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  1. What a great way to start our new quotes thread That's meant to be a Fonzie noise in the title, FYI
  2. Another great one from @Karrod Niac. Love some wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey-stuff. ((Shuttlebay, USS Oriskany)) Karrod had become completely overwhelmed in a way he'd never experienced before. Niac was in turmoil, personalities trying to assert or restrain one another and Horvu, who had already experienced these events once, nearly catatonic with shock. Every ounce of sympathy Karrod had ever felt for Horvu's premature death had been magnified tenfold by the frantic emotional maelstrom inside of him. He was irrational, in pain from what the lucid part of his brain diagnosed as a broken nose and frantic with a need to prevent something that had happened nearly thirty years ago. He made it a few steps towards the shuttlebays exit before strong hands closed around one of his arms. He whipped around like a trapped animal only to be confronted by the deadly serious expression of Addison MacKenzie. A slap he didn't see coming seared the side of his face with stinging pain. MacKenzie: Commander, you will focus right this instant. If you walk out there, no doubt you’re going to find your previous host and I’m sure try to prevent their death. You know I can’t let you do that, even if CloQ is behind all this. Karrod could barely think. It was like his consciousness was in a room full of screaming people and he had to shout to be heard over the din. He fought for psychological and emotional control. Niac: I can't just...it's going to happen again...and he'll be all alone at the end...scared and alone. I can remember every agonizing second of it...I'm having a hard time not reliving it... Karrod was still straining to run but he'd regained enough self-control to stop and begin reassembling himself. Not for the first time he wished he'd paid more attention to the Symbiosis Commission's instructions on mental discipline. Controlling the torrent of images and emotions from Niac was requiring the whole of his concentration and it was making him shake with effort. Dakora: You know she's right. ::Beat.:: I understand what you're going through, believe me. But there's no telling what happens if we start changing things like that. The ship rocked underfoot and Karrod nearly toppled over. Where conscious effort failed, years of Starfleet training and combat experience forced their way to the surface. He blinked and was finally able to focus on the here and now. Niac's wailing went down in volume and Karrod felt somewhat himself again. MacKenzie: What’s happening to the ship? I don’t know anything about the Oriskany… Karrod thought about it as much as he dared to. He'd read the after action report and the details in Horvu's file but probing those memories was a dangerous proposition. Niac: The Mighty O...uh...the Oriskany was part of a task force, patrolling the edges of the combat zone between the Klingons and the Cardassians. We didn't know it yet but the Cardassian's just signed a treaty with the Dominion and they're out there right now, destroying anything and everything they feel is in violation of their territory. Ship didn't stand a chance, over 90% of the task force was wiped out before the end of the day. Even as he delivered the bad news he could feel his own emotional control returning but Horvu was almost completely silent in his mind. It was alarming, like a piece of yourself suddenly hiding away from you. Dakora: Yeah, that's not the best news I've heard... To her credit, Addison took in this particular heap of cataclysmic news with little more than an exaggerated sigh. MacKenzie: So, what do we do? Try to get off the ship and risk getting captured by the Cardassians? I’ve pretty much met my tolerance for encounters with Dominion forces today… Dakora: More than one doomed historical battle per 24-hour period is really kind of overkill, I'd say. Karrod looked from one to the other and felt a small, bitter laugh escape his throat. Niac: Ha...yeah. Cloq is already getting lazy. Next thing you know he'll be doing a clipshow of his greatest hits. With a whoosh the cargo bay doors opened and a security team in a full combat kit poured in, forming a perimeter around them with phasers at the ready. They seemed simultaneously relieved that they hadn't been boarded by Dominion forces and confused by the yellow cab debris littering the flight deck and the oddly dressed people before them. Security Officer: Hands where I can see them. Dakora: Sure. No problem. ::He tried on a re-assuring smile.:: We're all friends here. Karrod felt the name on his lips before the thought entered his brain. This woman had welcomed Horvu aboard ship a few hours earlier. Niac: Lieutenant Jece? Jece Ciria? MacKenzie: Response The apparent team leader, a female Bajoran, took a step toward them. She eyed the strange trio and the vessel they'd arrived in before she spoke. Security Officer: I'd like to know what possessed you to illegally board this ship in the middle of a battle? Dakora: Um... well...You see.... Karrod took a slow step forward with his hands still raised. He didn't want to look like a threat but he also had what he hoped was something to contribute. Niac: Lieutenant Jece, I'm Commander Karrod...Morrahn. You probably don't remember but we met briefly the last time you took shoreleave on...::Karrod fumbled for the memory of thirty year old small talk::...Pacifica. My team and I were just landing our shuttle when all hell broke loose. You can contact my commanding officer Rear Admiral Shevchenko on the USS Tarsk if you need to confirm it. ::Karrod decided to play dumb. It wasn't difficult.:: What the hell is going on out there, Lieutenant? Why is the ship at alert? Dakora/MacKenzie: Response Jece: How can you not...we're under attack! The whole task force is falling back, we're getting hammered by the Cardassians and their new allies. We thought you were a boarding party! Karrod acted suitably shocked as the deck shuddered underfoot. Niac: We're just as confused as you are, Lieutenant, but from the sound of things there are other places we both need to be. Dakora/MacKenzie: Response The security officer looked at them with deep skepticism but the competing priorities of a ship in combat and no apparent threat before her forced her to make a snap decision. Karrod hoped it wouldn't be 'stun them all and sort it out later.' Instead, she holstered her phaser and gestured towards the door. Jece: Well, you're here now. If we're still alive in ten minutes we'll check your story out with the Admiral. For now join a damage control team, we could use the help. Niac: Understood Lieutenant, will do. I promise we'll do whatever we can to help. The ship rocked violently and they were all thrown to the deck as the inertial dampeners struggled to keep up. Karrod knew the ship was running out of time. Lt. Jece helped him to his feet and the group of them struggled into the hallway as the few still functioning red alert klaxons were replaced with deep blue. The harried voice of the ships first officer came over the comm. McKentok: Attention All Hands, Abandon ship, abandon ship. Drop what you're doing and get to an escape pod. This is not a drill. All hands, Abandon Ship Immed.... The commline went dead as everyone looked at each other in shock. Lt. Jece was the first to begin moving. Jece: This way! Nearest escape pods are one deck down, there's an access ladder this way. Move it people, move it! Dakora/MacKenzie: Response Karrod stumbled forward, half conscious and half trapped in a nightmare he couldn't wake up from. The ship was groaning, the sounds of tortured metal and weapon strikes combined with the stampede of evacuating personnel heading for dubious salvation. Karrod, Addison and Talos hit the bottom of the ladder and began jogging after the security team but Karrod slowed. He recognized this corridor and the nightmare became real. Just ahead, partially trapped under a fallen bulkhead and visibly mangled...was Horvu's body. He felt a strange sense of disassociation as he haltingly walked forward. Niac: They just...left him. Left him all alone. Dakora/MacKenzie: Response Niac: We have to get him to the escape pod...Horvu's...he's already dead...but Niac survives. I never knew...I never knew how he escaped the ship. I think...I think we have to help him....me.... Dakora/MacKenzie: Response Tag, and TBC! =============================== Commander Karrod Niac Chief of Operations USS Excalibur - NCC-41903-A Commodore Kali Nicholotti, Commanding V239509GT0
  3. This was just the morning read I needed to jump start my day. Thank you @Yalu
  4. This sim was out a few days ago, RL had caught me a bit so that is why I am only now posting it. I think you all know that I appreciate sims not just for their quality, or story. In this case I think @Sleepy Tiberius deserves an appreciation. Considering how new the Excalibur Nurse is to writing with us, I am enjoying the growth of both character and writer, and I think that is something that should be displayed in public. Great work Tib, I loved it.
  5. (( Dakora Family Home, Medara, Betazed – 2374 )) By the temporal machinations of what was apparently a member of the Q Continuum, Talos had come to find himself sitting in the basement of his family home with two of his Excal crewmates and his mother. Somewhere between their slog through the fouled drainage pipes and arriving at Leera Dakora's door, they'd managed to hit a tourist-focused souvenir shop. This was why he'd come to find himself in cargo shorts and a Hawaiian print shirt, instead of the 2370's era Starfleet uniform that would've drawn unwanted attention. T.Dakora: ::Swallowing.:: Holy strokes these are good. Thank you. The beachwear only added to the oddity of the situation when his mother had brought them a tray of shrimp-like oscoid and crab cakes. If it wasn't for the whole stuck-in-the-wrong-time-in-the-middle-of-a-warzone thing, the experience might've been a bit more pleasant. Niac: Thank you, ma'am. It's delicious. Have you heard any news in the last few hours? Seen anyone else on the streets? The last stand of the BSDF and the volunteers would be ending soon, if it hadn't already and the Dominion forces would start to pour into the city proper in the coming hours. He knew, because he remembered it. A few meters above them, the 8 year old version of him was peeking out the second story window waiting to see what happened. MacKenzie: I can’t imagine the resistance is fairing particularly well… Talos winced a little, risking a glance towards his mother. It was easy to be blasé about it from a historical context, but Leera's entire world was turning upside down. War had come to her doorstep and tomorrow wasn't guaranteed. Leera's expression hardened, almost imperceptibly, but Talos could feel the tangle of emotions within her. L.Dakora: We don't have a standing army. ::Her words grew an edge.:: We depend on Starfleet to protect us, which in hindsight, may have been a mistake. ::She sighed.:: But you're correct, the public nets were reporting Dominion Forces breaking through the defensive lines just before they went down. In Talos' memories, she had always seemed so formidable, always with a plan; the warm unrelenting shelter from all that raged against them in the outside world. Here and now, he wondered how the petite woman who had never, to his knowledge, raised her fist in anger had gone on to play a significant role in the coming insurgency. She seemed to become aware that he was studying her and he quickly tried to shift the attention away from it. T. Dakora: We appreciate your hospitality. ::He bowed his head a little.:: We were just discussing our next move. We don't want our presence to put you or your family at risk. It was an oddly self-serving statement, but he meant it. Niac: Thank you, ma'am. Is there any chance you have access to a watercraft? Yacht? Hydroplane? Hell, I'd take a canoe and a bent oar at this point. They didn't. Not that Talos knew, but he turned to his mother for a response anyway. L.Dakora: I'm afraid I don't, bu- ::She paused, seemingly remembering something.:: Actually, I have something that may help... Niac: We hate to impose on you further but there's a small chance some of our friends are...on the other side of the bay. If we can get to them we might be able to figure out a way...back to our ship. Hopefully. She crossed the room to a box of miscellaneous items that he was pretty sure was the last of his father's possessions that he'd yet to retrieve following their separation. She pulled out a small access chit on a lanyard and handed it to Talos. L.Dakora: My ex-husband used to pay for a membership to the yacht club for the "diplomatic connections". He never had a boat, but perhaps it will grant you access? Talos placed the lanyard around his neck, examining the the chit bearing the names "Vostro Dakora" and "Medara Yacht Club" emblazoned on it. T.Dakora Thank you. ::He smiled warmly.:: I'm sure this will help. MacKenzie: ::bowing slightly:: We are in your debt. Let’s go. As MacKenzie and Niac made their way up the stairs, Talos held back for just a moment. T.Dakora: Give me a sec, I'll be right behind you. There was every chance that he'd never see his mother again and even if she only knew him as a random Starfleet Officer, he wanted to say some kind of goodbye. Niac and MacKenzie made there way up the stairs and he turned to face Leera Dakora one last time. T.Dakora: Again, Thank you for opening your home to us. We truly had nowhere else to go. Her smile returned, the slightest hint of sadness tinting it, just a little. L.Dakora: It was the right thing to do. ::She stood a little straighter.:: Clearly the universe needs people who are willing to do the right thing, even if it's hard. Talos felt warmth spreading around his eyes as he struggled to maintain his composure while simultaneously doing what he could to mask his emotions. He caught the hint of motion out of the corner of his eye and turned to see himself, but smaller peeking down the stairs at him. T.Dakora(33yo): Holy Strokes! You got the drop on me, little man. The younger version of himself scrunched up his face in confusion and slowly stepped out from around the corner. T.Dakora(8yo): Holy... Strokes? What does that mean? He glanced at his mother, then to the curious kid before him. T.Dakora(33yo): Oh, I don't know, It's just something I heard from some soldier when I was... ::Beat.:: A kid... He tried not to think about the implications of that particular revelation, lest he cause his brain to unravel in some kind of hitherto unknown recursive predestination paradox. Talos glanced at Leera apologetically, wanting very much to embrace her one last time, but not seeing any avenue that wouldn't make things very weird. T.Dakora(8yo): Cool. I can't wait to tell Hanny! He then dashed back up the stairs, presumably to do just that. Not wanting to keep his crewmates waiting any longer, he faced his mother one final time. He was unsure what to say, he didn't have time to explain the situation and even if he did, the ramifications of doing so were unknown. Talos let his eyes linger on her face one last time, trying to store it in some part of his memory that would never fade, trying to keep a snapshot of the way her mind felt to stow away in his heart. There just wasn't time. When he spoke, the sadness found it's way into his voice, whether he wanted it to or not. T.Dakora(33yo): Take care, Leera. Her eyes found his and for the briefest of moments, he thought he saw a spark of recognition. L.Dakora: You take care as well, Yogan. One foot in front of the other, he forced himself to turn and make his way up the stairs, his vision blurring on the edges as the tears came. L.Dakora: ~Or may I still call you Little Bear?~ He nearly jumped as her words played across his mind and he spun to face her just as a white flash enveloped his field of view completely. TBC ((OOC: I'll be answering my open tags in another sim to follow shortly. 😁)) ======//////======> LtJG Talos Dakora Acting Chief Intelligence Officer USS Excalibur-A O238811CD0
