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  1. (Mitchell’s Quarters - Embassy Crew Quarters - Duronis II) :: Pounding on the door had not awakened Colonel Rode Mitchell, but Hella had a job to do, and would not disappoint Hannibal, so kicking the door down was not beyond what she deem reasonable even if it was the door of a Colonel. Mitchell: Ok, Ok, I’m up. I’m up. Hella: Yeah right, but you're already a half hour late for PT, and that means you've made me late too. Oh and by the way, PT this morning is with a full pack. Shake yourself and let's get moving. Mitchell: Wha? Full pack?? ::Hella waited impatiently until he packed and put on his boots, thinking that he didn't look very much in shape and he couldn't keep up with her as they ran down the beach. But then no one on the base could beat her, except her daughter, Cabrew. :: Hella: Ready yet? Mitchell: ::slinging it over his shoulders:: Not really. ::Darting out the door, Hella called out to him. :: Hella: I'll wait for you on the beach. oO If it doesn't take all day for you to get there. Oo ::Her wait at the beach was shorter than she had estimated, but not by much. And to her, he already looked tired. Doing some stretches to give him time to rest, she introduced herself.:: Hella: I'm Marine Captain Hella, but my call sign is Banshee when I'm flying. I've been tasked to get you in shape to meet Marine specifications. We'll be running down the beach for five miles to start. ::She figured, he'd already noticed she had taken off her pack and was barefooted.:: Mitchell: ::between heaving breathes.:: Nice…to….meet…you… but…5….miles…..really? Isn’t the standard like..3? Hella: Oh, well, it's not me who needs to get in shape. Anytime you're ready we'll get started. Mitchell: Fine…lead the way. ::Hella sprinted off, but then slowed down to his pace, encouraging him to go faster.:: Hella: Think of your pack as a friend that you're carrying to safety, rather than a burden. He's counting on you. Are you going to let him down? Mitchell: N…no… TBC/TAG PNPC Marine Captain Hella Special Assignments Embassy Duronis II USS Thunder NCC-70605-A Simed by Rear Admiral Toni Turner Author ID number: E238209TT0
  2. (( Corridor - Deck 1 - USS Athena )) :: Piper hurried through the corridors with her shoulders hunched and head down. She wished her arms were full of things to act as a barrier between herself and the people around her. Unfortunately, modern technology meant that the gigabytes of data her report held were contained in a single PADD. :: :: She glanced around herself. She'd never actually been on the Athena's top deck. She was a lab rat, and happy to be so. With the topsy-turvy state of the science department since Lieutenant Commander Kaji's absence, tasks like reporting to the captain were assigned less by rank and more by lottery. Piper had drawn the short stick this time. :: :: She didn't dislike the captain, quite the contrary. Selene Faranfey was a legend and Piper held her in awe. She'd never spoken to her personally, but Piper followed her reports and announcements avidly. Her reluctance to give the report was much more due to her dislike of speaking to strangers in any case, and her dread of leaving the comfort of her laboratory. :: :: A man turned the corner in front of her and Piper paled. This was why she didn't leave her comfort zone. People like that were supposed to stay in mission logs and myth, not show up in your path. He slowed to greet her and her brain blinked out. :: Nugra: Excuse me, Lieutenant. Can I help you? Seelie: Um, uh. Hi. oO What was she doing again? Oo I'm looking for the Captain? :: Piper's voice went up in a question as she wasn't entirely sure at the moment that was what she was doing. Of course, she knew these people lived and worked on the ship, but it was a damn big ship. She didn't typically run into them. :: Nugra: I think the Captain just got back from an away mission. Is there anything I can help you with? Seelie: I have a report! :: She held out her PADD in front of her as proof. :: Nugra: Oh! ::laughing:: Forgive my manners. I'm John. ::sticking out hand:: Seelie: Yes, John Nugra. I know. I know all about you! oO Crap, that sounded stalkery. Oo I mean, yes, I know who you are. :: She realized he was still holding out his hand and she shook it quickly, hoping her palms weren't too sweaty. :: Nugra: ...and you are? Seelie: Oh! I'm Piper, I mean Lieutenant Seelie. Sir. Nugra: Well then, nice to meet you. Hope you can find the captain. Seelie: Yes, thank you. Have a good day, Sir. Nugra: I will. You too. :: She let him walk past her and then hurriedly pulled her personal slimpadd out of a pocket and glanced around for witnesses before taking a photo of Nugra's retreating back. When he had turned the next corner and then slapped herself in the forehead hard enough to leave a red mark. oO Stupid Stupid Stupid Oo Before she readied herself to continue on to give her report she brought up one of her bookmarked Holonet sites and posted a message on her account feed, attaching the photo. :: ------Starfleet Legends, a Real Person Fiction Forum------ SEELIE_SCIENTIST says: GUESS WHO I JUST MET? THE ACTUAL JOHN NUGRA! PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, RIGHT? (Posted 09:41am SD239404.08) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- :: She took another moment to internally squeal before forcing herself to act calm and keep moving. :: Lieutenant Piper Seelie Science Officer USS Athena
  3. (( Fortress Parker- Duronis II Embassy )) ::Just then another chime at the door interrupted their conversation and Jaxon looked over to the huge Marine.:: McGhee: Likely just my luggage I guess, I requested it be delivered here. I had intended to take a car to the city if you had had the place full of guests. Parker:::Nodding::COME!!!!! McGhee: Just inside the door gentlemen. I thank you. ::A few embassy staff members carried in a duffel bag, a crate and seven times as many cases inside the door. The Welshman spied something and reached a decision, got up and picked up one of the smaller cases before returning to Hannibal. Standing at a side table he set down the bag and continued speaking without turning around.:: McGhee: I have a few more questions.::opening the case, rummaging around::Tell me how do you feel now you are father…::pulling out a bottle and a cigar case, holding both up before turning to Hannibal::… and do have two glasses and a light? Parker::Smiling::Got you covered, brother...be right back.... ::Hannibal went to the kitchen, opened the pantry, and got down two glasses, perfect for sipping fine whiskey. His ancient Zippo lighter was already in his pocket. As he made his way back over to the couch, he spoke:: Parker:::Glasses covered, lighter in hand...::looking at the pile::You were never known to travel light... McGhee: You know me. I don’t travel light and without…. amenities. Anyway we never celebrated your son’s birth and I have feeling in….::checking his watch::…. two and half hours I’ll be up to my ears in work. ::Setting the glasses on the table, Hannibal watched as Jaxon poured the whiskey in the glasses, the smell smooth and lush, like a good whiskey should be. He then opened the cigar case, and handed Hannibal one of the cigars. Biting off the tip, (an act sure to make Naloor shake her head), Hannibal fired up the elderly Zippo, placing the flame on the end of the cigar, the cigar end flaring brightly as Hannibal drew air through it. With the cigar now lit, the smooth, sweet smell of tobacco and aged whiskey were now wafting through the room. The two men picked up their glasses, and with a nod and a clink, Hannibal spoke:: Parker: To being reunited, once again..... ::Relaxing in the sofa while he puffed his cigar, jaxon thought about all that had happend in the last 2 years. His wife's return, the taking over of the company and his time on Vulcan were just a few things he had experienced. :: McGhee:::sipping his drink::It has been some time, yes. ::The two drank the entire contents of their glasses, then Jaxon refilled them. Drawing a puff on his cigar, Hannibal spoke:: Parker: You know, we can assist you with your freighter. We do have more than one starship these days... McGhee: Not the director? I think she and EVE have a score to settle since the last encounter…. ::A slight understatement as the last time both had stood opposite each other with armed weapons and standing orders that could not be ignored. Jaxon was extremely proud of the way EVE had handled the situation. Considering the AI was following a hardware order that was impossible to ignore she had managed achieve her goal and see it to that Chang could as well. Jaxon doubted that Chang was happy with the way she was treated.:: ::Hannibal had read the report from Chang, and the screen nearly glowed with her fury, as much as Chang could be angry. Hannibal had seen her angry, boiling seething mad, and it was not pretty:: Parker: No, not Chang. She's still here, but we have an escort ship...Miranda Class...USS Bronwyn. She's acquitted herself well in combat since we have had her... McGhee: The Bronwyn? Hmm…. I thank you for the offer, Hannibal, however the Raven should be enough. There is the element of pride amongst the merchant fleet. EVE will call for any assistance should she deem it necessary ::Hannibal knew “merchies” had a great dislike for those who wore the delta, and if they could save themselves, they would. He had fought enough of them over the years to know the last thing they would want is a Federation starship saving them:: Parker: Merchantmen are a proud bunch. Always have been from the time of sail.::Taking another sip::Are you sure you don’t need the Bronwyn? McGhee: I doubt that would be necessary as the ship is intact and the crew well trained. Quite a few different techniques and standards we use today are adopted and adapted from my experience in Starfleet. It's all a part of the changes I made since becoming the head of the clan. ::Now, that was news:: Parker: What happened? How did you take over from your father? ::The Welshman paused with the glass half to his lips. Hannibal was a member of the McGhee clan and thus could call on any clan member, vessel, or facility for assistance and expect it to be granted. At the same time he had no say in internal affairs such as running the company or internal power struggles, though Jaxon guessed the Marine would certainly prove useful in persuading others to provide him with their support. Either way there was no need to retain the news from him.:: McGhee: Well I had to, my father died 19 months ago. A shuttle accident. ::Hannibal felt a pang of sorrow. Although he had only met the man once, Hannibal liked his manner..no nonsense, and he welcomed he and Kamela into their castle:: Parker: I’m sorry to hear that. Jarred was a good man. Do they know what caused it? McGhee: I’m not so sure. He had those within the clan that didn’t see eye to eye with::break::well nothing was proved so far. I’m trying to look forward. ::Hannibal caught the inflection, the desire to leave the conversation where it was. If someone in the McGhee clan did indeed kill Jaxon’s father, it was indeed his call to either let sleeping dogs lie, or find out the truth. Hannibal wanted the truth, and after another swig, spoke:: Parker: I understand...but if you want his death investigated, I’m quite sure I can find the appropriate resources to get to the truth... ::Finding out the truth might be more traumatic than letting things be, and perhaps even place Jaxon and Joel in jeopardy. It was Jaxon’s call, but Hannibal had a feeling he already knew the answer:: McGhee: I have my suspicions Hannibal, however family politics are complex hurriedly pointing a finger can quickly lead to screams of slander and erode my position. Things are different when running a company and not a department ::The Welsh hybrid fell into momentary silence before continuing in thought:: McGhee:::musing and mulling::Maybe someday someone else will have a shuttle accident. ::Hannibal raised an eyebrow:: Parker: Jaxon...if you are planning such a thing I best not know more... :: Hannibal was a trained killer, and a Starfleet Marine. Jaxon was neither. Hannibal could make it happen and not leave a trace, but even if Jaxon asked him to do it, de would decline...Hannibal was many things, but murderer was not one of them:: ::Jaxon turned to Hannibal and took in the look on the Marines face and felt his own brow furrow. Then again they hadn’t spoken in nearly 2 years and he wasn’t to know that Rianne had help him break down some of the antisocial habits he had nurtured. McGhee: Hmm?::turning and smirking::Only a bad joke Hannibal, don’t worry my vest is still clean.::recalling S’Caan::Or at least acceptably grubby.::more to himself::No further incidents ::Hannibal remembered S’Caan, McGhee’s evil alter ego. The two never tangled, but there was no doubt when he looked in his eyes that he was a stone cold killer...but to kill him also meant he would kill Jaxon. Hannibal hoped it would never come to that:: Parker: How are you doing at keeping him at bay? ::Hannibal remembered S’Caans’ handiwork during the 2389 invasion. He was as brutal, lethal, and merciless as Hannibal himself, perhaps more so:: ::The question came as no surprise as they had both talked at length about his alter ego especially as the Marine was one of the few who knew of his existence. Someday Jaxon wanted to ask Hannibal of his thoughts and sentiments upon seeing the quiet and serene Vulca-Human Chief suddenly cutting through his opponents just as easily as the seasoned veteran Marine himself.:: McGhee:::pulling on his cigar, nodding in confirmation:: He is still in there someone and S’Kendel is assisting me in holding at bay. Parker::Nodding::I’m glad you have him under control...how does he feel, being trapped inside your head? McGhee: Angry. I expect he feels….::explaining::The first mindmeld while I was a teen didn’t bring S’Caan and the negative to the surface, but pushed him so far into my mind that he almost became subconscious. It is the reason S’Kendel didn’t sense him over the years. Parker: A mind meld? McGhee: Sort of. More a surface mindmeld.::slowly::A full mindmeld...um even between family is …. very intimate Hannibal.::shifting uneasily on the sofa:: ::Jaxon got up and refilled their glasses, the amber liquid glugging out of the bottle. While the alcohol was loosening his tongue, it was still a difficult subject. How should he explain this to the massive outgoing marine?:: McGhee:::pouring drinks::I’ll try and explain::handing Parker his glass::As our women are not here Hannibal we could speak freely of our past escapades without shame and maybe even with a little pride? ::It was true they had an empty house, and Hannibal was no shrinking violet when it came to women. It was bad form on the verge of suicide to speak of past conquests in the presence of his wife. Smiling, Hannibal spoke:: Parker: No shame here. Only fond memories. So...tell me...did you... McGhee:::laughing, picking up his cigar::No nothing like that. But as two grown men we would be able laugh and maybe boast about our different encounters. But do you think the 15 year old Hannibal and Jaxon would both be just as easy on the subject back then? ::At fifteen, Hannibal was no longer a virgin, but talk of such things would have been difficult for him them. HIs father didn’t even know of his son’s prowess until he made sixteen, and that was when a neighbor heard him and his paramour in the barn:: Parker: No...Hannibal then was not the Hannibal you see now... McGhee: It’s the same with a mindmeld, everything is shared and two become one. S’Kendel was trying to protect me and as I was emotionally unstable he only delved into the upper layers of my mind and shared his. Unfortunately he didn’t expect me to learn how to shield my mind and while he thought he was uncovering things and helping me I was unwittingly hiding things that I thought was private and he accepted it. Add five or six years without his guidance and S’Caan had taken root. Parker: And there he stayed, until you were no longer able to contain him… McGhee: Exactly. TAG JP Simmed by Major Hannibal Tiberious Parker Marine CO USS Thunder-A/ Duronis II Embassy C238703HP0 And Civilian Jaxon McGhee Head of the McGhee Freighter Consortium Writer ID: E238801JM0
  4. ((Transient Quarters, Starbase 104)) Bakewell: So, how’d it go? ::Professor Ramsey Bakewell, pre-eminent Federation Xenosociologist asked as he stuck his feet into a pair of old carpet slippers and lowered himself into the old leather chair with it’s prolapsed stuffing.:: Saveron: They were… unexpectedly disinterested. ::The simple console in the Starfleet transient quarters did at least have a direct link to the station’s subspace hub; the signal quality was excellent even this far out.:: Bakewell: It’s the other side of the Empire for them; the Klingons on that border are probably more concerned about the Tholians than the Romulans. ::The salty-haired academic opined as he swivelling his chair around, his face lit by the screen in front of him, in the otherwise dim and cosy study. Two items were laid on the green leather of the desk; a steaming mug presumably full of coffee, and a tribble.:: Saveron: The cultural comparison suggests distinct commonalities and certain lines of approach, but the issue of Klingon aggression towards what remains of the Romulan Star Empire appears to have no simple solution. ::Long fingers curled around the Vulcan’s cup of theris-masu.:: Bakewell: Someone would have solved it already if it did. ::He observed, taking a swig of his coffee and absent-mindedly putting it down on to of a PADD.:: How’s Desideratum? ::The Vulcan quirked one upswung brow before reaching under the desk and producing a small carry cage. From inside it he took his own tribble; this one had long, white hair that trailed behind it as it ambulated gently across the desk.:: Saveron: As you may observe, Fluffy is in adequate health. ::He replied, as though the shift from interstellar politics to tribbles was nothing unusual.:: ::In the case of his erstwhile PhD supervisor, it wasn’t. Bakewell gave him a flat look.:: Bakewell: If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times. FCXR Moonbeam Desideratum is a highly hybridised show tribble with a distinguished pedigree; you can’t call it ‘Fluffy’. ::He pointed at Saveron via the screen with a pair of fine tweezers and a scowl.:: Saveron: One would suggest that the truth of the matter is that one has already done so. ::He observed dryly.:: I recall that it has a disqualification registered. Bakewell: It would be a champion if it didn’t. Has it still got the spot? ::Saveron obligingly picked up the White Angora tribble and turned it over, displaying the small black patch of fur which was the source of it’s show disqualification whilst Ramsey studied it critically, before putting it down again.:: Bakewell: More’s the pity. ::He muttered.:: I’ve never bred another Angora White that close. Nor has anyone else. Take this now. ::He gestured to the ball of fluff in front of him.:: Lucky if it’s got two thirds the length on Desideratum, I had it shipped in from another hybridiser and it’s a good job I practice strict quarantine on imports; it’s got the Antaran Mange. ::He grumbled, picking at the tribble’s fur with the tweezers. It was coming out in clumps.:: Saveron: One believes that is a notifiable disease. ::The Vulcan observed.:: Bakewell: You bet it is, and I’m hoping to cure it before it has to be destroyed. Tahla would have a fit, but Iklis is going to lose his stock over this. ::He rattled off first names, assuming Saveron was up on the great hybridisers of show tribbles because that was what was important in life. Shrin’Tahla zh’Aim was an Andorian news reporter known for her scathing sports coverage; Antaravan Iklis a Bajoran archaeologist who specialised in relics associated with Pah Wraith cults. And Ramsey Bakewell advised Federation diplomats.:: Saveron: One would suggest that prevention of an epidemic is of greater importance than preservation of the line. Bakewell: That’s because you’re a doctor. ::He replied, not looking up from the sick tribble.:: You have to care about that sort of stuff, it’s in the rules somewhere. Now me, I’m a sociologist, so I understand the importance of the tribble. ::A small tube of cream appeared, and Bakewell began applying the contents to the tribble’s bare patches wiht a cotton bud.:: Saveron: Such may not be obvious to everyone. ::He suggested blandly.:: Bakewell: Of course not. I wouldn’t have a job if it was. ::His rather sad-looking tribble started to coo under his gentle ministrations.:: But the tribble really is the perfect, simple model of all living things. It breathes, it eats, it poops, and it replicates. That’s what life comes down to. Resources in, waste and more life out. All the drives boil down to that. Saveron: No mention of sentience, culture, complex behaviour? Bakewell: Froth on the coffee. ::He waved a hand dismissively.:: Take your Klingons. They’re getting some resource from preying on the Romulans - probably space and easy access to already mined metals. If you want them to stop, they need some reason not to, either another source or some strong discouragement. Or they could be removing a perceived danger; Romulans have never liked Klingons. Neither do tribbles. Saveron: They did evolve in Klingon space. Bakewell: Right, so natural anti-predator response. And they have one complex behaviour that no one really understands. ::Right on cue Fluffy, Saveron’s tribble, started to sing.:: Saveron: Indeed. ::He replied dryly.:: So you would suggest that if one would understand more complex life forms, one might first study tribbles. Bakewell: Exactly. You can learn a lot from tribbles. And if you feel you understand them, try cats. Because no one understands cats. END Commander Saveron Diplomatic Officer USS Constitution-B R238802S10 Posted 27 March 2017
