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  1. 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
  2. It's about time we had one of these for our wonderfully wacky and eclectic ship and all who sail in her. Go nuts!
  3. The detail that @Vitor S. Silveira has put into this sim is superb. I really enjoyed reading it. ((USS Columbia, deck 6, transporter room 3)) Vitor had his eyes closed as he materialized. He was well used to being beamed in and out, the fear that was growing inside of him had nothing to do with that. He opened them to see the familiar transporter room. He nodded to the transporter crew and made his way out quickly, hands on the backpack straps as he walked. It was fairly empty, one spare uniform, the staff shirt from the Maklau resort he had on during dinner, the framed photo of him and Jonathan and two PADDs. Still he held the straps firmly, and his jaw tensed as he walked the corridors. Returning to the Excalibur was difficult. He didn’t expect to feel like that again. Truth be told he wasn’t. He was feeling worse. The turmoil of emotions running through him, since the Wyke incident, just got a luxury reinforcement, to use an old soccer metaphor. The new star player, being fear. He was already afraid he might not be up to change, to behave properly, to act like the officer that he still was. But that was like the fear of the unknown, the fear for one's life, one of those that he manages to confront and move beside it. Now it was enhanced, brought forth by the place he was in, raised to a higher level. Curiously, although it was the attack he suffered here that caused it, the fear came much after. When he suffered the mental attack from the Iconian he wasn’t that afraid. He was actually more afraid for Antero than himself. And as he managed to get to sickbay he wasn’t afraid, just kind of tired. The fear came when he woke up. Over one year later, of the coma that resulted from the attack. He woke up not being able to see, to speak, feeling trapped in his own body. To this day Vitor didn’t know how long it took for him to voice something, and even then it was nothing more than a gurgle. The same for his sight. After some time he sensed the brightness around him but it took long for him to be able to distinguish shapes. Until he was able to see properly it was over a week. Breathing was painful. He felt strangled, like a giant weight was on his chest. And he couldn't move. He tried but didn’t feel any of his limbs responding to his commands. He felt the medical team touching him, but even that looked like hours after he gained consciousness. Trapped in his own body, Vitor's fear grew. That was the time he felt more afraid in his life. And now it was coming back. He turned the corner of the corridor heading to the turbolift. It was coming back because he was already afraid. Afraid to fail. Afraid of not learning. Afraid of what was going to happen. Afraid of changing. He stopped, entered the turbolift and turned looking down the corridor. His temporary quarters were on deck ten, and he wanted to drop the backpack there. After that he wasn’t sure. Silveira: Deck ten. When the door shut and he was alone he took a deep breath. Leaning back he rubbed his eyes, instinctively rubbing his, now absent, beard. Surprised, he stopped and straightened himself. Vitor was still getting used to not having a beard anymore. Twelve or eleven years of belonging in the “bearded club” had carved deep some gestures into him. And rubbing his skin didn’t feel the same. It was odd how one becomes a creature of habits. He always scratched his beard to focus, always rubbed his neck when nervous. Now he had no beard. Would that mean he couldn’t concentrate? He shook his head, closed his eyes and clenched his fist so tight his knuckles cracked. And hurt. He took another deep breath and when the turbolift door opened he stepped out, heading through the corridor to his temporary quarters where he dropped his backpack on the bed. He returned to the turbolift, narrowing his eyes at each corridor he passed. It was on this deck that he and Antero confronted the “alien”. If the then Ensign Antero Flynn hadn't tackled him, who knows what would happen. But that was then, now he had other foes to face, specially himself. That was why he was facing his fears. Head on, back on the saddle. And there was one thing he needed to do, one place where he felt he should be to gain strength, to feel inspired, a sort of charm for good luck. Even if he wasn’t superstitious. Because being superstitious brings bad luck. He entered the turbolift directing it with a strong voice. Silveira: Bridge The turbolift door’s slide shut and he stood in attention in the empty lift. ((USS Columbia, deck 1, Bridge)) Vitor stood for a second. It was as if he was returning home, after being away for so many years. Standing at ease he stepped into the bridge, walking to the center railing. He was oblivious to those around him. The tactical station was empty, so he walked to it, standing there a second as he did so many times. He passed his hands through the smooth surface. It had been over six years since he last stood here. Here he was again. Fearful, doubtful, submerged with emotions but where he felt he belonged. Back on the saddle because like the last song in his playlist said… oO When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When the going gets rough, the tough get rough. Oo And it was. No doubt in his mind that the trek ahead of him was going to be. Tough and rough. With one final look around he turned back to the turbolift. TBC Lt. J. G. Vitor S.Silveira Tactical Officer USS Resolution, NCC-78145 O238907VS0
  4. You know when one of these guys has written a post, you're going to have good time. When two of them do it, you get some real magic. (( Holosuite 9, Xaevu’s Discount Holo-Arcade, Maklau Beach, Risa )) Yogan sat on a holographic chair in the otherwise empty room, twiddling the data chip between his fingers. He was a few minutes early, but he was grateful for it. It was only after he’d arrived, checked in, and been escorted into the hired suite that he realized how improper it might look to be meeting Captain Nicholotti… alone… at a holo-arcade… on Risa. It had taken him 10 minutes of nervously pacing around the suite to get over that, so, yes, early was good. The invitation had been unexpected, but not unappreciated. While she had no idea what to expect, Kali's curiosity had been piqued at the idea that the helmsman wanted to meet her at a Holo-Arcade, on Risa no less. She definitely raised a couple of eyebrows when she read it, but never hesitated on whether to show up or not. And so, as she entered the room, she saw the tall Trill man stand and the chair he was sitting in vanish, leaving them both in a very empty, very plain room. She approached, her Marine t-shirt hanging loosely around her shorts as she looked around questioningly. When she entered, Yogan stood, and the chair had been sitting in vanished into the holographic ether from whence it came. Neither of them was in uniform, which Yogan knew from prior experience was less weird than if he’d turned up in his and she hadn’t. It was just as well, since Yogan’s chosen activity would necessitate a change of attire anyway. Yalu: Captain. Thank you for agreeing to meet me here. Kali nodded. Nicholotti: Of course. It's not every day the captain gets invited to participate on someone's adventure. She offered him a reassuring smile having no idea what this was about, but knowing that if it was important enough to ask her to be there, it was important enough. Her full attention was here in this moment then. Yalu: I’ve spent too much time by myself already. I’m getting back out into the world and doing things. ::holds up the data chip:: And I came across a program I thought you might like to run with me. Now her curiosity was very much engaged. She watched him as he held up the chip. Nicholotti: Oh? Yogan stepped over to the control arch and inserted the chip. Yalu: Computer, run program. The room disappeared behind the simulation. At first, it looked nondescript: a flat expanse in all directions and hard macadam under their feet. The ‘discount’ in Xaevu’s Discount Holo-Arcade was evident in the loading time, as elements took several seconds to populate and then grow sharper and clearer in detail. Mountains in the distance came into focus, and yellow and white lines crisscrossed the pavement on which they stood. The pièce de résistance was the last item to populate: a large, grey aircraft from Earth’s liquid fuels age. The temperature in the room rose and Yogan squinted in the holographic sunlight, then smiled at Nicholotti and gestured to the tin bird. As everything came into focus, a nostalgic grin appeared on the captain's face. The things her crew dug up on her...she shook her head as the antique jet came into view and solidified in the gleaming sunlight. Yalu: I don’t imagine this needs any introduction to you, Captain. ::beat:: If memory serves, it is something called a Boeing F/A 18-F Superhornet? Nodding slowly Kali finally took her eyes from the plane and turned them to her fellow pilot. Nicholotti: Indeed it is. Ever flown something like this? Yalu: ::shakes head:: I’ve been piloting suborbital craft since I was a teenager, but nothing like this. I’m excited, though. Kali stepped forward and approached the metallic bird that sat silent in the sunlight. The heat radiated off the tarmac and warmed her legs as she reached out and let her fingertips run along the leading edge of the closest wing. When she got to one end, she stopped and looked back across towards the [...]pit and the open canopy. Nicholotti: You should be. There's nothing quite like this. Her eyes moved towards the next part of the plane as she continued her walk around, seemingly and momentarily oblivious to anyone or anything else. It was like a love affair and she had eyes only for the piece of machinery before her. Minutes later, she ended up back at the beginning, next to her helmsman again. Nicholotti: So you mean to fly this then? She grinned. Already starting to sweat in the heat, Yogan dabbed his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt. Although perhaps some of it was attributable to nerves. Yalu: ::chuckles:: How about I copilot? I looked over the specs, but I’ve not mastered the controls just yet. Nicholotti: Alright. We'll need flight suits. ::She eyed him carefully.:: How's your stomach? This bird doesn't come with inertial dampeners. The laugh that escaped her was all but free. There was always something about the idea of the sky and how she could escape to it that allowed her to just let go of the trappings of her waking, walking world. Yogan recalled the training he took as a teenager at the Rytela Flight School in his hometown. The school had a few old, old, old craft that probably flew similarly to this one, and his instructors took him up in them a few times. He found those experiences exhilarating, but that had been twenty years ago. He’d not done anything like this since he was Joined. The symbiont and their memories had a funny way of recasting experiences that once were pleasant as uncomfortable and vice versa. But best not let on. Yalu: ::pats tummy:: I’m sure I’ll be fine, as long as the safeties don’t cost extra. That was fair. It was the holodeck, but that didn’t mean much to her. Once she was in the sky, that was the reality. As a fellow pilot, he would understand. Nicholotti: Well, there’s no time like the present. Yalu: Let’s do it. The process, while vital to her in every way (but inconsequential being they were in a holodeck…), did not take long to complete and soon she was directing him up into the backseat of the jet. He was a bit tall for it, and she laughed at the way he had to bend to fit into the thing, but she’d seen others do the same. To be fair, she had laughed similarly at them as well. Climbing up herself and calling for the ladder to be removed, she allowed her memory to guide her in the preflight. The silence that had surrounded them soon was filled with the ever growing roar of engines that started quietly, but grew steadily behind them. Lights appeared on the consoles, some blinking, others off, and still others illuminating the [...]pit. Kali continued through the motions, moving her feet and looking in the mirrors to see the appropriate movements, and the same for the airfoils on the wings. Satisfied, she called back through the radio in the helmets. Nicholotti: You ready for this? The captain’s voice came through tinnily inside his helmet. It would be an exaggeration to say that his knees were in his ears, but not by much. Given his height and size, had he lived on Earth 400 years ago, he would likely have been disappointed if he’d attempted to pursue a career in one of the Terran air forces. If he’d known, he might have thought to nudge the program’s settings to allow a more comfortable seat. But this wasn’t a pleasure cruise, it was a business meeting. Yalu: Affirmative. Ready when you are. He couldn’t see it, but there was a smirk on her face as she took her time and guided the jet towards the perfect center on the runway. Once there, she paused only a moment before she slammed the throttle all the way up and kicked the afterburners on full, launching the hunk of metal into the sky. As soon as it was off the ground, she pulled the nose nearly all the way up and rocketed straight upwards. It was only after she’d gotten the turning and burning out of her system, and thoroughly put the jet through some of her favorite moves, that she finally allowed it to settle into somewhat of level flight. Yogan felt the g-force in his guts as the jet accelerated almost perpendicularly to the planet’s surface. If he didn’t know any better, he’d have sworn some parts of him were left behind, a Trill trail of bits and pieces dispersed across the holographic landscape. The captain clearly knew how to get results out of the antique craft, and a kaleidoscope of sky, sea, and surface swirled in front and above them. Nicholotti: How ya doing back there? Yalu: Never better! ::beat:: This really is a beautiful aircraft. Maybe we could land so we can appreciate its exterior? Kali laughed. He had been the one to invite her… Yalu: Just kidding. Kind of. The triple salchow was a bit unexpected, if I’m honest. Nicholotti: Fair. But I know that’s not why we’re here. I’ll hand over the controls if you tell me why you really wanted to do this. There was somewhat of a pause, and then the words filtered out over the helmet headset. Yalu: I know that Resolution was the first ship you served on. I’m sorry that she was lost on our watch. Kali raised an eyebrow, though he couldn’t see it. Nicholotti: You can’t apologize for something that isn’t your fault. You all did the best you could with what you had. ::She paused a second and banked the plane, heading into a different direction.:: How are you handling things? Being the subject of multiple interviews and inquiries and so on was never easy. She’d been through plenty and knew first hand. Still, it impacted each of them a little bit differently. Yogan hadn’t considered the fact that they’d be seated single file, and that he’d be having this important conversation about his professional future with the back of the captain’s head. With the lack of eye contact and the headset crackling and hissing throughout, Yogan felt a bit like he was having a conversation with a radio ghost from the past. They couldn’t very well go paint horga’hns, now could they? Addison had already claimed that privilege. Ah, well, they were here now, and Yogan had the captain’s ear until their hour in the holosuite was up. No time like the present, as they say in Temporal Mechanics. Yalu: I withdrew at first. I felt overwhelmed by everything that happened. But then I spoke to some people who helped me out. Good. That was very good. Kali had not. It had taken a Betazoid back then to get in her head and tell her she was alright. She wondered if that was all that much different now, since another Betazoid in an entirely different capacity was now getting into her head...with her as a willing participant. Nicholotti: That’s good. It’s good to have close friends among our family. Indeed, the ship was a family and the Resolution had been closer than most. But even without a ship, that didn’t change. Yalu: Cayden, Addison, and Genkos especially. They all helped me realize something about myself. Captain, I think I see a future for myself in command, and I want to pursue it. Kali grinned to herself. It was always nice when one of her more promising officers finally saw the promise in themselves. Nicholotti: If that is your goal, then that is what we work towards. First step...the aircraft is yours. And with that, she lifted her hands up and put them behind her head as if she were taking a relaxing nap by the side of some pool somewhere, wondering what his first reaction would be. For Yogan, the holosuite simulation suddenly got real real. In front of him was a dizzying series of displays and what 20th century Terrans nicknamed a “joystick.” He could feel the change in pitch; after even a moment with the captain’s hands off the controls, the aircraft’s course started to degrade. Yogan took a deep breath and took the joystick in his hand, pulling back slightly, too slightly at first, to even the bird out. As the craft’s nose pointed back toward the horizon, a memory from Yogan’s teenage years surfaced. (( Flashback – Rytela Flight School, Trill – 2377 )) Flight Instructor: You have control. Yogan Verso: I have control. Yogan dared not take his hands off the panel, even to mop the beads of sweat that were starting to run down his temples. He’d practiced in the simulator, but this was for real. He was actually piloting a spacecraft… in space! Flight Instructor: Change course, bearing 215 mark 090. Speed, 500 kph. Then take us out past the first signal buoy. Yogan Verso: Acknowledged. Yogan’s fingers pinched and pulled along the X-Y translation pad to enter the new course. The craft was small and light–with only manoeuvring thrusters and sluggish inertial dampers. It lurched toward the new heading and Yogan felt the movement in the pit of his stomach and the back of his neck at the same time. He braced himself, but resisted the urge to close his eyes. He was fine, everything was fine. He felt his flight instructor’s hand land on his shoulder from behind in a reassuring clap. Flight Instructor: You’re doing good, Son. (( End flashback )) With talk of command and a future spent climbing the ranks of Starfleet at the center of his thoughts, Yogan might have expected a memory belonging to Auzell, his sixth host whose own command ambitions were cut tragically short by the Dominion War. But instead, he was pleasantly surprised that his own memories played in the background of this important moment in his life. With as much space as that particular host had occupied in his mind lately, Yogan had been concerned that these desires and drives didn’t really belong to him. Now, he was certain that they did. Yalu: I think we’re good. Nothing like the craft we pilot now, where you can leave the [...]pit and grab a raktajino. This one really needs a steady hand at all times. Nicholotti: And a good plan to follow. It was interesting where he was taking it - both the plane and the conversation. Kali remembered the many life lessons she had learned among the clouds as a kid with her grandfather in the front seat, at least until she was tall enough to touch the rudder pedals. Then she was promoted into the front seat, but the life lessons continued. Now it was almost as if that tradition continued. Yalu: A good metaphor for life. But then again... Familiar enough to know what most of the controls did, Yogan eased on the joystick, sending the jet banking hard to the right. The sky and the land ahead spun out of view, and they were treated to a spectacular sight: the holographic mountain chain splayed out into the distance, green foothills blending into a brown, rocky cordillera adorned by snow-capped peaks of gleaming white. It was so beautiful that Yogan didn’t want to stop staring, until an altitude alarm pinged in his ear and one of the panels in front of him changed colors. He tapped his foot, which was starting to fall asleep from spending too much time at the end of a contorted lower extremity, as he righted the jet. Yalu: Not too steady that we miss what’s right in front of us. Kali smirked to herself as the scenery outside rushed by and her body was moved by the way the plane tilted to the side. It felt natural, like he just innately knew. And maybe he did. Some pilots were just born that way. Not even the proximity alerts fazed him. Nicholotti: Indeed. Yalu: If that was the first step, can I ask what the second step is? The echoes of her past rang in her ears. So many questions had been asked among the sky as she punched hole after frustrated hole through the multitude of painted clouds up there. And yet, no matter where she had come from, or where she was going, somehow her grandfather had always made it so that she ended up answering her own questions. She couldn't help what came next. Nicholotti: Whatever step that larger-than-average foot of yours decides to take. At this, she glanced over her shoulder and offered him as much of a 'what do you think?' look as she could, though she wasn't sure if he caught it or not given the way the seats were set up. Still, the sentiment was there and she could hear his understanding in his voice as he next spoke. Yogan smirked, certain that his involuntary chuckle was loud enough to carry over the headsets. Of course he couldn’t get away with it that easily. He would be responsible for determining how this would play out, for charting his own course. Speaking of which... Yalu: Well, suppose I might be interested in making a change. ::beat: I mean, so much is up in the air right now. I don’t even know whether I’ll still be serving under you in the future. Kali had an idea, but she didn't let on...much. In this case she simply steered things back to the idea that he wanted a change. Nicholotti: A change? Yalu: But assuming I were, what if I were interested in a role that might challenge me a bit more than helm? Something that could help me gain the experience I need to get where I want to go? Oh, but the helm got them all where they needed to go. She grinned, finding it quite satisfying that she could keep it to herself. Challenge was something there would be no shortage of in their new home, and an idea was already forming in her mind as he began his proposal. Nicholotti: I think something along those lines can be arranged, assuming you were interested in such a role. Yogan swept the jet around the far side of the mountain chain, where the strip of green foothills was narrow and gave way to a thin stretch of beach, and then ocean as far as the eye could see. He bit his lip as the g-forces acted upon him. Yalu: I would be interested when the time is right. The plane moved again and Kali found herself enthralled by the mountains as they passed to the side. She smiled. Nicholotti: The thing about these steps is that you never know when the time is or will be right. You just...jump. You jump and you know that you aren't alone. That long list of people that got you here, today, they are still there. She paused a moment as she looked at one particularly interesting cloud formation that went by. It kind of reminded her of a starship in and of itself despite it being quite clearly clouds. Nicholotti: And no captain in their right mind would set an officer up to fail. There was the whole bit about an officer being a reflection of their command staff, but in all honesty, Kali simply cared about her officers. She wanted them to succeed, to reach their goals and attain the things that they set as their life achievements. For some, that was command. For others, it wasn't. Whatever the goals were, it was part of her job to help facilitate them. So enjoyable was the experience, Yogan almost forgot that they were in a holosuite, until an anachronism appeared in the sky before them. It looked like a Risian version of a sand timer, with most of the sand having fallen from the upper to the lower well. Alien aesthetics notwithstanding, the message was clear: the time that Yogan had booked was fast expiring. Yalu: I suggest we get one last look at this mountain chain, then head back to the base? We should have enough time for a proper landing. Nicholotti: Of course. This was a good idea. I've not had this much fun in far too long. Kali sat up a bit and prepared to take back the airplane. Their time was nearly over, which would end far better if they landed and were on the ground when everything came to a screeching halt. Still, it had allowed her a moment to get back in touch with a side of her she'd not connected with in some time, though between the model from Colt and this experience, she was thinking the universe was telling her that she might start. Nicholotti: I have the aircraft. ::Beat.:: We make it happen if you're ready. Just don't wait too long. Opportunities don't last forever. Or very long for that matter. With the captain in control of the flight, Yogan allowed himself the luxury of appreciating the otherworldly vista as the jet turned back one last time. In eight lifetimes, he had learned that truer words could not be spoken about the transient nature of opportunity. Out of 368 years full of memories, the only true regrets Yalu ever had were those of chances never taken, of drives never pursued, of avenues never explored. Fighting the twin saboteurs of fear and self-doubt was far easier said than done, but it was necessary when pursuing something worth having. Yalu: I think I’m ready. -- Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Resolution R238605KN0 and Lt. Commander Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0