  6. Everything I just said about Brian could also go for Ryan here - again, a tiny timescale to whip up a realistic MSNPC based on a real person and man did he deliver - thank you @Hallia Yellir ((Edo Castle, Japan, 1859)) In moments that felt like raging storms, there were small times like these where everything seemed to be seemingly dealt with. In spite of the weighing politics that were ever-present in Ii’s position, swarming outside the walls of this grand castle — the monument of his leadership and power. One of the few bastions of power left within the Shogunate. Marching through his castle, Ii took every step with a metallic ‘thunk’. The iron plating of his armour rattled with seemingly every step he took. Despite it being lightweight, there was an odd chafe around his neck he could never quite get over. But on this particular day, despite everything being taken care of, for the most part, there was one thing he needed to find. An old heirloom, that had been long forgotten in the underbelly of this grand castle. One he perhaps may have placed, and simply forgotten about long ago. Ii slid open the door, there was the unmistakable stench of stale air. With the little illumination from a dying paper lantern, the outline of figures graced his vision. At first, he wrote them off, simply as servants, but upon closer inspection, he wrapped his hand around the hilt of his weapon. With narrowed eyes, he shouted. Ii Naosuke: Intruders. Identify yourselves! Given the recent unrest and suspicion within the other of the Shogunate, Ii had perhaps a small shadow of a doubt that these intruders may wish harm upon him. But… they didn’t look like the people he would recognize. Most of them shared features of the Dutch and Americans he had dealings with. Silveira: How did we get here? What are you talking about? And where is my bra? Etan: What’s going on? ::he blurted out, looking at each of the other officers in turn.:: Tiberius: I think we need just need to stay calm and talk this out. His anger only seemed to boil with the lack of explanation. Nothing came of his simple order and that frustrated him. They were, after all, in Ii’s domain, and it was foolish of these… interlopers to enter the bowels of his castle, his home, without even asking for his hospitality. Nicholotti: Let's work the problem. What do we know, and what do we think we know? Ii Naosuke: Have you no honour?! You will face me when you speak. You all trespass on my domain. The group huddled and whispered in hushed tones as if contemplating their next move and Ii observed closely. Some of them seemed dressed… strangely, one was dressed much like the Europeans he had passingly spoken to and heard of, and another had… odd ridges on the bridge of his nose. The other two seemed normal for the most part. After a few moments he took a step downwards into the room, tugging on the hilt of his katana and half pulling the blade from its heavy sheath. Ii Naosuke: You cowardly foreigners conspire amongst yourselves, and you do no acknowledge and bow before he, who is in your presence? Silveira: My Lord, you have been provided with false information. I am not a baka gaijin. I am Vitor Silveira. Count of Marmelos and I assure you neither my servants ::he gestured to Jor and Tib.:: nor my wife ::he gestured to Kali:: have done anything dishonorable or wrong. Silveira: I do not wish to insult you, but those accusations stain my honor. And that is something both your people and mine take in the highest account. But out of respect for you I might consider it as a misguided act. There was a pause in Ii’s thought process. This foreigner spoke perfectly in such a way that had caught the Damoyo completely off guard. Ii Naosuke: You have entered my castle, my home without my acknowledgement. I wish to know what ‘misguided’ act caused you to do so. After all, it is difficult to miss where my domain starts and ends. Nicholotti / Tiberius: Response. Etan: My master speaks the truth, My Lord. ::beat:: We have no reason to seek a quarrel with you. ::he said with a low bow. He didn’t know why exactly he did so, but it seemed to feel right.:: We were set upon during our journey last night and brought to this… place. Silveira: Response. Ii Naosuke: How? Did you wander in, caught in some drunken stupor? Nicholotti / Tiberius: Response. Etan: If you will permit me, my lord, might I enquire as to where we are? We are most disorientated. ::he waved a hand towards the Commodore and Tiberius.:: Silveira: Response. Now the gears were really beginning to turn. These people seemed genuinely confused as to where they were, and that only seemed to rile up Ii even more. Either he was being made a fool of by some practical joke, or his guards were so incompetent, that four drunk foreigners managed to sneak into the very base of his castle without so much as turning a head. He returned his weapon into the sheath, but still kept a hand on the hilt. Ii Naosuke: You’re in Edo Castle. The beating heart of my domain. Nicholotti / Tiberius: Response. Etan: The people of… Marmelos- ::he looked to Sil with deference, hoping that he had gotten the name of the place he had said correct:: -have no desire to interfere with the cultural affairs of your people, My Lord. We simply wished to view your… domain. Silveira: Response. Ii Naosuke: And yet, do the people of Marmelos view status as nothing but a floor to walk on? Nicholotti / Tiberius: Response. Ii Naosuke: This… ‘Marmelos’ this is from Europe, correct? Etan / Nicholotti / Silveira / Tiberius: Response? Ii Naosuke: Then give me one reason why I shouldn’t simply cut you all down as we speak? Etan / Nicholotti / Silveira / Tiberius: Response? ______________________________ Ii Naosuke Daimyō of Hikone Tairō of the Tokugawa shogunate As Written by… Lieutenant Hallia Yellir Chief Engineer USS Excalibur-A G239409EK0
  7. @Karrod Niac is a freaking genius. I gave him maybe 30 minutes notice that he was playing an MSNPC this mission, and that they were a real person from history and oh, by the way, here's some tags and a long as heck wikipedia page for them... And he comes out with this beauty. I adore him so much. (( Palace of Versailles – 1715 )) Of late, Louis had tired greatly of the affairs of state. Those things which had so enchanted his mind and embroiled his spirits as a youth had turned sour as he had passed into his seventh decade under God. Endless decades of war to expand his Empire had bourn him successes for decades but much like his vigor, those successes had fled him of late and the latest war with the bedamned English, barely five years gone, had nearly robbed France of all that he had built across his long reign. Though he still had the comforts of his mistress Françoise, the Marquise de Maintenon and mother of his only child for which he still bore affection, he increasingly felt the world grow small and dim and tiresome. His enemies seemed to grow in strength as he diminished and there were none alive who would rule well in his sted. The damnable Protestants, worthless Spainards, and endlessly loathsome English held his ire nearly as well as his pitiful younger brother, Phillipe, whose designs on his divinely proclaimed throne had long been spoken of. Still, even with all the matters of the realm in turmoil, his court had convened for yet another ball. Though he had sworn them all to propriety many years past it seemed that his advisors had grown fat and comfortable, suckling upon him like leeches all these years. Were he a younger man he would've expelled the lot of them and wrapped his fist tight around the reigns of the nation as he had when his mentor Mazarin had died, but he was no longer as he had been. So his nobles fritted away wealth and spoke of him in glowing terms which rang false to his ear. And still, they danced. He'd nearly nodded off in his throne, too much wine and too little sleep for one of his failing vigor, when a commotion went up from the dance floor and drew his attention. Of course it was Phillipe, hated Phillipe, who was first to raise his voice. Phillipe, Duke of Orleans: Who are you all? The orchestra halted mid-note as a murmur of confusion and shock spread around the room. A small group of strangely dressed foreigners seemed to be the loci of the courts attention. Louis squinted through failing eyes to catch a better look at them but could hardly make them out. Yalu: Your Royal Highness, we are visitors. ::beat:: From the Czech lands. A great flood has ravaged our noble home and we have been cared for warmly by your loyal subject, the Bourgmestre of Poitiers. Yellir: We apologize for our sudden appearance, but we wished to meet you so very badly, Your Royal Highness. Adea: And thank you for your hospitality. Jolara: Response Phillipe, Duke of Orleans: ::turning to an elderly man on a throne:: Uncle, who are they? Louis cast the man a scornful sidelong glance before turning his attention to their unusual guests. Louis XIV, the Sun King: We, ::He always used the Regal We when speaking as King:: welcome those displaced of Bohemia...or are you of the Moravian Czechs? Jolara: Response Yellir: ::whispering:: Are we certain that was even the correct title? Yalu: ::whispers:: I don’t know, it just seemed like the right thing to say. ::beat:: I’m going to need someone to help me get up. The Czechs, possibly lowlanders of questionable stock, seemed to be whispering to themselves in his presence, which rankled his good humors. Louis XIV: Odd that this is the first We are hearing of your presence. Tell Us, of what sort of Nobles are you? Some cousin of the Habsburgs? Yalu: We make towels, Your Majesty. Soft, absorbent towels. Suitable for any occasion. Jolara: Response His eyes narrowed. Merchants of linens who claimed nobility? Had the Habsburgs fallen so low of late? Louis XIV: Surely the Czech lands are poor indeed if towels could astound them so. Yellir: Your Most Eminent Highness, they are so soft one could use them as pillows, and you would not even know the difference. Adea: No sire, and if you did, you could take this ::he pointed to his head:: from this ::he pointed to his chest, before looking over at the rest of the group and whispering:: What… too soon? Yalu / Jolara: Response Louis was quickly losing what small measure of patience he had for these imbeciles. Louis XIV: Your japery is quite buffoonish, and you have not yet introduced yourselves in Our presence. What are your names? Where is the Bourgmestre of Poitiers? Bring him forth immediately to account for the behavior of his guests. Hallia kept her voice low whispering to any who would lend their ear. Yellir: ::in a low voice:: I really don’t enjoy being surrounded as we are, where even are we? Adea: ::matching Hallia’s whisper:: I want to say… Earth? Yellir / Yalu / Jolara: Response Louis had officially lost his patience. He raised a craggy hand towards the Captian of the Guard and the man snapped to even stiffer attention. Louis XIV: Guards, take these people from my sight at.... Phillipe extended a bony finger and pointed at them, before letting out a loud guffaw. Phillipe: Uncle, these must be the delicious new comedians we have ordered. They are so so funny with their towels! He laughed, and raised his arms for the court to laugh with him, which they did as one. Genkos chuckled nervously. Adea: What the… Definitely Earth… Old old Earth. Yellir / Yalu / Jolara: Response Louis scowled in anger, confused and more than a bit befuddled. He felt he was being mocked but he did not understand how. Phillipe must have been behind it all somehow. Yet another attempt to make him look the fool. He lowered his hand and his guards stepped back to their waiting but tense positions. Louis XIV: Czech clowns, Phillipe? Are you so bereft of diversion that you would have it imported? Phillipe: Response Adea/Yellir/Yalu/Jolara: Response Louis felt exhaustion creeping back into him and he leaned back heavily upon the throne, the momentary distraction losing what little appeal it had. Louis XIV: Very well, Phillipe, very well, if you wish to waste the courts time on these antics, so be it. Go on with your performance, clowns. Phillipe: Response Adea/Yellir/Yalu/Jolara: Response Louis XIV: Well it seems you've amused my court although We are not so readily jocular. Nor should you be, Phillipe. Phillipe: Response Adea/Yellir/Yalu/Jolara: Response Tags/TBC ====================================== His most Resplendent and Anointed Majesty King Louis The Fourteenth Louis The Grand, Louis The Grand Monarch, Louis, The Sun King V239509GT0
  8. By now we all know how talented @Karrod Niac, but I couldn't let this one go unnoticed.
  9. We all form a special relationship with the ships we serve on and the occasion of losing one, even when 'planned,' can be very emotional for all involved. The former crew of the Reso decided to commemorate their lost vessel in this stirring and beautifully written group JP. Well done to everyone involved! ===================================================== (( OOC: A huge thank you to everyone who jumped into this scene! I loved reading what everyone added to our little private service. )) (( USS Resolution Memorial, Deck 227/228, Deep Space 224 )) With the lights at minimum illumination, the stars could easily be seen shining brightly through the viewports against the blackness of space. The only significant source of light in the room was the obelisk in the center, projecting a holographic image of the lost ship overhead. Yogan was the first to arrive, and when he stepped through the door into the darkened room, the projection of Resoltion backlit by the stars outside took him by surprise. He’d not seen Resolution during her final moments–the controlled descent into a planetoid with 14 souls still aboard–he had been aboard Rinascita Station at the time, fighting Suliban extremists, depleting oxygen, and his own symbiont. The holo-image of the small-but-heroic ship was how he preferred to remember her. The public dedication of the USS Resolution memorial was to take place shortly. They’d all been invited, but Yogan received permission for his crewmates to gather in private for a short while before the main ceremony. It would be an opportunity for them to see the memorial for the first time together, without the pressures of having to be “on” for the public and manage their reactions for an audience, however well-intentioned they might be. Yogan smiled as his cremates and friends entered and looked at the memorial. When it appeared that everyone who was going to come had arrived, Yogan stepped into the center of the room, just in front of the plaque at the base of the sculpture and broke the solem silence. Yalu: Thank you all for coming. The public ceremony will begin soon, but I thought we would all appreciate this time to ourselves. Before anything else, I just want you all to know that–– ::gestures to memorial:: this was made possible by the Commercial Sector Merchants’ Association. They spearheaded the effort to install a permanent memorial to our ship almost immediately after the news reached the station. Seeing this now, I just want to express gratitude to the shopkeepers and residens of Deep Space 224 for being a part of our extended ship family. Yogan hand brushed against the gold plaque, onto which the names of 13 Resolution crewmembers were etched. The fourteenth victim, Liam Wyke, was represented by a single five-pointed star, as he was not publicly identified in official reports until the necessary debriefings had concluded. Yogan briefly wondered if Admiral Regillensis would have appreciated an invitation to the public service, but that was impossible. He would likely not be a free man for a long time. Yalu: I don’t really have a program or an order of service, or anything like that. Just some time together, and say a few words. ::beat:: Captain, would you care to start? There was nothing quite like saying goodbye. Over the course of so many years and so many ships, homes, places she’d been, goodbye had started to become that ever consistent thorn in her side. Just when she was getting settled and stable, it would come along and knock her over. It would leave her scrambling for the next solid foundation, which she would often find just in time for another wave to sweep through. The Resolution was no different, and yet, it was as different as one could think because it was both a beginning and an end. The raven-haired command officer could still remember the day she set foot on the tiny Nova class ship for the first time, lockstep with Ensign’s Makal Kora and Eliaan Deron. Her fellow Academy graduates and friends had since left Starfleet, but that moment, over a decade ago, still seemed quite fresh in her renewed memory. Kali’s eyes fell on the memorial and considered all that it represented. The ship was gone, and with it, the lives of the few who could not escape the untimely demise. She would never walk the corridors where she had lived, and died, again. The echos of Jaxx, and Kora with his terrier Agrippa, of Guy Hunt, the Laudean child she’d nearly adopted, of her flute, and the budding love story she now found herself happily entrenched in would never be heard again save for in the deep recesses of the minds of those who were there. Those who would remember. As the room had filled, Kali found her way to the front of the small group, looking at each in turn. Her eyes settled on the darkness found in Genkos’ eyes and she found strength, even as though she thought he might feel it lacking. Try as she might, she was concerned that he would always feel as if part of the destruction was his fault, even if the board of inquiry, and she, thought otherwise. Nicholotti: There really are no words that can fully encompass the loss of the Resolution as well as this memorial, which will stand for as long as 224 does. It almost gives her a new life, despite the fact that she might not fly again. Kali took a momentary break before continuing. Nicholotti: The truth is, as long as we remember her, our service aboard her, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to make sure that everyone else got away…she’s never really gone. For a moment, her crystalline blues lost focus and her thoughts once more drifted to those early days. After the silence settled, she simply nodded to her first officer and took her seat. Addison nodded to her CO as she rose to take her place in front of the group. Her gaze fell upon the memorial - the beautiful granite, and the projection of a ship she never anticipated serving on brought a smile to her face. It was fitting, in her opinion, that the simple ship be memorialized in a monument equally simple - both were beautiful in their own ways. MacKenzie: ::gesturing to the memorial:: We cannot bring back those who were lost on the Resolution. Their deaths leave holes in our hearts that each of us will feel for the remainder of our days. Our service on that ship, and the shared experience of its destruction, has bonded us in ways that many crews will never know. She paused to look around at the familiar faces of her colleagues gathered. MacKenzie: But we are stronger for it. And now, we go forward carrying out the duty that our fallen comrades no longer can knowing that they died in service to Starfleet, honoring a mission and tradition that we all value and serve to protect. That is to be our greatest memorial to their legacy. She took a breath in through her nose as the faces of their colleagues flashed through her mind. After an exhale, she nodded to those who remained in front of her and returned to her seat. Vitor stood quietly as he waited for his turn. Although he was beginning to find some peace, being here wasn’t helping. The memories of his only mission on the Resolution weren’t pleasant ones. He even wondered if she should be there. But it was his turn. So he took the step forward. Silveira: I, regrettably, spent little time on the Resolution. Although I have been in the Fleet long enough to suffer losses, this was the first time the ship I served on was destroyed and so many of my comrades died. He paused, looking down, recalling them and his own memorial he did for them in Risa. Taking a breath he raised his head and spoke again. Silveira: I won’t need a memorial to remember them. But this is a deserved tribute to them all. He bowed to the memorial before returning to his previous position. Hallia took a deep breath, taking her own step forward, she folded her hands in front of her, feeling almost at a loss for words. This was far bigger than just simply one Starship, the Resolution was a place where Hallia felt like she was valued for her skills as an officer. She formed so many meaningful attachments and the Resolution had become a symbol of that. Stepping forward once again and then turning to face the officers gathered here today. Suddenly she was at a loss of words, and the old wounds she thought had long healed only seemed to open themselves up once again. Yellir: The Resolution was a small ship, yet like her crew, it was tougher than a diamond. I’m beyond thankful for the honour of sharing this journey with all of you. I wouldn’t trade all of our adventures, journeys to unfamiliar worlds and survey missions for the universe. To those we lost ::beat:: they’ll always be with us, and as Starfleet officers, we owe it to them to keep going just as they did. And… right now, I hope nothing more than to wish them safe travels on their own journeys, w- ::beat:: w-wherever they are… She felt her voice break towards the end of her speech. Once again, to steel her nerves, Hallia took a