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  1. ((G’Renn Family’s Quarters - Deck 12, USS Constitution-B)) Anath looked in the mirror and straightened her combadge. In a few minutes she’d have to make sure her nephew had gotten up the first two times she had checked on him and get him ready for school. With Savok needed in the lab early for a project it was up to her to take Rol’Q for his first day of school. Then she’d have to go to her own duty shift in sickbay. After checking her reflection one last time she put on her teal lab coat and turned to the door. When she stepped out of the bathroom, their golden retriever Ug’yel was already at her feet. He whimpered and tried herding her across the room and to the replicator. It was time for breakfast for the dog. Savok had already replicated breakfast before leaving early for his work in the arboretum based on the food ready on the table and the note in flowing Vulcan script sitting on the counter. But first, the dog needed to be fed. Anath stood at the replicator and looked down to Ug’yel, excitedly pacing in front of her. G’Renn: Ug’yel, ba’. Ug’yel sat as directed, waiting patiently to be given breakfast. Anath turned to the replicator and gave it an order to replicate Ug’yel’s favorite blend of dog food while he watched eagerly. G’Renn: Computer, replicate Canine Supplement 47. A small glass bowl materialized in the replicator alcove. She picked the bowl of food up and set it down on the ground in front of the dog. While he ate, Anath crossed the main living area and approached Rol’Q’s room. She briefly knocked before pressing the door activator. When the doors parted, she was glad to see that he was already awake and dressed all on his own. G’Renn: Ready for school, puqoy? ((Translation: Klingon term of endearment for one’s child.)) Rol’Q was sitting on the edge of the bed, letting his feet swing back and forth and tap against the frame of the bed. It wasn’t the usual, animated sense of joy she expected from him. Something was wrong, and she had a sneaking suspicion as to what it was. Rol’Q: Do I have to go? Anath sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed next to him. G’Renn: Yes, you still do have to go. I know that preschool on Vulcan wasn’t fun. And that you liked your school in San Francisco. But this is home now. We’re all together again. So this is where you’ll go to school now. Starfleet life was difficult for anyone to adjust to. Especially for children who were already used to a different lifestyle. Within the space of a little under two years he had lost his parents, come out to the Par’tha Expanse to stay with his aunt and uncle, then move to Earth, then move back to a different ship in another region of space. For a Starfleet officer used to sudden and uncontrolled changes in environment it was normal. Not so much for Rol’Q. Rol’Q: Why did we leave the Chin’toka? G’Renn: That’s how Starfleet works. Sometimes we go between different ships. And each time it’s a new adventure. Do you remember your first day at the school on Earth? That had been even more of a headache. Before then, Rol’Q’s main experience with school was a Vulcan early learning program. She knew all too well that doing things the Vulcan way often meant that those hybrids and other species who indulged in emotion and did not strive for perfect logic could feel somewhat left behind. But that evening Rol’Q had come back excited to tell her and Savok every detail of his day at school. Rol’Q: Yeah… G’Renn: This’ll be just like that. You’ll get to meet the other kids on the ship and meet your new teacher. ::She wrapped her hand around his and gave a reassuring squeeze.:: Can we at least give it a try for today? Rol’Q: Ok. Anath could pick up on his unease through her touch telepathy, though she didn’t make too much of it. She glanced down at the boots that her grandfather had gotten for Rol’Q. The laces were still untied, leaving them only lightly secured. G’Renn: Alright. Breakfast is ready once you’re done getting dressed. Do you need help lacing your boots? Rol’Q: I can do it myself! She nodded in recognition of his determination to tie the shoes on his own and got up from the edge of the bed. Out in the main room she picked up a plate and helped herself to some breakfast. Sliced gespar and mapa bread toast with a Vulcan jam spread on top. She paired it with a cup of mint tea fresh from the teapot sitting on the counter. As she ate, Ug’yel sat by the door, having finally gotten the message that he was not to hover directly under the table while his people were eating. Anath recycled her plate in the replicator and sank onto the couch. She watched the dog, still waiting in place and praised his patience before summoning him over. G’Renn: maj! ::Patting her knee:: chol! The golden retriever bounded over to her and set his head on her knee. She pet his head and scratched behind his ear, earning a wagging tail of approval. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Rol’Q walk over to the table and climb up into his chair. He had his toast and pre-cut gespar along with a cup of orange juice she had set out. Once he was done he hopped down from the chair, leaving his dirty plate on the table. Rol’Q: I’m ready! G’Renn: What do we need to do first? Rol’Q looked confused for a second before looking back to the table, and then to the replicator. Then it clicked. Rol’Q: Sorry! He rushed back over to the table, picked up his plate, and brought it over to the replicator. It was a little high up for him, but with arms outstretched he could barely place the plate in the alcove of the replicator to be recycled. A habit they had been working to instill in him. G’Renn: It’s fine. That’s something we need to get in the habit of, though. She reached for the controls to recycle the dish before Rol’Q raised his hand and blurted out a question. Rol’Q: Can I do it? Anath nodded and picked him up, giving him enough of a boost to reach the control panel. Rol’Q pressed the appropriate button and the plate was dematerialized for spare energy. She set him back down and did one last check of the room for anything she was forgetting before heading for the door. Rol’Q: Bye, Ug’yel! With that the doors slid closed behind them and they were off. Rol’Q held onto her hand as they headed for the turbolift. Rol’Q’s assigned classroom was on Deck 8. Which would also leave time to pick up an order of raktajino at the Brew Continuum on the way to her shift in sickbay. Rol’Q: Can we go exploring after school? There was the excitement that came with living on a Starfleet ship again. While being a Starfleet brat meant a life of uncertainty and change, it also brought with it a very interesting environment to grow up in. Anath was an adult and liked to consider herself fairly tranquil. Even still, she was frequently excited by the view out of the windows and the thrill of being out in space, the final frontier. There certainly would be no shortage of places to explore, even if some areas were obviously off-limits to Rol’Q. G’Renn: I think we can make that happen. Lieutenant Commander Anath G'Renn, M.D. Medical Officer USS Constitution-B & Rol’Q, Son of Kolrriq Civilian USS Constitution-B ===as simmed by=== Ensign Rachel Flores Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B A239402AG0
  2. (( Ohnari’s Quarters - USS Constitution-B )) Finding the real liquor was probably not a wise thing. After having a long thought about what she wanted to do with her life, she had decided. The best way to make this type of decision was tipsy. That was why she was standing in front of Talia Ohnari’s quarters. She would recognize her, of course, she would, but at least the last time she had shown up to acost her, they left on good terms. The Orion rang the bell and waited until it opened. Grinning at the dark-haired woman who answered, Shedet shoved the extra bottle of wine toward her. Shedet: I…::hiccup::...have come to kidnap you again. Talia had confirmed that this blonde Orion, was the same blonde Orion that had taken over a passenger transport and made her miss the majority of her 7th brother’s wedding. She had planned on confronting her and demanding to know what she was doing in Starfleet….but she followed Cade Foster’s lead. He seemed to trust her. As did the Commodore. So..she decided to watch, and make her own opinion… Ohnari: ::brow raise, crossing her arms against her chest:: oO So much for my opinion…Oo Uuh…no? I’m kind of in my pajamas. As if the fuzzy tribble slippers and matching T-Shirt and shorts were a valid reason to prevent kidnapping. Shedet: For fun this time. Loooonnnnnggg story about how I am here….and how you’re here….but I gotta get my stuff from an Orion matron who is NOT going to be happy with my choices. Thought you’d like to stick it to them again and I need the help. Loooong story that wasn’t that long. She enlisted in Starfleet, end of story. And