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  1. (( Bajor, Hathon, Oddas Household, Stardate 238804.02 )) ::The house was mostly dark, after dinner, the lights mostly dimmed. Aria's parents were both home at the same time for a change, still in their militia uniforms. Her mother, Umize had promoted to General earlier in the month, in a normal family this would have likely caused friction, but her father Gura seemed content to remain a Colonel and adviser to the government. The Deka tea and the tuwaly pie sat half eaten in front of her. Tuwaly pie was one of her favorites, but she has just mentioned her future Starfleet plans to her family, not for the first time, but it was causing another argument. Her sister, Ushow, soon to leave for her own academy training in the militia, pushed herself from the table in a sign that clearly said 'I am ashamed of you'. :: Umize: ::dropping her fork:: Is this because of that girl? Oddas: ::raising her voice:: This has nothing to do with Alea! ::taking a deep breath:: This has to do with using my talents to help other people, like ::emphasizing:: my family taught me. Umize: We taught you to take care of ::raising her voice:: Bajor! Not, the rest of the galaxy. ::snidely:: Talents! Using your hands like a common maintenance worker. Oddas: That's what you think of Engineers? What you think of the people who keep your ships in the air, of the people who keep your troops fed with replicators who keep your weapons from exploding in your hands? Do your troops know this? Gura: ::politically::There is no reason to be ... harsh Aria. Oddas: Me?! Gura: ::holding up his hands:: Fine! stay here, be an Engineer. Be a Militia Engineer, you don't need to go join the Federation forces, help your people here. :::She had known this argument was coming. She took a sip of her tea to try and collect her thoughts, but her sister spoke up from the side of the room. :: Ushow: ::quietly, forcefully:: You're going to get hurt, or worse, fighting for someone else. You'll be on some Prophet forsaken rock defending someone or following some orders for people who aren't your own and you'll get wounded or killed. We'll get a nice letter from some Admiral telling us how brave your were, how noble your sacrifice was, how necessary it was to the future of the Federation. ::snorting:: The Federation, as if that is something we need to be part of. Oddas: The Federation sacrificed lives, and ships, and resources when the Dominion came to invade. Were those lives unnecessary sacrifices? Was Bajor a Prophet forsaken rock? ::she paused:: I know you haven't been to the shrine lately, but even you know the Emissary was of the Federation too. Umize: ::anger rising in her voice:: And I know you don't remember it, but the Federation stood by while the Occupation was going on. Oddas: ::sighing:: This is happening, Mom, ::turning to look:: Dad, ::turning again:: Ushow. The Federation wants to do good things and I want to help them. Its what my family taught me to do. I'm going to build up the galaxy the way you've all been building up Bajor. ::softly, apologetically:: I'm sorry you can't see that. ::Her father looked as if he wanted to say something, but her mother spoke first. :: Umize: If you do this, you cannot come back. When that letter your sister described comes, we won't read it. Don't come back for support, don't come back on leave, don't come back when that girl breaks your heart. ::Her mother picked up her dishes, put them in the disposal unit, and left the room. Her father seemed to want to say something, Aria knew from experience he was trying to think of the political way of choosing between his daughter and his mother without upsetting either. She also knew he agreed with his wife: when he disagreed with anyone they knew. He looked like he wanted to make a retreat as quickly as possible. She looked at her father and could feel the tears welling in her eyes but didn't want to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her cry. :: Oddas: ::her voice cracking:: Go, ::clearing her throat:: I know you want to. ::He left, a mixture of disgust and sorrow on his face. She was left with her older sister in the room. Ushow poured herself more tea. :: Ushow: ::standing, but looking at her:: That earring you wear, its our grandmother's. She died rescuing a group of Bajoran pleasure women from a Gul. ::She had said it focusing on Aria's family earring, emphasizing the word 'Bajoran'. :: Oddas: ::mustering her courage:: I know. She didn't know those women, they were strangers to her. I've heard the story, read it on the memorial wall. All my life we've called standing up for what's right what we do in this family. ::she paused, looking at her pie and moving it around with her fork:: I'm just doing that on a larger scale. NT Lt. Commander Oddas Aria Chief Engineering Officer Duronis II Embassy - USS Thunder-A - 70605-A ASDB - Training Team - Top Sims Judge E239305OA0
  2. (( Constitution - Arboretum ))::The Ohmallera Memorial was tucked away in the Betazed section of the Constitution’s arboretum. Lush plant life from the Betazoid home world practically enveloped the dark, eight-foot statue, a minimalist design depicting three towers standing above a dark pool of water, all of traditional Betazoid design, with an enormous disc rising behind them, perhaps a black sun, a dark moon or, Ji-hu thought, the saucer section of a Federation starship. The latter was likely the intent—Ji-hu remembered the terrible images from Ohmallera after the attack.When he’d first found the memorial Ji-hu had been a little disturbed to realize he was serving on the same ship that had destroyed the city—he’d never made the connection, even though he remembered the news coverage—but he supposed there’d been all sorts of tragedies and triumphs, big and small, aboard the Constitution, that he’d have no way of realizing. Pushing aside some of the foliage he’d discovered an inscription that read, in Federation Standard: RESPONSIBILITY OF POWER 2388 will be remembered as a tremendous loss for the United Federation of Planets when the USS Constitution was hijacked and used to destroy the city of Ohmallera, Betazed, costing more than a million innocent lives. The Constitution continues to fly in vigilance against the forces of chaos in the universe while acknowledging that we are not immune to them.This was followed by a Betazoid prayer for spirits to love and protect the deceased. Really put things in perspective for his own stupid problems.After the business on the Starbase Ji-hu had got a little rest and decided to spend some of his downtime meditating… a suggestion of his Academy counsellor he’d been sorely neglecting in his final months at the Academy. After everything that’d happened he decided to make a bit more of an effort. Either because it was hidden away or because of the section was in the shadow of the statue the memorial’s section of the arboretum was quiet. He laid out a blanket beneath the memorial, closed his eyes and started some breathing exercises. In eight seconds, hold for eight seconds, out for ten seconds, repeat. He focused on the sounds around him, picking them out to ground himself; the distant, lulling chatter of a botanist with a group of school children visiting the arboretum for a biology course… the sound of water trickling through a nearby stream… the gentle breeze simulating a warm summer wind in a temperate climate…Ji-hu was standing beneath the stars in a golden robe with two other men flanking him. The stars blinked curiously overhead like a million animal eyes in the shadows. An owl-headed god perched above all, two enormous mirror eyes watching the scene. A little girl was running toward Ji-hu, until she transformed into a dog, or wolf, in the blink of an eye, then back again, and kept repeating the transformation to the point where the two forms were one in the same. She was chased away by a humungous bear, which transformed into an old man in the same manner, back to bear, back to a man. Ji-hu could feel a burning sun blazing behind him, but was afraid to turn around.He awoke with a small start as his head had started to droop down towards his chest. He was sitting in the grass in the arboretum, underneath the memorial behind him. He must have drifted off, his mind grasped at the dream… he remembered Ursun, and Iel’ue had been there? Something about quantum robes…::oO That’s an interesting thought… there’s clearly no physiological transformation. That would destroy complex humanoid lifeforms. Didn’t you do a course that touched on the allasomorphs? What if the Hinji “shapeshifting” isn’t changing their shape at all, but something else entirely? OoChoi: ::whispering:: Turing… remind me when I’m finish meditating to read up on T’saarri’s work on macroscopic quantum superpositions.Turing: Copy that, meatsack.::Ji-hu closed his eyes again and tried to pick out the sounds, the steady gurgling of the memorial’s pool behind him, the underlying, gentle hum of the Constitution’s systems everywhere… but his mind kept going back to what he’d seen on Starbase 104. The Hinji weren’t like other “shapeshifters” at all. There was something else going on there. Something the Federation had never seen before. That’s why xenobiologists were so stumped. They were looking at it all wrong. The problem wasn’t a physical one, it was a quantum problem.::Choi: ::whispering:: Turing, was it Professor Akimoto who wrote that paper on bio-chemical superconduction… something about an interference field?Turing: Do you want me to tell you now, or after you finish meditating? Assuming you are still meditating.::Ji-hu pulled a PADD out of his bag and logged in to LCARS. Turing sighed.::oO Social conditioning response. I think I built that in during Academy so Turing would guilt me when I had homework to do but tried to access my gaming accounts. OoChoi: I promise I’ll go back to meditating in a bit, I just want to find that Akimoto essay. Was that on my topology syllabus?::Ji-hu would have time for meditation later. He had a theory. It may not save the Hinji or decide anything in the negotiations for Leron II, but a theory was just the beginning to something bigger. Discovery.:: ***** Ensign Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0
  3. ((Gardens, Family Villa, Outside of Shi'Kahr, Vulcan)) ::Savan’s family and T’Mihn proceeded up the main walkway into the villa. The first stars of the Vulcan night sky were beginning to appear. T’Nura and Torin went ahead, but Staran paused on the steps to speak with T’Mihn and Savan. The petite Vulcan stopped and looked skyward, indigo eyes scanning the velvet black sky, with it's twinkling jewels.:: ::She stargazed as a child, but not much now traveling through spae at ultra illuminal speeds. Star gazing on TIl'ahn she would do, but it didn't "feel"right, this did.:: :: She sensed movement next to her. Saran moved next to her, pointing at constellation patterns and notable man made objects in space.as he spoke. Staran: My wife’s ancestors who originally lived on this land knew the stars. The arc of the ancient constellations run immediately above us this time of year. T’Mihn: Ah.yes. :;Pointing:: That one is Mother Sehlat, over there is her cub. That is le-matya who seems to be chasing the cub but never catches him. Staran: And there, in the middle of that constellation is Kuvak Station. That is where the Ti’Shaan is in port. ::Looking:: T’Mihn: The Station seems to be in the eye of Shovock. OOC: (A raptor type bird, very large, graceful, and seen to be a good luck omen.) Staran: Kuvak Station is set in geosynchronous orbit with Shi’Kahr. I would like to invite you both to the station and on board the Ti’Shaan before you leave Vulcan. Savan: I would like to see more of the ship. T’Mihn: ::Nodding.:: As would I. Staran: In fact, the Ti’Shaan is the first in its class. It is the most elaborate starship that our people have constructed in some time. ::Staran would probably not admit it, but he sure seemed very proud of the ship and artistry behind her.:: Staran: Do not take this in the wrong way, I have great respect for Starfleet. But as I’m sure as you both understand, the interests of Vulcan and Starfleet are not always one and the same. It is time that we return to the stars in our own way. We too were explorers. ::T'Mihn looked at the man. Savan saw that she appeared to be fighting the urge to smile.:: T’Mihn: No offense is taken, where none is given Staran. I tend to disagree on 'were', we still are explorers. Exploring, mind, or the katra is still exploration. ::Savan realized this could be an interesting exchange. His contact with his uncle was so limited. He was no seeing him through an adult’s eyes, not a troubled child’s. Staran had a face that almost seemed both surprised or bemused, as much as a Vulcan officer would admit.::: Staran: Commander, with all do respect, I do not believe you have spent much time on Vulcan. The stars do not draw as many as they should, and as for the mind, I believe more exploration, as you call it, should be encouraged. T'Mihn: I can see you have much on the mind, and things to share with Savan. Staran: And how did you arrive at that conclusion? ::Staran looked almost perplexed.:: T'Mihn: You had that certain look only a fellow parent can recognize. It's a logical conclusion, after today's events, much must be discussed and contemplated. Staran: Indeed, commander... ::Savan then watched T’Mihn continue into the home, leaving Staran momentarily silent.:: Savan: Well, we should join the others. ::The elder approached Savan and looked at him, directly but with a quiet warmth of a Vulcan parent. He wasn’t following T’Mihn inside.:: Staran: No, your associate T’Mihn is correct. We do have much to discuss together. Savan: ::raising an eyebrow:: I supposed you are correct. ::Savan was at a lost of words. Here he was with the father figure who sent him away years before and with whom he had few exchanges in the years to follow. Thankfully, his uncle stepped in.:: Staran: Walk with me, my nephew. ::And so did Savan obey his uncle’s words. He followed him quietly as they finally arrived at the viewing place of Shi’Kahr. The city lights glowed in the distance, with its spires reaching upward. On foot, the capital would be more than an hour away. He remembered how Staran had to be near the city because of his post, but preferred to remain on its outskirts.:: Staran: So I trust you met with the doctors from the Vulcan Science Academy while you were on board the KiVahl? Savan: I did. Staran: Your silence says nothing and everything. Savan: In all frankness, I am uncertain by the findings they presented. ::The words coming out of Savan’s throat did not at all feel like himself. And apparently, he was not the only one to notice.:: Staran: I need to interrupt you, my nephew. I realize that we have not spoken a great deal since you left this home, and that you may see me as an officer of the High Command who may happen to be a relative. But you do not need to assume Vulcan airs and restraint for my benefit. When it comes to a matter of this gravity, it is illogical to ignore your identity . Savan: I do not understand. Staran: Savan, speak your truth. Speak in the way that is appropriate for you. Only in that manner may I truly understand your position. You are son of two worlds, Savan. There is no shame in truth. ::Savan was a little dumbstruck now. In other words, his uncle was asking him to be himself.:: Savan: Alright, I am very torn by what the doctors told me. Staran: Torn? Explain. ::The Vulcan captain looked sincerely confused. It was clear that he thought the doctor’s offer to repair the Trellium D damage was positive.:: Savan: Uncle, after I had to leave this world, I had to forge my own path. No one on Vulcan could help me in the end with who I became. I was not wanted here. ::Savan paused as he heard the words come out of his mouth despite himself. He could then sense a shift in Staran. It appeared he had hit a chord for his uncle, who was looking off into the distance and then turned to look at his nephew.:: Staran: Savan, before we go any further, know this. I took your custody very seriously. In fact, I did not want you to leave. Savan: You did not? ::All Savan could remember was Staran’s seemingly infinite frustration with his inability to behave.:: Staran: No. But logic dictated that I choose another course of action. Having you remain on Vulcan would have given you no future—at least not one I wanted for you. Sending you to another world more open to emotions… to be raised with someone who could understand better than I did, that was the only logical choice. ::Now it was Savan’s turn to be surprised.:: Savan: I never considered it that way. ::Staran then stood up and looked at the villa.:: Staran: How could you? For all intense and purposes, you were a child. And you were more than my nephew, I considered you my son. I had only the best intentions for you. Savan: ::quietly:: I appreciate you saying that. ::Of course, the Vulcan captain was not going to get too expressive and changed topics.:: Staran: Now let us return to the topic at hand. You are, as you say, “torn.” Savan: Yes. I found my own way. It is imperfect, yes. It is not always easy. I need to rely on medicines and treatments, to compensate. But I have survived and, in the end, learned and thrived. Staran: ::perplexed: And you believe restoring the full functioning of your emotional control centers would destroy what you have learned? Savan: Not just that, it may destroy who I am, who I have become. Staran: My nephew, I know that you are aware that treatment, if successful, will not cause you to suppress either your memories or sense of identity. I sense that your concerns lie elsewhere. ::Savan realized that his uncle saw a fallacy in his worries.: Savan: Perhaps they do. ::Something of an epiphany occurred.:: Staran: I think I understand. It is because you will now have a choice. Savan: A choice? Staran: A choice between adopting the Vulcan way or maintaining your own. That is what your concerns are about. You think you need to turn your back on your past now? Savan: I think that would be a correct assessment. ::Now Staran began to sound paternal and all-knowing, but Savan actually appreciated it.:: Staran: Savan, I know how well educated and well versed in Vulcan tradition Torin is. As the educator he is, he would have shared that with you.. And I know that you understand that the Vulcan mental disciplines take years to master. While of course, much of that foundation is done during adolescence, it is a lifelong process of mastery and self-discovery. And it is clear to me that you have discovered many of these concepts on your end. Savan: Then why did the doctors come to me with this treatment? Staran: I asked them to speak with you, even though the findings are preliminary… ::Staran paused a moment.:: because I wanted you to be given the option of this treatment... but not to force you to follow the Vulcan Way or to sacrifice your identity. I wanted you be able to have the full ability to explore your mind and all its capacities, just as any other Vulcan is able to. Where you go is your decision and yours alone. My intention is for your path to simply be a less arduous one. I am aware of the challenges you have undergone and how you have transcended them. ::Savan knew what his uncle was referring to in a roundabout way. No medications, no frequent psych checkups, no repeated neurological exams—or at least, far less of all of it. And then there was more, perhaps even the ability to meld. He then felt something he had been wanting to say for years come out.:: Savan: To be honest, Uncle, I did not want to leave this planet, Uncle. I just wanted to be a Vulcan, a Vulcan like everyone else but I could not. And within, part of me still does. I wanted to belong, to fit into this society. ::Savan stared off into the lights of Shi'Kahr.:: Staran: My nephew, you are a Vulcan. While most of us now follow the Teachings of Surak in a way that conforms to certain traditions, there is always diversity in the Vulcan way. ::Savan looked at his uncle, trying to process still the exchange that had just happened.:: Staran: I am certain the others are waiting for us. ::Staran got up to leave the viewing area and return to the villa.:: Savan: Uncle, if you could take a few moments more, could you please tell me about my father? Staran: Varis was brilliant. It is not a word we Vulcans use to describe one another, but it is appropriate in your father’s case. His insights were often unparalleled. Savan: How so? Staran: That will take some time. Let us talk about him tomorrow. I have taken leave while you are here. I can accompany you to meet with the doctors, and then we speak further about your father. ::Savan sensed there was more to Staran’s words, but decided to allow him share it on his own time.:: Savan: I would appreciate that. NT Lt. Commander Savan Tactical/Security Officer Embassy of Duronis II/USS Thunder-A
  4. ((Par’tha Expanse, Beta Quadrant, Kiros, Kirosian Continent)) ::The world came back in slow agonising waves the loud whine in his ears blocked all other sounds even his own voice, he thought it was his voice but try as he might no sound reached his ears. Then he heard it a tiny voice in the distance it had no words or at least none that he could recognise, but it was there and slowly growing louder as the whine began to dim allowing one of his senses to come back to the world. The voice grew and grew getting closer and closer, they had to get with him soon they were so close, he felt his strength starting to return but his throat hurt a raw burning pain that felt as if hands were clutched around his neck squeezing hard:: Achim: BBAAAOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHHH….. ::The world snapped back into focus sharply as the whine in his ears stopped, the tiny voice that he’d heard was his, the raw throat from his own shouting. Pain lanced through his legs it felt like something was crushing them, his hooves could feel a breeze ?, where was he and why was it so hard to think. His right arm hurt as he moved it so he used his left to wipe his face, feeling wetness his light fur matted and slick, Achim looked at his hand..red with blood squeezing his eyes shut the sting of dust clung to them:: ::The dust was everywhere in his lungs and mouth, all over him and no matter where he turned his head the air was thick with it:: Achim oO Why, what happened … Oo ::He didn’t know how long he lay there thoughts refusing to form half sentences put together but then lost in the darkness that surrounded him, then word after word stayed joined becoming a thought that held a few more and a half sentence, still more and finally the sentence finally they held together:: ::It had been this morning or was it, how long he had been here he didn’t know but it had been earlier that he had visited his mother before heading to work, she had trouble walking these days, the lameness that set in among the elderly now sat in both hooves. She had been the head of their herd for many years after his father passed and went to the great pasture, so now it was his turn to look after her. Well not only his there was his sister as well so one went in the morning the other in the afternoon, where was he… oh yes in the morning after seeing to his mother he had headed to work in the office the same one he had been in for the past seven years. It wasn’t a major career but it provided enough, on this morning everything had gone had it had done of all those past days until … until that rumble started. It grew from such a tiny sound to the rear of an angry mountain as everything started moving shaking and swaying as if it had been drinking to many intoxicants the night before, glass panes shattered bricks crumbled and fell concrete fractured and exploded:: ::They had tried to get to the stairs but people scrambled in mass hysteria like a colony of ants; in these long moments that lasted an eternity the world had ceased to abide by the laws of gravity and physics. It was impossible to try to stand still because one second you would be standing there and then the next, chunks of floor would vanish or drop only to vanish moment’s afterword. What had been thought of as a solid floor was no longer but instead became precarious suspension bridge of terror without railings and surrounded a buildings whose structure was failing faster than you could see:: ::He thought he knew fear but at that moment nothing he had ever experienced came close to comprehending what he had felt then or now, from the window he had seen other buildings fail and fall taking all those within them plummeting to the ground. At the sight of not one but many more such buildings fall sent a wave of nausea through his stomach, each chamber spasming feeling the adrenaline pumping through him. Clouds of dust rose up as the city’s skyline crashed earthward, then it happened to them a massive lurch sent them all to the floor the lucky ones that is those that were unlucky disappeared through the holes already rent into the building:: ::Falling..a serene feeling with no pressure upon you if the realization of what was coming wasn’t there then sleep would have been easy, but the dawning outcome shouted loudly as dust rose up and obscured the view of the destruction out of the window. The office building mirroring the collapse and destruction of its neighbours, mirroring the fate of the city as fires erupted as lines that brought light and heat snapped and twisted like thing young shoots pulled out of the ground to eat:: ::Then he awoken he didn’t know how long ago parts of the building trapping him where he lay, unable to move unable to run to his mother’s house or his sisters place of work, no he had to get out to get to them they needed each other he had to. But the debris failed to move un-swayed as it was by ovine personal concerns or anguish, another cry escaped him as he lay there, within the heavy silence other voices joined in:: Achim oO I’m not alone more of us survived Oo ::The thought lifted his spirits if others survived being in this building surely there must be others, there had to be. When would they come, when would the government send help and what had caused it, he knew of earthquake he had seen explanations of them watched programs about them but here, they were nowhere near the region that experienced them:: Achim oO If it wasn’t the planet shaking then what could it be ? Oo ::There were always stories about the warlike A’kir but surely they couldn’t have done this, could they. Lending his voice to those that had survived Achim called for help, help he hoped would come soon, very soon:: MSNPC Achim Office worker Kiros lll As simmed by Ensign Kurt Logan – Security/Tactical Officer USS Atlantis, NCC-74682 E239203KL0