  5. Not your average sim! A clinical report on the "villain" of our last mission, a really fascinating "sim". It's different and interesting, and I loved reading it. Great work, MacKenzie and Vossti! ---- To Starfleet Medical, Federation Medical Journal for peer review, An Initial Overview of the Psychic Parasite and Treatment Options for Infected Hosts by Doctor Mallora Vossti, Ensign, USS Gorkon Abstract The entity herein called the Psychic Parasite is a living being composed of electromagnetic energy which seeks to insert itself into living sentient brains. Once there, the Psychic Parasite stimulates the host's insular cortex and amygdala which produces feedback in the form of heightened emotions. The Psychic Parasite appears to sustain itself by somehow consuming those heightened emotions. The entity is considered extremely dangerous due to an unexpected secondary effect when the host was a Reader. The Psychic Parasite The Psychic Parasite appears to be a living being composed of electromagnetic energy in the 5 GHz to 1 THz range, having at least some control over its own amplitude and frequency. It is unclear what “physiology” might mean in a purely energy organism, but it is clear that the being does have discrete boundaries [see Treatment below]. The entity appears to derive sustenance from certain energy patterns produced in sentient brains. After the Psychic Parasite was safely removed from Patient Zero, it was kept for study in a dedicated holosuite aboard the USS Gorkon, then subsequently transferred to a dedicated holosuite aboard Deep Space 224. The entity seemed to have at least rudimentary awareness of its surroundings, and it has, in the estimation of the author, attempted at least one escape attempt which was detected and thwarted. As a result, study of the being, its activities, and its “life cycle” has been extremely limited thus far. Presentation Patient Zero was discovered to be one of several hundred victims of a sudden somnolence within a confined but large area. Energy readings gleaned from the local computer system detected an energy ripple which originated at Patient Zero's location at the start of the mass somnolence. Neither Patient Zero, nor any of the other somnolence victims could be roused [see Note 1 under Further Questions below]. The author arrived at the scene approximately three hours after the mass somnolence, and with the aid of the two resistant officers, was able to locate Patient Zero by the means described above. Once isolated, Patient Zero appeared to be trapped in a state of REM sleep just as all of the other victims were. The patient's insular cortex and amygdala were being subtly stimulated by the Psychic Parasite with the effect of heightening the patient's emotional state [see Note 2 under Further Questions below]. Diagnosis Once Patient Zero was located and brought to a biobed, a detailed examination of his brain activity was conducted and compared to a previous routine physical examination of the patient. It was determined that the patient's insular cortex and amygdala were being stimulated by some unknown force. The author determined that the mass somnolence could be counteracted by use of an alpha wave emitter calibrated to force Patient Zero out of REM sleep and into deep Stage 3 sleep. Once the alpha wave emitter was activated, the Psychic Parasite reacted in apparent self-defense, attempting to overstimulate Patient Zero's amygdala with the potential to cause permanent brain damage or death. This was the first clear indication that the Psychic Parasite was an independent organism with a self-preservation instinct and enough self-awareness to know that it was being threatened. The author believes that the initial failure of the alpha wave emitter as a treatment is sufficient as a differential diagnosis of the presence of a Psychic Parasite. Treatment Once the presence of the Psychic Parasite was definitively established as an independent organism, the author's cohorts were able to calibrate and raise a force field around the biobed to trap the energy being. Once the force field was in place, they programmed and instantiated a highly detailed holographic brain inside the force field. The alpha wave emitter was activated again at a slowly increasing intensity until the Psychic Parasite abandoned Patient Zero and moved to the holographic brain. As soon as the move was detected, the force field was narrowed to exclude Patient Zero, trapping the Psychic Parasite in the simulated brain inside the force field. Prognosis Only one Psychic Parasite has been found and documented, so any prognosis will be highly speculative. Patient Zero was a powerful Reader (rated T4) and had a history of psychological trauma which informed the presentation of the parasitic symptoms. In this instance, the Psychic Parasite's stimulation of Patient Zero's insular cortex caused a cascade of feedback throughout Patient Zero's brain, causing him to inadvertently initiate the mass somnolence [see Presentation above]. The victims of the mass somnolence – including Patient Zero – were held in a persistent REM sleep state and forced to experience emotionally charged nightmares for the duration of the episode. It is unclear how much of the wider effects were particular to the interaction of the Psychic Parasite with Patient Zero and how much might be universal. In particular, analysis of the Parasite's effects on the simulated holographic brain did not point to a tendency toward somnolence nor permanent damage, merely a prolonged, heightened emotional state. The author has been assured that the holographic simulation is quite accurate to a living brain, but there are still differences which likely can be detected by the Psychic Parasite itself. Further Questions There are many questions which call for further study relating to this new and potentially very dangerous entity. As a purely energy-based life form, we would like to learn more about its “physiology,” including how it senses the world around itself, how it metabolizes the energy it absorbs from its host, and how it may reproduce more of its kind. Given the limited study of the Psychic Parasite in a living host versus a holographic one, we would like to learn how the Parasite and host interact in a variety of circumstances, as well as variations from host to host. Obviously, allowing the Psychic Parasite to inhabit a living host knowingly would be both exceedingly dangerous and highly unethical. At present, all the author has been able to determine about the Psychic Parasite's motivations are a survival instinct as a desire to find nourishment. It would be challenging, though not impossible, to devise experiments to determine what other basic motivations the being possesses, possibly including what level of intelligence or self-awareness it may have. Note 1: The single Rodulan in the locality of the somnolence incident was unaffected, and this one individual was able to rouse a single Vulcan from the induced somnolence, though it is unclear how or why. Note 2: The heightened emotions were notable in retrospect by Patient Zero, but within the dream-reality, he was unable to infer that anything was wrong with him or his emotional state. Appendix A: Notes from peer reviewer 1 Comments: Key pieces of data regarding Patient Zero are missing including, but not limited to, the patient’s race, age, and gender. Information regarding the type of psychological trauma experienced by Patient Zero, broadly speaking, may also be critical in providing insight as to how the parasite selects its hosts. Further Questions: It would be interesting to see whether the parasite is attracted to the brains of telepathic vs. non-telepathic beings, and the degree to which the strength of telepathy influences the parasite’s interest. Likewise, given the parasite’s propensity for feeding on the heightened emotions of its host, it is intriguing as to whether or not it can tell the difference between a synthetic/holographic brain vs. an organic brain. The lack of information regarding the origin of the parasite is concerning. Commander Addison MacKenzie, M.D., Ph.D., FASFS ---- Ensign Mallora Vossti Junior Medical Officer USS Gorkon G239805MV4 ---- Commander Addison MacKenzie, M.D., Ph.D., FASFS First Officer USS Resolution V239601AM0
  6. @Lt Aine Olive Sherlock (Jared) is doing some great character work here. In addition to sending Sherlock on an emotional journey that is as logical as it is interesting, Jared uses established events from our sim to add extra depth to Sherlock's feelings. I really enjoyed reading this one. ((Lua Pele - Maklau Resort Hotel - Risa)) As her hands clapped together and the words came out, the sound almost echoed through her mind. She felt like it was all beyond her control. She didn't want to yell. She didn't want to be rude. But all the little things were like little pockets of heat. Each one not enough on its own, but together, they caused the water to boil. Sherlock: THIS. ISN'T. ABOUT. THE. SITUATION. WITH. WYKE! Silveira: What? Sherlock: Remember that communication we had? The call where you told me you'd met someone on the Juneau? I thought you were happy there. Then suddenly, you show up, without warning, on two-twenty-four and tell me you want to be with me. Which, by the way, was horrible timing. But you never even let me think about it and the next thing I know, you're transferring to the Resolution. Then there was that [...]ing contest between you and Martin. Then you came to me on the Excalibur and everything seemed great but you suddenly got all moody then stormed out without saying anything. So I gave you space. And now, I have to hear through the rumor mill what happened on the Res? Silveira: I was confined to quarters and you were in Sickbay… I couldn’t see you... Sherlock: ::calmly:: Everything's got to be in YOUR timeline. By YOUR rules. I just want you to slow down and think. She was exasperated. She'd let out all her frustrations. On the verge of hyperventilating, she felt like she was breaking down. All the recent events had been so much. She watched in silence as the words sunk in. His hands trembled as he tried to take a drink. The confident man she knew had just been humbled. A part of it scared her, but an even bigger part was relieved. She didn't want him to be in trouble, she didn't want him to be reckless. She genuinely wanted the best for him. And the best wasn't an inquiry, but alas, it was coming nonetheless. Silveira: I… I never learned to do that… ::He turned to her, his eyes burning.:: And now it might be too late. For those lost it certainly is... She thought about those lost. Most she only knew in passing. Like the Acting Chief of Science who, rumor had it, never thought too highly of the Security Department. Then there were those she knew a little better, like Chandra. The almost immediate understanding she had of her. So protective of the ship itself. As funny as she thought it was at the moment, she understood. She choked back tears and bit into her lower lip hard trying to stifle another outburst. Sherlock: Thirteen of those we lost ::beat:: were a part of our family. Silveira: I am sorry Aine. Sherlock: Look, I need to go oONo you don't...Oo. Your inquiry, if I could give you one piece of advice: be humble. I think only one of the charges will stick and others have done far worse and gotten light punishments. Just ::beat:: think about it. As she walked off, tears began to roll down her cheeks. She'd cried more in the last couple days than she had in the last year. She tried to walk confidently, but she could feel a slight shake in her knees and she wasn't sure if it was adrenaline wearing off of emotion breaking her down physically. End scene for Sherlock Lieutenant Aine Sherlock Chief of Security USS Resolution R239712AS0
  7. It's been absolutely amazing to have @Jo Marshall on board for this mission, and she has knocked it out of the park with such a fabulously memorable character who pulled the rugs from under our feet. This is a superb ending for a superb character, and I'm very sad to see him (and Em) go. ((Transporter Room, Deck 3, USS Resolution)) There’s a quiet at the end of a life that no one really expects. It’s hardly ever spoken about; just the snuff of a candle, the light winking out in the darkness, or the star once in the blackwater space ceases to twinkle. A beeping warning began from the device, running the length of it like a signal light wrapping around the outside. The countdown had started. There was no way to stop it once it began. He knew this; he knew this intrinsically. It was what he hadn’t counted on, what he hadn’t prepared for, and in the end, what he feared happening the most. Liam swallowed as he slumped against the device and tapped a series of commands into the control panel. His eyes didn’t look up from the Genesis unit as he spoke. Rackham: I'll buy you as much time as I can. You need to go now. Evacuate the ship. ::He looked at Genkos with a nod, if a breathless one.:: Save your crew, Captain. Time to be a hero. Adea didn’t hesitate to issue the order, the gossamer sheen of tears in his eyes. It could’ve been the light in the transporter rooms, or the life ebbing out of Liam’s eye. Adea: You heard the man. Silveira: Yes Captain, let’s go, Commander. The beautiful redhead spared a regretful look his way, and it smacked Liam in the chest like a breaking wave over the barriers. If only he wasn’t about to get his ticket stamped and be scattered into the ether. Maybe in another life. Maybe there wasn’t another life. Either way, he was about to find out what was at the end of the adventure. Captain Genkos Adea, in all his heroic finery, turned back to Liam, to Wyke, and gave him a nod and a smile. Adea: Thank you for your service, Commander. Wyke: Best of luck, sir. As the crew vacated the small transporter room, Liam steadied the breath in his chest, his hands tremored as they reached for the controls of the Genesis Device. All the work he had poured into the years of planning and consideration, of ensuring plans were adhered to. How many had sacrificed themselves for this device? How many more would die that day in the ensuing eruption? His fingers danced along the panel, starting diagnostic routines and variable checks, rerouting the complex system of algorithms ensuring the timely detonation, and delaying the various scans it tried to perform on the location destined for change. Sweat trickled down the side of his face as his blood ran cold, as his limbs ached in a fresh painful way; the tips of his fingers like ice. Extremities losing their touch, slipping on the instruments, the edges of his vision darkening. The stimulant wearing off in waves. Adea: =/\= This is Captain Adea to all personnel. Drop what you’re doing and head to the nearest escape pod. This is not a drill. We are evacuating the ship. =/\= A breath exhaled from his lungs in a long stream, and Liam thought back to being a child again, running through the meadows of his homeworld, grinning with handfuls of figs, swimming in the rivers, the beautiful crystalline sunsets spilling over the water, and the dark skies creeping above, filled with stars and hopes and dreams. Thunderbolts and lightning christening the heavens. Rains leaving their petrichor-scent for days, lingering in the long grasses. Sleepy words breathed into the curve of his ear in a tangle of exhausted limbs and ruffled sheets by his first love. Stories of his Starfleet father, dying a hero onboard the USS Kyushu at Wolf 359, told by his father as he tried to fall asleep with gentle kisses to his hairline as he read through the stories his dad used to. Leaving it all behind for a career among the stars, following in those valiant footsteps left long ago. He slumped against the device, the last vestiges of the world fading in slower breaths, the countdown rapidly decreasing. The Resolution would be evacuated soon. Escape pods detaching from the primary hull and jettisoning into the distance carried on the thrust of the engines. As he slid down to the floor, he noticed the small, blinking lights beneath the casing, and a frown pulled at the middle of his eyebrows. A remote detonation module. Suddenly, it all made a little more sense. Liam let his head rest against the device as he exhaled a breath, a small sliver of a smile encapsulating his lips as his eyes closed, listening to the beep of the countdown as the timer ran out. Light poured out like a torrent, like a hundred ampullae drenching from a dying star, bearing the rich and nectarous smell... a little like jasmine. There’s a quiet at the end of a life that no one really expects, even as it roars. [ End Scene for Wyke/Rackham ] -- Commander Liam Wyke, aka. Ben Rackham Chief Scientist, Rinascita Station As simmed by Lt. Commander Jo Marshall First Officer USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 G239304JM0
  8. (OOC - The music by which this was written, and perhaps should be listened to: https://youtu.be/FnkTuHP9q3o ) ((Main Engineering, USS Resolution)) Sparks flew in a fantastical display of fireworks that she had not seen before. Something deep inside told her they were in trouble, but her mind refused to believe it. One by one, the warning lights lit up on the board, showing just how poorly the fight was going. Hull breaches were popping up all over the place, not that the ship was very big to begin with, but almost all decks had been exposed to the vacuum outside. Power was waning, the EPS grid was failing, plasma was venting in far too many places to begin to count, and forcefields were not holding. The Resolution was dying. The acrid smell of the smoke was starting to get to her. Unable to catch her breath, Chandra was coughing as she darted from one console to another fighting futile fight after futile fight to try to keep things together. Rerouting power from here and there just to keep the containment fields in place, the forcefields up around critically populated areas, the power on to emergency systems...but like her, the ship was slowly slipping into the void. Her eyes were stinging and she could barely see, but she knew engineering like the back of her hand. So when the acting captain's voice came over the comms, she ushered everyone around her out and remained, nearly blind, to continue the fight. Adea: =/\= This is Captain Adea to all personnel. Drop what you’re doing and head to the nearest escape pod. This is not a drill. We are evacuating the ship. =/\= The alarms made it difficult to hear, the smoke and sparks made it difficult to see, but she called out over it all. Amari: Everyone OUT! Get to your designated evacuation pods NOW! For such a small woman, her voice absolutely boomed over the alerts, the klaxxons, the hissing of the cracked conduits and plasma flows, reaching the ears of what was left of the engineering crews. And a credit to their training and ability, it only took them mere minutes to clear out. Only one junior officer had stopped to check on her, and she had lied to them. 'I'm right behind you.' she'd said. They ran down the corridor and she slammed the heavy core breach doors closed and in doing so, sealed her fate. This was her ship. She would remain until the bitter end. The console told her of the bridge calling for power to the engines. She didn't know what was going on, but she knew they had to get away from the escape pods. Whoever was on the bridge knew that too. And so, Chandra spent what was left of her precious moments pulling every last remaining ounce of power from every single system and putting it into the engines. There wasn't much, but pulling the forcefields down from the holes that pockmarked the hull, and switching off life support, environmental systems, weapons, even lighting... A surge of power burst through to the nacelles, exciting the warp coils and creating one final mighty stand by the Resolution to protect the souls it once housed. The ship lurched forward, jumping though warp as far as it could handle, sending every last rib and spar buckling beneath the shearing pressures. It didn't matter that they didn't see the planetary body in the way. It didn't matter that the move was the last the Resolution would ever make, her back permanently broken. All that mattered was that it had taken what was left of the ship far enough from the escape pods to ensure the safety of the people within. Knowing that, Chandra patted the nearest console as the ground shook beneath her feet and the console in front of her exploded sending her backwards into the bulkhead behind her. With her head spinning, throbbing - she hit it against something - she looked and noticed the strange appearance of greenery. Blinking, she knew she had to be dreaming. This couldn't be real. Right? The alarm sounded signifying that the warp core's containment was failing, but it felt like it was an echo in the background of her mind. The strange scent of something akin to honeysuckle met her nose as she tried to blink away the shadows. Darkness continued to encroach, the shaking intensified, and all around her the ship seemed to be falling apart. And then suddenly, there was nothing. END -- Lieutenant Commander Chandra Amari Acting Chief Engineering Officer Deceased as simmed by: Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Resolution R238605KN0
  9. Ship went boom, BUT, kudos to @Genkos Adea for giving us not the blaze of glory we deserved, but the one we absolutely needed 😌✨
