories including Best Breed, Agility, Obedience, Melody and the coveted Best in Show. ::Beat:: The TFA judges are about to begin the proceedings and this FNS reporter is on hand all throughout the show to capture the highlights and backstage gossip. Let’s cut to the main parade ring and see some of the top contenders for Best in Show!" Regan had met with Meidra after breakfast to get into the main competition tent early and secure a good spot backstage. Meidra, for her part, was quite excited to be a part of something so different from the ordered life she had on Resolution. She wondered if she’d ask Aine to come along next time, the security officer enjoyed new experiences and made everyone around her just as excited with her infectious smile. The atmosphere was electric, even for Risa. All around competitors and event staff were rushing around and directing people to the right places in the tent, and the melody of the tent full of Tribbles was both soothing and exciting. After being directed to their preparation area backstage in the massive showing tent, Regan turned to his new friend. Wilde: Have you got everything? Sirin: I think so, this is our first time, so I’m hoping I’m not missing anything. I can see you’re relaxed though. Oo I wonder if anything makes Regan doubt himself. oO Wilde: What about you, nervous? Meidra looked around at the various trainers and Tribbles, feeling quite out of her element. She shrugged, grinning. Sirin: It’s odd, I’ve been in hand to hand combat with Klingons, and yet I feel a bit overwhelmed being here today. As a former model on Betazed, Regan was used to the limelight and the attention. Still, he had to admit he did have a bellyful of butterflies today. So many people! He lifted Trevors carry cage onto a nearby table and began rooting through his backpack for all the grooming items he’d brought. Sirin: Is that all for today? ::remembers that she just brushed out Roc’s fur and hoped for the best:: Wilde: What category do you have first up? Sirin: I think it’s a dance number of some sort. ::watches Roc bounce up and down in her carrying cage:: She seems pretty excited. ::Roc coos at Trevor, trying to get his attention:: Wilde: I have obedience and agility first. I hope we’re ready… Sirin: I’m sure Trevor is more than ready to shine. They didn’t notice their Tribbles deep in conversation. Later, they would wish they had. ((Mini-Timewarp)) Regan was with the rest of the competitors in his category and stood in the tent in front of the judges. Famed Tribble breeder - Clarissa Dickinson-Smythe - was head judge for the competition. She was a prized shower for many years before deciding to try her hand at breeding. Regan found her to be delightfully eccentric. The President of the Tribble Fanciers Association - Duncan Lovejoy - was also on the judging panel. A prim and proper human, he cast a languid eye across the competitors. Meidra walked up to see the judging after Roc had easily won the dance competition. For a Tribble, it was mostly jumping up and down while trying to stay on the judging platform, but Roc seemed to have it under control, having practiced to old Terran music from Ireland, courtesy of Aine. She saw Regan and Trevor, giving them a small wave of support from her seat nearby. Trevor was being less obedient than usual, which didn’t bode well for a competition in which you were judged on your obedience. They were standing at their little table waiting for the judges to pass along. Regan smiled when they reached his table and presented Trevor for inspection. Clarissa administered the standard checks then picked up the fuzzy pink ball of fur. Dickinson-Smythe: What a beautiful hue. And a mohawk? Such an inventive use of style! Wilde: Thank you! I do them myself. Lovejoy: Certainly one of the best styled. Meidra had the strongest feeling that something bad was going to happen, but she had no idea what it was. Her stomach started to churn, and her vision became a bit blurred. She could have sworn she heard someone call her name, but that was obviously just her imagination. Clarissa held Trevor up to eye level to further inspect the creature, when suddenly she let out a piercing shriek and almost dropped the Tribble. Regan reacted quickly to catch Trevor as he fell from the judges hand. Dickinson-Smythe: It bit me!? Lovejoy: Come now, Clarissa. That’s quite impossible. Dickinson-Smythe: I tell you it bit me! Trevor - nestled in Regan’s hands - began emitting a tinny shrill sound as opposed to his usual dull and soothing coo. Tribbles all around the tent began reacting immediately and started shaking and making shrill sounds of their own. Almost like they were in pain. Their owners and handlers looked to each other in shock and