she assumed the drunk little greenie in pigtails in front of her had done similarly. Ohnari: And who exactly is going to be flying the runabout…? Seems a little dangerous given your current…uh…state. And didn’t we just avoid getting shot at ?? Shedet: Dangerous? Nah…maybe. Depends on their aim. This pseudo pirate woman was going to get herself killed. Her eyes rolled to the skies and she prayed for guidance. The deck plating didn’t answer. Tossing her hands up in exasperation. Ohnari: Alright, get in here. Give me five minutes to change. Shedet: Sure! (( Cargo Deck - Starbase 104 )) Getting to the cargo section of Starbase 104 was not difficult. The difficult part was convincing Ohanri to leave her commbadge in her room. What they were about to do wasn't quite legal. Well, retrieving her possessions was legal but not how she was going to. The cargo section of the station was massive and filled with interconnected containers and large cabins that were sectioned off for offices and storage for the many companies and independent freighters that came and went. It was Yadon Shipping that she as targetting. Matron Ishiv used it as one of their fronts. Starfleet Intelligence knew as many Cartels let it be known in case SFI wanted to hire them. That status created an uneasy piece which meant Shedet's plan had a lot better chance of succeeding. The Orion guards were not going to want to open fire with their weapons too quickly as Starfleet Security would descend on them. Now, the two heavy double doors ahead were closed, a cargo skiff humming quietly by the door with a few plasteel containers on it. Two guards stood there, burly and strong with no weapons but Shedet knew they could hold their own. Both she and Ohanri were crouched behind a few abandoned containers that were haphazard on the gangplank to the Yadon Shipping headquarters. They were in the open air section of the station so the wind blew while a few skiffs and a shuttle would fly overhead towards another part of the station. Crouching back down and looking to Ohnari, Shedet thumbed over her shoulder. Shedet: Alright, that's our target. Two guards on the outside. More than likely three or four on the inside. Matron Ishiv isn't here so we don't have to worry about her entorage. Ohnari: ::glaring:: Oh is that all? Why didn't you say so. I'll just waltz up to the door and politely ask for your stuff back then. She was grumpy. Awoken by a crazy lady in pigtails half drunk and forcing her on a reckless adventure in the name of "fun" does that to you. Shedet: ::smirk:: You're going to distract them in that outfit? Glancing down at the off color jumpsuit she snapped her eyes back up. Wasn't this whole thing her plan?? Ohanri: ::bitingly:: Well my stars, I've seemed to have left my tactical bikini back on the Conny! Although the damndest part about it, she wasn't wrong. Hissing out in frustration, Talia yanked out the band in her hair, shook out the ebony waves while angrily unbuttoning an alarming amount of buttons and shoving her arms out of the sleeves. Tying them tightly around her waist, she glared with as much venom as she could, half crouched, displaying a tight undershirt wide band of skin, and suit hugging her hips. Ohnair: I swear if I die like this, I'm coming back to haunt you. Shedet just grinned Suffice to say, Ohnari was better at it than Shedet had thought. They were distracted long enough for Shedet to sneak up and render them unconscious with the subtle “slam their head into the side of a crate” maneuver. The office was dark and dusty. It appeared that it had not been used in quite awhile. The low watt safety lights were on which gave enough shadow for them to creep through. Shedet led the way knowing Ohnari had her back. Why and how the Orion could not figure out but her brain was still a bit clouded from the alcohol. The adrenalin though was slowly clearing it. Peering over a parked skiff that was powered down and looked as if it hadn't been moved in a few years, Shedet knew her stuff would be in the room between the guard shack and the empty office. Motioning quietly, the two crept to the storage room, gently opened the door, tried to will the squeaky hinges silent, and slid in. Shedet looked at the pile of stuff in the room. Shedet: Okay! My bag is gonna be green with blue stripes. Talia was absolutely certain this was some kind of elaborate prank. At any moment now, the crew of the Conny was going to jump out and shout "SURPRISE!!!". Anything to scrub the memory of trying to distract the guards by asking them if they had any spare tool grease to lend her….Shedet could not have knocked them out any faster. Ohnari: There isn't a bomb in there or anything…is there? Shedet: Nah. Nothing so exciting. Trying to be as quiet as possible, her heel caught the side of a crate, trying to muffle her cry of pain, Talia shoved her face into the nearest thing she could find: A green bag with slightly faded blue stripes. Ohnari: ::hushed:: I uh…found it I think. The Orion shifted through it and nodded mostly to herself. Everything was there. Her gauntlet, clothes, everything she had planned to take before changing her mind. Shedet: Now…the office. To erase our presence. Having made their way to the office, pushing aside a civilian stun phaser that was laid there, Shedet quickly tapped on the computer bringing it alive. It only took a few minutes to bypass the ancient security and wiped the log and cameras of their presence. She set the reboot for the next 20 minutes. If they were lucky, no one would realize what they had done. Shedet: Alright. I've got the camera footage wiped out. We just need to make our way out the way we came---- The door opened and the duo found themselves standing in front of an older Orion with dark head and an intricate crown that advertised her status as a Matron. Ishiv: ::confused:: Shedet? Shedet: Frak! Without thinking about it, she grabbed the phaser from the desk, checked the setting at a glance and fire dropping the woman where she stood. Ohnari: ::eyes widening:: I thought you said she wasn't going to be here! And you just shot her??? Habitually, the doctor in her shook off the shock and inspected the now prone figure for life signs. Of course they were there, and strong. Shedet: ::panicking:: I don't know! I thought that was the best option. That's my old Matron I'm trying to avoid. Ohnari: I gathered. Based on the gaudy hat of hers…do you always shoot first or are you just showing off for me? Shedet: Fine. Next time we raid a Syndicate base and run into your matron, I'll let you decide. Ohnari: ::barking out a laugh:: Right. As if I'm ever gonna get in a turbolift with you ever again after this. Can we go before there are more unexpected visitors?? Then, a thought hit her. Her face broke into a devious grin. Ohnari: Wait- Quickly Talia dropped down and snatched the ornate crown off the prone woman's head. Ohnari: ::grinning:: Souvenir. Shedet grinned back at her new friend. Shedet: Great minds! With that, they scurried out the door to the surprise and alarm of the new Orions that had arrived. Suffice to say, none of them knew what was going on in the dark and by the time they had figured it out, Shedet and Talia were long gone. The two threw themselves into the industrial turbolift and it began its descent back to civilization. Shedet slumped to the floor, turned to look at Talia and then laughed. Shedet: Okay. That was more chaos than I intended. The adrenaline was coursing through her veins, so much that for the last hour, the logical part of her brain just completely shut down in utter protest. Ohnari: When DO you intend chaos…? Because I want fair warning so I can hop through the nearest wormhole to avoid it. Shedet: Don’t give me that. You thoroughly enjoyed that. ::pointing to crown:: Not to mention you’re turning into a pretty good pirate. Talia grinned and placed the ornate crown haphazardly on her head and gave a haughty wave. Ohnari: ::adopting an overly snooty accent:: I simply have no idea of what you speak, my dear. I am a model citizen. She burst into a fit of giggles as she slipped off the ridiculous crown. Shedet: Sure, sure. Keep telling yourself that. You just showed me you got a wild side. We’re going to be best of friends. Just like I thought we would when I kidnapped you. Ohnari: ::smirking:: Just how every solid friendship begins, on a foundation of felonies and escapades…. --- JP By… Ensign Talia Ohnari, MD USS Constitution-B C239205ME0 & Chief Petty Officer Shedet Science Officer USS Constitution-B V238008N10