  10. See this is why we love @Yalu; a throwaway line from me, and he gets some truly beautiful mileage out of it. Thank you for being such an amazing collaborative writer. (( Sickbay, Deck 2, USS Resolution )) Dwich’s training prepared him well for most things. Despite having worked in such diverse settings as large city hospitals, starbase infirmaries, and on the frontiers of Federation space, his EMT duties remained remarkably consistent no matter where in the galaxy he executed them: assess a patient’s condition, keep them breathing, stop them from bleeding, and generally keep them from coming apart until a real doctor can get a look at them. Then, fill out the PADDwork and it’s back out onto the floor to await the next emergency. When Resolution went to red alert and he felt the first rumbles and shakes of an incipient space battle, Dwich kept his head down and remembered his training. Anytime the ship came under attack, casualties were to be expected. Resolution’s sickbay, though small, was well equipped to handle them, even severe ones, provided they came through the doors one or two at a time. As the attack grew in intensity, and he had to brace himself against the biobed to avoid being thrown over it, the young Bajoran worried that they’d quickly become overwhelmed. And they were. Within minutes, the biobeds were occupied, and the room was filling quickly with everything from broken wrists to plasma burns, and worse. With Dr. Adea in command, Dr. Morgan on the station, and every one of Resolution’s 249 other qualified medical practitioners–Nicholotti, MacKenzie, and Yalu, among them–off the ship, there was little Dwich could do but press into service anyone who walked through the doors capable of holding a tricorder and waving the doohickey back and forth at the same time. Adea: =/\= This is Captain Adea to all personnel. Drop what you’re doing and head to the nearest escape pod. This is not a drill. We are evacuating the ship. =/\= Speaking of doohickey. The doctor who coined the term, referring to the portable scanning device nestled inside of a medical tricorder, had just shifted the priority from “triage and stabilize” to “get everyone the kosst out.” With Sickbay occupying a privileged position along the ship’s outer hull, the escape pods were relatively easy to access, and the procedure was clear. Dwich quickly conducted a headcount of everyone who would need assistance moving. Fortunately, there weren’t that many. Yet. Adea: =/\= Adea to Hamsan; can you stop off at my quarters as you evacuate sickbay and pick up Toto? Thanks. =/\= Hamsan: =/\= Will do, Sir. =/\= oO If there’s time. Oo Dwich pushed up his sleeves and waved his arms to get everyone’s attention. Hamsan: =/\= All right, everyone. You heard the captain. Everyone who can lift, bend, stoop, and carry: Congratulations, you’re our new field medics. ::points across Sickbay:: Anti-grav stretchers are over there, work in groups of two. If you can walk, proceed out into the corridor in an orderly fashion and head directly for the evacuation point. ::beat:: If you can’t, sit tight. We’ll get you. Thankfully, the assembled officers and crew didn’t need to be told twice. The ones who could lift lifted, the ones who could carry carried, and everyone else remained reasonably calm. As Dwich started to feel the stress of the situation rising in his chest, he closed his eyes and prayed to The Prophets for peace and clear headedness. His recent experience at the hands of the time-bending Q had done more than fuse together two versions of himself from alternate dimensions. EMT Hamsan and Vedek Hamsan actually complimented each other quite well, the former inspiring the latter to action, and the latter inspiring the former to contemplation. When The Prophets had “fixed” him, he was afraid of becoming so muddled that he lost himself. The opposite had come true. (( Timeskip – A few minutes later )) Dwich was tired and his muscles were sore from making multiple trips between sickbay and the evacuation point, but there was no time to waste. The alarms continued to sound, so the danger–whatever it was–was still present. With the last person safely out of sickbay, and some escape pods still yet to be launched, Dwich ran the short distance to Dr. Adea’s quarters to make a special errand. Hamsan: Computer, open this door. Medical override Hamsan-kappa-eight-one-seven. Not exactly an authorized use of his medical override clearance, but he had been given specific orders from his boss and captain to collect the dog. Dwich stepped through the doors and scanned the room quickly, but didn’t see Toto. Hamsan: Toto! Toto! Here boy! No such luck. Poor little guy was probably scared out of his paws. Without considering the propriety of his actions, Dwich ran from the living area into Dr. Adea’s bedroom, dropped to the carpet and looked under the bed, then behind the furniture, and in the closets. Finally, he found him, huddled under a collection of blankets, pillows, and dressing gowns. Hamsan: Come here, boy. We’re going on a little trip. It took some coaxing, but not much. Clearly the dog possessed enough intelligence to know that Dwich was there to rescue him. He was bigger, and heavier, than Dwich realized, but the EMT’s arms, legs, and back were warmed up from having helped so many people out of sickbay. Once back in the corridor, Dwich looked forlornly at the turbolift. There wasn’t time to go down to deck four and retrieve anything from the quarters he shared with Meidra. Maybe everything would be fine? Maybe they would fix whatever was wrong with the ship and everyone could come back home? Maybe. Maybe not. Hamsan: oO There will be another lilac. Oo Turning away from the turbolift, Hamsan ran with the dog in his arms to the evacuation point. Stepped through the small opening, and waited for the remaining seats to fill. It didn’t take long, and before anyone could process what was happening, the pod launched with a g-force that momentarily disoriented both Dwich and Toto. Only after they were far enough away did he see through the small viewport how bad things truly were. TBC PNPC Crewman 2nd Class Hamsan Dwich Emergency Medical Technician USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0
  11. Home run from @Hallia Yellir. Ryan (Yellir's writer) gave such great description in this sim, I could practically hear the character's heart pounding throughout this climactic group scene. Ryan responded to the action in progress that made sense for the character and also nudged the scene in a logical way. Well done, @Hallia Yellir! (( Corridors, Rinascita Station )) By no means was Hallia a fighter — the possibility of being placed in an encounter where her life might be at stake felt like a distant fever dream in Starfleet and the reality of it being mere moments away still didn’t feel quite… tangible. Was she dreaming? Was the pit forming in her stomach little more than just a light hunger? Everything Hallia was feeling reminded her of the riots back on her homeworld. The constant shrieks of energy weapons, distant explosions and harrowing screams. This feeling of anxiety was all too familiar to the Yelikan, but back then it was far easier to just close her eyes and hope no officers would knock down her family’s door. Each step was like walking through water. The corridor was deathly silent, the brief and quiet thud had left what felt like a vacuum in its wake. Perhaps that was the most menacing part of this whole experience. It was the void that blanketed the group like a dense mist, the sound, or lack thereof, always seemed to signify something far worse on the horizon. It practically spelled out frightening amount of unknowns that could factor in. Perhaps the biggest of the red flags was dealing with the Suliban. Hallia had heard stories about some of them having uncanny abilities to cling to walls and twist their limbs in ways that would rival her own species. She never knew what to make of them, seeing as up until now much of that was buried in the vast mythos of cargo ship captains and freight traders who were just about the only people that went off world before recently. Sherlock: I think I can see them. Just their heads. ::pointing to the lighted windows of the Control room:: Hallia looked into the darkness as the others did, but she wasn’t certain she could discern anything. Whatever moved look like no more than a dancing shadow. But that was all the confirmation they needed for a heads up. Adyr: I see movement, but nothing clear. Sirin: I hear something just ahead. They may know we are near. Yellir: ::whispering:: We should hide so we still have some element of surprise. Cayden wordlessly led them to a small alcove so that they could regroup and strategize. Hallia followed without much hesitation, readying her phaser, she kept a watchful eye out in case anything new came into view. They needed to act quickly and decisively, there was no telling if Morgan would still be alive. She turned to the rest of the group, crouching down. Sherlock: What do we think? Adyr: I'm not sure. Do you think there's a way to disarm them first, before they get the doc? Sirin: A distraction perhaps? Yellir: That would work, if someone diverts their fire we can use that to make an opening. But I worry with so little room it may not matter Adyr: Alright, so what would be the best approach then? Sherlock: I'll go straight into the room and establish a point of domination. Everyone else, file in alternating going left then right. Just get clear of the door, it's a fatal funnel. Once you're in, shoot anyone with a weapon, don't shoot anyone without one. Oh, and just in case, keep your phasers on stun. That seemed like a good idea. “Shoot anyone with a weapon”, “phasers on stun”. Hallia glanced over her dolphin-nosed weapon, attempting to control the slight tremble in her wrist. She could feel her nerves rising to a boiling point and she was having trouble maintaining her focus. Tapping a button on the weapon, Hallia increased the beam intensity to a heavy stun. She didn’t know what this Suliban had in store, but whatever it was, she didn’t want to risk him being potentially resistant to energy weapons. For all they knew— a light stun might stagger him momentarily, but it wouldn’t be enough to keep him down for long. Hallia peeked out of the alcove, realising that once she entered that room, there would be no exit. The only way forward would be to stop that Suliban. There was no room for error, and if anyone went down they would have no help from the Resolution in the current state of the station. Sirin: ::wryly:: A wise precaution. My aim is hardly legendary. Hallia was no pushover when it came to aiming a phaser, but this was hardly anything like a combat exercise. Adyr: With such close quarters, aim should not be necessary. Sherlock: Alright, let's do this. The group stayed low, hugging the wall as they moved. The seconds that passed on approach felt like its own little eternity. Moments passed where all Hallia could hear with the deep thrum of her heartbeat in her ears. There was a building rush of adrenaline stirring in her veins. A nod was given before chaos ensued. In an instant the scenario degraded. Hallia ran into the room as the Suliban levelled his weapon and Morgan took cover. There was a warning issued, and in a brief flash of sickly green light — someone had already been hit. Sherlock was down. There was a shrill scream from Meidra and Cayden no doubt jumped right on it. Hallia was already on her way to give Morgan some sort of protection. She kept her head down and sprinted in his direction, breaking into a powerslide onto the deck plating as her balance gave out. Raban: response Adyr: Get to Sherlock! Hallia snapped to look to Sherlock’s figure slumped against the ground, with locks of purple hair already falling in her vision she swivelled back to Morgan. Yellir: ::to Morgan:: Stay here ::shouting:: Cover me! Threads orange energy lashed in the direction of the Suliban, as Hallia attempted to keep him occupied while she ran. One again keeping her head low, she fired multiple shots at their foe, sheerly attempting to keep him pinned down. A thread of weapons fire narrowly missed her head, the heat practically singing her uniform as she quickly crouched down to check up on Sherlock. Raban: response Sirin: I don’t think that will be a problem. You're close enough to hit easily. oO I have— I have to move—I have to move her. Oo The words played over and over as the Yelikan gripped their chief under her arms and pulled her into the cover of a nearby cupboard. This was her chance now that their assailant was occupied by two people who could probably handle themselves much better than she could. Hallia placed Sherlock against the cupboard, placing two fingers on her neck, she desperately tried to search for a pulse in her panicked state. It was faint— and she more than likely needed medical attention. The front of her uniform was charred beyond recognition. Sherlock needed to get to a sickbay as soon as possible. The next to join her was Meidra. From a first glance, Hallia couldn’t tell if the counsellor was still alive. Instinctively, she fired a shot at the Suliban attempting to ward him off. She grazed his shoulder, not hitting him square enough to even knock him off his feet before the Yelikan stepped back into cover. Raban: response Morgan: response Adyr: It's over. Just let us take care of our wounded and we let you take care of yours. Yellir: ::peeking from cover:: You’re outnumbered, two of us are still armed and standing. You have no chance. In the blink of an eye there was a flash of metal. Another explosion rang out from the station throwing off Hallia’s aim as another thread of orange light went wide from the Suliban. Without time to even recover, she saw Cayden run straight for their adversary and in an instant she was right on top of the Suliban. Sirin: What just happened? oO Oh thank goodness you’re still alive. Oo Adyr: You [...]. Cayden raised her phaser to the Suliban’s head, practically trying to shove it into his brain. Approaching, Hallia still kept her phaser levelled, ensuring she was between them and Morgan. She stood in front of him protectively. Yellir: Commander STOP! Morgan: Response? Adyr: Give me a reason why I shouldn't. Raban: Response? There was a moment where Hallia felt Cayden would follow through. She’d seen that expression before and the Trill was engulfed in nothing but pure rage. She was worried she was going to lose control. Hallia tightened the grip on her phaser. Adyr: Someone find something to secure him, and let's get our people some help. Yellir: ::nodding:: We should stun him first, even him being conscious is a security risk. The Yelikan kept her phaser levelled with the Suliban. Not once breaking eye contact, her thumb hovered on the trigger, barely feathering on the button to fire. Morgan/Raban: Response? Yellir: ::nodding:: Sherlock is still alive, she was hit pretty hard with the Suliban’s weapon, and Sirin may be losing a lot of blood. I’ll restrain the Suliban, there should be something in these cupboards perhaps. Hallia moved towards a nearby cupboard. Pulling out a wound up cable of some kind. There was little else she could use, so this will have to do. Morgan/Adyr/Raban: Yellir: Lieutenant Morgan, are you hurt? Morgan/Adyr/Raban: Response? TAG/TBC _____________________ Lieutenant JG Hallia Yellir Science Officer USS Resolution G239409EK0
  12. @Kali Nicholotti's recent character arc has given us innumerable great reads. Through a seamless blending of recent IC events and moments from the character's backstory, I feel like I've really gotten to know Kalianna through these sims. This JP, in particular, weaves some particularly elegant narrative into the dialogue, making it a distinct pleasure to read. (OOC - Though he is not on these lists to see this note, I want to thank Steve for writing this up with me and helping me with this part of the arc. We hope everyone enjoys this contribution...) ((The Round Table, USS Excalibur - A)) Sleep in a time other than her own had been just as restless as any other, giving way to nightmares and the reflection of regrets she carried with her in her own time. The concerning part was that no doorway she had walked through as of yet had returned her to her own time again. Still, she continued to try, moving from the diplomatic offices, to the bridge, to engineering, the shuttle bays, and now to the Round Table lounge where a drink, perhaps, would help ease her mind. The doors, like all the others, parted, inviting her in. Stepping through changed nothing, and the nearly empty room told the tale of an ending that needed to happen. Outside the massive transparent aluminum windows at one end, the remnants of the anomaly known now as ‘Kali’s Scar’ drifted beautifully amongst the stardust backdrop. In front of one of those windows, in a seat facing the same, she caught a familiar face. He was older, with edges etched on his face that told of experiences she did not know about, and time she wasn’t there for, but beneath it all he was still the same man. Liam Frost. Stopping to order and grab a drink, she quietly approached the table and slipped into the chair next to him, following his gaze out into the stars. The lights flickered and seemed to brighten. The view outside suddenly shifted. The Scar was gone and in its place, the curvature of the planet below faded off into the darkness of space. It had been a long time since Liam Frost had found himself on board a Starfleet ship. And if he was being honest with himself, it had been a long time since he had been welcome on one. His uniform and pips had long since been put away, and his career as a Starfleet officer closed like a book that often seemed like it had ended too soon. But there was still a familiarity about it. The way the Stars looked through the windows of the lounge of a ship. The hum of the deckplates under his feet. And the energy of a crew going about keeping it working that was unmistakable. Nicholotti: Thank you for coming, Liam. It wasn’t often you got to thank a friend for being there to serve justice for your death. Time was fickle and she didn’t want that opportunity to fade before she’d said it. He didn't need to turn to see who was coming. Even if he wasn't here by her invitation, the voice of Kali Nicholotti was unmistakable to anyone who had spent any significant amount of time with her. And it didn't take much longer than that to pick up on the distinct difference between Command Kali and Casual Kali. He had seen both, and in many ways he was a fan of both. But in this particular moment he was glad to be dealing with the latter. Frost: It's been a long time since I was on a proper Starfleet ship. Nicholotti: I know. Kali nodded, looking down at her drink before looking over at him. It had been a very, very long time. She couldn’t help but smile, however slightly, and however etched with sadness. He looked down at his drink for a moment, reminiscing about all the times he had spent within the similar, but always subtly different corridors of various vessels. The people that he had known along the way. The people he had lost. The people he had left behind. There were entirely too many of them. Some of them he still kept in touch with, but it hadn't been the same. Frost: Not since… well… the funeral to be honest. Andrus Jaxx had been one of Liam's mentors. Along with Kali they were easily the two people most responsible for who he had become as an officer. Whether or not that was a good thing had become a subject of some debate and contention at his own court martial. And even though he wasn't an officer anymore, he felt that he owed a debt to his old friend and mentor to be there despite some of the sideways looks he got when he was there. Kali nodded. She completely understood. Though her own path had taken her back into command, it hadn’t been easy stepping foot on the bridge, let alone the bridge of the Resolution. Echoes of the voices of those long gone haunted her in ways that were more real than ever since the Q. Nicholotti: Do you ever think about returning? They were, at one point, thicker than thieves. From their jaunt in the past in Earth’s 1960’s, to their trip to Echevarria, Kali, Liam, Jaxx, Katy, and so many others...it physically hurt to know that some of those faces she would never see again. Certainly, they would never work together again. Frost: Sometimes. But that assumes they would have me back. Truth be told he missed the life he had built for himself in Starfleet. He believed in what he was doing, and in the people around him. And he was proud of what he had accomplished. Anyone in his position would have been. He was a part of shaping events that would be talked about and used as case studies in the Academy for decades. Some who reported on his last mission in Command of the Gemini would say that he threw it all away. They speculated on his motives from selfishness, cowardice, hubris, and outright malice. There was never any question that he had broken a number of Starfleet regulations. But one thing that remained consistent was his belief that he had done what was right. And as long as he could maintain that belief, he could live with himself. And so far he had done so. The details surrounding what were his final days as a Starfleet captain were a maelstrom of ambiguity. Everyone at the top had an opinion, and as usual, most of them stank. Kali hadn’t been given a say, other than to commission the Apollo with the remains of the crew and carry on. And it might have been one of the hardest things she ever had to do, had she had all of her memories intact at the time. As it were, regret gnawed at her even now, but not for the launch of the Apollo. No, she regretted not being there in the full capacity to save him. Nicholotti: What you do here...it matters too. Frost: It's not quite the same. But I have a good life here. Bajor has been good to me. He took a long sip of his drink as he looked out over the blue-green hues of Bajor's oceans. If you had asked him when he graduated from the Academy where he was going to end up, a flight instructor for the Bajoran Defense Force would probably not have been high up on the list. But it was where he was. And even though it wasn't Starfleet, it still gave him the one thing he wanted most; a sense of purpose. Frost: For what it's worth, you're part of why I'm here. I wasn't sure where I was going to go after I left Starfleet. It was the only life I'd ever known. I didn't have a backup plan. But the fact that you stuck your neck out for me… Her crystalline blues met his browns and she leaned her head to the side slightly as if asking the question. In return, she could see the churning behind his look. He paused for a moment. For a long time there had been a very clear distinction in Liam's mind between the Kali he had known and the Kali that came out of that void. He had very nearly had her arrested as an imposter the first time the blue-eyed version of the woman he had known and admired showed up on his bridge. But he had come to learn that the things that had made her who she was; the passion, the dedication, the determination, and the compassion, they were all still there in spades. She looked a little different, but she was still fundamentally the same person she had been before. And never was that more clear then when she had risked her reputation to speak up for him. And it was probably the biggest reason he wasn't halfway through a ten-year prison sentence. Frost: I figured I owed it to you to find a way to keep going. And here I am. A ghost of a grin, reminiscent of that which she used to often flash to those she knew well, danced across her face. Nicholotti: That, Liam, is a gift. For all you did for me, even after my death, I am glad I could give something back. Besides, the universe would have been a much colder place without the warmth brought to it by old friends. He deserved a fairer shot, perhaps, but fate, and the universe had a strange way of leading you home. She could still remember the young, [...]y pilot on his first days, and a much younger version of herself laughing at one who reminded her very much of her own antics. All told, they had been given something special and time had taken it away. But the end wasn’t always the end. Frost: Luckily for me the Bajorans were happy to bring someone with my experience on board. Nicholotti: Lucky for the Bajorans, someone with your experience was available. For a moment, Kali settled into silence, both comfortable next to one of her oldest and most trusted friends, and uncomfortable in knowing just how much was left unsaid. Nicholotti: For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. He wondered silently what she might have thought she had to be sorry for. Knowing her there were probably a dozen or more things that she thought were her fault, or her responsibility. Regardless of whether or not they actually were. Some of that was a natural part of the burden of command. At the end of the day, the decisions made by those under your command were ultimately your responsibility. If you didn't like the ones they made, the burden was on you to teach them better for the next time. It was a weight he was keenly familiar with. But in a much more real way, this was just Kali being Kali. She had always been the type to carry the weight of others on her own shoulders. Even to her own detriment at times. She was often utterly unable, or unwilling, to let others carry burdens she believed herself to be able to carry for them. Even when she appeared to be overestimating her own abilities. In many ways it garnered her the respect and the trust of those under