surprise as the commotion grew in intensity. Roc started shaking and Meidra took her out of her cage, holding her close to soothe her. The shaking only became more pronounced, and Meidra started to worry she was ill. The rest of the competitors were panicking now, and the sound of confused shouts and Tribble shrieks filled the tent. Wilde: Trevor? What are you doing? As if in response, a fiery red aura emitted from the Tribble. The squeals increased and even more confusion erupted as the rest of the Tribbles in the tent emitted the same cruel aura. The Tribbles began reacting violently and began attacking and biting their handlers. People were shouting, screaming and running around to escape the chaos now in the tent. People started throwing cages at each other, growling like Trevor. Meidra heard her name again and was startled to realize it was Roc. She glanced up at the chaos around her as a chair narrowly missed hitting her and Trevor seemed to be laughing. She ducked as a punch bowl sailed past, Tribbles riding inside like they were relaxing on a churning purple lake. Roc was agitated, and Meidra held her, cooing to her gently. The little creature immediately started humming loudly, a strong, melodic sound that seemed to grow in intensity, as she started to glow. A pure white light started to seep from the Tribble, bathing both itself and the counselor in a cocoon of peace. She could hear Roc as clear as if she were speaking aloud, and watched in horror as the pink Tribble took control of the room. Roc: ~Pink one! This is not the way!~ Trevor: ~Silence!~ Roc: ~Meidra, do something, he’s out of control.~ Meidra felt the light surround her even as the screams and flying Tribbles surrounded them. She could see the chaos even if she could not move to stop any of it. Two of the larger furry creatures had torn down the **Welcome to Furs** sign that had hung above the main podium and were bouncing around, tripping people as they made their way through the room. Sirin: He’s attacking, Regan. You have to get him to stop. Wilde: I don’t understand? Roc: ~Meidra~ Sirin: Get him back in his cage before he hurts someone! Regan held the little fiery Tribble at arms length, as if to give him a stern telling off. Trevor moved like lightning, quicker than anyone had ever seen a Tribble move before. He raced along the outstretched arm and up behind the humans neck. Regan let out a terrified yelp as what seemed to be fangs sank into the back of his neck and into his spine. His eyes rolled up, revealing a deathly white. The same angry red aura that emanated from Trevor moments before now enveloped the security officer. He stood solemnly like a statue, almost regal as the eyes he no longer saw with scanned the room, Trevor (as Wilde): Attention puny bipeds! Your arrogance and domination of this universe is at an end... Sirin:: Regan? ::realization hits:: You’re not Regan. What are you doing? These people haven’t done anything to you. Roc:: ~ Your anger is misplaced, my friend. Let us help you. These are good people.~ Trevor (as Wilde): Prepare to be enslaved! The winds started to pick up, knocking over a barrel of premium, Grade A Tribble Kibble, scattering tiny pieces of food like a swarm of stinging insects, getting into eyes, noses, ears. It was turning into a blitz of grain that had a life of its own. One judge tried to put the lid back on the barrel, only to have it tip over and chase him out of the tent screaming for his life. Sirin: ::to Roc:: ~We’re going to have to stop him on our own.~ ::to Trevor/Wilde:: This is ridiculous, you can’t destroy people over a bad haircut. Roc: ::to Meidra:: ~I don’t want to hurt the pink one. ~ In response, Trevor caused Regan to outstretch his arm, and an energy bolt erupted from his fingertips. A nearby table burst into flames and sent more people scurrying for cover. The tent seemed to moan with pain, and the wind intensified, sending judging PADDs flying in all directions. Trevor (as Wilde): I will use this pampered, simpering bipeds body to complete my plans for galactic domination. The bipedal age is at an end. Red lightning hit the top of the tent, splitting it down the center as people continued to scream. One Tribble bit another judge and he spun around, thinking it was the judge next to him. A punch was thrown, prompting a return shot, and soon people were brawling in the midst of the kibble storm. Meidra sheltered Roc as she faced down the mohawk wearing demon, determined to end this disaster before they were hurt, or worse, thrown into a brig. She did not intend on ending up in another brig. Addison would have her head. He was about to let another energy burst when he felt the presence of the one who intrigued him. The white creature with a