  5. ((Corridor, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) ::The clouds were following him.:: ::They seemed to snake their metaphorical, wispy ways just behind Shayne’s striding body. He paid them no more mind than he had in the holodeck. Of course, passersby would be unable to see them. They existed purely as a figure of his imagination.:: ::But he’d always had an overactive imagination.:: ::Somewhere, long ago, he’d heard that when an angry, panicked, or trapped individual ever becomes calm and controlled suddenly, under their own volition, that individual was more dangerous than ever before. They will have accepted their fate, and come what may, they are prepared for desperate actions.:: ::And Shayne was so... very...calm.:: ::He was going to walk into that man’s quarters. And he was going to tell Traenor what he felt. There would be no stopping him.: ::He finally arrived in front of the door, and without any hesitation, he pressed the doorbell.:: ((Inside Traenor’s Quarters, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) ::Maxwell was sitting at his piano in casual clothes, idly picking away at a tune that he could not resolve in his head. He had been at it for an hour with no success, but the rote activity was soothing all the same. Barque was lying contentedly on the couch napping, happy to have the quiet companionship of his master, but he perked up at the sound of the chime with a quiet woof. Not expecting the summons at the door, Maxwell took a moment to assure his beagle before calling out an acceptance.:: Traenor: Come in? ::Shayne walked in a few feet, stopped, and stood at ease, hands clasped behind his back. He was going to tell the First Officer exactly what was going through his head. But he was going to do it by the book. It would do no good to loose his career over this. He couldn’t bear that.:: Shayne: Sir. ::Randal was the last person that Maxwell had been expecting to see, and yet all the same he knew that a meeting like this would have to occur eventually. He had not exactly been avoiding the helmsman, but neither had he gone out of his way to seek him out. The events of the past mission still played large in his head, and the eventual results of that mission had led to Maxwell to be uncomfortable with how Randal would react to him and his part in it. Subtle cues from Shayne’s stance and demeanor informed him that this was likely not to be a friendly social call.:: Traenor: ::forced geniality:: Mr Shayne, a pleasure! What brings you by today? Shayne: ::Keeping his smile friendly, instead of allowing it to turn into a snarl.:: I was wondering if I might have a word with you, sir. ::Leaning forward slightly.:: May I have permission to...speak freely? ::Barque let out an almost inaudible, low growl. Shocked by the uncharacteristic behavior, Maxwell shooed Barque into the sleeping chamber and closed the door, before offering Randal a seat at the small table in the main room. He made his way to the replicator.:: Traenor: Of course. Please, have a seat, can I get you anything? Shayne: Oh, no thank you sir. That won’t be necessary. ::Now his voice was beginning to exhibit some of the cold fury that had run through his veins for weeks. They were cold words. But he wasn’t even getting started yet. He sat, slowly, as if his entire body were made of warped, creaking metal, never taking his eyes off the First Officer.:: ::Taking calm, measured actions, Maxwell summoned a Bajoran coffee for himself and sat down at the table himself. He made sure to keep his posture and expression open and inviting, in contrast to the nerves and apprehension he felt ruminating within.:: Traenor: ::earnestly:: What’s on your mind, Mr Shayne? Shayne: Oh, the usual tribulations of life. I was just wondering...how you were feeling after the...mission. ::The question was not asked in a concerned fashion. No, it was clear that there were fangs behind it. Frankly, Shayne couldn’t give two [...]s what Traenor was feeling at that moment. His anger was starting to boil, and pretty much anything Traenor said would likely feed the fires of his ire.:: Traenor: It has caused me a lot of introspection. It was a difficult mission for all of us. Shayne: oO Introspection, huh? How’s this for “introspection”? Oo Shayne: ::Still keeping a perfectly neutral smile on his face.:: Oh, yes, quite difficult. It’s a miracle we all came back...isn’t it? ::Maxwell wondered how Randal would react if he knew the large role his doppelganger played in his dreams, the vicious, snarling shell of a caricature that loomed large in the nightmares that deprived him of quality sleep. Still working through the portent of the images with counselor Stennes, Traenor had no idea if would be helpful or harmful to himself or to Shayne if the truth of those dreams were revealed to him.:: Traenor: ::trying to stay neutral, professional:: The results of the mission were less than ideal. I find solace that all of our team came back relatively unscathed. Shayne: “All of our team”, hmm? ::Feigning confusion.:: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, sir. It seems, and I may be incorrect, that not all the team came back. Is it possible that we left a member of our team down there to be obliterated? I remember her quite vividly. ::Had Randal reached across the table and slapped him, Maxwell couldn’t have been more caught off guard. Cutting straight to the quick, Shayne had laid bare the root cause of all his own fears and consternations. Vivid images from his dreams flooded forth, paralyzing him with indecision and regret. The hand holding his coffee cup started to shake, from what overload of emotion he was not yet quite sure, and he placed it back on the table with a bit of a clatter.:: Traenor: That was… unfortunate, Randal. I didn’t want to condemn her to death, but circumstances at the time were out of our hands. Shayne:”Unfortunate”? No, no, sir, losing a game of Parrisses Squares is “unfortunate.” What happened down there was murder. Do you DENY IT!?!? ::He’d finally begun to lose his calm. Seething, white hot fury, resonating from his heart, spread to every tendril of his being and threatened to detonate in a fiery explosion of hatred. It was both liberating and sickening. So this was rage. He’d never understood why people got so violent when angry. Now he understood. Perfectly.:: ::A muffled sharp barking emanated from the bedroom. The scent of coffee was overpowering and nauseating. The pulsating sound of the warp engine bore down on his eardrums like a painful percussion. Every slight impetus was enhanced and was contributing to a sensory overload. Head pounding in concert with his racing pulse, Maxwell stared mutely for a long moment at Randal as one word echoed over and over, as it so often did in his recent nightmares... Murder. Murder. Murder.:: Traenor: ::quietly:: That’s taking things a little too far, Lieutenant - Shayne: Really? Really!? We could have saved her! You know that! Don’t deny it! It’s our job! We’ve sworn to preserve life, in whatever form it takes- whether it has skin, feathers, scales, or Borg implants. You...we were wrong! She’s dead because of us! ::The all-consuming fire of Randal’s white-hot rage was spreading, and despite his feeble efforts to resist, Maxwell was being consumed in the conflagration. Face contorting into a matching scowl, he lashed out with his own harsh words.:: Traenor: You think I don’t know that, Randal?! You think I don’t see her face every time I close my eyes, knowing that I let her die? You at least have the comfort of being absolved of responsibility. You were overruled. I don’t get that luxury! ::Chest heaving with gulping breaths that would not draw enough oxygen to keep his vision from swimming, Maxwell regretted his loss of control immediately. He was a senior officer, dammit! He needed to be the one to keep control, to keep his emotions in check. But, exhaustion and - yes, the truth - overwhelmed his professional sensibilities. With sleep deprivation etching deep lines of regret on his face, he sat back spent, sorry anew for all he had inflicted on Randal. The barking in the other room had given way to howling, but Maxwell was so invested in seeing his dreams writ large on the officer before him that he could barely acknowledge it.:: ::Shayne was still embroiled in his own emotions, but something small and potent penetrated his field of rage. Traenor was feeling it too. And he was the one in command at the time, a burden that Shayne did not envy, one that he could barely imagine. It wasn’t enough to end his tantrum, but it did bring it down ever so slightly. The pressures of command were astonishing. Anyone could make a mistake.:: Shayne: oO And he sees her face, too. Oo ::Her face had been practically all that he could see for weeks. Nothing was sweet anymore, nothing hopeful or friendly. Even the joy of being with Isabel was tainted with the knowledge of what had happened.:: Traenor: ::simply:: This is the point where I am supposed to spout the vapid platitudes that have absolutely no meaning and no comfort. “The greater good.” “The responsibility to the crew and the ship.” “Weighing risk versus reward.” But I insulted you with those already, in the heat of the action, and you deserve better than that. I bitterly regret my decision, and it haunts me continually. I feel your pain, and I want to legitimize it and acknowledge it for you. ::Now it is was Shayne’s turn to be surprised. Traenor recognized the the futility of trying to appease Shayne by talking about the usual things. Furthermore, it seemed like he wanted to apologize to Shayne. He said that the helmsman deserved more- hardly the response Shayne was expecting. Was he expecting anything? No, not when he came into the room. Not when this conversation began. He just wanted- needed- to vent. To lambast. But Traenor was a human, too, most likely a better one than Shayne would ever be.:: Shayne: ::Not trying to rub it in his face.:: I think we’re all going to regret the choices each of us made on that day, not just you. Traenor: I can’t take back my decisions. What’s done is done. And I won’t insult your intelligence and lie to you, and tell you that this type of situation will never occur again. Hindsight is a luxury that officers never have the benefit of in the heat of the moment. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t human, and that regret isn’t the burden we bear for those actions. Own your regret, be angry at me. You deserve it. But, don’t think me an unfeeling monster. There’s enough regret for everyone. ::He was still angry enough to fracture transparent aluminum. But...if anyone understood regret, in all its sickening grandeur, it was Shayne. Traenor’s words were so...familiar. They echoed what he’d wanted to say so many times over, regarding his own various regrets. The man wasn’t looking for the easy way out, he wasn’t begging forgiveness- not, at least, that Shayne could tell. He was owning it. He was taking responsibility. And while Shayne still found his actions repulsive, Traenor’s words struck a most potent chord. Almost at once, his burning hatred left his body, and he found himself utterly exhausted. He slumped into the chair. Traenor’s pain was something he was intimately familiar with; the desire to be forgiven, but refusing forgiveness. It was a dangerous slope. And while the helmsman didn’t doubt that Traenor had his fair share of regrets over the years, he might not have the same experience as Shayne. Shayne knew he wanted forgiveness, and he knew that he could never truly have it until he forgive himself. Perhaps that was what he’d need to do; help Traenor to forgive himself. He only wished someone would’ve told him that long before. It would be a long time still before Shayne truly forgave himself. Maybe he could spare Traenor from the same fate.:: Shayne: I still can’t agree with you. ::Maxwell would have dearly cherished absolution from Shayne, but he was not so naive to think that it would be so easily earned. Besides, what reason would Shayne have to grant him what he could not even grant himself? It tore him up inside to think that any other of the crew… his friends… burdened themselves with additional baggage that was not theirs to carry by right. He would be content to allow Shayne to rail at him for hours, days, weeks even, as long as it gave him an outlet to shed some of the pain from actions and decisions that had gone awry. Maxwell would have to come to terms with the situation through his own means, and the expert ministrations of Didrik, but in the meantime this cathartic confrontation stood on its own merits.:: Shayne: ::Very, very quietly, almost as if he was selling his soul.:: But I understand. Traenor: I… don’t know if there’s anything more I can add at this time, other than my sincere apologies for causing you such grief. A hollow sentiment, I’m sure, but I extend it all the same. Shayne: ::Surprised at his own words.:: Then let me make a, perhaps equally, hollow sentiment. Somehow, sometime, not now, not soon, but sometime, forgive yourself. Only then can you live without weight wrapped round your soul. ::Feeling that both men had spent their destructive energy and were, if not at peace, then at least at an uneasy truce over their emotions, Maxwell rose wearily and moved next to the door, signalling an intent to bring this confrontation to a closure… for now. He would make himself available to Randal any time the helmsman needed someone to vent to, and he would respect the sanctity of the honest right to speak freely, and never hold the man’s strong words against him.:: Traenor: This doesn’t have to end here. Anytime you need to revisit this, I’ll be here. ::Shayne stood heavily, and slowly made his way to the door. It opened as he approached, but he stopped, and, hesitatingly, he turned to the First Officer, exhaustion, sadness, and a hundred other sensations apparent in his eyes. Then, without a word, he began to to extend his arm, obviously thinking of shaking Traenor’s hand. But he found that he couldn’t. There were no words, and no gestures that would sufficiently express what he (or Traenor) was feeling. Letting his arm drop to his side, he left Traenor’s quarters, seeking the solitude of his own, if only for a little while. The world looked a little different now.:: LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - First Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A A239111MT0 and Lt Randal Shayne - Helmsman, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A G239202RS0
  6. (( USS Conny - Corridor)) :: His shift had finally ended. The long drawing day had eaten at Jack's patience and moral. After walking around in the dark, tension and nerves on edge for so long, even the usually calm and collected had a much shorter fuse. He had snapped at her, out of line if looking at rank alone. That is what ran through his mind, what he argued and questioned. How much in the wrong was he? Never before was there a necessity to bicker with himself before talking with another. But this woman was different. Making him nervous when she was around, jittery like a schoolboy. He cared about her, her safety. She wasn't living for one anymore, her risks affected him and Tabitha greatly... He was wearing a hole in the carpet. With a hearty sigh and solidifying his stance, he fingertips reached for the door. It opened before making contact and he hardened his gaze, stepping just inside.:: Gard: ::calling out sternly.:: Akeelah? (( Quarters D’Sena )) :: It had been a long day, longer than anything she remembered in a long time. It wasn’t that it had been a physically challenging shift, but that entity having such an influence on her mind really had had a bad effect on her. Since she was able to sense it, its anger and fury, the loneliness and frustration had been ringing in her mind the whole time, which had been rather draining. After she had finally finished her shift and returned to her quarters she had taken a long shower and went to her bedroom to just drop on the bed to close her eyes and get a bit of rest, though her mind didn’t stop. She was just considering to meditate, when she heard the door open and Jack call out..She pushed herself off the bed and headed to the doorway. She wore her nightgown and was barefoot as she leaned against it, looking at Jack. :: Gard: ::he stepped in, the hiss of the door shutting the two together.:: Can we talk? :: The mix of emotions swooshing over her was intriguing, she was not even sure she could decipher all of them as they wafted and mingled too close to each other. She knew that if she said no he would leave, but it would break something between them. They had not been together long, but there were a few things that she could sense. Like that this talk was important to him. She gestured to the sofa and walked to the replicator. :: D'Sena: Would you like something to drink? Gard: ::he eyed her in her gown, she was a tall drink… He shook hiss head and sighed.:: No. D’Sena: :nodding:: What would you like to talk about? ::Jack let his shoulders sag as he leaned back against the door, arms crossed loosely on his chest. The long day sinking in more in the dimmed lights that were more easy on the eyes then the pitch black or brilliant bright. He watched her, she must have been sleeping and here he was ready to… To talk about what had happened earlier. Like it should have mattered that much. His tongue licked at the back of his teeth drawing his attention.:: Gard: ::flat toned.:: Today. :: Somehow Akeelah was not surprised. Their little meeting in between had been a little awkward. She got herself a tea and turned around to look at him, still standing at the door. :: D’Sena: I assume you speak about our … gathering. Gard: ::un-moving. He took a deep breath resetting his determination.:: If I was out of line earlier by pressing the issue, I was only out of line in regards to our ranks. ::he tipped his head.:: For that I will apologize. D’Sena: ::She nodded slightly.:: You were, and apology accepted. ::Keeping her seemingly un-moving full black eyes on him, she raised the mug with both hands and took a sip of her hot beverage.:: Gard: ::locking eyes with her from afar.:: But I did not agree with your decision, either professionally or personally. ::sternly.:: I thought it reckless. ::shaking his head but never looking away from her.:: An unnecessary position to put yourself into. D’Sena: Acknowledged, though I disagree. :: Her voice was still calm, she was used to people not having the same opinion, it was a part of life. She also had known that he hadn’t agreed with what she had done; going to the dark decks to search for the entity. :: Gard: ::he tightened his jaw.:: As I thought you would… ::he shook his head some, running his hand down his face.:: D’Sena: Jack, I am a security officer. I was in charge of the department, while Commander Sinda was on the Unity. ::He didn’t disagree with that, by no means. It wasn’t what he had a problem with. Even if it seemed unsafe even for said security officer.:: Gard: That I understand. ::he let her continue.:: D’Sena: We had an intruder and the job of the security department in the case of an intruder is to find that person - or in this case entity - and make sure it won’t harm the crew. That it was hiding out in the dark decks did not