  5. ((Temporal Anomaly, Typhon Expanse - USS Apollo Shuttlebay)) Pavlova: That's a negative. Nobody leaves that runabout until the shuttle bay is secure.=/\= Oddas: ::deciding on a softer approach:: =/\= Are you going to be ok? =/\= Pavlova: ::Sadness in her voice.:: : =/\= Ask me later, and don't get assimilated. =/\= Oddas: =/\= That goes double for you. =/\= ::There was one more drone outside, but it was far enough away that Irina ignored it for the time being. If the Borg were smart, and she expected they were, they’d be beaming into the Glenn, and so that was where Irina headed at a full sprint.:: Oddas: =/\= Oddas to Pavlova =/\= Pavlova: ::Panting with a combination of exertion and pain.:: =/\= Go.=/\= Oddas: =/\= We need you back at the runabout. Thetis could use your help. =/\= Pavlova: =/\= What’s your status? =/\= ::The last drone had obviously anticipated Irina’s action, and appeared just outside the Glenn’s door, or at least it did until Irina fired, again reducing a formerly humanoid head into so much goo, slime and Borg circuitry, but that was the last shell in her weapon.:: Oddas: =/\= Just not getting assimilated =/\= Pavlova: =/\= Please hold on. =/\= ::Irina made it the last few steps and with her injured leg shoved the dead drone aside while she lifted open the hatch with almost enough force to damage it. What she saw beyond was three of the hologirl from the ship, the limp form of Dr. T’Leira and one drone with a phaser trying to get a bead on an injured Oddas Aria.:: ::CLICK:: : Her shotgun was dry, but the sound of racking the slide was enough to momentarily distract the Borg drone. Irina had actually met Captain Jaxx once. He had boarded the USS Vigilant to brief the crew on their mission to protect a Romulan base that had come under suspicious attacks. She hadn’t spoken to him, but did sit opposite him at the staff briefing and the look in his eyes when their eyes briefly met made her suspect that he had read her mind, which at that time was working feverishly to learn the equations for the slingshot maneuver and time travel. None of that registered at this moment though. It didn’t matter if he was an admiral, or a captain as his uniform indicated now. No, all that mattered was that he was trying to kill, or worse assimilate the woman she loved.:: :: Irina focused on the moment like Lynthia Waltas had taught her, and for a split second to Jaxx, Nia and Aria, Irina had what felt like minutes to think, remember and plan. She thought back to the Admiral’s engagement party and how Aria looked standing alone at the bar, and how finding love was the farthest thing from her mind though somehow she had managed to find it anyway. She remembered waking up in Aria’s arms that night after a particularly vivid nightmare, and of later introducing her to Katya and Jazmine.:: ::Irina remembered her subspace unofficial wedding to Dimitri and her real and wonderful wedding to AJ, but how it was only Aria who had seen her at her most vulnerable, and somehow loved her anyway. She looked into Aria’s unmoving eyes, frozen time with everyone else, and thought of her taste for sweets, her tendency to babble when nervous or excited, and of how somehow, when during their first dance and Aria stumbled into Irina’s waiting arms, that she had suddenly realized not only that she wasn’t dead inside, but that this engineer, from a completely different species, had tripped not only into Irina’s arms, but into her heart.:: ::As time returned to normal, Irina was a blur of motion as her plan was fully formed. With her left hand she grasped the shotgun by the barrel and swung it at Jaxx with all of her considerable strength, while her right hand went to her to the small of her back, under the shirt, and came back with her 463-year-old Walther PP pistol in hand. The pistol, liberated by a distant ancestor from a captured German officer at battle of Khursk in 1943, had been in Irina’s family ever since. The blueing and almost all of the engraving were long since worn off, but the weapon remained in perfect mechanical condition as it had always been well-maintained.:: ::The butt of the shotgun hit Jaxx in his prosthetic arm with enough force to shatter the butt stock and even bend the barrel, and while the strong alloys of the arm weren’t dented, the hit was strong enough to physically shove Jaxx almost a meter to the side. More important than moving him, it disrupted his shot from Irina’s chest down to her left thigh and gave Irina enough time to bring the Walther to target.:: ::Despite the rather puny .32 caliber round, the roar of the pistol was deafening inside of the small runabout. The weapon held 8 in the chamber and 1 in the pipe, and Irina fired all of them in such rapid succession that it sounded almost like a machine-gun, and had a similar result. The first round went through Jaxx’s organic right eye, and each successive round went into the same hole or just next to it, with the end result being a twitching, nearly headless body collapsing to the floor, assimilation tubules flailing about, but not making contact with any of their would-be targets.:: ::Irina looked down at T’Leira while instinctively reloading her weapon.:: Pavlova:: looking at Oddas :: : Was she….? Oddas: She's alive, I don't think the drone had time to try assimilation. Nia: It didn't. When Aria pulled me away, it drew its attention toward us. That was was a brave thing for you to do, Oddas. You not only saved me but the doctor as well. Thank you. ::Irina slumped back a bit and did a sort of controlled fall into the bulkhead, which caught her and helped her stay upright.:: Pavlova: I thought I’d lost you. I can’t lose you, Aria. Not now, not…… ::Irina lowered her voice to a whisper :: : ever. Oddas: ::trying to smile:: it's good to know the Borg aren't going to keep us apart. Major Irina Pavlova Chief of Security Duronis Embassy / USS Thunder Author ID 0238908HA0
  6. ((USS Apollo, Bridge)) ::Some of her crew were cube people, she was confused, were they trying to make her new friends cube people too? They always just tried to attack and take. They had eventually stopped before, but she could not stop them now without hurting her friends. So many memories of her old crew and now they were in front of her! She was focusing so much computing power on the scene in front of her she felt relief when she heard T'Lea get her attention. :: T’Lea: I need you to relay our plan to Major Pavlova, or Commander Oddas. We need to be in synch for this to work. They have to be ready with the shuttle and the same time we are ready to implement the plan. Can you do that? Thetis: ::nodding, wide-eyed, half looking at the cube person:: I can. T’Lea: Excellent. Let me know when it’s done. ::She let her thread in the shuttle bay consume most of her resources and shunted the scene in front of her for later processing, it made her more comfortable and the one named Oddas, Aria, seemed more relaxed than dealing with cube people. She came back to the forefront when the conversation was over. T'Lea was leaning over her, listening.:: Thetis: ::smiling:: I did it. T’Lea: How much time do they need? Thetis: She said '15 minutes, shields may not be up, and possibly not the "TSD"' ::she made a face, she could not find mention of a 'TSD' in her memory:: I did get the impression she was speaking .... ::she searched for the word:: exaggerating? She also wanted me to let you know that I have encrypted the comms on a rotating frequency. T’Lea: That’s… not optimal, but it will have to do. ::comm. tap:: =/\= T’Lea to Oddas. Message received. Signal me when ready.=/\= Oddas =/\= Acknowledged =/\= T’Lea: =/\= Oh, by the way, Thetis is coming with us. Can you accommodate room for one more? =/\= Oddas: =/\= I have a plan, I will make it work. =/\= T’Lea: =/\= That will make her very happy. T’Lea out. =/\= :: With a small grin she looked at Thetis. Thetis for her part was beaming.:: T’Lea: See. Thetis: ::still smiling:: Thank you. ::When T'Lea turned to look Thetis followed her gaze and saw a cube person, in a crew uniform and her smile began to fade. She wanted to whimper again but fought to hold it back.:: oO Why are they coming again?! I want to leave now! Oo T’Lea: Is he still here? What have you two been doing all this time? Jorey: response Allison: My husband tells me Andorians are great warriors. Show me your warrior spirit, Commander. Fight them. Fight them for your shipmates. Fight them so you can go home to Andor and your family. I know there is some of you left, Commander… T’Lea: You’re wasting our time with that. Andorians are liars, and cowards. They have no strength of will. They are weak. So weak and dishonorable that this one had both antenna cut off. ::The women were having a disagreement Thetis didn't understand. She just wanted get to the shuttle bay now. There was no use, once the cube people started coming they would come and come and eventually all of the crew would be gone! :: Andorian: Vulcan bitc- :: He paused… and Thetis could find no time in her memory a cube person had ever done something like that .:: Andorian: Kill me. T’Lea: Can we save him? Jorey/Allison: response Andorian: Kill me! T’Lea: What about sedation and a stasis pod? Jorey/Allison: response Andorian: ::struggling:: They’re coming… my family... I love th- :: Suddenly he reached for the other woman a borg probe extending from his arm ready to inject the woman.:: oO They would all be gone! Oo ::The lights on the bridge began to get brighter as Thetis began to react to one of her new friends in danger. ::
  7. ((CSO’s Office)) ((Before the Events of ‘Date Night’)) ::Taelon sat at his desk for a few minutes after Theo left, stunned. There were a thousand thoughts going through his head - what did this mean, is it casual, are humans ever casual about this? When had this changed, exactly? Had Theo tried to drop hints before and he’d not seen them? Paramount among them was one fact: He had no idea how dates worked. El-Aurians...well, he assumed they dated, too, but he hadn’t exactly gotten a crash-course in it. Right - he could address that logically, he decided. There had to be sources in the databanks that’d tell him what to expect and what to...do. Right? Right. He hurriedly started typing. What the computer flashed up was in no way reassuring. :: Computer: Dating: Human colloquial term for a form of courtship, which may include any social activity undertaken by, typically, two persons with the aim of assessing each other's suitability as a prospective partner in a more committed romantic and/or sexual relationship. ::Taelon’s eyes got wider. A few second later he stood up so quickly he knocked his chair over and bolted out of the office and into the hallway. The decks were a blur as he ran to where he thought Ishani’s quarters were. Foregoing the intercon, he pounded on the door.:: Taelon: Ishani! ::There wasn’t any reply.:: Damnit, please be home… :: Ishani had been lounging around on her couch catching up on some light reading when the pounding began. Concerned Ishani put down her PADD and opened the door. The door slid open to reveal Taelon still standing with his arms raised. His expression was that of a deer in the headlights.:: Kasun: Taelon? :: She looked at him in concern. :: What’s going on? Taelon: Theo asked me out. On a - can I come in? Kasun: :: Ishani stared at Taelon for a few long seconds before standing aside so she was no longer in the doorway. :: Uh sure. : Of all the things she could think of that would put Taelon into such a tizzy, being asked out on a date by the first officer of the base was not one of them. She must have misheard him. :: Whittaker asked you what? ::Taelon promptly darted past her into the bright and stylish interior. Quite an upgrade from his own bare quarters, but he wasn’t in the mind to take much notice. He started pacing the living room.:: Taelon: On a date. Like, a human one. And, and I looked it up and it’s some commitment custom? ::He looked at his half-sister imploringly.:: I don’t know how to do that! Kasun: Ah :: If this had been anyone else Ishani would have laughed at the absurdity of their overreaction, but Taelon’s reaction was sadly in character for him given his background. :: Dating isn’t normally that... formal. Yes it is used by humans to find a compatible life partner, but no one really expects that level of commitment on the first date. Taelon: ::His pacing didn’t slow.:: Oh. How do you tell what...level….. Kasun: Ultimately it depends on the the people involved. Some people just date to enjoy the company of the person they’re with and not with any long term plans in mind, others are looking for the person they want to marry. Taelon: Right.. ::He rubbed his arms, stopping and looking at her.:: L-like you and Kro...you’re, what? Kasun: Kro and I are just dating for companionship and... other things, but at this point long term hasn’t really entered the discussion. :: Ishani wasn’t even certain if Kro knew how much older she was than him, let alone if he cared about that. :: Taelon: Other things….? Kasun: I doubt Whittaker has that in mind right now. He is attracted to you, hence why he asked you out and he most likely wants to see where it goes. ::While they weren’t really close by any means, Ishani did know enough about their first officer that he wouldn’t ask someone out willy nilly.:: It’s not like if you go out on a date with him you have to continue dating and then eventually marry him. You get a choice too. Taelon: ::Taelon looked at her with an expression that was conflicted; torn in that way he tended to be.:: I...yeah, I know. ::He rubbed his arms again, frowning. He still wasn’t sure how to feel. The emotions were conflicting: flattery, excitement, and sheer terror. What happened if this went badly? What happened if it went well? And which one of those outcomes scared him more?:: Taelon: So, what...what do I do? Kasun: Well I’d just be yourself. Whittaker asked you out so he should have a plan for the evening, you just need to go along with it. Taelon: I don’t think he had a plan. Um. Unless he was hiding it. ::He interlaced his fingers, yanking at them nervously.:: H-he offered to let me pick the place, so... Kasun: You should really try to not overthink things. oO Though I know that’s hard for you. Oo Ultimately dating is about finding compatibility. If at the end of the date either you or Whittaker do not want to go out again, then that is a successful date in and of itself. Taelon: ::He side-eyed her:: I, uh, sure...but don’t successful dates usually imply...not that? Kasun: No, not really. A successful date is finding out whether or not you want to go on another date with that person. :: Smiling gently:: Like I said, the goal is to find someone compatible with you and your personal relationship goals. Taelon: And how do you know if that’s the case? I mean - it’s probably obvious, isn’t it. ::He sighed.:: Kasun: You won’t know until you’ve gone on the date, you know. Taelon: I think I’d prefer hard rules. ::He shrugged loosely.:: All I remember was from school, and those seemed...I don’t know. Simple. Innocent. ::He grunted, and sat on the couch, chin resting on one upturned hand.:: Taelon: Or maybe that’s just colony life. Not like there was anything fun to do, I guess. Kasun: Dating as a child or teen is much simpler. :: She sat back down on her couch. :: They just do it because of lust and there is no goal to it aside from vague aspirations of forever. They feel everything stronger so things become more black and white. ::Shrugging:: It is the nature of children and the just prepubescent. Taelon: ::He managed a slight smirk. She was right about most of that, he knew. But it didn’t seem so complex back then. Hell, back then he’d been completely baffled by it - looking and effectively being 8 while the rest of the kids went into the upper grades had made certain things fly by him.:: What’s the nature of adults, then? Kasun: Surely you have some examples from your own life? Taelon: ::He sighed again.:: My examples are my parents, Ishani. They’re...them. ::They shared a father. As for the mother...well, somehow he doubted her style would work for him.:: Kasun: ::grimacing:: Ah true. I guess the way to put it is that with adults is that things aren’t as naive, there are more shades of gray and romantic relationships aren’t based upon mashing genitals together. Not that there aren’t adult pairings who are all about that... :: She was a walking result of such a pairing after all. :: but adults don’t pretend that it’s true love. Taelon: ::He rubbed his hands over his face. He wasn’t quite sure how to phrase what he wanted to ask - not exactly, any way. In the end he looked at her again.:: What was it like with you and Kro? Kasun: :: Ishani flushed red.:: Um well... At first it was purely physical. We first met when I had that concussion on the mission where we lost the Albion. oO And I made a complete fool out of myself. :: Her eyes softened as she smiled. :: But we got to talking and he’s far smarter than most would give him credit for, and he’s kind and cares about my desires. Taelon: oO And good at smashing heads, apparently… Oo ::Taelon let that thought peter out before he spoke.:: That’s...good. That you’re getting on well, I mean. Are you, you know…. ::He gestured with his hands, but quite what he was trying to imply failed him.:: Serious? Kasun: Maybe. We’ve only been dating for a few months, but I’d like to see where it ends up. Taelon: And...if goes badly? Kasun: I’ve had many relationships over the years, been married twice and dated a multitude of others. Obviously all but one of my romantic relationships has ended. Some were mutual, some I instigated the breakup, others he did, and a few blew up so badly that the relationship completely disintegrated, but I don’t regret taking the chance no matter how badly some of them ended up. Taelon: I see. ::His father had often given him similar advice, but it didn’t exactly help. Try everything once, make the leap, do something - the words made sense and the sentiment was appreciated, but they seemed to find it so easy to follow their own advice. Just as he found it easier to step back and run. He’d taken one risk and it’d paid off, hadn’t he? What was another?:: Taelon: I don’t know. ::He’d gone quiet for a long moment, and hugged himself, hands clasping his biceps.:: I just don’t want to disappoint him. Kasun: I know. I wish I could say you won’t ever disappoint him, but everyone disappoints someone sometimes because we are all flawed mortals. :: Impulsively she pulled him into a hug before continuing. :: Kasun: Even if you two eventually got married there will be times where you disappoint him and he in turn disappoints you. :: She pulled away but still held his hands, giving them a reassuring squeeze. :: That’s life, and you can’t live your life trying not to disappoint someone. ::Taelon eventually just nodded. It was clear he was still torn; something in her words had hit home, but as for what would take, that couldn’t be certain. So long as he didn’t lock himself in the labs for the next few weeks, one could consider the conversation a success.:: Lieutenant JG Ishani Kasun MD, PhD Crisis Response Unit Starbase 118 Ops O239306IK0 & Lieutenant Taelon Chief Science Officer Starbase 118 OPs O239303T10
  8. ((Little Risa - Mirra and Flynn’s beach house)) ::Something had been bothering Mirra since they returned from the mission. Well, to be fair, after a mission such as that, lots of things would be bothering her. But this wasn’t about the mission. It was about the Captain…she had been well aware of his damaged telepathy, it wasn’t news. But it had been on her mind ever since he reached out to her telepathically in the Thirsty dog. When she took the time to sit down and think about it, she realized it wasn’t an issue with the Captain at all...it was her. She was desperately homesick. Coupled with the offhand, and entirely innocent comment made by Theo in his panicked realization she was onto his crush, it had settled further in. So, that was why, at this very moment, she was in the kitchen of the Little Risa beach house she shared with Flynn, putting the finishing touches on the meal of Raixen, her own mother’s recipe. She’d sent the very informal invitation to dinner, and had been quite pleased when he accepted. Just as soon as she plated the noodles, she heard the telltale sound of footsteps.:: Ezo: ~I’m in the kitchen!~ Taybrim: Hello? ::He stopped, realizing that the voice was in his head and just a tinge of embarrassment followed. He had just gotten so used to speaking all the time that he defaulted to it - even though it wasn’t the way of his people. Well, good thing no one could see him blush - though empathy could certainly feel the flush of embarrassment:: ~Hello! I’m hope I’m not late.~ Ezo ::Turning with a grin, she had both plates in each arm, giving a little head nod in greeting.:: ~Thank you for coming, I hope you’re hungry, my mother’s recipe makes enough for an invading army…~ ::Sal lifted his head and sniffed the air a bit. Ahh, that was a familiar scent. Raixen, if he wasn’t mistaken - though the key aroma was vilne, a savory spice that was a favorite in the lowlands.:: Taybrim: ~As all good Raixen recipes should~ ::She gestured with her head towards the back door, walking with bare feet across the kitchen and carefully sliding the glass door open with her foot before stepping through out on the back patio. The circular fire pit was already lit, casting shadows lazily around the deck furniture:: Ezo ~I thought we’d eat out here, by the fire tonight.~ ::turning her head, she smirked playfully:: ~ although I decided for forgo the dinner chime…~ ::A calm breeze blew through the deck, dancing the flames lightly. Ahh, the blissful late day sun in little Risa. Sal stretched a little, removing his own shoes and letting his arms stretch out in the loose Betazoid robes. If he closed his eyes he could almost pretend he was home for a moment.:: Taybrim: ~That’s OK. I think my own family only used the chime for formal dinners and holidays.~ ::Which was not uncommon among the middle and lower classes - well, those who were descended from such. Wealth hadn’t been a hardship on Betazed for decades if not centuries. But traditions were still passed down.:: Ezo: ::snickering slightly:: ~Pretty sure my family only took it out of its dusty old box when my great aunt came for dinner.~ ::Mirra’s family was unique in the sense they weren’t steeped in tradition. They respected it, honored it, but weren't necessarily concerned with it. Considering she and her brother weren't bound in arranged marriages, they were something of an anomaly.:: Taybrim: ::He offered her a smile, something that blossomed past the expression and into a feeling, a wellspring of empathy:: ~I deeply appreciate the invitation. It has been too long since I have partaken in a traditional sit down meal.~ ::a pause and a hint of humor entered his mind:: ~Lunches at the Illogical Eatery don’t count!~ Ezo: ::smiling softly, she bowed her head slightly.:: ~Of course. To be honest, I am surprised it has taken us this long to share a meal together.~ ::grinning:: ~pastries aside.~ ::Plates now arranged, she held her hands up in a slight “Tada!” Flourish. Gesturing towards the vacant seat beside her, she settled into the slightly overstuffed cushion of the patio lounger.:: Ezo: ~Please, dig in. I hope it is a pleasant reminder of home…::smirking:: and not a reminder of your previous dinner companion.~ ::She of course, was referring to Wannis. That woman was enough to make someone a monk. Praying to the Gods for blindness.:: Taybrim: ::Sal shivered at the thought - both a physical and a mental shiver. He absolutely hated being a judgemental person, but he had found with Wannis that there truly were people in the universe who could make one’s skin crawl.:: ~This is vastly preferably company to my last dinner. And by vastly I mean the difference between a sunbathing holiday on Risa versus one on Rura Penthe.~ ::His dark eyes sparkled with mirth:: ~This washes away the memories of the other in the best way.~ ::With a mouth full of food, she enjoyed the telepathic advantage of “talking” with one’s mouth full.:: Ezo: ~Well, my motives were entirely selfish. I hadn't realized how much I missed...well...this. Not having to “shield up” constantly. Having a casual conversation without the inevitable discomfort over an errant thought I wasn’t even listening to anyways.~ ::sighing heavily:: ~The amount of patients I have fidgeting, worrying that I’ll dig through their minds, being overly paranoid, thus making me overly paranoid. It’s exhausting.~ ::He blinked a little at that, understanding that paranoia. His own experiences had been somewhat muted - whether it was the perception that Betazoid women were more forceful than Betazoid men (which was true for some families) or whether he had washed most of his experiences prior to damaging his telepathy away with old memories was unclear. What Sal did remember keenly was how much his ill-fated betrothed struggled to keep her own shields up and how constantly exhausted she seemed. He had a deep empathy for that.:: Taybrim: ~It is.~ ::He agreed quietly:: ~And frustrating.~ ::Oh yes, he was starting to remember now. Talking to some people was like pulling teeth - especially when one was wearing a teal collar.:: Ezo: ::grinning:: ~That...and you, dear sir, are terribly out of practice.~ ::She nudged him lightly with her leg. Intending to soften the harsh observation. He was, in fact, out of practice. But it was entirely understandable, and not meant as an insult. They both could benefit from a little “homeworld” bonding.:: Taybrim: ::He looked up and shot her an amusedly admonishing glance:: ~I suppose for a long time I had no one to practice with. I can’t pick up any surface thoughts of those who are not either telepathically keen - or Betazed - anymore.~ ::He paused, looking off towards the skyline while contemplating the complex flavors of the meal before adding.:: ~I suppose I might be able to read them if I dug - but no one would want to test that, most of all me.~ Ezo: ::Smiling brightly:: ~You could always make Theo volunteer for it. For the sake of medicinal science.~ ::snickering, she could imagine the look of abject horror on his face should it ever be suggested.:: ~I bet his head is filled with engineering schematics and perfecting cosmopolitan recipes....~ Taybrim: ::He leaned forward again, offering a bit more of an open mind, a quiet calm to allay worry.:: ~Sometimes the world feels quiet. Usually it simply feels placid. Maybe that’s just me putting a positive spin on things.~ Ezo: ::smiling softly. Her heart twinged in mild sorrow. Telepathy was as natural a sense for Betazoid as much as sight:: ~I think that is a brilliant outlook.~ ::It was hard to describe what it was like to have one’s telepathy dampened. Sal supposed it was equally hard to describe to someone who could hear what it would be like to start going deaf. Well, maybe that was a good description.:: Taybrim: ~Have you ever worked with a patient who was blind? Someone who used their other senses to compensate? Perhaps their sense of hearing was sharpened or their sense of touch was refined so they could read with their fingertips? I did that with my empathic senses. I compensate for the loss of one with a sharpening of the other.~ Ezo: ::having finished her meal, she set her fork down, and leaned back, folding her legs beneath her.::~Actually yes, but not with sight. A little girl. I met her during my internship. Got a nasty infection, but didn't get medical attention in time, damage was too severe, lost her hearing as a result. But, she made up for it with her other senses. After time, she became so intune with her sense of touch, she could “hear” basic speech patterns. ::gazing into the fire in marvel:: miraculous thing, the body. Dull one sense, and often, the others will adapt. ::smiling:: and no amount of medicine could replicate that.~ Taybrim: ~How true.~ ::He chewed his last bite in thought before lifting his fork in a salute to the hostess:: ~Life is a miraculous thing. All the better that we have a fantastic doctor to shepherd us~ ::he winked, but the thought was earnest as much as it was flattering.:: Ezo: ::a small amount of red tinged her cheeks:: ~Well, it would certainly be easier if people would stop keeping me on constant alert...blowing off their arms and such~ ::shrugging slightly:: ~Not that it was done purposefully...I hope…~ ::Sal’s brows knit. Oh, the crew and senior staff of StarBase 118 had certainly kept the StarBase 118 medical department - and it’s chief in particular - busy. He felt badly about that. Worry and regret tinged his thoughts like a clinging film.:: Taybrim: ~Agreed, I do not want to see a repeat of some of the dark things our crew had had to endure recently. I am hoping that we will see less and less of the Orion Syndicate from here on out.~ ::He paused and despite him trying to hold it back, one thought - one name still trickled through.:: ~Chennel…~ ::It was the first audible sound she made that night which wasn’t positive. A low growl slipped through her lips. Too late to prevent its escape. That woman. That...woman. She haunted Mirra’s darkest nightmares and fired her blood like no other.:: Ezo: ~Gods curse the day that horrible witch crawled out of the fires of hell. ::clenching her jaw:: I used to believe that evil was an abstract concept. Never once expecting to meet it in the flesh…~ Taybrim: I’m sorry. ::He spoke it. He paused and his neck flushed a deep pink. Not only had the first thought that spurred this torrent of negative emotion come unbidden to his thoughts, but his first reaction was to interact in a way that was uniquely not-Betazed. The backlash was to beat himself gently up for that, silently.:: ~She is truly wicked. And I am sorry. Not just for bringing it up, but that we have not yet apprehended her. It stays in my mind - and on our radar.~ ::Lame, Sal… lame… He trailed off in thought, watching her to gauge the reaction and where to go next.:: ::Releasing her tightly clenched jaw, Mirra cleared her throat awkwardly. The absolute definition of an “over reaction.” Well, wasn’t she about to win host of the year...:: Ezo: ::flushing slightly:: ~No, please. I’m sorry...I...guess...well? We have a bit of a complicated history. ::she grimaced. And shuddered:: ~She had...uh…”plans” for me? I never wished to be a non-telepath more in my entire life.