her command faster than just about any other officer Liam had met. And the value of that trust was immeasurable. But it also meant that it was hard to separate oneself from the inevitable negatives that came with command. Every wound, every tragedy, was felt that much more keenly, cut that much deeper. And Liam was absolutely sure it was that same sense that had led her to sacrifice herself, rather than order a member of her crew to their death. And the uncomfortable truth was that he had at least some idea of how she felt. He had given the order for the Apollo to fire on a ship commanded by a terrorist. There were 1300 people on that ship. He lived with it because just about every regulation in the book said he had been justified in doing so, and the Board of Inquiry had agreed. What was less easy to live with was Vanessa Driscoll. He had ordered a young woman in the prime of her career on an away mission that she would never return from. She was a victim of a civil war that had started long before Liam had even thought of joining Starfleet, left on a planet that few in the Federation had ever even heard of. There was another possibility as well, though. And that was simply that she felt sympathy for him. Frost: Don't be. You did more for me than I could have ever asked. And as bad as it was, the chances of dying in the process were pretty low. The things that everyone had gone through after she had gone into the void, essentially killing herself, had left quite the storm in her wake. The fact that she stood there now was a miracle of time and the thought stream on the other side of the Scar, but it certainly had not been promised, nor part of the plan. Still, she stood by the actions. Nicholotti: I still would have done it, even knowing, but, maybe I would have walked away a little bit differently. The question hadn't been asked explicitly, but it was clearly enough implied, at least between the two of them. There were people that he could say he was closer to in some ways, but it would be a mistake to dismiss the familiarity that serving together the way he had with Kali created. And in a way, being out of the uniform made it that much easier, knowing that there were no protocols and regulations to dance around either. Being able to look back and see things for what they were, her final words to those she loved, those she respected and cared about, for everyone involved...they would have been different. She would have hugged Jaxx a bit tighter that last time, spoken softer and with more understanding to Silveira, and let everyone know just what they meant to her. Frost: Yeah, I know that feeling. Leaving behind someone who had died was never easy. It left wounds that took a long time to heal, if at all. But there was a finality to it. There was time enough to wonder what if, but no amount of wondering would change the way things were. What was often harder was the ones that were still around. He could think of a few names on that list. People that he wanted to reach out to. To explain. To apologize. To say a thousand or more words that he hadn't known how to say before. Or been too frightened to say. And if he was going to be perfectly honest, one of the biggest reasons he hadn't reached out was that he was still too frightened. Whether it was true or not, he had it in his mind that most of them wouldn't be too thrilled to hear from him. Nicholotti: And we all have our demons that we carry with us to the grave. Sometimes not even that can shed them. Frost: Well that's an uncharacteristically bleak take. Kali nodded. Perhaps it was, but no one really knew what she had been living since the Resolution’s tango with the time loop. The Kali that Liam had first gotten to know could best be described as an optimistic realist. She believed that the best outcomes were possible, but that they wouldn't happen if one wasn't prepared to work for them. She also believed in preparing for the worst outcomes as well. At least to the extent that one could prepare for such a thing. By just about any measure, Kali had been through one of the worst possible outcomes someone could experience. She had, by every existing definition, died. People generally did not come back from that sort of thing. And yet here she was. He had to assume that an experience like that would change a person, though he couldn't begin to truly fathom how. Nicholotti: Let’s just say I’ve been reliving history as of late. Her crystalline blues flicked upwards and met his eyes, holding them for a long moment. For the briefest moment, it seemed that something changed in her. He couldn't quite put into words how it looked, or even be sure if it was something he could actually see. It was as though she were somehow outside herself, as if she were looking in on this moment as an observer, or an audience member, rather than being a part of it. Perhaps that was some sort of leftover effect from what she went through in the rift. He couldn't imagine what it would have been like. He had been unconscious before. And perhaps from her perspective being dead wasn't all that different. You were aware of something one moment, then, all of a sudden, you were aware of something completely different, with little to no memory or understanding of what had happened in between those two moments. It was only the people around you who could tell you exactly what had happened in those intervening moments. And that was where things really hit you. Nicholotti: Or perhaps my sins are haunting me. Either way, it brings me peace to know you’re alright. And it did. With so many connections lost, it was a relief to know that at least one had survived. The once fresh-faced ensign-turned-captain-turned-civilian had quite literally walked through his own hell, but he was there. He was alive. He had survived just like she had, in a way. Frost: I've got more than enough skeletons to fill my closet. There was a long list of names of people he felt like he had done wrong by, that he owed an apology to. He wasn't sure how many of them would be willing to hear one from him. And to say nothing of those that weren't around to hear one even if they would. Frost: Prophets know there's enough people that I owe an apology to. Or at least a better explanation than the one I gave them. He gave her a deliberate look and raised his glass in her direction. Frost: But at least I can cross one name off that list. Kali nodded. She understood and grabbed her own glass, raising it in return. Nicholotti: One of perhaps many. Maybe you should keep going. There was something cathartic in the process of reconnecting, of speaking thoughts that had weighed heavily on the mind for years and years. When you share life, and death, with people the way that a Starfleet crew did, a bond gets built that is difficult to tear down, especially as quickly as some of the transfers come. When things happen, such as her death, that change, that transition becomes even more complicated. Second chances didn’t happen often. Frost: Well considering this one went better than I expected that it might, I might just have to. He had always found it awkward to reach out to someone that he hadn't spoken to in a while. Especially when it got to the point where he had become very aware of how long he had let things go without doing so. And all things considered, it was just about time that he found a way to get over that and start to mend some fences. Or at least offer to. And if they weren't interested in hearing him out, he could at least say that he tried. That got him a smile. The voices in the back of her mind lingered, ever threatening, but for the moment they remained quelled by a very loud, and very real voice from her past sitting right in front of her. And even with the years that had gone by, even with the history that had passed between them, there was still something worth sharing. There was still wisdom, camaraderie, and friendship. Nicholotti: Time is a fickle thing. We never really know when it’s done, but until it is, it’s never too late to start over. Her own advice resonated through her mind as the images of a painted sky danced in her mind. Tiny drops of color shared between two minds, emotions passing between barriers that didn’t really exist save for the non-telepaths reminded her of chances at life, at happiness and at love. She saw the ideas reflected in her friend’s eyes as well. He held up his glass to her once again. Frost: To new beginnings. Kali raised her glass again, this time with a broad smile. Frost: I suppose it's entirely possible I'm just in my own head about how long it's been. Drinking what was left down, Kali shook her head. Nicholotti: No, it’s been that long, but I meant what I said. It’s not too late until it’s over. Liam found it reassuring to know that at least he wasn't starting from scratch. He had begun the process a few times, though he'd done little in the way of follow-through. He had a more or less complete list of names. And had even managed to confirm that most of them were still in Starfleet. Or at least had Starfleet-adjacent careers. But that was the easy part. With eyes that fell on the planet drifting lazily beyond the window, it shocked her when it momentarily disappeared. Replaced, again, by the image of the Scar jutting across the sky, Kali’s eyes narrowed as the voices in her mind suddenly grew louder and the surrounding area grew dimmer and colder. Time was, indeed, a fickle thing. Even she understood the meaning. She closed her eyes for a long moment until the warmth returned. Frost: I hope the folks on my list share that sentiment. And when she opened them, he was there next to her again. She smiled knowingly, looking over at him. Nicholotti: Don’t waste it, Liam. Don’t waste whatever you have left. Find them, tell them. Say what you need to say. And there was the other half. The insightful and sincere Kali. The one who was, when called upon, able to make an emotional appeal that was in every way as convincing as raw Vulcan logic. It was a side of her that he always felt struck a delicate balance. He had seen it often enough to know that it was utterly genuine. But just rare enough to know just how important it was to her. Which only made it that much more convincing. He smiled again. There was a weight, small enough that he had almost forgotten he was carrying it, that seemed to drift out of the room. Frost: Hey, just because you aren't my superior officer anymore doesn't mean I don't know how to follow a sensible order. The dull roar in her head was returning and she knew something was up. The draw to find Addison was real, though she was certainly sure she had no idea what to say when she found her. Kali shook her head. She stood, moved towards him and put a hand on his shoulder. Nicholotti: Promise me you won’t be a stranger? You just need to call. I’ll be there. A whole new level of seriousness flowed through her crystalline blues as she looked at him. Her grip was perhaps a bit too tight, not wanting to let go, but knowing that time itself was messing with her. She did what she could to lock this moment, this memory up tight and keep it safe. And there it was. He knew it was coming, but it still hit him like a punch in the gut. He had told himself at least a hundred times that it was something he needed to do. But he had just as often managed to find a reason to avoid it. But it was a lot harder to ignore it when it was coming from someone else. And even more so when it was someone he admired and respected as much as Kali. They had been through too much together for that, too many times she had trusted his decisions, too many times she had put faith in him to keep everyone under her command safe, to say nothing about what she had been through herself since then. As hard as it was to hear her say it to him, ignoring it at this point would be an insult to everything they had been through together. Frost: I promise. And if you ever find yourself anywhere near Bajor, my door is open. I know a place near my house that serves a Bajoran shrimp stir-fry so good it'll make you want to move here. And then she smiled, loosening her hand slightly just before turning to go. Nicholotti: Good. I look forward to it. She might have left it at that, and walked away, but she took only one step before she stopped and turned back. Nicholotti: Liam. Thank you. For everything. Always. Liam smiled in her direction again. It was odd to have her thanking him. The way he saw it the balance of favour owed leaned heavily in her direction. He knew she would never have made anything of it, but he was quite firm in his belief that he owed her more than he could ever hope to repay. He liked to think that he had become at least a touch more humble since he had first graduated the Academy, full of bravado and with so much to prove. And one of the reasons for it was the selflessness that the crews he served with had shown. Their willingness to put themselves out for others and for who and what they believed in. Frost: it's nothing you wouldn't have done for me. For as much success as he had earned in his life, he still had trouble properly accepting genuine thanks. He made a mental note to try and work on that as well. As he watched her turn to leave, he became very suddenly aware of a weight near his chest. But unlike before, this weight was very much real rather than metaphorical. Frost: Kali? He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small datachip. She leaned her head slightly to the side and offered him a questioning look before her eyes narrowed in on the chip itself. Nicholotti: What’s this? Frost: I'm not sure what right I have to ask for favours, but maybe you could help start this whole process along a bit. The road toward absolution was a rocky one, and it was always better to travel with friends. Kali knew this first hand. Overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness as a result of her own, self-fabricated walls, she envied his strength, and certainly did not spurn his request in any way. Nicholotti: I’d be honored to. What is it? He hesitated a moment before he held out the small chip for her. He knew that once he handed her the chip, there was going to be no going back on this process. And maybe that was what he needed. Frost: It's a message for an old friend that I've been meaning to deliver. There was hesitation, but Kali understood. She gave him his time, despite the flickering of the lights. Time be damned, some things would stand its test. Her boots were planted. She would stand. Nicholotti: Who do I get it to? There was her solid agreement, her promise, to get it to where it needed to go, even before she knew where it was going. Frost: Randal Shayne. Last I checked he was the CO of the USS Arrow. He was assigned to the Gemini out of the Academy. Always took a shine to him. He kind of reminded me of… well… me. Kali couldn’t help but grin. She remembered a very young Ensign Frost, bright eyed, raring to go, confident to the hilt, complete with every bit of swagger that a good pilot should have had - and all of the skills to back it up. The raven-haired command officer had taken a liking to him immediately, having seen perhaps a bit of herself in that reflection. It must have been a pilot thing. The years had tempered him, perhaps, but the skill remained, and the experiences had shaped him into one hell of a man. Nicholotti: Full of life with a side of a pilot’s ostentation? Frost: Yeah. And also with a lot to prove. He handed over the chip, knowing that it was now officially out of his hands. It wasn't too bad. At least he knew that Randal was hoping to hear from him, which made the process easier, though slightly more embarrassing that he hadn't done so sooner. But there was nothing that he could do about it now. Taking the chip, Kali nodded an understanding. The bridges would begin their mending now, at least for him. For her...the lights dimmed slightly, momentarily, as she slipped the chip safely away. Nicholotti: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Frost: Well I gotta start somewhere. Nodding, she offered him one last, knowing smile. Nicholotti: Perhaps today we start together. Her crystalline eyes held his gaze for a moment longer than she meant to, making it hard to turn away, but she knew it was coming. It took work, but she said one final, silent farewell to her old friend and turned away, leaving the lounge and doing her best to make her way to her quarters before she time-jumped again. Or before the tears fell. Whichever came first. TBC -- Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Resolution R238605KN0 And Major Liam Frost Senior Flight Instructor Bajoran Military Academy Former Commanding Officer, USS Gemini
  13. I am sure most of you are aware of the wonderful story line that these talented writers have developed. Again, if you manage the time, please, read it all. It is still in progress, but it is so worthy of praise. I want to thank the three of you. Not only for this one, but for being in the same crew. I am honored to team up with you. A word of caution, this isn't an easy reading. It made a knot on my throat since I read it and as I am posting it now it still does. But I am grateful that you wrote it. Thank you again and wonderful job. IC: ((Etan Family Homestead)) ((Time Index: Three Days Later)) Rehr had not slept since that fateful night. Everytime he tried to close his eyes, the image he saw through the viewer of the binoculars haunted him, seared onto his mind like the charred flesh on the child’s dead mother. Everytime he looked at his reflection in the mirror, a stranger stared back at him. A stranger with bloodshot eyes and a guilty conscience. It was a man who knew that his days were numbered. A man who would soon know the cold embrace of death at the hand’s of a Cardassian firing squad- or at Moparu’s. A man who would never know the serenity afforded those who reached the Celestial Temple. A man who had taken innocent lives. He didn’t know who had been in that warehouse on that awful night, but he knew that it was not members of the Obsidian Order. The Cardassian secret police did not put children in harm’s way- one of the few decencies they abided by. His gut also told him that it had not been Central Command either. They had been civilians- a family, perhaps. Each time he came to that realisation he vomited, disgusted with himself. He had kept his distance from Oona, afraid of what she might think of him. He had busied himself in the fields, trying to use his farmer’s duties as a way to distract his tortured thoughts and to keep his wife from seeing the truth of how he felt. They saw each other at mealtimes but rarely spoke to one another. They shared their bed but the gulf between them felt wide and insurmountable. Passion had died. As he splashed cold water upon his face, he heard creaking on the stairs behind him and the tell tale footsteps of his wife. He did not look up as the frigid sting of the winter water hit his face. He just stood in front of the sink, limp from exhaustion willing her to leave him be. Oona: We need to talk. Rehr: No. ::came his simple response, as evenly as he could muster.:: He had perhaps managed an hour of tortured sleep: filled with horrific nightmares, too disturbing to describe. He had woken in tears and had wept silently into his pillow, wondering just who that child and mother were. Who he had orphaned. Oona: You aren’t sleeping, you aren’t speaking. You aren’t living. We need to talk. He went to respond when a knock at the door of their home rooted him to the spot, icy fear paralysing him. This was it. This was the day he died. The Cardassians had found them. Or Moparu. His breaths came quickly and shallow as panic set in. His eyes grew wide, fixated on the wooden, windowless door. His hands began to shake and a single tear escaped from the corner of his right eye. Oona: ::calmly:: We should answer that. He willed himself to move. Unsteady on his feet, he crossed the cobblestoned kitchen and reached for the doorknob. He twisted it with hands that would not cease to shake and prepared himself as best as he could for the end. It took him several seconds that felt like an eternity to realise that on the other side of the open door was a Vedek, not a Cardassian or Moparu. A Vedek in brilliant robes of purple and red with an orange sash draped across their right shoulder and trailing down to the floor behind them. Their earring was hidden by a hat bisected into five pointed segments, the tallest of which hung over their forehead in a sharp point of royal purple fabric. He heard Oona’s footsteps behind him. Vedek Ishi Aba inclined her head towards them both, before giving them a warm smile. Too warm, possibly. She was nervous about what she had been sent here to do. If their sources were correct, these two had killed. Opinions differed on whether they were accidental murderers or cold-blooded executioners. Rehr: Y-Yes? ::he stammered.:: Oona: Who are you? Vedek Ishi: Ishi Aba of the Vedek Assembly. May I come in? Never the best actor on Bajor, Rehr could not help but allow his paranoid fear from trickling into his voice. Rehr: H-How c-can we help y-you? Oona: Just tell us what you have come to say. Vedek Ishi: If my intelligence is correct, I am afraid you may need to leave Bajor immediately. But I do hope I am wrong. Rehr moved to one side to allow the Vedek to enter their humble abode. Once she had done so, Rehr stepped outside for a moment and looked around for signs of anyone else. It was still early in the morning, the sun barely having come up over the Holana Ridge and the fields were still empty of labourers. Even his mother, away visiting family in Ashalla, was absent. There was apparently nobody but he, Oona and Vedek Ishi for miles. He stepped back into the house and closed the door. The chill morning air did little to fortify his fraying nerves. Oona: You are wrong. Tell her, Rehr. Rehr: We d-don’t know what you’re talking about. Not only was he a terrible actor, he was an even worse liar. Vedek Ishi: I don’t believe that for a second, Rehr, is it? I think the deaths of an entire warehouse of refugees, accidental or not, would stick in the memory. Rehr swallowed, looking at the Vedek who was staring at him intently. It was as if she could see into his pagh, as though she knew everything there was to know about him. About what he and Oona had been part of three nights before. Then, as if somebody had turned on a light, something fell into place. He looked at Ishi, his voice deathly quiet. Rehr: D-did you say… refugees? It didn't make sense. Refugees… but the woman whose broken and charred body he had seen through the binoculars had been Cardassian. Unmistakably, so. He had seen them on every street corner, on every drinking tavern, at every checkpoint out of Talmulna, on every propaganda video. The look of a Cardassian was imprinted upon his brain just as the dead Cardassian woman and the groping hand of the child in the rubble was now. Rehr: oO Cardassian refugees? Oo ::it seemed like an oxymoron.:: oO How could Cardassians be refugees? On a planet they have invaded? Oo ::he stared again at the Vedek.:: oO Who is this woman? Oo Oona: Why would Cardassians hide on Bajor? During a war that they caused? Vedek Ishi’s lips turned into a thin line; were these master murderers actually what they appeared to be? A couple in way over their heads. Unless they were acting at being terrible at acting, she could read them like a book. Vedek Ishi: They were civilians. Civilian dissidents. They were refugees to our planet, from before the occupation, seeking a freer Cardassia. They sought religious freedom, to practice whatever they wanted. They were peaceful. And… well, you butchered them like they were livestock. Bile burned at the back of Rehr’s throat and he fought to contain the rising tide of nausea that threatened to spill forth like the waters of the Ratosha [...]