change that. Gard: You could have gone about it differently. Send others, larger groups. Something. ::he started to pace a little.:: Something that didn't leave you with *one* other person knowing where you were. D’Sena: You mean like you, who was alone when we met him? Gard: ::waving his hand.:: Yes I was down there too. Coordinating with others to get power online. I wasn’t searching for something unknown, something living. D’Sena: Because you are not a security officer. It is my _job_ to hunt something down. ::He wanted to just come out and say it. Say that he had been terrified that she would get hurt. He had lost the woman he loved in a situation he couldn’t control. He wasn’t ready to let the second one do the same thing. She wasn’t just responsible for her position and duty on the ship anymore. But… Would that be too much to say? Would that scare her away?:: Gard: ::frustration touching the edges of his voice.:: Were you aware that after a period of time your phasers would have been drained of power? :: Now she also got frustrated. Didn’t he understand? She raised her voice just a little. After this day she really didn’t have the strength to stay calm no matter what.:: D’Sena: Of course I was. Who do you think I am Jack? I have doing this job for longer than you are alive. I know that this is my job, that it can be dangerous. And it would be even more dangerous for those that are not trained for it. That is why I am here, that is why I do the hunting down. Because I am trained for exactly that. ::That stung. More than it really should have. But the ages being called into play made him feel more like a child in her eyes. Which left the poor flavor in his mouth. It didn’t bother him that she was, but for her to call him out. Of course he wasn’t doing much better. It just felt a punch below the belt.:: Gard: ::gritting his teeth, he spoke softer.:: You could have been seriously hurt. D’Sena: Don’t you think I know that? The life of an officer is that, the possibility of something happening. And I chose to be a Security Officer. It is my calling. I have been a chief for 25 years, And just because I am not the chief any more does not mean that I can sit in an office and twiddle my thumbs. I still have to go out there and protect the crew from any danger. But that means that _I_ have to face that danger so they don’t have to. ::He didn’t interrupt her, just let her continue from her standpoint. He kept his expression still but the turmoil inside was like a volcano. Everything she said should have been everything he had thought of, the more collected and reasonable side of his brain. Infact it was all things he had brought up to himself. But it fell on deaf ears. Apparently he hadn’t fully accepted her role in his life would be jerked around by her career choice.:: Gard: What if you were killed?. ::though emotions danced just behind his eyes, his voice remained ever sturdy.:: D’Sena: Why is that coming up now? You knew the whole time what my job is and the danger that comes with it! Gard: ::his chest weighted down his lungs as he searched for his mental footing.:: That may be your job. ::he found his footing and planted himself there, his voice sharp at the edges.:: But that wasn’t what I saw from you. Driven yes, but it didn’t look professional. It looked personal. :: She looked at him through those pitch black eyes, clearly sensing his turmoil. She still had no idea why this was such a big problem to him. She did what she had always done. Her job. Why was he so upset about that? She was quite close to read his mind to cut this whole thing short, but she had told him before, that she preferred to hear things from himself instead of having to dig for them. And she did not want him to have any pain, which would happen if she’d try to read his mind, other than his surface thoughts. He was right, it had not been all professional, it had been personal too, but that did not change that she had done her job. :: D’Sena: I am not responsible for how things look to you, Jack. Even if it had been, I was on duty and that means I am committed to my job. Gard: ::he glanced at the floor then at her.:: You have other commitments, ones that require you to stay alive. ::he took a moment to breath.:: If you don’t want to think about me, then at least consider what your actions would do to ::he punctuated the last word, the sound of pain leached out..:: Tabitha. :: Akeelah almost winced when he said that. Did Jack think so little of her? The cup still in her hand she approached him with leisurely pace. But her insides had begun to boil and it took her a lot to hold it back with that heck of a day she’d been having. :: ::Jack let the gap close between them, never leaving his place. He made her come to him. Two dominates with such fierce passion about nearly every aspect of life. Some would take their behavior as intimidating or stand-offish. But far from it. They tended to have such rare deep feelings about things.:: D’Sena: I _did_ think about Tabitha. Gard: ::he scuffed.:: Where you? ::he was equally to glare at, he too had gone off to focus on his work. But he had been in the area when the power went out. Unlike she, who had entered it. At least as far as he had seen.:: :: That was enough. She slammed the cup down on the small table next to the door and straightened her back, staring Jack deep into his eyes, feeling as if her own were made of liquid fire ready to burn him. :: D’Sena: You self righteous… ::She let go of a frustrated grunt.:: Who do you think I am doing all this for, Jack? Do you think I have become a Security officer to protect myself? That would be the wrongest job I could do if that is what I wanted. Gard: ::growing defensive, but somehow managing to keep his voice level.:: That is *not* what I said. D’Sena: ::She ignored what he said and her voice had become a growl.:: Shut it, it’s my turn to blast unfair words into your face. Though I have the feeling that it doesn’t matter since you were not listening to me in the first place. You see your side and nothing else matters. I am doing this job to protect the crew. If you haven’t noticed it by now, but you and Tabitha are part of that crew. ::He didn’t dispute that, nor discredit her career. It was simply how she had went about doing it! Couldn’t she understand that. The point he so desperately tried to get across before the volcanic eruption of emotions from her. Jack had never seen Akeelah this worked up. He had listened, simply strongly felt it wasn’t handle as it should have. Every hair stood at attention, feeling on edge was not a favored feeling. But she continued, throwing back in his face the very same reason he had come here in the first place.:: D'Sena: I went in there out of three reasons. And if you would ask instead of attack me you would know them by now. The first is what I already told you if you have listened to me. The second is that this thing messed with my brain, and I am a pretty trained telepath and empath and if it can do that to me, then imagine what it does with everyone else, let alone children and teenagers! I wanted to see the thing that is powerful enough to do that. And I wanted to get rid of the thing that threatened us all. ::Her voice had risen and she was furious. The wide wild hair, the grinding teeth, flushed face and fire in her eyes would possibly make her look like some angel of war, but she didn’t care. He wanted to know why she had done it, and he would hear it, all of it. He had no idea how much he had insulted her by assuming that she didn’t think about Tabitha, it had hurt as if someone had rammed a spiked knife into her guts. The usual calm exterior had fallen off and showed the rawness beneath.:: ::He had managed to be on the losing end of this conversation. It wasn’t her job that was the problem, but what she had done, or rather hadn’t. She didn’t try to keep herself safe and alive. That was what he saw as selfish. She had dived head first into danger to what? Protect? Who would she protect if she was dead? And how could he go on knowing that the only other woman he brought into his life he wasn’t able to protect. The man had an ego, well manicured and trimmed to not get too big, but it was still an ego. And it had been a long time since it had puffed up as big as it was. Only to have it poked at by a stick it felt like. :: ::Jack could see in her face that he went about this wrong. He had asked why it was personal, said his bit. Well he got an answer. He could feel heat rising to his own cheeks. Finally he broke eye contact. He was being a selfish jerk. It had been forever it felt like since he had let his overzealous emotions run away with him. He sucked in air through his teeth and sighed. He chanced a glance at the fire woman with his jaw locked.:: D’Sena: This thing sucked energy out of everyone on board, the crew, which includes you and Tabitha. And if anyone threatens my own… ::The next words came out yelling.:: … they will pay for that! I will not lose someone I love again, because I didn’t do all I could to save them! :: Her breath was heavy and rugged, something had torn down a barrier inside of her and for the first time in a very long time tears broke out of their cage and ran down her cheeks, while she still stood there, tense and shaking, fighting to keep it together. :: ::He looked at the photo of the two young girls. One unmistakably Akeelah, the other with similar features with a hint of her personality. There were few reasons people kept out such photos of their younger self; nostalgic and loss. Her last statement went to prove what he had already suspected. But those tears, leaving hot trails down her cheeks stabbed him hard. This wasn’t what he had wanted when he came down here.:: Gard: ::barely a whisper.:: Akeelah…. Just stop... ::He closed the gap between them completely by grabbing her hands and pulling her towards him. She might have tried to push away but he was just enough stronger and not so worn to keep her still. Long arms then reached around her, locking her in. His chin rested just atop the wild mop of curly hair. His face reddening from the flood of regret and pain. He dug his middle finger nail under his thumb, the pain putting his attention away from the heat from his face. It hurt in more than one way. A feeling of sincere loss of the mother to his child and the very real chance that he could lose the third girl to steal his heart. He had to fix this, make this right.:: Gard: We’re arguing the same fact. ::sigh.:: Both out of experience. ::he could feel his heart pound in his chest. This wasn’t how it was suppose to go. But that’s what he got for falling for someone equally strong as him.:: I wanted… Needed you to be safe, but there was nothing I could do. I know it is your career. And I accept and support,::softly teasingly.:: Not that you ever needed my approval. ::he took a breath.:: But no matter how much I tell myself that.. It doesn’t seem to make it any easier. :: Akeelah’s hands landed flat on his chest as if to fight him off, but he didn’t let her, pulled her closer and made sure, that she wouldn’t pull away, which in all honesty was what she was trying right now. She felt hurt, angry and shattered. A turmoil of emotions like a tornado on her insides, that she hadn’t let out for such a long time, she had forgotten it was there. And then he and his daughter had come into her life and she started to crack, flurries of wind slipping through the gaps and ready to break out at any time. :: :: Her feelings were too strong to feel his, somewhere suppressed under her load. She barely heard his words, but he made her listen, didn’t let her go, kept his mouth at her ear to make sure she didn’t miss a word. She remained quiet for a while even after he had finished, tried to make sense of what he had said. She could barely muster a whisper as she finally replied. :: D’Sena: You need … to trust me... Jack. Gard: I do trust you. :: It was scary for her how deeply she felt. They hadn’t started dating that long ago, but had spent so much time over the last couple of months. She had been closed up so long, didn’t let people in for so many years, that it was a little overwhelming. She wasn’t even sure how to put into words what she felt, so she didn’t say anything. Instead the bent her head back and tiptoed. Her hands still on Jack’s chest grabbed his uniform shirt and pulled him down, just to lay her lips onto his. :: ::The weight resting on his chest seemed to have such deep ties to his heart. The movement under him made him pull back some and look into those dark pools. He did trust her, it was never a question about that. At least not that he thought. He let himself be pulled down to her level and let hot lips meet his. But the moment was spoiled by the sound of the buzzer to her quarters. He pulled away letting his forehead rest on hers for a second more.:: Gard: We had better get that. :: She first hadn’t realized that the strange sound had been the door buzzer and when his lips left hers a gentle whimper came over her lips, wanting to return to his, wishing to get lost in them and forget everything else, to make up for the fight they had. :: D’Sena: Do we really have to? Gard: ::hearing the slight whimper.:: We can continue this part of the conversation later. :: Akeelah still had her eyes closed, feeling his forehead against hers and brushed her hands over his chest before she leaned her head back and looked up into his eyes. :: D’Sena: I’ll hold you to that. :: Turning to the door, she remained standing next to him.:: Come in. :: The doors opened and revealed a female officer in a yellow collared uniform, long black hair and a red dot on her forehead. Dark brown eyes looked at them both and Akeelah knew she wanted to speak when a blur headed towards them. :: Tabitha: Papa!!! ::tabby giggled as she ran and wrapped her arms around Jack’s leg.:: Kapoor: My apologies for interrupting, but the computer informed me that you are here, Lieutenant. ::She looked to Jack. :: I thought you’d like your daughter back before her bedtime. ::Jack felt suddenly lightheaded as his breath caught in his throat, eyes darting from the small form clinging giddily to his leg, to the woman standing in the door to the woman standing next to him. His face flushed slightly red around his cheeks and the tips of his ears. Here he was arguing with Akeelah and under the impression that Tabby was safe and sound. He had only just gotten released from duty and came straight here. It was more than a little embarrassing, more like little. Like a little but a lot.:: Gard: Uh- ::His voice caught but only for a second. He was good at covering up and recovering. He cleared his throat.:: Thank you, she wasn't trouble? ::He couldn't help how the woman seemed *light*, like the air around her. Did she know what was going on when taking Tabby around?:: Kapoor: ::Smiling:: She was a very well behaved angiras and enjoyed the best view on the ship. We’ve spent all day watching the stars and nebula through the shuttle bay hatch. :: In fact they had spent the whole time there, Tabitha never getting tired of it, pointing out shapes and swirls, asking questions and telling stories, a never ending well of talking. So as hard as it might have been to believe, both of them had missed everything that had been going on. The only thing they did experience was the short power outage as they had been in the lift but everything afterwards had been far away enough to not be noticed. So Chandni would not have gotten the idea that Gard or D’Sena could have been worried. :: Gard: ::curt nod.:: that's good. Thank you again. ::he said barely flushed, egging Kapoor back out. She had no idea just what she had done.:: Kapoor: No problem at all, Lieutenant, anytime again. :: She smiled at both of them, meaning every word. Tabby spent time with her boys sometimes and the boys liked her and Danzia’s daughter. Maybe one day they should have a group play date or something. Well now that she had delivered Tabby at her father, she felt it was time to leave again and give them back their privacy. :: Kapoor: I wish you a good evening. Namaste. :: She placed her hands onto each other in front of her bowing her head slightly before she stepped back, so the doors could close and headed to her own quarters and family. :: :: Akeelah hadn’t said a word the whole time. She had been able to feel Jack’s surprise and fear when he realized that he hadn’t had an idea that his daughter wasn’t safe tucked away as he thought she was. She reached out with her hand, that was so close to his that only a slight movement was necessary to wrap one of her fingers around his pinky. She raised her eyes from the little girl still holding onto his legs, to his eyes exchanging a look. :: Gard: ::setting his hand on Tabby’s head, willing his frustration down. He sucked air through his teeth.:: I think we should go. It's been a long day. :: Of course Akeelah did not want him to leave, but with having his daughter back, after just realizing that she had not been where she was supposed to be, the Rodulan understood the need to be alone with her. She was not sure because he had to speak words with her, or because he just needed time alone, but it was not her place to ask. And after their fight Akeelah was still a bit shaken up, and while she would have preferred to not be alone, she could use that time for meditation and some good sleep. :: D’Sena: I understand. ::She squeezed his finger with hers.:: ::The smallest of gestures had the strongest of meanings. He let the slim agile finger wrap around his own finger, it only went to further stabilize his sound thought. She was able to take care of herself, but she would always be small and fragile in his eyes. It was just his way. He moved slowly and planted a quick kiss on Akeelah’s high cheek before pulling his hand away to pick Tabby up and cradle her close, she tucked her head into the crook of his neck..:: Gard: ::looking back at her.:: So, you do love me. ::a coy smile.:: :: Akeelah’s gaze jumped to his. What had he just said? How did he … oh. She remembered what she had said during heer outbreak and she had meant every word of it. Her dark face took a slight reddish tint right where he had placed his kiss. She surely hadn’t planned to blurt it out like that during a fight. They were seeing each other for a few months by now, even if they had just started dating a few days ago. In that time Jack and Tabby both had sneaked into her heart and had gotten really comfy in there. There was no denying and her people really didn’t. They embraced the meeting of souls. A gentle smile danced over her lips. :: D’Sena: Looks like I do. ::Jack eyed the woman, letting what she had just announced sink in. He knew it already though, not through some telepathy or anything. Just Human intuition and his own personal determination to go after what he felt he couldn’t live without. For her to actually admit it though, had an almost surreal feeling, boosting his pride. He opened his mouth, wanting her to actually say those words, only to be cut off by the ever sleepy child in his arms. Perhaps later he would get you to say it. :: Tabitha: I love you papa! ::pulling back.:: and you too Ah-key-la! :: Akeelah looked at the little girl, remembering the disappointment and doubt when she had not answered these words in the same way a few months ago. Tabby had believed that Akeelah did not like her and did not want to be her friend, because Akeelah had trouble saying these words so early on. But time had passed. The Rodulan stepped slightly forward and placed a kiss on her forehead. :: D’Sena: ::whispering:: And I you. ::She looked to Jack:: Breakfast tomorrow? Gard: ::he bowed his head slightly.:: That sounds… ::he looked at Tabby, then Akeelah.:: very nice. ::There was hesitation in his steps as he took Tabby out of the room. They had fought, just to be wrong. It wasn't the worst but surely didn't go to strengthen his argument. At least his daughter had been safe with an officer instead of alone. The day had obviously been long even for the little girl as she laid her head back out, waving to Akeelah as they left her room.:: :: She smiled, she had felt that he had wanted to say it just to be interrupted by his daughter. Just the knowledge made her cheeks flush slightly. As she was alone again, she looked to the raw block of Basotile, considering to meditate. It was possibly a good idea, so she walked over and sat on the floor in front of the Rodulan metal and closed her eyes. But she couldn’t stop smiling. That fight had took a really good turn, and she couldn’t wait for the proper reconciliation. :: ------- JP by Lt Jack Gard Engineering Officer Simmed by Lieutenant Rustyy Hael Chief Engineer USS Constitution-B A239202RH0 & LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena Security Officer simmed by Captain Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator A238906JL0