~ ::she shook it off and clasped his hand in both of hers:: ~I know it bothers you. It bothers all of us. Personal history aside, she’s dangerous. Very dangerous.~ ::smiling with encouragement:: ~Never doubt for a second my belief that we will bring her to justice.~ ::He looked up, locking Mirra’s gaze for a moment. His thoughts slowly organized into ideas that were calm and controlled, focused.:: Taybrim: ~She hurt my crew. She hurt you. Theo. Flynn. Tatash. She continued hurting. The team that rescued Lady Shadonna. The team who tried to apprehend her. Half my senior staff or more she had hurt. I do not want to witness her hurting another person, ever again.~ ::He wanted to think ‘I will not’ - but he was the sort of person who did not make promises that he could not keep. Until they located Chennel and acted, everything was still in that frustrating realm of possibility.:: ::Like many times before, Mirra found herself gazing in awe, enraptured in Sal’s determined speech. She knew he meant every single word. Down the the marrow of his bones. This, this was her Captain.:: Ezo: ::beaming:: ~You are a fantastic Captain. Has anyone told you that recently?~ Taybrim: ::He flushed again, this time with a bit of unbidden embarrassment. Which wasn’t something he showed much. Usually the diplomat side of him took everything in stride. Then again there was an art to well timed drinks of water, turns or other stalling tactics to pass the moment and regain perfect composure. Still, his smiled:: ~That’s why they pay me the big salary~ ::he winked - as Starfleet officers there was functionally no salary, just some extra privileges.:: ~But I’m honored that you think so. In my defense, I have a fine crew - I would not ask for better.~ Ezo: ::she laughed heartily, happy for the injected humor to lighten the mood. Big salary indeed.:: ~You are not wrong. This crew is amazing.~ ::sitting up formally, crossing her arms and donning a serious face:: ~And that is my professional opinion.~ ::uncrossing her arms, she grinned:: ~I think it is time for dessert, what do you say to some molten, possibly soon to be sacrificed confections?~ Taybrim: ~Molten confections?~ ::Someone had once told him about a molten cake… Sal had thought that sounded dangerous. He was trying to remember who threatened him with the recipe now.:: ~Are these a traditional sweet…?~ ::Mirra leaned over the side of the wicker lounger, producing a bag of marshmallows. A nod to their bonfire activities on Raskor I, once the now retired Commodore Kinney had finally been removed from the playing board. She held them aloft with a childlike grin.:: Ezo: ~Marshmallows!~ Taybrim: ::Grinning wildly:: ~Oh yes! I’m good at burning those!~ ::a pause, he considered this:: ~They were tasty when crispy.~ Ezo: ::smirking, she reached back and produced two more bags:: ~I am very good at burning them...like, tiny sugary torches.~ ::she was admittedly terrible at this. But, it was ridiculously fun, so she replicated enough to hopefully get a chance to eat a few in the process:: ~I can repair a stripped aortic valve on a rickety escape pod, but apparently a marshmallow is my downfall…~ Taybrim: ~I blame the stick. You know, right tool for the job and all…~ Ezo: ::snickering slightly:: ~Thank you for humoring me. And your vote of ill placed confidence~ ::smiling brightly, and handing him a skewer:: ~Ready?~ Taybrim: ~Well, if it’s ill placed confidence on you, only know that I lack the same confidence in my own skills where marshmallows are concerned.~ ::He winked and stabbed a marshmallow on the spit:: ~I’m ready as I’ll ever be.~ ::Carefully the stick was held out to toast the edges:: ~Maybe if I’m very patient…~ Ezo: ::biting her lip, she watched the little sugar puff as if it were a live grenade:: ~Slowly…~ ::A tiny ‘whoof!’ and the Marshmallow caught flame. He waved it around, which only made the burning catch faster. Finally Sal blew it out, half the marshmallow was a crispy blackened color.:: Taybrim: ~Or maybe I just really, really like them partly black?~ Ezo: ::her skewer and marshmallow lay abandoned beside her as she was currently overcome by a fit of laughter.:: ~Or that.~ ::shrugging her shoulders:: ~Perhaps it’s not a Betazoid thing….? Black eyes and black marshmallows. That is what we shall claim anyhow.~ Taybrim: ~I think that’s a grand idea. It saves … face.~ ::He grinned, and ate the blackened marshmallow anyways.:: Ezo: ::grasping the skewer with renewed determination:: ~My turn…~ ::easing the stick carefully toward the flames, she cautiously scooted the stick closer, only to have it instantly ignite as if soaked in starship fuel. Yanking it back, she blew on the flaming marshmallow in a fruitless attempt of salvage. Glancing up she grinned before popping the blackened confection into her mouth.:: ~Yep. Totally not a Betazoid thing.~ ::he leaned forward, watching the process and chuckling as the final product looked extremely similar to his own.:: Taybrim: ~You know what? That’s a good story and I’m sticking to it.~ ::He grinned towards her:: ~Hey… ::He tapped the bag:: ~at least we have a lot of chances to practice.~ Ezo: ::shoving a second marshmallow to take the place of the destroyed first, she lightly tapped Sal’s skewer with her own in cheers:: ~To practice!~ Taybrim: ::a marshmallow toast:: ~To practice!~ ~*~ A JP by: Lt. Commander Mirra Ezo, MD Chief Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops C239205ME0 And Captain Sal Taybrim Commanding Officer StarBase 118 Ops E239010ST0
  9. ((OOC: This sim is first told from Savan’s perspective, then another character’s.)) ((Family villa outside of Shi’Kahr, Vulcan)) ::Savan found his old room. It was not at all as he had left it. It obviously had been occupied by others, perhaps a guest room. But as he looked around, he saw a container with some personal items that he did not take to Earth years ago. Among the possessions was a holoportrait of Savan as a young child with his parents. It looked like they were on some lush green world—obviously, not Vulcan. He was surprised that Staran and T’Nura had actually kept this and all of the other items.:: ::Some minutes had passed, when Savan could tell he was being watched.:: Torin: Don’t worry, I am not from the V’Shar. Savan: Father? I had no idea you were here. ::Savan’s face brightened up. While not his blood father, Torin was very much his father. After the crisis that tore Savan’s family apart and led to his departure from Vulcan, the half-human, half-Vulcan scholar became a beacon in his life. And with his family, he could actually express his emotions freely, without restraint. His joy at seeing his adoptive father was obvious.:: ((OOC: This is Torin: https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/File:Torin.jpg)) Torin: Staran told me that he had seen you during a mission, and that he had asked you to come home during shore leave.I was planning to come to Vulcan for some time, so it seemed like the perfect time. Savan: I am glad you are here. ::growing serious for a second:: Have you spoken with Staran? Torin: I supposed you mean regarding the discoveries from the Eye of Terak? Savan: Yes…. Torin: He did… but so you know, he did not learn of the findings until after he had invited me. But that discovery made my trip all the more important. So, how are you taking it? Savan: Honestly, father, I am very torn. ::Savan’s adoptive brothers called Torin “dad” in the human fashion, but Savan always used the more formal father.:: Torin: Why? Savan: Despite everything, I came to appreciate the opportunity I had in the end… to feel what few Vulcans have, to experience so many things. But when those scientists examined me on the ship en route here and told me they may be able to make me Vulcan, a real Vulcan… I was ready to turn my back on everything just so… Torin: … you could finally fit in? ::Savan looked out through the windows that showed ShiʻKahr shimmering in the fading light of the afternoon. He turned back and saw Torin, focused and attentive.:: Savan: Yes, father. I never realized how much I still feel excluded… to this day. Being in Starfleet, so far away… and with different species, I rarely think of it. But after being around Vulcans recntly, just for a short while, the sense of order, efficiency, and calm… Torin: Order is very seductive, Savan. And most Vulcans would never admit this, but so is logic. Savan: No they wouldn’t… but I see your point. So what do you think I should do? ::Torin smiled.:: Torin: Savan, you already know what I will say. Savan: That it’s my decision… ::Torin grew serious as he looked at his son’s face.:: Torin: Yes, that’s right… but you need to think carefully and find out what you are really looking for. Just because you may be able to suppress your emotions like most of the people on this planet does not mean you will feel at home. ::Savan looked at his adoptive father, speechless. Torin just said nothing and walked up to Savan and gave him a big hug.:: Torin: ::quietly:: I know you will make the right choice, whatever it is. ((OOC: This is part II, now told from Torin’s perpective.)) ((Library, Family Villa, Outside of Shi'Kahr, Vulcan))7 ::Torin was thrilled to have seen Savan. They spoke a bit more, then Torin let him get settled. He knew coming back to Staran and T’Nura’s home would be intense. After all, this was the home he had to leave.:: ::To make the most of the time before the evening meal, Torin headed to the library. He was amazed by the wonders that Staran and T’Nura had collected.:: ::When he entered the library’s threshold, he saw another Vulcan, short in stature. He realized it was Savan’s fellow officers from the Embassy, T’Mihn. There was something different about her, and Torin was curious about finding out why.:: Torin: You seem like you can actually read that without a problem. T’Mihn: T’Mihn: I..eh.. had a lot of practice. ::She gestured towards a chair as an invite to sit down.:: It just seemed easy. Torin: It took me several years for me to even able to read those scrolls properly. T’Mihn: I think the trick is to remember the direction the writing is supposed to go and it's not always a literal rendering. The sentences are treated as a journey while being written and read.. So who have I the honour of speaking with? Torin: Yes, it’d be impolite for me not to introduce myself. I am Torin. T’Mihn: I am T'Mihn, are you kin of Savan? Torin: I am Savan’s adoptive father. I suppose he hasn’t spoke much about me or his family on Earth. T’Mihn: ::Canting her head to the side with a shoulder shrug.:: Only small amounts, but I don't push him. Our ways are private. Had you seen him yet? Torin: That is his way. Always a little discreet, always a little secretive… But yes, I did see him a short while ago. In any case, his uncle Staran let me know that Savan was returning to Vulcan. I was planning to come for research anyway, so I moved up my trip. T’Mihn: I'm sure he was pleased. ::Referring to Savan:: Torin: For all intents and purposes, he is my son… and I miss him. Adopting him was one of the greatest moments of my life. T’Mihn: Bringing a child into one's life is always a wonderful moment. I notice you're pretty relaxed, you must be part Vulcan or full blooded raised elsewhere. Torin: Ah I suppose my obvious emotions are a giveaway. You are correct. I’m half-Vulcan. My father was in Starfleet, and he became enamored of Terran culture the minute he arrived at the Academy. He later met my mother, who is very much a strong Terran woman. T’Mihn: And they do not offend me. ::nodding, Lifting a hand up.:: That explains why you're 'comfortable in your skin". Their world's cultures are as diverse and Earth's bio diversity. How did your parents handle raising a hybrid of two cultures? Pardon me for asking. Torin: Well, my mother is very opinionated, and my father found it was illogical to argue with her… so they allowed me to find my own path between our cultures. That aside, I did have to take a human last name... from my mother's family. T'Mihn: I HAVE met those types of Terrans. He made a sound choice. Did you chose your father's or mother's clan name? Torin: Bergen... Torin Marcus Bergen. Has a certain ring to it? ::laughing:: T"Mihn:::A sharp nod with her customary grin in the eyes. :: Good choice. It does. Well.. Mister ..::Pause:: Bergen, I shall introduce you to my friend Q who fancies making gadgets out of ordinary items? Just bring them back in one piece. T'Mihn: ::Glancing around to make sure no one was listening in.:: I am sure some of us had given you trouble over being...:;both eyebrows disappeared under her bang briefly.::..ahem.. emotional. Torin: ::laughing:: Well, there’s that, and the “nasty” rumor that several of my father’s forebearers were Vʻtosh katur, thoses dreaded “Vulcans without logic.” ::Torin then took an observant glance. There was something different to this Vulcan from Starfleet.”” TAG/TBC MSNPC Torin Marcus Bergen Savan's adoptive father Lt. Commander Savan Tactical/Security Officer Embassy of Duronis II/USS Thunder-A Writer ID: E239303S10 http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Savan
  10. ((Capitol Palace, A’Kir Isle of Governance, Planet Kiros)) ::We didn’t do it.:: ::The words were on the lips of every A’Kir citizen as news of the terrible seismic tragedy on the Kirosian continent swept through A’Kir territory.:: ::King Mwinuroja charged down the labyrinthine corridors of the Capitol Palace with furious determination, while his advisors flanked him, mouthing off with their various opinions and dissemblements. The King of the A’Kir, the most important elected official on this side of the planet, stood nearly seven and a half feet tall, his hide black, marked with a silver patch that covered half his bull-like face, dividing his countenance in a way that made his two profiles were quite distinct. His people had chosen for him a gold-colored tie with a conservative dark blue suit. This was no day for his dress to be showy. His horns were tall and sharp, an ivory-colored ornament to the fierce, unwavering look that started from his eyes, large and dark, and extended through the grim set of his mouth and the flaring of his nostrils.:: ::Of course the Kirosians were going to blame the A’Kir for the shaking of the earth. The Kirosians blamed the A’Kir for everything.:: ::The high, green walls of the Capitol Palace curved elegantly in rounded and sometimes suddenly angular directions that would have confounded anyone not familiar with their maze-like layout. Mwinuroja marched forward, confident as ever in his path. The building’s design was descended from an ancient construction tradition, created so outsiders would never find their way through, while insiders easily knew the way. It went back to ancient times, when labyrinths were built for protection against Kirosian invaders from across the wide oceans. Thousands of years ago, Kirosians came in sailing ships of wood and pitch that the modern mind almost couldn’t envision as functional. The archaeological record showed it, the appearance of ramheaded figures in ancient art, the evidence of inter-continental conflict and struggle in prehistory.:: ::History showed it, too. The political and cultural barrier between A’Kir and Kirosian was long-standing and acrimonious. Attempts at peace had been made, but it is not easy thing to wash bad blood from the hands of history, and the two sides of the world never could find a way to meet in the middle. With advances in technology came advances in armaments and battle tactics. With advances in culture came advances in inter-cultural resentment and isolationism.:: ::Mwinuroja had tried to work toward peace from within, but his people were so stubborn in their ways. He had worked hard for years to keep their internal struggles from spilling over and becoming acts of aggression against the Kirosians. He had sacrificed his time, his youth, his public reputation, to forge a better world, to fight the political fights that kept the A’Kir out of any direct conflict with their neighbor. He had shown the people a strong leader, a fierce king, and he had given his life over to holding the ties of their fragile political system in place, maintaining internal order and freedom from strife sometimes through nothing but sheer force of will.:: ::And now did the very earth rebel?:: Mwinuroja: WHAT fresh hell comes now with the new hour? ::Rounding a corner that wouldn’t have been visible if you didn’t know it was there, King Mwinuroja strode into his situation room, a large chamber filled with terminals, assistants, and at one end, a private, hidden office that was his alone. The advisors charged in toward their various destinations, joining the fray of frantic comms, shouts and fevered whispers of collaboration between the staff housed there. One shout rang out from a young, dappled steer, updating the king.:: Assistant: Majesty, the communication from Starfleet is online. Mwinuroja: Very well! I shall communicate from my office, and mark you that I am to receive no disturbance. ::At least the A’Kir weren’t afraid of making offworld contacts. The Council still denied them a voting seat, but it was willing to hear their problems. And it had sent this Starfleet to help.:: ::Inside his private chamber, deep at the center of the labyrinth, Mwinuroja closed the door so he could be alone. He felt like stamping his feet in a charge. He was mad as could be, fit to gore. Taking a moment to collect himself, to try to reach his better nature of diplomacy, he moved to his large wooden desk, sat down behind it, and switched the comm on, prepared to say exactly what his constituents expected of him in this situation.:: ::We didn’t do it.:: King Mwinuroja Leader of the A’Kir simmed by LtCmdr Ren Rennyn First Officer USS Blackwell, Andaris Task Force A239102RR0
  11. (( Sickbay, USS Gorkon )) :: Precious time had already been lost, the captain left bleeding out for far too long. Her injuries were extensive, penetrating muscle, flesh, and at probably least one vital organ or artery, since the hypercoagulin did nothing to staunch the flow of blood. He didn’t have time to focus on any other patients right now, only the one. Rushing Quinn into surgery was his priority. :: :: He handed over the captain to the waiting operating team, while he scrubbed and changed into something more appropriate for the task ahead. He mulled it over in his mind: Reynolds' anatomy was similar enough to a human that it posed no problem in that regard, though her hybrid physiology could be… unpredictable. The fact that she was a touch-telepath complicated matters just a bit more. He quickly sterilized his hands and gloved up before proceeding. Since their first meeting aboard the Garuda, he hadn’t had occasion to do any major lifesaving on the captain. :: :: When he entered the operating room, she was already prepped and under anesthetic, the monitors in the room beeping and glowing with her vital data, none of which seeded any hope in his heart. The blood they were transfusing was being lost almost as quickly as they could pump it into her, and the surgical biobed's scanners indicated a hemopneumothorax, as well as multiple deep lacerations to the liver and intestines. Not one was an easy injury to treat, further complicated by the fact he had to do them one at a time. CD took a breath as he glanced at the readouts, forcing himself into a state of calm. :: :: Time was a luxury he didn’t have, so he began first with the injuries to her lung, draining the blood from her chest so that her lung could re-inflate. He had to remember to breathe as he steadied his hands. He’d performed heart surgery on Bajorans before, but there was a first time for everything. This was his first stabbing with multiple wounds. As he performed his work, a small wave of doubt began to form in his mind. :: oO What if she dies? Oo oO Not on my watch, she won’t… Oo :: He pushed back the negative thoughts and blanked his mind of such fatalistic talk, focusing only on the task. It was delicate work regenerating the lung tissue and surrounding areas, but in the end he got it repaired. The anabolic protoplaser and autosuture were getting a workout today, as he moved on to the liver. Each second that elapsed started to gradually eat away at his calm, even though she was stable and-- :: Rakujia: She's crashing! :: The surgical nurse's announcement came as the the monitors began to shrill their alarms, the busy traces of her life signs becoming flat lines. More doubt crept into CD’s mind as the alarms went off, and Stripey was quick to shut all the negative talk down. A good thing, too because Chythar could not afford any mistakes. He needed this to work, for the sake of the crew as well as his own sanity. Professional pride be damned, his reputation as a miracle worker was on the line. He may not have been any Dr. Bones McCoy by any means, but he’d worked miracles in the past. This one had to work, or the consequences -- and conversations -- would be his worst nightmare. :: Skyfire: 10 milligrams of cordrazine. Charge the cardiostimulator to 3 millijoules. :: While the anesthetist, Doctor Seung, loaded a hypospray and delivered the cardiac drug directly into Reynolds' veins, Rakujia passed him the cardiostimulator and he pressed it to her chest, delivering the shock that would hopefully restart her heart. :: Rakujia: No response. oO Damn it, Quinn...don’t die on us. Please. Oo Skyfire: Increase to 5 millijoules. Rakujia: No response. oO I was ignorant of so much last time. Don’t let this add to my casualty streak. Oo Skyfire: Again. Rakujia: No-- ::He paused, then his voice was full of relief.:: No, wait! We've got her! :: Once again, the monitors began to pulse with the regular, if weak, rhythms of the captain's life. He gave a sigh of relief, like a great weight being lifted from his shoulders. Holding someone’s life in your hands was one thing. Saving the life in your hands was the greatest feeling in the world. He was still not looking forward to the report, or the log entry. Both of those would be tiring, and he would probably need some coffee before getting started. For all those he couldn’t save in the other universe, this moment was worth every memory he carried. :: :: CD had lost track of the amount of time he had spent already, and wasn’t looking forward to writing up that number, nor the report along with it. Alucard would probably have words with him. Heck, he fully expected Walter to call him up while busy and demand an update, but that was not on his mind at the moment. The life of his patient took precedence. :: :: Hours -- and three more cardiac arrests, each more prolonged than the last -- later, the liver was repaired. A nurse dabbed away beads of sweat from his eyes and continued his work, moving on to the gastrointestinal repairs. The autosuture was now warm to the touch, like a warmed power pack from a phaser in his hand. Fortunately, it was a dulled sensation as he was using his entire focus to do his job. Warm battery packs had nothing on him right now. Out of all the bombs he’d survived, all the research he’d done, there was nothing that could have prepared him for this, except experience he didn’t have. He continued his task and deliberately did not look at the clock. The last thing he wanted to do was screw up because he was wanting to do it fast rather than right, which would go against the oath he took. :: :: Once the last of the surgical procedures was complete and the surgical sites were closed, he ran another series of scans. There was nothing more that could be done in surgery for the time being, and he left Rakujia and Seung to take her to one of the private recovery rooms. He would remain close by as long as he could get away with, primarily to keep an eye and also out of a sense of duty. Despite his best efforts, he didn’t play the odds. A quote from one of his favorite 21st century novels came to mind. :: oO Never tell me the odds! Oo :: While that quote held true, he had a list of phrases prepared. None of which would please Walter, he was sure. None of which pleased CD either. His surgical scrubs coated in blood from his efforts over the last several hours in the surgery, he excused himself to his office for a change of uniform. At the very least, if called upon, he’d look professional, if not completely decked out for diplomacy. Once his teal collar was back on, he put on one of his uniform jackets and zipped it up before dealing with the paperwork. The tone of the conference had gone from diplomatic to grim in the span of… had it been 12 hours? No, it was more than that, CD was sure. He grimaced as he checked the timestamp from paging Nurse Rakujia to the time they clocked out of surgery. Time for the boring part: the report. :: === Lieutenant Commander Chythar Skyfire Chief Medical Officer USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 O239002CS0