deep breath. Her lips quivered, yet her face didn’t change. Two tears slid down her cheeks as she looked the hologram in a moment of silence. As Iljor stepped forward, a strand of his shoulder length brown hair slipped from behind his right ear and gently rested against his face. Brushing it back, he turned to look at the assembled officers, all of whom he had come to consider family in one way or another. Then he gazed fondly at the holographic representation of the late starship Resolution and words came to him. Etan: Resolution was my first assignment out of the academy. A great bug deflector dish with a warp core attached. I didn’t know what to expect, to be totally honest. I’d expected a science station posting or somewhere in a laboratory. A starship was the furthest thing from my mind. But I am beyond grateful for the Resolution. She got us through some of the most difficult moments any of us could have expected. But most importantly- for me anyway- is that I found a family aboard her. And for that I will treasure my memories of the ship wherever I go. He looked at the hologram once more, bowed his head in a moment of respectful silence and then yielded the floor, wiping away a solitary tear. It was Genkos’ turn, and he took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he did so. This was tough - the Resolution was lost under his command, and it had been his final order evacuate the ship. His cane tapped loudly against the floor, sounding almost thunderous as he took a single step forward. Opening his eyes, he looked around at each of his fellow officers in turn and saw them staring back. Adea: The Resolution was our home, and the crew our family. I will forever be proud of what they achieved, and I am glad that whatever happens to us, even once we’re gone, this ::he waved to the memorial with his free arm:: will always remain. May the four ever watch over them. Then, looking down at his feet, he took another step back, his cane almost silent as he did so. After each of Yogan’s crewmates took the opportunity to speak, the room fell into solemn silence once again. He stepped forward, the sound of his boots against the deck echoing slightly in the large, mostly empty space, and he looked at the memorial once again. After losing the ship, watching the escape pods being recovered, writing the lists of survivors and lost, the investigation and subsequent testimony he’d given, and the distance of time since the disaster, he thought he’d made his peace and moved on. Not so. This was the thing he needed, the missing ingredient for closure. Yalu: Omed, my third host, once said, “Lifetimes of wisdom can make you arrogant. Lifetimes of heartache can make you timid.” It was caution, her warning against allowing events like the loss of our ship to make me jaded or paralyzed by indecision. When I looked at the image of the ship, and those fourteen names, I couldn’t help feeling those inevitable questions. “What could we have done differently?” “How could we have changed what happened?” The memory of standing in the shuttlebay of the USS Carpathia and clutching the PADD of names threatened to overwhelm him, but instead of suppressing it or fighting it, he allowed himself a moment for the wave to wash on by. Yalu: I will always remember this ship and the crew who served on her. But instead of dwelling here, I hope this memorial will allow me to look forward instead. To honor the ship and those we lost in the best way possible: by serving Starfleet and the Federation to the best of my ability, exploring space, and adding to my knowledge and understanding of the universe. I won’t always be perfect at it, but that’s what this moment, this memorial, means to me. Yogan could hear the sound of people assembling outside the doors, a low rumble of conversation that contrasted sharply with the almost chapel-like atmosphere inside the room. Yalu: The public ceremony is about to begin, and I’d like to invite everyone who wishes to to stay and dedicate the memorial. Before we let everyone else in, let’s have one last moment to remember the USS Resolution NCC-78145, and those fourteen people who gave their lives in her service: Iefyr Farrel, Chandra Amari, Verian Ohar, Gaavi Lak, Duncan Ruthers, Zenko-Taff, Ev’ell Gridung, Joss Ghunkep, Anaïs Burgess, T’Yor, Saar Spurloecke, Jane van Klaveren, Doria ch’Rino, and Liam Wyke. After the moment of silence, Yogan stepped over to the doors and allowed the residents and shopkeepers of Deep Space 224, the friends and associates who’d so kindly created permanent place of remembrance for them, to enter. [End scene] Commodore Kalianna Nicholotti – Commanding Officer – R238605KN0 Commander Addison MacKenzie – Executive Officer – V239601AM0 Commander Genkos Adea – Second Officer & Chief Medical Officer – G239502GS0 Lieutenant Commander Yogan Yalu – Strategic Operations Officer – D238804DS0 Lieutenant Etan Iljor – Chief Science Officer – C239203TW0 Lieutenant Hallia Yellir – Chief Engineer – G239409EK0 Lieutenant JG Vitor Silveira – Tactical Officer – O238907VS0 USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A
  10. @Etan Iljoralways plumbs some fascinating depths when exploring emotions, and this one is no exception. (( Ship’s Library, U.S.S. Excalibur )) In the fourteen or so months since he had been assigned to the U.S.S. Resolution (and subsequently the Excalibur), Iljor had found himself utterly intimidated by Commander Addison MacKenzie. She was one of the most forthright people Iljor had ever met and carried herself with a sternness that reminded Iljor of several of his strict professors at Starfleet Academy. Meidra had often spoken about the XO’s dressing downs and had also been present for many disapproving looks and comments. In short, Iljor prayed frequently to The Prophets never to get on the wrong side of his imperious superior. So far, he had been doing well. As MacKenzie lowered herself into the chair opposite his own, Iljor hoped that she was not about to grill him on the subject of his reading matter. Fortunately, she seemed to ignore the fact that he had been reading what amounted to poorly written Klingon erotica (indeed, it was more comical and - in places - disturbing than erotic). MacKenzie: I think you had attempted to engage in a fairly important ethical conversation, but your timing was perhaps… poorly chosen. Drawing a breath, Iljor nodded his head embarrassed. She was, as usual, correct. Attempting to debate the ethical implications of their efforts to remove technology from the Demesian people in the middle of what had amounted to a jail break had not been one of his finest nor well chosen moments. He had not planned to do so but had found himself unable to stop himself. Etan: I see. ::he said, slowly.:: I guess bringing that up in the middle of breaking somebody out of an asylum wasn’t the best time. ::he admitted.:: How is Tina, if I may ask? ::he added a moment later. The fate of Tina Kuppasoop had been playing on his mind ever since the Excalibur had retrieved him, Karrod and Sil from the emergency shelter a dozen or so kilometers outside of Jupe. Since their second return to the ship aboard the Gawain, Iljor had left a polite request for updates from the ship’s medical staff- but nothing had come of it. The shake of MacKenzie’s head and the looks of concern that etched itself across her face told Iljor everything that he needed to know. MacKenzie: I don’t have an answer. She is… not well. She looks like Tina Kuppasoup, but she insists that she is someone called Mary Daniel. There is no evidence in her file of any kind of multiple-personality disorder, and even if there were, there’s no evidence of multiple personalities at this point… ::she paused briefly, long enough for her eyebrow to rise:: only one. Iljor nodded sadly. It was an awful situation with very little ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to borrow from an expression from MacKenzie’s homeworld. From the sound of it, there was little that the medical department could do and that psychological services would need to intervene. Unfortunately that might prove difficult. Etan: Oh dear. ::he said, after a moment of reflection.:: It is just our luck that our counseling department is… lacking. Iljor pursed his lips slightly in annoyance. That Meidra Sirin would transfer to the Gorkon without warning in the middle of a shift was unfortunate. Although he was not about to stop his friend from doing what she felt was important for her career- that she had not even bothered to say goodbye had stung Iljor. He was supposed to be her best friend, after all. He knew he was probably reading far too much into the situation and tiredness was probably influencing his emotion- but it felt as though she had simply discarded their friendship in the name of advancing her career. Etan: oO I guess you just don’t know somebody like you think you do. Oo ::he mused, recognising the bitterness of the thought.:: MacKenzie: It is an… annoyance that our chief counselor chose this time to make such an abrupt departure. Timeliness and consideration were never the Vulcan’s strong suits, in my opinion. Iljor nodded in agreement. As much as he cared for Meidra, the XO was right. Her enmity for the Excalibur’s former head of mental health services had been known to most aboard. That MacKenzie could work with Meidra despite her dislike was something that Iljor could respect- but also led him down an unwanted path: did she like Iljor or did she hold him in resentment? The fact that he couldn’t tell was another reason why she intimidated him so. Etan: I’m not going to disagree with that. ::he said, quietly.:: MacKenzie: At any rate, no sense in worry about things we can’t change for the moment. I’m sure Commander Adea and the others are more than capable of figuring out just what’s going on with her. If I recall correctly, you started to ask me about the ethical implications of what we were doing on Demes II, but you never really got to finish your inquiry. Is that a conversation you’re interested in having? Iljor straightened in the chair, feeling his shoulders tense in anticipation. He bobbed his head slowly to indicate his willingness to pick up their conversation from the asylum. Etan: I’d… like that, yes. MacKenzie: Response. Iljor put his hands on the desk in front of him, intertwining his fingers as he did so. He took several moments to compose his thoughts and drew in a breath. Etan: My concern is that what we’re doing is papering over the cracks. ::beat:: The Demesians have grown used to using Starfleet technology and they’ve shown a… startling aptitude for reverse engineering it. I mean, I read your reports: they managed to create their own approximation of an industrial replicator. If we take away this technology, we risk affecting their culture just as much Regillensis did when he abandoned that listening post. MacKenzie: Response. Etan: I don’t think removing the technology is the answer. The cultural contamination and damage to Demesian society is done. Short of going back in time and making sure the Rampart never visits the planet- we cannot change what happened. I think we have a fundamental responsibility to help these people adjust to a new phase of their development. To do anything else felt like covering up Regilensis’ crimes- and Iljor was worried that was exactly what Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Command were trying to do. Both departments had a frightening number of skeletons in their respective closets but in recent years there had been a fundamental shift in their approach to their litanies of renegade officers. Instead of being open and honest with the citizens of the galaxy and working to better themselves, Starfleet had taken to coverups and deflection. MacKenzie: Response. Etan: I won’t disagree that the Demesians were not ready for Starfleet technology but they have it. I’m not suggesting nothing so grandiose as bringing them into the Federation, maybe something more akin to what Second Contact crews do. Help make them sense of what has happened and prepare them for whatever lies ahead. ::he sighed, unsure of whether he was making sense or not.:: Am I making sense? MacKenzie: -- Lieutenant Etan Iljor Chief Science Officer USS Excalibur NCC - 41903 - A C239023TW0
  11. We've had a right old journey in this mission, and apart from the excellent Mary Daniel, we've had an unsung hero written by @Karrod Niac who's final sim here is a beaut. I can even forgive the ENT reference. ((The Outskirts of Yanthi Village, A Simple Tent)) It had been days since the strangers had so abruptly departed her city but they had left behind ideas that were as indelible as the scars on her hands. She regarded them as the wind whipped around her tattered home, so far from the Emberhearth and all she had known only a short time and whole lifetimes ago. Her mottled hands had once been a mark of pride, of her faith, devotion and piety. Now they looked ugly, the relic of a foolish devotion that she could no longer fathom. The wind picked up and cut through the tent like a chill knife, finding her and her small fire, wrapping her in a bitter cold that threatened to steal the breath from her lungs. She had returned to the Emberhearth after the strangers had vanished but the place that had once so filled her with warmth and purpose seemed entirely devoid of both. She tried to explain what she had seen and been told to the Upper Cleric but he had called her addled and, when she would not recant, had the skraats of the Morality Patrol strip her of her few vestments and eject her from the village as either a heretic or a lunatic. Practically speaking there was little difference in their eyes. Ulst had once looked to them for kindness and guidance but in her hour of greatest need she'd found only cruelty and small minded fear. Rather than listen to her or inspect their own beliefs, they had cast her out into the cold, never to return. They assumed the frost would put an end to her 'ravings,' but Ulst Rekaa had survived the frost before and would not be a victim to it now. Not when she had such truth to guide her. She realized after the first horrible night that her ejection had been a blessing in disguise. Had she remained in the Emberhearth she would've come to doubt her own mind, setting aside that which she had seen and known to be true for the comfortable illusions of the Ember. She'd known so many to do so, even taught and guided so many in the means of doing so that she knew well it's seductive power. After a time it would've consumed her truth and she would have remained small, and unimportant, and quiet. Now she would be so much more. The flap of the tent opened and the first of her new disciples entered cautiously. Ty'sen, the largest man in the village and the strong right arm of the Morality Patrol himself, had been greatly troubled by their shared strange evening. Though he had awoken with barely an injury minutes after the strangers had departed, the memory of their might and fury lingered in him. A man who had never known defeat before, who had never known fear before, had tasted of both. He needed truth to make that bitterness palatable and had come to Ulst for it. Others came as well...some who had been there that night. Others who had seen the odd goings on in Yanthi in the weeks leading up to that night outside the barn. They knew not what had happened but were no longer satisfied, if they ever had been, with the Emberhearth's narrow philosophy. Within a span of minutes there were nearly a dozen in the small tent, huddled for warmth and sharing food, drink and blankets with one another in a charitable display. It was affirming to all she had done so far and spoke of all she would do in the days, months and years ahead. For she had been Blessed...and now she must share the great truth with as many as she could. The travelers settled and even the wind quieted as Ulst stood and looked to each face with a passionate glint in her eye. Ulst: Brothers...sisters. You risk much to come here, yet you do so gladly because you are brave. You are wise to doubt, clever to listen and noble to spread the Truth to others. Our congregation has grown so much already that we will soon need to find a new meeting place. But we'll discuss that at the end of our evening. First though, let us begin what we came here to do. To a one her flock stepped outside the tent and into the chill night air, turning their faces skyward. It was hours pre-dawn and her tent was situated on an outcropping on one of the tallest hills in the area. The view below was of nearly undifferentiated white but skyward, when the clouds shifted just right, there was the new Enormity. It took her breath every time she looked upon it now and she wondered how its magnificence could've gone so unnoticed before. Delicate motes of light against the unfathomable deepness of shaded blue and darkest black. Tears of joy froze to her cheeks as she looked upon it and she knew she was not alone in it. Ulst: Look upon the Enormity and let your hearts be glad, brothers and sisters, for what is our First Great Truth? Ulst spoke in unison with all assembled. All: We are not alone! Ulst: Though we struggle, though we suffer, there are those among the deepness who are friends to us. And that is the Second Great Truth! Again, they spoke as one. All: They have come unto us! Ulst: Yes my friends, yes! They have come unto us, hidden among us, to learn and do justice, but not to harm. For that is not their way. No, theirs is a way of service! Theirs is the path to righteousness! It was the Third and Fourth Great Truth. All: For They Are Just! They Are Righteous! Ulst: And we must prepare ourselves for their return, my friends. We know not when but we know that they are watching and waiting, their hand ever gentle, guiding us ever towards them. So live justly! Harm none! Move and act with deftness and in secret until the day comes when they return! And how shall we know them, friends? All: It Points the Way To the Stars! Ulst knelt and began drawing against a large stone nearby. Her mutilated fingers traced the lines from memory now, wet snow contrasting against the light stone in the torchlight. Though they had tried to hide it from her she had seen this symbol upon their strange devices and others had seen it upon magical machines brought to the village foundry. It was their mark, their symbol, and she would ensure all her people knew it so they'd be welcomed upon their return. She stood back and the congregation grew silent, following the flowing lines to the sharp point at it's zenith, pointing towards the stars above. She did not know it was called the Delta, or what Starfleet was, but she knew this symbol meant divinity and it would on her world forever more. [End for Ulst Rekaa!] ======================================== Ulst Rekaa First Prophet of the Enormity V239509GT0