  7. ((Surface, Planet PR-652)) ::It was oh so dark, and eerily quiet. Maxwell Traenor stood alone among the trees, lost. He had abandoned Kurt Logan to a drone horde, had abandoned Brell and Randal Shayne inside the weapons installation, and despite his efforts to get to the shuttle to rescue them, he was now helplessly lost.:: ::A breeze started up, whispering through the branches and brambles that reached their skeletal finger out to rake his flesh, murmuring secrets that hovered just on the edge of comprehension. His imagination heard the voices of Logan, Shayne, and Brell in those whispers, crying out in terror and dismay over his betrayal and abandonment. Frustrated and frightened, Maxwell shook his head to clear the voices and stared wide-eyed and unseeing all around in the pitch blackness.:: Shayne: Now you want to leave it here on this rock. ::Ringing out clear and loud as the peal from a bell, the helmsman's voice reached Maxwell's ears and caused him to whip around. Where before he was blind, now he saw the clearing opening up before him in an ethereal light. Highlighted in the center of the clearing was Randal, with a petite Borg drone beside him. Randal had his arm draped over the shoulders of the drone. Protective, perhaps? But his scowl said otherwise.:: Traenor: Lieutenant! You escaped the structure! Where is Brell? Shayne: I understand your concerns, sir. ::In Shayne's free hand was a large dagger, glinting in the ethereal light. But Maxwell paid it no heed. Eyes agog, he was staring at the drone. Beneath all the Borg implants, despite the grey skin, the drone was unmistakable. It was his niece.:: Traenor: Eden?! Eden, is that you? What happened to you? ::He made to run forward, sweep up his beloved niece and cradle her, comfort her and smooth her patchy hair despite his own anguish, and promise to do everything in his power, turn the universe inside out, to fix her and restore her and to...save her. But Shayne brandished the dagger menacingly, waving him off, then brought it up to Borg Eden's throat.:: Shayne: ::sarcastically:: There's too much risk. The drone stays behind. Prepare for transport. Traenor out. Borg Eden: Afraid! We...am...I...are...We are afraid of I. And I are afraid of We! Make it stop! Traenor: ::failed attempt to placate:: Hush, Eden! Yes, I will make it stop! ::pleadingly to Shayne:: I was wrong, Randal. That was not the right choice. But we can fix this! I have changed my mind, and we will save her! Brell: She is unstable. Sir. ::The Bolian officer had appeared off his left shoulder, and his quiet words made Maxwell jump. He turned, begging to Brell, trying to impress on him the veracity of his will and desperate desire to save his niece.:: Traenor: Please, Brell, please, help me convince Randal to spare her! Brell:: Move her to one of the other camps. That way she will be... *spared*! ::Brell broke out into malicious laughter, as if he had just said the most ridiculous, hilarious, patently untrue thing in the world. Tears starting to fall, Maxwell made to move towards Shayne again, but with a snarl he jerked the dagger ever closer to Borg Eden's throat, dimpling the tender skin there.:: Shayne: ::mockingly:: Is the drone independent? Are you absolutely certain it cannot and will not pose any risk to this shuttle or the Darwin? Traenor: Yes, yes, a million times yes! I will forfeit my life if you just spare my dear Eden! Logan: They're not part of the collective, Commander. ::Now Kurt was here too, appearing off his right shoulder. Maxwell turned his pleading gaze to the Security officer, knowing that the man was reasonable and sympathetic and amenable to his guidance. His eyes, his expression, his posture, his very soul pleaded to Kurt to assist him in saving his niece. Slowly shaking his head in the negative, Logan pointed at Borg Eden with his phaser rifle.:: Logan: ::slow, with finality:: Close the hatch. ::As if it were a pre-determined prompt, Shayne affected a ghoulish grin and drew the dagger deep and clean across its target. Borg Eden's one remaining eye shot open wide, and a pathetic gurgling voice issued forth as the skin of her face turned from a mottled grey to a pallid white.:: Borg Eden: Help. We are afraid of I. And I are afraid of We!... Help... ::And then she was gone.:: ::Traenor fell to his knees, howling his grief and anger for all the cosmos to hear, while the three men of his Away team stared at him impassively. Red-rimmed and tear-filled eyes glared at Shayne as Maxwell balled his hands into impotent fists.:: Traenor: You killed her! YOU KILLED HER! I KILLED HER! I... I killed her? I killed her. Shayne: ::with a simple smile:: Well, no, sir, not as such. But I think that she's okay now. Traenor: NO!!! ((Personal Quarters, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) Traenor: NO!!! ::Maxwell flung himself to an upright seated position in his bed, breath heaving heavily and heart beating a staccato arrhythmia fit to burst in his chest. Drenched in a cold sweat, it took a moment for his vision to stop swimming, and he saw Barque perched beside him in a submissive crouch. The poor dog gave an uncertain whine, licking his master's arm in an attempt to calm the obviously agitated man.:: Traenor: ::voice slurred from exhaustion and emotion:: S'okay, Barque, s'okay, boy. Just another bad dream. ::Maxwell absently patted Barque, before rubbing his eyes vigorously. He hadn't had a good night's sleep in days, and he was absolutely bushed. Nightmares had plagued him since the conclusion of the last mission, and though he had thought they would abate after a few nights, they were actually worsening. He wanted to lie back down and try to sleep again, but to do so would only invite more bad dreams, and besides, they had arrived back at Outpost Unity. Today, Renos was welcoming esteemed guests from the Alpha Quadrant, and Maxwell needed to prepare for his part in hosting them. But, there was two things that he needed to take care of, that he could not afford to put off any further.:: Traenor: Computer, prepare a message, translate into text, and send to Sickbay. Commander Traenor is requesting a surgery date to finally correct a persistent knee injury, all the details are in my medical file. Please advise me of an appropriate time. Sign and send. ::big pause:: And computer, prepare a second message, translate into text, and send to Mr. Stennes' office. Commander Traenor is requesting a counseling consult. Events of the previous mission have been causing me adverse psychological effects. I fear you'll need to set aside a couple appointment blocks please, at your earliest convenience. Sign and send. LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - First Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Top Sims Contest Facilitator =/\= Graphic Contest Taskforce A239111MT0
  8. ((SSC Deimos Station, orbiting Deimos, Sol system - stardate 239303.11)) ::It was 0758 hours and Lieutenant Commander Jonathan "Bullseye" Rusk walked down the corridor of Starfleet Starfighter Command’s primary orbital facility in the Sol system, Deimos Station. The huge space station orbited the smaller moon of Mars, and housed the majority of the pilots and fighters in the system. It was not only used for defense, but for training of pilots, and R&D and maintenance of fighters.:: ::He had walked this corridor everyday for the last two and a half years, so now the spectacular view of Mars out of the transparent aluminum hull wall to his left didn’t even register in his brain. He reached his destination, the Pilots' Briefing room, and the doors swished open and closed around him. The lighting was a little darker in here, and the noise level was certainly higher. The assembled pilots were chatting amongst themselves while they waited for Rusk to arrive. He strode to the front dais and set his assignment PADD down on the podium in front of him. He looked up at the assembled group. Nova Burn, the best fighter pilots in the quadrant.:: ::He waited patiently at the podium for the room full of Starfleet pilots to settle down a bit before he started his briefing. This briefing was going to be a little different from what they were used to. Normally these TRBs (Tactical Readiness Briefings) were light and full of joking around while still covering relatively serious topics. Teasing each other about their flying capabilities while discussing a CAP (Combat Air Patrol) was very routine, and not even discouraged by the pilots' senior officers.:: ::Today's briefing was going to be a little different, though. Today was going to hold a momentous announcement...at least for the pilots in the briefing room, including himself. He cleared his throat. The thirty-two pilots assembled in front of him slowly stopped goofing around and turned to face him.:: Bullseye: Thank you. We have a couple of items on the agenda today. First off, once again the Mars Defence Perimeter has officially requested that our pilots refrain from high speed manoeuvres within their airspace without prior authorization. I believe, Streak, that is directed towards you. ::There was a general outburst of laughter and agreement. A twenty-something human male with a blonde buzz-cut had a huge smile on his face.:: Streak: Sorry, boss. It won't happen again. ::Rusk waited for the laughter to die down before continuing. He knew the next piece of news was also going to elicit an outburst from the pilots assembled in front of him. However, it was not going to be a jovial one, but one of resentment and discontent.:: Bullseye: If I may continue? Next up is a reassignment. ::The collective groan.:: Juno: For whom, commander? Bullseye: (pausing) For all of us. PILOTS: “What?” “To Where?” “Whose bright idea...” Bullseye: If I May?! ::waiting for the clammer to subside:: Starfleet has a new outpost that’s going to need our protection. Kaali: Where this time? Bullseye: Pouiyeog Region. ::pause:: Delta Quadrant. ::There were more groans from the pilots. The Delta Quadrant was far from everyone’s home. Many of the pilots were human, and from Earth. Being in the Sol system allowed them the comfort of seeing their families. And even those not from Earth were usually close enough to their home systems. Bullseye: We’ll be ferried there by a Cutlass class, the USS Avalon. We have been chosen to serve as the senior fighter squadron on the outpost, and to mentor and train other Starfleet and non-Starfleet personnel, to whip them into an elite fighter wing. ::One of the pilots from the back of the briefing room piped up.:: Geech: Or at least to keep them from getting themselves killed, right CAG? ::The raucous laughter returned to the assembly. Even Rusk had to smile. Geech was considered the joker of the wing, a role he thought he excelled at. Often he did, but sometimes he tried the humor angle at inappropriate times. He’d almost been written up for insubordination on more than one occasion that Rusk had needed to smooth over.:: Frosty: What’s the mission profile, sir? ::Finally. The serious question. And leave it to one of the most naturally gifted pilots Rusk had ever seen. Francis “Frosty” Hilton was able to do things with a fighter that most pilots could only dream of. His kill ratio was currently the highest in Starfleet fighter pilot history, and he had made full Lieutenant by the tender age of 21. Frosty liked to have fun as much as the next guy. Just inquire about his bar tabs and one-night stands. But when it came to his job, he could have tunnel vision. His focus was incredible. Which was why Rusk had singled him out to be in charge of the flight training. Frosty just didn’t know that yet.:: Bullseye: It’s not a unique situation, but you’ll all find the details interesting. Outpost Unity is built on the surface of a Dyson Sphere. Goldrush: A what-now? Sparkle: A Dyson Sphere. A massive, usually hollow sphere whose diameter is the size of a planetary orbit. Takes huge resources to build and a very advanced technology. Ballista: At least someone was paying attention in astronomy class. ::More laughter from the group.:: Bullseye: Quiet down please. ::pause:: Thank you. The Outpost has two primary goals. The first is to study the alien culture and tech that built the sphere. The second is to establish a forward base in the Delta Quadrant to further political relations with the friendlies there. As such, the outpost is jointly run and occupied by Federation and friendlies. The pilots that will be filling out the rest of the wing will be some Starfleet, and some friendlies. Frosty: Will they, at least, be pilots? Bullseye: With the friendlies? We’ve requested that. But they’ll still need some flight time in our birds to get acclimated. From Starfleet? Probably not... ::Another collective groan from the assembled.:: Bullseye: ...with a notable exception. ::The group quieted to hear the news. This had been a major score, in Rusk’s opinion.:: Bullseye: Starfleet has pulled Lieutenant “Buck” Rogers out of retirement. Turnstyle: He retired? Gopher: Again? Geech: Third time’s the charm, right? Bullseye: Seeing as how there are known unfriendlies in the region, I’ve decided to split us up. We’ve been given three squadrons of Crossbows, two squadrons of Lancers, and our squadron of Hawkeyes. Our pilots and TSOs will fill half the Hawkeyes, and you’ll train to fill the other half. We’ll also fill the first squadron of Crossbows, take the principles of the second and train wingmen, and Lieutenant Rogers and trainees will fill the third. Sparkle, you’ll take a squadron of trainees to fill one Lancer group, with Amazon as your wing, and Sweetheart, you’ll take trainees to fill the other Lancer group. Pharaoh will be your wing. Questions? Trigger: Who are the unfriendlies? Bullseye: The Numiri. You’ll get a full briefing on board the Avalon. She should arrive at the outpost in about a month, so there’ll be lots of time to prep. We ship out in 72 hours. Pack it up and kiss your mommies goodbye. Dismissed. --------------------------- as presented by Lt. Cmdr. Varaan Chief Engineering Officer USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A Serial: V237810V10
  9. ((Cybenetics lab 2, Deck 7, USS Darwin-A)):: Valdivia observed the works, PADD in hand, trying at the same time to draw some conclusions from all of it and to avoid jumping into them without enough information. ::Valdivia: Chief science officer log, supplemental. Stardate 239304.10. As reported, our last mission has brought some new insight into the Borg, but also some moral situations that are not easy to address. After the cloud of nanites requested asylum, the away teams, amongst other things, recovered what looked like the machine used to create said nanites. After some study, the nanites are not simply Borg nanoprobes but an evolved version of that. After gaining sentience, they decided to flee the Borg, and the drones tried to stop them, leading to the current situation. :: Valdivia sighed, thinking how to continue. A scientist approached with a new PADD and Valdivia checked it. The blueprints of the machine, as read by the sensors in the cybernetics lab. They confirmed what they thought about the nanites. :: Valdivia: Let it be known that the morality of this whole situation leaves me uneasy. I know these are the Borg, but let's imagine for a moment that they weren't. Let's imagine we found a humanoid species whose immune systems gained sentience and the means to leave, and they went on a strike. The two parties requested Starfleet help. :: He wasn't sure where he was going with this, but it had been bugging him, He mentioned it to Renos, and ne was open to discussion, but the borg drones attacking them were a bit more closed to it. :: Valdivia: Now let's see, the immune system is now a sentient being, and they have every right to feel enslaved. So their request for asylum makes sense. On the other hand, granting it could probably end with the humanoid species completely extinct. So... what should Starfleet do? I have no idea. And, does the fact that the humanoid race happens to be one of the most feared mass murderers in the galaxy change any of this? No idea, either. :: He looked up at the force fields. A scientist and an engineer worked on the machine while a total of five people, Valdivia included, checked from outside for safety and support. Currenly the engineer looked puzzled at a commbadge he had just found inside the machine. :: Valdivia: Oh, that's mine. I used it to help get a transporter lock on the machine. :: He noticed several sets of eyes aimed at his chest. :: Valdivia: I... happened to acquire a new one. Anyway, pass it through screening to check it's safe before I take it back. :: The few seconds of surprise passed and everyone returned to work. :: Valdivia: Computer, erase last sentences and resume recording. The morality problem even gets worse. As said, this humanoid race, namely the borg, are one of the most feared and dangerous species in the galaxy. But we theorize these new nanites have the ability to modify other nanoprobes to the new model (side note: we believe that to be the reason they left the whole Borg group and not just a few selected drones. The intact ones were probably isolated at the moment). Therefore, if a handful of these nanites were to make it back to the Collective... would it be considered genocyde, poetic justice, or just self defense? Are these nanites to be considered a biological weapon of the ones we so harshly ban? I have no answers to any of these questions. And it does not fall on me to answer them. :: Reflecting, several silent seconds passed and he walked around the forcefield looking at his people work. :: Valdivia: Anyway, back to the report. The machine we found. Computer, record the following part in a secondary file and attach it to Fleet Captain Renos as a report. :: He cleared his throat, adding a more formal and scientific tone. :: Valdivia: Preliminary report. As the machine arrived to Cybernetics lab 2 at 1614 hours, it was set behind two level ten forcefields to eliminate the possibility of any kind of borg nanites, be it nanoprobes or building nanites, to be still present within the machine and invade the Darwin. However, scans did not detect any such nanotechnology and it was deemed safe to work with. It stayed behind the forcefields nonetheless. The scans confirmed field theories that it is a machine used to build nanoprobes. However, it was clearly modified on site, as some of the pieces have a higher concentration of germanium that the rest, which is also present in the planets soil. These modifications are coherent with the new model of nanoprobes, or should we say just nanites, present in the sentient cloud. That makes the conclusion that the Borg willingly modified them take force. The problem is, why? The facts are, these modifications basically cross a nanoprobe and a building nanite, with increased communications capacity. And nearly twice the size, although that's still viable through the systems of most humanoid species. Now, wild guess. The Borg needed building nanites with the adaptability of nanoprobes. Building nanites supposedly follow plans, while nanoprobes must adapt to individual systems. They needed the building nanites to improvise. To be able to rebuild the vinculum from nearly scratch. They needed CREATIVITY. And that sparked the new intelligence on the nanites. :: That all made sense, although it would still have to be confirmed. But some preliminary info was needed if they were to take a decision on the current situation. :: Valdivia: However, there is a missing spark. According to all I know of robotics, this shouldn't be enough to give place to sentience. I must admit my defeat in that area, and I hope that whoever looks at it further can find an explanation. I will look further in the meantime. End of log. Send report to Renos. :: After that Valdivia, feeling a bit frustrated, nodded at the people working on it and left the room. He needed some rest before coming back to it. :: TAG Lieutenant John Valdivia - Chief Science Officer - USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Department of Veteran Affairs D238701JV0