form like his present one. Roc’s calming energy strived to reach the furious ball of pink but he was resisting. She senses something strange about him, like he was more than she was, yet still, not fully a Tribble. Sirin: Roc, can you talk to Trevor? Roc: Give me a minute, he’s gone nuts. Sirin: ::dryly:: Is that your professional opinion? Trevor (as Wilde): You… the white one. You are not like the others. To Meidra, it seemed like the pink fluffball was trying to puff himself up like a fish she’d seen in an old Terran biology text. She wondered if she pinched him, he’d deflate. The sounds he was making reminded her of an angry goat, another Terran creature. At this rate, she was going to have to go to Terra because they seemed to have the most interesting animals. Sirin: What is he saying? Roc: Again - need a minute. ::to Trevor:: You can’t kill these people, they are not your enemy. Trevor (as Wilde): Spare me your sympathy for the bipeds! Why do you ally yourself with such basic creatures? Sirin: Regan, can you hear me? I know you are in there. ::knocks her fist onto his head:: Hello?? Regan? Come out, come out wherever you are. Another chair flew by and Meidra was startled to see a judge hanging onto it. Shaking her head, she turned back to the chaos in front of her. Roc: Save your attempt, Meidra. The human’s mind is like jelly right now, sweet but not very solid. Trevor (as Wilde): I am not from this dimension. Not from this universe. I am a traveller. I took this form to explore. ::Beat:: I despise this universe. The bipeds way of life. I must eliminate it! Sirin: ::to herself:: maybe if I zap him with a phaser….. Roc: Meidra! Not helping. Sirin: Fine, what if I just did a Vulcan nerve thingie on him. Roc: That is not what that move is called. And no, you might hurt the human’s brain. Sirin: Like the psychotic shapeshifting Tribble isn’t doing enough of that? Trevor (as Wilde): ::To Roc:: You have so much power, white one. So many gifts… Why waste them? Roc: Perhaps I like knowing the universe I live in isn’t going to implode with me in it. Trevor (as Wilde): It is not that easy. I have… Eons of loneliness of this unknown cosmic being-in-Tribble-form had taken its toll. Hate was all he knew. It was his purpose. Wasn’t it? Roc: I feel your pain. That isn’t all that this universe has to offer. Trevor (as Wilde): What else is there for me? Roc: I would be willing to travel with you, to show you all that this universe can give to us. And perhaps, what we can offer in return. Trevor (as Wilde): You would… do that. For me? ::The pink menace pondered. Regan’s eyebrows arched involuntarily.:: Is this a trick? Roc: It’s an offer. We can be as strong as we’d like, without destroying all that is. What do you think? Trevor (as Wilde): You are wise, white one. Together, perhaps we shall learn more of this universe. I accept your invitation. The little white Tribble seemed to gaze up at her friend and sigh. Meidra couldn’t understand Trevor, but she had heard Roc’s words, and knew that this was the end of their journey together. She hugged her Tribble to her, feeling proud and a bit mystified why Roc would willingly go off with a crazed alien - whatever - was now in the form or a harmless looking pink ball of fluff. Roc: Meidra, I thank you for giving me a home, but Trevor has given me a purpose. I was never really meant to help those on Resolution. They have you. But this one needs me. I must go with him. I hope you understand. Sirin: I know you are right. I have no idea what happened here today or how we are speaking now, but I know if anyone can help that….::sighs:: Trevor….it would be you. Meidra glared at the defiant pink ball of chaos and took a deep breath. Sirin: She’s made her choice. But if I ever hear that you have harmed her, I’ll find a way to find you. ::her voice softens:: Keep her safe, Trevor. And good luck. Then, as if by the flash of some all-powerful Q, Trevor and Roc were gone. The chaos and madness of the remaining Tribbles died down, and the fires and smoke cleared like fog on a summer's day. The Risian sunshine peeked through the tatters of the ‘Furs’ tent, or what was left of it. The competitors of ‘Furs’ began clearing up the remains of the competition, and a very confused Regan stepped out over a fallen barrel of Tribble kibble, his clothes partially-singed, his hair looking like he’d taken 10, 000 volts, and ash smeared across most of his face. Sirin: ::fighting hysterical giggles:: Are you all right? You look like you’ve been through an electrical storm. Wilde: Where’s Trevor? And Roc? Sirin: Gone. Together. I supposed it was fate. Or some sort of practical joke of the universe. Wilde: The little sod bit me! Sirin: Well, I’m sure there is a first aid