  3. (( Starbase 256; One week prior to arrival on the Constitution )) Cohen: I'm shipping out in a few days. Seth hunched over the comms panel, his face lit only by the screen and a lamp set to its dimmest setting in a nearby corner. A duffel sat beside him at the foot of his bed, already packed. Only a few stray odds and ends were left to be packed before he was to leave the station and arrive at Starbase 104 for his new assignment aboard the USS Constitution. The face on the other end of the call simply nodded, pursing his lips in that way he often did when he was feigning happiness. Or pride. Or anything, really. It didn't matter. Seth didn't expect much, anyway. Cohen: I've been assigned to Engineering. His father did give a hint of an actual smile this time but seemed to catch himself and take a deep breath, returning quickly to his usual, stoic self. Why was it that he did that? Why couldn't he just let himself feel? Abraham: That's good, son. Seth paused, not sure what to say. Cohen: That's it? That's good? I've graduated, Dad. I'm a bona-fide Starfleet officer now, and the best you can muster is, 'that's good?' Abraham sighed and shook his head. Abraham: Well, it is. You've done well for yourself, it seems. Seth gave a sigh of his own and sat back in his chair. He brushed his hair back from his forehead, clasped his hands between his knees, and leaned forward again. Cohen: I was surprised to be assigned to Engineering, you know. Abraham: Why? Cohen: It was never my favorite discipline, to be honest. I honestly saw myself in security, or tactical maybe. But, Engineering? Abraham: Well, clearly they saw something in you, son. Seth nodded. He knew that was about as close to an "I'm proud of you" he was going to get from his father. In the background, Seth heard a dog bark and Abraham motioned "one moment" to the camera before standing and exiting the frame. oO I honestly don't even know why I try anymore. Ever since mom died... Oo Abraham came back into frame and settled into his chair. Cohen: Let me guess. You gotta go? Abraham: ::nodding:: Rebecca is here. She just got back from Risa with Susan. I have to help unload the transport. Becca's pretty worked up after being gone for two weeks. Cohen: You know, Dad, I've been gone for two years. You didn't even make it to the grad- Abraham: I know, son. Look, I was thinking... let me know when you get settled and get some shore leave and I will come visit? It'll be good to see you. Cohen: Sure... sure, that sounds good. Seth knew it wouldn't happen. What's more, he knew he didn't want it to. His relationship with his father had become more and more strained these last few years, though neither of them ever really spoke of it. They just kept going through the motions, for better or worse. Usually the latter. Most days Seth was okay. It took a conversation like this to send him plummeting back to that place he'd been three years before. Back to that terrible day that he'd just as soon forget. He wondered whatever had come of that memory technology he'd heard that the Daystrom Institute was working on. Or maybe it had just been a rumor. Anson: =/\= Anson to Cohen. You comin', buddy? =/\= oO Finally! Oo Cohen: =/\= Cohen, here. Yeah, I'm about to head your way. =/\= Abraham: Looks like you gotta go. Cohen: Yeah. A few of us are getting together for a last hurrah before we go our separate ways. Not sure where Anson is landing yet, though. I'm hoping he can get assigned to the Constitution, but we'll see. Abraham: I hope he does. A hand found its way to his shoulder. Seth guessed it was Rebecca's but she didn't lean in to say hello, so he couldn't be sure. As she walked away, Abraham turned back to the camera. Cohen: I'll talk to you later, Dad. Abraham: Bye, son. The screen abruptly changed to a simple blue screen with the Starfleet logo and the words: END TRANSMISSION. Seth breathed a sigh of relief that he'd made it through the conversation without an argument. At least there was that. Cohen: ::tapping his comm badge:: =/\= Cohen to Anson. I'll see you in five. Save me a seat at the bar. Ensign Seth Cohen Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239904SC3
  4. (( nature preserve program, Holodeck 4 )) What was always most shocking to Lazarus was how quiet it could be. Every movement, every step, every brush of fabric-on-fabric was audible. CRUNCH The sound of his foot landing on a dry leaf was almost deafening in the moment. Somewhere nearby and overhead, a bird called. And a reply cascaded through the trees. Calling and receiving. Communication. Behind him, he heard the sound of the hologram dissipating, followed by the industrial noise of the holodeck door opening and closing. Someone must have come in. That was fine. He wanted to be alone, but he also didn't want to exclude anyone. He didn't realistically need the whole holodeck to himself, so he set it to a public session. He absent-mindedly hummed a line of a song to himself, just a fragment that bubbled up suddenly to the surface of his mind. "I lost my memory today, the day my ship set sail" would have been the lyrics. He kept moving on his hike. He had moved past feeling pain about destroying the Theseus. It was regrettable, but the Theseus and Elder created the scenario, not him. He, like anyone else on the Conny, had to deal with the situation they were thrust into. The repercussions of Jalana's rescue mission were clearly profound, but not going was the correct choice. When they left, he was still angry at Elder, the Theseus, and himself; all of it. No one benefits from someone so distracted on such a delicate mission. Had he gone, it could have gone much, much worse. And Heeka ended up going in his place, more or less. He heard the stories of her and T'Aven in the mines. She was a better choice. // Imas stepped through the threshold and into the projection of the nature preserve. The door closed behind her, and its hydraulics exhaled in sync with her own exhale. As the hologram obscured the door, she felt her shoulder tension lessen. She became aware of the posture of her spine. The last mission was an unmitigated success. Or so she had thought until right about the emergency beam out. The state of Jalana, Lystra, Spears, Flores, everyone. Something happened to Saveron and T'Aven, too. She was a bit shaken around. A few good bruises, scrapes, and cuts. Within an hour she was totally healed, showered, and in bed. Lystra lost a hand. That cannot be undone, even with a cloned replacement. Looks, feels, acts like the original hand... but it isn't. She knew the term for it: survivor's guilt. This had a bit of a different flavor, though. not so much "why me?" as it was "why them?" This was a new feeling for Imas. The simple dirt path lay in front of her, uneven from all the roots crossing it, and flanked on both sides by trees. The canopy overhead was readily pierced by the mid-morning sun. In the distance, a bird call. It sounded like a robin. On Cardassia, when a comrade falls in battle, there is a sadness but there is also a sense of glory to it. A Cardassian would offer genuine sympathy to a friend in Lystra's situation, and help them adjust to the new reality. "Such a sad thing for this to happen to such a good person." But it would all have the flavor of acceptance, or even pride. There was no greater honor than to die in service of Cardassia. To be injured in service was something to be proud of. But right now, this hurts. When Imas caught a glimpse of Lystra when she stopped by sickbay, Imas imagined what she would feel if it were her. She explored it deeper, instead of intellectualizing it by saying "a military officer losing a limb is almost expected." She felt fear, sadness, dread. She felt violated. And then began to observe the abyss of what she couldn't even fathom. What was this reaction? She'd seen worse even in basic training. Leaves crunched ahead. Whoever started the program wasn't terribly far away. Imas strode forward, realizing she wished to be near others right now, while feeling so vulnerable. // Whomever else joined was on the move. The sounds echoed around the trees, making it hard to tell what direction they were moving. No matter. If not going was the right choice, and he wasn't upset about the Theseus; what was it? His first command was a successful, albeit brief, mission. Things with Queen were feeling... less awkward. He still didn't really know a lot about her. He hadn't really asked a lot of deep questions, not sure of how she felt about it. Their differences in communication made reading emotions and body language challenging, but they were coming along. He wished he could just tell her how he felt, but he didn't want to scare her off or upset her. The footsteps approached, so he turned to see who it was. // Lystra's hand. Spears. Jalana. T'Aven. Lystra's hand. The hand. So much pain. This is why you weren't supposed to fraternize in the military. These weren't fellow soldiers, these were comrades. Family, even. And she let her family get hurt, forever changed. No, she did her part--and so did the others. They were overwhelmed. As she approached, the person turned to face her. It was Davis--! Her sorrow and fear catalyzed into anger. Heeka: You..! He was clearly surprised by her reaction. Davis: Er, hello? Heeka: Where were you on that mission? To say she sounded interrogative would be an understatement. Davis: I was oversee--::he realized she wasn't asking where he was, but a reason for his absence:: I was a liability. Heeka: You know Spears barely made it? And Jalana? But you had *feelings*? Lazarus looked down and exhaled through his nose, then slowly inhaled before continuing. Davis: ::quietly:: I'm well aware, yes. I asserted to Saveron that I was emotionally compromised, and he agreed. The list might have been longer had I gone, or the list of people that came back shorter. She scoffed and turned away. A convenient argument. Had he been there, with his science expertise, it would have made a difference for the better. Heeka: If you saw-- Davis: Imas, remember Marcinko? Security officer, in the mines. Heeka: ... yes? Not specifically, but she recalled he was a security officer lost on the mission. Davis: He was vaporized by a disruptor set on maximum. I gave the order that got him killed. Heeka: Are you saying I should pity you? That you are inept? Davis: The order I gave him was to defend our position so we could complete the mission. Heeka: What are you getting at? Davis: That sometimes even good decisions have negative consequences. Heeka: ::flabbergasted:: I know that! I--::calming down:: Your presence would change the odds. Shedet isn't even an off-- Davis: I'm going to stop you right there, Lieutenant. I don't think you want to finish that. I'm Chief Science Officer because I fit the role, not because I'm the "best" scientist on the ship. Don't confuse rank with capability. Heeka: I did not come here to be lectured. Davis: Funny, I could say the same thing. A squirrel and a woodpecker had a brief disagreement overhead. The chattering and flapping punctuated the pause in their conversation. Heeka: I... apologize. I just-- I've seen death before, and extreme injury. But it's never hit me like this. Is this what it always feels like to you? He looked at the woman, studying her face and contemplating. Davis: I don't know you well enough to answer that. Heeka: :: She frowned and looked away:: No, you don't. Davis: If you're asking if it ever gets easier seeing people you care about get hurt, then the answer is no. Heeka: How do you carry on, then? Davis: You get better at coping with it. More efficient. I had to learn how to construct productive narratives. Heeka: ... what? Davis: The story of the events, the interpretations of them and the perspectives taken on them. I can't change the events, but I can change all the other things. Heeka: I cannot envision an "interpretation" of this mission that makes it hurt less. Davis: You won't find one. Heeka: Then what is the point of this exercise? Davis: Look at my shoes. I accidentally stepped into a brook earlier. I'm covered in mud and my feet are wet. If I tell the story about my time here that focuses on muddy, wet feet; it might give someone the impression that I hated this hike. Heeka: Ah. "Because of a great love, one is courageous." Davis: I'm not sure I know that one. Heeka: Shame. It's from an Earth philosopher, Laozi. It means love and courage go together, like how a cup has an outside and an emptiness in the middle. That didn't make a whole lot of sense to Lazarus, but he was relieved that Imas was relieved. There was a silence between them for a moment. Heeka: I am grateful you did not join us in the rescue operation. The words were genuine, not sarcastic. Davis: Thank you. I'm going to continue my hike, in my muddy shoes. They nodded to each other, not exactly smiling, but there was a warmth. Lazarus strode forward on the path he was on, and Imas took the fork in the path. —— Lieutenant Lazarus Davis Chief Science Officer & Lieutenant JG Imas Heeka
  5. ((Main Sickbay – USS Constitution-B)) Sometimes he would just stop. He would laugh it off as the creak of his bones, a flare up of an old injury or his favorite: ‘a senior moment.’ Laugh it off and hope that no one saw the thousand-yard stare. The haunted look in the old man’s eyes. He had fought, long and hard, to process the trauma of the Dominion War, and had emerged victorious. The ironic thing was he had to fight a war and then after the war he had to fight another war, but that second one was a battleground within his own mind. For a moment, as he held the kit, he saw a cargobay. A Jem’Hadar firing squad, disruptors aimed at a Captain Kenta and his intel officer MacNa-somethingorother. It wasn’t McNamara, that’s what Cade had always said and somebody always corrected him. It didn’t matter. He was dead. Cade had made sure the correct name was on the coffin. Kenta was a fair Captain, a perfectly decent Captain. Cade didn’t have a strong relationship with him in either way – neither positive nor negative. But Benjamin Kenta was the fiancée of one of his dearest friends Daisy Davidson. Like every relationship from Cade’s past this one was a knotted and tangled web that boiled down to: he needed to see Kenta live through this. Foster: ::With a drop of his tone into a sober darkness.:: Jem’Hadar Triage kit ::he flipped it open and prodded a hidden pocket to reveal a small vial.:: Still has the ‘White even. His hands were already slick with blood trying to close the wounds of two fellow officers rescued from a Dominion prison. One was a friend. A good friend. Someone he didn’t want to admit that he specifically weaseled himself into this recuse mission to save sort of friend. The other was a bright kid a few months out of the Academy. He didn’t want to lose them either. How was he such a good pilot? Some wondered that last mission as he flew the drive section of the Constitution in loops good enough to be counted as a first-year helm officer. Dominion war. He could see MacNa-whatever his name was – his gambit. A suicide maneuver that allowed Captain Kenta a chance to run. When Kenta ducked into the shuttle, Cade already had it warmed up, blood-slicked prints all over the controls. Ohnari: Doctor Foster did you... Two dozen Jem’Hadar troops rolled in seconds after the main hatch of the shuttle closed, and they shouldered their rifles, taking aim at the poorly shielded shuttles’s vital areas. The First calculated that they would have time for at least two, if not three good shots once landing thrusters were fired – and with any luck it should bring the craft and prisoners down before they even got beyond the perimeter alarms. What he didn’t calculate was the near-suicidal gamble of the shrewd Starfleet rescue team and the idiot doctor at the helm to forgo landing thrusters – forgo basic maneuvering thrusters even, and to simply slam the throttle to full thrust. A massive burst of fire erupted behind the tiny ship, which hit the back wall and coiled around, popping the ship through the damaged hangar bay doors like a cork out of a champagne bottle. It spun dizzily forward into the open air before getting its bearings and taking off straight upward like a shooting star in reverse. Behind it, the corpses of twenty-four charred Dominion soldiers stood in salute of a maniac gamble that paid off before they crumbled into ash. It was several more long seconds before those blue eyes returned to the Constitution and present day, 2398. Foster: ::quietly, musing.:: Been a long time since I’ve seen one of these. Ohnari: ::stone faced:: Perhaps not long enough. Never long enough, she had that right. For a moment he looked back at Talia and then the gaze snapped back into focus. He recognized her, in the here and now. Doctor Sweetheart. Conny. Saveron. Rescue Jalana. Always another rescue mission. May there be less blood this time. Foster: We need to sort these by usefulness and function… Was that a specific avoidance of the topic? Yes. He had spent enough time in the past for today. Ohnari: Yes. I believe we can toss that one. oO Into the nearest sun. Oo Foster: I’ll put it in quarantine. He hated to admit that the Dominion had some useful stuff. But was usefulness worth the pain of mental trauma? Probably not. Ohnari: Do you think we could replace the missing or broken pieces without looking too obvious...? ::holding up a few items:: Between these three, I can make about one functional kit...and that's stretching it. He nodded, rocking on his feet and considering. Foster: Yeah with a few modifications we can bulk up these kits. Camouflage our tools to fit in. Good idea. She held up another few pieces and looked at them with disgust. Ohari: I doubt any of the senior staff would appreciate becoming septic if forced to use some of these... He perked a brow at the basic Demerol suture device. It was basic, barbaric. It saved lived in front line triage. Cade was embarrassed how many times he had to use one of those to just stop bleeding. The sutures could be removed later and required some extra fancy cosmetic surgery work to remove the somewhat barbaric scarring. Surgery