  10. (( U.S.S. Constitution - Deck 27 - Intel Suite )) :: Sol pulled herself out from underneath the console after having disconnected it from the computer systems. She pulled the chair back over and loaded the data from the Unity onto it. :: McLaren: oO Now lets see what secrets you hold... hmmm? Oo :: She tapped the console and began a security sweep of the files. She sipped her tea as she waited for it to complete. The console beeped when it was completed, finding nothing malicious contained within the files. Of course that didnt mean anything, but it was a good indicator. :: McLaren: :: she tapped the console, bringing up some of the Unity's logs, saving the rest of the encrypted Intel data for last. She skimmed the last logs... :: oO Lets see... Oo Computer: "Captain's Log - Stardate 9521.5 Our passenger continues to keep me in the dark about just why we have to keep hopping around the Nebula. Leave it to Intelligence to be as cryptic as possible. Engineering is preparing to hook up their new toy to my ship, Im not looking forward to the problems that could cause. And the crew is restless, theyve reported seeing apparitions around the ship. I dont think its serious... but I havent been able to shake the feeling that we are being watched by something here." :: Sol closed the log and brought up another one. :: Computer: "Captain's Log - Stardate 9534.2 Ever since we arrived in the nebula strange things have been happenng. Members of the crew have been disappearing. The Intel officer says he knows nothing about it, but I dont believe him. Ive called off the test of the device, theres no point in carrying through with them until we figure this out." McLaren: oO Well this is... unsettling. Oo :: Sol closed the log and pulled up the final one. :: "Captain's Log - Stardate 9535.7 This will likely be my final log as Captain of this vessel. Most of the crew is gone, we're being attacked by some entity. The jefferies tubes have been barricaded by those of us that are left, and there arent many. I doubt it will help. We've lost main power, and I'm not sure our distress call got out before power dropped.. I can only hope it did." :: Sol closed the log and skimmed the other senior officer logs, finding similar stories throughout all of them, though some ended sooner that others, and much more suddenly. She copied the crew logs onto an isolinear chip after being sure they were safe for interaction with the Conny's main computer. She plugged them into another console and compiled a report for the Captain and XO. She sent that away, and then turned back to the other console, bringing up the encrypted Intel data. :: McLaren: oO Now what was the spook hiding? Oo :: Sol started her slice into the data, trying to extract whatever she could, but any time she tried, the data self deleted, leaving her back at square one. She sighed, sitting back staring at her tea, now near empty. She yawned. :: McLaren: oO This is getting me no where... whomever this spook was, he was prepared. Oo :: Sol compiled another report on the Intelligence data, and filed it away. She removed the data from the console and initiated a wipe so it could be reconnected to the computer systems and stood. She yawned again. oO Time to call it a night... feels like I havent slept in a week... Oo :: Sol deposited her cup into the replicator and left the suite. :: --- Ensign Solaris McLaren Intelligence Officer U.S.S. Constitution NCC-9012-B C239210SM0
  11. (( Captain's Office )) :: Jalana did not sit down, she didn't like the big desk between herself and her people when talking with them. Instead she sat down on the little couch to the side and patted the seat beside her with a smile on her face. She was curious, and it appeared talking under four eyes was the way to go. :: Rajel: Come on, sit down. ::Akoni appreciated that the Captain was so genuine and considerate. However, that didn’t matter much in the current situation as she held back a frown. She eyed the spot wearily before slowly lowering herself onto the Starfleet regulated (if slightly more comfortable that her own bed) seats.:: Soriano: I assume this is about the purged code. Rajel: ::turning to her:: I am curious and it appeared to me that you didn't talk in front of everyone so I thought that we could have a chat between us two. Soriano: oO One on one, great. Oo What would you like to know? Rajel: Well for starters, tell me more about that information you got. What was it you gave Dag and Rustyy? Soriano: Well, ::She took in a deep breath and leaned back:: back when we were first looking for data on the Unity, Chelin managed to pull out a coded file, the one with the entity as Kalos and I found out later. While we knew we were battling ghosts, were never bothered to think or revert our thoughts back to the fact that all this started from an archive code. I called a friend that was helpful enough to give me the insight to realize that we needed to purge the code from our archives, just like we would a virus or malware content. :: Jalana perked up and leaned in slightly. It was good to have friends, that had answers when oneself didn’t have any. She herself had asked her own a few times when she was stumped, and sometimes that was all it needed to get an idea. Mulling it over, brainstorming and some marbles started to unstuck. :: Rajel: That is great, Akoni. Who is it, so I can thank him? Soriano: His name? ::She paused. She couldn’t lie, but if there was anything she’d learned from the Vulcans, including growing up with her best friend, it was that you could manipulate the truth, and that wasn’t lying.:: Tom. Rajel: It is nice of Tom to help you. Have you been friends for long? Soriano: Just a good friend as of recent. Helped me with my acclimation to the Conny. He’s a good guy. ::Well, that was kind of a lie…:: Rajel: ::Smiling:: She sounds like it. But we got off trail. Soriano: ::Shaking her head:: You’re right, my mind is wandering. Anyways, when I looked back into the decrypted file, I noticed that the file was not entirely nameless. It was more of a project file than regular file, called Alpha 1835. As soon as I read this, I contacted Dag and told him he should try purging it. I haven’t heard back from him since then. Rajel: ::nodding:: From what I heard they are working on restoring power and have been able to drive off the entity. So that must have helped Dag and Rustyy. Soriano: I'm honestly very glad to hear that ::she sighed in relief. Any little contribution to fixing the problem usually went a long way when helping each other.:: Rajel: I tried to get some information from SFI but I didn’t get anything apart from being told that all the information is classified. I’m glad that someone else got something useful, since they are no help. Soriano: Yeah, they are sure are trouble ::she muttered. Silence fell over the two. Akoni wasn't completely inept at starting nor holding conversations, despite the rumor that often followed the science department, but in this situation, she almost wished the Captain would just pardon her before she really had to dig a hole out.:: :: Jalana leaned back and pulled her skirted legs up the couch, wrapping a hand around her booted ankle. She leaned her arm on the backrest and tried to hide a yawn. :: Rajel: How are you feeling? Did that entity get to you as well? ::Akoni mentally sighed in relief yet again at the shift in the topic. She felt her composure relax once more.:: Soriano: It probably spooked most of us, but… ::she recalled the deathly horrifying moment where she'd ran from the not-really-a-child-but-more-like-a-demon-spawn, and the her brave encounter in which she was prepared to fight back against the other creature. That one should have scared her even more, but the Gods knew that Akoni would rather face monsters than children any day.:: I don't think it took too much of a toll. Is… Is it true that a crewman died? I heard someone talking about it in the hallway. :: It didn’t come to a surprise, that people were talking. News like these traveled faster than light on a ship, no matter the size. Anyone could pick up on it, tell a friend, a colleague and it spiraled from there. News, especially bad ones, never stayed confined. Her voice dropped slightly, as regret filled her. :: Rajel: Sadly it is true. Senior Chief Petty Officer Riyao has been victim to the entity on the Unity. It apparently got all of his energy in the end. Soriano: ::Akoni dropped her head.:: oO Just like the woman we found in the dark. Oo :: There were men and women who were losing their lives in such honorable ways. But to what extent?:: I was afraid it was true. I heard he was a nice man. Probably had a family and people that loved and cared about him. It's just… ::sigh:: Do you think it was worth it? ::She waved her hand towards the view of space. The Stars were barely visible as various gases shifted and floated gracefully around the Constitution as it drifted around the nebula.:: :: Jalana followed the gesture and looked out of the window, the discharges danced their way through the shifting and billowing gases, something that one would never see if they had stayed on a planet. It was a terrifying and stunning view at the same time. :: Rajel: It’s difficult to say in some moments. When we are losing a life it is one of them, that makes us wonder if it really is a better existence than if we had stayed where we were. But all the other moments, new worlds, species, cultures… We see so many things we could have never imagined had we stayed confined to our planets. I believe it is worth it. I’d just prefer that everyone would get out of it in one piece. ::She smiled wryly and looked back to Akoni.:: How about you? Do you think it’s worth it? Soriano: I wouldn't have joined StarFleet if I hadn't believed in adventure and sacrifice to pursue knowledge and wisdom. The opportunity to travel and just to experience things is worth it's weight in gold. :: The Trill watched Akoni as she spoke, tilting her head slightly as a smile danced over her lips.:: Rajel: I believe you have your answer then. Soriano: ::smiling to herself:: I suppose you're right. Rajel: And now that we have the gloomy part out of the way. Have you been able to settle in on the Conny before we got thrown into the deep end? Soriano: I think I’m getting pretty comfortable here. I’ve been getting along great with the rest of the crew, though, ::she shrugged and exhaled through her nose:: I’ve been so busy lately. Even before this mission, I was working on sending my reports on time and dealing with officials concerning the Romulan-Klingon battle cruiser scare from the time jump. It’s a lot to deal with going on at once. :: She could say that again. Jalana couldn’t help but smile. She didn’t think that she ever had nothing to do, ever since joining Starfleet. It was a rarity to have quiet times, but these times were lived to the fullest. Mostly because it was not clear when to get them again. :: Rajel: I can agree with that. Soriano: But you’re a Captain! You’ve got this all figured out. I’m not good at multi-tasking. Rajel: ::laughing:: Oh, Akoni. ::She continued to smile.:: I am glad it looks like I have figured it all out, but just between the two of us… I’m winging it. ::Akoni barked out a laugh with her entire body, crossing her arms over her stomach as she leaned back against the couch.:: Soriano: Well than you make it look really easy! ::She regained her breath as Jalana went on.:: Rajel: I have just recently become CO, even less time as a Captain. I have to admit that multitasking is one thing I am good at though, which I assume comes with the job of being a Doctor. ::Akoni raised her eyebrows again, surprised to hear the new fact. Though it would make sense since, just as she said, she was good at multitasking with such fluidity.:: Soriano: So what you’re saying is that I should drop science and become a doctor ::she joked::. A doctor, a Captain, and a therapist! Rajel: I might be new to being a Captain in this life, but I assure you, that I do what I have to do to protect the crew. And I have the greatest trust in everyone on board to help me with that. ::Akoni felt a true smile grace her features, wiping away any of the lines of worry that had found their way onto her face from the past events. She felt awed and inspired by the woman across from her. Akoni knew she had serious issues with trusting others, mainly due to her lack faith in people taking care of and respecting her. But perhaps in her time on the Conny, she could learn a lot from this marvelous woman sitting next to her.:: Rajel: ::Smiling she leaned forward again.:: And what are your plans? Soriano: Well, hopefully we’ll live through until we leave the nebula, so I’ll probably be preparing a quick status report on the ion stor- Rajel: Oh, I meant once we are back out of here, but go on, it’s always good to know what your intentions are on the job front. ::Smirking at Akoni.:: Soriano: Aha, oh ::Akoni leaned towards her knees and ducked her head, running her hand across the back of her neck while her cheeks tinted a slight red.:: Always ready for duty Captain ::She joked::. I’d like to spend some more time on the viewing deck. Watching the stars while listening to my Vulcan lyre songs usually gives me good peace of mind. ::Akoni inclined her head towards Jalana.:: What about you? Rajel: I don’t know yet, other than relaxing and doing anything but reading stories about ghosts. ::she chuckled:: But if you are interested in music, maybe we could meet up and do something together. I’m playing the Trillian Flute and I’m sure it would sound nice together with the lyre. Soriano: Really? I had no idea that you were interested in music instruments. What was it called? A Treel Floot? Rajel: ::Chuckling:: Close. A Trillian Flute. It is an old traditional instrument on trill. A wooden air instrument, well breath more than air, I’ll have to blow it for tunes. ::grinning:: :: Akoni thought about all the instruments she’d seen in her lifetime, but when she tried to think of any that required breathing through it, her mind went blank.:: Soriano: Tunneling air to create vibrations and therefor music… that is quite wondrous! We must play together after this is all over! Rajel: I would enjoy that. Of course only if you would like to, don’t feel obligated because I’m your captain or something. I prefer to be seen as an equal. Soriano: Posh! I have no doubt that your musical talent is better than mine. I’ve been playing the lyre for 10 years, and I’m still on a beginners level. Rajel: ::grinning:: Who knows, maybe it’ll catch on, just let me know when. ::She paused and clasped her hands. :: Well, I can imagine you have better things to do than sitting around here, chatting with me. At least while we are both on duty. Soriano: oO Right… work…. Oo We should return. Rajel: I really can’t wait to read that report on what happened down there in detail. I keep hearing bits and pieces, so I’m looking forward to the full picture. Soriano: It ought to be quite interesting ::She agreed, feeling weary again.:: :: Jalana got up from the sofa, brushing over her skirt to bring it back in position. Akoni followed after her and swiped a few stray hairs back into the already-falling-apart bun.:: Rajel: Well then let’s head back out and get back to work. ::Walking towards the door she looked over her shoulder to Akoni.:: Oh and thank Tom from me for his help. ::She smiled and then headed back out to the bridge. :: ----- Ensign Akoni Soriano Science Officer USS Constitution-B C239210AS0 & Captain Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator A238906JL0
  12. ((USS Constitution-B, Sickbay)):: It was impossible to tell whether minutes or years passed in the darkness, but Jerry was sure of one thing: this guy was terrible company. :: Milsap: oO Ya know, if you're gonna set up shop in someone's head you should make sure you have some conversation skills. Or at least bring a pack of cards or somethin'. This is ridiculous. OoEntity: oO Hungry. OoMilsap: oO Yeah, you said. Repeatedly. Oo:: Jerry wondered if he was hungry, too. He sort of felt what he could call hunger, but where he was headed he didn't think it would matter. He really hoped he wasn't already dead, because if he was dead and hungry there were bigger issues. Like, what do the dead eat? The only thing that came to mind was brains, and Jerry had seen enough of those in his day to know they were really unappetizing. While he contemplated which afterlife might offer the best sandwiches, his mind registered what he could only think of as a tingling sensation. ::Entity: oO Scared. OoMilsap: oO Son, you only have two modes, hungry and scared. It got old like two minutes after you got here. Oo:: Now the light was back, even brighter than before. The tingling sensation increased, almost like a mild electric shock. It faded after another indeterminable time. ::Milsap: oO Ha, how'd you like that, fool? No, wait, let me guess. Scared, right? Or maybe hungry. It's always a surprise with you. Oo:: Silence. ::Milsap: oO Don't tell me you're sulkin' now, son. Although it might be nice to have a new emotion in the place. Oo:: More silence. Jerry mentally searched for the entity but could no longer sense its presence. Apparently he was finally alone. Something about that bright tingly light made it go away, buy why? How? Suddenly he remembered the entity had only left Riyao for good after he was dead. So, that's what the light was. But shouldn't he have crossed over then, to some kind of afterlife? Maybe this was the Limbo he'd heard of. Or maybe there really was nothing, and he was just gone. But if that was the case, how could he still think? ::Milsap: oO Welp, something tells me this is gonna be boring. And I still don't have a sandwich. Oo:: He sighed, if you could call it that. Another short eternity later he could swear he heard something, faint and far off. There were voices, some urgent, but he couldn't make out the words. There were beeps and pings and buzzes. Overall it reminded him of things he'd hear in the sick bay.Sick bay, that was where he should be. His boredom gave way to sadness when he reflected on what he was leaving behind, the people he was letting down. Wyn. Of course Wyn would be fine, when it came to medicine - especially microsurgery - he had more talent than anyone Jerry had ever met. But Jerry liked Wyn, and enjoyed working with him, as hectic as it could be at times, and he would miss it. Tox. He wouldn't be able to camp with him again. Dial. He wouldn't get to help her become a full doctor. Jalana. What about Jalana? He liked her, sure, and he got the impression she liked him too. That dance they had at the holiday party was really nice. But it's not like they worked together every day. What made her pop into his head? ::Rajel: Hey Jerry. It's me, Jalana. :: Jalana's voice was much closer than the others but still sounded distant and unclear, almost like he was hearing it through water. ::Milsap: oO Oh, great, now I'm hearing things. Well, as far as hauntings go I guess I could do a lot worse. OoRajel: You might realize that I have never talked with an unconscious person, because I have no idea what to say. It's kinda useless to ask how you are, or how it feels, or if you have ice cream where you are, since you can't answer anyway. :: Unconscious? So he wasn't dead? Or was he just imagining all this as some kind of coping mechanism? Either way, at least it was someone to talk to, even if he didn't get a response. ::Milsap: oO I suppose I'm ok for the shape I'm in. It feels boring and no I don't have ice cream but I really want some now so thanks. OoRajel: You should see what Wyn and Nijil did to help you. I am not completely sure how it works, but I'll read all about it in the report. But I can tell you that a Tribble is involved. :: A Tribble? There's no way Jerry's subconscious would come up with something that insane, but it was just the kind of nutty brilliance Wyn was capable of. Maybe he really wasn't dead. ::Rajel: Sounds fun doesn't it? If the big that they told me got put together in my head, you had a bit of that entity in you, which drained your energy and put you here. I... I'm glad that they were able to do something before you'd have joined Riyao. :: Well the entity part was certainly true. As Jalana spoke Jerry could feel a genuine concern in her voice. Of course she probably felt the same concern about every member of her crew. But she didn't personally visit with every member of the crew that wound up in sick bay, did she? That was something to think about. At any rate, he felt glad that she was glad, and for the first time he had a real glimmer of hope that might come out of this after all. ::Rajel: Sorry about that. It has been a long day and this entity must have gotten some of my energy too. I even had some hallucinations of the Grim Reaper and for a few moments I had thought it was real.. I can't wait to be out of here. Oh we are on the way by now. So I hope you'll wake up in time to enjoy some of that shore leave we all have earned ourselves. :: Unless his mind was playing tricks on him, Jalana's voice was getting clearer. He focused on it, imagining it as a signpost marking the way back home. He just had to follow the path. ::Milsap: oO Grim Reaper? Oh, I can't wait to hear about that. I heard folks were seeing things, but that must have been a doozy. I am all for makin' ourselves scarce in this stupid nebula, and some shore leave sounds great right about now. OoRajel: Remember you owe me a breakfast. You won't get out of that. :: It really had been a long time since he and Jalana had shared breakfast in his cabin, soon after he'd first come aboard Conny. ::Milsap: oO Now that you mention it, I recon it is high time we do that again. Oo:: Jerry could clearly picture the imaginary path in his mind's eye now. As he watched it widened from a dirt trail into a rough country road. ::Rajel: You better wake up soon. I'll wait right here... :: The road transformed from dirt to asphalt, morphing into a city street, then a highway speeding him toward his destination. ::Milsap: oO Just hang on, I'll meet you wherever this ends up. Oo:: At the end of the road the light returned once more, but this time it started as a sliver, slowly widening as Jerry opened his eyes. Once they adjusted he could make out the bright lights of sickbay. He was still alive, and free of the entity's presence. A wave of relief washed over him. He wasn't in Heaven or Hell or Limbo or any other afterlife, but right back where he was supposed to be. Suddenly eager to get out of the biobed he tried to raise his head, but immediately realized what a mistake that was. He gently laid his head back on the pillow and heard something at his side. He turned his head gingerly and his vision was filled with Jalana's face, resting on her folded hands and sleeping peacefully. So it really was her voice he heard, guiding him back to the world of the living. ::Milsap: oO If this ain't Heaven, it's the next best thing. Oo :: He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep with a smile on his lips. ::Lieutenant JG Jerome MilsapAssistant Chief Medical OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239208JM01