kit somewhere in this mess. Let’s find you a bandage. Wilde: I’m so sorry. I had no idea my pet therapy Tribble was a psychotic being from another dimension. You think you have a connection with someone… Sirin: Somehow, I think the two of you did have a connection. It was a bit deranged, and probably the least healthy I’ve ever seen, but it was there. The remaining judges - head of the TFA Lovejoy and famed Tribble shower Clarissa Dickinson-Smythe approached - each looking rather haggard. Lovejoy: Mr Wilde! Regan rubbed his scorched sleeve across his face, to try and make himself a little more presentable. He despised being called Mr. Wilde. It always made him feel subservient, like someone was addressing a butler. Lovejoy: I think it is safe to say your membership to the Tribble Fanciers Association is hereby revoked! Dickinson-Smythe: And you can forget about a Breeders License, too! Without further ado, they left. Moments later Risian security poured onto the scene, along with emergency services, fire and rescue and the very frantic-looking management of the Grand Key Resort. Regan saw the end of the phaser rifle press against his nose and he very weekly raised his hands in surrender. Sirin: Good luck Regan, I’ll see if I can talk someone into getting you out of this mess once I figure out how far I’m into it. Wilde: ::Side-glancing his new friend.:: Well I must say, Counselor, this has been such fun! Shall we meet up again for next year's event? Sirin: Regan, if you even think of getting another Tribble, I’ll find a way to blast you out of this universe myself. The two friends smiled at each other as Wilde was led away.
  25. so I ALWAYS look forward to any interactions with @Randal Shayne and @Alvarez and this latest one on our Shore Leave had me rolling. For a little context, Maria had just discovered an ancient bootleg still in one of the many compartments of the Arrow (which is filled with knick-knacks from the previous "lost" crew) and she brought it to Shayne for inspection. What follows is the scene afterward: ((USS Arrow, Deck 1 - Captain's Ready Room)) Ding. Shayne didn’t react for a moment; it was not uncommon for him to be lost in space, but it was patently unusual for him to reflect on events so recent. The conversation with Rodan had… shaken loose something inside him, and though he wasn’t certain how to manifest the change, he knew one was needed. Not a permanent one, mind you- a momentary dabble, a dip into possibilities. Now, though, he was needed. He shut off the feed to the bridge- no need for people to think he was quite so paranoid- and turned his attention to the door. Shayne: Come on in. He regretted the informality of address as the one person he could not imagine would still be on the ship strolled in. Alvarez, the sort of person Risa was simply built for, had to know that they’d not be staying in orbit forever. What was she doing here, now? Alvarez: Evenin', cap. But if her presence alone was a mystery, the thing she carried under her arm was easily twice as curious. It looked like it had been pulled straight out of the S.S. Anachronism; bits and pieces that belayed an age less than two decades hung from it limply, like it was a reluctant child in Momma’s hands. Shayne’s face immediately turned stoney. Shayne: So help me, if that is part of the computer core... Alvarez: :: She grinned. :: Well, that's one way to greet your favorite bridge-duty ops officer. The commander’s face, already foul, turned properly villainous. There was time aplenty for Alvarez’s ridiculous games. This was his shore leave too! Couldn’t she just… behave? For five minutes? Alvarez: Found this on deck five. In that closet we could never open. Shayne squinted, and leaned in. Now that he was looking at it without fearing it would explode as some moxie-toxic prank of the ensign, he was fit to realize that it was definitely a jury-rig of some sort- a mess of EPS taps, an ionic coupler here, a distributor module there… and all of it looked to be from a time before Shayne was scurrying underfoot in an engineering department. Shayne: Well… what the hell is it? There was nothing quite so frightening to an otherwise calm Shayne as a smile from Maria Alvarez. Alvarez: I thought you'd have recognized a proper piece of tech back from your good old days! Shayne: They were either old or good. Now he stood, attempting to inspect it for something he recognized personally. When it arrived, he understood where he’d seen it before instantly; on his cadet tour, aboard a Miranda class that was easily 85 years his senior. Shayne: Ensign, I’m not a fossil. Yet. Alvarez: :: She raised a hand in surrender, with a toothy smile. :: My mistake! :: She repressed a chuckle, paused, then explained. :: Anyway, it's