work he was all too used to. He had used those sutures on the Dominion rescue mission. In the end the only life he couldn’t save was MacNa… MacNab? No. It would come to him. Foster: Demerol’s better than Derma-Plast ::he shrugged.:: Ohnari: ? He started gather up the most useful tools into one pile as well as the medical kit cases. The cases were the most important. Foster: Oh yeah, we’re gonna run this entire batch through not one but two full cycles of class A sterilization protocol. Because you’re right, I don’t want anyone going septic. Ohnari: ? Rocking on his feet, he took out one of the bog-standard Starfleet medical issue hyposprays and placed it into the replicator, adjusting the settings on the control panel until there was a shimmer and the cosmetic casing on the device rippled and changed. He plucked it from the next and tossed it to Ohnari. Foster: There, how does that look now when you put it by the historical torture devices? It was a draft version of the cosmetic alterations they could make to the tools. Pretty good, but not perfect. Ohnari: ? Foster: Sure we can adjust. It’ll be easier if we do this in a batch. What tools do you need for a field med kit? That was, by and large, a personal preference. Cade liked certain tools that other doctors didn’t favor. And yes, he was taking that Demerol suture device. Ohnari: ? Foster: I’ll get this load into the sterilization chamber. You gather the real tools we need to cosmetically alter. We’ll gather back with the steri-chamber gives me the all clear. Clear. Something clicked. ‘Not MacNamara like Marinara, MacNameer like all clear.’ James MacNameer. Died, 237403.09 He had gotten the name right on the coffin. He hoped that there wouldn’t be a repeat. Ohnari: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Lt Commander Cade Foster Mission Specialist USS Constitution-B
  6. ((Junior Officer’s Quarters – USS Constitution-B)) The atmosphere was warm, dry and lit dimly by the ambient lights that cycled on the power saving mode of a ship deep within its own internal repair cycle. And like the ship that sheltered them from the black and cold of the vacuum of space, so many of its passengers were broken and battered either in body, mind or spirit – sometimes all three – and cycling down to rest, relax and desperately repair. A thin haze of incense wafted through the room, a soft scent of musk and sand. It reminded him of his home world – one of them. Like the high arid plains of Vulcan. The solo figure knelt in the center of the room, a few thin regeneration patches for some low-grade electrical burns were the only badges of injury he visibly bore on his thin form. Some might say he had been lucky. He might agree. And yet his mind still pounded with a continual cycle of pain. Sometimes sharp and stabbing, more often dull and throbbing. Like waves crashing on the shore there was an ebb and flow, eased by sleep and hydration to a point, but always creeping back up in short order. Doctors assured him the mild head trauma would heal. There was always a trackable amount of cranial swelling and blood vessel changes that caused temporary pain. They offered analgesics. He had accepted, but was careful to take them, wanting to settle some of his rampant thoughts before he muted himself too much with drugs or sedatives. Taking a deep breath in, he was still. Trying to feel the weight of his body, concentrate on where his body was in contact with the deck and where his hands rested on his legs. Still. Breathe. ~Disconnect from your thoughts.~ He tried to pull back, allow his thoughts to move freely across his mental landscape and sit as an observer. This was a technique that had given him clarity in the past, allowing him to objectively visualize his emotions and understand what caused them and how to understand them more. ~Stay back and observe~ His breath hitched in his throat as he felt his consciousness sinking into a vast black pit. It was not the calm disconnect from his thoughts and emotions that he usually was able to achieve with time and effort, but a violent jerk backwards as if black tentacles were reaching out from an inky depth to pull him under. He felt like he was drowning. He could feel his heartrate spike and his face grew hot. His airway constricted to make each breath labored as he tried to draw it through his swollen throat and his mind twisted that into the feeling of sucking in tar. Pitching forward from his meditative position, he started coughing, but no water drained from his mouth. One hand formed a claw around his chest, digging in as the coughing fit rose in intensity until finally it reached a hoarse guttering rasp. Tears drained from his eyes and a ghost echoed through his brain. Her laugh. Her damnable laugh. It wasn’t stuck like a thorn in his psyche anymore, just a haunting memory. If he lingered too long on it, he could visualize himself falling down that well of interminable stairs, with her laughing at the top. Falling, always falling. Falling into a void where his calm should be. Placing both hands on the floor, he pitched forward in a tabletop position and tried to concentrate. To stop the floor from spinning underneath him. A wave of vertigo and nausea ran through his body as the room twisted giddily, and no amount of carefully controlled breathing exercises stopped it. A small whine escaped his lips and he slowly sank to one side and hugged his knees to his chest waiting for it to pass. ~why?~ He was trying to find center. To seek calm and see things objectively. To do things the Vulcan way, the way his grandfather had lectured on, the way that would make him controlled and logical. But all he wanted to do was sob like a stupid Human baby. Scream and yell and let the tears flow freely while swimming in a tidal wave of emotions that he could barely process. He wanted for someone to tell him it would be OK. Not now, not soon, but eventually. That with time it would ebb and recede and maybe, he would start to understand and grow stronger. He compromised. Tears wet his knees as he struggled to control his breathing and strive for control. A little bit of both. Just enough to stave away the panic, not enough to feel a full release of the building pressure of emotion that he couldn’t process in his usual ways. He was used to coming back to his quarters, expressing emotion, meditating, finding center and objectively gaining understanding. He had gotten much better at processing emotions in this way during his academy years, going from a deeply introverted, highly emotional first year cadet to a fairly stable, respected, friendly fourth year cadet known for his ability to work well with others. Each meditation was a step upwards and forwards, a chance to gain a better understanding of emotions and how to balance them with logic. But now everything was thrown out of balance. He had more emotions to process than he could possibly comprehend, and his tried and true methods of processing them weren’t working. Clearly not working from the fact that he was balled up on the floor of his quarters. Breathe… Breathe… Breathe. Slowly the room slowed and came to a stop. His head still hurt, but the feeling of sucking tar into his lungs was gone. He kept his eyes closed as he pushed himself back to his knees and pressed the palms of his hands into the sockets of his eyes, digging his thumbs into the pressure points at his temples until the pain faded. Ironically it was in these recovery periods where he felt the most grounded, focusing solely on stillness and breath, after the emotional wave was spent. Maybe he should take the medications? He wavered on that. He had to eat first. Eating sounded disgusting after the room-spinning nausea. Maybe he should drink something. That he might be able to handle. Slowly, getting equilibrium under him, he took tentative steps to the replicator and ended up with a warm mug of mellow, unsweet tea. Breathe. Drink. The doorchime rang and he straightened as if prodded with one of those electrical rods at full power, mug slipping from his hands. A deep olive shade of shame colored his cheeks as he dropped to his knees to pick up the pieces. So’Mior: Enter…? Saveron: ? He looked up, his dark eyes fixed on the doorway. The scent of meditation incense still lingered in the air, the rug was covered with the familiar slightly bitter scent of Mika, a traditional calming tea. Everything else was perfectly in its place, save the occupant. A rumpled uniform and bedraggled hair bespoke little sleep and too much movement for comfort. An unsettled mind. His eyes fixed on the older Vulcan and his jaw tightened against a new wave of emotion. Was he relieved? Embarrassed? Both? All at the same time he wanted the support and succor of someone to help guide him through this and yet was ashamed of his own state at the moment. He opted for soft politeness that was offset by his rather precarious position in gathering up the pieces of the teacup. So’Mior: Commander, greetings. Please, come in. Sit? His fingers fumbled for the last piece of shattered mug, rolling it along the wet rug instead of picking it up gracefully. And, like his scattered thoughts he finally captured it and got it with the others to take to the recycler. Saveron: ? So’Mior: I was startled. ::He stated it as honestly as possible. Not ‘you startled me’ – there was no reason to find anger nor fault in a doorchime. No, the fault – and the fault lines – were drawn within him.:: It will mend. He placed the pieces in the recycler and watched them fade into raw materials. Saveron: ? Slowly he turned towards the first officer, his expression was lost and searching. So’Mior: I… I don’t know. Saveron: ? Finally he moved himself from his lean by the recycler to a chair, which he sank down into with a steady exhausted bonelessness. So’Mior: I can’t… I can’t process it. I can’t find calm. I try and I feel like I’m drowning. If the hoarse tone to his voice said anything, feel like might be eerily accurate. Saveron: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ pNPC Ensign So’Mior Science Officer USS Constitution-B