  13. ((Planet PR-652, Valley of the Core)) Jorey: Well we won't know what's inside Pandora's box until we don't open it? ::Pandora’s box was a term that Merrick had heard often enough during his science studies, as certain experiments and avenues of investigations were described with that phrase. In classical Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth, created out earth and water. She was endowed by the mythical gods with beauty, musical ability, and speech and she was supposedly given a box or jar that upon being opened released death and many other evils into the world leaving only hope behind:: R'Ven: ::a small smile traced itself across his Rodulan features momentarily:: If memory serves, very little good came from opening that box. ::wiping his hands on his pants after he placed his scanner in his pack.:: And I am sure we could have found and easier to open this door. Jorey: ::Smirking.:: It's not the most efficient method, but it's mostly silent and a little fun to get your hands dirty. ::As Merrick helped Jorey brush more of the dirt and debris separating them from the interior of this section of the ship he looked over at Jorey and for a it seemed as if the Commander were hearing something from the other side . . . and for a moment Merrick thought he could hear it too. It sounded strange. Like one voice and many, but also jumbled as if he were hearing a conversation and snatches of words. It was all too mumbled to make it out.:: R’Ven: oO Could it be more of the Nanoprobes? Oo ::Retrieving his TriPadd Merrick tried to scan the interior but so far he was not getting a clear reading, but something was obviously there. Then Commander Jorey signaled.:: Jorey: There is something strange on the other side. Get it opened and take cover behind the open door. I'll hide out on the other side of the doorway. ::Looking at the door and then back at Jorey Merrick nodded as he got to the left of the door. With his right hand he held his TriPadd and with the left he reached out to engage the opening mechanism of the door. Even as he heard the door begin to slide open Merrick could not help wondering if this can be likened to Pandora ’s Box, were they now releasing the evils . . . or the hope? ::As the door opened completely there was an unusual sound coming from inside and was getting closer, it sounded to Merrick like a discordant buzzing noise, although that did not properly describe it.:: Jorey: Any idea what that is? R'Ven: ::glancing at his scanner and nodding:: Yes, it is . . . ::Merrick’s words were taken as a metallic cloud seemed to boil out of the doorway. It looked like a swarm of some sort of miniscule insect. Only the insect was so small that the swarm looked like smoke as it billowed and turned and spun! And it was almost as if Merrick could hear the cloud . . or at least he thought he could.:: R’Ven: oO FREEDOM!! Oo :: It took some time to realize that what he was ‘hearing’ was not through his ears but inside his own head, and it echoed like a klaxon in his mind!:: R’Ven: oO What was that? If there is something to be felt perhaps I can reach out to them? Oo ::Very carefully Merrick reached out with his mind, tentatively trying to touch whatever sentience was there . . . if there was any. What Merrick was unaware of was that while some of the cloud rose skyward a tendril had reached out for him . . . :: ((Inside Merrick’s head)) ::Merrick suddenly found himself standing in a vast open field. In each direction he turned there were only miles and miles of lush green grass and rolling hills stretching out as far as his eye could see. He could feel warmth shining down on him and looking upwards he saw a sky of the clearest crystal blue, the color was only broken by the sun beaming warmly down onto his dark skin. As Merrick looked around again figures start to appear of various races, some of them human, others Vulcan one even a Rodulan who is immediately familiar.:: ‘Arlisa R'Ven’: ::smiling:: You have freed us! R’Ven: Mother? ::Even as Merrick spoke, something was telling him that that was not his the Rodulan who had help to raise him.:: ‘Arlisa R'Ven’: ::a sad frown:: We are not your mother. ::The voice sounded strange, it was his mother’s voice, and yet wrong in some way he could not define. :: R’Ven: ::getting his barings:: You are the Borg then? ‘Kali Nicholotti’: We are not the Borg ::This voice came from his left side this time startling him and he jerked his to look at his old captain from the Apollo, a human woman of Japanese decent. She sounded almost angry, defiant!:: oO Why is she here? And where is mother? Oo ::As Merrick looked around his mother was gone, replaced by what seemed to be an endless sea of people.:: ::Turning back to speak to Nicholotti she was gone too now and he began to spin in place as different people moved around him, and yet all of them seemed . . familiar?:: R’Ven: ::sounding a trifle panicked:: Then who are you?! ‘Isabel Pond’: ::from behind him:: It's injured ::As Merrick paused to look at Pond he felt a coolness at his lip. Reaching up with a finger and pulled it back: Blood.:: oO I am bleeding? How? What is happening here? Oo ::As he looked back up at Pond Merrick thought he saw compassion on her face before she disappeared into the crowd of people that surrounded him.:: R’Ven: You are in my head! ::The realization hit him like a sledgehammer! Everyone he saw in the crowd is someone that he had met somewhere in his life. Family, shipmates, people he had not seen since his academy days.:: You are all memories. That is how you are communicating through my memories! ‘Maxwell Traenor’: We will not be silenced! R’Ven: Yes, but who would want to silence you. ::He thought he knew the answer to this one:: ‘Luna Walker’: ::The half Romulan engineer Merrick knew from the Apollo:: The Borg wish to recover us to take away our voice ::Merrick’s head was starting to pound as he fell to his knees, his strength failing suddenly. Telepathy always caused him pain, and now here he was pushing it harder than he ever dared. And he was paying the price.:: R’Ven: We want only to help you! ::He thought he heard a desperate edge to his voice. Maybe he was more injured then he knew.:: ‘Varaan’: Its communication apparatus is destabilizing ‘Graeme Cook’: We see it. It was not designed for this. It is damaged. ::Was that pity Merrick saw in [...] Cook’s eyes . . sadness:: ‘Renos’: Fix it R’Ven: oO What? Fix what? I have . . Oo ‘Vanik R’Ven’: You shall be free! R’Ven: Father . . . ::In a burst of humor Merrick realized they saw his telepathy as a form of communication much like a subspace transmission.:: oO Can they fix it something they do not understand? Oo ::Of course the tall dark eyed Rodulan standing above him was not his father, but he still felt a sense of comfort and compassion nonetheless. The question was, was that from his own memories or was it coming from them . . the nanoprobes who were ‘Not the Borg’:: ::Merrick’s world went black.:: ((Back in the real world)) ::Merrick found himself laying on his back once again, while above him the last of the billowing cloud of nanoprobes moved swiftly upward! He was alone again in his thoughts and for a long moment all Merrick could feel was a sense of profound loneliness and loss.:: Jorey: **unanswered tag** ::Strength was slowly returning to Merrick. Reaching up to his nose with his index finger, he pulled it back and found dried blood. He wiped it away:: R’Ven: I feel fine. ::Truth be told he did feel fine. He was tired and he felt like he needed to eat a very large meal, but he felt fine. Even his headache was gone. As he came to his feet Merrick glanced around, not quite sure how he felt when instead of a green field and blue sky he saw only a debris strewn area and a doorway leading into towards the Central Plexus.:: Jorey: **unanswered tag** R’Ven: I . . . I do not know what happened. I felt a . . . sentience there, it seemed almost call to me and I reached for it and . . . ::Merrick’s words were cut off by the chirp of an opening comline and then Varaan’s voice.:: Varaan: ::tapping his combadge:: =^=Varaan to Jorey and R'Ven. Doctor Cook and I are on the ridge roughly 20 meters from the wreckage. Can you communicate?=^= Jorey: =/\= I'm always ready for a little tittle-tattle, Commander. =/\= ::He turned to Merrick and whispered.:: You okay? ::As the call came in Merrick glanced at Jorey and then after a moment exhaled slowly and evenly as he realized that the voice was Varaan’s this time, not something else.:: R’Ven: ::nodding:: They must have completed their recovery of the Borg and are ready to join us? ::Merrick reached down to pick up his pack again and his TriPadd.:: I am fine, really. Jorey: ::Brayden holstered his weapon.:: What do we have, Lieutenant? =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= LIEUTENANT MERRICK R'VEN Science Officer =/\= Cybernetics Officer USS Darwin-A =/\= ID: A239210MR0 “Clarity of thought and accuracy of conjecture.” =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
  14. ((2373: The Dominion War)) ::It was complete darkness as one voice called out.:: Shevchenko: Joseph! ::Lieutenant Joseph Washington opened his eyes slowly. The Yuan Tseh Lee's operations officer had been thrown to the deck, and he could barely hear Lieutenant Martina Shevchenko, the chief engineer, over the ringing in his ears. Around him, he saw engineers running to their stations, trying to get a status update on the ship.:: Shevchenko: Joe! Are you okay? ::She bent over, extending a hand to help him up.:: ::He grabbed hold of her and brushed himself off.:: Washington: I’m fine. Just- ::A sudden sharp stabbing pain in the side of his chest seized his breath.:: Shevchenko: We need to get you to sickbay. ::He was defiant, even as he held his side.:: Washington: No! We need to find out what happened. ::The ship continued to rumble from weapons fire, the bulkheads groaning as duranium twisted apart.:: Washington: =/\= Engineering to bridge! =/\= ::There was no answer, only static. He tried again, but it was no use. There was no one there to respond.:: Tanaka: The bridge is gone, lieutenant! ::Joseph turned to see Ensign Tanaka shaking his head at his console.:: Tanaka: The bridge, the ready room, deck 1 and nearly half of deck 2 have been obliterated. ::Joseph had only a second to consider what that all meant.:: ::Captain Cho. Commander T'Shen.:: ::Claire… :: ::All dead.:: ::He tried to make his way next to Tanaka, wincing as he did so.:: Washington: What’s the rest of the ship look like? ::The young ensign cycled through various damage reports, all flashing with far too much red text.:: Tanaka: Phasers, photon torpedoes… all off-line. Dorsal shields collapsed. Ventral shields at 20%. ::Another volley of weapons fire rocked the ship. Martina yelled back, annoyed.:: Shevchenko: Would someone tell them we’re on a mission of mercy? ::Mercy. How had it come to this? They’d been escorting the medical convoy when engineering first reported a strange fluctuation in the antimatter stream. He'd gone down from the bridge to help out.:: ::Two more minutes and he'd have been dead along with the rest of the bridge crew.:: ::He tapped his combadge. There wasn’t time now to mourn. They had to survive first.:: Washington: =/\= Washington to all hands. The bridge has been destroyed. I’m taking command. All remaining senior staff, report in. =/\= ::Doctor Corax was the first, the Trill's calm voice a welcome reprieve from the continued chaos in engineering as crewmen battled plasma fires.:: Corax: =/\= Sickbay here... captain. =/\= ::”Captain.” He wasn’t sure he was ready to hear that just yet.:: Washington: =/\= Doctor, what’s our casualty report so far? =/\= Corax: =/\= Including those on decks 1 and 2, at least twenty-two, but additional casualty reports are coming in from all decks. =/\= ::Martina interjected.:: Shevchenko: =/\= Doctor, you need to do an emergency medical transport for Lieutenant Washington- =/\= Washington: =/\= Belay that. I’m fine. =/\= ::This time, the engineer was firm as she looked right back at him.:: Shevchenko: No, you’re not! And you’re no good to this ship if you suddenly collapse unconscious from your injuries. ::He wanted to argue, but what could he say? She was right.:: Washington: ...fine. =/\= Doctor, send a medical team to engineering. I’ll check in with you later. =/\= ::Perhaps the Trill doctor understood the desperation of their situation as he merely acknowledged the order before closing the com.:: ::Martina though continued to give him *that* look.:: Washington: If the medical team says I need to go for immediate surgery, then I’ll let them take me, but for now, I need you to figure out a way to get our shields back online, lieutenant, or at least give us something to shoot back with. ::The woman nodded and looked back over at the “pool table” display console in the center of engineering. After the other surviving department heads called back, Joseph quickly joined Martina by her side.:: Washington: What’s it looking like? Shevchenko: Well, the weapons systems are a complete no-go. The entire EPS grid to those systems are down. It’ll take at least an hour. ::He knew most captains would just shout that they didn’t have an hour, but he also knew Martina. If she said it'd take an hour, she was telling him how dire their situation really was.:: ::But then, he noticed something.:: Washington: It looks like the tractor beams are still undamaged. Shevchenko: Yeah, but we’re not planning on towing anything anytime soon… ::She looked back at him, furrowing her eyebrows.:: ….are we? ::Joseph had already turned to Tanaka.:: Washington: Ensign, reconfigure your console for helm control. I want you to do a 180 degree rotation on my mark. Flip us over so we can tractor the Jem'Hadar ship. Tanaka: Yes, sir! ::Martina shook his head.:: Shevchenko: You can’t be serious... Washington: It’ll buy us some time. ::He looked back at the ensign.:: Now, ensign! ::The lumbering vessel rolled over as the Jem'Hadar ship continued to fire, but then as the craft turned around to begin another strafing run, the Yuan Tseh Lee’s tractor beam shot out, catching the attacker and holding it suspended in space.:: Shevchenko: You know that’s not going to hold them for long. ::He nodded as the ship rocked again. On Ensign Tanaka’s makeshift viewscreen, he could see the trapped vessel still firing pot shots at the Yuan Tseh Lee from within the tractor beam’s grip..:: Washington: Just get our weapons back online... ::All those deaths. The senseless violence. He shook his head.:: ::It was supposed to be a mission of mercy, but the Dominion knew no such thing.:: ((Twenty Years Later...)) ::Commander Joseph Washington walked through the corridors of his ship, the Sovereign class USS Pioneer, as it continued its patrol along the border of the Tholian Assembly.:: ::With the planet Inox still in chaos after its revolution last year, Starfleet Intelligence reported that the famously xenophobic race was beginning to become restless at the deteriorating situation occuring on their doorstep. Starfleet, of course, was bound by the Prime Directive not to interfere. The Tholians, though, had their own code that they lived by, and Joseph knew it was only a matter of time before the Assembly's Ruling Conclave decided that "defensive annexation" -- a favorite tactic of the Tholians -- was justified.:: ::As he made his way to his quarters, various crew members would stop in their tracks and snap to attention, acknowledging his presence. He simply nodded back. It'd been now over ten years since he first set foot on this vessel, first as her chief tactical officer, and then as her first officer. For the last four years, he'd had the duty to serve as her captain. In that time, he was proud of what he'd achieve. His crew understood the standards he had set for them and their discipline reflected that.:: ::He was strict, but he had to be. He'd seen far too many colleagues -- not to mention dear friends -- return home in coffins. Life and death on the front lines of war and on the frontier of space was decided in a matter of seconds. He might not have been their friends, but he had [...] sure trained them well.:: ::When he finally had settled into his quarters, his first officer Lieutenant Commander Jeong paged him.:: Jeong: =/\= Sorry to disturb you, sir, but you have a call coming in from Starfleet Command. =/\= Washington: =/\= It's all right, commander. I'll take it here. =/\= ::When his desktop viewer activated, he nodded at the familiar sight of Admiral sh’Hiel.:: Washington: =/\= Admiral. =/\= ::The Andorian shen nodded back, the two pretending as if they didn't hate each other.:: sh’Hiel: =/\= Commander. What's the status of the Pioneer? =/\= ::Always straight to the point with her, of course. Then again, Joseph had little time for pleasantries and meaningless drivel. He didn't care about her brood just as he was sure she didn't give a [...] how he was feeling today. So why bother?:: Washington: =/\= The situation remains the same, admiral. We've detected no new movements along the Tholian border and no subspace transmissions. =/\= sh’Hiel: =/\= So the Tholians have decided to wait and see. Perhaps the analysis by Intel was overzealous. =/\= Washington: =/\= No, admiral, I fully expect the Tholians to do as they have always done. You and I both know they're not going to just stand by while a nearby world continues to devolve into civil unrest, especially one with a valuable port like Inox. =/\= ::The Andorian's antennae twitched slightly.:: sh’Hiel: =/\= I suppose you're right. But either way, it's going to be someone else's problem to watch over now. =/\= Washington: =/\= Sir? =/\= sh’Hiel: =/\= Tell me, commander. What do you know about the Invicta Expedition? =/\= ::The Invicta Expedition? From the President's State of the Federation Address last year?:: ::He furrowed his brow, which no doubt amused her to see him break his resolve.:: Washington: =/\= Not much beyond what's already been said about it. A PR stunt. Something for the recruiters to show back home. I can't say I pay much attention to political theatrics, admiral. =/\= ::The Andorian chuckled.:: sh’Hiel: =/\= I think you and I share a similar view on politics, commander, but in this case, you're wrong. It's not just a PR stunt. And the new president has made it clear she's going to continue with the initiative. =/\= ::Joseph found himself getting annoyed. Why was the admiral wasting his time talking about this?:: Washington: =/\= That's all well and good, admiral, but what does that have to do with me? =/\= sh’Hiel: =/\= The Invicta. She needs a new captain. =/\= ::He just looked back at her, a deadpan expression on his face.:: Washington: =/\= You can't be serious. =/\= sh’Hiel: =/\= I am. The Pioneer is to proceed to Deep Space 10, where the Invicta is currently docked. Once there, you'll take command. The previous CO, Commander Rahman, has had to take an unexpected leave of absence. She'll brief you when you get there. =/\= Washington: =/\= You're not going to even ask me if I want the job? Or why you're assigning me to her? =/\= ::The admiral looked at him for a moment before finally chuckling.:: sh’Hiel: =/\= Hmmph. No. Safe travels, commander. =/\= ::The call closed, and Joseph sat there for a moment.:: ::Just what had he done to [...] her off that much?:: TBC... Commander Joseph Washington Commanding Officer, USS Invicta