  12. Wonderful work by @Yalu A nice closure to a great character... Or Is it?
  13. I love the denouement part of a mission when writers can get contemplative about the experiences their characters have just gone through. @Lt Aine Olive Sherlock has done a great job here of blending recent events with the character's backstory and putting a satisfying conclusion to Sherlock's undercover ordeal on a pre-warp planet. Nicely done, Jared! ((Room 04-0201 (Sherlock's Quarters), USS Excalibur-A)) It had been some hours since Aine was transported back to the Excalibur unexpectedly. Unless that concussion lasted longer than she thought, it definitely hadn't been three months. Which could only have meant one thing: the crew left on the Excalibur discovered the same thing they had down on Demes II. She'd given her debrief, but as happens, was told nothing in return. And she would know nothing until the official reports were filed. They'd found the Betazoid and learned he'd been there for many years. That the Admiral was responsible for that too. He was a pawn in some twisted game, they all were. There were many things that happened on Demes II that Aine was not proud of. From the word go, her faith in the Prime Directive felt violated. And some of her less proud moments did the same. She wondered if there would be repercussions for her, for the Commodore, for the rest of the teams on Demes II. It didn't matter. Whether they came or not, the questions would. And her answers wouldn't change one way or the other. She would stand by her choices. The blue tint of her skin and facial markings of the Demesians were long gone. The furs she wore, soaked by an unfortunate response from the Cleric, were turned in to be reclaimed by the ship's replicators. Save for one piece. The knife she'd replicated based on Dr. Boeschg's research. It wasn't an actual Demesian artifact, but it would serve as a reminder for the experience. A reminder of what Starfleet is, or should be, were it not for people like Admiral Regillensis. Maybe she'd even take Doctor Adea, Genkos, advice and put it on display in her office. It would be a good start. Back in her quarters, she'd gotten cleaned up. It was nice to finally have tea that didn't taste like the mats in the Security Departments training center. Last leave, she was able to work out a replicator recipe for her favorite tea. It had previously only existed on the Resolution. And since she never uploaded it to a starbase for the Federation database, it disappeared with the ship. The warmth and bitterness offset ever so slightly by the sweetness of the milk, felt like home. Much like the hum of the deckplates below her bare feet. She stood, cupping the mug of tea, wearing nothing but the thick robe that some would describe as pink but she liked to think of as "light salmon," staring out the transparent aluminum windows of her quarters. The starboard side of the ship offered no view of Demes II, just a slightly hazy from the reflective glow of the planet view of the night sky as the Demesians would see it come nightfall. The Demesians. She took a long slow sip of her tea, ignoring the slight burn. It was nothing compared to the "burn" on Demes II. The burn that will be the inevitable. The damage is done to Demes II. And she knew there'd be talks about pulling up all the Federation equipment. Whether left or taken, Demes II would be in chaos. She knew there would be those who weren't there talking about the Prime Directive. To her, there was only one answer: help them. Allow those who want to move forward, move forward. Allow those who want to keep the old ways, keep them. She thought about her own home, not her now home the Excalibur, but Ireland. Ballinaclashett was a small village. Farmers. And just down the way, fisherman. There wasn't a hover transport to be found. Nary a replicator in any house. Farming equipment was the one exception. Just four hours walk north, and you hit the city of Cork's shuttleport. Cork itself, a modernized city. Tall buildings of white aluminum and reflective golden glass rise among the ancient buildings below. Having both wasn't impossible. But she knew the Federation probably wouldn't see it that way. And they wouldn't listen to a lowly Lieutenant who was in Security. It was a part of the job they'd studied. Past cases. Cases that helped to establish the rules and regulations. Maybe Demes II would be that way one day, maybe not. She just hoped the ego that was what Starfleet could be, was put to the side, just once for the Demesians were mere victims. Looking out the windows, she focused on one star as she sipped her tea. She imagined it was Sol, though she couldn't be sure where it actually was. Her mind sped towards it, past the rings of Saturn, through the asteroid belt, onto Earth, ending on the still mostly green isle. Her shoulders suddenly slumped and she set the mug and what little was left of the contents down on the table in the living room. If someone asked, she'd say she was just tired. But it was so much more. There was anger, for the Admiral. Sadness for the Demesians. Disappointment in what she'd come to believe and been taught. And even through it all, hope. Hope that the right thing would be done. Sherlock: Computer... The familiar chime that was sometimes an annoyance was a welcome sound. Sherlock: Lights. End Lieutenant Aine Sherlock Chief of Security USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A R239712AS0
  14. I am always in awe of @Karrod Niac's character work, worldbuilding, and knack for picking up breadcrumbs from throughout a mission and tying them together. Here, we got all three. Cracking sim, Brian. ((Village Centre near The Barn, Yanthi Village)) Lower Cleric Ulst Rekaa had been greatly troubled of late and had not felt the warmth of the Ember as she had in days gone past. Ever since the thunderous calamity outside the Emberhearth some weeks earlier and the sudden invasion of the injured strangers, something had disquieted her to the point of intense distraction. She'd twice lost her place during the daily litany and the Upper Cleric had spoken of their surprise and disappointment with her waning attention to her duties but she could not purify her mind. To make matters worse rumors, the ever present currency of the city, were swirling around numerous strange events and odd sightings. Strangers moving through the nights, figures skulking by windows and on roof tops, odd questions being asked by even odder people. Ulst sat in the center of this maelstrom of rumor and gossip and with each new tidbit, her memory turned back to the foreign strangers. After yet another sleepless night and a desperate prostration before the Ember, she turned to the skraats of the Morality Patrol. She had gone to them and they had heard truth in her tale of potentially dangerous foreign strangers. Now, flanked by two of the stoutest patrollers and wearing an expression she reserved for those fallen from the Flame she found herself confronting those very same strangers, slithering their way towards a large barn. The patrollers hailed the strangers with pious authority that brought them to an immediate and fearful halt. Arcah: Rekaa, are these the ones you encountered? Ulst looked from one ashen face to the other most carefully, remembering well the strangeness of each. Though they looked like many in the city there was an unnatural quality to them which made her flinch away if she stared too long into their eyes. Rekaa: Yes, I swear it by the Ember. Arcah: And do you think they are the ones bringing change to our world? ::she pursed her lips:: Think… carefully… before you answer. Ulst hesitated, the weight of the moment apparent. She knew strangeness abounded in Yanthi and something was threatening the good people of the city and could not shake the sense that somehow, these odd folk were involved. But yet, she had nothing but that vague disquieted sense. Doubt manifested where she had been so confident earlier. Rekaa: ....I'm...I'm not certain they bring the change...but they are of a strangeness beyond any I've known. By the Ember, I swear there is something heretical about them. There was a terrible moment as the skraats considered her words and evaluated the strangers for themselves. Arcah: Well then… ::she turned to mass behind her:: Seize them! Gnaxac: Uh-oh… Nicholotti: Lieutenant! Jolara/Tiberius: response What happened next was a horror beyond any she'd ever imagined before and Ulst stood stunned as the entirety of the Patrol was struck low around her. The violence was so swift, so savage, and of a kind beyond any knowing. The woman who had claimed divinity, who herself had Embraced the Ember with Ulst's guidance, had used those same sanctified hands to assail men twice her size in moments. But that was far from the worst of it. The strangers called forth the very spirit of Fire to aid them in their dark designs. Crimson bolts lashed out, tumbling men to the ground as if they'd been poleaxed, strange burns on their clothes and skin already mottling. Ulst fell to her knees and wailed for salvation from the impossibly supernatural. Sherlock: Threats clear! Everyone alright? Gnaxac: ::with a shaky grin:: S-s-s-smashing. Jolara/Tiberius: Responses? Ulst rocked back and forth on her knees, in shock and terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought. The wraiths she had angered hadn't seen fit to let her pass mercifully with the others and instead turned their hungry attention towards her. Their eyes shone with a horrible glint and Ulst could not believe she had ever been tricked into thinking these things were merely lost strangers. Nicholotti: Look, we are not what you're thinking. If you trust the Ember, have faith... With a combination of terror and furious instinct driving her Ulst swung her arm and slapped the woman full in the face as hard as her frail arm could. Rekaa: Daemons! Heretics! Murderers! Strike me dead but I will not hear your foul tongue speak of the Sanctified Ember when you have wrought such horrors this night! The woman, or whatever it was that wore the skin of a woman, recoiled from the blow and looked to the carnage they had wrought. When her face turned back it seemed...apologetic, as if the casual slaughter were a trivial affair barely worth notice. Ulst felt a deep coldness within her very soul. Nicholotti: They are just asleep. They will wake up soon with nothing more than a headache. Ulst hissed and spat. Rekaa: You lie! I saw you call upon elemental fire to strike them dead! Ty'sen ::Ulst nodded to the largest of the skraats just a few hands to her side:: was a champion brawler before he embraced the Ember! He was never once felled by an opponent and you did so in moments! Why!? Why have you brought this evil down upon us? Do we not suffer enough?! Ulst's terror was growing into something approaching hysteria. She tried to recite the litany of the Ember but the words would not come. Sherlock: It's true. We're not here to hurt anyone. In fact, Cleric, I think we all have the same goal. Gnaxac: ::curiously:: W-w-we do? ::then he cottoned on, and nodded enthusiastically:: We do! Jolara/Tiberius: Responses? The absurdity of their words combined with the sickening terror and Ulst heard herself laughing before she even realized she was doing it. It was a sick, hysterical chitter. Some lucid part of her mind wondered if she was going mad. Rekaa: What? How could you possibly confuse your foul designs with my duties. I serve the people...the same you so blithely assault for reasons beyond my ken. Sherlock: It's clear you know there are some on your planet that come from other worlds. We come from another world. The difference between us and them is we came here to stop them. We came here to help you. The words collided with her like a great wave and Ulst was left thunderstruck, uncertain of how to respond. She have never conceived that there was anything beyond the stone and soil beneath her feet. To learn, so abruptly, that all she knew was nothing came as something of a shock. She looked at the woman speaking, tried to mouth words, found none, and vomited. Several times. It was a few retching minutes before she pulled herself together but somehow the act had made her feel better. Looking at the state of the woman's clothing who had spoken to her, Ulst felt suddenly embarrassed and apologetic. Rekaa: Sorry...about your cloak...you may be daemons...but none deserve spew upon them. Ulst rocked back from her knees and sat on the cold stone, curling into as small a figure as she could. Her voice became small. Rekaa: Worlds? Daemon invaders here among us? Has the frost taken my senses and cursed me to madness? Gnaxac: H-h-hard to believe as that is with a bunch of unc-c-c-conscious people around you, I know. Nicholotti/Sherlock/Jolara/Tiberius: Response Rekaa: I can't...how...you're not of Demes? Not of our people? But you look...sound...I don't understand....::Ulst shook her head and sighed deeply.:: I don't understand anything anymore. Ember protect me, I am lost in the wilderness without flame. Gnaxac: W-w-what can we do to convince you? Nicholotti/Sherlock/Jolara/Tiberius: Response Ulst looked to each, trying to find the sure and certain signs of deception but found none. Whatever these things were they could've had her dead or worse a dozen times over already and, considering the foul smelling state of one's cloak, had reason enough. But yet they seemed concerned for her. Their words were strange but their voices were calm and full of patience. Rekaa: Your names. Your true names. Not these...figments you shroud yourselves with. I would know at least the names of those who had damned me so. Nicholotti/Sherlock/Jolara/Tiberius: Response Ulst nodded and tried to compose herself fractionally. Some of the litany was reforming in her mind and the heat in her breast was returning slowly. Rekaa: You claim to serve this world...that you wish to help...how? Is that what you brought you to this place? She pointed a shaky finger towards the barn. Nicholotti/Sherlock/Jolara/Tiberius: Response Rekaa: I am a servant of the Ember so long as I draw breath. If there is a taint of evil here I will see it gone...whatever shape it takes. I will follow and judge your divinity for myself. Nicholotti/Sherlock/Jolara/Tiberius: Response Tags/TBC! ======================================== Ulst Rekaa Lesser Cleric of the Yanthi Emberhearth V239509GT0
  15. (( [...]pit, USS Palisade )) Excalibur. Ambro dropped out of warp, keyed in a few commands on the engineering console, then activated the comm system and opened a channel. Regillensis: =/\= Palisade to Excalibur. Come no closer. My ship is now venting warp plasma both inside the cabin and out into space. If you open fire on me, you’ll set off an explosion that will destroy my ship. Ambro sneered as the image of Betazoid medical officer and illegitimate-son killer Genkos Adea appeared on the sideboard display. The man’s response was unexpectedly taciturn. Adea: =/\= Understood. =/\= Uncertain why Adea was so calm in the face of such news, Ambro raised the stakes. Regillensis: =/\= And I wouldn’t attempt using the transporter, either. The beam would also destabilize the plasma with a similar effect. =/\= Adea: =/\= Well then, we seem to be at an impasse Admiral. =/\= Did they know something he didn’t? Why weren’t they reacting more? Ambro’s fingers tapped at his console to key in a command sequence while his eyes remained trained on the screen. Regillensis: =/\= You and your Trill sidekick were amusing enough, Commander, but I’ve grown tired of dealing with you. Go collect your girlfriend and get on with your life. =/\= Adea: =/\= I’m afraid you’re not going to just walk away from this, Admiral. =/\= Before Ambro could cut the transmission himself, Adea did so, and the screen returned to a sensor analysis of whatever god-forsaken corner of the Borderlands they happened to be situated in. Ambro didn’t like how subdued Adea was; it made him feel uneasy. The warp plasma had saturated the air in the cabin and the surrounding space outside, turning his position into a volatile bomb just waiting for a lit fuse. He clamped down the vents and prepared to jump back to warp, but his ship refused to comply. Regillensis: Computer, why is the warp drive offline? Computer: Elevated antileptons in the vicinity are preventing the establishment of a stable warp field. Ambro wished he had a PADD handy so he could chuck it at the wall. Instead, he settled for a sharp contact between the heel of his hand and the edge of his control panel. The clock was ticking, and he was running out of options. A moment later, the ship shuddered as a tractor beam locked on. Regillensis: Quid nunc faciam? The warp core was useless to him as propulsion, but it might yet save him another way. His hands and his voice worked in tandem, the result of years of practice in the art of saying and doing two different things at once. Regillensis: Computer, if anyone attempts to beam me off of this ship, execute the following commands in sequential order. Computer: Acknowledged. As he got up from his seat, he briefly mused at the computer’s efficient and unquestioning compliance. This might have been the last time he gave an order that was actually followed. Assuming there wasn’t much time left to act, Ambro collected a handful of personal effects from one of the aft compartments. Then he made a mad dash for his private quarters to collect one last thing. (( Flashback – Presidio, San Francisco, Earth – 2376 )) Regillensis: Smile! B. Wyke: Oh, Ambro, why don’t you get in the picture with us this time? Ambro lowered the holo-imager’s viewfinder from eye level. She always asked, and he always evaded. Regillensis: You don’t want my face messing up an otherwise perfect portrait, now do you, Babs? B. Wyke: Ambrosius, please. We don’t have any pictures of the three of us. L. Wyke: Please, pater? Ambro’s 10-year-old son looked at him with hopeful eyes. Whenever he looked at his most special son, he felt as though he could see into a thousand potential futures, each one brighter than the last. Whatever Liam went on to become, Ambro knew he would be the best at it. His eyes drifted from his son back to Barbara. B. Wyke: Just this once? The combined persuasive force of Liam and his mother was too much for Ambro to resist, and he flagged down a passer-by to take a picture of their little unauthorized family unit. Before handing over the holo-imager to the volunteer, a cheerful Human female called Helga, Ambro engaged the encryption protocol. If an image of him with Barbara and Liam was going to exist, at least he could prevent the creation of additional copies without his access code. Helga: Say cheese! SNAP. (( End Flashback )) Twenty-two years later, there still existed only one image of Ambro and Liam together: the one of their perfect day together on the Presidio. Ambro opened the drawer of his bedside table and fished around inside to retrieve the data chip containing the holophoto, and his heart skipped a beat when his hand failed to grasp it. The space around him became illuminated in transporter-beam-blue, and he vanished, leaving the photo behind. Computer: Initiating program Regillensis-Alpha-One. Immediately, every console in the captain’s yacht crackled with the combined action of a computer core wipe and an EPS overload. Moving from aft to bow, the computer virus disabled every section of the ship in turn, save the warp core, which was itself ten seconds from a breach. (( Brig, Deck 3, USS Excalibur-A — moments later )) Materializing inside a holding cell, Ambro arrived a few moments before his things, which beamed into the controlled access area across the room and outside of his reach. oO Ambrosius, please. We don’t have any pictures of the three of us. Oo He sat down on the bench-by-day-bunk-by-night and let out an exhausted sigh. Surely someone, he presumed Adea and Yalu, would be along shortly to welcome him aboard. He wished he’d taken more pictures. Tag / TBC MSPNPC Rear Admiral Ambrosius Corvus Regillensis Starfleet Intelligence Czar Borderlands Sector Justin D238804DS0