. They had been party to the massacre of innocent Cardassian lives. ‘The only good Cardassian is a dead Cardassian’ was a theory he had never been able to subscribe to- and it was one of the reasons he and Moparu had clashed on a number of occasions. Yes, the Central Command were oppressive and cruel- if not downright sadistic- and yes, the Obsidian Order were extremists with a warped view of the galaxy, but those that worked for them were a mere fraction of the total number of Cardassians. He had heard whispered through the Resistance of a dissident movement, opposed to the fascistic tendencies of the Union and who fought for a free, democratic Cardassia. Much was also made about the art and literature from a Cardassia before Central Command, before the Obsidian Order. He didn’t like to admit it, but Rehr knew that there were good and just Cardassians- who were very much alive. He had just never met one. Now he had helped kill dozens of them. Rehr: W-we don’t know anything about it. ::he responded, trying to sound defiant. But there was no mistaking the tone in his voice. It was feeble. Defeated.:: Y-you have the wrong people. He knew that Ishi would be able to see straight through him and know that his pagh was in turmoil. And she did. Her brown eyes bore holes through Rehr’s pagh and saw that he was all of a flutter, and in complete tumult. Oona: You have incorrect information. Vedek Ishi: Please, stop lying to me. ::she smiled briefly in an attempt at humour:: It’s bad for your pagh. The shame that now overwhelmed made him unable to look at the Vedek or Oona. Instead he looked down at the cobblestones without really paying attention to them. His eyes registered them but he did not see them. All that he could take in was the dead Cardassian woman and the child groping through the rubble. Rehr: Why have you come to tell us this? Vedek Ishi: Because the Assembly has agreed to get you out. Off Bajor for a time. The Obsidian Order are looking for your cell, and it won’t be long before they find you. The thought turned Rehr’s stomach again and he heaved. Having to leave his mother alone on the farm, turning his back on his life as he knew it, fleeing for their lives from the ever reaching hand of the Order and becoming fugitives of the dreaded ‘state’. In a split second, his life had been turned upside down for the second time in three days. He imagined a life where he and Oona would never know a moment’s peace again. His guilty eyes found Oona’s for a brief moment and the realisation that he had led them both down the path before them was too much. He turned from her and vomited into the sink, hot tears trickling from both eyes. The retching was painful as he convulsed. Without thinking, Rehr wiped his mouth with the sleeve of shirt and then turned to face the Vedek and his beloved wife again. Another wave of nausea threatened, but he willed it back. Oona glared at the intruder, was this another plot from Moparu to torment them? She wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this visit was part of his twisted game. Vedek Ishi: ::clearly deeply uncomfortable:: Believe me, it is not a task I relish, but your lives are in danger. They already have Jahanna. Or at least, that’s what the chatter is saying. Rehr: How long do we have? ::he heard Oona begin to protest but he cut across her.:: There’s no point in arguing, Oona. The Obsidian Order are after us. The longer we remain here, the more risk we are at! You know that! ::beat:: And if by some miracle we escape their clutches- you know Moparu will find us!! He didn’t like overruling his wife. They were a team, they did everything in agreement. It was the secret of their happy union. But this time he had to stand his ground, to make the decision. Their lives were on the line. Jahanna was probably dead already, Altin too. Rehr: How long do we have? ::he repeated, looking to the Vedek with a surprising level of decisiveness that he had not felt moments before.:: The Vedek looked from Rehr to Oona and back to Rehr. She was deeply worried about this Moparu character; initial intelligence had suggested he was behind the whole thing. And she was starting to suspect that although these two had believed that they were killing vicious Cardassian agents, this Moparu had known the truth, and either didn’t care or wanted civilians dead. Vedek Ishi: You have six hours. That’s all; I cannot give you any more time. I will meet you here. Bring only what you can carry. ::she bowed her head:: Good luck. Six hours was not nearly enough time to put the affairs of his life in order. If the Order was closing in on the cell then they’d be monitoring the local communications channels. He wouldn’t be able to call his mother to say goodbye, no time to cancel the labourers due to report for the katterpod harvest, no time to bid farewell to the few friends he and Oona had outside of the cell. They would simply cease to be. Rehr: Very well. ::he drew in a breath and offered a silent prayer to the Prophets for courage.:: Oona, we need t-. He stopped when he realised that his wife was no longer in the kitchen. It took him a second to process the loud bang as their front door slammed open, hitting the wooden slats of the wall outside. Oona had swept from the kitchen and was marching down the steps and towards the fields. He thought to call out to his wife, but he stopped. There had never been any reasoning with her when had grown angry. She was headstrong and vibrant and he loved that about her. He watched her retreating form for a moment and then pulled himself together. Rehr: I suppose I had better pack lightly. ::he said, simply.:: --- Etan Rehr Resistance Cell Member & Etan Oona Resistance Cell Member & Ishi Aba Vedek as simmed by: Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor Science Officer USS Resolution C239203TW0 & Lt Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution R239707MS0 & Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Second Officer & Chief Medical Officer USS Resolution G239502GS0
  14. I hesitate to post this as the story is still ongoing, but man, did I get goose bumps at the end of this installment! Very relatable and familiar, just superb writing from @Etan Iljor and @Meidra Sirin! If your heart doesn't pick up it's pace, you're not really reading it! ((Etan Family Homestead, Muscilla Province, Bajor)) ((Time Skip: That Evening)) Dinner was a subdued affair, awkwardly so once more. Iljor didn't feel hungry nor in the mood to converse. He didn't know how to bring the purpose of his visit up. It seemed almost rude to just come out with it. He exchanged several glances with Meidra, who returned them with a hint of encouragement. He had hoped to do it earlier in the day, however Pa had spent much of the day in Talmulna on business and Ma had joined him for… reasons. Now they were together as a family and Ma was wittering on about her day as if she didn't have a care in the world. Etan Oona: You are wasting away, my son - don’t they feed you on that ship of yours? Meidra, does he not eat? Sirin: ::smiling:: I know he eats lunch at least once a week, we have a standing lunch date every week to discuss our research on various projects. He’s helped me immensely in my quest to understand Bajoran language and culture. I find myself quite fascinated by it. Etan Oona: ::to Iljor:: All the more reason for you to eat! That mind of yours needs nourishment. Meidra saw the tension grown on Iljor’s face, and wished that she could take some of it away from him. He seemed to become more agitated with every comment from his parents. She thought of sending him calming thoughts, but in his state, they would most likely be seen as obtrusive. She would watch him closely though, and be ready to step in if needed. Etan Rehr: What's wrong Iljor, you've hardly touched your broth? Etan Iljor: Oh? Er, it's nothing. Just not hungry. ::beat:: I had a big lunch. It was a clumsy lie. Yes, he didn't feel like he had the stomach for a meal- but he was ravenous. He didn’t have an appetite at lunch, either. He was certain that if supped his hasperat broth, he would vomit. Not because it was disgusting (quite the opposite)- but because of what he knew needed to be done. Oona looked at her son through narrowed eyes. If this did not have something to do with the guest he had brought into their home, it was something else. They had never kept secrets from each other. A little voice inside of her scoffed, but she silenced it as she had been doing for decades. There were some things a child did not need to know of their parents. Sirin: Oo This is not good. oO Etan Oona: I can tell that something is weighing upon you, za’dana. Tell your mother what is wrong. We do not keep secrets in this house. Now it was Ma’s turn to lie. Iljor drew in a breath and bit his lip. Meidra looked anywhere but at her friend. She could hear his sharp intake of breath at his mother’s comment, and knew it was just a matter of time before words were going to be spoken that would change this small family forever. She felt an immense pain within her chest, and realized that she could feel Iljor’s struggle. Swallowing tears that were only partly hers, she tried to sip her broth so that she would not say something that would set a spark to this kindling. Beside Oona, Rehr reached out and placed his hand on hers hoping that the gesture would calm her rising anxiety. Etan Iljor: Honestly, ::he said a little harsher than he intended.:: I'm fine. I'm just not hungry! Oona stood up and crossed her arms over her chest. Something was very wrong, and she was beginning to think that the officer that her son had brought was more than just a potential wife, or a best friend. There was something more to this, and she had a sick feeling that she was not going to like it when it was revealed. She tried to get the truth out of her son anyway. She could not rest until she could set things right with him. She sat down again, taking a long sip of springwine. Etan Oona: A mother knows these things, Iljor. You are hiding something and I want to know what has you so upset. ::puts down her glass:: I could tell from the moment you arrived that there was something wrong. Is this because Meidra won’t go out with you? Meidra choked on her wine. How was this conversation going so wrong when no one was actually saying anything to each other? Iljor’s face twisted as though he was trying not to cry, and she wanted to reach out and hold his hand. She paused though as Oona did not need any more ideas in her head. Etan Iljor: Ma, please. I'm okay. ::he wasn't, but he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of being right.:: And no, I don't want to date Meidra- she's my friend. ::the exasperation in his voice was beginning to dominate.:: Etan Oona: I have seen you when you are happy, and when you are not. You are not happy, and I will have my answers. ::looks between Meidra and Iljor:: There is something going on, and you both are hiding it from us. I was patient last night because you had just arrived, but now I can see that this has been growing inside of you. Tell me. He could feel his irritation transmogrifying into anger. The gnarled black knot in his stomach grew, twisting ever tighter as it choked his abdomen. Blood rushed and thundered in his ears as an eerie quiet settled upon the room, he could feel ice coursing through his fingers. And in his throat, the words he had longed to say threatened to spew forth- like an uncontrollable tide of bitter bile. Like spoken vomit. Words desperate to escape him. Etan Rehr: Iljor, your mother is just worried about you. The truth was, so was he. Rehr had been so happy to see his only soon and it had not been until Oona raised the possibility of something untoward that he had begun to consider it. He hated that his mind went to that place, but then again he hated much about himself. It was why he rarely slept more than three hours a night. The blood was rushing so loudly in her head that Oona could not hear anything else. The silence crushed her hope that this was an easily resolved misunderstanding, and each breath fed into her rising panic. Etan Oona: Your father is too. We have been discussing this and both agree that you are keeping something from us. You are being a willful child and disrespectful to the people who have given you life, who have given you everything of themselves. I want to hear from your lips whatever this is about! I will not sit here and watch you mutter and twist our love around to be a burden to you. ::her words grow harsh, but she can’t seem to control them:: You have done something and wish to tell us, is that it? Have you done something wrong, Iljor? Etan: I- ::his voice crackled and trembled. His breathing started to become ragged. He closed his eyes and looked down at his broth.:: I- don't want to talk about it. Not now. I jus- Oona wasn’t sure where this overwhelming fear in her belly was coming from, only that it would not be quelled. She’d been more than patient, had given Iljor time to come to her last night, the way that he always would as a child when something disturbed him. For him to not do that, and now, not even look her in the eyes? It was unbearable, and she found it hard to maintain her composure. Etan Oona: Answer me, Iljor. I will not have this fester one moment longer in my home. What have you done that you cannot tell us? We are your parents, we deserve to know what is wrong. Are you running from something? Is this why you come to us with special permission from your captain? Do they even know you are gone? Etan Iljor: It's nothing like that, I'm not in trouble or on the run. It's just- it's just-.... ::he could feel the word vomit rising. He was determined not to crack.:: Sirin: Perhaps this isn’t the best time. ::turns to Iljor:: You may have to just say it now. Etan Iljor: oO No! Not now, not this way! Not like this! Oo He balled both hands into fists so tight that it hurt. Etan Rehr: Iljor, what's wrong? ::his voice was as calm and serene as ever, full of love and full of concern.:: Oona, why don't you- Iljor shot to his feet and swatted his bowl off of the table where its bowl shattered on the cobblestone floor. He didn't care. Etan Iljor: You what to know what's wrong with me?! ::he bellowed, eyes ablaze with unrestrained fury.:: You really want to know?! ::the words were unstoppable now and he didn't much care.:: How about discovering that your parents, the man and woman who raised you- were involved in a massacre of religious refugees during the Occupation and have been covering it up for thirty years?! ::his lips were pursed together and his chest heaved and fell as he glared at the ashen faces of his parents.:: How's that for "what's on your mind, son?"? ::he added, scornful.:: — To Be Continued…
  15. Another awesome piece in the saga. Super in love with how Justin captures lightning on the page with the confusion of the moment. 💙 (( Vedek Hamsan’s cottage, Dahkur Province, Bajor )) Dwich had never been more disengaged from evening services, and as he walked back to his cottage under the orange and purple evening sky, he’d never felt more disconnected from the Prophets. Preoccupied by the unexpected arrival of a woman from another time and place, Dwich sat at his desk and struggled to thumb through a selection of his favorite prophecies, hoping his attention would divinely be drawn to a passage that would help him make sense of it all. There was nothing. Dwich’s experience, and his growing problem, was completely outside the realm of what Bajoran religion could counsel. He turned the desk lamp off and sat back in his desk chair, the moonlight of Derna and Jeraddo casting a pale grey glow through the open window. With nothing more to say or do, just a deep feeling of unease that needed to be worked through with prayer and rest, Dwich unfastened the top of his robes and—— (( Sickbay, Deck 2, USS Resolution )) ——stood in the doorway of a completely unfamiliar place. Adea: ::muttering as he got up and left his office:: Will this never end? Dwich looked down at himself; his vestments were gone, replaced with a Starfleet uniform. A set of double doors started closing on him, and he stepped forward lithely to avoid them. He was in a medical facility of some kind, small but well appointed. The man who spoke first had distinctly dark eyes, a trademark of Betazoids, if Dwich remembered correctly, and he sprung into action to administer care to a seriously ill Bolian. Adea: I take it that you didn’t get on with our Q friend? Hamsan: I— ::beat:: I don’t know. Sirin: ::stares at Dwich:: I - um, not sure what happened. The voice from behind him was familiar. Dwich turned round to see the woman from his hallucination, standing before him in the flesh and real as could be. It was clear that the Betazoid and Dwich’s ghostly visitor knew each other, and they were all wearing the same uniform as he. He pinched his forehead in the space directly above his eyebrows, feeling suddenly twice as confused as he had been in the silence and security of his cottage. Nusin: No. Not this time. Let me go, Doctor. You and I both know you can’t save me. Dwich had no idea what had happened to the Bolian, but from the look of things, they weren’t going to last long. The cleric looked at the Vulcan, then the Betazoid, and recognized that everyone in the room needed pastoral care now. He took up position on the opposite side of the biobed from the doctor, and held the dying Bolian’s hand. Adea: But I can be there for you. Always. Hamsan: The Prophets teach us that all our times are in Their hands. ::beat:: Prophets, hear our prayer as you await the arrival of this one’s pagh. Comfort them and welcome them into the Celestial Temple, and to your everlasting care. Dwich squeezed the Bolian’s hand as one monitor after another sounded. In quick succession, they fell silent once again, and Dwich felt the hand he held go slack. There was little else to do but rest it back on the bed, and allow for a moment of respectful silence. The pastoral care of those who were present became his concern now, so Dwich crossed over to the Betazoid doctor and put an arm around his shoulder. Sirin: ::to Genkos:: Doctor, I think that CloQ gave us the answer when I first met him. As crazy as it sounds, we can stop this, but we have to stop trying to escape. Adea: response CloQ. The name was unfamiliar to Dwich. Sirin: He wants us to continue the experiment. I think that if we just stop trying, he will as well. Adea: response At that moment, two pairs of eyes fell on Dwich. It hadn’t occurred to him until now that, given he wore their uniform and had said very little, they probably mistook him for… The pieces began falling into place. The Vulcan woman who appeared on Bajor did in fact know him. He was her ja’ital, and she was his tem’en, but in another life. A life he didn’t remember. Hamsan: I’m afraid I don’t know who either of you is. Do I ::looks at his uniform:: belong here? Adea / Sirin: response (( OOC: Glossary ja'ital = my light (used for a beloved person) tem'en = bright one (used for a beloved person) )) Tag / TBC PNPC Vedek Hamsan Dwich Vedek, Kaiett Monastery Dakhur Province, Bajor simmed by Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0
  16. We all know @Etan Iljor is a genius, but here he demonstrates his excellent and natural ability to flesh out a character even without others. It was almost a shame to reset the timeline (almost!) (( IKS qor’Du )) LehleQ, Son of Hugorgh watched as everything he had worked for; everything that he had built for himself vanished into ether. A lifetime of overcoming prejudice and adversity; of being told that his birthright meant that he was inferior to the HemQuch; of proving them wrong… vanished in an instant. In the span of time that it took R’Mira to slice open his throat with her dagger. Whatever trickery of Fek’lhr had trapped the qorDu in a temporal loop had resurrected him from that ignominious fate- but there had been a shift. He knew from looking at the cold glances of his formerly loyal crew that he was no longer the master of the vessel. The seething fury of those present gripped the back of his neck, making his hairs stand on end. His honour, no more. If they managed to escape the loop he knew that R’Mira would send him to greth’or. Permanently. LehleQ had been banished from the bridge, dragged off by two warriors that he had never bothered to learn the names of. It was humiliating. A lesser Klingon would have collapsed under the shame or might have chosen that moment to perform the jaJ-to’Vor ritual- but a Klingon with nothing left to lose…. LehleQ knew that was the most dangerous Klingon of all. He had waited until the guards had dragged down the length of the primary corridor that separated the bulbous head of the vessel to the more avian drive section. Then with practised ease, he kicked out with a powerful thrust, striking the guard to his left just underneath his knee. He felt the man’s grip weaken enough so that he could free his arm and without hesitation, he swung it around until it connected with the other guard’s neck. The force of the impact was hard enough to make a thick, wet cracking sound and he was dead by the time his body crumpled to the floor. Deftly reaching down, he plucked the dead man’s disruptor from his belt, spun about and fired at the first man, blowing a hole in his chest; killing him instantly. LehleQ knew the qorDu well, having been her rightful master for several years.It was not far to the transporter room and he made it there with no further resistance. The command deck crew, no doubt occupied with their dishonourable alliance with the Federation, had not heeded the firing of the disruptor. They didn’t notice as he fired again, killing the transporter operator with one well placed shot to the head. Kicking the body away from the console, he ran a covert scan of the Federation starship looking for an auxiliary vehicle. It was a calculated risk- the small vessel was several magnitudes more advanced and had demonstrated time and again that it could best the qorDu. He was counting on the fact that they were in as much disarray as the qorDu was and distracted by further plans to escape from this accursed loop. There were two small shuttlecrafts entombed with what appeared to be a shuttlebay- and one other that was slung underneath the primary section of the ship. He chose that and locked in the coordinates,hoping that his luck would not run out. He left the qorDu in a haze of red energy, rematerialising in the darkened [...]pit of the Federation craft. All he had to do now was bide his time and wait… -- LehleQ, Son og Hugorgh Fugitive As simmed by: Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor Science Officer USS Resolution C239203TW0