  15. ((Planet PR-652, Pouiyeog Region)) Varaan: We should get going. If we hurry we can catch up to Jorey and R'Ven. Cook: What did...you.......::confused:: What did you just do? Varaan: I simply stopped the drone's autonomic functions. We should move. Cook: ::raising the tone of his voice, in a shocking but very concerned way:: You did what?? Varaan: "An end to pain and suffering," "Death is preferable to agony." Are there any other Human sayings that I have missed? Doctor, you have taken an oath to do no harm which, I assume, includes killing someone. While I applaud and support that, I have taken no such oath. The drone was in pain, and you said that nothing could be done to rectify the situation. I ended the drone's pain. Now, shall we go? Cook: You....You...numbskull....that drone ::gritting his teeth:: WAS not in pain........ He,she ....it...what ever it was. The nervous system was completely crushed and the nerve endings were destroyed to the point it was numb! I can tell you it was not in pain! You can't go putting thing out of its misery on... Well....One when it wasn't necessary! Two I could have put the drone to sleep and it would have died of its wounds anyways like a putting a dog to sleep! Three.....it wasn't necessary! ::The calmness of Varaan's response was a striking counterpoint to Cook's outburst.:: Varran: "It" was a she, doctor. During the meld our two minds were joined. I could hear her thoughts, and feel her emotions. Regardless of what your tricorder was telling you, I can tell you that she was feeling pain. Logic would say... Cook: I couldn't care if it was the "logical" thing to do. You are not a god, you cannot just extinguish a life at your say so. That makes you just as bad as the Borg! How do I write my report on this?? ::Varaan was confused. Doctor Cook seemed to he furious with Varaan's decision. Yet wasn't a doctor's primary purpose to end disease and cure illness, and whenever and wherever possible to make their patients feel better, even if they could not make them well? Cook had stated that he could not rectify the situation. Had he lied to Varaan? Was there a chance that the drone could have been saved, and that was why Cook was angry?:: ::Varaan doubted that assumption. From everything he knew of the doctor, Cook was an honest man, a man of principles and a man of compassion. He had dedicated his life to helping others through medical means. If there was a way to save the drone, Varaan was sure that Cook would have either thought of it or done it. So why was he so upset at Varaan? The Vulcan had done exactly what was needed.:: Varaan: Doctor, the meld acted in the same way as your analogy of sedating and putting an animal to sleep. She felt nothing when she died. I only accelerated the process for our protection. Should other drones arrive while she was still alive, they may have been able to extract information about us from her. Our position would then be compromised. ::Varaan was not human, but he had spent much of his life around humans, and other emotionally-driven species. Granted, he was no expert, but he had thought that after so many decades of exposure to them, and interaction with them, that he had a good grasp of human responses to different situations. After Cook's outburst, perhaps Varaan needed to reassess that evaluation. It didn't fit with the established results Varaan had experienced up to this point.:: ::Cook was a good man, a most efficient medical practitioner, and a valued and well-liked member of the Darwin crew. This particular incident between him and Varaan could possibly affect future interactions between the two. Actually, there was a 98.75% chance that it would affect future interactions, and in an adverse way. It was never good for crew morale, which of course affected efficiency, to have a pair of officers who could not get along. Varaan did not have a problem with Cook, nor with the actions that he himself had taken regarding the Borg drone. Cook, though, did have a problem with Varaan's actions. How could this problem be resolved?:: ::Should Varaan apologize for his actions with the drone? It would be disingenuous, of course, since Varaan was not sorry for what he had done. Would Cook be aware of this, and the problem be expanded? Or would Cook see it as a form of peace offering, possibly paving the way for a renewed working relationship between the two? Could this ever be "forgiven and forgotten?" And if it was Cook who had the problem, should it even be Varaan who tried to resolve the situation?:: ::Before Varaan could finish crunching the numbers of all the different permutations and possible scenarios, the doctor moved to the Borg's head and crouched down. He placed his hand on the drone's forehead and ran his hand down over its open eye. As he removed his hand the eye was closed, giving the appearance of peaceful slumber. Cook then stood up and turned to Varaan.:: Cook: Commander I must apologize for my outburst. However I guess you won't see it from my point of view. Varaan: On the contrary, doctor, I look at each situation from every point of view. I then weigh the positives and negatives, and analyze possible outcomes for future repercussions... ::Varaan realized that this was exactly the kind of response a human would expect from a Vulcan, and that Cook most likely wasn't exactly listening. He stopped and reassessed his response. Trying a different tact, he continued.:: Varaan: Doctor, I will accept your apology if you accept mine. I made what humans would consider a snap decision, even though there was much thought put into it, but did not realize how it would affect you. I will have to live with the consequences of my actions, but you should not. I will, in the future, consult with you and defer to you in all matters of a medical nature, and not take any action without your express consent. Is this acceptable? Cook: response ::With the situation as settled as it was going to be at this time and in this place, the two of them set out after Jorey and R'Ven. It was only Varaan's attention to detail that allowed them to follow Jorey's almost expert ability to their trail. Soon the doctor and the engineer were at the crest of a large furrow created by the forced deceleration of a spacecraft when it contacts a planet's surface. Their target was the Central Plexus, located at the far terminus of the furrow. Varaan pointed out the dozen or so Borg drones aimlessly patrolling the area around the large wreckage.:: Varaan: Since I do not see any sign of Jorey or R'Ven, and the drones do not seem to be on any kind of alerted behaviour, it is possible that the rest of our away team is already inside. Let us proceed. ::They continued along the near edge of the furrow towards the massive wreckage, taking care to make as little noise as possible so as not to alert the Borg patrols. Suddenly Varaan grabbed Cook's shoulder and pushed him down to a crouched position, pointing to a dark cloud rising from the wreckage ahead. It had a metallic sheen to it as it rose to approximately 15 meters above the wreckage, then stopped and "hovered.":: Varaan: Doctor, what do you think that is? ::Varaan hoped that Cook would be able to get some more definitive readings from his tricorder than from what he could get from his Vulcan eyes. Varaan kept his phaser rifle out and generally aimed in the direction of the cloud without actually pointing it there. The cloud did not seem to act like an actual cloud, and if there was any chance that it was aware of its surroundings, Varaan did not want to provoke it.:: Cook: response Varaan: ::tapping his combadge:: =^=Varaan to Jorey and R'Ven. Doctor Cook and I are on the ridge roughly 20 meters from the wreckage. Can you communicate?=^= Jorey/R'Ven: response --------------------------- Lt. Cmdr. Varaan Chief Engineering Officer USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A Serial: V237810V10
  16. ((USS Apollo-A, Deck 9, Brig)) ::After chatting with Dial, it was hard to maintain the poker face she wore. Dakrevi had played her part well. Better than she had thought she'd be capable of. And probably better than Flint or Vee had estimated either. She had been perfect fooling everyone, at some point even herself. But that had been the plan. While she was chewing on her steak, she thought about how to go on. She had been given no sharp knife or pointy fork of course but a spoon and a blunt knife. She'd leave the knife behind. It was useless. Or maybe she'd keep it but not too fight. A spoon was fare more effective.:: ::She had just finished her drink when the lights turned off. It was show time. It took the fraction of a second for her to move. She had memorised the exact location and the position of the three guards surrounding her cell. She tackled one of them, tripped him up and when she was lying on the guardsman, she used her right arm to bruise his voicebox while she used the spoon in her other hand to take his vision. She then grabbed his phaser rifle and moved silently forward. This was a high-security area. Very soon emergency power would be back up and she'd better be far away by then. She was glad that there was an entrance to a Jefferies tube nearby. Normally it would be sealed mangetically and there would be some strong forcefields. Now it was almost easy to open. Her background knowledge from her time as serial killer helped her. The difficult part was to open it without any noise.:: ::Virn didn't know this class, so pursuers - once they found out she was gone - would be at an advantage. However, she knew how to uitilize one of the small displays in the Jefferies tubes to orientate. They ran even in cases of a blackout. Next phase of the blackout would hit the rest of the ship. It was a well-played move that Flint had programmed to initiate some time after the ship started to use the warp-drive. It was her mission now to sabotage the ship now. She was in control of certain areas of the ship - another side-effect of the virus. That would allow her to buy time. She crawled out of a jeffrey's tube on Deck 11. Before she left the tube entirely, she checked if there was anyone on in the corridor. Luckily there wasn't anyone.:: ((USS Apollo-A, Deck 11, Random Corridor)) ::She headed to the next computer panel. Flint had showed her how to redirect emergency power to a console. The virus that had initiated the black-out was so sophisticated that it even prohibited emergency power to back up automatically. When LCARS popped up Virn opened the command section. She utilized this console to use her restricted control of the ship's function. She initiated the saucer section to seperate. Almost instantly her control of the console was being challenged. But Flint had showed her a few tricks. So instead of fleeing she fought over the control simply to avoid them to interrupt the seperation sequence of the saucer section. It was an important part of the plan that the ship was seperated. But she wasn't foolish enough to be caught at this point. So instead of staying here and defending her control functions against some code monkey from ops or engineering, she installed a quite skilled bot. She's be far away once they noticed she wasn't around anymore.:: -- Virn Dakrevi Serial killer (found guilty of 10 murders) USS Bodkin (stolen Arrow class shuttle) As simmed by: Ens. Dial Nurse USS Apollo-A
  17. ((Main Engineering)) :: Hael was more focused now then he had been when taking finals at the Academy. Granted he didn't study and wasn't even really that focus for the finals. But there was nothing else to compare his current strength of attention to. He was determined to get the ship fixed up pretty. And the maybe get food. His headache had started to become truly uncomfortable, fighting over it was more annoying then anything. But a dim light at the end of this mission had egged him on.:: :: The team of engineers still in engineering had wadded their way over to the center table to listen to Hael. There was a lot they would have to get done in a short amount of time. Wynter and T'Sel should be about half way through repairing the secondary life support systems. When they were done, he'd ask them to come back to engineering to help finish preparations for the shut down and what ever else might come up.:: :: Most of the engineering staff had been willing to work with him. Which was good overall for the ship, but frustrating for him. The chaos was fun though, it was controlled chaos for him. Which when spoken out loud sounded strange. But it worked for him.:: Hael: Penny... ::Nodded.:: I got engineers at the main computer core, they say that the virus ain't active. It seemed to try and make us go ta secondary systems and then cause us problems. ::He picked up the stack of critical PADDs and set them down in front of him.:: Hael: But we've caught it and are takin' care of that. These are other areas we'll be gettin' started on now. We'll split up, some will start here ::Indicating to the stack of PADDs.:: while some'll start on preps for the big shut down. Hopper: And what about the rest? ::She said sarcastically.:: Hael: The rest'll be ready to be on call, ::Slightly quieter:: I guess. ::The main door to engineering opened admitting Richolle, Lex and Cart. Cart had been the smallest of the three. Only in height though, for the Tellerite male was quiet round. But he looked like he had done the most crawling round inside the Jefferies tubes, his cloths where covered in grease and grit, while the other two were mostly spotless..:: :: With the rest of the engineers standing around the table, Hael put up his hand up to signal them to wait. It was more efficient to share the information as few times a possible. So he walked over to the team of three.:: Richolle: Hey Rustyy, we've got a handle on the overload in the shuttle bay. Lex: Doesn't look like it'll give us any more problems for now. Hael: Fer now ::He nodded in agreement.:: we'll be fittin' to get on it as soon as the mission is over. Pract'ly a full over haul. :: Hael leaned on one foot more then the other and ran his hand through his hair. When he was getting antsy his already butchered English became worse... If that was possible. Next would be slurring, hopefully no one would ask if he'd been drinking.:: Hael: So what was goin' on down there? Richolle: ::She tilted her head and shrugged.:: Not much that we saw. Lex: Some girl came in and scanned the shuttle. Richolle: But nothing was brought to our attention, so we just focused on our own work and came back as soon as it was done. Lex: Yeah, the girl was still in there when we left. Didn't take us long to fix the overload. Hael: Alrighty then, come on over. I's just 'bout to get started. ::Hael made his way back to stand at the center table with the three engineers behind him. They took their places beside the rest of the team and listened. Most stood with their arms crossed, some with their hands folded behind them. Their faces showed their concern with a hint of hurried anticipation.:: Hael: 'K where was I...? ::He looked back down to the divided up table full of PADDs.:: Right, just to catch ya'll up. ::He looked at the three arrivals.:: We'll be shuttin' down the engines in while. We'll be short on time, so we'll be focusin' on primary necessities fer now... Well, then. ::He referred to when they would have the opportunity to shut down the engines.:: And then later deal with the rest. Hopper: How long till we will be able to work on the engines? The first time. Hael: Not sure, I'm waitin' ta hear from the gal in charge, but soon. So I'm gonna want several of ya to start the preliminary work fer the engines now. We're gonna have a short time to run diagnostics and then get things fixed. So I want as much done now as possible. So who wants to get started on paper work? ::The engineers assembled shifted their feet and looked anywhere but him. That was another Engineering universal. Nobody wanted to do paper work. Hael was working on the main computer core, so someone else really had to work on the prep work. If no one would volunteer then he was going to make some one do it... There was nothing wrong with a little bit of bribery.:: Hael: Who ever gets started, gets relieved first. :: He head was [...]ed to the side as he eyed the team.:: Dorrian: Well, if that's what's up, then I'll get started. Hael: ::Grunted and nodded.:: Alrighty, ::Pointed at Dorrian.:: You and... Penny get started. Soon as Damian gets back, I'll be sendin' him yer way. Dorrian: Who is Mr. Damian? Hael: ::Slightly annoyed.:: He's one of 'em workin' on deck 19. White hair. Said he knows propulsions.... And if'n you callin' him Mr. It's Wynter... Like his hair. ::He ended on a humorous note.:: Lex: What are the rest of us going to get started on? Hael: These, ::His attention turned back to the PADD covered table.:: We'll be doin' teams of two or three and handlin' these individually. ::He sorted through the critical stack as he spoke.:: ::He assigned small teams to address surges, overloads, and malfunctioning equipment throughout the ship. But only to ones that seemed most critical. Scans had showed problems in Sickbay, some of the science areas, security and in the school rooms on deck 41. There were also problems on the holodecks and 10 Forward, but they'd be dealt with when the immediate danger was gone.:: :: oO That's what you get Kevin... Bring me bad coffee...Oo ::He could be very bitter when he wanted to. Not his better trait.:: ::With the teams gathering their equipment and heading out of engineering, Hael found himself in a half empty room. It made him smirk, to see the room like it was. Why, he wasn't to sure of. He started to hum to himself as he turned back to the report PADD he had been working on for the Commander. He filled in the blanks, added a simple list of problem and where they were located. And finished it with a list of actions he'd taken to repair and prevent further damage as well as the work Wynter and T'Sel had done.:: Hael: ::The tune now plaguing his mind was loud enough for him to start singing in quietly.:: Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight. Exit light. Enter night. Take my hand. We're off to never-never land... :: The Vulcan female Hael had meet during his James Bond moment happened to walk by as he was singing. T'Vay, raised an eyebrow at him, and he mimicked her.:: Hael: ::Paused.:: Drum solo. ::He started to make drum noises and pretend that he was beating on a drum set with his hands.::     TBC ______________________ Ensign Rustyy Hael Engineering Officer USS Apollo - A