  16. One of the real joys of 118 is watching a small idea grow into something big and ridiculous due to the fantastic contributions of others and @Etan Iljor hit it out of the park with this one. Great job buddy! ============================================================== (( Harbour Docks, The Village of Jupe )) At Kard’s instruction, Iljor wrapped his fingers around the smooth handle of the phaser. His heart beat a rhythm in his chest, thrashing against his ribcage like a mad plychyk in heat. Yet again, he found himself staring down the barrel of uncertainty thanks to a mission that humans might say had ‘gone to hell in a handbasket’ (whatever the heck that meant). The frigid air stung his cold, cosmetically altered blue skin and made his eyes water and with his free hand, he wiped the saline tears that had begun to leak out. Iljor watched as Kard peered around the shipping container the two were using for cover. For what seemed like an eternity, the Trill remained still as the creaking footsteps grew ever closer. Holding his breath, Iljor felt a thrill of fear travel from the base of his spine to the nape of his neck. Then, with surprising dexterity and grace, Kard lept from behind the crate. The muffled sounds of a struggle only lasted for two seconds before a large form dropped to the wooden slats of the dock. Iljor jumped in surprise, almost dropping the phaser in the process. It was only his lightning fast reflexes that prevented him from losing it at the last second. Kard had raised his fist and was barely an inch from the face of the form of the Demesian when he stopped. Even in the murk of grey fog, Iljor recognised the look of surprise on the man’s visage. Niac: Fungus?! ::Karrod hissed in surprise.:: What the hell are you doing here? Gawping at the rotund form of the tavernmaster, Iljor’s thoughts matched what Kard had hissed. Had it not been the very same man that had warned him that getting lost in the fog was as fate worse than death? What was so important to Fingus that he would risk such a fate? Lakar: Flying Embers Kard! ::He huffed a little.:: I nearly messed my trousers. For the first time, Fingus seemed to recognise that Iljor was there. Without hesitation, the scientist placed his hand holding the phaser behind his back to shield the weapon from the Demesian. The man shot him a quizzical look before he addressed Kard once again. Lakar: I expect I'm bloody well lost in this fog... I think... I think I've bumbled my fool self onto Thrike's wharf ::He narrowed his eyes.:: Wait, why in the fading sun are you here? The dock had suddenly fallen very quiet and Iljor could no longer hear the calls and barks of orders. Kard looked about once again before looking back at Iljor and Fingus. Niac: Shh, keep your voice down man...we're...uh...we've got an excellent reason to be here...which...Il was just about to explain...very quietly. A note of annoyance crept into the tenor of Iljor’s thoughts and he glared waspishly at Kard. If there was one thing that Iljor was not particularly good at- it was making up an excuse on the spot. His parents had taught him the value of telling the truth. Etan: oO How ironic… Oo ::he thought to himself, bitterly.:: ::he shifted.:: We were- Niac: Look this is just a misund... It was at that precise moment that Iljor felt something grab on to the collar of his oiled leather coat and hoist him upwards. In his surprise, he let go of the phaser as he flailed for purchase. The next thing he knew, he felt the ice cold touch of something sharp and metallic at his throat. He didn’t need to be an expert to know that they had been discovered and that somebody was currently holding a knife to him. Thrike: ....I warned you there were colder things in this world than the frost, yokel. Before them loomed the imposing form of Sydonia Thrike. Just as she had at their last encounter, the woman radiated aggression and power. Flanking her were half a dozen of her crew, all of whom looked impossibly menacing. One, Iljor noted with no small amount of trepidation, was missing an eye and at least half of his nose. He gulped. Lakar: Cap'n Thrike, this is... ::He laughed nervously.:: We got turned around in this fog... If you'll just point us towards the way out… Iljor looked down surreptitiously to see the phaser he had dropped lying to the right of his foot. Neither Thrike or her lackeys had noticed it- for the moment. The tenants of the Prime Directive thundered through his thoughts and he knew that he needed to prevent the Demesians from acquiring it. Slowly – very slowly – he nudged his foot towards the weapon. Niac: Uh…parlay? Thrike: Response. Iljor felt his boot touch the side of the phaser and he slowly moved it towards the edge of the dock less than two inches from their position. After an agonising second that stretched on forever, he felt the weapon fall off the side of the dock and land in the water with a gentle sploosh. He knew that he had just deprived Kard, Fingus and himself of a tactical advantage- but the risk of Thrike discovering the device was simply too great. They would simply have to find an alternate way out of the mess they had gotten themselves into. Lakar: Come on Captain, we didn't see anything, ::He gestured wildly.:: Nobody can see anything. Just... let us be on our way. Etan: We mean you no trouble. ::he said, hopefully.:: It is as Fingus here, says. We simply got lost in this infernal fog. Won’t you let us return to our homes and I promise that we will speak of this to nobody. Given how Thrike had treated him and Kard previously and her overall demeanour, Iljor knew that his entreaty was likely to fall on deaf ears. Thrike: Response. Lakar / Niac: Response. Three of the woman’s lackeys stepped forward brandishing what appeared to be hessian sacks. Instinctively, Iljor began to struggle, writhing in the tight grip of the goon with the knife to his neck. It was no good, for moments later, the man with one eye and half a nose placed the bag over his head. Then Iljor felt a sharp pain and the world around him dissolved into black. Before oblivion claimed him, Iljor realised that his best hope of survival lay in the hands of Tovir and Teeny- if she could be trusted. Etan: oO We’re scr-Oo And with that, the darkness took him. (( Time Skip )) (( An Indeterminate Amount Of Time Later )) (( Undisclosed Location - Demes II )) Sensation and consciousness returned to Iljor suddenly and without warning. Ice cold needles stung his face and he felt wetness envelop without warning. He jerked upwards, opening his eyes and gasping loudly, greedily gulping at the frigid air. Something, however, rooted him in his place. His looked around wildly, his now wet hair flinging droplets of arctic water all around like some great shaggy dog. He tried to stand again, but felt resistance and he realised that he was tied to something. Looking down he saw that he had been slumped in a chair and that his legs were tied to the two front legs and his hands to the backrest. The rope binding him to the seat was tight and extremely uncomfortable. He struggled for several seconds against the restraint but realised it would do him little good. Instead, he turned his attention to his new environ, eyes darting about and his senses taking in everything that he could. Dimly lit craggy rock met his eyes at every turn and he soon realised that he was in a cave. Shadows danced around the grey walls from the two torches on either side of the round space. Judging from what he knew of the situation on the Northern Peninsula, he reasoned that he was somewhere in the warren of caves that dotted the coast along the Northern Sea. The reports from both Starfleet Intelligence and the Federation Anthropological Council had suggested that the smuggling operation rife in the area around Jupe had been using them as a base of operations to avoid the prying eyes of the local constabulary. Across from him sat the unconscious forms of Kard and Fingus. To his righ, at almost ninety degrees, a guard stood watch over the now-prisoners, her back to him. The torchlight glinted off the serrated blade at her hip. Guard: It will do ye nae good to struggle. ::she growled, not turning around. Iljor thought that he could detect a note of humour in the woman’s voice.:: There’s no finer knotter in the Northern Peninsula than Clhem. ::she added with an air of affected nonchalance.:: Etan: Release us! ::he demanded, a surge of anger coursing through him like a fire.:: We have done naught wrong but been in the wrong place! The guard turned suddenly and strode across the cave and struck him with the back of her palm. Iljor’s head snapped to the left and he felt the sting of her strike stabbing at his cheek and made him wince. He looked back and up at her, eyes defiant. The woman unsheathed her dagger and placed it’s flat top side against the skin of his chin. Guard: One more word such as that out of ye and I’ll cut your tongue out and feast upon it for dinner. When Iljor said nothing, she released the dagger from his chin, glared menacingly at him and then strode back to the entrance of the tunnel beyond the chamber. A groan from across the otherside of the room garnered Iljor’s attention and he looked in time to see Fingus and Kard stirring from their enforced slumber. Etan: Fingus! ::he hissed.:: Kard! Lakar / Niac: Response. Etan: Are you both okay? It was a stupid question. None of them were okay. The three were bound and captive kosst-knew how far from Jupe and at the mercy of Captain Thrike and her merry band of smugglers. The only thing going for them was that Tovir and Teeny were still uncaptured- but who knew how long that would last. Lakar / Niac: Response. Etan: I think we are in the caves near the village. ::he looked around.:: Never did I think I would miss our house. ::he added, sardonically, giving Kard a humourless grin.:: Lakar / Niac: Response. Etan: I have no idea. ::he shrugged as best as he could.:: Our jailer will not tell me anything. ::he jerked towards the guard who was studiously ignoring the captive trio.:: Lakar / Niac: Response. TAG! -- Lieutenant Etan Iljor Chief Science Officer USS Excalibur NCC - 41903 - A C239203TW0 Reply all Reply to author Forward
  17. I am sorry for being totally partial here, but I couldn't let this one go without a deserved appreciation. There isn't a proper translation for the word Saudade in English, but @Etan Iljor did a great job at expressing what it means. Thank you.
  18. ((Dark Sky Inn - Harbor District - Jupe - Demes II)) The sun hadn't yet risen over the frigid waters of Jupe Harbor, when Fingus Lakar hauled his first heavy wooden keg of Dornak's Select ale up the basement stairs. Grunting a little as he made his way up and over the top step, he navigated the darkened alehouse with a practiced precision paid for in bruised shins and painful stubbed toes. Arriving at the crude barrel stand behind the bar, he hefted the keg onto the counter and leaned against it for just a moment. He let out a small sigh before righting himself and grabbing the tap from the countertop and the heavy wooden mallet that lived on a hook under the bar. Again, muscle memory had the keg tapped and ready to pour in no more than 3 heavy thumps of the mallet. Fingus wiped his forehead and set about stoking the large fireplace and lighting the various mismatched lanterns throughout the modest but cozy pub. His chores complete, he unlocked the front door and flipped the ornate wooden sign that had been carved by his grandfather, or possibly his great grandfather to read "open" where it hung just outside the entrance. He was on his way back to his station behind the bar when he caught sight of his reflection in one of the thick-paned windows. Frowning at what he saw, he sucked in his stomach a little and tried to stand up a little straighter. Fingus was strong; carrying kegs up from the basement and hauling them in from the supply wagon would do that. But like the long line of Lakar men before him, his love for food had given him a shape that was reminiscent of those very large ale barrels, possibly a little more round even. As the sun began to cast its weak light over the green waters, he watched the comings and goings of the sailors and merchants through the windows and, as usual, began to daydream a little. He was 4 cycles old now, the age when most men left their family homes to build their own lives, but here he was anchored to the family business, living under his father's roof. His boyhood friend Tynan had just joined up with a caravan headed to Lakonna by way of the icy plains of the Western Frontier and was set to leave in 1 or 2 suns, depending on the weather. Fingus had listened jealously as Tynan had told him all about the adventure and opportunity ahead of him, though he was fairly certain that he was just repeating the dubious promises the caravan recruiter had told him. Still, he imagined the intrigue of life with a caravan or one of the ships bobbing in the harbor and sighed once again. His father Fargas would never allow it. No, the elder Lakar could imagine no higher honor than to be the 5th or 6th generation (there was some debate over this) of Lakar men to run the Dark Sky Inn and would entertain none of Fingus' far-fetched dreams of adventure. He scowled at the memory as he wiped the bar top to a well-oiled shine and tossed the rag over his left shoulder. No, it seemed his lot in life was to man this bar until he was as ancient as Ole-man Yeru, whom he was fairly certain had been a patron of the Dark Sky Inn since it had first opened. Had the Eternal Ember really stoked the spark of his life only to hear the tales of danger, adventure and glory from the sailors and travelers that passed through his pub, but never to have any of his own? Right on time, the front door opened, casting a sweeping ray of light across the room that moved in time with the ringing bell that was affixed to the door. As Ole-Man Yeru limped up to the bar with his cane, Fingus poured a mug of ale and set it on the bar in front of his usual spot. He liked the grumpy old codger, though he knew that he was probably one of the few who did. Lakar: Good morn to you, Ole-man Yeru. ::He let a smile show on his round face.:: Just the Ale today or should I get the kitchen started on some grain drippings or nice warm meat phlart? As the frail, wiry old fellow climbed onto the stool at a pace that made the growth of the great glaciers in the north seem fast, he replied. Yeru: Just the Ale. ::He grumbled.:: Ember's seen fit not to grace my nets with any fish to sell, so I'm a little short of coin, to the now. Fingus knit his brow as he eyed the thin old-timer and risked a glance towards the back office where his father was probably going over the inventory. The kitchen wouldn't miss one meat phlart, would they? Lakar: Just the ale and a complimentary meat phlart for being our first customer of the day, then. The old man eyed him suspiciously, no doubt wondering what the catch was. The older generations were always weird about charity, but ultimately, he nodded and set a coin for the ale on the bartop. Yeru: You've surely squeezed enough coin out of me over the years to make up for it. That was about as close to gratitude as Fingus would ever hear from the elderly fisherman. He hadn't even slipped an insult in there anywhere. He was about to walk over to the kitchen that was shared by the Inn proper and the pub, when he heard a loud commotion outside. There was a loud cracking of timber followed by a crash and a chorus of shouts and cries. Without really thinking about it, Fingus moved towards the door and stepped outside to see what was going on. Immediately, he could see that one of the old wooden cranes had gone over and dropped one of those oddly large crates that he'd been seeing coming off of some of the ships lately. Some unfortunate deck hands had been caught beneath the crate and a couple of strangers were doing what they could to try and shift it off of them. Fingus felt his legs carry him over to the scene at a jog, distantly aware that he was leaving the pub unattended, but he'd deal with his father's wrath later. If he could help, he should. Niac: Grab something we can use as a lever, whatever is in here weighs a ton! Etan: Response He snatched a thick iron dock pole from it's hook on the railing and joined the strangers. They certainly weren't sailors, as their outfits were in the style of the rural villages, but they were unusually clean for rural types. Lakar: Make way! ::He pushed through a few unhelpful onlookers and called out to the strangers.:: Push it hard, to the now and I'll try and jam this 'neath it. Niac/Etan: Response After a few strong heaves, they managed to rock the heavy crate just slightly and Fingus wedged the thick pole under the crate. The screams and groans of the pinned grew with every movement. His years of hauling kegs finally paid off and he drove the pole deep under the crate and levered it up just enough to take most of the weight off the trapped dock workers. Lakar: ::Straining:: Get them clear! Niac/Etan: Response The strangers pulled the unlucky fellows to safety and Fingus dropped the dock pole with a heavy clang and a crunch as some of the timber cladding of the crate cracked and fell away. He stood still for a moment, his panting breaths showing in the cold air as he tried to recover from the sudden excitement. The Loadmeister showed up just then and began seeing to his people as Fingus approached the two strangers. Lakar:::Still panting a little:: Thanks be to you, strangers. ::He smiled.:: It is a rare thing for bystanders to involve themselves in matters such as these. And it was true. It wasn't that the Jupians were cold or uncaring people, but there was a sense of pride in taking care of oneself that made offers to help a potentially offensive proposition. Though Fingus doubted the ailing workers would complain about the help in this instance. Niac/Etan: Response Smiling warmly in the biting chill, he extended his index and middle fingers and placed them between his eyes in the typical Jupian greeting gesture. Lakar: I am Fingus, Fingus Lakar. ::He pointed back to the Inn he was currently absent from.:: I work the bar at the Dark Sky Inn. Niac/Etan: Response Nodding as they spoke, he couldn't help but smile a little. All the excitement of the morning; rescuing people, meeting strangers. These were the things Fingus longed for, not pouring an old man's daily dose of ale. Lokar: Once you've finished your business, please drop by the Dark Sky. ::He leaned in a little.:: I think you've both earned yourself a mug of our finest ale. That they only had one kind of Ale, wasn't important. Niac/Etan: Response TAG/TBC Fingus Lokar Publican The Dark Sky Inn As Simmed By: LtJG Talos Dakora Intelligence Officer USS Excalibur-A O238811CD0