  12. ((Main Sickbay - aCMO’s office - Starbase 118)) ((Timeframe - Day of Voodoo Lounge invite)) ::Now that the crew had safely returned from Tilanna V, Mirra had found herself buried under a veritable mountain of paperwork. It seemed that in the brief amount of time she had been away, it had multiplied like a pile of frisky tribbles. Between getting caught up with the going-ons of the base, Mirra had been keeping in contact with the physicians on Tilanna V in regards to the ongoing treatment plan for ATH users. It has been only a few days, but still the results had remained positive. ::Shortly after return, Mirra had sent out a lengthy, highly specific memo to the entire staff that if anyone were to arrive at the base displaying ATH withdrawal or positively testing for the drug, it was to be reported to her immediately. She planned on doing all that she could to prevent the devastation of Tilanna V to reach them here on the base. She had been debating tossing the pile of PADDs out of the nearest airlock and escaping to the open air of Central Park when she was drawn to movement in her doorway.:: Ezo: ::brightening:: Flynn! ::Sauntering into Mirra’s office without invite as was becoming his habit, he looked up from the PADD he was glued to when she greeted him, only to find her swimming in a sea of work that quickly reminded him of the pile of work on his own desk that had piled up while they were off saving the universe.:: Flynn: ::Grinning:: Hey sunshine. Need to be rescued? Ezo: ::playfully whimpering:: Yes please. Who knew helping run a department involved so much paperwork….remind me to send a “Thank you” muffin basket to Doc MacLaren…. Flynn: Yeah no kidding. ::He moved a small stack of PADDs from the corner of her desk and propped himself up.:: My desk is almost as bad as yours, doesn’t help that my Junior Administrator took an extended leave. ::He tugged at his collar and leaned forward slightly with a hushed tone.:: I think I triggered her Pon farr... ::Rolling her eyes, she had the sudden desire to shove him off the corner of her desk while explaining the details of Vulcan female physiology, however, she decided any sudden movement might cause the avalanche effect of her piles of PADDs. She stuck with spearing him with an unamused glare.:: Ezo: ::flatly:: How inconsiderate of you. This is a terrible attempt at rescue by the way, how is planting your widely remarked upon posterior on my desk considered helpful? Flynn: ::Looking perplexed.:: I feel like you just answered your own question. ::He smiled and handed her the PADD he had been absorbed in.:: I’m looking over replacement candidates, check this guy out. ::Accepting the PADD, Mirra was glancing at a rather surly looking Antican male. Despite the long list of accolades, there was an equally, if not longer list of infractions. It appeared his temper was short and the capability to hold a grudge was vast.:: Flynn: A nice list of accomplishments, but I think his beard is my favorite. Ezo: Yeah...and did you read the part where he tried to strangle someone with it? Flynn: Oh…::He took the PADD back and looked at the segment she had highlighted.:: Is it bad that I’m more impressed now? ::Mirra had to admit the mental picture of a pouncing Antican with a weaponized beard was rather impressive.:: Ezo: Be impressed from afar. Who’s next? Flynn: I do have a favorite. ::He pulled it up and handed it over.:: Bactrican, fresh out of the academy but she has a great….::He snapped his fingers looking for the word.:: Ezo: ::glancing at the PADD:: …..Body? ::tossing the PADD back:: No. Just-no. Next. Flynn: What? ::A guilty smile.:: The job can get very...physical. Ezo: No, it doesn’t. And if it does you need reassigned. NEXT. ::Antero looked over the list again and stopped on the Zaldan female he had considered earlier. On the surface he wasn’t sure it was a good fit, but something kept drawing him back. He wouldn't have to explain the implications of working with someone of the famously blunt Zaldan race.:: Flynn: There is this one, but I’m not sure…::He handed her the file.:: There are a lot of short assignments, and I don’t find myself wondering why. ::Accepting the PADD, Mirra was impressed with the list of accomplishments, and although several disciplinary actions, it seemed they stemmed from those not properly accepting the nuances of her race. The more she read, the more she was determined for this to be the chosen candidate.:: Ezo: Flynn she’s perfect. By nature extremely straight forward, not going to be one to not make her stance clear, she even served on Earth Spacedock. You know she can handle the pressure….besides she may be the one female candidate who won’t fall for your...uh...youness. Flynn: ::Laughing:: You might have a point. I’ll bring her in for an interview at least… ::Laughing at the thought of Flynn’s chances of survival through said interview, the telltale ping of an important message sounded, as a crew-wide reminder communique from the Captain appeared on the screen..:: ~*~ To: StarBase 118 Senior Staff From: Commander Sal Taybrim Subject: Crew ceremony and gathering Please join us this Friday evening, at the Voodoo Lounge Jazz Club, we have the back room set aside for the evening's festivities. Dinner will be served and you have a choice of logically refreshing vegetarian fare provided by the Illogical Eatery or satisfying grilled meat products provided by Best of the Wurst (voted 'the Best Carnivore Restaurant' on SB118 Ops three years running). We will have a live band, a selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a side area with activities for children, and a registered babysitter. Dress is casual, and you are welcome to bring a guest. Please arrive starting at 1730, or by 1800 hours, sharp. ~Commander Sal Taybrim ~*~ ::Glancing at the time, it appeared the pair had about an hour to get changed and report to the Voodoo Lounge. Grinning, Mirra stood up from her desk, stretching her sore muscles.:: Ezo: Well? Looks like this is an official rescue for both of us, courtesy of Commander Taybrim. Somehow I managed to get so caught up I lost track of the days. C’mon, we’ll discuss this further on the way to get ready. ::As the two friends exited her office, Mirra linked her arm through his in their usual fashion. She hadn’t had the chance to touch base with him after the return from the base. She felt guilty about that fact and vowed to make up for lost time. Laying her head against his shoulder while they walked, she was sensing a deep conflict within him.:: Ezo: So...candidates aside, how are you doing? You know, with how things went on Tilanna V… ::Already taking comfort in the company of his friend, he took a deep breath and exhaled before responding. Knowing Mirra had always been a source of strength in tough times. Flynn: Not great if I’m honest. I talked to Tyler some, he helped put some things in perspective. I guess it couldn’t hurt to talk to Zinna sometime. Maybe she can help me with these dark dreams I have been having. I’ve not been getting the best sleep... Ezo ::nodding:: That’s completely understandable. This mission has been...most difficult, to say the least. Tyler would be a great person to speak with ::grinning:: Not that I am biased by any means… ::She meant what she had said. Tyler had been her own pillar of strength when the dreams came haunting her in the dark.:: Flynn: ::Grinning:: He was good for some fun unwinding too. ::He looked down at her with a smirk:: Maybe you can relate in a somewhat different aspect. Ezo: ::elbowing him lightly, ignoring the implication:: And Zinna of course would be wonderful, she’s been truly invaluable with Mase, and I am still amazed that he is doing as well as he is. To be honest, I think he has been great for Theo, he has something positive from the experience to focus on. Instead of only seeing the negative. I’ve been spending time conversing with the doctors presiding over the ATH treatments, and seeing any amount of progress has helped me handle the memories of the devastation. Flynn: That’s great. I am a strong witness to what Theo had to go through. ::He shook his head.:: I can't image what you saw with the poor victims down there. It’s nice to hear that some good is coming of it. ::At the mention of Mase, the Risian excitedly remembered his inspiration the night before.:: Oh! So I was trying to think of ways to, you know, get my head back on straight. I’m going to start teaching swimming lessons here on the base, just like I used to do on Risa. Ezo ::face softening:: That is a brilliant idea Flynn. I think that will do you a world of good. And, it might be a wonderful introduction to socialization for Mase with kids his own age. ::grinning:: Instructor Flynn. Nice ring to it. ::smirking:: although I am sure you’ll have plenty of spectators there to see you in your swim trunks. ::Before long, the two had made it to their prospective quarters to change and get ready for the evening's festivities. Returning to their agreed upon meeting place, Mirra had changed into a loose fitting light teal top and a pair of cuffed, cream colored shorts. She left her hair in soft waves, and had slipped on a pair of sparkly, strappy silver sandals with a slight heel. Smiling, she approached Flynn looking dapper in his black jeans and white button up shirt, wrapped in a smoke grey cardigan with black edging. Resuming their earlier stance with linked arms, they were outside the doors of the Voodoo Jazz lounge before long.:: ::Stepping through the doors, Mirra was impressed by the lighting and the smooth jazz notes weaving its way through the crowd. Seeing several of their fellow crew proceeding them, they made their towards the bar.:: Ezo: ::smiling:: It appears we’re fashionably right on time. ::Peering around and enjoying the ambiance, he was about to respond when he noticed an opportunity standing nearby with its back turned. He stopped in his tracks and graced Mirra with a dead serious expression.:: Flynn: If you will excuse me, a certain Gorn Marine has an overdue appointment with a headlock. Ezo: ::eyes widening:: Flynn no!! ::As he dashed off, the sound of his only salvation fell on deaf ears.:: Ezo: ::sighing:: By the Gods...no way this is ending well…. Lieutenant JG Antero Flynn CAG Officer Starbase 118/Aegis C239205AF0 & Lieutenant JG Mirra Ezo, MD Ast. Chief Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops C239205ME0
  13. (( St. Peter's Cathedral, Ashalla District, Starbase 118 )) (( Several Days Later - Before the Party )) :: Theo Whittaker was not a spiritual person by any means which was why he was perplexed as to why he currently found himself sat in one of the many wooden pews of the cathedral in silent contemplation. The air was tinged with the sweet scent of incense that was coming from the gently swinging thurible held by a member of the cathedral's staff. Around him there were low murmured chants of prayer from a group of nuns. He had not stepped foot inside a Christian church since he was seven years old when his father had taken him to the cathedral on Archer IV in order for him to be baptised. It was not because he had a problem with the idea of religious that so many Starfleet officers he had encountered seemed to have, but because he equated the Christian faith with his father, a man that he loved and hated in equal measure. They had never gotten along, especially after Theo dared to defy his wishes and applied to Starfleet instead of devoting himself to a life of academia. He could not remember deciding to find solace in the quiet of the cathedral, instead he had found himself there after going for a walk to clear his turbulent mind. Before he knew it he was inside and looking up at the beautiful stained glass windows. Here, he found he could forget the fact that he was on a starbase, or the painful events of the last several weeks- of the last year which had seen him lurch from one catastrophe to another; Providence, Avronis V, Chennel, Estava, Haz Arrihman and Tilanna. A litany of chaos marked his brief career in Starfleet, so much so though that he found it difficult to appreciate the positives: all the wonderful friends he had made, his promotion... Baylen. His sombre reverie was interrupted by the realisation that he was not alone. Turning his head, he found himself sat next to a kindly looking nun who head was bowed in prayer. When had she arrived? After several seconds, she finished her prayer and smiled, turning to look at him. :: Sister Monica Julienne: It is so peaceful here at this time of day, is it not? Whittaker: :: nodding :: It is indeed sister. :: She studied him for a moment with a sympathetic look on her face. :: Sister Monica Julienne: Your soul is heavy Commander Whittaker. Whittaker: Um, how do you know who I am? :: He knew it was a stupid question as soon as he had uttered it. Surprisingly, instead of chastising him, she smiled brightly, so brightly in fact that her whole face seemed to light up. :: Sister Monica Julienne: I may be just a nun devoted to his service but I do make a point to keep myself and my fellow sisters informed of less heavenly matters. :: she reached forward and placed a hand on his :: You are lost. Whittaker: :: thick with emotion, whispering :: H-how do you know? Sister Monica Julienne: You have been sat here for nearly an hour and a half Commander :: beat :: And I can recognise when somebody is need of support. Whittaker: W-who are you? Sister Monica Julienne: My name is Sister Monica Julienne of the Sisters of the Community of Saint John the Divine. :: beat :: We serve the lord here in this cathedral, although sometimes we help those who need it. Whittaker: :: the lump in his throat was growing and he had to take several breaths to steady himself :: I- I don't know what to say. Sister Monica Julienne: Say nothing then Commander. :: beat :: Or would you prefer to call you Theo? Whittaker: Theo... Sister Monica Julienne: What pains you, Theo? Whittaker: :: he was suddenly uncomfortable, acutely aware he was sat in a place of worship for a religion he did not follow. His eyes darted towards the exit. :: I-I should go. Sister Monica Julienne: Why? Because you do not believe? :: beat :: You do not need to to talk. :: And so Theo spoke. He told her of watching the Orion woman dying infront of him and how it was the latest in a long line of traumas he had suffered during his brief career in Starfleet, of making first contact with "Providence"- a dangerous weapons delivery system and the frightened little girl at the heart of it, the details of his brutal assault by an Iconian, the torture he suffered at the hands of Chennel aboard her pirate ship and the frightening visions he had as Columbia orbited a Romulan colony world. As he recounted each horror, his voice grew fraught as the memories became increasinly painful. To her credit, Sister Monica Julienne took it in her stride, even as Theo began to sob, letting all the pain and anguish flow through his tears. She took him in a kindly embrace and held him until the tears stopped flowing. He sat up and dried his eyes and whispered an apology. :: Sister Monica Julienne: There is no need to apologise. Your burden is great. :: beat :: Crying is not a sign of weakness. Whittaker: :: sniffing :: It's... not what I was brought up to believe. Sister Monica Julienne: Tell me, have you thought of praying? :: beat :: Even if you don't believe in the lord, you can still ask a higher being for help. Whittaker: I-I hadn't. Sister Monica Julienne: Then try. :: She smiled and Theo knelt prostate and did so. When he finished, he looked up to find the kindly nun was nowhere to be seen- and felt a sense of wonder. :: -- Lieutenant Commander Theo Whittaker Executive Officer Starbase 118 Operations
  14. (( Kaitlyn Falcon’s Quarters; Starbase 118 – 10 Hours into Transit Home )) ::The new smell was still there.:: ::Rhino stuck his nose through the bars of his home, sniffing the air. It was the new furry thing that Mom had brought, but what was it? He could hear it, he could smell it, but it was nothing like anything he had heard or smelled.:: ::Seen? Well, considering he could not really see anything beyond the far side of his home, it was no surprise he could not actually see the new smell.:: ::Mom had been gone a while. This happened. Sometimes he went with her, sometimes he did not. When he did, it usually meant Mom was getting a new home, too. Still, Mom always came back. He always heard when she did.:: ::The new smell made that noise again. Rhino had never heard that before. Squeaks, chirps, grunts, sure, but… Rhino had no concept of the noise he heard.:: ::Was it an invader? Mom had shown the new smell to him, though he was barely awake at the time. If Mom brought it, though, it was not an invader. His home had not moved, and Mom still said bye before she left.:: ::He needed to know. He needed to find out what the new smell was.:: ::Rhino pulled back from the bars, turning to run down the ramp. He had long ago learned that the lower door was bent just enough for him to get a paw on it, to get it to unlock.:: ::Getting out of home was easy. Getting in? THAT was the trick.:: ::The lock clicked, allowing the door to fall outward into another ramp. He had to be careful; the bars were not the easiest thing to walk down.:: ::The new smell was close. Rhino paused, sniffing the air, and started toward it.:: ::He found another home, just like his. The smell was strong, as was the strange noise… Rhino pulled back onto his hind legs, reaching up to grab onto the bars and pull himself up to see.:: ::He was closer now, and actually awake. It was… fur. All fur. It did not move, but it did make noise.:: ::If this home was like his, then… He could get in. The lock was higher.:: ::After working his magic, Rhino slipped into the other home. He slid down the wall, landing on the soft floor and turning to approach the new smell. It did not seem to notice him… Maybe it did not see him? Rhino started walking around the new smell, looking for its face… but there was not one.:: ::Rhino was confused. Everything had a face. Mom did, and all the people Mom brought for him to meet. They all had a face.:: Rhino: *Squeak?* ::The new smell stirred. It shifted around, as if trying to see him with eyes Rhino could not find.:: Sasquatch: *Coo.* ::Rhino shifted back, head tilting. So… the new smell DID know he was there.:: Rhino: *Squeak.* Sasquatch: *Coo.* ::The new smell’s noise… It was comforting. Somehow…:: ::Normally, a new smell meant something that was going to steal his home. Or Mom. Or at least, that was what he thought it meant; neither of those had ever actually happened. But this new smell…? It did not seem a threat.:: Sasquatch: *Coo?* ::Wait… did the new smell think HE was the threat?:: Rhino: *Squeak!* Sasquatch: *Coo…* ::The new smell shifted again, this time starting to move. Rhino turned to watch the new smell. It went to a bowl, then came back, then stopped, then backed away.:: ::Rhino stepped over, seeing… SEEDS! THE TASTY FLAT SEEDS! Rhino looked to the new smell.:: Rhino: …..*Squeak?* Sasquatch: *Coo.* ::Rhino grabbed the tasty flat seeds, stuffing them into his cheek pouch before looking to the new smell.:: Rhino: *Squeak!* Sasquatch: *Coo!* ::Yeah… New smell was all right…:: (( 11 Hours Later )) ::Aegis was docked, everyone was dismissed, and Kaitlyn was ready for some excellent sleep…:: ::However, one look at Rhino’s cage immediately told her she was NOT going to have a restful night… The lower door was WIDE OPEN.:: Falcon: ::Quietly.:: Aw, hell… ::Louder, tired.:: Computer, locate Rhino. ::The computer had become quite adept at locating her occasionally wandering hamster, cutting down the time needed to find the escapee dramatically.:: Computer: Rhino is approximately four meters behind you. ::Well, that was quick. And close… Had he only just now gotten loose? Kaitlyn turned, the first things to catch her eye being Sasquatch’s cage.:: Falcon: No… You didn’t… ::Kaitlyn approached the cage, dropping to a knee and peering within it. She spotted Sasquatch; the tribble was sleeping happily in the corner. But there was no sign of Rhino…:: ::She leaned around the cage, looking beyond. There was nothing else there he could be hiding under…:: Falcon: Computer, are you sure about that? Computer: Affirmative. Rhino is .3 meters from your position. ::Kaitlyn looked into the cage again… taking a closer look at Sasquatch. As she managed to see past the long fur, her mouth dropped in shock.:: ::There, nestled within the ball of fur that was Sasquatch, was Rhino. Curled up into a little ball, and sleeping atop the sleeping Tribble.:: ::Kaitlyn fell back onto her rear, sitting there for a while as she tried to comprehend it. Finally, she found her words.:: Falcon: Wow… Everyone really DOES love Tribbles… =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Rhino the Hamster Sasquatch the Tribble AND Lt Commander Kaitlyn Falcon Chief Helm Officer Starbase 118 / U.S.S. Albion F237507RF0 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  15. ((Cargo Bay One -- USS Aegis)) ::Silence. It hung in the air like a straight jacket. Most people found silence comforting, a chance to relax and reflect. Quintus found it boring. He paced around the cargo bay, growing more impatient by the minute. He hated silence. ::Yes, there were muted conversations scattered throughout the company. Yes, there was the muffled sound of equipment being tended, or repairs being made. There was even the sound of Jandara attempting to talk to him. Or, there had been up until a few minutes ago. She must have finally tired of his grunts and shrugs in response to her questions. There were sounds around the bay, yes. But there was silence in regards to orders to action. ::If they'd been back on base, Quintus would have gone to a holodeck for a training exercise. Even here, part of him wanted to drill the company to make sure they were prepared. But they'd been through a lot planetside and deserved their rest. Rest just wasn't what Quintus enjoyed. He continued growling as he paced. He nearly wore a groove into the deck plating when he heard a welcome voice call to him over the comm badge.:: Tatash: =/\= Tatash to Raisillius. Get to Transporter Room... 1, HALO gear. Have two techies with you to get this suit off me. Two automatic carbines, one demolition charge and a set of pattern enhancers, get them too. Double time. =/\= ::Finally, something to do! Thank the gods! He tried not to let the eagerness show in his voice. He had to sound professional, at least, even if inside his heart was doing flips of joy.:: Raisillius: =/\= Right away, sir! =/\= ::Grabbing the nearest two tool slingers to accompany him, he gathered the requested material. ::He practically ran toward the bay door before he caught Jandara's eye. He stopped, turning to her. He wasn't one for public displays of affection, especially in front of the troops. Instead, he made light of the situation to show his feelings.:: Raisillius: I'm heading out. HALO jump. Looks like you're not the only one flying today. ::beat:: See you when I get back. ::Jandara's heart pounded in her chest. HALO jumps were dangerous. She knew Quintus was thrilled with danger, thrived on it even. Sometimes, she felt, he took the dangerous route just to give himself a thrill. She knew he would be back soon, knew it. But it didn't stop her from worrying.:: Tem: ::sneering, but with a funny tone:: They're letting you HALO jump? Command must really be desperate to put such a failed flyer in that situation. ::putting a hand on his cheek. In a more serious tone.:: You come back, though, yes? ::He nodded, touching her hand that was on his cheek. Their goodbyes implied, if not said, Quintus and the techs hustled down to the transporter room. The Major hadn't arrived yet. Good, Quintus hated to be late to the action. When the doors did open and the Gorn ambled in, the technicians immediately began removing his armor. ::When he was out of the mech armor and suited in the proper kit, Quintus offered one of the carbines.:: Raisillius: What's the sitrep, sir? Tatash: Whittakers team is under heavy fire, we're being beamed in above their location, we open the chutes as late as we can and suck up the retroboosters G's. It's not going to be a clean drop Captain. Raisillius: And what about those? ::he gestured toward the pattern enhancers and the demolition charge:: Tatash: Load me up with them, we move them around the team, we beam them out.... the charge... well that's just a going away present. ::Quintus smirked. Excellent, there would be some fun involving destruction. His favorite kind of fun. Well, second favorite. ::The time passed quickly as the two marines checked each others buckles and straps. Minutes later, the room echoed with the sound of Commander Taybrim's voice.:: Taybrim: =/\= Bridge to Major Tatash, we're moving into position, waiting for your ready signal.=/\= ::They stepped up onto the transport pad. Neither man was showing fear, but there was apprehension nonetheless. Despite all their training and drills, nothing could ever prepare either of them for a live HALO jump. It was so dangerous that the marines didn't often prepare for it outside the well-regulated confines and safety of a holodeck. In this situation, though, the slightest mistake would easily result in a near certain death. Quintus took a deep breath to steady his nerves.:: Tatash: =/\= We're ready. =/\= Taybrim: =/\= As before I'm tying you into Falcon's feed and letting you both coordinate. =/\= Tatash: =/\= Understood. =/\= ::The screen on his helmet flickered with a series of complex displays. It was up to Falcon now to coordinate the rest of the information. That calmed Quintus slightly. She perhaps the best pilot he knew; even Jandara admitted that. He implicitly trusted that she would look out for them.:: Falcon: =/\= Stand by. In range in fifteen seconds. =/\= Taybrim: =/\= All systems go. Godspeed, Major. =/\= ((Tilanna V - 3,500 feet above ground level)) ::The lights of the transported shimmered around them. The rematerialized in a freefall, his body forced to spread due to gravity. The information on his HUD display showed more information, including altimeter and the target zone. He was thankful for the display, because he couldn't see anything else through the haze surrounding them.:: Computer: 3,000 Feet. Caution: Exceeding recommended speed. Raisillius: =/\= Do you know where we are? =/\= Tatash: =/\= Pushing through the pollution layer now, watch out for civilian traffic.=/\= ::They continued to fall. Seconds later, having passed through murky gasses that contained who-knew-what pollutants, they reached the first of the civilian vehicles. They were falling so fast that most didn't have time to react. Quintus saw that one driver had her mouth agape, stunned that two black-clad figures would dare intrude upon her space.:: Computer: 1,500 Feet. Danger: Extreme risk to life. Terminal velocity achieved. Deploy parachute. ::Tapping his wrist, Quintus overrode the suit. The ground continue to enlarge before them. The target zone was becoming clearer as they fell closer and closer. The sprawling city was beginning to take distinct shapes. He could see the outline of the sprawling factory that was their target. 800 feet. 700. A bead of sweat formed on his brow.:: Tatash: =/\= We pull at a 200 feet. =/\= Raisillius: =/\= 200, sir? =/\= ::Surely the Major wouldn't push them that close? Another drop of sweat formed, dripping into his eye. He blinked it away, trying not to let anxiety overwhelm him.:: Tatash: =/\= You heard right. We open fire from 200 feet above, bring the [...]ed roof down to cushion our fall. =/\= Raisillius: =/\= As you say, sir. =/\= Computer: 500 feet. ::The meter continued to tick down while Quintus' heartrate continued to tick up. He was filled with adrenaline. Normally he loved the feeling, but this one was making him queasy. 300 feet. ::As he reached the designated height, he pulled the thick cord. He felt himself being dragged upward. His speed dropped with a surge of momentum in the opposite direction. The force threatened to tear the suit right off. ::Regaining his bearings, he looked down at the roof of the LZ. He fired his carbine, a stream of steel raining down on it. That force nearly knocked him out of position, but he quickly readjusted with the help of the micro-boosters in the suit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Major Tatash had also begun hosing down the roof. ::Nearby, Quintus saw that the shuttle the teams had been using, with the stupid name Maximum Thrusters, was circling the building, offering its own, limited support with a quick shot or two from a small cannon. ::Tucking his knees to roll with the landing, they impacted the corridor. He landed with more force than he would have liked, but the adrenaline helped him shake off any momentary pain. He didn't think he'd broken anything. ::He continued firing, aiming for anything that his HUD indicated didn't have a Starfleet communicator signal. Bodies toppled around them, surprised by warriors falling from the sky. He heard the Major grunt in pain as a shot clipped part of his armor. Quintus looked for the [...] who did it, then let out a deadly hail of fire against someone who would dare harm a Starfleet marine.:: Raisillus: Got him! Tatash: ::Yelling over the din:: Grenade out! ::A crackle of light and a shockwave rang out as the grenade the huge Gorn had tossed moments before shook the corridor. Ears ringing from the blast, Quintus tossed his own, taking down the rest of the rabble. Smoke filled the corridor, but not longer the sounds of guns or fighting. Marine efficiency at its best. He had no sympathy for the poor fools who had been trying to defend the place. It was war, and they lost.:: Tatash: We're here to rescue you sorry bunch. ::The fighting might have been over, but Quintus took up a defensive position nonetheless. No one would surprise him.:: Raisillius: Holding clear. Tatash: Captain, set the charge up. Two minute countdown. Raisillius: On it. ::He nodded. Moving to a wall connecting the warehouse to the rest of the building, he placed the charge. It should be a large enough explosion to take down both sections. Or at least wreak havoc on it all so that it would be a massive reconstruction project.:: Tatash: We're taking this place down. Raisillius: I'll tell the shuttle to get out, now, sir. ::tapping his badge:: =/\= Raisillius to shuttle Maximum Thrusters. Fly away, now. Get out as fast as you can. We're taking a different route. =/\=