  7. (( Office of the Chief Science Officer )) Forms, reports, explanations, extrapolations, reviews, redactions, signatures, assignments… on and on it went. He had much to account for, and almost as much to atone for. Alone in his office, at some point the lights got turned down and set to a warmer color temperature, almost mimicking the ambience of a candle-lit room. As per usual, music was playing in the background as he worked; but he was unable to find something suiting for all that he was feeling and thinking. Listless, ambient music invited his mind to wander too much. Orchestral music was too predictable and dull. He needed to find that sweet pot: interesting enough to partially engage with, to keep his mind from wandering too far, but not too interesting as to rob his attention. In time, he found his way to a late 20th century band, Talking Heads. They were a long-standing favorite, at least as far as old Earth music went. Like most art from long ago, it’s hard to appreciate it in the context of the present, because it is a product of its time and place; neither of which Lazarus shared with the band. Familiar enough, without being too gripping. Quaint, even. "And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack And you may find yourself in another part of the world And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?” (( OOC: link is to the Talking Heads - Once In a Lifetime music video )) That last line caught Lazarus off guard. Something he didn’t quite understand about himself is how a song or a lyric could sometimes feel as if someone had just slipped a knife between his ribs and began to twist. He gasped for air as his throat choked up, and tears welled in his eyes. oO How *did* you get here? Oo There was the story he told himself, a dry narrative of recounted dates and places. It wasn’t inaccurate, but it felt somehow incomplete. He was just some guy from Earth, and now he’s been given the power of life and death? He’s living in luxury on a starship; married to a punk alien woman; galavanting across the sector. Why *him*? Why here? What did he do to deserve this? How and why was he given this life? "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” He was here because this is where the currents swept him. Sometimes the waters pushed him places against his will, other times he studied the currents before diving in. In either case, the result is the same: he was ultimately powerless in all of this. If not him, then someone else. If he hadn’t lead that away team, someone else would have. The pirates killed Mar[...]o, not him. And the pirates tried to kill or enslave everyone on the Constitution. Was it not his obligation to be willing to kill to protect his peers, and the families on board, from such a fate? A credible threat was made, so what was he not only justified in responding with lethal force, but required to? At that point, it seemed clear that the pirates were not interested in negotiation. Them or us, simple as that. They may try to pin a medal on him for it, too. "And you may ask yourself, "What is that beautiful house?" And you may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?" And you may ask yourself, "Am I right? Am I wrong?" And you may say to yourself, "My god! What have I done?” The PADD in his hand–“his” PADD–flexed under the pressure of his grip as the tears began to peek out from under his eyelids. Circumstance, morals, and ethics didn’t mean a damned thing. Not one damned thing! People died. And those people had friends and families; hopes and dreams. They were maligned, but that’s the nature of existence it seems: to be wrong, and to learn to be better. He had deprived 12 people that opportunity. Davis: :: choked with grief :: Computer, lock the door. "Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again, into the silent water Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by, water flowing underground Into the blue again after the money's gone Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground” As the song reached its climax, Lazarus felt rage boil within him, seated behind his desk. “His” PADD creaked under the stress of his hands wrenching it around, and one of the access panels on its back popped off, not able to flex with the twisting force he was unwittingly applying to the body and he cried and shouted profanities in the soundproofed room. Mercifully, the song receded into an epilogue. "Here a twister comes, here comes the twister Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Once in a lifetime, let the water hold me down Letting the days go by” And he caught himself between the gasping breaths to slow down and inhale deeply. Release the grip on the PADD. Exhale. Set it down. Inhale. Open your eyes. Exhale. In a few moments, he had re-grounded himself. At his feet, the unyielding access panel on the ground. The PADD was flexible, and capable of handling great stress without breaking. The access panel, however, was too rigid. When the PADD flexed and contorted too much, it broke away. There’s no stopping the currents. We can only hope to ride them well, and be flexible. Otherwise we break when contorted, and fall away from the whole. Same as it ever was. Regaining his composure, Lazarus raked his hands through his curls and leaned back in the chair to stare at the ceiling for a moment, before looking back down at his desk at all the PADDs and forms and processes he still had to do. Same as it ever was. —— Lieutenant Lazarus Davis Chief Science Officer USS Constitution-B Podcast Team Facilitator IDIC team member ASDB team member C239510LD0 (he/him, character) (he/they, writer)
  8. I really liked the way this one flowed and the emotion was shown. I had to share. (( Captain's Office - Constitution )) Finally. Finally the Constitution was back on their way home. Not without a lot of help of the Galactic Starship Service though, but they were on their way home. While the teams had been in the mines, the Stardrive section had caught up to the Saucer and reunited, so when the shuttles returned from the surface the whole ship, sans warp nacelle and plus a couple of holes, had waited for them. The 'tow' service members had been muttering and ranting about the state of the ship, but they had gone straight to work. Jalana stood at the window looking outside to a tiny dot in the distance that was slowly getting closer and between that dot and her was a Cardiff Class Starship connected via a tractor beam pulling them forward at higher speed then the Conny was able to. Jalana's green eyes landed on the back of that ship, the circular rear warp-drive glowing in a bright blue between the nacelles that for almost any other ship would be the location of the warp drive but not in this ship. It made for an interesting aesthetic. Rajel: Captain's log supplemental - Stardate 239806.13 - We have left Osteris II and the Shahar Nebula behind and are on our way back to Starbase 104, in tow of the GSS. Once we arrive repairs will have to be made and who knows how long they will take. Replacing the lost warp nacelle and reparing the holes in our hull alone would take some time, that does not include the interior damage and the time the crew will need to recover from these events. With combined efforts we were able to retrieve the away team, injured but alive and the surviving miners who are being brought to the Starbase for testimonials. I hope that they will be able to visit their families or spend time away from all this afterwards. My report to HQ will include the recommendation to send a survey team to the mine and reevaluate how it is operated and protected before sending anyone back there. Jalana took a deep breath and then continued. Rajel: We are not yet aware if this particular group of pirates belong to a bigger cell or not, but their leader Elder fled the scene back into - what we assume - Orion space. I have the feeling this may not be the last time we saw him. We were able to capture sixteen pirates alive, who of course are not the most talkative. They will be handed over to the authorities back on the base. Another dozen or two were killed in the mines. It is difficult to know exactly as some had to be disintegrated to stop their attacks. We retrieved two bodies of pirates that appeared to be on a drug that would raise their aggression and immunity to be shot. They are examined in the morgue for traces of the substance. The rest of their remains will be taken care of by sweepers HQ will send. Once more she paused and looked down to her hands. She ran her fingertips over the porcelain starship in her hand. When she had entered the office after returning to the ship she had been relieved that it was still in one piece but ironically it had a little crack along the same pylon that had been damaged on the ship. She could feel it even though the nacelle held on tight. Rajel: We also suffered major losses. Firstly among the miners. We recovered too many bodies for identification and allow their families their proper last rites. Among our officers we lost several officers. Salvador Marcinko, Zilan, Sh'tran, Han Soo Mi, Q'Ren, Syanir Kol and Vok lost their lives in the line of duty during a rescue mission in the mines of Osteris II, fighting off pirates of the Orion Syndicate. Another seven lives were lost during the battle between the Constitution and the Theseus and Minotaur. S'Ral, Horm, Paden Runa, Kylie Williams, Chus'it Haihnan, Scrol Ar'el and Dhelvad. A memorial hall for the lost Crew members and miners is being set up in Holodeck 4 for those who wish to pay their respects and say their farewells. Shipwide announcements have been sent out. Luckily most that were injured had been able to recover or were still on the way. It could have been worse, a lot worse. But despite the comparably low number of death crew members every single name pained her. The knowledge that they hadn't been able to avoid fatalities. With each mention the weight on her shoulders felt heavier. Rajel: Both Sick Bays have been working around the clock and are treating the injured crew members and miners. Counseling works with them to address the trauma for those that want to deal with it at this time. Sarah Mason, T'Mar and Sawyer Moore are still unconscious and will be transferred to the Medical ward on Starbase 104. Nugra has been considerably injured by an explosive. Surgeries were a success to stabilize him but he will need a few weeks to recover. Though he is conscious by now his optical nerve has been severely damaged and is being treated. She really didn't like this, not one bit. Nothing of this felt right. But this was life in Starfleet. Often they were lucky and then there were missions that just went belly up. She would have to update Sal as well, after all they were Syndicate and without his knowledge in her head, things could have gone so much worse. That split moment warning they had before the attack had been enough to raise the shields and be prepared. Without that the ship would have been hit directly from the start. But that she had his knowledge was not something she could put into a public accessible Captain's log. Not even in a personal one with a passcode. The danger of someone finding it was too big. Rajel: We will arrive at Starbase 104 in about an hour, where repairs on the ship will be taken over by Station personnel in tandem with those of the crew that wish to stay and work with them. Other than that the crew will have a well deserved and desperately needed shore leave and are free to remain on the station or visit home, go on vacation ... anything they need right now. She thought about it for a moment. Was there anything else she needed to record. Maybe... but she couldn't think of it. Her head pounded and she still needed to head to Sick bay herself. That cracked rip had been silent thanks to a hypospray because others had been more important to be taken care of, but she worried about falling back into old habits. She could not let that happen. So she shook her head. Rajel: End Captain's log. The computer chirped and she stepped away from the window before she carefully placed the slightly cracked starship back on the shelf, which immediately turned invisible as the tractor beam from the model Starbase 118 turned on to hold the ship up. She would have to get this crack fixed before it got worse. Was she still talking about the model ship? ----- Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0
  9. ((OOC: This JP with Noelle has been in google drive for a LONG time. So it is finally time to post it )) (( Quarters D'Sena )) The announcement about the Vacation planet had been ship wide, so Akeelah had heard it too. She couldn't imagine that the planet was suitable for her visit in the wheelchair and she was not yet stable on her legs. But what had really occupied her mind since then was the invitation towards families. Her own family was too busy to get all the way out here and the only family that she wanted to see even more was across the galaxy on Starbase 118. She sat behind her desk, the small box in her hand open, displaying a Jade ring she had not yet sent back to Jack. It had been surprisingly had for her to do so because it felt like she had a piece of him here. Her mind went back to several months ago when he had sent it to her. (( Flashback - about a year ago )) ((Starbase -118)) There’s a lot of work that goes into planning a wedding. Seriously - like a lot. And with so much distance it’s astronomical. At least for most people. However this was Jack Gard and Akeelah D’Sena we’re talking about. There were things to decide, however, both big and small. Decision of big and little consequence. First and foremost, the ring… something not so easy. Jack had gone to various little shops looking for just the right ring. Something that said… Something that was ‘Akeelah’. Which seemed harder then he had originally thought. They were too small, too flashy, too… everything. Anything. Nothing was right. Computer replicas, by the thousands, took to long to sift through causing him to abandon such endeavors. It was bordering on frustrating. Why couldn’t he find what he wanted? It wasn’t until he received a little package in the mail. In a hand made box with ornate oriental patterns all about it. It was small and could have easily gotten lost, and yet many took care to bring it to his personal quarters, hand delivered. He sat quietly, simply looking at the box. Jack knew who it was from, the only people in his life who would send such a box. What he didn’t know was what was inside it. He took a sharp breath in, held it for a long moment while his hands reached out. One on the lid the other hold still the rest. Like a bandaid, he opened it swiftly. There was cotton-like material stuffed inside. He curiously pulled out the stuffing, a small clater fell on his table top. His heart nearly skipped a beat, as his eyes fell upon the small jade rings laying tied together. Those were the wedding bands that belonged to Tabby’s grandparents, before they renewed their vows and gave each other two new rings. These were old pieces of jewelry, handed down to each generation. It had been discussed that Jack and Jessica were to get them. But he had been stubborn, insisting on something new, bright and dazzling. Believe it or not, but he had been a bit foolish in his younger years from time to time. He swallowed hard, picking them up and holding them in the palm of his hand. They felt… heavy. This was not only approval of the marriage, but also an unspoken question to carry on their tradition, to keep their part of the family apart of his… apart of Tabby’s. He squeezed them tightly as his chest clenched too. It had been a long time since he thought of his passed wife. Was it selfish? Foolish of him to let his mind wonder to her, knowing he was working getting to ready to marry another… he hoped she would be happy for him, that he’d finally moved on and found such happiness and joy. He would send them to Akeelah, seeking her approval. There was no way for him know if she would see the honor or the taboo in keeping the rings. He wrote her a long letter, talking of all sorts of things; his had, how Tabitha was doing, and school. He asked her of her day and her health. And at the very end, before signing off, he asked her about the rings. . ((USS Constitution, Marchlands, Akeelah D’Sena’s personal quarters - a little while later)) It had been a busy day full of work and rehab. Akeelah had finally returned to her quarters. She had gotten used to gauging the distance between the wheels of her chair and the doorframes or the