  19. ((Lakonna City, Welne residence)) Sitting at his desk, in the library, Welne looked outside to the rain drops falling in the window. He usually didn’t have any trouble writing. He loved pouring his imagination into words on the white sheet of paper. Today he couldn't. He was fighting to put his notes into a proper text, every time he tried Welne ended up caught in thousands thoughts, all connected, all related. How much have things changed. How fast. Welne scrolled through his notes about the recent attack on the dressing factory. He always tried to convey the news evenly, honestly, without taking sides. This time he found it difficult. The shop was burned down. The owner was in tears as the building became a pile of black ash. Almost by divine intervention, and the hard work of the Constabulary and neighbours, the fire didn't spread. From what Welne found out the fire was started by one of the protesters. The other side of this malevolos event. The reason for that? Machinery. A machine the size of his dinner table. Actually several. Mister Faiate, the owner of the place, invested in the recently invented sewing machine. It still required eight to ten workers to operate each machine, but with the cheap work force that was sweeping Lakonna, he managed to replace most of his former workers, cut on wages, and increased his work rate. Now, in one week work, they could produce suits, pants, shirts, coats, that would take them months to finish. Until today. Former workers went to protest outside the factory, tempers ran high and when the Constabulary force tried to disperse them it only made things worse. There was no official report, but Welne knew at least seven protesters were killed. Seven lives were wasted, as was Mr. Faiate’s. Although he was the owner, one of the Privileged, he had invested everything there, and now he lost it all. And wasn’t it ironic, how when he fired most of his Labourers he had made them lose their substance. Another battle between classes. That was what was troubling him, how could he be impartial and just report this. His thoughts were pushed away from the knock on the door. Without asking permission Woira entered the library. Woira: Abuz it’s dinner time. Welne smiled at her, as she made her way to him. She was growing into a beautiful Demesian, looking like his late wife Moira. But her eyes were his, as was the sharp mind she had been blessed with. She stopped near him and looked at the empty page, resting a hand on his shoulder as she gave him a gentle squeeze. Woira: I remember you and Akrayzy calling me for dinner. Now is it the other way around? Welne smiled affectionately at her. The shortened names they all shared around the house made him forget the troubles outside. Yet it was also a reminder of how time was passing. Welne: How things change my oldest Bitty. Woira jumped on his desk, something she always loved to do when she was younger. But now they weren't at the same eye level, being almost as tall as him, Welne needed to lock up from his seat. Woira: Perhaps. If they didn’t I would still be small. You want to know what I think Abuz? Welne nodded, curious as to what she was about to say. Welne: Of course, I always encouraged all of you to speak freely. Tilting her head Woira held his hand, now almost the same size, although her’s was much prettier. And it didn’t have any calluses from writing. Woira: I think some things have to change, so they can grow. But although different, the important things remain the same. With a wide smile she pulled herself out of the desk with a jump. For a second, for Welne, she was not fifteen anymore, she was back being his seven year old Bitty. Straightening herself she raised her hand. Woira: Does it make sense? Welne nodded, took her hand and stood. Welne: Very much. I think I understand what you mean. Now let us have dinner. Maybe that was it. Still, caught in a family moment Welne tried to push aside the thought that clouded him. oO Change brings growth. But at what cost? Oo TBC MSNPC Welne Journalist Lakonna Gazette as simmed by Lt. J. G. Vitor S.Silveira Tactical Officer USS Excalibur-A, NCC-41903-A O238907VS0
  20. There are people who take MSNPCs to another level and have an amazing ability to bring us into the worlds they inhabit... like @Karrod Niac , who is so disgustingly awesome doing so every time he produces a sim of this kind. Congratulations! You haven't lost your touch. ((The Sanctified Emberhearth, Yanthi)) With wiry arms that seemed too skinny to even hold the mallet, Lesser Cleric Ulst Rekaa struck the chamber bell for the eight time, signaling to any potential supplicant that the opportunity for worship had come again. Thrice a day she had performed this duty gladly for more than ten years, ever since her maturation from novice to lesser cleric. The heat of the physical effort radiating up her arms was yet another of the manyfold expressions of the blessed warmth of the Eternal Ember. As the stone wrought chamber filled with those innumerable weary and wretched, Ulst smiled beatifically at each in turn. Their bethel was a small one, as befit their community, so each name was known to her as well as her own. There she saw Lav Orand, who sought the blessing of ember for his husband, a hunter who spent many frigid nights in the frozen wilds. There she saw Tel Osta who sought the blessing for her children's children, that they might know a world of warmth as was written about in the ancient histories. There she saw Ortan Tox, who sought the blessing only because the widow Til Laine did so fervently. His reverence was convincing to the unaware but false to those truly blessed of the Ember, as Ulst was. It mattered not...the Ember would burn away all that was not pure and right in this world. With the chamber full and properly quiet, it was finally time to begin. Ulst turned towards the Emberhearth itself, the great reliquary which contained their small piece of the Eternal Ember. Even with the heavy iron shutters closed she could feel its infinite warmth upon her taut alabaster skin. Rekaa: Blessed be the Eternal Ember...The Warmth that does not falter! From behind her a chorus of responses chimed their response. Some passionately. Some mechanically. Ulst's fervor was undiminished, this holy duty was her most cherished. She even imagined what it must be for the Senior Clerics and those of the Cohort who worshiped in those few remaining great Emberhearts. The very thought made her shiver with something like delight. Rekaa: As the Eternal Ember endures, so do we endure! Again, the chorus of replies from the gathered crowd but with her back turned to them and her focus entirely on the Emberhearth, Ulst barely heard them. Rekaa: We endure the despised deepfrost, warm in the knowledge that if the Ember can persist so too can we persist. Blessed Be the Ember! The sycophantic replies washed over her and she could feel the warmth in her breast rising along with her passion. They would endure. They would persist. If they gave over their faith to the Ember then all was possible! For the first time in the service, Ulst turned to the crowd and spoke directly to them. Rekaa: Who among you would embrace the Ember and receive the blessing? A line formed of those like Til Laine, the fervent, and those like Tel, the desperate. Ulst withdrew the heavy wrought iron tongs from their place of honor beneath the Emberhearth and reached within, extracting a red hot coal from the lower basin. Til Laine was the first to step forward with her face to the flame. Rekaa: Embrace now the Eternal Ember and receive its blessing! The widow stepped forward and pressed the palms of both hands against the tip of the glowing tongs. Her transcendent pain and ecstasy was immediate and beautiful to Ulst, as it always was. As it was on all the faces of those who truly embraced the ember. After a few moments the widow withdrew her hands, as was proper and respectful, so as not to steal away more heat than one should. Others stepped forward and on each face, Ulst Rekaa saw shades of the Embers blessed divinity. Even Ortan Tox stepped forward to receive the blessing, but he disrespected the sacrament and kept his heavy gloves on, trying to disguise his impurity but Ulst saw the falseness of the man and knew one day the Ember would burn him away. The thought delighted her, as it always did. Rekaa: Go now and share the warmth that has been shared with you! Blessed be the Eternal Ember! Ulst turned back to the Emberheart and delicately replaced the coal before returning the tongs to their proper place. When all others had left the chamber and the heavy wooden doors had swung closed, she withdrew her boney arms from her heavy cloak and spoke only for herself. Rekaa: Blessed By The Eternal Ember...May I Ever Feel Your Embrace. Ulst leaned forward and pressed the palms of both hands directly against the Emberhearth. The exquisite heat and the pain of the Embrace burning away all that was impure within her. She smiled as tears of ecstatic delight rolled down her face. [End] ======================================== Ulst Rekaa Lesser Cleric of the Yanthi Emberhearth V239509GT0
  21. Random encounter with the mother-in-law. My first thought was "I just have to share this one". Thank you for this @Genkos Adea an @Kali Nicholotti
  22. (( Room 02-1601, USS Excalibur-A )) Addison sat cross-legged on the floor of her quarters, a series of PADDs surrounding her in various piles on the floor. She was bothered – an unusual emotion for the surgeon… Annoyed, sure. Concerned, frequently. But very rarely bothered. And yet, here she was. The conversation with Genkos left her uneasy – far more uneasy than it probably should have. The medical officer had never been a source of aggravation for the red-headed doctor, and yet she’d been unable to shake the conversation they’d had in his office just a few days before. Clearly there was something causing an issue with the leg. He claimed it to be Phantom Limb, she didn’t buy it. There was either something wrong with the leg, or something wrong with Genkos, and she wasn’t sure which. But she was going to find out. Unfortunately, on her quest for answers, she’d stumbled down a rabbit hole of old cases. Some existed in distant recesses of her brain, covered in the haze of time; others were much fresher. She picked up the first PADD: Adea’s limb replacement. Line by line, she combed through the medical report. From the limb’s design and replication by Geoff Teller, to its customizations, to Addison’s transplant, the procedure was as perfect as she could have asked for. She hadn’t been diligent with regular examinations of the limb, but Genkos was a medical officer, and with the surgeon who installed the prosthetic on the same ship, it should have been unspoken that he could have reached out to her if he was experiencing any problems. She picked up another PADD: Adea’s medical history and psychological profile. This was a document with which she’d familiarized herself extensively before she considered him a candidate for the procedure. She knew of the original accident that took his limb, she knew about its replacement, the psychological and physical rehabilitation he underwent, and his dependence on alcohol. While there weren’t any immediate red flags, it was always possible the current issues were rooted somewhere in a past that reports couldn’t reveal. She tossed it down and rolled her eyes in annoyance. Perhaps she’d forward it to Meidra and mandate counseling for him… Another PADD: G’VAR. The security officer from the Veritas was the first patient Teller and MacKenzie had created the new prostheses for, and it served as the beginning of the partnership between the doctor and the engineer, replicating new limbs for those in need. She combed through the original design and procedure and, even though that particular replacement was an arm and partial shoulder joint, the basic principles were the same when it came to Adea’s prosthetic. There had been a few kinks to work out with the original, but once the initial pain subsided, G’var hadn’t reported any additional issues with the prosthetic, nor had any more been logged in her personnel file. She tossed the PADD down and picked up one from a different pile: NICHOLOTTI. The Resolution-Excalibur’s commanding officer had nearly died of a disease that found her shifting through time. Fortunately, Addison had developed a therapy that targeted the group of cells in the woman’s temporal lobe that were causing her to shift through time and witness/experience events that happened in the past. As far as she knew, the Commodore hadn’t reported any further issues, nor had Addison witnessed any behavior that would have been concerning. A success, she supposed. Another PADD from another pile. This time: MACKENZIE. The document had been partially scrolled through, and on the screen when she picked it up was an image of her. The image had been taken just after she was rescued from the Tal Shiar agents who had kidnapped and tortured her shortly after she’d arrived on the Duronis II Embassy. Her face and torso were bruised and swollen nearly beyond recognition. Addison stared at the picture for a moment before her face became warm and she hurled the PADD across the room, clattering against the wall and the floor with a metallic clink. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath in through her nose, then slowly out through her mouth. She stood up and smoothed the front of her pants, which also allowed her to shake out her legs and restore the blood flow to her feet, and when the pin[...]s on the bottoms of her feet finally stopped, made toward the door. She needed a walk. …or some bourbon. --- Commander Addison MacKenzie, M.D., Ph.D., FASFS First Officer USS Excalibur-A V239601AM0
  23. @Yalu @Talos Dakora have done a masterful job here, grilling through the last mission's ashes for delicious morsels of character development and meaty relationships. I'm sorry, the fact they set this at the Burger Nagus has made me hungry... (( Burger Nagus, Deck 227/228, Deep Space 224 )) It was the lunchtime rush at the Ferengi burger joint, and the crowd was bustling. The Ferengi interpretation of historical Earth fast food was, Yogan’s human friends had told him, a faithful recreation of the original in both price and quality. If nothing else, it was an experience, and Yogan had never met a burger he didn’t like. He wasn’t certain whether Talos Dakora would find the cuisine palatable, but this was the only place on the station that served burgers. And the only way to determine if the Betazoid was meant to be an honorary Yalu was to chat over a pair of Double DaiMon Bacon Burgers with cheese. Yalu: ::points to menuboard:: I don’t know who DaiMon Bacon is, but that’s the burger I always get. It comes with fries. You can get a salad instead, but they always leave the lettuce in the fryer too long and it gets gross. Talos stepped up to the counter beside Yogan and surveyed the options on offer. He hadn’t really had an opinion of the Terran meat sandwich that the Trill was so fond of before they’d made the switch, but now the little holographic image next to the DaiMon Bacon burger did cause his stomach to rumble a little. Yogan’s comment about the lettuce in the fryer caused his nose to scrunch up a bit as he replied. Dakora: ::Uncertainly:: I guess I’ll do the fries then? They finally got to the first place in line, and a diminutive Ferengi with a name tag that read “LARF” beckoned them up to the counter. Larf: Welcome to Burger Nagus, where you can taste the flavor in your lobes. Can I take your order? Yalu: Yeah, I’ll have the Double DaiMon Bacon Burger with extra cheese, and to drink, I’ll have an Aquasition. ::beat:: Oh, can I get extra grolv and the flarn on the side, please? Larf: ::shouts back to kitchen:: Extra grolv! Flarn on the side! Yalu: ::gestures to Talos:: And whatever my friend would like, please. Clearly, not all of Yogan’s memories of burger-enjoyment had been shared with Talos, because he didn’t recognize a good portion of the words he’d used to order. Fortunately, Talos had years of in-depth training that allowed him to adapt and overcome even the most challenging of circumstances. He leveraged these powerful skills as he ordered. Dakora: I’ll have the same, thanks. Yogan gestured to a large, illuminated sign above the order counter, on which was written in a dozen Alpha Quadrant languages: “SATISFACTION NOT GUARANTEED.” Yalu: Probably best not to get your hopes up. He glanced up at the Trill with a lopsided grin. Dakora: I accidentally skipped breakfast. ::A growl from his stomach accentuated the point.:: I don’t think it’d matter what they put on my plate at this point. Yogan handed over a bundle of latinum strips to Larf and received a holo-chip in exchange. On making contact with Yogan’s hand, the