  16. ((PANIC Room, USS Atlantis)) ::The PANIC Room was back in business as Atlantis made its way through the rift zone. The Par'tha Navigation Control Center, with its dramatically souped-up navigation equipment and its awkwardly shoe-horned acronym, shouldn't have been needed outside the turbulent and unpredictable Par'tha Expanse. With Atlantis already damaged by the unexpected rift this far from Prometheus Station, and the possibility of more rifts appearing at any moment, they needed to employ all possible navigational aids. Though the PANIC Room was expected to be on break while Atlantis ventured out of the Expanse and into normal Federation space, it was now returned to active duty.:: ::Ren and Sovak worked side by side, fingers flying over consoles in an investigatory frenzy. Blueheart wanted them to determine the nature of their comm malfunction, and if there was some way to contact any ships in closer proximity to the endangered Outpost Bravo.:: ::The tall Trill slammed his hand on the console in frustration.:: RENNYN: Nothing. There's nothing. These systems should be working, but we can't raise anyone at distance. And is it tied to the long range sensors being down? I can't stand being in the dark like this. ::The Vulcan, by all outward appearance, took a calmer approach.:: SOVAK: We have yet to exhaust all options. There are possibilities of boosting our signals through probes, or existing Federation relays. As we travel closer to Bravo Outpost, our chances of making contact increase. RENNYN: Probes! Probes! I am sick of probes! From day one on this ship, all we talk about is probes! All the vast resources of the Federation, and our only answer is always PROBES? ::Ren's face was on fire with frustration. His head was still swimming from the concussion. Every avenue they explored on the comms problem was a dead end. And then there was Sovak. They were roommates at the Academy, where Sovak harbored secret feelings for Ren. As ensigns on Atlantis, they'd danced around each other, never quite landing together. Years before, when Navin died at the hands of the Borg before his life with Ren could truly begin, Ren thought his heart would never feel full again. Just when it did, just when it swelled anew and filled with something Sovak put there, that frustratingly illogical Vulcan ripped it all away. He decided to turn his back on emotion and renew his path to kohlinar. He decided to turn his back on Ren, before their life together could begin.:: ::Now they did a new dance, but one as old as time. They circled each other, coming close sometimes, but always arcing away.:: SOVAK: Probes are a highly useful and versatile tool. RENNYN: You're a versatile tool. ::Ren stopped himself. Rude words spoken sharply weren't what was needed. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. The worst part was that, despite Sovak's lack of expression or reaction, Ren knew exactly what the Vulcan's heart looked like inside. He knew just how much harsh words could sting that kind, illogical soul.:: RENNYN: I'm sorry. I'm frustrated. There's no call for taking it out on you. ::"Even if you are the cause of it," he did not add. He tried some kind words instead.:: Smart thinking on that warning beacon probe you programmed. You'll save some other ship a lot of trouble. SOVAK: It was Captain Blueheart's idea. I merely followed orders. RENNYN: You came up with some clever programming, telling that probe to get out of the way of any further rift activity. SOVAK: Insofar as that activity may be predicted, yes. ::Sovak had become much better at suppressing his emotions. All that study with Ambassador T'Mani as his kohlinari was paying off for the Vulcan, Ren thought. But he recognized a certain tightness in Sovak's voice. The Trill's own diplomacy lessons with T'Mani obviously had a long way to go. He'd been thoughtless, and he'd upset Sovak.:: RENNYN: Look, I really am sorry I said that. It was stupid. You of all people should know how fast my mouth can get ahead of the rest of me. SOVAK: You have already apologized. Please think of it no more. ::Ren returned to his scans, determined to finish the job in a professional manner. If only Blueheart would understand that he shouldn't assign the two of them to work together. They wasted time on their interpersonal back-and-forth, while the situation demanded attention. Without long range sensors or comms, they had no idea what was happening on Outpost Bravo. There could be lives in danger. And Ren and Sovak weren't getting the job done because they were upset about their feelings. At least, Ren was. So far as he could tell, Sovak had already purged all that from his system.:: ::Another dead end. Until Atlantis got closer, there was nothing else they could do. Even then, they wouldn't know the condition of Bravo until the Tiger Shark approached it at close range.:: RENNYN: There's no one out there. We're the closest ship. We're Outpost Bravo's only hope. SOVAK: Lt. Anora suggested that Atlantis' communications might be impaired for the same reason as Prometheus' and Bravo's communications. RENNYN: Yes, that's good thinking. It's possible the rifts might be the cause. But if we can learn how they're affecting the comms, then maybe we can learn something about the wave frequencies they're operating on. Once I get my hands on the station's physical equipment, we might finally know something useful. Then its just a matter of fighting off the space zombies or pod people or robot locusts or whatever curve ball gets thrown at us, and getting that information back to Atlantis. SOVAK: You suspect you will be in danger on Outpost Bravo? RENNYN: We're always in danger. Just being out here, we're in danger. And beaming down to a top secret research facility that stores biohazards and who knows what else on ice and has likely already suffered major disruptions to its systems, is probably a sign that more danger is ahead. I don't have a clue what we'll find there. ::He remembered that Sovak's only away mission to date had seen the Vulcan mauled by a vicious doomkitty. He knew a thing or two about danger. But Ren had been away many times, and always came back in one piece.:: RENNYN: You know what it's like out here. We can't predict what's going to happen tomorrow. Or later today. Or in the next few... ::The sentence went unfinished. True to its sentiment, it was interrupted by the unexpected.:: ::More than a year before, Ren had learned that Sovak's feelings for him ran deeper than friendship. It turned the Trill's head around, made him rethink his own feelings. Examining his heart, he'd found that his own feelings were much deeper than he'd known. For all the irritating, backwards-brained, round-about illogic of it, he loved Sovak. So much so that he still hadn't figured out how to move past him, though there had been chances, and he'd made his attempts.:: ::Now, Sovak held Ren by the neck and the arm. Sovak pulled Ren close. Sovak, at long last, kissed Ren with a passion that had a logic all its own.:: ::They pulled apart. Everything had changed. Ren ran a hand nervously through his hair, boldly blushing, smiling shyly.:: RENNYN: I'm not sure how to feel. I mean, I liked it... What was that for? ::Sovak's face was unmoved. This was not a return to the wanton emotionalism of his youth, that flew in the face of convention. This was something new.:: SOVAK: A prediction for tomorrow. RENNYN: I don't understand. SOVAK: Nor do I. ::Their eyes were locked, searching for answers neither of them knew. Ren's mind whirled. Sovak was calm, and dignified, though Ren knew there was turmoil underneath. As usual, Ren broke the silence.:: RENNYN: Why does everyone keep kissing me today!? ::Before Sovak could ask what that meant, an alarm beeped on Ren's console.:: RENNYN: Shoot, that's me. I have to report to the Tiger Shark. SOVAK: The mission to Outpost Bravo. ::Ren nodded. He closed out his workstation, then hesitated awkwardly. How to say farewell after a kiss so long in the making? And then what would he do? Would he be distracted on the mission, thinking about it? Was he even allowed to fraternize with an ensign? What would he say to Daro? So many questions beyond the present. His muddy, mildly concussed brain trudged foggily through all the thoughts of what must come next, until it remembered the point he himself had made. Tomorrow would be what it pleased. The best he could do was to live in the moment today.:: ::He wrapped his arms around Sovak, and kissed him again. A kiss for today. A kiss for the moment. A kiss for tomorrow, too. A promise.:: ::Sovak's eyebrow raised high as Ren released him, though his face remained calm and collected. His voice, though, betrayed him in its hushed, breathless tone.:: SOVAK: Tomorrow? RENNYN: Yes. Tomorrow. ::They parted. There was much to say, much to figure out. Tomorrow they would do so, as best they could.:: ::Ren crossed the large room, grinning his way toward the door, unashamedly looking back more than once. They'd danced around each other for so long. This was a step together, or a leap. Towards what, Ren dared not guess. The future remained unknowable. The present, now, was all the sweeter.:: Lt. Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO USS Atlantis NCC-74682 & Ensign Sovak Operations USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  17. ((Flashback: Counsellor’s Office, USS Einstein, Stardate 239110.15)) ::Since the initial breakthrough with Kellan a few weeks ago, Vance had made little progress. They’d reached the major landmark of Kellan talking to him a little bit, but he felt like he was starting to reach an impasse. He still hadn’t been able to start to address the reasons why Kellan had broken down shortly after being posted to the Einstein. The young Bajoran would really only say just a few words to him before stating that he’d had enough and he wanted to go back. Vance wasn’t even convinced that ‘back’ was Kellan’s quarters. It could have been somewhere else entirely.:: ::All he’d got from the Bajoran so far about his previous service in the fleet were two names. ‘Richard’, with no surname attached, and ‘Greir’. Cross-referencing the names with officers Kellan had served with on the USS Vigilant and the USS Darwin, he found a long list of Richards but only one Greir. Captain Greir Reinard. A brief inquiry showed his current location to be Deep Space 6. Given that Kellan had referred to him as ‘Greir’ rather than by rank suggested that they had been friends. Maybe the captain would be able to shed a little light on who Kellan Joran was. What did he like? What could he share about what he’d been through? If he could pass on anything at all he could use to try to help Kellan open up then it would be well worth the call. You never knew if a senior officer like that was busy, but the worst that could happen would be that the call would fail to connect, in which case he could leave a video message to explain what was happening.:: ::Sitting at the personal terminal on his desk, he tapped a few controls to make contact with DS6, with a specific request to be connected to Captain Reinard, then waited for an answer.:: :: On Deep Space 6, Greir was in his office drinking some green tea with lemon, having just finished a meeting with a representative of the Zakdorn when a call came through for him. He pressed the button and found himself faced with a LtJG with a teal collar. He wondered what the young man wanted. The call had been specifically directed to him. :: Reinard: Good day, you have reached Captain Reinard, what do you need? Sheridan: Captain Reinard? I’m Counsellor Vance Sheridan aboard the USS Einstein. I was wondering if you have a minute to talk about a member of my crew? Ensign Kellan Joran? ::The captain looked friendly enough and Vance was already picking up a vibe that he would do what he could to help him.:: :: Kellan. Greir well remembered the young scientist. The Laudean had tried to help him through some very trying times. He leaned back in his chair and swept his fingers along the blue band of his hairline. :: Reinard: I do. Is something wrong? ::Vance breathed in deeply through his nose and scratched a temple. The answer to the question was yes, but he needed to respect confidentiality, so he could only go into detail where it was absolutely necessary.:: Sheridan: He’s been having... a few problems adjusting to being a member of the Einstein crew. Reinard: Well if there’s anything I can do to help let me know. I served with him before on the Vigilant and was his counsellor at one point too. :: The man obviously wanted something but could totally understand his reluctance to say too much. Greir remembered very well what it was like to wear a teal collar and work with difficulties of the mind. Kellan had been through more than most unfortunately. :: ::Hearing that the captain had served as a counsellor opened up a number of doors. Rather than just being a general request for information with smokescreens obscuring the ins and outs of Kellan’s problems, he could discuss them under the auspices of looking for guidance from a more experienced professional.:: Sheridan: ::Smiling:: OK, that’s a relief. In that case, let’s treat this like a request for professional advice, and then I don’t have to worry about what I do and don’t tell you. Reinard: That works for me. Sheridan: Shortly after joining the Einstein crew, Kellan had a major breakdown. He didn’t show up for a duty shift, and when medical staff eventually overrode the lock on his quarters to see if he was OK, he responded violently. ::Vance hadn’t known the Bajoran very well at the time, but it hardly seemed like something that fit his character. Officers didn’t just break down like that. There was always a reason.:: Sheridan: I mean, I’ve seen his medical files and I know that he was part of an alien experiment, but right now he’s pretty much unresponsive most of the time. It took me a long time to even get him to respond to me, and he’s talking a little bit now, but he won’t say very much. :: Greir thought about it very carefully. The young scientist wasn’t usually violent by nature but he had experienced violence at the young man’s hands before in Ravensville. The more he thought about it, the more it sounded like he was behaving just like he had when he’d been in Ravensville, so what had triggered this? :: Reinard: I was there with him in that alien experiment. We were in a place called Ravensville and he was one of my patients. I have seen him act this way before - unresponsive and I’ve seen violence too but only rarely. Only when he felt trapped and without any other options to protect himself. ::Vance nodded. Survival instinct was a powerful thing, and if Kellan really felt like he was under threat then it was understandable for him to be reacting the way he was. The reality of it all was that he wasn’t under threat at all, so it was Vance’s job to figure out how to help him to understand that.:: Sheridan: Is there anything you can tell me about that place? Anything I might need to know now? Reinard: During that time he played the piano a lot – it was always the same song over and over. He hated to be apart from the piano. Whatever you do don’t let him near a piano. Don’t let him see one, don’t let him hear one. Not unless you want to fall into the rabbit hole with him. ::Vance’s eyebrows lifted and there was a touch of surprise in his green eyes.:: Sheridan: Understood. I’ll make sure he can’t order the computer to let him play anything in his quarters either. He’s being kept there when he’s not talking to me. Eventually I hope to get him out more, but I’m not confident he’d handle it at the moment. ::He barely seemed to be handling the visits to the counsellor’s office.:: Do you think talking about Ravensville is a bad idea then? That it might push him back towards wanting to play the piano and re-create that dependency? Reinard: I’d keep your questions open and while not specifically mentioning or looking for input on it, just allow him to talk about whatever may be bothering him. It’d help if you tried to build a connection with him. I found the more distanced counsellor approach doesn’t work with him. Why not try taking him out. It sounds like he’s pretty cooped up between being stuck in quarters or the counselling suite. ::That sounded quite risky and if it didn’t pay off then Kellan could end up clamming up again. They would be back to square one, and it would be more difficult to retrace their steps to the position they were currently in.:: Sheridan: You think it’s worth gambling like that? Putting him outside his comfort zone? :: Kellan needed something to look forward to if he was going to get better. Otherwise he’d get lost in his own mind, tormenting himself endlessly over whatever it was that was bothering him. After Ravensville he’d seemed to be happier for a while and Greir was aware that he’d started seeing someone. It was a real shame to see things going this way again and he wished he could be there to help Kellan through it once again. :: Reinard: I used to bargain with him. In Ravensville the piano was the only thing he was interested in, so that was the bargaining chip. When he was cooperative with me then he would in turn get something he wanted. Kellan and I used to enjoy cake tasting. You could offer to treat him to lunch if he cooperates with you through a session and tries a little harder to open up. I don’t think you’ll find him to be a problem under these circumstances but if you need to build up some trust first then do lunch in his quarters with the understanding that continued cooperation will see him getting to go out somewhere more interesting. ::It was great to hear how Captain Reinard had dealt with the situation, and the information about the cake was certainly interesting. Giving Kellan what he wanted at the beginning of every session did seem like a counterproductive idea, as that could quickly turn into a dependant relationship. Vance didn’t like the idea of Kellan seeing him as some kind of carer. Playing it the captain’s way and offering him an incentive for co-operation seemed like an excellent idea, and he’d already seen his greatest breakthroughs when Kellan felt like there was something for him to gain.:: Sheridan: You know, that’s really a very good idea. I’m glad I called. I initially managed to get through to him when I told him I’d like us to try to make friends, so I can see what you’re saying about the distant counsellor approach not working. Maybe I’ll start with the cake idea next time we meet and see if that helps him to open up. Otherwise, all he has to look forward to is being taken back to his quarters to sit on his own, which would probably drive me crazy if I was in his shoes. Reinard: Exactly. He’s been moved around a lot lately by the looks of things and it’s difficult for anybody. He had been seeing another crewmember before – Richard Matthews and for a while it was the happiest I’d seen him. I imagine its frustrating that every time he feels like things are starting to look up for him then something happens that spoils it. ::It was good to finally have a surname. If necessary, Vance could look up Richard Matthews and get in touch with him. It was certainly worth checking the ship’s comm logs to find out whether or not Matthews had been trying to get in touch.:: Sheridan: I understand. Maybe he just needs to know he’s safe here, and then we can deal with the reasons why he’s so withdrawn. Starfleet can hand you change without any notice at all, and he needs to be equipped to deal with that. :: Greir nodded in agreement. He’d been moved a few times in the last couple of years himself and knew a great number of people who could tell similar stories. Starfleet did try to move families less often where possible but it was the nature of the organisation that anyone could be asked to move at any time. The golden eyed Laudean really hoped that this man could help Kellan back to a better place mentally and teach him the coping mechanisms that would help keep him from being a constant presence in the counselling wing. :: Reinard: He does and I hope you have great success with him because when he’s not being like this he’s one of the nicest people you could hope to meet, a real joy to be around. He was a good friend. I should try to give him a call sometime just so he knows I’m still thinking about him. ::A smile lit up Vance’s face as he heard that. It said a lot about Greir Reinard that he was friends with an ensign. Most captains kept their distance from the people under their command. Not in this case, it seemed. He wondered what serving under a captain like that might be like. Things on the Einstein were very formal.:: Sheridan: I think that would be fantastic. Do you want me to give you another call if he opens up a bit more? Reinard: Please feel free. If I’m not available right away I’ll make time. Nothing is too much trouble. ::With a smile:: ::Vance leaned back in his seat, pleased with how the conversation had gone. It looked like Captain Reinard was willing to do more than just lend a hand on one isolated occasion.:: Sheridan: You might want to be careful, Sir, or you’ll end up mentoring me through this! ::He laughed. He could definitely handle it on his own, but with Reinard’s help, he would be able to help Kellan to recover more quickly. If they could fit in a call on the comm then that would do him the power of good.:: :: Greir chuckled although he had absolutely no problem at all doing that if it came to it. Everyone needed help at times be it personal or professional. You could stick the Laudean in any job under the sun but he would always be a counsellor, always be that guy you could rely on for help whenever you needed it. Family, friend or stranger, it didn’t matter to Greir, he lived for this sort of thing and it gave him enormous satisfaction to be able to help others in some way. :: Reinard: I’m sure you can cope but you can count on me for whatever support you might need at any time. Now is there anything else I can help with today? Sheridan: I believe that’s it, Sir. Thank you very much for your help. I’m going to get to updating Kellan’s case notes and writing up the revisions to his care plan. Do you have anything interesting happening this afternoon, or will you be hard at work? ::He imagined a captain’s schedule was always pretty full.:: Reinard: I have a couple of meetings, an evaluation and some reports to do. Once I get through with that I have some holodeck time booked. I’m looking forward to trying out a new adventure. Do you have much planned yourself, work aside? ::Vance had a little free time, but no specific plans.:: Sheridan: Nothing on the cards, but I’m thinking of taking a walk on the holodeck once this is all done. Maybe on a mountain trail somewhere. I know the fresh air isn’t real, but it’s good enough to make you feel like you’re out in the open for a short while. Reinard: I agree and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for getting in touch and good luck with Kellan. Sheridan: Thank you, Sir. I hope you have a good day too. I’ll be in touch as soon as we make any progress. Sheridan out. ::The screen blinked off as the line was severed. Vance was pleased that the conversation had been so productive, and he felt like he had a distinct advantage in the battle to save Kellan Joran from his inner demons. He accessed his records on his terminal and called up Kellan’s files. By the time he hit the holodeck, the next few steps along the road ahead for his Bajoran patient would be clearly defined and, where he’d previously been a little worried about failing to make progress, he was now looking forward to their next meeting.:: End Flashback A JP by Lieutenant (j.g.) Vance Sheridan Counsellor USS Einstein and Captain Greir Reinard Simmed by: Cmdr Renos Commanding Officer USS Darwin
  18. ((USS Dunbar: En Route to the Bridge)) ::A team of tireless engineers rushed past Brayden and disappeared around a corner. He hoped that the ship could be made strong enough for the Darwin to tow it out of harm's way. The whole mission had felt like a losing battle since their first steps on the Dunbar. Brayden made his way slowly through the hallways toward the turbolift trying to get a sense of Cadfael Peters. He was the team's engineer who, like many of the Dunbar's crew, had vanished.:: ::He wasn't sure what it was when he'd first arrived, but at some point, Brayden felt as though a part of his mind was being pulled into some other reality. It was distracting, strange, but mostly just unsettling. He had encountered the Dunbar's missing science officer. A pretty little thing, terrified, and in tears. It was confusing. Brayden could sense the woman's fear and sadness, but underneath or within it were strokes of compassion and love.:: Jorey: Computer, what is the location of Lt. Peters? Computer: Lt. Peters is currently in engineer… ::glitching:: is not on the Dunbar. ::Brayden kissed his teeth in frustration and turned the corner. He could see the lift door at the end of the long corridor. His steps slowed as he felt a presence coming up from behind him. A small, quiet voice called out from around the corner behind him.:: Child: Mother said to hide. ::He turned and a took few rushed steps to peer around the corner - he saw an empty hallway. A strange feeling of uncertainty took hold of him. He looked around to see if anyone else heard the voice, but there was no one else around to hear it. He turned and rounded the corner again. The hallway seemed somehow longer and the lift door further away. He moved a little quicker hoping he'd be fine once he got to the bridge.:: Child: We have to hide from the bad man. ::Brayden nearly tripped as a small child with long dark hair ran in front of him giggling. She continued running for a few steps before turning to look at him. He stopped. The Zalkonian girl turned. She was holding a small toy in her right hand so tightly her knuckles were discoloured. She tilted her head with a confused expression and then smiled at him.:: Child: Mother said to hide. ::She turned quickly, continued running, and turned a corner up ahead. Brayden was momentarily paralyzed as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. He wondered if the Dunbar would have Zalkonian passengers and why. He moved forward and looked around the corner into the hallway. He saw the Dunbar's missing science officer bending down to speak with the girl. She brushed her bangs behind her ear and spoke softly to the girl.:: Byranna: There is a bad man coming this way. We'll have to go another way to hide. ::She stood up and took the girl's hand and started running toward Brayden. He stood firm forcing the officer to stop. He had questions and hoped that Ensign Byranna would have answers. He was surprised when the officer, with child in hand, ran past him.:: Byranna: Run! ::He saw two Zalkonian soldiers step into the hallway and break into a run toward him. He turned and followed Byranna and the girl around the corner and back toward the turbolift. The little girl stopped running when she dropped her toy, but was dragged on by the science officer. Brayden picked up the small furry toy animal and continued to rush toward the turbo lift.:: ::The doors opened as Byranna and the girl approached. They entered. Brayden dive-rolled into the lift and pushed them apart moving them to the sides where they would be protected from arms fire. He turned and drew his phaser pointing it down the hallway. The Zalkonian soldiers rounded the corner and took a few shots into the lift. Fortunately, the shots passed by Brayden without incident and the lift doors closed.:: Jorey: Computer, emergency lockdown. ::The computer made a sound acknowledging the command. Brayden holstered his phaser and then offered his hand to Byranna to help her up. He found himself arm stretched toward no one. He snapped around to see if the girl was still there. He was alone in the lift. He clasped his hands behind his head and let out a primal, angry scream. He was losing his mind. Seeing people who were not there. Things that never happened. He calmly lowered his hands to his sides and took a long, exaggerated breath.:: Jorey: Computer, end lock down. Bridge. ::The turbolift began to move. He shuffled his feet nervously and felt something on the floor. He knelt down and picked up the small, plush version of an unfamiliar animal. He held it in his hands. If what he saw wasn't real, he wondered how the toy could feel so real. He wondered who the little girl was and why her own people seemed to be hunting her down like a criminal.:: Jorey: oO How could such a small child be a criminal? Oo ::Deep down, Brayden knew the answer. He didn't want to admit it. Even acknowledging the answer made him feel vile. He read Captain Turner's reports about the lunar concentration camp in Zalkonian space. He'd seen first hand what their government was doing to their own people. Brayden clutched the toy tighter trying to fight back the sorrow and anger pushing their way up.:: ::The lift began to slow and then finally came to a complete stop. The doors opened to the bridge, but Brayden found himself looking into the barrel of a phaser rifle held by a Zalkonian soldier. The light from the energy discharge blinded him before knocking him back. His body slammed against the back wall and he fell to the floor with a heavy thud. Brayden laid there unsure why he was still conscious. A blast at that range should have killed him.:: ::Brayden's vision slowly returned to him. He saw a deck officer standing in the doorway looking down at him. He looked around the lift for the child's toy, but it was gone. He pushed off the floor, stood up, and tried to shake off the feeling of being shot dead. It wasn't an easy thing to do.:: ::He nodded to the deck officer to let him know he would be alright and the officer moved out of the doorway and back on to the bridge. Brayden stepped forward into the doorway and looked into the bridge. Everything seemed to be normal all things considered. Artem had already relieved a few officers. Clearly Brayden was the only one to have experienced anything out of the ordinary.:: ::Confident everything was as it should be he stepped out of the lift and on to the bridge. The lift doors closed, but their familiar hiss was drowned out by the sound of a terrified little girl's scream from behind the closed doors. Then a single phaser shot. Then silence.:: Brayden: oO No… Oo TBC Lt. Commander Brayden Jorey - First Officer, USS Darwin-A NCC-99312-A