  17. One of the best worst things that ever happened to me on SB118 is two awesome writers plotting STUFF! behind my back without me having a clue about it and making me laugh out loud with it. @Meidra Sirinand @Ikaia Wong you guys are the worst... Keep up the good work. ((Ikaia’s Quarters - Room 03-1122 - USS Veritas - 03:00 in The Shoals)) Ikaia had long since fallen asleep in his quarters. Softly snoring, he had his blankets pulled over his head leaving his bare feet exposed. His dreams, however, were interrupted by the sound of a call on his PADD. He was barely conscious as he woke up with a snort. He was still feeling groggy when he sat there for a moment questioning if he was really being called for something. It could be that someone needed him in sickbay. Maybe? His arm lazily popped out from under the pile of blankets as he fumbled blindly for his PADD. He groaned as he tried to feel for it. His hand bumped around his nightstand until he finally felt the PADD. He ended up sliding his whole hand down the screen in order to try to answer the call. What he failed to account for was that he had turned on the camera to his PADD. So anyone answering would be greeted with a pile of blankets. Ikaia allowed his arm to dangle off the side of the bed. Wong: ::Yawns:: Aloha…. This is Lieutenant Junior Grade Ikaia Wong…. How… how can I help you….? He sounded sluggish and tired. Times like these, he was a little useless without coffee. Sirin: Greetings, Lieutenant Wong. Have I disturbed you? Meidra had wandered Resolution’s corridors for the last hour, trying to come up with a suitable gift for her cousin. Alieth had been looking forward to a particular type of race where she would cobble together various bits of chaos and metal to get an engine ready to get her across a great expanse of land in as little time possible. She remembered Lt Wong had sent Alieth a certain type of chocolate that Meidra believed might be a good distraction. Because Aleith was becoming insufferable. Wong: Huh….? That wasn’t sickbay. He lifted himself up. The blanket still covered his head as he looked at the screen. Wong: Heeey. I remember you... How are you…? Sirin: I am well, thank you. Do you remember me? He remembers that face! This was one of the teal shirts he met at the Medical Officers Support Group (MOSG) meeting. Meidra’s eyebrow raised in amusement as he sat up, bleary eyed like a small child. Sirin: You’re looking well rested. It dawned on him. He had his camera on. Meaning that Lieutenant Sirin had a really good look at him right now. Ikaia sheepishly pulled the blanket off his head and tried to pull his hair back. That went about as well as it could for someone who still felt uncoordinated. His hair was still a mess. Wong: Sorry you had to see that! Meidra waved a hand dismissively at the camera. She’d seen far worse. Sirin: I’ve seen Genkos before his first coffee. You’re fine. I need a favor. Well he definitely didn't have his first cup of coffee either. That wouldn't be for a while yet! Ikaia tried rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Wong: A favour? I don't mind helping! ::yawns:: What's the….. favour? Sirin: First, I would like to thank you for getting my cousin addicted to those little balls of decadence. She’s been on a quest to find some, but her canine may have eaten the tag showing where you acquired them. I need the chocolate. Wong: Oh! Ha ha…. You're welcome! Yeah. I picked them up on Esperance. I think the store was called The Chocolate Tribble. Thankfully, they didn't actually have tribbles there. Otherwise, I don't think I could safely step inside unaccosted. Meidra had the brief memory of Tribbles attacking a certain fanciers’ event on Risa not that long ago and shuddered. She hoped that her former pet, Roc, was doing well traveling the universe with an evil shape shifting alien from another dimension. She also wondered when her life would start making sense. Sirin: ::pause:: I would hope that you didn’t get her addicted to eating Tribbles. She thinks the chocolate was extremely delicious. Wong: She does? That's fantastic! I picked out the dark chocolate cinnamon ones for her last time. They're amazing! But pretty diabolical for a Vulcan. Meidra laughed, and could see why her krei enjoyed this Klingon’s company. Alieth was getting grumpy, for those people who knew her well, and Meidra was getting tired of the random messages sent to her PADD at all hours such as, “Why do ensigns insist on breathing near me?” and “How much do I really need this job?” She sighed heavily, staring into the camera, and hopefully into his soul. She was desperate. She repeated the only thing that made sense right now. Sirin: I need the chocolate. Wong: I think I picked up two extra boxes just in case they got lost on transport. You never know with The Shoals! Anyways, I could send you the other two boxes if you'd like? The counselor’s face grew almost giddy with excitement. She leaned in and looked right into his soul with the intensity of a cousin who had reached her limit. Sirin: Send them directly to her, for the sake of my sanity. Do you have any idea how disagreeable that hobgoblin can get when she’s found a new source of addiction? The random messages, the threats of her taking the Thor into the chocolate nebula to track down cocoa? She is seriously making me want to throw a box of candy at her and run for my life! ::takes deep breath:: I apologize, Lieutenant, please send them if it is convenient. Wong: It's okay! I don't mind parting with them. Sirin: Thank you, if you could be certain to make the boxes Cheesecake proof, that would be delightful. I told her that she could get chocolate anywhere, but she insists that these particular candies have given her a greater insight into her state of being. In Alieth speak, this means she was, as the humans say, wasted. She refrained from her views on naming animals after food, and simply took a quick gulp from her ever present flask. Seriously, keeping your cousin sane and out of prison for chocolate deprivation was a full time job. Wong: But I have to ask - what's the occasion? Sirin: ::totally serious:: My not killing her. Wong: That’s a uh… good enough occasion. Sirin: ::shrugging:: She would do the same for me. Wong: Back at the Academy, I had to hide my jars of chocolate hazelnut spread if she came over to study. If I didn’t, I’d definitely have discovered them missing after she left. I think she once took one of my half eaten jars when I wasn’t paying attention. Meidra bit back a laugh, Alieth made no secret of her fondness for anything sweet. Sirin: Were you still eating from it at the time? Wong: Uh hey! How about we leave my eating habits out of this? As for Alieth….You know somehow, I don’t think that would have mattered to her. Sirin: As an infant, she once reached into a relative’s mouth for a piece of fruit and started eating it. Then realized it was not candy and spat it back at our cousin. ::fondly:: Even then, she had a bit of stubbornness to her. Wong: I can see there’s been at least some things that haven’t changed since our Academy days! Ha! But how has she been doing these days? Sirin: Pouting that she cannot race, I mean - socialize, with her friends due to work. She needs a vacation, but her shore leaves often turn out to be more chaotic than her missions. ::coughs lightly:: I mean, the ones she spends with me, but I digress. ::sits up and smiles brightly:: She is well, thank you for your inquiry. Meidra looked at her chronometer, she had a new junior counselor to meet. She sighed and looked at the Klingon again in thanks. Sirin: On behalf of my sanity, I thank you again, Lieutenant. I hope that we can one day meet in person and share more stories of my delightful Krei, and the lengths I will go through to keep her from going through withdrawal from sucrose. Lt Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution R239707MS0 + Lieutenant JG Ikaia Wong Physician Assistant USS Veritas V239711IW0
  18. OOC - for those of us who've followed the Tale of Two @Meidra Sirins, this was a delight. And even if you haven't there's a lot here to enjoy; @Yalu also deserving of praise! (( Ship’s Library, Deck 2, USS Resolution )) Gertrude Kettleworth, MLS, had very little shushing to do, as Meidra and Dwich sat at a small corner reading table, saying nothing. They had agreed to meet and discuss their relationship, and each of them came with something they wanted to get off their chest. Now, everything was out in the open, and they remained together, hands intertwined in the center of the table, waiting for the other to say something. Finally, it was Dwich who broke the silence. Hamsan: Thank you for telling me this. The words felt empty coming out of Dwich’s mouth. “Thank you?” Meidra had shared with him a terrible secret, something he could never have guessed in a million years, and his heart broke for her. “Thank you” seemed so insufficient. An insignificant, polite formality. And yet, it was all he could think of to say. For her part, she seemed to accept it in the spirit in which it was intended, which made him feel so much better. Sirin: Thank you for being understanding about it. I felt like I was lying to you about myself, and that is not something that I wanted to continue doing. Dwich nodded. Indeed, the “two Meidras” had perplexed him over the course of their growing relationship. Now, it all made sense. Hamsan: I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for you. How lonely you must have felt carrying this secret. Sirin: I’ve spent most of my life feeling lonely, I suppose it’s been hard for me to realize that I’m not alone anymore. ::beat:: I haven’t been very fair to you, and for that I apologize. Dwich wasn’t looking for an apology, nor did he feel that Meidra had anything to apologise for. Relationships were difficult under even the most favourable of circumstances. Meidra was dealing with a very painful truth from her past, while Dwich was struggling to define his future. As Liri Ketel, one of Bajor’s lesser-known and least artful prophesiers so ineloquently wrote: “When you have one foot in yesterday, and one foot in tomorrow, you’re [...]in’ on today.” Hamsan: I guess it’s all just part of the path the Prophets have laid out for us. Meidra sipped the iced tea, feeling a bit foolish. She’d never been a particularly religious person, as Vulcans focused on the here and now instead of a future that logically, they could not see. And El Aurians, well. They only seemed to believe in themselves to the detriment of other relationships. To love someone who had such a strong sense of their place in the world was quite precious. Sirin: I think that I learn more about who I can be, every day that we are together. Hamsan: I understand. You were betrayed by the group of people in the universe you should be able to trust the most. No one, not a Vulcan, not an El-Aurian, not a Bajoran, would so easily trust after being treated that way. Sirin: Learning how to let people in hasn’t been easy. But it has been worth it in many ways. There will always be times where I am not as...open...as I wish to be with you, but it will never be because I doubt how you feel. Dwich exhaled in a not-quite-laugh, not-quite-sigh. His mixed emotions were on full display. Hamsan: ::grins:: My turn now? Sirin: ::nods:: Of course. When Dwich told Meidra that his lifelong vocation was just as strong as it always had been, he too felt as though he’d been leading a double life, the “two Dwiches,” to complement the “two Meidras.” It felt good to get it off of his chest, but it was a potential complication to a long-term relationship. People become ranjens and prylars and vedeks because they want to serve the Prophets, to put them before any and all worldly concerns. Such a commitment wasn’t ideal for making a relationship work. Hamsan: I’m sorry. I should have told you sooner. The truth is, I can’t help feeling that my pagh is still meant to walk this path. That someday, I will join the clergy like I always wanted. ::beat:: I didn’t expect to fall in love with you, though. Sirin: I didn’t expect to fall in love with anyone. But I would never hold you back from what you feel you need to do with your life. Hamsan: You’re an important part of my life now. I can’t imagine it without you. ::beat:: But that doesn’t replace or diminish what I still believe is my life’s calling. I hope you understand. Sirin: ::pauses:: How do you see your life after StarFleet? How would you even begin to know how to transition into such a life? ::pauses:: How would I? Hamsan: My four-year tour of duty is up next year. I could always sign on again, but… His voice trailed off. Starfleet had given him so much, and it seemed less than grateful to cash out after everything the organization had invested in him as a medical technician. Hamsan: I have made some inquiries. There are monasteries and temples all over the Federation now. It’s not like I would have to hide away in some forest in the middle of nowhere on Bajor. Sirin: ::squeezes his hands:: You know that I only joined because I had no one I could trust except my cousin, and she trusted StarFleet. Slowly, this crew has become my family ::smirks:: even Genkos. But even though I am grateful for their acceptance, and their companionship, I can’t imagine my life without you either. She took a deep breath and stared at him, focusing on his emotions. As an empath, she had always felt things so strongly that she’d forced herself to block emotions from everyone around her. This time, this once, she’d indulge and feel everything from someone else’s perspective. The rush of love and strength surrounded her like a blanket and she smiled brightly. Sirin: As long as you can feel as you do now about our joined path, I’ll walk it with you. However, if you ever feel that you need to walk alone, I - won’t be happy, but I will try to be happy for you. Because I do love you. Hamsan: I love you too. And still I want to share more of my life with you. The counselor considered this. What was the next step? Biting her lower lip, she acknowledged that they needed to have a conversation with someone a bit higher up then they were. Sirin: We’ll need to speak to Commander MacKenzie. TBC PNPC C2 Hamsan Dwich Emergency Medical Technician USS Resolution NCC-78145 simmed by Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0 and Lt Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution R239707MS0
  19. @Hallia Yellir combines scientific curiosity with overactive imagination and unquenchable optimism. It makes her a joy to read, and reminds all of us that there's more than enough room in Starfleet for FUN. ((Security Control, Deck 3, USS Resolution)) Yellir: Oh! Perfect! I need… ::checking her PADD:: two type one phase— wait, make that three, three type two phasers and fi…— no, six! power cells. I need them for an experiment. Aine's eyes went wide. oO That's quite a requisition for a science experiment. Oo Aine wondered what kind of experiment it was, and with scientists the way they were, who really knew? Sometimes it was better not to ask. Luckily, part of their resupply was included phasers because of the worry the effect the Skarn homeworld may have had on them...and one was missing. And being still docked, they could always get more. Hallia tilted her head slightly. A little alarmed by Aine’s reaction, she looked down, wondering if she’d said something wrong. The security officer seemed a little caught off guard by the request. But then again, not many science officers request directed energy weapons for an experiment. Part of her felt a little bad, but then again, it was either this or try and make one out of lab equipment. Which probably wouldn’t go well, as Hallia was all thumbs when it came to engineering. Perhaps actually learning more about the subject might benefit her. Sherlock: Um, yeah, that should be no problem. :: gesturing towards the weapons locker :: Standing, Aine made her way across the room. Pressing her finger onto an access panel, the door to the weapons locker slid open with a quiet hiss. Hallia grabbed the phasers one by one, and held them in her free hand. Sherlock: So, what kind of experiment is this? Yellir: ::smiling, Hallia mumbled quietly, almost unable to contain her voice to such a volume:: I made a chunk of what I call synthflesh. Sherlock: A what? Yellir: ::Nearly yelling:: Fake skin! ::covering her mouth and quieting herself:: Well… not exactly. It’s a layer of… skin really. It’s not real in the sense that it’s a part of someone’s body. However! I replicated it from leftover protein samples I found. Sherlock: What's it used for? Yellir: Oh, I’m SO glad you asked. It’s a regenerative layer of skin that can be easily grafted onto a patient. It skips the proliferative phase of the humanoid body’s natural healing ability. Ensuring that, potentially, in a matter of seconds and or minutes, depending on wound severity, it can knit back ripped open flesh and allow the immune system to focus solely on clearing out bacteria. It’s a little redundant, given we have dermal regenerators and whatnot, but I thought it could be fun. Maybe useful in the rare case someone is intolerant to the devices or something. As Aine grabbed for powercells, Hallia rambled on and on, explaining her process behind the idea as well as the parts she found most interesting in her mind. The Yelikan nodded, thinking of the security officer as such an amazing listener. Sherlock: That's fascinating. :: handing the power cells to Hallia :: So :: beat :: what do you need the phaser for? Yellir: Well, you see, in non-scientific terms, I’m going to shoot it and see what happens. I want to see if it offers any resistance to directed energy weapons. Hallia’s arms carried the lump of items. Using her chin to steady the pile, she continued talking. Sherlock: Response? Yellir: I mean, my hypothesis is that anything above stun is probably going to absolutely smoulder it. But, you never know! Maybe it’s somehow resistant to particle weaponry? ::jokingly:: We could outfit the ship with ablative skin in that case. Sherlock: Response? TAG/TBC ______________________ Lieutenant JG Hallia Yellir Science Officer USS Resolution G239409EK0
  20. It's always a pleasure to see talented writers scribing together, and this is an absolute pleasure. Well done @Etan Iljor and @Yalu; this is so much fun. I cannot wait to see where it goes! (( Shuttlecraft Rennell, Outermost Boundary of the Celendi Nebula, The Borderlands )) Awash with a hazy golden glow, the Celendi Nebula was situated at the eastern most edge of The Borderlands. An unfathomably large stellar gas cloud that had held its secrets for as long as the Federation had attempted to cross it, it was best known as a navigational hazard and a place best avoided by all but the most foolhardy explorers. Though not impossible to traverse, its composition made it extremely difficult. As he looked at the readout on his console, Etan Iljor could see why: synchrotron radiation, neutrino emissions, magnetascopic interference and large quantities of protomatter. He turned to the shuttle’s pilot- his roommate and Resolution’s helm officer, Lieutenant Yogan Yalu. Etan: Remind me why we’re here? ::he asked, his voice flecked heavily with sardonic humour.:: The corner of Yogan’s mouth turned slightly upward and he let out a brief chuckle. Their current situation reminded him of the latest chapter of The Belonging Season, his psychodrama du jour, in which the protagonists had just embarked on a locked-room style adventure of self-discovery and -expression. This simple survey mission, however, would likely pale in comparison to the pages of The Belonging Season. Taking his eyes off his console for a moment, he looked to his right, to the copilot’s seat, where his roommate and friend Etan Iljor sat, an inscrutable expression on his face. Iljor’s sense of humour never failed to bring a smile to Yogan’s. Yalu: I could read the mission briefing again. ::beat, in a theatrical narrator voice:: In a section of nebula, so weird, only two junior officers could possibly survey it. ::beat, normal voice:: With Resolution being repaired, I think we just might have been the only pilot-scientist combo hanging around the station. It had been a two day voyage from Deep Space 224 to their present location- just long enough to remind the young science officer why he did not care for the small auxiliary vessels used by their mothership. Two years earlier, he had been one of eight cadets sent out on a training expedition in such a vessel. What had started as an exciting opportunity for exploration and discovery had quickly lost it’s sheen when it had become apparent that eight cadets were not supposed to fit in such a cramped space. Two weeks and many, many frayed nerves later- Iljor had returned to the Academy campus on Betazoid with a healthy resentment for what many called ‘the Class 2 coffin’. Etan: And we couldn’t have taken the Waverider instead? Yogan nodded his shared disappointment. Waverider was far more comfortable for a two-person survey mission than this type-9 shuttlecraft–at least they would each have had their own bunk–but it was designed primarily for atmospheric rather than interstellar flight. Plus, it happened to be docked on the underbelly of Resolution’s saucer section, which meant... Yalu: It had a bit of a rough landing on that planet. It figured, given the Resolution’s last assignment had resulted in a crash landing that had damaged almost every system and compartment aboard. Of course the Waverider was being repaired. Some people, like Iljor, did not have any luck at all. Etan: Figures. ::he said, rolling his eyes for dramatic effect, before turning back to the readouts on his console.:: All that magnetascopic interference and ionising radiation is going to make our job a lot harder. Even at a considerable distance from the nebula’s outermost boundary, sensors were already struggling to identify anything inside. A confusing and contradictory stream of data filled his screen, reducing the sensor’s effectiveness by nearly 70 per cent. It occurred to Iljor at that particular moment, that there were some nebulas Starfleet were best avoiding. With all of its potential hazards to navigation and impediments to commerce, exploration, and general development in the region, it made sense to Yogan that properly charting some of the more dangerous fringes of the Celendi Nebula was a relatively high priority. It never ceased to amaze him that with all of their technology, still so much of their galaxy remained unexplored. Yalu: You’re right. The interference in this sector is 500% higher than the baseline for the rest of the nebula. Who knows, Iljor, there might even be undiscovered planets in here. ::beat, grins:: Have you completed first contact training? Etan: At the academy. ::he replied, bobbing his head:: It’s a required course for all students on the Anthropology & Archaeology track. ::best:: I must have spent a hundred hours in the simulator preparing for my exam. Maybe more. ::he turned from his console to glance at the pilot.:: What about you? Yalu: ::chuckles:: Nope. ::beat:: Well, yes and no. One of my previous hosts, Auzell, was a Starfleet officer, and she served on a couple of First Contact teams. I remember that simulator, too. Yogan, on the other hand… well, I suppose I can rely on my MED 111 course at the Academy. ::beat, off Iljor’s look:: Bedside Manner. I got an “A.” Iljor chuckled as he turned back to his console. He often forgot that the Joined Trill had entered Starfleet with the intention of practising medicine. Instead he forged himself a path as a consummate helmsman. He ran a scan of the region before them, not expecting a clear reading. The Celendi Nebula was not likely to reveal its secrets to the two men. Etan: I’m picking up a slight drag from our impulse engines. ::he cross referenced with the external sensor feed.:: The nebula density is increasing. As they neared the nebula, the density of its contents increased, blocking out the stars and casting a more muted, flaxen quality to the space ahead of the small shuttlecraft. Less awe-inspiring and more like an unpleasant soup one might order without realizing what it was made of. Yalu: I’ll take us in slowly, monitor our position, and keep an eye out for any navigational hazards while we execute the survey pattern. ::beat:: Once we’re off and running, it’s your show. Iljor smirked in reply. Etan: I hope your not expecting a gripping psychodrama, Yogan. ::he replied with no small amusement. He had seen the man’s reading material in their shared quarters.:: This will be a more sedate show. oO One that might put us to sleep. Oo ::he added mentally, preparing himself for a long assignment with little reward.:: The friendship Yogan had formed with Iljor since the two were assigned to share quarters on Resolution could best be described as easy. He enjoyed the Bajoran scientist’s company, and while they had few interests in common, they possessed a similar attitude that made cohabiting in a living space relatively unremarkable. Iljor was a contemplative sort, much more like Yogan Verso was before being Joined to Yalu. Even with all of the past lifetimes enriching and transforming his personality, Yogan was still introspective at heart, which made the two officers well-matched as roommates. Yalu: All right, starting in grid One-Alpha. ::looks over to Iljor, grins:: Survey away, my friend. Technically, as the superior officer, Yogan was in command of the survey mission, but when Iljor had first arrived on Resolution, the two men made the decision to leave their rank at the door of their shared quarters. Here, they were on duty, but their confinement to the shuttlecraft made the experience seem much more like they were hanging out at home rather than at work. Yogan was content to sit back and let the scientist do what he did best. Etan: ::he breathed in and reconfigured the console in front of him.:: Beginning scans of grid One-Alpha. Full sensor sweep. Yalu: Holding position. There is a stream of radioactive protomatter moving slowly toward us, but we’ll have moved to the next grid by the time it gets here. ::beat, sighs:: Exciting enough for you? He leaned over to get a better look at the data on Yogan’s console, his cautious nature taking hold. The information displayed was just as the Trill had said. Rendered as data on a screen, it did not