chip activated and the number 125 floated ten centimeters in midair, rotating slowly. They waded through the crowded tables to an empty one on the opposite end of the restaurant, and Yogan dropped the chip on the sticky tabletop as he sat down. The upbeat and bustling atmosphere of Burger Nagus contrasted somewhat with the tone of the conversation Yogan wanted to have. Yalu: So, Talos. How’s your brain? Thus far Yogan’s mind had sort of blended into the noise of the burger joint’s lunch crowd, but some mixture of their proximity at the little table-for-two and the sudden genuine question brought it to the forefront. Talos drummed his fingers on the table a bit, nervously. Dakora: Yeah, uh… ::He smiled unconvincingly.:: Good. Fine. Thanks. How about you? Yogan had spent the trip back to DS224 and the time since Excalibur arrived pondering the question. He’d asked a few other crew members who’d experienced interspecies swaps if there were any lingering effects on them once everything was put right. Disorientation, confusion, and adjustment fatigue were common, but the extent to which Yogan and Talos had… commingled… seemed to be a peculiarity of the orbs’ influence on a Joined Trill and a Betazoid in particular. Yalu: To be honest, I’m having a bit of a time with it. Your consciousness wasn’t in my body for long, but it was long enough to… Yogan hesitated. His work in intelligence perhaps being the exception, Talos didn’t seem like the kind of person who lived a secretive life. Still, one should always have the right to choose which personal details to share and which to keep private. Talos was not given that choice. Yalu: Your consciousness was in my brain long enough for your memories to be shared with the symbiont. In a way, it’s as if you and Yalu were Joined. Just like Yalu was Joined with Zedro and–– ::beat:: well, you know all their names by now. I just wanted to see how you were doing, and whether there’s anything floating around in that Betazoid brain of yours that I could help with. Opening up wasn’t the problem. Talos was as in-touch with his feelings as any other functional person, but it was the delicate subject matter and the implication of the whole thing that was tripping him up. A polite person might’ve called him a people-pleaser, but trained professionals had called him possessed-of-an-unhealthy-need-for-approval. Whatever. Mugato, Gumato. Dakora: I guess… ::He shrugged.:: I guess I’m still kind of processing it all. I’m back in my body, but the memories and the feelings they shared with me are making it hard to just… be myself again. You know? Yogan nodded. It was hard to put into words, and for a moment, he wished he still had the telepathic abilities that belonged to Talos. Yalu: I know. I’ve spent seven years balancing the seven lifetimes of experience I have from Yalu. And now there’s an eighth one in there. Yours. Nodding along as Yogan spoke, Talos tried hard to ignore the fact that he’d just seen the Ferengi fry cook drop something on the floor, pick it up, dust it off and put it back on a plate in the kitchen behind him. Yalu: Your telepathy was overwhelming. Amazing, but overwhelming. I still remember some of the things I ‘heard,’ and so I figured the experience might have imprinted on your memory in a more, shall we say, robust way than a non-telepath’s. It was an extraordinarily circuitous way for Yogan to ask, “Hey, what all do you know about me, and how worried should I be about it?” Of course, verbal gymnastics were less effective in conversation with a Betazoid, who could just aim their telepathic antennae and get the score. Yogan wasn’t sure whether Talos was doing just that, or if he was simply inferring exactly what Yogan was implying, but either way, he seemed to pick up what was being put down. Dakora: I’ve still got a lot of it. The memories and, uh, experiences that were explicitly shared with me during the swap are a part of me now. It’s hard to separate them from my own memories at this point. He shifted a bit in his chair, worried that he’d made that sound like a bad thing. Dakora: Really, I should be thanking The Four that it was you that’s left fragments bouncing around in my head. You… and they ::His eyes momentarily dropped to Yogan’s abdomen.:: kind of seem like you all have got things figured out. Yogan laughed at the unexpected observation. Yalu: I won’t lie. The collected experiences of eight–– ::beat, gestures to Dakora:: nine lifetimes are nice to have; I’ve relied on each of their memories to solve some problem or find a way out of a bad situation. But all of them were flawed, and all of them made big mistakes. Yogan included. Talos had tried to do his own research in the days following the whole Cytarix-Switcheroo, but there was shockingly little data on how long it took the consciousness of a Betazoid, swapped into a joined Trill’s body to bond with the Symbiont. Weird. Now that it was confirmed that he’d left some or all of his memories behind, he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. He had lived an interesting life thus far, maybe even unique enough to provide the Yalu Symbiont with a new experience or two. But, then again the idea of someone reviewing a first person account of his more debaucherous moments or worse; his most personal failures, made a bead of sweat threaten to form on his forehead. Dakora: ::His brow furrowed a little.:: I don’t know how much of me is left behind, but I know I’m sort of a mess. Sorry about that. Yogan raised a hand, as if to swat the apology away. Yalu: No, I feel like I should be apologizing to you. ::beat:: You didn’t ask to be Joined, and you got none of the preparation that Initiates get before the deed is done. I know you didn’t intend to, but you’ve given me a hell of a gift. His eyebrows rose, seemingly of their own volition. Talos had been wrestling with his emotionally nomadic tendencies and the deeper reasoning behind his preference for shallow self-gratification ever since he’d come back to himself. His head felt kind of like a someone had accidentally turned on the house lights in a dance club and now he could see how filthy and poorly maintained it all had been. To hear all of that referred to as a gift gave him pause. Dakora: A gift!? ::He softened his shocked tone.:: I polluted your collection of the wonderful minds of people who had accomplished great things with… whatever I am. He tried not to look as downcast as he felt about the whole thing, but probably failed. Yalu: Talos, you love life. I can feel that in every memory I have of you, even the difficult ones. I walked around the station and saw ships departing, people meeting, people flirting… ::chuckles:: Talos Yalu finds excitement and adventure and potential in everything. It’s a hell of a way to live your life. So, thanks for that. A part of Talos understood that. Though, that was the part that was being crushed under the weight of the maturity the Yalu symbiont had thrust upon him. Yogan’s words did have some small effect. The Trill’s optimistic review of his core being gave him one of the first glimmers of hope that a happy-medium might exist. Dakora: ::A half-felt grin.:: Yeah, I’ve always been fond of snatching excitement from the jaws of monotony. Yogan couldn’t help thinking about his conversation with Karrod Niac. There was some overlap between Talos’ philosophy and Niac’s, and when two people tell you the same thing, it’s probably best to listen. As Yogan’s stomach growled with hunger, he thought about Yalu, tucked away in his gut, and what kinds of experiences would really elevate the symbiont to the next level. Surely the long-lived vermiform was overdue for some seizing of the day. Yalu: And what about you? ::beat:: Hopefully getting to know Yogan this way wasn’t permanently scarring. Talos’ brow furrowed Dakora: Not at all. ::He paused.:: You’ve worked hard for everything you have, even when it didn’t come easy and somehow you still have a relentlessly positive attitude. The only scarring part is when I start comparing myself to you. What’s that bit about the thief of joy, or whatever? Yogan nodded, and despite himself, let out a chuckle of camaraderie. Yalu: So you’ve got the jist of being Joined, then. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I had at first. All of their lives just seemed–– ::beat:: so much more important than mine. It took me a few years to realize that it’s not true. The shoddy holo-chip chose that moment to emit a half-hearted buzz as their floating order number changed to an less-than-pleasant greenish hue in celebration of their imminent feasting. Thoughts of greasy food served to drag Talos from the depths of the funk he was experiencing. At least for a little while. Dakora: That’s us. ::He pushed away from the table.:: Good thing too, because I was getting desperate enough for that fried lettuce to sound alright. ::He stood.:: I’ll get it Yalu: ::nods:: Aye aye. Thanks. Talos crossed the bustling eatery and found the tray on the counter with the correct number and traded the holo-chip for it. He wasn’t sure if the amount of grolv was sufficiently extra, but he was too famished to care. Returning to the table, he set the tray down between them and took his seat, and in an effort not to seem too desperate to throw down, picked their conversation back up. Dakora: Where were we? ::He screwed up his face in thought.:: Oh right. I think it’s just a time and distance thing. You know? Eventually I’m sure I’ll be able to embrace all of the great things I learned from being Talos Yalu, but maybe without judging Talos Dakora so harshly? Yalu: This whole experience taught me a few things too. Not least among them, that it’s a beautiful galaxy out there, and it’s OK to appreciate it. I think I can work on that. Talos nodded as he picked up the large burger and both hands and took an ambitiously large bite. Instantly, he was met with an explosion of meaty, fatty, cheesy flavor that set his taste buds and heart aflutter with each actuation of his jaw. It was all he could do to keep his eyes from rolling back in his head as he swallowed the delicious greasy bit. Dakora: Holy strokes. ::He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.:: This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Yogan picked up his Double DaiMon Bacon Burger and held it tightly to keep it from coming apart before he could get it to his mouth. He raised it slightly, as if toasting with it. Yalu: Welcome to the family. CHOMP. Lt. Commander Yogan Yalu Strategic Operations Officer USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A Justin D238804DS0 and ======//////======> Ensign Talos Dakora Intelligence Officer USS Excalibur-A O238811CD0
  24. ((Ashalla District, Starbase 118)) Ferri Emlott was somewhat certain that Zorkal disliked her - and that although he really had no reason to do so. She could, she supposed, understand that the Ambassador was not too pleased with how she had inserted herself into his life, but there was nothing that could be done about it now. He had it a lot easier than she did, but Ferri was sure that he had done similarly morally grey things to be where he was now. Of course she would prefer being both liked and trusted, but she could just as well deal with both not being the case. She did appreciate her friendship with both Tito and Trovek Arys - both of them of course had no idea who she was, and what she was here for. They wouldn’t understand. The Federation, so Ferri found, had a very black and white approach to how they thought of matters such as loyalty. Things were very different on Cardassia. For example, she wouldn’t get invited to a dinner by someone who then said they wouldn’t be part of said event, but send a proxy. That didn’t make any sense at all, and Ferri had been close to declining the invitation. But part of her was curious about these alien customs. Once she had finished her work, the Cardassian made her way to the designated meeting area. Aine was lucky enough to get a few days to recover. The night out with Arys turned out to be a little more than she was expecting, not unwelcome however. Though hangovers didn’t exist for her, some time to decompress was nice. She’d decided to stay on 118 for a while longer. There was no reason not to and there wasn’t a need for her to rush back to 224. An invite from Arys for dinner, but more casual than their special night out. Thankfully this meant she could go in her normal flannel shirt and black leggings. No need to get fancy, not that she really did before. She liked this new friend. They seemed to think alike and have many similar values. Aine sat waiting at the location Arys had indicated to meet. It seemed her new friend was running a little behind, which on a starbase this size didn’t seem odd to her. Scanning some reports from the prior day on her holo-PADD, she was suddenly interrupted. Emlott: Excuse me. Are you Aine Sherlock? Sherlock: Yes, I’m Lieutenant Sherlock. The last thing Aine expected was a random Cardassian she’d never seen before to approach her knowing her name, of all things. Emlott: I am Ferri. She looked at Aine expectantly. Surely Arys had mentioned that she asked Ferri to come here. Or didn’t she? Ferri wasn’t quite sure yet how many of those human customs worked. She had never been a proxy before. Sherlock: It’s ::beat:: nice to meet you, Ferri. But ::beat:: I’m sorry, do we know each other? Emlott: ::tilting her head:: I am Arys’ proxy. She cannot attend your meeting. She sent me instead - is that disagreeable? Sherlock: Proxy? I’m uh… Emlott: I do not think we are obligated to ::looking for the right word:: proceed. I am unsure. Sherlock: I’m not sure either. And I don’t want you to be inconvenienced. Aine’s first thoughts were that something had happened to Arys, but reasonably, if she’d sent someone to meet her she was ok. She thought the situation through. She had nothing else to do so maybe a tour with the young woman before her was ok. Emlott: I came here. I think leaving again would be inconvenient. Sherlock: Well, I’m still not familiar with the station. But if you’ve got ideas, perhaps you could show me around? The Cardassian nodded, and motioned towards the bridge leading into the Coranum District. It lay adjacent to Ashalla District - the ‘Bajoran’ district - and had established as a sub-district not too long ago. Emlott: I would like to go there. I feel most comfortable there. ::pause:: Do you speak Cardassian? It would also make me feel most comfortable. Aine looked across the bridge towards the island in which was the Cardassian area. The cityscape looked grey and metallic. She had nothing against the Cardassian people despite being close to the Master Chief who served during the Dominion War and held strong opinions. She knew there was truth in the old maxim: My friend today, who is my enemy tomorrow, will be my friend again. And in this time, they were not enemies. But something about the city looked intimidating. But if she let everything that intimidated her stop her, she would be who she was now. Sherlock: ::looking from the city to Ferri:: I don’t speak Cardassian, unfortunately. Just Romulan and a “tiny” Klingon. But I would love for you to show me around. Ferri nodded, though she seemed a little disheartened at that. Emlott: We will make it work. As they crossed, the tall spires throughout grew taller and taller. And perhaps it was just a figment of Aine’s imagination, but it felt as though it was getting darker as well. Ferri did not seem to share that impression. On the contrary, she seemed to lighten up as they crossed the bridge. Perhaps she was feeling more comfortable in a surrounding that resembled home. Sherlock: Do you live in the district? Emlott: I do. I am not here long, but I like it here most. The road they were following seemed to lead into the centre of the District, or at least it was the impression Aine would get when looking ahead. Even from here she could see three large spires, clawlike structures that seemed to mark the heart of the Cardassian settlement. Sherlock: If I’m honest, it looks a little intimidating. I find that fascinating in a way. But, here I am in a Cardassian area, with a Cardassian I don’t know. ::with a look of mock curiosity on her face:: You’re not going to like, kill me or something are? The woman halted her steps and peered at Aine. Emlott: Are you an enemy of the state? If so, I might have to. Sherlock: I’m joking! I’m just joking. Trying to lighten the mood. Sorry, I’ve never been great at jokes. Emlott: ::with a small smirk:: Me neither. Aine hung her head, but with a smile. Another kindred spirit. Sherlock: That’s good to know. Emlott: Do you also serve on the Starbase? You said you are a Lieutenant. She continued walking, but despite having spent the past few weeks here, she moved slowly, allowing Aine to admire the window displays of clothes, baked goods, restaurants and similar. However, Aine noticed less and less the shops and buildings and the previously foreboding darkness for the small light that was leading her. Sherlock: I actually serve on a ship. The Excalibur. It’s stationed in the Borderlands, not far from here. Emlott: Oh. And why did you come here? Is your ship also here? Sherlock: I was just on the station for a conference. The young Cardassian thought about that for a moment, and then asked: Emlott: So you are important? Did you give the conference, or did you listen? What kind of conference? Aine took in a deep breath. It was almost as if she couldn’t escape the topic. But giving the young woman the benefit of the doubt, she would tell it once more. Sherlock: I spoke at it. The conference was about Security procedures in the fleet. I was asked to speak because I took part in a hostage rescue a few months ago. Actually led the team. Emlott: What kind of hostage situation? What did you do that was worthy of speaking at a conference? Sherlock: oO Got shot. Oo A doctor from our ship was taken hostage by Suliban terrorist on a research station. I lead a small team to get him back. The team was just made up of members of our away team. ::pause as she reflects on what went wrong:: Ultimately, we got him back. Emlott: Your family must be pleased. Aine’s eyebrows shot up, for that wasn’t the whole story and ma and da were hardly happy with her. Especially when she chose to stay in the fleet. Sherlock: Most definitely not. The woman furrowed her brows and tired her head. That did not make any sense to her. Why wouldn’t her family be proud of her? Emlott: Why? Sherlock: Well, there’s a little more to the story. So, like I said, the team was a part of