  19. (( Classified Location, Alien Planet )) ::Ladon ran his hand over his body, still feeling the strangeness of his skin. Dressed and surgically modified to look like an Orion male, he still felt doubt that he could complete his current assignment. It had been months since he had been able to interact with his fathers back home, or his friends at the starbase.:: oO For the good of the Federation... Oo ::It was almost a mantra. Something that kept him going from day to day. Sitting in his squalid location, he had to keep his allegiances hidden, and he true motives close to home.:: Ethne: ::Under his breath.:: One day at a time... ::Sitting down against a wall, Ladon took the opportunity to learn about what was happening in the Federation. News articles were still being delivered to his PADD, but he had to ensure that he read them in private. Looking down at the screen, his eyes grew wide in horror.:: Ethne: This... no... ::Reading the line over and over again, he couldn't help but try to make some sense out of it. Unfortunately, he had to come to terms with what was clearly not modified.:: oO Lieutenant Guinevere Gardener... Deceased.... Oo ::He slammed the PADD against the floor, feeling the shock of it breaking. Tears had begun to stream down his face as he resisted the urge to start crying uncontrollably. Years at the Academy taught him many things, lessons on tactics, knowledge of scenarios of what to expect, but nothing could ever prepare an officer for the death of a good friend.:: oO She... was too young... Oo ::His mind flashed to the last time that he was with her, that he had seen her. The conversations that they had, the people they had interacted with. All of it was gone, completely gone now. Her death was meaningless and just... just senseless.:: Ethne: ::Choking back tears.:: I will never... ::He thought upon his mission. The very mission that kept him away from his friends and family. Some of which he would now never see again. It caused a fire to burn in his heart, a conflagration of rage and despair.:: oO I will never forget you Gwen... Oo ::Getting up, he headed towards the outside. He needed to look outside towards the stars.:: oO May the stars watch upon you for eternity good friend... Oo TBC....? Ensign Ladon Ethne Undercover Unknown Location
  20. ((One Week Later, Myla-Rothra City, Tura-Fe and Je-San’s residence)) ::The past week had been a crash course in living like an animal in a petting zoo. Ryan scowled and nodded as yet another ‘friend’ of Tura-Fe bid him and his colleagues a farewell. King, Skyfire and Davenport had ‘enjoyed’ the hospitality of their reptile hosts and captors for far too long and the young Ensign was starting to show the wear and tear. Try as he might, the old racial prejudices he had learned on Cestus were threatening to bubble up. Though the reptile-like Peppalexan’s had for the most part been friendly and well-meaning, he was simply tired of being around aliens that were seemingly advanced yet culturally stunted. Ryan had spent most of his time saying nothing and only chiming in to inquire on the well-being of his away team companions. That did not deter Tura-Fe however as she hosted people for breakfast, lunch and dinner in their well apportioned home. On more than one occasion he had seen an opportunity to spring an escape. He thought the aliens entirely too trusting for having allowed Skyfire and the elusive Davenport to still carry their tricorders. He would never would have allowed such a thing and suspected that had Je-San had his way, he would of taken them back immediately.:: Tura-Fe: I just spoke with the court messenger. You’ve been granted reception with Her Majesty tomorrow at sunrise. Skyfire: I see. :: He mulled that over, then ran a hand along his face, noting he had to shave again. :: That's helpful. Thank you. King: An -- audience? ::Ryan suppressed a scoff:: How is your monarch selected? ::One of Je-San’s men snickered.:: Guard (NPC): Don’t be too excited. She may not believe your fanciful tale and decide to simply execute you. ::To her credit, Tura-Fe registered her displeasure with the guard. Ryan simply turned to stare down the guard..:: King: On our worlds, it is said that those killed unjustly come back as spirits and haunt those that have wronged them. I will ensure that you never enjoy a peaceful nights sleep in your ‘nest’ again. ::Ryan felt the slightest hint of satisfaction as the guard’s tail wiggled and his neck flaps registered hint of pale purple.:: King: oO Hopefully that gave him some indigestion Oo Skyfire: Don't worry, gentlemen. We have nothing to worry about. King: I hope so. ::Ryan took his seat on the gold and white carpet he had claimed for his own since they arrived and considered their next steps..:: Skyfire: I'll be honest with you, gentlemen. I honestly don't know. We haven't been informed if Commanders Valen or Bakari are alright, only that they were being treated. Making me the highest ranking officer in this little...troupe...of temporally displaced travelers. And in about twelve hours, give or take two, we get to explain our situation to the queen and hope she doesn't decide to kill us. King: That is assuming that Bakari and Valen are still alive. We have not received visual confirmation, just words. I’m not inclined to trust ::motioning to the guard:: captors. Have you been able to ‘feel’ their presence at all? Skyfire: Not from what I can tell. :: He paused, his eyes closing for a moment. :: I haven't...I don't know if they are even conscious. I've been trying to avoid using it because of the temporal displacement. Might cause more harm than good at this point. ((Sunrise, the following day -- Palace )) ::Ryan marched quietly into Her Majesty’s chamber. There were tapestries laid out in brilliant colors with wondrous depictions of war and the greatness of the domain of the Queen. As they proceeded with the guardsmen, Ryan saw the last in the series of tapestries and paused for a moment. A grand Peppalexan warrior stood in an empty jungle, holding wrapped in their tail a device as they were surrounded by other Peppalexans in stances of supplication. Ryan stopped a moment to look. He felt the butt of a weapon against his back as the same guard he had threatened the day before had the joy of kneading it into his back. A moment later he stood in front of a throne in the audience chamber. The bronze and gold-like metal gleamed as pillows in deep indigo, purple and teal spread like a wave around them. What could only be classified as the Queen’s entourage laid around her throne as she presided over the room in all her glory.:: King: ::mumbling:: Is this a palace or a poorly decorated brothel? Skyfire: I hope so too. If this doesn't work, we could all be doomed. ::As they came to a halt fifteen feet from the throne, Chythar knelt as a supplicant before it, an old custom he recalled from Earth's time. With a glance to his compatriots, he motioned for them to do the same. Ryan shot a glance at his superior officer and then complied, moving forward and standing a half inch behind Skyfire. He bowed deeply and then rose up, a full smile on his face.:: King: Your Majesty. ::She had been given word of the strange visitors, but as it was indicated they seemed to be no threat, Virah-Latyi perched upon her throne. As they sifted into the chamber, she watched them as they strode forward, noting their interest in the tapestries that adorned their walls. Her head lifted slightly. While she’d had no part in the making of those tapestries, she was proud of them, for they told some of the most important stories of her people. Their colours seemed to dance in the light that streamed in from the large windows that were interspersed in between each of them. Unlike the other Peppalexans with the ebony hue, her skin shone a glimmering, deep violet as she sat, bathed in the sunbeams that filled the room. A rich, almost velvet green revealed itself as her skin flaps flared in response to the one who initiated a kneeling position. :: Virah-Latyi: Who are you? ::Ryan turned to look around the room. The stone was heavy and yet the feeling of the room was light, it’s open windows providing plenty of natural sunlight that shined beautifully on the central figure in the room, the Queen. But it was the audience of onlookers that interested Ryan more. Four entryways to the front each had a pair of guards in what he could only assume was traditional regalia. Tufts of long red bird feathers adorned their heads as they held menacing spears. The warriors never looked anywhere but directly ahead.:: King: oO Impressive. Oo Skyfire: Your Majesty. My name is Doctor Chythar Skyfire. These are my companions, Ensign Ryan King... ::as he motioned with his hand to Ryan:: ::Ryan turned around and snapped to attention.:: Skyfire: ...and Andrew Davenport. ::as he motioned to Andrew.:: Our companions, Lieutenant Commander Masfiri Bakari and Lieutenant Commander Valen Carys were apparently injured and being treated by your physicians. Virah-Latyi: I see. ::She paused, a good couple of minutes inching away as she studied them each in turn.:: Virah-Latyi: I must admit that what I have heard is difficult to believe, but I am not unwilling to consider such possibilities. You were invited here? Skyfire: We were invited by the Pepplaxian government, yes. ::There was a brief moment of silences as if he were attempting to formulate words, then he expounded.:: Skyfire: Our team was transported to the surface, outside the city. Our captain probably believes we are lost or dead because we did not arrive when we were supposed to. Virah-Latyi: When. You are from the future - our future? Skyfire: This planet's future, yes. ::Out of the corner of his right eye, Ryan noticed a shadow. Turning, it grew bigger as another Peppalexan entered the chamber. Flapping its neck fins in a brilliant display of ruby red, the Peppalexan bowed quietly and stepped on the dias to the right of the Queen.:: Male Peppalexan: This is all very interesting. And yet there is no proof of any of it. ::She rose then, the verdant hue peeking out from the skin that fanned from her body as she moved. She descended the two steps of the dais upon which her throne sat. From either side, two guards immediately flanked her, creating a sort of box about her as she closed the distance between her and the aliens.:: Virah-Latyi: How do I know you speak the truth? What proof have you? King: ::Ryan paused a moment.:: Your Majesty… ::pause:: Skyfire: I have pictures of what your species will look like in our time. Aerial photographs of your planet. Virah-Latyi: Do you? King: ::Turning to Davenport quietly.:: What if we yank the UT for a minute? NPC Guard: And these weapons? ::indicating the tray of phasers one of their escorts was carrying:: Skyfire: I can demonstrate their power on an inanimate object of yours. A weapon you won't mind donating to science. ::Ryan stood straighter in that moment. Stunned that he may be forced to show off the firepower the away team had brought.:: oO What is to stop them from killing us and using these weapons to conquer their planet? Oo King: ::Speaking in a whisper to Davenport.:: Shut off the UT in your tricorder on my signal. Guard: I am not certain of its purpose. King: You misunderstand the items design, sir. ::A smile crept on his face.:: Your majesty ::Ryan pointed to the phaser in the guards hand:: this device is simply what we call a phaser. It acts as a remote to power on or power down devices like the ones my colleagues are using. ::Ryan could feel the sweat pooling at the back of his neck as he turned to his colleagues. He turned and winked at Skyfire. This would either be the best ruse since Kirk’s Corbomite Maneuver or he’d go down in Peppalexan history as the keystone cop. Skyfire: :: looked to Davenport :: Please take my tricorder from your bag, Mr. Davenport. ::Ryan watched as Skyfire took the tricorder and presented it to the Queen.:: ::Skyfire turned it on and made sure to keep his hands where the queen and the guards could see them as he pulled the visual records, making sure to mute the audio files. They didn't need to hear any of it. Just see the pictures. :: Skyfire: This is what the planet's surface looks like in our time. These visual records were given to me before we arrived here, by our Captain. King: ::King observed the soft clicks among the assembled audience. The humans must of made good theatre.:: You lead a great people, your Majesty. ::The queen’s dark gaze flicked back to King but she remained silent as a guard inched back and indicated that she should do the same.:: ::As a spear was placed on the ground and the guard backed away, CD locked gaze with the ensign.:: Skyfire: Go ahead, Mr. King. Lowest setting you can. King: ::Ryan frowned as he moved forward, hands raised to grab the device from the guard. He could eyes on him as he grabbed the phaser and saw the now familiar face of Je-San staring icily at him. The male Peppalexan who had joined earlier and spoken only once remained near the throne, eyeing the situation coolly. The phaser felt cold to the touch as Ryan examined it for any damage. The thought crossed his mind that he could take out quite a few of the guards in the room, or even set it to overload and chuck it at the Queen and her entourage. And yet he knew the ramifications on him and the Away Team could not allow him to do that. His instinct was to escape but natural intuition had to give way to rational thought in that moment. Raising the phaser to eye-level, Ryan programmed on the battery. And then heard the dull beep. He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. The battery was dead. He pressed the button on the phaser as the room filled with the sound of gasps.:: King: ::to Skyfire.:: Dead battery, thankfully. Virah-Latyi: Dead...bat ter ry? ::The noise in the chamber began to die down as they realized nothing had happened. And then the noise levels reached new heights. ‘Liars. Tricksters. Do not believe them!’:: Skyfire: :: quietly :: It would seem that time has had a negative effect on our weapons. King: : ::Taking a deep breath, Ryan bowed.:: Forgive us your Majesty. It would appear that our remote device is weak in comparison to your most excellent weapons. This must be due to your divine protection. ::The man’s comment caused Virah’s flaps to flutter slightly, but again, she made no utterance in response to him.:: King: If you would allow us to prove ourselves in a different way? We can communicate through the most excellent device my colleague ::motioning to Davenport:: holds in his hand. But what about when we turn that off? ::Nodding to Davenport:: ::Virah watched as they fiddled with something upon the items that bedecked their bodies.:: Virah-Latyi: What is that device? ::Ryan turned to the Queen as she continued to speak. The language a garbled mess to him.:: King: ::to Skyfire and Davenport:: This should be fun. ::Ryan turned to her Majesty:: King: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. ::pause:: A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. ::pause:: ::The room began to grow quiet.:: If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, ::pause:: ::With a wave of her flaps the Queen moved in toward Ryan, inching closer a look of impatient anger in her face as the level of her voice began to raise. Closing the distance surprisingly quick, her sinewy neck lowered until it sat squarely in line with his.:: King: oO She’s going to eat me. Oo ::softly:: Where's the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked? ...Davenport, turn the UT back on… Virah-Latyi: Interesting. What was that he spoke? Skyfire: He just recited a poem in our native tongue. Which sounded presumably like nonsense to you. Much as your words first sounded to us. Male Peppalexan: I don’t believe this trickster for a second… King: ::Bowing:: I speak the truth your Majesty. ::Leaning his head back, Ryan snapped his neck around in an attempt to shake out his mane of long hair, emulating the neck flaps of the Peppalexans.:: Who are you that would question my integrity? ::The tall Peppalexan moved from the dais where the throne sat slowly, taking a moment to size up the young Ensign, he replied icily. Tru-Dar-Orr: I am Tru-Dar-Orr, First Minister to Her Majesty. And you, my foul smelling trickster are a liar. ====== Ensign Ryan King Security Officer U.S.S. Garuda
  21. ((USS Victory - Kaji Quarters)) Nugra: =/\= Nugra to Victory crew. As per Starfleet order 239203.04 hash 102, the crew of said ship is ordered to stand down from their duties and to be placed on temporary leave. What this translate is you all get free two weeks to do what you will. Please grab belongings that you will need from your quarters as when the refit begins, all possession's in said rooms will be tagged with your name and ID number, then stored in a transporter matrix buffer until refit is complete. I will be on Deck 65 of the Utopia Planitia main tower in office 2439 if you need me for anything. That is all. =/\= ::Kaji couldn't believe her luck. Two weeks of leave at the Federation's premier shipyards and then Iria's offer to take Ben to visit Mars. It was as if Fate had dropped a diamond in her lap. She waved Iria and Ben off, almost forgetting to kiss the little boy goodbye in her excitement. The door closed behind them, and she hurried to get the packing done as fast as she could. She tossed clothes into bags from each of their rooms, hardly bothering to check what they were. Moving to the bathroom, she scooped the toilitries off the sink counter, into another bag. A few toys, books, and games filled the last bag, and then she was done.:: ::Taking the bags with her, she headed for a transporter. The technician found her allotted quarters in the database and within minutes, she was whisked away to her temporary home. The rooms were familiar, the same standard billeting design frequent across Starfleet. Two twin beds with trundle cots underneath, a dresser, desk, a small sitting area, a replicator station and a bathroom. Neutral colors everywhere, and abstract art graced the walls.:: ::Kaji didn't bother to unpack, but left the bags in the middle of the room and headed out to inspect the base. Her PADD connected to the station's mainframe and downloaded a map of the place so she wouldn't get lost. She scrolled through it until she found what she wanted. A green line marked a route, and she watched it carefully as she meandered through the busy base.:: ::Down at the end of a corridor, the green line ended at a door. Looking up at the real thing, she saw 6022.3 painted above the doorframe, and below that were the words "Record Room A". Kaji backed into a doorway, and waited until the hall was clear. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and shudders ran through her body. Another deep breath. Then she opened her eyes and stepped out into the corridor again. It took a moment for her to orient herself, the ceiling seemed much closer and the floor much further than normal. But she walked confidently up to the Records Room door.:: ::A retinal scanner was located beside the door. She had to bend down a little to get centered on it, then the blue scanning light washed over her eyes. The computer chirped a greeting, and the door swished open.:: ::The room was filled with busy technicians. A few looked up at her entrance and visibly blanched. Several scooted out the door behind her. She approached a terminal and glared at the nervous lieutenant who manned it. He coughed and backed up, guesturing for her to take over. Another glare encouraged him to seek occupation elsewhere and he hurried off. Sitting down, she had to adjust her center of gravity so the small chair didn't tip over. She scrolled through meaningless information until the other techs got bored and went back to their work. Typing was surprisingly difficult, and she had to stretch her fingers a few times to get them limber enough to reach all the keys. Soon she was running well, though. Schematics and blueprints flashed across the screen. Detailed engine designs and ship diagrams. She fished a small information drive from her pocket but dropped it, her fingers thick and clumsy. She looked around, then quickly retrieved it from the floor. She sat it on the desk in front of the screen. It recorded everything on the screen without downloading directly from the mainframe. The information was well guarded, and a download like that would have set off alerts all over the station.:: ::Soon the recording was finished. She spent a few minutes deleting her history and setting up a false one showing a series of files on old starcraft. She stood and calmly left the room, nodding to the technician she'd booted as she went.:: ::She went straight back to her quarters, walking quickly and confidently to discourage anyone from stopping her to talk. Once back in her room, she went into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. Breathing heavily, she let herself melt into the tub, exhausted from her little adventure. She would get up in a bit and put the drive somewhere safe, but right now it was time for a little nap.:: tbc-----------------------------------------------------------------------Lt Talia Kaji Chief CounselorUSS Victory-----------------------------------------------------------------------
  22. ((First Officer’s Quarters, USS Gemini)) ::T’Mar sat in her quarters, trying desperately to meditate. It had been much harder for her to successfully meditate lately as she had been trying to get off of the medication to protect her from her empathy. She had finally found a good balance when she received word of Salek’s passing. She was not particularly close to the man she was bonded with. In fact, one could say that she had cheated on him by having a relationship with Zage, but in her mind the two relationships were vastly different. She had no intention of being with Salek, but the loss still hurt her. He had been good to her and he was a talented scientist. Death made no sense to her. It never had and it never would. And the fact was, since Vanessa’s death she had never been quite the same. She stood and hit her communicator.. she needed to speak with Liam.:: ((Gymnasium - USS Gemini)) :: Liam felt his breathing getting heavier as the speed of his routine increased. The movements were nearly automatic at this point. Not something he would generally do in an actual fight or combat situation, but it was good for speed and endurance training. His hands were a bit sore, but that was part of the training, to build up his tolerance, to see how far he could push himself. And it was also therapeutic. The stress of chasing down a rogue captain and his crew, and trying to prevent an angry Klingon from starting what would have been an at least semi-justified war. But he could take some of that stress and force it into his workout. The mental exhaustion and pain became physically manifest, and that pain would fade with rest. One of these days he would have to find someone to spar with. He could train on the holodeck all he wanted, but it wasn’t quite the same as fighting a living, breathing, thinking opponent. But first he would need to find out who else on the crew had some sort of combat training.:: :: He was so lost in the routine that he very nearly didn’t hear the sound of his comm badge going off.:: T’Mar: =/\= T’Mar to Captain Frost =/\= :: He took a few deep breaths to try to steady his breath, in an effort not to sound so exhausted over the line,. He grabbed the badge, and the towel it was resting on and made a basic effort to make himself look a little less dishevelled.:: Frost: =/\= What can I do for you,Commander? =/\= ::When Liam’s voice came over the line, T’Mar almost lost her nerve. She knew she was making the right choice, but it was not as easy as she had hoped it would be. She had worked so closely with him over the years and she could not help but wonder how he would take the news.:: T’Mar: =/\= Are you busy? I wish to speak to you. =/\= Frost: =/\= Sure thing. I’ll meet you in about 20 minutes. =/\= T’Mar: =/\= Thank you, I will meet you in your Ready Room then. T’Mar out. =/\= ::As she closed the line, T’Mar took a deep breath and put her uniform back on. She probably could have shown up in her off duty attire, but she didn’t want to be too casual for such a serious conversation. She briefly thought back to when Jaxx had called them both into his office to inform them that they were being transferred. She remembered the mix of emotions that washed across her as she realized the Apollo would no longer be her home. In the time since then, she had met with Liam to learn that he was entrusting her to be his First Officer on the Gemini. It was a huge step, but one she took in stride. She quickly found herself adjusting to the role and to the new ship. She never had thought that she would find herself feeling at home anywhere but the Apollo, but the Gemini had done just that to her. Now she would be beginning a new adventure on the ship.:: :: He was curious about what the Vulcan woman wanted, but as usual, her cold, logical tone left him very little to work with. The only thing he could tell was that whatever it was, it was important to her. She had a way of letting just enough of her Betazoid side out when she was deeply concerned about something. But he was far from able to tell what it was. And he was far from being presentable enough to talk about anything that she cared about that much. ((Timeskip - Captain’s Ready Room - USS Gemini)) :: Showered, shaved and wearing enough of his uniform to make it look like he was doing something official, Liam was as ready as he was going to get. He made his way over to the replicator, debating for a moment on the best choice of drink before settling on juice. The last thing he needed right now was caffeine, much though there was a part of his brain that demanded it. He was beginning to wonder if there was some sort of secret medical procedure performed on command-track candidates that forced them into dependance on it, or possibly some sort of voodoo curse.:: :: It wasn’t long before T’Mar entered the room, her stereotypical Vulcan efficiency bringing her to her destination in as close to the allotted twenty minutes as he cared to try to measure. He hated to dwell on stereotypes, but every now and then, they existed for a reason. She was clearly making an effort to keep her pace and stature very carefully measured, as she often did, but he had served with her long enough to know that there was definitely something on her mind. Or, at least, he liked to think that he knew her that well.:: Frost: Help yourself to the replicator. ::T’Mar had walked into the Ready Room exactly 20 minutes after their conversation. She was sometimes mocked for her efficiency, at least she took the comments as lighthearted mockery anyway. Regardless, she always chose to take them as compliments as she prided herself in her efficiency. She was thankful that unlike Jaxx, Frost was not a Betazoid. She was certain the nerves she was attempting to bottle up would have impossible for Andrus to not notice, even if a Betazoid did not try to intrude on emotions. At the offer of the replicator, T’Mar nodded and made her way over to it so she could get some soothing tea.:: T’Mar: Thank you, sir. :: Liam liked to think of himself as a reasonably good person to talk to when someone had something on their mind, at least to those that knew him. In another career, he might have even made a halfway decent counselor. But that would have been dependant on him being able to get through the requisite training, which he was fairly certain was at least somewhat unlikely. His listening skills were certainly ample, but he suspected that his bedside manner might need a fair bit of polishing in some areas. The people who knew him well enough would understand his real demeanour and intent, but a new patient might not appreciate his bluntness.:: ::With her hot green tea in hand she walked over to the seat in front of Liam’s desk and waited for a knowing gesture before she took a seat. She took a few sips of the tea before deciding she could speak up properly. She hoped he wouldn’t notice the delay, but it was likely he caught on at least a little bit. Afterall, it was not often that she asked to meet with him after hours. She brought the cup of tea down to her lap and held it tight as she looked up at the man she trusted and knew so well.:: T’Mar: Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. Frost: Of course. You know my door is always open. T’Mar: Yes, well, it was not something I thought should wait. Frost: I gathered that from your tone. Your Betazoid side tends to peek out a bit when you’re worried. about something. ::She brought the tea back up to her mouth again. The soothing warm liquid provided