look particularly threatening but if it intersected with the shuttlecraft’s position, there would not be much left of either man for Doctor Adea to identify. Etan: ::he looked at Yogan.:: I’m gripped already. ::returning his attention to his own sensor scans, he began to analyse the data that the sensors were relaying.:: I’m detecting a 0.002% increase in neutrino emissions. ::he rolled his eyes for dramatic effect.:: However will we sleep tonight? Yalu: ::chuckles, wryly:: With this firestorm of activity? I’ll be up for days. Yogan looked out the forward viewport at the slowly swirling, golden-green nebula. He was grateful to have a couple of days of uneventful, routine work to do before Resolution was ready to welcome them back aboard. There were still some twinges in his lower back and soreness in his arms from the physical work of building the home for the Romulan refugees, and sitting in the pilot’s seat of the shuttlecraft for an extended period had left him feeling a bit stiff. He’d heard about a place on Deep Space 224 where he could get a massage to work out the knots in his shoulders and neck, but after receiving a somewhat lukewarm review of the place from Meidra, he never pursued it. Etan: How did you find Oreen V? The topographical and environmental reports I read made for some pretty unpleasant reading. Iljor had not seen Yogan since he had returned from the nascent Romulan colony, even though they shared quarters. With his sleep cycle all but non-existent, Iljor had taken to working in the various science laboratories on the Resolution or wandering the gargantuan Deep Space 224. His conversations with Genkos and Aine had given him some solace that he was not as alone as he felt- but still, sleep eluded him. One such report he had come across during his nighttime endeavours made Oreen V seem like a difficult place for anybody to set up a colony, let alone a group of disaffected Romulans with limited resources. In a way, their efforts made him think of the refugee camps-turned-semi permanent settlements that had cropped up all along the Bajoran border with the Federation during the Occupation. Conditions on a plethora of worlds had been difficult to say the least, if not downright hostile to Bajoran life. But those displaced in the Diaspora were a hardy group- and they had made the best of a terrible situation. He knew that his paternal grandmother, Sobra, had spent some time in one such ‘settlement’ but she didn’t much like to talk about those years. He had tried occasionally over the years to glean some information- but it had not been until after her passing- at her memorial service- that he had learned she had worked as an healthcare assistant in the Federation administered medical centre. Yalu: The reports were accurate about the planet. The environment is hospitable, but definitely not conducive to sustainable, long-term settlement. ::beat:: I got the feeling it was given to the Romulans to settle because no one else wanted it. ::beat:: But they’ve done a remarkable job of building a community there. It’s inspiring, considering what they’ve been through in the last decade. Etan: They’ll bounce back. ::he said with certainty.:: The Romulan people are amongst the most resilient species in the quadrant. Part of my anthropological studies at the academy were centered on the Romulans. We don’t know a lot about them, believe it or, but what we do know is that they thrive in adversity. We may not always see eye-to-eye, if ever, with them- but we can respect their ability to come back swinging. Yogan held deep respect for Iljor, whose words sounded like they belonged to someone far older than his 22 years. Coming into the world on the heels of the Occupation and the devastation of the war, it would have been perfectly reasonable for someone of Iljor’s generation to become disillusioned and bitter. Instead, he seemed to maintain an inextinguishable curiosity about the universe, coupled with a healthy admiration of the accomplishments of his people. Yalu: You’re right. If Bajor can come out of the Occupation, with all of the devastation the Cardassians wrought over six decades, there’s hope for the Romulans. Etan: There’s that too. The smile that curled the corners of his mouth was tinged with pride. The Cardassians had plundered Bajor for sixty years. Plundered it for minerals, art, literature, arable land, oil and gas- amongst other things. By the time the Resistance finally succeeded in driving them off Bajor, the planet had been strip mined to within an inch of its life, most of its arable land had become poisonous, it held little natural resources and its people- once united in common cause- were on the verge of warring with one another. Iljor had been born several years after the end of the Occupation, but as a small child he had still seen the scars that it had left. He was undeniably proud of the work his people had undertaken to transform their homeworld back into a centre of diplomacy, commerce, academia and art. Etan: oO And there are still scars, even now. Oo ::he thought to himself, reminded of the accusations that Akhbett Jirall had levied across his beloved parents. He didn’t want to think about them for the time being- though it was becoming increasingly difficult not to. He forced himself to look back at the readings on the screen in front of him.:: Stellar winds in this grid are increasing. Not by much, but we still should be careful. Yogan’s attention was diverted briefly to the navigational console, and he noticed the same thing that Iljor did. His hands moved across the glossy surface and keyed in sequence of commands. Yalu: Engaging manoeuvring thrusters at one-quarter. That should keep us from getting buffeted about too much. ::beat:: Haven’t seen much of you since we left the Briar Patch. ::beat:: Or, come to think of it, since we got back from Trill. Opposite duty shifts, I guess? Iljor nodded, but looked at his console in an effort to not look at Yogan. He suddenly felt the cloud that had been hanging over him returning. Had his roommate noticed just like Aine and Genkos? Yogan had noticed that Iljor had seemed preoccupied of late, even more contemplative than usual. At first, he had chalked it up to the transformative experience they’d shared on Trill, Yogan’s zhian’tara, but Iljor’s muted disposition had continued beyond that. Etan: Uh, yeah. I guess. ::he could hear himself, he sounded non-committal:: It seemed as though Iljor wasn’t particularly eager to talk about it, and although Yogan was concerned for his roommate and friend, he didn’t intend to push the issue. After all, the two officers shared a living space and were friendly, but Yogan knew that Iljor had closer friends aboard the ship with whom he could share his troubles. Even so, whatever was on Iljor’s mind seemed to occupy him at all hours. Yalu: I’ve heard you pacing in your room at night. Etan: Hm? ::he looked up and glanced over at Yogan before looking back at his readings.:: I’m fine. ::Was it his imagination or did his own voice sound higher?:: Yogan looked down at his controls, manufacturing a break in the conversation. Perhaps there could have been a subtler way of backpedaling from the conversation than awkwardly about-facing back to work, but it was effective. Yalu: Grid One-Alpha is complete. Setting course for Grid Two-Alpha, thrusters only, 500 kph. Glad of the opportunity for the break in the conversation and feeling guilty about the fact he had lied to his roommate, he focused on the work ahead of them. Etan: Understood. Reconfiguring sensors now. Yalu: ETA at Grid Two-Alpha, 90 seconds. The craft rolled slowly toward its new destination, the only sound inside the shuttlecraft being the low hum of the engines. Yalu: I hope that whatever is bothering you, you have support to work through it. Iljor looked at Yogan from the corner of his eye. He wasn’t pushing the issue and for that he was immeasurably grateful. Etan: I do. He had yet to speak to Meidra although he had made an appointment. Knowing that Aine and Genkos were prepared to be there for him, even without knowing the specifics of the situation had made him feel a touch better. In his own way, Yogan was showing his support and Iljor was grateful. Yalu: I’m glad. ::beat:: Holding position at Grid Two-Alpha. Ready when you are. Etan: Sensors reconfigured. Beginning scans. Yogan looked through the viewport at another unremarkable swath of nebula, when something in the distance caught his attention. Yalu: ::pointing:: What is that? At first Iljor could not see what Yogan was pointing to. Given the Celendi Nebula’s reputation to could have been almost anything. Then his eyes caught it. Against the backdrop of the dusty golden gas clouds that marked the edge of the nebula, something was drifting slowly in space. The way in which tumbling gently over itself suggested to the science officer that it had been ejected some time ago from the nebula- perhaps a day or two- via the stellar currents that were found within. Iljor’s hands danced quickly over his reconfigured console, directing every available sensor at the small object. Etan: Scanning the object now. Yalu: It’s moving slowly, less than 20 kph. ::beat:: Getting a clearer picture of it on sensors. The sensor scans resolved themselves on the screen in front of Iljor. He raised an eyebrow and let out a small gasp of surprise. Etan: It’s a Federation Type-7 shuttlecraft! Yalu: ::squinting:: What’s it doing out here? The rounded hull of the shuttlecraft tumbled through space, emerging through the nebular haze and becoming easier to make out. Yogan’s question was purely rhetorical, as the small vessel was clearly adrift, its journey at the mercy of the currents whipping and whirling through the nebula. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t good. Etan: I’m running it’s registry through the Starfleet database now. ::he said, his hands at work once again.:: According to the this, this shuttle belongs to the starship Ibn Battuta. ::he turned to Yogan again.:: Does that sound familiar to you? Yalu: ::copies Iljor’s data onto his own console:: Doesn’t ring a bell. ::beat:: It says here that Ibn Battuta patrolled a section of the Klingon border near the Celendi Nebula in the late 2360s. Etan: So it’s been out here for thirty years? I’m going to run a search on the Ibn Battuta and see what I can find. Yalu: The hull is intact. I’m going to move us in closer and tractor it out. ::beat:: Our survey can allow a brief detour to investigate. Yogan piloted their shuttle deeper into the nebula, which was more difficult than he anticipated due to the unusually dense matter surrounding them. A few minutes later, they were parked back in their original position near Grid Two-Alpha, with a derelict shuttlecraft staring back at them a few dozen metres off their bow. Etan: Should we go over? The idea caused a strange mixture of intrigue and apprehension within the science officer. Abandoned and adrift shuttlecraft certainly held secrets, but whether anybody should uncover them was debatable. Yalu: Good question. ::beat:: Is it safe to beam over? Iljor ran a quick scan before replying. Etan: Sensors are showing that the shuttle is operating on a reduced power mode. There’s a breathable atmosphere over there, but we can remote trigger it’s power systems to bring it up to full operating capabilities. Yalu: ::shrugs:: Might give us a sharper clue into this region of the nebula. After all, this craft has been lost for 30 years. Iljor’s console bleeped at him. His search on the USS Ibn Battuta had brought up some interesting information and he scanned through the documents that the computer had selected for his attention. Etan: The Ibn Battuta reported a missing shuttlecraft on Stardate 48401.32 that had been sent on a survey mission. The ship itself tried for a week to find it but two officers were reported missing in action, presumed dead. ::the realisation that meant for the two men hit him like a stellar wind.:: Oh Prophets, you don’t think…? His eyes fell across the old shuttle full of trepidation, imagining the state that it’s occupation would be in after three decades. Sensors had not registered any life signs, after all… Yogan bit his lip at this particularly grim development. The historical parallel wasn’t lost on him, either. Two officers, sent off in a shuttlecraft to survey the Celendi Nebula. What was that old cliché he heard during his school days? Something about learning from history or being doomed to repeat it? Yalu: We’d better prepare ourselves, mentally, for what we might find over there. Reluctantly, Iljor got to his feet and equipped himself for their impromptu away mission: a tricorder and a phaser. He was relieved that the Rennell did not carry Visual Recording Devices as standard. There were some things best left undocumented, if what he thought was waiting for them came to pass. Etan: I’m ready. ::he said, the reluctance he felt seeping into the tone of his voice.:: Yogan locked down their small shuttlecraft, the 24th-century equivalent of dropping anchor or yanking the emergency brake. Confident that Rennell would be waiting for them when they were ready to return, he stood and grabbed the same bits of kit as Iljor. After keying in a site-to-site transport and setting the time delay, he rose from his seat and joined his fellow officer at the back of the cabin. Yalu: Let’s go. Holding his tricorder in one hand and his phaser in t’other, Yogan breathed deeply in half-anticipation/half-dread as the transporter beam enveloped the two men, sending them into the unknown. (( Derelict shuttlecraft )) The first thing Yogan noticed upon beaming in was the smell. Stale air made the small space feel even stuffier than usual, and the cold temperature immediately made him feel clammy. There was clearly no threat lurking behind seats or under consoles, so Yogan holstered his phaser and switched the tricorder to his dominant hand. Yalu: No signs of electrical damage. Nothing to indicate a catastrophic systems failure. ::beat:: With a quick power transfer, this craft would be flight ready. Iljor took a second to reorientate himself and get used to the staler air of the derelict vessel. He unclipped his tricorder, opened it and began scanning just as Yogan had done moments earlier. He felt an odd sense of unsettlement, as though things were not supposed to be the way they were. There wasn’t much space to wander around, which made the initial search of the craft relatively brief in duration. After turning 360 degrees multiple times, Yogan realised that the unpleasantness he had prepared himself for. Etan: Where are the corpses of the missing officers? ::he said, bewildered and looking to Yogan for guidance.:: Yalu: I don’t know. ::beat:: I’m half expecting one of them to drop out of the ceiling. ::adjusts tricorder settings:: I’m scanning for residual humanoid tissues now. If they’re here, or were, we’ll find out. Yogan slowly scanned the interior of the spacecraft, sweeping the tricorder across each surface. The readout didn’t change at all, and Yogan furrowed his brow in confusion. Yalu: I’m not picking anything up. No signs of decomposition, either. Those two missing officers weren’t in here. Or at the very least, they didn’t die in here. This is anticlimactic. ::beat:: I mean, I wasn’t hoping to find dead bodies in here, but… ::voice trails off:: At least we can recover the logs and tow the ship back to starbase. Etan: Good idea. ::he nodded in approval.:: I’ll get started on the logs. Yalu: ::returning the nod:: Aye. I’ll get the navigational computer online and establish a link with Rennell. If I can pilot her remotely, it’ll be a lot easier. Iljor took the copilots chair, which was a lot less comfortable than the one he had been occupying in the Rannell. He reached forward and tapped the old style console. A sharp negative beep met his touch and he blinked in surprise. Etan: That’s odd. This console won’t respond. ::he ran his tricorder across the console.:: The power systems don’t seem to be unaffected by whatever happened to the shuttle. But I can’t access the navigational logs. Yalu: Hmm. ::stands behind Iljor at the copilot’s seat:: Mind if I take a look? Realising that Yogan was more qualified than he was, especially when it came to shuttle operations he vacated the seat promptly and waved towards it. Etan: Be my guest. With a slight smile, Yogan took the seat. After a cursory inspection of the console, he didn’t get much further than Iljor did, but his tricorder diagnostic spat out a string of text that made Yogan raise an eyebrow. Iljor was right; it wasn’t a power problem. It was something far more mysterious. Yalu: We can’t access the navigational logs because they’ve been encrypted. Access restricted on Stardate 48401.32. ::beat:: That was the same date that Ibn Battuta reported this shuttlecraft missing. Why would someone have done that? The science officer considered the question before responding. Etan: Some kind of classified mission? ::he shrugged uncertainly:: But that still doesn’t explain where the occupants went? ::he ran another sweep with his tricorder, this focusing on biological material.:: I’m not even picking up any kind of biological trace matter. It’s like the shuttle was launched with nobody in it. Yogan’s brow was getting plenty of practice being furrowed. If he wasn’t careful, this seemingly simple-on-the-surface survey mission might develop a permanent crease in his forehead. The Trill intentionally relaxed his expression as he considered what to do next. Yalu: Ibn Battuta reported this craft missing with two officers aboard. Let’s try to figure out who they are. ::beat:: I have an idea. ::taps combadge:: Computer, do you have a record of the crew roster of the USS Ibn Battuta on Stardate 48401.32? Computer: Affirmative. Yalu: And a record of the same roster for, say, two weeks after that date? Computer: Affirmative. Yalu: Compare the two and report any changes. Computer: Working. ::beat:: Two differences between specified rosters identified. Yalu: Who are they? Computer: First Officer Lieutenant Commander Anxo Oliveria and Shuttle Pilot Lieutenant Junior Grade Parker Costanzo. Despite being mindful of the expression he wore on his face, Yogan couldn’t help raise an eyebrow at this bit of news. People go missing on missions from time to time, but for a senior officer to vanish without a trace added yet another wrinkle to this mystery. He thought about Addison MacKenzie, Resolution’s second-in-command, and had a hard time believing the crew would accept her just disappearing into thin air. Etan: The First Officer went missing?! ::he said, surprised.:: I guess that explains why Ibn Battuta spent a week looking for this shuttle. ::beat:: But according to our scans, they were never aboard. And a First Officer going missing in action would be pretty big news, right? So why have we never heard about Commander Oliveria? Things did not add up and coming so soon after their sojourn to the Briar Patch, Iljor was in no mood for more unanswered questions. Yogan looked back down at his tricorder’s display, as if to confirm that the data was correct. Both he and Iljor had run the same scans, and got the same results. With encrypted navigational logs, they couldn’t tell where the craft had been, but the condition of the [...]pit was clear: it had been launched with no one aboard. Yalu: We’ve got limited resources to get the answers we want out here. But I’m just as curious as you are, Iljor. We’ve got to find out what happened to Oliveria and Costanzo. Etan: ::he nodded his agreement.:: Maybe we should take this shuttle back to the Resolution? We’ll be better equipped to investigate there. Yogan nodded. The scientist was right. Perhaps Resolution, with her greater computing capacity, access to Starfleet records, and insolent-yet-efficient staff librarian, would be a more suitable base for launching an inquiry of this type. Yalu: Who’d have thought when we flew out here for a survey mission that we’d have uncovered something like this? ::settles back into the pilot seat:: Should be no problem piloting the craft remotely from Rennel, but it’s a two-day trip back to DS224. Iljor, I want to find out everything we can before we deliver this shuttle back over to Starfleet. Something feels wrong about this, and I don’t know about you, but I want to figure it out. Etan: I agree. ::beat:: We’ve already got too many mysteries left over from the Skarn Homeworld. I’m a scientist- and the idea of something going unsolved make my skin crawl. Their brief visit to the derelict craft had been a roller coaster. Yogan beamed over expecting to find the final resting place of two officers, left to the misfortune and abyss of deep space. Instead, they found an inexplicable situation and two officers whose disappearances remained a mystery. Yogan was pleased that his roommate and friend was as eager as he was to investigate. If nothing else, it might give them something to work on together after work, and be a welcome distraction to whatever had been troubling Iljor recently. Yalu: All right. The crafts’ navigation systems are linked. Let’s beam back and see if we can crack the encryption on those logs. TBC! Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0 Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor Science Officer USS Resolution C239203TW0