furniture. Such a long time in this thing would do that. As always her first way was to the desk in the corner, where she pressed a button to activate a small holoimage that flickered into existence. The piercing warm eyes of Jack looked right at her, beneath him the sparkling bright eyes of his daughter Tabby. Akeelah smiled gently, running her fingers through the apparition, tickling over her skin as they went right through it. Computer: One message waiting. The reminder of the computer, which had noticed she was around, pulled her out of her melancholy. She missed both of them. D’Sena: Play message. Computer: One delivery for Akeelah D’Sena has been placed on the table. She pulled her brows together and turned her head, noticing the small package on the table top. While she wasn’t a big fan of strangers entering her quarters without her being here, she appreciated that the delivery had not been delayed or taken back to the service offices. Placing her hands on the the wheels of her chair she moved to the table and picked up the small package. Opening it she found a letter first and a smile played around her lips as she recognized Jack’s handwriting on the paper. It was as if she could hear his voice, telling her about his day, all the things that he and Tabby did. Her cheeks flushed at some parts that went into a lot of detail about how much he missed her. She couldn’t pretend that she didn’t feel the same way. As the letter prompted her to open the package inside, she pulled it out and opened the box, revealing two circular objects made of a green shiny stone. She pulled one of them out and noticed that they were heavier than expected, the light from the ceiling reflected on the smooth surface. D’Sena: ::mumbling:: Beautiful… but what is it? She went back to read the letter and her brows raised when she read the explanation Jack had included. Her eyes went back to the rings, forehead furrowed in confusion. D’Sena: Computer, what is the meaning of wedding rings? Computer: In various cultures a wedding ring or wedding band is a finger ring that indicates that its wearer is married. It can be manufactured from various materials. Depending on culture, a wedding ring is typically worn on the base of the left or right ring finger. Many spouses wear their wedding rings day and night, causing an indentation in the skin that is visible even when the ring is removed. Certain cultures consider it unlucky to remove a wedding ring once it has been placed - D’Sena: Stop. ::She watched the ring curiously.:: Why is it important? Computer: Due to their design wedding rings are seen as a symbol of eternal love and has been an emblem of love through time, a symbol of devotion and an agreement between two parties to love and cherish one another. D’Sena: Huh… It was the first time she actually had heard about wedding rings. The time off her own home planet had been limited to the Academy, the Apollo and the Constitution. She was aware of married couples, but hadn’t known that they wore something to show their unity. Since Rodulans didn’t marry this was all new to her. She still held the ring between her fingers and in the spur of the moment pushed it on her left ring finger. Raising her hand, she looked at the contrast between the jade green and the dark skin. The heavy material did its own to make her realize that something was on her finger. She could imagine it to be a constant reminder of her bond with Jack. Was this why people wore these? She couldn’t help but smile. D’Sena: Computer, establish connection to Lieutenant Jack Gard, Starbase 118. The computer beeped in compliance and the screen popped into a rotating Starfleet logo. Since it had to go through all kinds of relays she knew there would be a delay but she didn’t mind those few seconds of waiting between answers. Gard: ::somewhat concerned:: Akeelah? ::he scanned her face. He hadn’t expected to hear from her.:: Is everything alright? D’Sena: What? Can’t I call my fiancée out of the blue? His features softened, giving her one of his ‘just for you’ smiles. It was nice - more than nice really. Gard: Fiancée? ::he teased her lightly.:: D’Sena: I looked up the term. I used it right, didn’t I? ::She was worried to have learned the wrong term for a moment.:: Gard: ::a single nod.:: Yes, you did. ::he assured her.:: D’Sena: Good. ::Relief washed through her:: I got your package. Ah, so that was the reason for the call. They were from two different worlds - meaning there were differences and one could make the other uncomfortable if they were cautious. Gard: And? ::he asked.:: D’Sena: Did you buy them? Gard: No, ::he sighed slightly.:: Tabby’s grandparents gave them to me. D’Sena: Your parents? Gard: No… ::he repeated.:: Her mother’s parents. ::hesitantly.:: Akeelah tilted her head ever so slightly, a gesture that anyone but Jack wouldn’t even have noticed. D’Sena: Are these the rings you and your late wife wore? There was no judgement or anger in the words, just sheer curiosity. Gard: No, we didn’t take them at the time. ::curiously.:: does it fit? She looked down to her hand, the ring embracing her finger was out of camera view. With a material like that changing the size would have been hard, and how big was the chance of it actually fitting like that? It was like it was made for her. She raised her eyes again and then her hand followed, showing him the jade ring on her finger in a beautiful contrast to her dark skin. D’Sena: It fits perfectly. Gard: ::better question.:: Are they acceptable? The gaze of her pitch black eyes softened, something only noticeable when one had spend a lot of time looking into Rodulan eyes. She knew he tried hard. Since her people didn’t marry they both didn’t have a script to go by. There was no example on how to deal with these two cultures and traditions entering this kind of situation. All they had was their love and their compromises to make this special for both of them. D’Sena: They are beautiful. He was relieved. Part of it because he couldn’t seem to find anything he liked better and partly because of what it meant to Tabby’s grandparents. Jack offered a soft smile in return. He wished he could see her in person, how he missed her. There was a Terran saying that fit this feeling: distance made the heart grow fonder. He must have gotten lost in thought as she spoke up again. Her voice low with a hint of the emotion that bubbled just beneath her surface. If he hadn’t known her so well, he might have noticed. D’Sena: ::Lowering her hand again:: I will return the box to you, to keep them until we need them. Gard: Is there anything you’d like - something specific from your world or beliefs in regards to the wedding? They hadn’t had much chance to talk about such things in details. So it was a lot of guess-work and trying to find a happy balance. While he’d gone through the process once before, Akeelah was a different woman and her needs were vastly different from his first wife. Something he appreciated. D’Sena: My people do not have traditions or rituals like weddings. ::She thought:: But we have a bonding ceremony. Since I honour your traditions, maybe we can implement some of mine. Gard: Absolutely. ::as if she really needed to ask.:: I just need to know what. Akeelah began to speak of her own traditions and Jack listened to her description of something she wished to bring into their wedding. It would be a mixture of Terran and Rodulan and them. Which seemed more than fitting. He smiled softly as she explained yet another facet of her people’s culture. Gard: I think that will fit nicely. D’Sena: I am glad. He gave a long pause, studying her face. Memorizing her features. It would be some time still till he could be close to her. Before he could hold her again. Distance was a terrible thing in reality. D’Sena: I wonder where your thoughts are. If he had been here, she would know. But this was how things were right now. He had duty to uphold far away. Gard: Hmmm? ::He was pulled from his inner thoughts.:: I’m sorry - I was just thinking about … how much I wish there wasn’t so much distance between us. ::he admitted.:: D’Sena: ::A more open smile, she placed her hand on the screen.:: I wish the same. I can't wait to see you again in person. ((/Flashback )) She took a deep breath and brushed her fingertips over the smooth surface of the ring. She missed him so much it was painful. But it would be worth it in the end. If the time apart had shown her one thing it was that her heart didn't easily change. Maybe someday soon she could tell him in person. ---- Lieutenant Jack Gard Engineer simmed by Lieutenant Commander Nijil Executive Officer Starbase 118 Ops USS Narendra A239202RH0 & LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena Security Officer - Momentarily off duty simmed by Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Co-Facilitator A238906JL0
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