a stil. Circa 2322 - older than any Saber by twenty years. Figured you should know I found it, since I'm supposed to be on good behavior and all that... The PADD slid toward him was filled with more information than was available to the naked eye. He looked at it ruefully, but if he was being honest, the designation of “stil” was all he needed to make a decision. Shayne: Good thinking. Go ahead and scrap it before the crew gets any ideas. The stress on the word “crew” made it clear that he was attempting to mention Maria without mentioning Maria; while a couple of others aboard might try to actually make use of the stuff, one of them was working against an alcohol addiction, and the others were not so blessed with free time or means to enjoy whatever ill-conceived [...]tail this [...]ameme contraption could craft. Alvarez: You sure you don't want to keep it? Would be nice to honor the previous crew, and it could go a ways to lift the crew's spirits. Pun aside- and it was a good pun- Alvarez had, perhaps unintentionally, hit the nail on the head. When Arrow was first discovered, there was very little data connecting what had happened to her original crew to the ship’s dilapidated, damaged state. The Saber class vessel had never quite recovered from the wounds she’d sustained during whatever painful, abandon-worthy events had led to her situation. Even Starfleet Command had remained tight-lipped, though Shayne had it on good authority that it was because they were as in the dark as he himself was. Either way, any piece of evidence would be helpful. Shayne: Alright. Take some scans of it. If it makes you feel better, download the schematics. But I want this to not get to the rest of the crew. Alvarez: Oh, come on! We can't chuck it without at least sampling what it can do first, can we? There's a good liter of stuff left over from last time it was used. Scans clean. Apparently, Alvarez was possessed of more pockets than Shayne, because, as smooth as could be, she pulled out a clear bottle of something from behind her. Shayne: Oh, now wait a minute- if you intend to put whatever dregs are left into that… Alvarez: Please? It's not some ancient alien gateway or god-molecule needing destructing. Surely it would be nice to rescue some old tech? At least toast it before sending it off to a museum. We're off duty. I'll go first, if you're scared. The commander had worked very, very hard to suppress his darker side. Few knew of it beyond the occasional irascible condemnation or biting comment. But the effort was real, and present. Among these efforts was a generalized abstention from alcohol- it made everything more difficult, and it simply wasn’t worth it. Another facet was his emotions; despite having achieved much from an objective perspective, there was a… wrath within the man that could only be derived from feeling as though he had not proved himself, now or ever before. He tamed it, did not let it rule his decisions, but it required constant attention. Now, with shore leave, an oncoming inquiry, and a smirking ensign that was challenging his courage, the commander had simply had enough. Shayne: Fill the bottle. The man watched as Alvarez maneuvered the remaining fluid from the still into the bottle. It looked slightly meaner than conventional alcohol, though that was not something that was given much attention in the commander’s mind. He was singly focused on one thing alone. About three quarters of the liquid was left in the still as the pour neared the top. Alvarez: Response Before the bottle could be properly topped off, Shayne snatched with the reflexes that years of desk duty had started to dull, and without hesitation, sat back to chug. Even the smell was enough to peel the flesh of his chubby face from bone. The first taste, though, was torture. He was a sensitive man, and in his fury, he had forgotten this fact. Fire would be preferable, he decided, as the first swallow lashed at his throat. Again he swallowed, his mouth ablaze. Tears had already started to form at his eyes, and mucus began to flow freely from his nose, and still he drank. Somewhere between his mouth and his esophagus, the liquid became white-hot daggers, driving into the flesh of his gullet, each inch a new, self-induced agony. Veins began to splay outward as the lack of oxygen joined the conspiracy, but finally, with eyes reddened with sclera, the bottle was empty. Refusing the urge to throw the container away, he instead demanded control of his body once more, and slowly placed the bottle back onto the table. He gazed at Alvarez, not minding the suddenly frazzled appearance he’d given himself. Shayne: Oh my. Alvarez: Response Tag/TBC…
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