  21. These guys have worked incredibly hard on an extremely brilliant story about @Etan Iljor's folks and this JP with @Meidra Sirin is just the tip of the iceberg. But this is an awesome opener. Enjoy. ((Counselor Sirin's Office, Deck 2, USS Resolution)) The corridor- if you could call it that- that connected Meidra's office to the wider sickbay was short, almost to the point of being stubby. There was just enough room for a single person to wait for their appointment. There was a chair, but Iljor had chosen not to use it, feeling restless and anxious all at once. He paced it's nigh-non existent length back and forth, back and forth and felt the knot that had taken up residence in his stomach over the past few weeks tighten more than it had done up to that point. The only redoubt he had found from it was in his work on the Skarn Homeworld- the events there had forced a shift in his priorities- but in the days since their return to Deep Space 224, he had not been able to find a suitable distraction. Something in the back of his brain tickled, trying to push itself to the front. Each time he reached Meidra's door, it told him to push the button to alert the counselor to his presence. Each time he stopped himself from doing that, knot ever tightening. It wasn't rational and it certainly wasn't healthy, he knew that. In fact, he suspected his reluctance to talk to Meidra would be enough to fill half a dozen sessions with her. Meidra was in the middle of brewing some tea when she got the odd feeling that someone was outside her door. She frowned, not hearing anyone call to her, and she didn’t have any appointments lined up for the afternoon. Once she sensed it was Iljor, she waited for him to announce himself, but after a few minutes, he hadn’t tried. Staring at the door, she crossed her arms, almost willing him to enter. She’d wait until he was ready to talk, but curiosity was building. He had spent the last several months in denial. Deep in it, in fact. His decision to remain silent was born of a desire to keep the status quo as it was. He had come close to disclosing it to Genkos, but the fact was that unleashing what he had been told to anybody else would force him to confront the truth that Akhbett Jirall had provided him with. His parents had been party to a massacre. He could not stave off the reckoning any longer. It was time to rip off the band-aid, just as Genkos had suggested weeks earlier. He knew that he could not go through it alone. The CMO had told him that the crew would be there to pick up the pieces, but he needed their support to go through with it. He could think of no one more qualified- no one he trusted more- than Meidra. He reached the entrance to her office once more. Only this time, the doors opened and there stood the auburn-haired Vulcan/El-Aurian psychologist, peering at him with an expression somewhere between confusion and annoyance. Sirin: Iljor? Is there a reason you are haunting my waiting area? I can feel the waves of turmoil coming from you from inside my office. Come in, please. She moved off to one side to allow her friend and colleague entrance. Since his arrival on the Resolution, their friendship had grown into a cherished one, and the counselor was a bit overwhelmed by the strong conflicting emotions she felt coming from the usually cheerful science officer. It wasn’t like him to be so stressed, and a real concern started to grow within her. Sirin: I was just brewing some Spice tea for myself, but if that is not to your liking, you may use the replicator to procure a beverage. ::sits on her sofa, pouring a cup of tea for herself:: Tell me what is on your mind. Spice tea sounded like the tonic that Iljor needed. He made his way into her comfortable office, made himself a cup and took a seat on the same sofa that he had sat on the very first time that he had met her. It was still as soft as he had remembered. She waited patiently for him to sit down, and explain what had him so upset. She knew not to push too hard, Iljor always sorted through his thoughts in a quite logical way before speaking, and she knew this time would be no different. He saw no reason not to cut straight to the heart of the matter. Etan: Back when we were on Trill for Yogan's zhian'tara ::he began, slowly and deliberately as he organised his jumble of chaotic thoughts.:: I was approached by a Cardassian who claimed to have information on what amounts to a false flag operation on Bajor, one that my parents were drawn in to. ::he went to reach for the optolythic data rod that Akhbett had given him before her swift exit from the café. He didn't realise until he blinked that he was already holding it.:: The data rod had been gathering dust in his bedside table ever since they had returned from Trill. He had tried to forget about it as best as he could. He had ignored it for the most part, but after his conversation with Genkos and upon returning from the science symposium, he had finally decided to review its contents. What he had read had sickened him to his very core. Of all the things that he could have told her, this had not even registered as a possibility. Meidra took a sip of her tea, attempting to clear her thoughts, before putting the cup down to focus on her friend. Her voice softened, and she knew she had to tread carefully with this conversation. He was like a pi’sa-kai to her, a little brother, and she did not wish to cause him unneeded distress. Sirin: I see. And what exactly did this person tell you? Etan: She claimed that the old Central Command fed false intelligence to my parent's resistance cell that an Obsidian Order operation was about to take place. Their cell swiftly bombed the warehouse where they were sheltering and then 'picked off' the survivors one by one until none were left. Just repeating Jirall's claims made him want to be sick all over Meidra's office. He could feel the roiling of his agitated stomach, the knot there replaced temporarily by an ocean of anxiety. He took a sip of the spice tea with closed eyes, hoping it would calm him somewhat. Given that his hands were now beginning to tremble, it didn't seem to work. Meidra reached out and squeezed his hands in encouragement, her touch light. Sitting back again, she watched the emotions cross his face as he struggled to continue. She had never seen him so agitated. Her feelings for him as an older sister warred with her duties as counselor for a moment, and all she wanted to do was envelope him in a huge hug and let him cry it out. However, at this moment, they were counselor and patient. She took a moment to settle her own thoughts before continuing. Sirin: Take a breath, Iljor. Tell me more when you are ready. He drew strength from her gentle squeeze and he composed himself before elaborating. Etan: They weren't Obsidian Order operatives. ::he said in a small voice that took on a surprisingly guilty tone.:: They were religious believers. Civilians. Sirin: Refugees. Iljor nodded. Etan: Of a sort. ::beat:: They were members of an ancient Cardassian religion, known as the Oralian Way. After the establishment of the Central Command and the military dictatorship, religion was banned outright and members of The Way were hunted and persecuted publicly, for entertainment as much as a warning to others. The woman I spoke to said that the believers were being sheltered by the Vedek Assembly- which does tally with their actions during the Occupation. The Vedek Assembly had, in the decades since the end of the Occupation and the fall of Central Command, admitted to running an underground railroad of Oralian believers through Bajor, sheltering them until they get them off world and out of the murderous hands of Central Command and the Obsidian Order. It was their own act of rebellion against the oppressive Centeal Command. Iljor had thought them courageous and selfless, putting aside prejudice and hate to help those in dire need of rescuing. Sirin: And this woman said your parents were somehow involved. ::beat:: What else did she tell you? Etan: That was pretty much it. That there was a false flag operation, my parents' resistance cell was involved and religious refugees were massacred. ::he remembered a final detail.:: The Vedek Assembly covered it all up. ::he let out a sigh.:: I haven't corroborated any of the details. ::he held up the optometric rod again.:: I'm scared to. Sirin: What exactly do you fear, Iljor? Etan: That I don’t know my own parents- the people who raised me. This changes absolutely everything. I don’t know if I want to know the real them. Sirin: Perhaps not knowing is more harmful at this point. She poured them another cup of tea, watching his expression carefully. This was a huge revelation for him to deal with, and while determining the veracity of these claims was important, his emotional health was her first priority. Both as counselor, and as friend. Iljor considered Meidra’s view for a moment, his eyes darting back and forth as though he was reading something. His foot tapped on the carpet in agitation. Jirall’s evidence had more than just repercussions for him and his parents- the entire bedrock of Bajoran spirituality- the Vedek Assembly- could be shaken to its core. Etan: Something like this could rock the very foundations of Bajor. The Vedek Assembly engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the deaths of innocent Cardassian civilians. I know it was the Occupation and to almost everyone the only good Cardassian was a dead Cardassian. ::beat:: but I never believed that and I never will. He didn't remember getting to his feet and he didn't remember when he had risen his voice. Etan: For years I convinced myself that my parents were just messengers or they hid resistance members in their cellar away from the prying eyes of Dukat's patrols. ::beat:: I want to believe they’re innocent of what they stand accused of. They have to be. But in his heart, he knew the facts. Data on optolythic data rods was infallible and as best as he knew, nobody had ever successfully forged an entry. If Jirall had gotten the information then it was accurate. His entire world had been turned upside down. His parents were strangers, the leaders of his faith were party to a massacre and cover-up, everything he knew was a lie. She could see him spiraling into self doubt about what he had always felt was the truth about his family. He was agitated and she could feel his anxiety as if it were her own. Empathy was a fine talent to have until one felt as if one’s lunch was trying to escape. She took a deep breath and spoke a bit louder than usual to the young science officer. Sirin: Iljor. Look at me. Do you want to know what that rod contains? Are you prepared to deal with the consequences, no matter what they are? ::beat:: Have you considered speaking with your parents? There was something in Meidra's voice- a commanding tone- that snapped back to reality and out of his heightened emotional state. He blinked twice and looked at the counselor. The truth was that no- he was not prepared to deal with the information he had been given. That had been why he had buried it under a pile of clothes in his drawers and tried to pretend it did not exist. Yet, he knew he could not ignore it forever. He had known ever since Jirall had sat opposite him in the café on Trill that he would have to confront his parents with the information. He might not be prepared… but he would have to change that. He let out a long, sad sigh. Etan: No. No I'm not. ::he shook his head.:: But this is too important to bury my head in the sand and forget about. ::he paused for a second and flopped back on to the comfortable sofa, resigned to his duty.:: I don’t think that I could. He reached a decision. Etan: I have to speak to them. Sirin: I think that is the most logical course of action. It was not a conversation he wanted to have over subspace. He didn't want to have it at all- but he knew it had to be done. No, he needed to speak to them face to face. There was no way that they would leave the farm- not when the katterpod harvest was coming up. That only left one option. He needed to go home. Etan: I don't think I can do this alone. ::he said finally.:: I'm not strong enough. Meidra highly doubted that. Iljor had a strength that he might not recognize, but it was in everything he did, both as an officer and as a person. She would do what she could to reinforce that confidence until he truly believed it himself. But until then, she would do all she could for him when he needed her. Sirin: What do you need to make this easier for you? Etan: ::he looked at Meidra imploringly.:: Would you come with me? You're my best friend on Resolution and this is one of those times when you need a friend to support you. Meidra was quite touched. She felt the same way for the young Bajoran, and their weekly lunches had grown into a strong bond of friendship. She wondered how she had gotten so fortunate to serve with such incredibly talented and compassionate beings. Taking his hand once more in hers, she smiled warmly at her pi’sa-kai. Sirin: You never have to ask me for my support, Iljor. I wouldn’t want you to do this on your own. Speaking as a counselor, I would not advise you to go on your own anyway. Speaking as your best friend and big sister, I wouldn’t even let you consider it. He practically sagged with relief into the back of the sofa. Etan: Thank you. ::he said after several long moments that seemed never-ending.:: Sirin: We’re family now, pi’sa-kai. Your struggles are my own. We will get through this together, little brother. -- End Of Scene -- Lieutenant (J.G.) Etan Iljor Science Officer U.S.S. Resolution C239203TW0 & Lieutenant Meidra Sirin Ship’s Counselor U.S.S. Resolution R239707MS0 “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to life.”
  22. I found this probably a little too funny...
  23. The level of drama, drag race references, emotion and worlbuilding in this sim is over the top. I'm here with my popcorn ready to see how this arc develops. Great work @Yalu & @Etan Iljor ❤️ (( Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, Deck 225/226, Deep Space 224 )) The hustle and bustle of the pub actually made Dwich feel more comfortable about saying what he wanted to say; he could speak and let his voice get lost in the din. Certainly no one beyond their table would be able to overhear him even if they wanted to. Hamsan: I know you’re Meidra’s best friend, but you’re the only other Bajoran I’ve gotten to know on Resolution. I was wondering if I could ask for your advice. Etan: Uh, of course… The delay in Iljor’s reply and the uncertainty in his tone of voice made Dwich pause, and he second guessed whether or not he should continue on with his question. After a moment of consideration, he pressed on. Hamsan: ::gestures to Iljor’s earring:: You’re… observant, right? You follow the way of the Prophets? Etan: Of course. It guides me in everything I do. I believe I am walking the Prophets have laid out for me. Dwich nodded. Bajorans had a reputation for being a spiritual people, and while some were less devout than others, one could generally trust the assumption that Bajorans believed in the Prophets. It made sense for them, more so than Humans or other species for whom religion existed. To Dwich’s knowledge, they were unique amongst believers in that their gods were actual, real beings, living just out of time but very much involved in the affairs of the people they watched over. Hamsan: I’ve been thinking a lot about my path. Meidra and I have talked about moving in together, and I think we both want to take that step. But I keep thinking about Yurba’s Second Prophecy. Etan: I’m not familiar with it. ::he said, trying to rack his brains for any recollection.:: Hamsan: Before I joined Starfleet, I was in training to join the religious order at the Kaiett Monastery in Dakhur Province. But that was a long time ago. ::beat:: In Yurba’s, there’s one verse I can’t get out of my head. “If thou cantst love thyself, how canst thou love somebody else?” It’s making me wonder if we’re doing the right thing. Etan: Reading prophecy is fundamental. It is part and parcel of our spiritual lives. But there comes a point when sometimes we have to follow our hearts. My grandmother spent some time as a young woman considering doing the same as you did: joining the clergy rder- but it never felt right. When she met my grandfather, she was torn about whether to give up the order and marry my grandfather or give up my grandfather and spend her life in silent seclusion at the Vandawan Monastery. Dwich remembered his last day at the monastery, when Prylar Ulan told him to pack up his things and follow another path. It hurt, and for months, even years after, Dwich had felt lost. The one thing he had wanted more than anything else in the world was not the life for him, or so he had been told. Hamsan: What did she do? Etan: She wasn’t able to have an orb experience to find the answer, but she did speak to Vedek Vehsajj who told her of a passage from Yalar’s New Insights which said “One must not be sabotaged by the saboteur from within”. My grandmother realised that she was stopping herself from being truly happy and she left the seminary. Dwich recalled the book to which Iljor referred, though he didn’t remember the specific passage. Over tens of thousands of years, the Prophets had revealed themselves to chosen messengers on Bajor many times, which resulted in a diverse canon of prophecies to which the faithful could turn for guidance. In the past few days, Dwich had done his own share of poring over some of his most beloved sacred texts, but he was left with no answers, only more questions. Hamsan: But how does one know? How did your grandmother know? I love Meidra, but I still dream about joining a religious order. I don’t know how to reconcile those two things. Dwich tried not to scooch to the edge of his seat in anticipation as Iljor stopped to take a sip of his drink. It wasn’t as though he had the magic answer to solve all of Dwich’s problems, but perhaps he could provide something thought provoking or shed a new angle of light on the situation. As Iljor set the glass down, Dwich tried to anticipate what he would say. Etan: My point is: ask yourself how you feel about Meidra. I think you’ll find the answer is that which makes you the happiest. Dwich thought about his own feelings for Meidra, and the way she reacted when he finally expressed them to her. If he were speaking in his own language, he would have used the word tem’en, “bright one.” And he wanted to be her ja’ital, her “light,” in return. He knew she felt the same way about him, but Dwich felt that there was something in the way. Something within each of them that complicated their relationship and prevented them from becoming as close as their feelings might wish. Hamsan: I wonder if she would still want to be with me if I–– ::beat:: if I left Starfleet after my four years are up and joined the clergy. ::begins thinking out loud:: Not in a contemplative or cloistered order, one where she could come with me, maybe teaching or caring for the poor. With my medical training, I could do a lot of good in one of the cities. Ashalla, maybe. Or Tamulna. Etan: response Dwich realised he was getting ahead of himself. He had discussed his vocational aspirations with Meidra a few times in the past, but he had always framed it as a part of his past. He’d not previously let on that he still thought about it every day of his life. Hamsan: I guess sharing quarters is such a big step, that it’s caused me to rethink everything about my life. I didn’t realise when I asked her that all this would come up. Etan: response Hamsan: But I don’t think I’m the only one. Dwich looked over at his unpalatable, nearly full beer. It was likely warm and flat by now, rendering it even more unpleasant. Even so, he grabbed it and took a draught, pulling a face as he set down the glass and forced himself to swallow the mouthful of acrid beverage. Hamsan: I think she’s hiding something from me. Something that she thinks would change the way I feel about her if I found out. Etan: response Hamsan: I don’t know. ::beat, suddenly realises:: And this isn’t me trying to prise it out of you, Iljor. Honestly, I would never want to exploit the confidence between friends. I just wish she believed that nothing could change the way I feel about her, and even if the Prophets don’t intend for us to walk the same path forever, she can at least be herself with me in the here and now. Dwich realised that his own words could just as easily be spoken in the reverse about him. It was as though each of them had brought a third one with them into their relationship, a secret or a longing, that threatened to derail what they had together. Etan: response (( OOC: The musical accompaniment for today’s sim is Between performed by Vienna Teng. )) Tag / TBC PNPC Crewman 2nd Class Hamsan Dwich Emergency Medical Technician USS Resolution NCC-78145 simmed by Lieutenant Yogan Yalu Helm Officer USS Resolution NCC-78145 Justin D238804DS0 As you liberate yourself in metaphor, think of others, those who have lost the right to speak. — Mahmoud Darwish
  24. First let me start by saying I am not really impartial here. Sherlock joined me in my return cruise and I have enjoyed her life around the fleet. But this sim really got me by surprise, and I think it deserved it's place here. ((OOC: trigger warning: there is talk concerning abortion in this sim. Continue on at your own risk.)) ((Officer's Lounge, Deck 19, Deep Space 224)) Aine had spent the day avoiding public spaces. She was nervous enough to agree to meet Mel, running into him would have just made things worse. She wished she hadn't arrived early. The minutes felt like lifetimes. She wondered what Mel wanted to talk about. Her worst nightmare was that he would want to rekindle their relationship. She sipped at her water and sincerely hoped he'd be late so she'd have an excuse to leave. But no luck there, for there he was. He approached and everything felt like it slowed, save for her breathing which quickened. Walking up to the table, he handed her a single purple dahlia, her favorite. She took it and stared at it for a moment, it's many petals standing out in the dim lights of the lounge. Martinson: May I? ::gesturing to the chair opposite her:: Aine's eyes shifted back and forth. Sherlock: Of course. Martinson: ::settling into the seat:: Can we...can we just start over for a moment? Sherlock: We can try. Martinson: Ok. Well, how are you? How are you finding your time in the fleet? Sherlock: I'm good. Things are good. I'm ::beat:: making friends with some of my shipmates. The work can be tough, but I'm enjoying it. Martinson: That's good. I've read a couple mission reports from the Resolution. ::laughing behind his words:: You guys' have seen some stuff. Sherlock: You could say that. :: shrugging with her hands:: Just another day in the Fleet, right? Aine watched as the normally overly confident man seemed jittery and nervous. His hands clasped on the table. He appeared to be trying hard to not anger Aine...again. She almost felt bad for him. She decided to show him she was going to be civil. Sherlock: Um...what about you? You got assigned to the...Gle... Martinson: Glenn, yeah. Still there. Nothing quite as exciting as your ship. But, we're more diplomacy focused. Mostly it's been settling small colonial disputes. So, how are...uh...how are your parents? She thought back to when they came to visit the Academy campus in San Francisco, a long journey as far as they were concerned. Mel was a nervous wreck meeting them. Aine grinned at the memory. Sherlock: They're good. My ma brings you up every now and then. My da, well, he's a father so he despises you. They both laughed at the notion. Sherlock: And your ma? Martinson: She's good. Still in the fleet. I think she's planning on retiring in a few years. She hasn't brought you up since... Sherlock: Gee, thanks. Martinson: No, that's not what I meant. She loved you. She just, for me, doesn't bring it up. Aine saw his nervousness rise. She flashed him a sly grin to let him know she was only joking. Sherlock: So, is this what you wanted? Just to chat and catch up? Martinson: Yes. Well, I wanted to say something. I know what I did was horrible. I'm not denying that. And I am sorry. I was young, career driven...stupid. And I am really sorry. I still care about you. And, I want you to know that. Aine swallowed hard. oO Maybe he does really feel bad? Oo Truth was, she never could fall out of love with him despite the pain. She nodded her head slightly to acknowledge his apology. Sherlock: Thank you. Mel took in a deep breath of relief. Sherlock: But, please know, it hurt. And it still hurts. This doesn't excuse you leaving. Martinson: No, I know that. I get that. Totally. I screwed up. I know. Sherlock: Good. Ok. Martinson: Ok. So, I know this is a big ask, but can I meet them? Aine's eyes narrowed as she thought about the question. She was more confused by it than anything. Sherlock: Meet who? Martinson: The baby. I mean, they're not a baby anymore, it's been three years and... Sherlock: Is this a sick joke? Mel looked like a man who'd made a mistake and Aine wondered now how much he really knew. How much he'd really looked into the situation after he'd left. Martinson: I know I haven't been there. But maybe that can change? Aine couldn't believe what was happening, she felt sick to her stomach. Sherlock: You don't even know, do you? Martinson: Know what? Sherlock: There is no baby. Mel looked shocked as he clasped his hands together in front of his mouth. Sherlock: After you left, just like you, I chose my career. I couldn't have a kid. Martinson: Aine, I'm so sorry. Sherlock: All of that nearly ended my chance in Starfleet, ya know? Even after I had the pregnancy terminated, it wasn't easy. I nearly failed my next year. Nothing was easy. She could feel the heat building in her cheeks and ears. It was bad enough he showed up, and now this, the ultimate painful reminder. Mel looked defeated sitting across from her. She could tell he was in shock and had never even considered that she'd go that route. Martinson: I don't know what to say. Sherlock: You don't have to say anything. Clearly you're full of it. You just showed how much you really care. You should just walk away, right now. Like you do. Martinson: Aine... Sherlock: Now! Aine looked around with her eyes, biting her lower lip seeing that all the other officers present were now looking at them. The heat of anger in her face was now replaced by embarrassment. Martinson: Can we ju... Sherlock: ::gritting her teeth and staring angrily:: Leave. Now. Martinson: ::standing:: Ok. I'll go. Mel looked like he was about to say something else. A brief pause before he turned and walked away. As he moved out of ear shot, Aine let out a breath she was holding, but the weight in her chest felt like it would cave it in. She breathed heavily as she held back tears. to be continued "special" appearance by Lt. Melvin Hollis Martinson Lieutenant Junior Grade Aine Sherlock Security Officer USS Resolution R239712AS0
  25. A couple of us are getting some off-duty face to face time with our Captain and I was fortunate enough to get to ask the right questions to get some good reminiscing out of her.
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