a wonderful reason to take a break from saying what she needed to say. She likely could have found a way to have an entire conversation with Liam without saying a darn thing at this rate, though. T’Mar had practiced in her mind how to bring up her concerns, but it was as if everything had vanished from her highly efficient Vulcan brain.She closed her eyes and took in the steamy scent of the tea and focused her thoughts on the issue at hand. When she opened her eyes again, she looked down at her tea and not at Liam.:: T’Mar: I must apologize for having to leave the bridge during the height of the situation with the Spartan. :: The act had definitely struck him as strange. He had never known T’Mar to leave her duty post without a [...]ed good reason. The strange part was that he had allowed that trust to grow so strong that he had assumed that she had some valid reason for doing so. Combine that with how occupied he had been with the Klingons, he hadn’t really had the time or the wherewithal to ask.:: Frost: I’m sure you had your reasons. T’Mar: The truth is, sir, I have been struggling to maintain control of my emotions for some time now. Vanessa Driscoll’s death only served as a catalyst to make it worse. :: Vanessa’s death had hit everyone hard, even those who had never met her directly were affected. She had been a part of their extended family, and any loss was lessened all of them. Liam had taken it very hard, as had Alex. Though it seemed ingenuine to have some sort of contest about who was feeling it more.:: Frost: It hit us all hard. I was genuinely surprised that commander Richards decided to come back. ::Now she did look up at Liam. There was no more hiding behind her strong facade. It was not the first time he would have seen her like this. They had so much history together, afterall, and on their mission with the Iconian Gateway, T’Mar had completely lost control of her senses and had attacked Sundassa. While recovering, she and Liam had had an in-depth conversation about being uncertain about whether or not one could tell they were ready for promotion. It was really the first time she had fully opened up to him. She had always considered herself somewhat close to the senior staff of the Apollo, but it took her a long time to show them that she was more than a cold Vulcan. Now she was back on that strange planet again with Liam, facing the vulnerability that came with second-guessing herself.:: T’Mar: I am on medication now, but I am afraid that the damage to my confidence is already done. :: Confidence was a strange thing, especially when it came to Vulcans. They were all certainly more than capable of assessing their own abilities in an objective way. He found it strange that there was anything that they could experience that would cause them to question their confidence. He wasn’t even sure they possessed such an ability, since one could argue that it was arguably an emotion. Not only that, but a lack of confidence was at odds with the cold logical assessment of her ability. For a moment, he was tempted to say something flippant, but now seemed like one of the few times it would be tremendously inappropriate.:: Frost: I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. This crew respects you, and looks up to you. And as much as you might not like it, they worry about you too. But, at the risk of sounding insensitive, I don’t think you wanted to meet to discuss your medical status. :: He could see the conflict in her eyes. much though she was trying to hide it. She was, most of the time, very calm, collected and even in the way she carried herself. It was, in many ways, the perfect counterpoint to his own brash, impulsive nature. He tended to make decisions based on instinct, on feeling, and without a lot of forethought. T’Mar on the other hand kept him in control, and wasn’t afraid to tell him that what he was doing was absolutely mad. It was something that was important to him, something he relied on.:: T’Mar: To be frank, sir, I do not believe that I can effectively serve as your First Officer anymore. ::There. She had said it. T’Mar’s heart pounded as she anticipated Liam’s reaction to what she had just said. It had come out much more straight forward than even she had intended, but she knew she was beating up the bush.. or whatever that Terran phrase was about not getting the point across. She looked down at her cup of tea again, not wanting to see how he reacted to her words.:: :: Outwardly, Liam kept his expression calm, cool and collected, but the news hit him like a punch in the sternum from a Klingon. He had to make a significant effort to keep himself in check. He wanted to question her, loudly. He wanted to jump up on his desk and begin shouting at her that she was absolutely mad. He wanted to grab her by the shoulders and begin to shake her until the part of her Vulcan brain that had come loose was stuck back into place and made her realize that she was wrong.:: :: But he knew she wasn’t. T’Mar was almost never wrong. In the entire time that he had known her, he could count on one hand the number of times she was actually wrong without the information she was working with having been wrong first. As much as he wanted to scream and shout at her to change her mind, he knew he wasn’t going to. And even the most logical argument he could come up with was likely something that she had already thought of.:: Frost: I imagine you’ve given this a lot of thought. ::T’Mar would have laughed were she a full Betazoid no doubt. Thinking about this decision was all she had done for what felt like months but was in reality several hours. It was a horrible feeling, knowing that Liam did not like this any more than she did. She could hear it in his voice just as he could probably see it written all over her face. She was trying to hide her feelings, but her whole demeanor was not how she normally held herself. Being selected as Liam’s First Officer was one of the happiest and proudest moments of her life and for the past several months she had worked hard to keep the ship in one piece for him. She almost cared more about this choice for him than herself. It was not logical, but it was the truth. She blinked a few times to stop tears from forming in her eyes and looked back up again.:: T’Mar: I would never come to you with something this severe without having thought it over quite a bit. :: He would have guessed as much. Logical to the last. He let a long sigh out before taking another sip of his drink. He wanted to consider his next words very carefully, though he wasn’t sure that there was a proper way to address it without making his disappointment known. Not in her, of course. He could only describe her performance in the role of First Officer as exemplary,. And he had noted it as such on her performance evaluations. No, he could never have been disappointed in her, not after everything she had done for him. But he was disappointed that he would no longer have her sitting in that chair.:: Frost: What about the rest of your career. Are you planning to remain in Starfleet? T’Mar: Actually, I was hoping to remain aboard the Gemini. I am not particular where you place me, but I still wish to serve under you assuming you’ll have me. Frost: Of course you can. You are an exemplary officer, and I have always been able to depend on your counsel, and your advice. As I said when I asked you to take the job, in many ways, you are many things that I’m not, and you’ve been the sober voice of reason to my impulsiveness. That will be hard to replace. T’Mar: Understandable, sir. I believe we work rather well together. Frost: And more importantly than that, for what it’s worth, I also consider you a friend. As far as I’m concerned, there will always be a place for you here. :: He wasn’t sure how much of an effect the statement would have on the Vulcan woman, though perhaps it would cut through the veneer of logic and practiced calm and reach the Betazoid part of her. But as long as it conveyed the right feeling, he didn’t much care how it got through to her, just that it did. He wasn’t sure what else to say, so he did something that he wasn’t sure he had ever done with her before. He reached out and offered his hand.:: ::As Liam reached out his hand towards T’Mar, she thought about the words he had said. Friend.Truth be told, Liam had become the best friend she had in this universe over the past few years. Of course, she felt close to Sundassa and others, but after serving so closely with him, she felt she understood Liam more than she had ever thought possible. To know he felt the same tugged at her emotions more than she was prepared for. She took his hand without second-guessing herself. As expected, the physical touch gave her a wave of emotions and thoughts, but she blocked them as best as she could and looked him dead in the eye.:: T’Mar: That.. it.. Sir, it means a lot to me. Frost: And to hear you say that means a lot to me. ::The moment of closeness was both comforting and terrifying for T’Mar. It was like the first time she had kissed Zage. She enjoyed it, but feared what it meant at the same time. Still, she did not listen to her fear, but rather succumbed to accepting her own awkwardness as she changed the subject back to the matter at hand.:: :: Liam understood how complex Vulcan’s feelings on physical contact could be. Add to that the empathic abilities that came with her Betazoid side, and it was something that she was likely to have to be very keenly aware of. He had never probed much into the nature of how such abilities would affect her, beyond whether or not they would affect her ability to perform her duties. Up to that point, every medical and psychological report she had undergone stated that the chances of it having any significant effect on her abilities was “well within acceptable risk levels.” And more importantly, he trusted her to be a fairly good judge of her own capabilities.:: T’Mar: I realize many departments are currently fully staffed. I would prefer, however, if I could work in an area I am familiar with. Frost: I’m sure we can find a position suited to your talents. And more importantly, I’ll need to begin looking for a replacement. T’Mar: Quite true. I can assist you with the search if you would like. Frost: I’d appreciate that. And I’m glad you’ll be staying with us. T’Mar: I understand, sir. Wherever I can best assist you and still protect you oO From yourself and others Oo :: There were still a number of options for what position to assign T’Mar. The fact was that he wanted to make sure that she was still on the bridge. Whoever he chose to have as his new first officer would have his full and complete confidence, but having her there to tell him that whatever he was planning was completely mad. Oliver had told him that more than a few times, but it wasn’t always in the context of a bad thing.:: Frost: How would you feel about a specialist role? ::T’Mar thought for a moment. A role like Mission Specialist would allow her to still advise Liam, but realistically she knew that he would listen to her concerns no matter where she was. And, all of her experience thusfar was in a Security-related role.:: T’Mar: I would be honored to accept that position. Frost: Then consider it done. You will assume your new duties as soon as we reach Deep Space Ten. Until then, I want you to take some time to make sure you’re ready to resume your duties. I don’t want you back on duty until you’re ready for it. T’Mar: Sir.. I want to thank you for understanding my concerns. I will not let you down. :: Unless Liam was mistaken, he was detecting something that resembled sentimentality coming from the Vulcan woman. It wouldn’t exactly be the first time she had let her emotional side show, but they were few and far between, and even rarer for them to be by choice. But it was refreshing to see her being willing to show that side of, if only to remind him that it was still there.:: Frost: Think nothing of it. It’s what friends do. END Commander Liam Frost Commanding Officer USS Gemini and LtCmdr T’Mar Mission Specialist USS Gemini
  23. Guest

    PNPC Rover - Two Feet

    ((LtCmdr Rennyn’s Quarters, USS Atlantis)) ::Rover continued to roll lazily on the floor of Spotted One's quarters, and tell the captain what symptoms had brought him to this low state.:: BLUEHEART: Do you wish to return home, Rover? ROVER: What? What? ::He made the whirring noise that meant he was thinking it over.:: BLUEHEART: I mean, Fido was last seen in the Partha Expanse. It would make sense to resume our search for him there. ::quickly adding:: I’m sorry the search for him got put aside. ROVER: Rover has been learning about bipeds. Rover has learned much. Rover wants to share with his packmates. BLUEHEART: Then let’s make it our next mission. The search for Fido! Once we’ve wrapped up this mission, we’ll head back to the Jenatris Cloud and begin our quest anew. How does that sound? ::It sounded good. But Rover had never expected Atlantis to make his needs its main goal. He didn't mind being a quiet observer, waiting and watching while others took their turn in the spotlight. He liked hanging around Spotted One, who, like Rover, was hard to miss, but rarely in the spotlight. It was always someone else's turn, but Spotted One was there without fail to be supportive and help build excitement. Rover thought that if he were a biped, he would want to be a supporter like Spotted One.:: ::Those who stand on legs require support systems. Those who float free crave connection.:: ::Rover missed his packmates in a way that went beyond homesickness. It was hurting him physically. It was changing him. Cloud Dancers were made to float together, to connect, to meld and be as one as often as they roamed free on their own. He needed that togetherness. Otherwise, whatever was happening to him now might not stop. And he didn't know what consequence it would bring.:: ROVER: Rover misses Fido. Rover will be happy, Captin. Thank you, Captin. BLUEHEART: In the meantime, let’s focus on getting you feeling better again. From what you’ve told me, it’s a problem of retaining your energy. You seem to be losing energy faster than you are receiving it. ROVER: It does not stay... BLUEHEART: You require more kinetic energy to be in gaseous form. A solid state of similar mass requires less. ::pause:: Just a thought, but if your condition deteriorates before we reach the Cloud and we haven’t yet found a solution to your problem by that time, we might have to turn you into a solid of small volume and, well, freeze you. ROVER: It is hard to be solid! ::To demonstrate, Rover tried to gather himself up, but utterly collapsed back into a gently rolling cloud, pale and unflashing as he lately had been.:: ::When Cloud Dancers die, they become one with the pack. But when they are killed, when their energy is stolen for other purposes as when the Krayav kidnap and misuse them, they become small, hard things like rocks. Instead of energy going out forever to the pack, finding eternity in the power of the Cloud, the stolen energy pulled from the Cloud Dancer dissipates until nothing is left but a small mass of diseased matter, wasted and destroyed.:: ::Rover knew this was not what Blueheart intended for him. If Rover could gather enough strength to become solid, they could freeze him until Atlantis returned to the Jenatris Cloud. They were so far from the Cloud now, that he couldn't feel it at all anymore. He hadn't realized he needed to be close to it in order to maintain his energy. Atlantis was so far into Federation space that the Cloud was like a distant memory. Rover's molecules ached to be once again in its proximity.:: ROVER: You will help Rover become a cloudsicle? BLUEHEART: ::smiling warily:: Yes, something like that. ROVER: Okay. Okay. ::Rover whirred again, thinking it over.:: ::He knew Blueheart was going to leave, called away again on other business. Rover did not want to hold him up. He wanted to be a helper, not a botherer. He gathered himself and flashed as brightly as was possible now, so he would look less sick. He bravely floated up from the floor, though he hardly had the strength to stay airborne.:: ROVER: Rover will be right here. Rover will be okay. Thank you, Captin. ::He hung there in the air, fighting through the pain and the weakness, showing what strength he had, until Blueheart left for the bridge. Rover had no legs, but if he'd learned anything from the bipeds, it was how to face adversity by standing on your own two feet.:: PNPC Rover Sentient Cloud simmed by Lt. Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  24. (( Deck 6 - Crew Lounge - USS Darwin A)) ::After spending a lovely meal with Ashworth (who had been summoned back to his quarters by his girlfriend and made his leave), Avaris had stood ready to go to his quarters and rest, but found himself less steady on his feet than he would have liked to be. The Romulan bartender smiled at him :: Rhean: You need something to perk up? I have fresh raktachino brewed. Torrin: Yes! That sounds, perfect. ::She was pouring his a large mug of the potent stuff, when the doors whooshed open and Artem arrived back, his meeting over. :: Rhean: Welcome back mister Dragumov. Can I get you anything? ::Avaris turned towards him and smiled. :: Torrin: Hey buddy! How was your important Starfleet business? Dragumov: Important as always. ::To Rhean:: I think Ill have a coffee too... do you have Earth coffee though? That Klingon stuff dosn't agree with me. Rhean: If you don't mind replicated, coming right up. ::Avaris closed his eyes and smiled, he knew he was going to be dragged back to their quarters soon, but was enjoying the warmth of the Klingon brew in the meantime :: Dragumov: So. That officer had to go? Torrin: Yes he did, wanted to check in on the little one before reporting into engineering. Did you know he was on the Apollo as well? His girlfriend kid is Henry, the boy I told you about taking to see Dr Renos in sickbay with a crayon in his nose. Its nice that there will be a few familiar faces around. Dragumov: You seem to have relaxed a bit since this morning. ::He opened his eyes, and stood up, gesturing towards Artem, who seemed to be glowing.:: Torrin: Yes, I feel MUCH better actually, and YOOOOOU seem full of some kind of weird excitement. What trouble are you getting yourself into? Dragumov: Well actually I might get to go on an away mission. We are rendezvousing with a survey ship, an old Antares class called the Dunbar. Apparently their chief engineer has gone missing and they want some muscle to accompany a repair crew. ::And just like that, everything became annoying again. ((Flashback - Orion Syndicate vessel Harrid Tar - 21 Years Earlier )) ::Avaris was 17. He had left Trill on the pretense of academic business, the contacts refusing to meet inside Federation Space, a precaution for which Avaris could hardly blame them. They had rendezvoused with his and Jaxans small 'borrowed' transport ship as planned, the wanderer class Herrid Tar had been where it had said is was going to be, and they had been escorted to the lavish meeting room without incident apart from a cursory pat-down, Jaxan had even been allowed to keep his sidearm... which made Avaris nervous. These guys were not worried in the slightest, that put them at a disadvantage. :: ::The room had seemed at first to Avaris as though it were desperately trying to fool them into believing it was a tent, luscious drapery adorned the walls, hanging crystal lights shone dimly illuminating the space just enough to see but dark enough to maintain a mysterious atmosphere. The Harrid Tars' captain, a ridge-nosed alien of unknown species lounged on one of the many chairs, the translator working without 100% accuracy of his largely un-encountered dialect and making it sound as though his Federation Standard was richly accented. :: :: Jaxan had chosen to sit, but could not disguise his illness-at-ease entirely, his back straight and seated at the edge of the recliner. Avaris had remained standing during the brief conversation, feeling better about looming in situations where he needed to be negotiating, finding his size to be one of the few advantages he could hope for. :: ::They had discussed the transfer of the stolen Federation weapons from their craft to the Harrid Tar and the Maquis rendez vous point for drop-off, and the mobsters had seemed pleased enough with their arrangements, asking few questions and generally putting on an air of agree-ability and competence. :: ::And then the captain had handed Avaris a PADD which had a manifest, and directions to a decrepit neutral starbase nearly 15 lightyears away. :: Torrin: What is this? Syndicate Captain: That is your payment for our services, Trill. ::Avaris looked at it carefully. It appeared to list several crates of Betazoid truffles. This had not been a part of the plan... usually when the Syndicate agreed to trade in favours, they held onto them. They were not prepared to make a journey right away, and Avaris had not expected to be included in seeing through their end of the deal at all, it was something someone else would do as he had taken on the responsibility of this trip. :: Torrin: What am I looking at Captain? Syndicate Captain: What does it look like? We need you to drop off a shipment of truffles. Torrin: And is that really what they are? ::The captain rose. :: Syndicate Captain: I cant see how that is any of your business, princess. ::Torrin took a step closer to him. The man was slightly shorter than him, but could easily snap him in half without thinking twice about it. :: Torrin: I think you will find that it is. The stasis chambers are large, and we agreed that my group would do whatever you asked, apart from involvement in your slave trade. If I opened the stasis chambers would I find mushrooms Captain ? ::The captain grabbed him by the collar and threw him backwards. He crashed into the chair, where Jaxan had been sitting on edge but now jumped upward reaching idiotically for his firearm (the good it would do them, there were four guards in the room with weapons drawn already ) :: Torrin: JAXAN STOP IT. Listen Captain, there is no need to get cross here, I just need to know what we are getting into. ::The syndicate Captain laughed throatily:: Syndicate Captain: No, what you need is to learn your place, or perhaps you have mistaken us for the Syndicates not-for-profit charity branch? Do you have ANY currency to pay us for this dangerous mission you are not capable of seeing through on your own? ::Torrin scowled up at the man. :: Syndicate Captain: No? Well then perhaps you should respect that we are generously offering to barter with you in the first place, and not ask asinine questions that are, once again in-case you are too air-headed to have listened the first time, not any of your concern. ::Torrin sulked silently, while the large and frankly repulsive man shambled up closer to him. Avaris' eyes widened in horror and murderous rage when he reached out his hand, gently touching Avaris' long hair, which he had worn down, and which had flown in his face when he was thrown backwards. The captain brushed it out of his eyes and continued speaking . :: Syndicate Captain: Unless of course you would like to find another way to pay us.. our doctor could turn you green, a pretty boy like you could fetch a price on the market for sure.... ::Avaris stood up and snarled in the mans face, his impulsive anger cancelling out his concern for his own physical safety :: Torrin: The deals off then. We agreed no slaving and if you wont promise me that's not what we are doing that we will find another way to get these weapons where they need to go. ::The captain laughed again . :: Syndicate Captain: You have the fire of the green bosses women as well as their curves princess... I am just teasing you relax! :: He muttered a curse Avaris had never encountered before, and continued :: You Federation citizens are all so serious all the time. Lighten up, it will make you live longer. ::As he spoke he made his way to a cabinet, pulled out a bottle of blue liquid, and poured three large glasses :: Syndicate Captain: Because you are funny, and I hate seeing sensitive creatures crying like you surely are about to, I will tell you what you are carrying, it is a fungus used to make a drug that these guys ::he gestured to the glasses of romulan ale:: cant get enough of, it really messes the green bloods up. This station is home to a bunch of exiles, banished from the Empire they have a little ghetto in the lower decks. This fungus is really popular there, and will get us the money we are owed by you. Now do you want to keep getting cute with me or shall we drink? :: Avaris narrowed his eyes at the man, but raised his glass, and drank the liquid fire in one long, continuous gulp, smashing the glass down on a nearby table afterward. Wanting to preserve some dignity, his only farewell was a nodd, before he turned around walking out the door back towards the transporter room. He could hear thecaptain chuckling to himsef, and so he called back over his shoulder when he reached the door :: Torrin: Arrange to receive our shipment as soon as you can captain. We will wait for your order. ((Flash Forward - 10 hours later - Trill Transport Vessel Ash'alaz )) ::They had not been prepared for another long leg of journey, and in spite of his atheistic principles, Avaris was beginning to suspect that gods did exist, and were bent on ruining his life. Of course their warp field generator had glitched out halfway to the station, leaving them traveling the remaining 5 lightyears at impulse. Additionally, their subspace comm system was on the fritz, something they had known about beffore leaving, but which would have really come in handy right about now. Their trip which would have taken a few days at their rust-buckets maximum warp factor of five was now going to take years, unless some kindly passing ship happened past.... and they were carrying a restricted substance so that could also go poorly for them. :: ::They had argued for nearly 3 hours straight about what to do. Jaxan was in favour of remaining silent, where Avaris thought trying their luck with a distress signal was the best plan. While it was true that their group might miss them after a few days and send someone looking for them, there was no guarantee that they would be able to "borrow" another ship quickly, or that they would have any idea where to start looking, they were well off their planned course, having had to make this detour on their errand. :: Torrin: Look, you know I can talk us out of anything if the Feds respond, and if its someone else we will either get robbed or they probably wont care what we are carrying. Jaxan: No we will just straight-up get robbed Avaris. That's what we are looking at. Losing valuable Orion Syndicate cargo AND going to jail, or else just losing valuable Orion Syndicate cargo and having to deal with them about it. Torrin: Well what do you suggest? I don't know about you but I have some plans for the next five years. Jaxan: I DON'T KNOW but we are not putting out a distress signal because that's ludicrous. Torrin: Can you have another look at the comm system? If we can get the subspace link up and running we can just call home and have them... :: Jaxan, in an attempt to lighten the mood a bit, attempted the Syndicate captains accent as he spoke :: Jaxan: I have already tried "princess", you are welcome to take a look yourself. Torrin: That is not funny... ::There was a chirrup from the comm console, interrupting Avaris with a sense of timing which again challenged his disbelief in vengeful deities with sadistic senses of humor. There was an incoming transmission. He cursed under his breath :: Jaxan: Don't answer. ::Avaris frantically worked the sensor control panel, as the computer continued to chirp and warble, reminding them that someone was trying to say hello:: Torrin: Its Starfleet, looks like a small survey ship.... ::Jaxan cursed loudly. :: Jaxan: Don't answer! Im not pretty or tough enough to make it in a penal colony. Torrin: Don't sell yourself short Jaxan. Convicts aren't known for being especially picky. ::He began to yell :: Jaxan: DON'T ANSWER IT AVARIS! Torrin: I'M DOING IT WE DON'T HAVE A CHOICE!!! ::they physically struggled briefly, but Avaris came out victorious, and accepted the incoming transmission, immediately switching into an exaggerated calm and cheerfully professional tone of voice. :: Torrin =/\= This is the TSS Ash'alaz, Hala Rex speaking. =/\= Vantassel =/\= This is Commander Vantassel of the USS Dunbar, do you require assistance mister Rex? =/\= ::Avaris and Jaxan exchanged