our away team. The other officers weren’t Security nor trained for hostage rescue. So, the tactic I used was to place myself in the most danger and hope it was enough that most of them would survive and get the hostage. Unfortunately, I was shot and critically wounded. Emlott: You didn’t die. You took a risk and the risk was rewarded. It’s… hero-like. ::pause:: If you had a Cardassian family they would be pleased. Not so pleased had you died. But pleased because you did not. Sherlock: ::holding back a laugh:: I kind of look at it that way. The ends justified the means. No one died. Doctor was saved, who in turn saved me. Terrorist was arrested. But, my parents, besides being human, are also just worrisome. And to be fair to them, I haven’t always made the best choices. Emlott: I understand, I think. I think your current choice is good. You saved people and arrested terrorists. That seems good to me. What not the best choices have you made? Sherlock: That’s another story or two…or ten. Maybe I’ll save that for another time. But tell me about you. How’d you end up on the station? Ferri was disappointed that Aine wouldn’t tell her more. The younger woman likened Starfleet to the military, and on Cardassian, it was still a male domain. Perhaps she admired Aine a little - what she had done sounded very… hero-like. Emlott: I am here for work. I work for the Ambassador. Sherlock: Wow. That’s prestigious. Emlott: I… ::pause:: … write letters, sometimes. And I put files where they belong. It is not very exciting. Sherlock: Exciting isn’t always better. Trust me. I like to think I’m okay at what I do, but sometimes I wonder if it’d have been to become something like a scientist. Emlott: Science is good. But exciting is better. ::she smiled:: Would you family be more pleased with science? Sherlock: I think my parents would prefer I stayed home and farmed or fished. Emlott: I don’t quite understand human customs yet. It is very different to Cardassia. Sherlock: Sometimes, I don’t understand them. It was hard convincing my parents to support my choice to join Starfleet. I think we fought more the week I told them than we had for years before. You say Cardassia is different? How? I’m not too familiar with your customs. Emlott: Cardassia is not as rich on resources. It is important for us to strive upwards. Everyone has a place on Cardassia, and a function, but it is better to have a … better function. Is that understandable? Sherlock: I think I get it. Aine thought there was a slight undertone of classism in what she was describing. She learned about Cardassians a bit at the Academy, but much of the information has since passed in her mind. The term “better function” seemed to stick. She wondered about those who couldn’t and what became of them. Even thinking of Ferri in that moment, she was a clerk. Was she limited in function by the standards of Cardassia? Emlott: I have learned it was more so before the war. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Striving to uplift the family is important. Sherlock: There’s some families that are like that on Earth. For instance my ::beat:: ex-boyfriend. His family has a history of trade dating back almost six hundred years. He was expected to do the same. Instead, he joined Starfleet, and they were not happy. Emlott: Will he change his ways? Trade seems preferable. Sherlock: No, he doesn’t so much care what they think. I guess he just wants to be his own person. The last part felt like she was unintentionally instilling an insurgency of sorts in Ferri’s mind, which was not her intention. She wasn’t there to change others views, but to learn from them. Ferri considered those words. She was her own person. But she was also Cardassian. Even moreso tha she was her own person, perhaps. Emlott: Can I ask, how do you know Arys? Sherlock: We met ::beat:: oOAt a bar…Oo over lunch. Who do you know her? Ferri: I met her through a human I met here. He introduced us. Sherlock: oO And now you’re her proxy…interesting…Oo Interesting. Emlott: Can I ask, what do you know of her relationship to the Ambassador? Aine stopped walking, looking at Ferri as she stopped and turned towards her. This information was new to her. Little flashbacks of what she could remember of her talks with Arys flashed through her mind. And nothing about an Ambassador. Sherlock: ::looking around as if to make sure no one was in earshot:: I don’t know anything about that. I just know she was having some relationship issues. Is this Ambassador the same one you work for? Emlott: ::nodding:: Yes. I didn’t mean to imply a relationship. I spoke to Arys and she said he did not share any bond with Cardassia, but the Ambassador mention she was connected to him. I was curious why she wouldn’t disclose it. In particular because the Ambassador was putting so much effort into making a possible adoption as easy as possible. Sherlock: ::shrugging:: I don’t know. She was pretty vague on details when we spoke. Aine felt a little tinge in the back of her mind. Perhaps it was the training she’d been through at the Intel School, but something was up. She leaned in close, hoping to make it feel like they could trust one another. Sherlock: Do you think they’re hiding something? Emlott: I think perhaps they are close. Or were close. I am unsure. It’s not my place to speculate. Sherlock: I guess. ::tilting her head and raising her eyebrows:: Emlott: It would be a good match for her. But I think a lot of politics would be involved. Sherlock: I think this is where humans and Cardassians differ. I’m not sure I’d like complications like that in a relationship. Keep it simple, you know? Emlott: It’s different on Cardassia. Complications are common. Aine noticed the subtle deflections, though wasn’t sure if that was just common of Cardassia like so many other things. Ferri was a tough one to figure out. She decided to change track. Sherlock: So, what are your hopes and aspirations? I assume you don’t want to stay a clerk? She seemed to think about that. While hopes and aspirations were important, they were rarely openly discussed as such. In particular with strangers. And then, of course, there was the part where Ferri couldn’t answer genuinely without disclosing that she wasn’t just a clerk. And she couldn’t do that. She settled on something that was safe to say. Emlott: Is it not a good job for humans? To work in an Embassy? This time, Aine wasn’t sure if this was deflection, or cultural misunderstanding. She was beginning to see how Cardassians were all about Cardassia. Sherlock: It’s a fine job. There’s nothing wrong with it at all. I guess, we just differ. You see, we’re taught, humans, that a job isn’t always your aspiration. We’re taught to seek and desire. To grow and improve. Emlott: I am improved. My family had different work than I have now. I like what I do, for now. Of course that wasn’t true. Ferri knew what she wanted, and she knew that she had to be careful if she wanted to get it. But perhaps she could give her new human friend a little more. Emlott: I… think perhaps I can become an assistant. I would like that. Aine smiled when it seemed like Ferri might be learning something from her. Sherlock: I’m improved too. What does your family do? Emlott: My father is working as a… ::looking for the right word:: tutor. For children. In an educational institute. Sherlock: That seems noble. Mine is a farmer. And my mother’s a writer. I’m actually the first in my family, that I know of, that’s been a spacefarer. A brief memory surfaced. The Resolution and it’s encounter with a Q. There had been a moment when she had been transported to what appeared to be an alternate time. Aine was on the bridge of a dank old freighter, her father the Captain, and she an engineer in dirty coveralls. She still didn’t know what it meant, but there was a sneaking suspicion it meant she wasn’t actually the first. Emlott: My mother was a …. ::looking for the right word once more, and once more settling on:: tutor. But not for education. For children when their mother had much to do. Maybe it was a language barrier, but Aine wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Tutor just didn’t seem like the right word. Sherlock: She ::beat:: taught them chores? Emlott: She made food. And… sorted their clothes. It doesn’t sound like much but it was for a good family in a large house. An uncomfortable word crept into Aine’s mind: servant. This seemed like it would not be the best topic to continue prying into given the idea of classism that had been presented earlier. Sherlock: Ah, I see. Well, I think that’s a very noble thing to do. While walking and talking they eventually got a clear view on the very centre of Coranum. While the district, for the most part, was relatively flat, this part seemed to stand at a small incline, which made the three clawlike spires seem taller than they already were. Emlott: It’s a good place to view the district. From up there. Aine looked up at the tall spires with the artificial sky above them. An old impulse came over her. Sherlock: ::pointing to the top of the spires:: Can you climb those? Ferri’s features showed surprise. She looked at the spires, and for a moment she seemed at a loss for words. The reply, eventually, was an exasperated: Emlott: No. Sherlock: I don’t mean like you personally. But like, has anybody climbed them? Emlott: I… hope not. ::looking at Sherlock scoldingly:: It would be disgraceful. I don’t like that you suggest such a thing. ::shaking her head:: It’s vile. Sherlock: Vile? Emlott: ::insisting:: Vile. ::pause:: It’s a memorial. For those who died in Coranum on Cardassia. ::another pause:: You can’t say things like ‘climb them’. Sherlock: Oh my god! I’m so sorry! I…I didn’t know that it was a memorial. Aine looked away from Ferri. Her thrill seeking didn’t even allow her a moment to consider that something like spires would even be a memorial. Sherlock: I’m sorry. Emlott: ::still shaking her head:: It would be rude to climb it. Please do not climb it. Sherlock: ::snapping her head back to look at Ferri:: I won’t, I promise. Emlott: There are many memorials on Cardassia. The one I have visited most is in the University of the Union. It is for the students who defended it. It was… brave. And yet, futile. The older students had erected barricades to protect themselves, and the school. The younger students had been sent to hide. None of it had mattered, in the end. Sherlock: Did you attend there? Emlott: Yes, I studied there. I graduated with good grades. I think my mother would have been pleased. Sherlock: oOWould?Oo Does she not know you went there? Your mother? Ferri seemed surprised for a moment, but then remembered that, likely, the Federation did not care about what happened on Cardassia. Were Aine Cardassian, Ferri was sure she would easily determine her age, and what situation Cardassia was in when Ferri was born. Emlott: ::shaking her head:: No. After the war, Cardassia was… uh… it was difficult. For many years. Everything was broken. Perhaps she was prying too much? It was becoming clear to Aine that when Cardassian’s spoke, it was the implications of the words that was enough for them. Sherlock: I’m ::beat:: I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be nosey or pry. Look, I just want to say… oOI don’t know what…Oo …I uh, really appreciate you spending time with me when you didn’t have to. And I’m enjoying our talk. I don’t want you to think ::beat:: I don’t know. How do you say in a Cardassian way that you’re trying to get to know someone better? Emlott: I also try to get to know you better. I am.. not used to people not knowing. It’s more present in Cardassia. But I am not disturbed by your question. Sherlock: ::smiling and nodding:: Good. Thank you. Ferri smiled carefully, then motioned towards the spires. Now that they had arrived in the platform, Aine could see a single, large building with a pond in front of it, and surrounded by what perhaps was the Cardassian version of a park. There was no grass, but beds of exotic flowers, each of them perfectly and purposefully planted. Emlott: This is the Embassy. It’s also for, uh, legal matters. Such as registration of a family unit. Sherlock: By registration, do you mean marriages? Emlott: Yes. There are celebration but the registration is what matters. Because it’s official. Sherlock: I notice that Cardassian’s use a lot of grey in their architecture. But, the flowers, they’re very bright. They almost seem out of place. Do they have meaning to you as well? Emlott: ::thinking about this for a moment:: It’s a symbol for wealth. Because flowers need water, and water can be sparse. It’s… art? It’s difficult to.. uh, create flowers like these. Sherlock: I assume there’s no touching either? I’m kidding again…just in case. Aine smiled, hoping the joke stuck this time. If it did, it’d be the first time in years. Ferri smiled carefully. She hoped it was a joke. There was no touching the flowers, of course. She lowered her voice. Emlott: Sometimes I touch the fish. In the pond. A sly grin formed on Aine’s face. She heard loud and clear what water meant to them. Sherlock: ::raising an eyebrow:: That sounds a little dangerous. ::leaning in a whispering:: Any other dangerous secrets I should know about? Emlott: It’s not dangerous… ::frown:: And I just do it sometimes. ::pause:: It’s not *forbidden*. Sherlock: It’s ok, any secrets are safe with me. ::giving her a wink:: The younger woman blushed, something that due to the texture and color of her skin was barely visible, but noticeable. She nodded, giving a half-hearted shrug, and quickly turned around, desperate for something to point out, and distract the human with. Emlott: Do you want to see the fish? They are called Kûpi. Sherlock: I would love too. The pair approached the pond and Aine knelt near the edge. Peering in she could see a black fish with a slight gold tint coming from its scale. Flecks of orange and white. Long tentacles coming from the sides of its mouth reminded her of the Terran catfish, or an old man. Sherlock: ::smiling at the memory of catching Blackfish back home:: We have some similar fish on Earth. Emlott: ::almost offended:: But those are Cardassian. Sherlock: They’re quite tasty. Emlott: ::definitely offended:: That’s… horrible. Those are for decorative purposes. We predominantly eat the ugly fish. Sherlock: ::smiling deviously:: I know. I figured that since they were in a pond. Ours, I used to catch them in the open sea. And they’re quite ugly too. Aine found a certain fun now in poking the Cardassian and wondered how many times she could get away with it. Ferri knelt down at the edge of the pond, carefully poking her finger into the water. The Kûpi, it seemed, were either used to that, or thought the slender digit was a particularly odd worm. Either way, it quickly attracted two larger specimen. Emlott: They don’t have teeth. Aine watched as the woman carefully slipped her finger into the pond. A glint from her eyes showed just how much she was enjoying this small insurgency. Have just learned how much symbolism meant to Cardassians, how much class meant, there was something in this action that Aine admired. A small sense of self within Ferri. That small spark in a timeline that starts a fire and could burn an empire to ashes. Sherlock: Only predators have teeth. Aine gave Ferri another smile, but a softer one. Ferri withdrew her hand, trying to hide a smile. Looking at the fish made her happy. Touching the fish was even better. One day, she had decided, she would own an aquarium full of the most beautiful fish on Cardassia. Emlott: I would like to show you the memorial. So you know why not to climb it. Sherlock: I would love to see. I’m enjoying today very much and want to see more. The Cardassian nodded and led the way towards one of the pillars. The platform was large, and they walked for a good few minutes in which Ferri seemed to be eager to explain more about the flowers and the way the grounds of the Embassy were organized. Eventually arriving at the spires, Aine could easily see that they were more than a more or less aesthetic structure. They seemed to be made from obsidian rock, shot through with gold that glistened in the artificial sun. Countless of Cardassian names were inscribed in the spires, each angle from which one could observe them, displaying a new set of names. Hundreds of thousands of names. Sherlock: Who were they? Emlott: They were killed when the Jem’Hadar attacked. Those were the citizens at the time registered in Coranum, on Cardassia Prime. The closest thing that Aine had ever seen was on a school field trip. A memorial wall to those Federation citizens lost during the Dominion War. She remember that it seemed as though it stretch from horizon to horizon, in reality it did not and it was just the overwhelming sense of size. She looked up to the top of the spires, the light from the artificial environment drowned out the tops as if that was their horizon. Sherlock: It’s quite touching. I can see why it upset you when I asked what I did earlier. Ferri nodded. She hadn’t been born when the Dominion turned against Cardassia, but she had heard many tales about it. Emlott: Thank you. Those things are important to us. They…. Belong to the identity we are. Sherlock: I understand. We have similar displays. They’re important to us too. They remind us of the struggles we’ve been through and those we lost. There was a sudden feeling deep inside, akin to grief. Part of this was unspoken so far. Here, Aine stood, learning from a Cardassian about their losses. She’d learned about their own. All from a time when a human and a Cardassian couldn’t stand in the same room together. They both were born after it all happened, so it wasn’t a part of their individual histories, but it was a part of their identities as children of a culture. Again, the words came to mind: My friend today, who is my enemy tomorrow, will be my friend again. [End Scene] ***************** Ferri Emlott Cardassian Visitor Starbase 118 Ops J239809TA4 And Lieutenant Aine Sherlock Chief of Security USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A R239712AS0
  25. We all know how much talent is around our fleet. But I can't help to point out two of the writers I enjoy the most here. I am lucky to have them both put up with me and ever since they joined I saw they were great additions to the fleet. This is my way to thank them now that their two PCs meet. I joined the three parts so we can all read them together. I loved reading this @Lt Aine Olive Sherlock and @Arys.
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