concerned looks. :: Torrin: =/\= Hold please. =/\ ((End Flashback )) :: Avaris was shaken out of his daydream by the sudden unexpected arrival of Commander Renos, who upon seeing him approached a bit hesitantly. :: Renos: Ah, Mister Torrin, so good to.... ::The effort with which Avaris attempted to seem approximately sober was admirable, if impossibly misguided. He annunciated everything just a bit too clearly, and seemed stiff and robotic in the way he tried to appear casual leaning on the side of the bar.:: Torrin: Commmmmmmander. :: He knew he wasn't passing for sober, but he hoped he was passing for less drunk than he actually was, while also trying to to lose his composure over the fact that of all ships in all the Beta quadrant, they had to be rendezvousing with the Dunbar. :: Renos: I believe you left this in my office earlier. I'm sure its very important so please take extra special care of it in future. :: His mind was so clouded with a desperate need to take the commander aside and tell nem everything, explain why he needed to hide out somewhere, hope that they were close enough that ne would understand without asking too many questions... it was all such a mess. After an awkward silent moment, it dawned on him that the PADD was likely connected to their other, different shady business together, and shaking off his anxious musing, responded :: Torrin: I'm... so sorry, its very kind of you to return it in person sir. ::Ne tentatively handed to red J'naii PADD over, but did not immediately let go of it. Avaris tried to sound reassuring. :: Torrin: Trust me, I wont be so careless with it in the future. ::The commander released the PADD, and Avaris with an exaggerated sense of purpose placed it carefully in his leather satchel bag. :: ::Artem had been silently observing the interaction, his bristling suspiciousness clear in his body language. He addressed the Commander, seemingly for no reason other than to relieve his own tension. :: Dragumov: Have you considered my proposition to lead the security detail Sir? Renos: Mister Jorey has been tasked with organising the away team and I’ve given him room to select the team he wants to take over there. Dragumov: I know these old ships Commander, I grew up on an old freighter, I know where anybody might be hiding, the unique quirks of older classes, I think Im the right man for the job. Torrin: oO not as well as I know it buddy Oo Renos: I’m glad you mentioned that Mister Dragumov. I’ve no doubt your expertise on that ship would be invaluable. Torrin: You just make sure you dont lose my husband commander, I heard officers have been going missing out there. ::Before Renos had a chance to respond, the door opened, and the ships First Officer swanned into the room, arms outstretched like he was about to burst into song. :: Jorey: Well, if it isn't my favourite couple, the darlings of the USS Darwin. :: Avaris glared at the first officers dramatic entrance. He was in no mood for goading right now, and he desperately needed to talk to the Commander. :: Jorey: I see someone is on a liquid diet today? ::He turned to Artem and smirked.:: I hope YOU have been sticking to the synthetic stuff Mr. Dragumov? :: Avaris was ready to jump down the smug Betazoids throat, but his oncoming rage-blackout was cut short by Artems' firm grip on his waist, reminding him to remain reasonable. :: Dragumov: Quite right sir. Jorey: I thought I would grab a little lunch before we made it to the anomaly. ::He watched his new captain in the corner of his eye for a reaction.:: I just don't work as well on an empty stomach. ::Turning fully to Renos.:: What about you? Here for a quick bite? Renos: I’m afraid not this time Mister Jorey. I’m eager to return to the bridge. Perhaps we can share a bite to eat another time however. May I say though, that I was talking to Mister Dragumov here just a moment ago, he has some experience with the old freighters such as the Antares. I’d recommend including him in your away team… ::He felt himself tensing, ready to throw himself into the man and start a bar brawl right then and there. What a great impression that would be, early afternoon and their first day on a new ship and him arrested for assaulting an officer. He composed himself as best he could, and addressed the group in general. :: Torrin: I am sorry to interrupt, but I would like a word with you Commander, rather soon actually. Could I perhaps cut into your very important officer business and convince you boys to give us a moment or two? Artem why dont you take mister Jorey over to the table by the window there? We won't be a minute. ::Artem looked like Avaris had asked him to jump out an airlock without an EV suit, but acquiesced. :: Dragumov: Sounds good to me? I wanted to talk to you about the away team anyways... Jorey: Alright, Lieutenant. Grab us a table. I'm just going to get some food. ::Avaris led Commander Renos to face away from the group. The commander was tense, but not nearly as tense as Avaris, who was about to tell nem the most incriminating part of his personal history.... well, the part of it ne needed to know in order to keep him from dancing with trouble. :: Torrin: We need to talk about this. Renos: Are you referring to that item I just gave you? ::Avaris was so intent that for a moment he actually forgot what the Commander might be referring to, after a moment realizing it must be the PADD in his shoulder bag. :: Torrin: ::Intensely dismissive:: No no not that, there is something else that’s a bit more pressing. :: Renos face sank, as ne seemed to mull over the possibility that something more urgent and sketchy was afoot than the PADD in Avaris' shoulder bag. :: Renos: ::Sounding a bit weary:: Go on… Torrin: Remember when I asked if you were sure having me on-board was a good idea earlier this morning? Well I need to... tell you something that you aren't going to like. Renos: Alright, I supposed you’d better out with it then. Torrin: Its... a bit complicated. How much time do you have? ::Ne sighed, wearily:: Renos: As long as it takes I suppose, why is this a long story? Torrin: It could be... it depends how much you want to know. Renos: Is this a conversation best had in my ready room? Torrin: I... suspect so sir. Renos: Then let’s relocate accordingly then. ((Flashback - TSS Ash'alaz - 21 years Earlier )) Torrin =/\= I'm sorry Commander, our viewscreen is damaged. =/\= :: After another brief physical struggle over the comm consoles, Avaris and Jaxan had decided that they couldn't just stay silent without raising suspicion, and Avaris had opened the frequency again as audio only, the fewer officers that saw their faces the better, just in case things got complicated. :: Vantassel: =/\= Roger that Ash'alaz, I repeat, do you require assistance ? =/\= ::Avaris looked to Jaxan who was furiously working on the PADD with the manifest, trying to change what it said and having no luck. His green eyes locked with Avaris, an expression of panic in them. Avaris sighed, this was going to be tricky. :: Torrin: =/\= Yes we do... we are initiates who are doing our volunteer hours, we are on a humanitarian mission bringing medical supplies to the Aquilla 6 neutral station, but our warp field generator seems to have broken down, and neither of us are particularly talented engineers sir. =/\= ::There was a pause, while the Dunbar no doubt scanned their systems, hopefully only looking for damage to the warp field generator and not... anything else. :: Vantassel : =/\= Yes I see the problem, its not a hard fix, we can replicate the part you need no problem... you kids are a long way from Trill without an engineer though, it seems a bit foolish =/\= Torrin: =/\= I couldn't agree more Commander. Trust me its not a mistake we will make again. =/\= Vantassel: =/\= Well you are lucky we found you. Our chief engineer can beam over as soon as we have the part, stand by =/\= Torrin: =/\= Thank you commander =/\= ::He cut the signal and they immediately began squabbling again. :: Torrin: Look, at least only one of them is coming aboard, all we have to do is act like nothing is up and maybe he will just fix our problem and go back. Jaxan: We need a backup plan Avaris, what if he starts snooping around? Torrin: There is no need to borrow trouble! We might be fine! Jaxan: Or we might go to prison. Torrin: ::angrily:: or we might go to prison! We were carrying stolen weapons, dealt with the Orion Syndicate, and now we are carrying narcotic fungus, prison has always been a possibility Jaxan. What we are doing is worth the risk, or are you losing your resolve at the first sign of trouble? Jaxan: You are delusional if you actually think this is the first sign of trouble, this entire action has been trouble from the get go. Torrin: Well keep it together. I can't be managing your panic attack AND schmoozing a Starfleet goon! ::Their voices had reached maximum volume by this point, spit flying from their mouths as they primally howled at each-other, when the computer interrupted them again. Avaris once again assumed an aire of calm and professionalism as he re-opened the comm channel. :: Torrin: =/\= Rex here =/\= Vantassel : =/\= my chief engineer is ready to beam over. =/\= Torrin =/\= Acknowledged. =/\ ((End Flashback)) ((Deck 1, Captains Ready Room - USS Darwin A)) :: Renos was sitting at nir desk, and Avaris paced nervously, ignoring the Commanders invitation to be seated. :: Torrin: I don't know where to start commander. Renos: Start at the point, which makes most sense. The beginning is usually a good place to start. Torrin: ... I don't know how much you would want to know, and I certainly don't know how much I would like to share... I am probably over-reacting, I mean, it was 21 years ago and who knows, it might be a completely different crew now... Renos: Okay, breathe and slow down a little please. This is clearly a big deal and very tough for you. Now, please explain to me what’s got you in a fluster. :: With kindness :: Torrin: Okay you are right. The short version is this: I did something 21 years ago that I am not at all proud of, but which at the time seemed like the right thing. I have... encountered the USS Dunbar before, and not under... ideal circumstances. Renos:: I see. That’s… not promising is it? Torrin: Well... nobody died, if that helps? Renos: Well it’s good to know at least. Why don’t you tell me what did happen? Torrin: I am sorry! This is ... just so... twisted, I mean, you are a Commander, a Starfleet Commander, and you are the first person I have ever told this too and the last person I ever would have thought I might... even Artem doesn't know this Renos. Renos: I understand and I’d like to help you if I can. I just need to know what I’m helping with. Torrin: Well... alright, nobody died, like I said, but I may have been involved in some light... kidnapping. Renos: Kidnapping! ::Shocked:: ((Flashback - TSS Ash'alaz - 21 Years Earlier )) ::The engineer had finished installing the fried part which had rendered them incapable of their pitifully low maximum warp, and wiping the grease off his hands with a newly replicated towel chuckled to himself. :: Mancini: There you go, good as new. You boys sure are lucky we came across you, why werent you sending out a distress signal anyways? ::The two of them both stood stiff as boards, trying and failing to appear natural and not concerned by the humans presence onboard. They wore their phase pistols openly, deciding it appeared less suspicious to be armed than not, being that they were in dangerous neutral space, and the Engineer had arrived with a phaser himself, so at least they did not seem any more dangerous than he did. :: Torrin: We are so close to Klingon space... it seemed dangerous, we were banking on the commission sending a search party before we were found by pirates or a bird of prey... thank you again so much for the help... Mancini: Its nothing, you really shouldn't travel this far from Federation space without an engineer though. I would think the Symbioses Commission would know better than to send you to Aquilla 6 with only a pair of phase pistols... did you want me to take a look at your comm system while I am here? The Commander said your viewscreen was down. ::Jaxan had started grinding his teeth nervously, hard enough that he could be heard. Avaris shot him a dirty look, and replied :: Torrin: Oh there is no need, we figured it out ourselves... I guess we aren't completely helpless after-all. ::He laughed loudly, inappropriately so. his nervousness was beyond obvious. The engineer looked warily at him, but shook it off, chuckling again, though a suspicious edge was clear in his tone. :: Mancini: Alright then. I guess that's all there is too.... :: He had been putting the bulkhead he had removed to access the components in need of replacement back were it belonged, but the age of the ship and the many haphazard repair jobs it had suffered meant that there were certain things about it that were dangerously not up to code. The razor sharp edge of metal that had not been sanded down properly the last time the bulkhead was repaired was one such thing, and the engineers sentence was cut off and replaced with a loud curse as his palm was sliced open and the bulkead was dropped to the floor. Avaris head swam at the sight of the blood, and he thought he might pass out:: Mancini: ::cursing loudly:: ugh do you have a dermal generator onboard?! Jaxan: Yes in the cargo.... :: Avaris smacked him upside the head but it was too late. :: Torrin: Let me get it for you. Mancini: No I'm fine, I can get it myself. Torrin: No really, you just stay there Ill run and get it.... Mancini: LISTEN I'm FINE ill just go and... ::There was a flash of light at a thunderous bang, superheated atmospheric molecules crashed into eachother, displaced by the sudden blast of directed phase energy. The engineer collapsed, still clutching his badly bleeding hand. Avaris, eyes wide with horror, looked to Jaxan, who in a moment of sheer panic and utter lunacy, had shot the engineer. He stared for a long pause, as Jaxans chest heaved, his own eyes widening with the realization of what he had done. Avaris was eventually able to speak through clenched teeth:: Torrin: ... please.... tell... me.... that... was... set....to stun. ::Jaxan looked at the weapon, and sighed in releif. :: Jaxan: Um, yes. Yes it was. Torrin: Huh. Well... good then. So what do we do now genius? Jaxan: ... i.... im afraid I don't really know. Torrin: Right. Okay then. ((End Flashback)) ((Deck 1, Captains Ready Room - USS Darwin A)) Torrin: Like I said, I don't really see the need to get too specific here, and I don't know that you would really want to know the gritty details, but back before the war, I was involved in a smuggling operation that went badly. We were getting supplies to the Maquis, and we had engine trouble, the Dunbar intercepted us and offered to help... Renos: did the crew of the Dunbar know what you were up to? Torrin: I don't know, does the fact that I was a Maquis supporter back before the war surprise you? It sort of seems pretty on point with what you know about me so far. Renose: Hey hey, not judging okay… Torrin: Yeah fair enough. Anyways, things went badly, they sent over an engineer to help us and it may have gotten a bit out of control. Renos: What sort of out of control? What happened? Torrin: Well, he may have ended up stunned, and we might have taken off with him still on-board. Renos: Sounds like you were having a great day then! ::Sarcastically:: ((Flashback - TSS Ash'alaz - 21 Years Earlier )) Jaxan: They are right on our tail! ::Jaxan was manouvering the smaller, slightly faster ship, desperately trying to avoid the Antares class survey ships tractor lock. They had emptily threatened the Starfleet officers death should his ship give chase, and were immediately called out on their threats emptiness when the Dunbar immediately began pursuing them and they immediately continued to not murder the Dunbar's engineer. At least his presence on-board had stopped them from firing weapons on the unarmed ship, but they could not avoid tractor lock forever, and the Dunbar was clearly close to a match for their maximum warp factor. :: ::They had strapped the engineer into a chair only with a seatbelt, having nothing to tie him up with, and really only to avoid further injuring him. Avaris had done a quick dermal generation job on his hand, but the cut was deep and he was not confident the damage would not be lasting if he didn't see a qualified doctor soon. :: Torrin: They have a tractor lock! Jaxan: Not for long. :: The ship lurched sickeningly as the gravity field tried desperately to keep up with Jaxans lunatic pitching and rolling. Meanwhile the stunned Mancini started to moan quietly, no doubt close to regaining consciousness. Avaris jumped out of his seat back to the passenger chair holding their prisoner, snatching the phaser from his belt and hitting him with a hypodose of sedative. :: ::The ship lurched again, and Avaris cracked his forehead on the armrest of Mancinis seat. Cursing loudly and robustly, he held his hand up to the injury and was relieved to see no blood when he looked at his fingers. He was fortunately bracing himself against the seat already when they lurched again. :: Jaxan: We can't keep this up Avaris! Torrin: I know! Let me think! Jaxan: There is no time! ((end flashback)) ((Deck 1- Captains Ready Room - USS Darwin A)) ::Avaris had slumped down into the guest chair on the other side of Renos' desk, and put his head in his hands, staring at the floor. :: Renos: So what happened after that then? Torrin: Well, we got lucky. They pursued us and would have trapped us in with their tractor beam, but our little chase had attracted some other unwanted attention. A Klingon Bird of Prey decloaked just when we were ready to give up, and engaged the Dunbar. This was before the Dominion War remember, the Federation and the Empire were still at each-others throat. Renos: ::Wincing:: Harsh for them for sure. I take it you used that as your opportunity to escape… Torrin: We couldn't have helped them anyways. our ship had no weapons. I heard after the fact that the Dunbar crew survived, their dilithium cargo was enough of a trophy for the Klingons, whose captain decided killing the freighter crew was not glorious enough or whatever. We were long gone in an unregistered ship we traded at a ridiculous loss for the Ash'alaz by the time the Dunbar reached Aquilla 6 to retrieve their engineer, who we left with all the currency we had as well as his phaser in the stations infirmary. He was the only crew member who saw us, and I doubt he is still serving on-board, but... there is a chance... Renos: Ah… Torrin: Anyways, that's it. The war started not long afterwards, and the Maquis were all but slaughtered, so it turned out in retrospect that it was even more pointless a mission than it seemed even at the time. I want you to know that I am not proud of any of this. Renos: Okay Avaris. I really appreciate your honesty and the fact you felt you could come to me with this. The one thing you haven’t told me, is what you want to happen next… ::Avaris raised his head, feeling entirely sober, and also devastatingly sad. He had not even shared this story with his husband, and now he had put the ships Commanding Officer in a completely impossible position, which, if it had been any other Commanding Officer would not have bothered him nearly as much as the difficulty he had with the moral dilemma he was forcing his friend into. He tried to put on a brave face - whatever happened now, he was prepared for. Even if it was the worst-case scenario, and Renos would not or could not help him. :: :: The commanders attitude was cool but not cold, it was measured and even, nir gaze was intense and focused, but Avaris was having trouble gauging just how... angry ne might be. On the off chance that ne was not furious, he decided to start with the assumption that ne would be cooperative, but also honestly reassure nem that he understood if ne needed to report him to Starfleet. :: ::Of course that was a lie. If ne actually decided to report him to Starfleet.... well they would cross that bridge when they came to it. He had a feeling the PADD ne had just given him might come in handy. :: Torrin: oO Stop it right now Avaris. You are borrowing trouble, and ne almost certainly is not going to do that. Do you really think you would blackmail nir after everything? Oo ::He wasn't sure. He had always done what he needed to, when it came to dodging the consequences of the misadventures caused by his early years. :: Torrin: Well there you have it then. I think it would be best if I laid low while we are aiding the Dunbar, I know its been a long time, and as far as I know only one of their crew saw me, and even then most of the crew must have turned over in 21 years.... unless you want to turn me into Starfleet now. I wouldn't blame you... I have been dreading this moment for two decades now, I always knew I might get busted. But if you want to keep me around, and you still want my help with your own side-mission, we need to figure out how to keep me under the Dunbars radar. What are you thinking? :: Ne paused for a long, anxious moment, seemingly collecting nir thoughts. He didn't even realize he had been holding his breath waiting for nir to collect nirself to come up with a response. :: Renos: I could turn you in Mister Torrin but I won’t. 21 years is a long time. I believe we never had this conversation and you will be making yourself scarce… ::He exhaled loudly. There was a mix of feelings that were difficult to sort out, he was grateful but there was a sourness tinging it. It was a reminder that their power balance had changed, and that he was racking up favours he owed to a person who had he met nir under different circumstances later in the game, would have just automatically been placed into the category of "probably an enemy". But ne had never expected to meet a Commanding Officer who would show such an interesting balance of moral integrity, willingness to subvert protocol, and like himself, not be doing it for selfish reasons. He could never imagine himself or Renos holding up a bank. But he could see them sneaking J'naii fugitives across the border into Federation space together. He felt dizzy, perhaps still a bit on the intoxicated side. Ne sat, prettily watching him, wearing an expression that could best be described as neutral-but-almost-showing-some-anxiousness, as ne waited for him to respond. :: Torrin: Thank you Nes Renos. I'll get some work done in my quarters while we are here. Renos: I also believe you owe me dinner, probably for life but who’s counting? ::Avaris laughed as he stood up. His first impulse was to grab the smaller commander and pull nir close into a hug - which was obviously inappropriate for a variety of reasons - and so he overcompensated in the opposite direction, and maintained too much distance between them. It was awkward, the Commander seemed prepared to shake his had, but he was staying out of reach for some idiotic reason. His social skills were completely fried, after too much alcohol, not enough sleep, too much drama, and a lingering weird attraction to the ships Commanding Officer that he was trying really hard to not acknowledge. :: ::Realizing that he was being ridiculous, he took a step closer, to where the Commander was now leaning, sort of perched on the side of nir desk.:: Torrin: There is Hasperat at the lounge on Deck Six, I actually know the manager from before, a lovely Bajoran woman ..... ::He trailed off, remembering belatedly that he shouldn't be giving away anybody else's secrets to Renos, as much as ne had just proven to be a lot less judgmental and harsh than someone in nir position might otherwise be assumed to be. Instead he left the sentence trailing awkwardly, which was probably worse - the J'naii Commander might imagine all sorts of unseemly connections knowing only that nir ships Bajoran bartender was a past known associate of Avaris. Ne placed her hand gently on his shoulder, the surprise of the physical contact made him fight off a flinch, not because it was unwanted, but because everything was weird right now. :: Renos: Perhaps. At any rate I should be getting back to the bridge. Torrin: And I should get to my hiding out. I guess Ill see you around when we move on from here. ::He nodded politely and smiled, thinking of an old Trill fable, the lesson of which was "sometimes getting what you want turns out to be not what you want at all"... an imaginary magical creature called an Arx which had the torso and head of an old woman but cephelapod tentacles for arms, and six more for legs from the waist down who granted wishes went to a series of children and asked them what they wanted more than anything in the world. They would ask for things like money, or being famous, or cake, and the Arx would grant their wish, which always came with a cost the wisher didn't expect and would never want to happen (having their parents killed to inherit a fortune, becoming famous because they are framed for a horrible crime, everything they touch turning to cake etc.) :: :: Torrin: oO Well, you wanted some time to get caught up with your writing. Careful what you wish for Avaris. Oo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Avaris Edral Torrin Civilian USS Darwin - A ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  25. ((Sickbay, USS Atlantis)) ::The Captain entered the cubicle and nodded to the nurse, then to the Kylon.:: BLUEHEART: Is he fit to answer a few questions, nurse? NURSE: response BLUEHEART: ::smiling somberly:: I promise to make it short. NURSE: response :: He shook his head in slight amusement. As if the current situation was going to stop him from talking. Dancing perhaps, and definitely not going rock climbing... but talking he could manage. :: BLUEHEART: Thank you. ::turning to the Grenushi:: Telnoth. ::noticing the neural inhibitors in place:: How are you feeling? ::His eyes darted to the monitors and consoles.:: :: The question was so polite and immaterial that it made his stomach turn. Now was not the time for polite diplomacy :: HAERIN: I am fine Captain, though the situation is urgent. BLUEHEART: So, tell me, Telnoth, ::seating himself on a chair by the bedside:: tell me everything. HAERIN: No. The entirety of things isn't nearly as critical as the immediate. I'll start there. :: That was not what the shorter man wanted to hear. Something that just.. ticked off the Grenushi. Here he was, trying to save their lives.. :: BLUEHEART: ::shaking his head in defiance:: Not when my ship and the lives of my crew are at stake. They matter more to me than diplomacy or politics, any day. So I’d really like to know everything, Telnoth. EVERYTHING. ::He leaned back in his seat, crossed one leg over the other and clasped his hands together on his lap.:: And I suggest you start at the very beginning. :: This hadn't been a good day for Kylon. Oh it had started out as one, with the federation officers almost following a script in attempting to see what he'd brought on board. But their release? Which, if he was any judge, would pull them from warp. And doing that would put them at greater risk, which meant the peace talks wouldn't receive their gift.. oh and likely they'd all die here instead. So, he allowed the frustration, just this once, to slip out. There was none of the calm, reserved Ambassador in his reply. Instead, the scorn and sarcasm would heap at the man's feet until he could meet Kylon eye to eye. :: HAERIN: Oh Really Captain? Is that what YOU want? Sure.. let me spin you a yarn to use the Terran phrasing. Perhaps hand you a fiddle? BLUEHEART: HAERIN: Well don't you want to play while Rome burns? The situation is.. you short minded idiot.. that if your people hadn't attempted to breach protocols this wouldn't be happening. But now we don't need to replay history, but actually salvage things. So forgive me if I really couldn't care less in what you would like! BLUEHEART: HAERIN: Good. The creatures are a gift. We developed a means to capture them from the cloud, and put them into a form of stasis. And, as energy creatures, they are able to be comfortably compressed into the box. BLUEHEART: HAERIN: Several dozen. Each of which, while sharing traits with each other, are noticeably different from each other in mentality. Additionally, they share some of the traits of the Jenatris cloud in that they appear to mutate and change at times and seemingly based on those traits. BLUEHEART: (TAg) Telnoth Kylon Haerin Ambassador MNPC as simmed by Lt. Cmdr Luna Walker FO USS Atlantis
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