  18. ((The Bollia - VeeVee's Room)) :: VeeVee was tucked away in her room, gossiping with Nina. The drama hadn't stopped while she was away. It was a nice thought, to know she would be stepping right back into her old life. Except not really. She would be someone else for a while, if not forever. It depended on how long StarFleet would come looking for her and Flint. :: :: The room she was in was small, but not quiet as small as her cell on Sarius III. She and Nina sat on an old sofa, their legs folded up under them, each holding a fish bowl sized glass with a thick stem. The girls were sipping on long island ice teas. :: :: On the chipped coffee styled table sat a PADD containing her new identity. She hadn't bothered to look at it. Whatever or who ever she had to be, she would, and would add just a touch of herself along with it. Everyone knew her by her current colors, and though it broke her heart ever so slightly, she could change her colors. But keep the style. :: :: Sticking out in a crowd, was as good as it was bad. Those who tried to hide or sneak about where usually the ones who where caught first. For those who stuck out where remembered more easily, but everyone would always wonder, 'Is a criminal that dumb to make them noticeable?' Yes she was. It was so obvious that no one thought to really do it.:: Nina: Well? :: The woman asked while placing her free hand on her hip. She shook her shoulders slightly and waited for VeeVee to say something. VeeVee turned a cold glare to the other woman, but set her drink down. Her fingers hovered over the PADD for just a second longer before she snatched it up, her nails to scratched the table top, which made short screeching noise. Similar to nails on a chalk board. Nina flinched and gawked at VeeVee. The notion of power had always the Romulan grin. :: VeeVee: Well, let us see what the Human, :: She emphasised Flin'ts race.:: has put together for me. Nina: Hopefully it's something I can work with - VeeVee: Indeed. ::She raised an eyebrow.:: :: VeeVee tapped her manicured nails along the rim of the PADD, elongating the anticipation. She licked her top lip before rolling her bottom one over her teeth to gently bit at it. Her fingers moved to turn on the PADD.:: :: The Romulan gritted her teeth, and her nose flared. She tossed the PADD harshly at Nina for the other woman to take a look. Nina's jaw dropped in disgust. The face was plan, no edges no spark, just a face that looked like a sad painting then a work of art that VeeVee was use too. Nina held the up the picture and seeing it again caused VeeVee to snap.:: :: She started by jumping up quickly and taking the beaten table with her, making it tumble across the room. Her storming turned her towards the nearest wall were a sappy flower pot rest. Though not for a minute longer, as it was risen up high before brought down in a glass shattering thud on the floor. The sad flowers lay covered in their own grave at VeeVee's feet.:: :: Next, was a sculpture of some size that was placed near the door into the room. She put her foot up to kick it over, but changed her mind mid kick. Instead grabbed it by the top part and smashed it into the wall. A large section from the upper part crumbled in VeeVee's hands as it went into the wall. Then it was time to kick it over. The Styrofoam strong statue scattered across the floor.:: :: VeeVee threw a few more things around until she planted her fist into the door frame to the small sitting area. The pain caused her to become more upset and she turned her attention to the fragile chairs, she pushed them over and stomped on them.:: :: Her mind then turned it's sights on Flint. oO He did this on purpose.Oo Her mind screamed and was fallowed by an audible screech. Her anger now on something out of her room, she stormed out to where Flint would have been...:: :: The corridors were mostly empty, but the few that past VeeVee regretted it dearly. Pushed into the walls, scratched and left laying on the floor from the toxin on her nails, or punched square in the face, was the wake of misery she left behind her.:: ((TimeSkip - Flint's Room)) VeeVee: ::Pounded on the door.:: FLINT!!!! ::Kicked the door and continued to beat on it.:: WE NEED TO TALK!! :: She screamed out.:: TBC/TAGs ___________________________________________ VeeVee Explosive's Expert - For Hire
  19. (( CO's Office )) ::Nate walked in and admired the overall layout of Akeelah's office. He hadn't the opportunity to admire its aesthetics before. Now however, he took a real moment to look around and absorb some of it.:: Wilmer: (not really paying attention to her) Nice office... D'Sena: I wanted to take a moment to get with you over the details. ::Nate gathered himself and looked back at her. Despite having been trapped in the shuttle for a while, he was none the worse for wear. He looked at her, quite relaxed.:: Wilmer: Yeah, what's been developing since I got locked up in the shuttlebay? D'Sena: Security's report of what Virn told them, has confirmed that Flint and VeeVee planned to go here. The medical facilities have facial reconstruction abilities, so that is most likely where they will go. ::Nate's attitude became logically grim.:: Wilmer: So it's possible they already look like different people and could be hard to find again. D'Sena: Agreed. We do not know if they already succeeded or not. I do know, that the ship that brought them is here, but not for how long. Wilmer: I better get a move on then. Who's going with me? D'Sena: You have D'Hass for Intel, Wyse as Security and Foster as Medical with you. A team small enough to not too noticeable, but covering the areas we most likely need. Another thing... we will have someone in constant contact with you, that's why I'm giving you and your team these... ::Nate received a handful of devices from Akeelah and looked them over.:: Wilmer: Who will be linked to our team? D'Sena: Crewman Deq'vish Neth. He will make sure that we have a plan of the station to help you find your way. And your friend, Miss Farnsworth, in case you need any assistance with how to deal with the people over there. According to you she has some experience with places like that. Wilmer: I'd prefer it if Ms. Farnsworth actually accompanied us. In addition to practical experience, she can actually read a variety of different alien languages and that could save us time in a crunch. ::His protest was open, but not disrespectfully so. He wanted Akeelah to understand there was a good reason why he was asking for what he needed and not simply because of whimsy, or because he might be a control freak.:: D'Sena: I understand that, but I do not feel comfortable to send a civilian out on a mission to capture dangerous criminals. So she'll assist from here. Helm: =/\= Bridge to D'Sena. We arrived in transporter range. =/\= D'Sena: =/\= Understood. Impulse and bring us closer. D'Sena out. =/\= ::To Wilmer:: Time to go. ::Nate nodded. So this was it. His first real stab at taking command of an away time. Many was the time his father had ridiculed him for taking his time with his career. Now, in one span of half a year, he'd gone from Ensign to full Lieutenant and now to leading an away team on his own. He felt a moment of pride and accomplishment. And he nodded to her with a firm resolve.:: Wilmer: The game is afoot, as they say. Better go. ::Akeelah nodded, but before he could depart she blurted out something to him in sudden anxiousness. Nate had not expected that.:: D'Sena: Nate! ::Nate took the queue in informality of names, to return the response to her.:: Wilmer: Akeelah? D'Sena: ::She cleared her throat.:: We know what these guys are capable of... be careful. ::Nate felt a sudden moment of bravado and keen interest. So she was interested in him after all. He winked at her, and gave a full and confident smile, with as much smoothing reassurance as he could muster.:: Wilmer: If I can survive being stabbed in the service of a dashing young first officer on her first real away mission, I think I can handle a few brain-dead criminals. ::It was [...]y, he admitted, but charming too. He turned to her with a final moment of humor before departing.:: Besides, now that Charlotte is watching my back, she'd never let me die. I owe her money. ::And with that he was gone. No goodbyes, no orders of dismissal. A little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, and wink and a smile. That was Nate's way. And he would probably never change as long as he was alive.:: TBC Lt. Nate WilmerHCO/Acting First OfficerUSS Apollo-A
  20. ((Valdivia's quarters, USS Darwin-A)) :: Months had already passed since he had returned to Starfleet, and he had yet to call Blueheart. With all he had helped with his return, he felt bad for having vanished once he became an ensign. But he had been on two ships in less than two months, moving mid-mission. He had barely had any time. :: Valdivia: Computer, open a subspace comm link with Captain Raj Blueheart, USS Atlantis. :: The two of them had served together for several years, before Valdivia had left Starfleet and Blueheart had been promoted and given a command. The two of them still shared a deep friendship and talked through subspace from time to time. His friend had been a key point in Valdivia's return, both in convincing him to come back and in helping with the paperwork. :: ((Captain’s Ready Room, USS Atlantis)) :: It had been a tough mission. Blood had been shed. Friendships shattered. Even love, lost. As he leaned back in his chair with a heavy sigh, he couldn’t help but reminisce about simpler, more elegant times. Those times had been on the USS Discovery-C. And those times had almost always included John Valdivia and Eric Lundrigan. No matter how dark things got, his two best friends were always there to shine a light that would guide him back to safety. But those days are gone forever. Now there was only the dark. As he bent his elbows to rest his palms on the vintage wooden desk, and laid the side of his head on his hands, just staring blankly across the vast landscape of the surface of the desk, his computer alerted him to an incoming subspace audio and visual link. He reached out to tap the screen, with his head still resting on his hands, but as soon as the face of the caller appeared on the screen, he instantly sat bolt upright, a bright smile spreading rapidly across his face. :: :: Both their smiles broadened as the screens changed from the cold starfleet logo to their friend's face. :: Valdivia: Raj! Good to see you. Blueheart: John!! What a wonderful surprise! Would you believe me if I told you I was just thinking about you and ---- :: His eyes fell on the single pip on his friend’s collar. :: What’s that?? Tell me that’s a breadcrumb! :: Valdivia touched his rank insignia. :: Valdivia: Yep, I am an Ensign again. And on the Darwin, after some movement. This ship is fascinating! There is a containment sphere that could fit a whole ship. And so many labs... Blueheart: :: holding up his hand :: Wait, wait, wait just a sec. You were a Lieutenant Commander when you left Starfleet. Surely they can give you some leeway and reinstate you as a full lieutenant or something? :: Who was he kidding? This was Starfleet. Or, as some would prefer to call it, Bureaucracy Central. He paused several moments before adding.:: Um, does it bother you that you’re starting all over again as Ensign? :: The scientist took a few seconds to answer. He actually expected to get this question far more often than he had. :: Valdivia: Not at all. Regulus III Academy policy prevented someone in the military from leading a project, so I had to do it. :: he looked at his friend. :: Oh, don't get me wrong. I am totally in favor of that rule, even if it did cost me a few pips. Blueheart: :: smiling cheekily and rolling his eyes :: Yeah right. Valdivia: Besides, this keeps me away from chairs too close to the center. :: chuckling. :: And you know I like that. Blueheart: :: chuckling too :: I do. oO Sounds like something Mitchell would say too. Oo Valdivia: What about you? How is captaincy treating you? :: A fleeting dark shadow swept across his face. He had tried to look away then return his gaze back to the screen immediately but he was sure his friend had caught the slight movement of his eyes, if not the dark shadow itself. He attempted to flash a smile, failing miserably. :: Blueheart: oO Oh, John! Where do I begin my tale? Oo Um.. it’s.. okay. :: He blushed furiously. :: :: Even not sharing a room, Valdivia could see the atmosphere had suddenly darkened. :: Valdivia: Yeah, right. That didn’t sound too okay. Paperwork piling up on your desk? Blueheart: :: weak smile :: Let’s just say there are good days and then there are bad days. Valdivia: I’m getting it I called on one of the bad days? :: He sighed deeply, this time looking away from the screen altogether. Only after a full minute did he return his gaze to John. By that time he had decided to tell John. Surely his best friend deserved to know not only the joyful moments of his life, but the sorrowful as well? :: Blueheart: John.. :: pause :: Emerson is dead. Valdivia: Wha…? :: long pause :: How…? Blueheart: :: fighting back tears by clenching his jaw :: Killed in action. It happened on our last mission. :: Valdivia felt guilty for his previous jokes. It was hardly his fault, but he felt terrible anyway. :: Valdivia: I am really sorry, Raj. He was a great man. I wish I could be there with you now... Blueheart: Thank you, John. Your words have always comforted me in my darkest hours. :: For the first time in the last months, he wished he had not rejoined starfleet. Leading a civilian project on Regulus III he had had the authority to leave for a few days and go with his friend on these hard moments. But not anymore, a new mission was about to start. :: Valdivia: What happened? Blueheart: The case is still being investigated. I don’t have any additional information at the moment. All I know is that I buried the love of my life and that he’s gone forever. :: John’s face was beginning to get blurry through the wall of tears. :: Valdivia: I… I am sorry, Raj. I don’t know what to say. If there is anything... Blueheart: That is why it is so difficult to answer your question. Sure, being Captain is cool and I take great pride in wearing this uniform and carrying out my solemn duties, but then there’s this. The loss of friends and loved ones. Is it worth it, this loss? That is the question I grapple with every day now. Valdivia: It is, Raj. And you know it. Your rank gives you greater responsibilities. But I am sure it also gives you more people to lean on during times of need. You must have friends on the Atlantis, and I am sure they want to help you. Blueheart: I do, John, I do. I have the best crew in the fleet! And yet, being Captain is the loneliest job in the world. And you’re constantly a Captain, even when off-duty. You can’t do something crazy, you can’t be soft, you can’t grieve. Valdivia: I used to know a counselor that would have told our captain back then that showing your feelings to your crew would make them respect you further, not make them think you are weak. :: His mind flew back to those golden days John was referring to. Where was that counselor John spoke of? What he would do to meet him right now! :: Blueheart: :: sad smile :: Those were different times, John. So much has changed since then. oO If only you and Eric didn’t leave.. Would things have stayed the same? Would I be happier? Oo :: John was at a loss. He desperately wanted to help him. But he had no idea how. The two of them looked at each other, in a silence broken by Blueheart on the verge of weeping and Valdivia trying not to join into the torrent of potential tears. :: Valdivia: I just had an idea. I know what you need. Blueheart: :: He blinked rapidly to suck in pesky tears always trying to escape his eyes. :: Don’t say shore leave. It only reminds me how lonely and useless I am when not on duty. :: Valdivia started writing something on a PADD, and after a few seconds hit the send button. :: Valdivia: Go to the holodeck. Run the command I just send you. It will ask for captain’s authorization. Blueheart: :: He arched an eyebrow out of curiosity. :: Will this get me in trouble with Fleet Admiral Wolf? :: He smirked faintly. :: :: Valdivia smiled. The moment was still sad, but he knew for a fact his friend would like it. And it would help a big deal. :: Valdivia: Just do it. Trust me. Blueheart: oO Always, my friend. Always. Oo TBC =============================== Ensign John Valdivia Science Officer USS Darwin-A NCC-99312 & Captain Raj Blueheart Commanding Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  21. "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." —Hera[...]us (( Captain's Ready Room, USS Garuda, 2392 )) :: As a former chief engineer, Roshanara could count on one hand the number of times she'd been to the captain's ready room. Her domain was deep below decks. A chief engineer away from engineering usually meant one of two things: the ship was docked for shore leave or things were going pretty badly. :: :: But while the Garuda was safely docked at DSX, she wasn’t a chief engineer anymore. She wasn’t even on active duty. So why was she here? :: RAHMAN: You wished to see me, captain? :: Oh, wow. He was going to have to get used to hearing that again. Well, granted, some people, Rahman among them, had always referred to him that way. With the reactivation of his commission earlier in the year, it was also technically correct to refer to him by his rank. But now, with the news of his new position spread far and wide by duty rosters and, more importantly, ship- and station-wide gossip, he was going to have to get used to hearing it a lot. Again. :: KELLS: Doctor, as you saw at the ceremony -- I’ve agreed to take command of the Garuda. :: A slight smirk escaped her lips. :: RAHMAN: Agreed, sir, or ordered to? :: She normally wouldn’t have been so playful around Captain Kells, but you didn’t have to be an empath to sense the unease the captain had expressed at the transfer of command ceremony. :: KELLS: ::deadpan:: Egan Manno threatened to have me stripped naked and tossed into space if I declined. :: She nodded thoughtfully. :: RAHMAN: Captain Egan Manno always struck me as a tough love kind of officer. KELLS: Not to mention an economical one. She could’ve reused the uniform. RAHMAN: Of course, she was an engineer like me. :: It was his turn to smirk, but as soon as he had, the look slid off of his face. They could banter about it all day, but that wouldn’t bring him any closer to asking her what he’d brought her there to ask. He had to admit, though, that he was a little nervous about doing it. What if she said no? Well, he’d cross that bridge when he came to it. Besides, it wasn’t as though he’d had a lot of choice, either. :: KELLS: “Was” being the operative word in her case -- and in yours. ::beat:: I’ve spoken with her about this, as well as with Doctor del Vedova. I understand you’ve been working with Commander Core since your reassignment regarding your ::beat:: condition. Yes? :: The casual atmosphere evaporated, and Roshanara did her best to not squirm as she stood there. :: :: First it had just been Del. Then Del and Dr. Ven. Then Del, Dr. Ven, and Captain Kells--well, the older Kells that had returned from the Ring. And now it seemed half the ship knew about her condition. Fortunately, though her arrest had reached the public, the results of Lieutenant Naughton’s investigation had been quietly buried into the archives. :: :: But still, the damage had been done. She’d been declared unfit for duty. She’d lost her access privileges. She was barred from her second home of engineering. :: :: In the two years since that Captain Kells had warned her about what was to happen, what fate awaited her, it seemed she’d been unable to do very little to change things. :: :: And then there was her greater fear--that perhaps she’d made things worse. That Captain Kells hadn’t mentioned that she’d have been arrested on charges of terrorism after all. :: RAHMAN: Yes, we have. He’s been… helping me hone some techniques regarding controlling the… :: She paused, not sure how exactly to describe it. Metamorphic abilities? Empathic abilities? Her vulnerability? :: RAHMAN: ...well, anyway. Yes. KELLS: Well, good. I’ll be honest, I was very happy to see that you were out here again. I’ve seen Commander Core’s work and I know he’s a fine engineer -- but you were my first chief. Loyalty and all that. :: She nodded at the kind words. :: KELLS: Speaking of, I’d like to reinstate you for active starship duty. :: His voice, which had verged a little on the gruff when he recalled without specifics their first meeting, was nevertheless chipper when he suggested her reinstatement. :: :: Her response was a little more guarded. :: RAHMAN: ...thank you, captain, but I don’t understand the need. :: Unless he was planning to replace Tristam. :: RAHMAN: Wait. Captain. While I appreciate the gesture, Commander Core shouldn’t be bumped from his position out of a sense of… loyalty. :: It wasn’t fair. Whatever Tristam might think about his abilities, he’d shown since he’d taken the position last year that he had what it takes to lead an engineering department, most notably in his dedication to their safety during the Kindred incident. :: KELLS: Oh, I’m not thinking of replacing Core. No, I’m thinking much closer to home. ::beat:: You know Egan Manno took Bakari with her. :: Of the bridge officers that remained, Mei’konda was the natural choice to succeed him, though he would have been rather young to be given the responsibility of XO. Still, Roshanara had gotten the privilege to witness how much the Caitian had developed from his first days as an ensign straight from the Academy. :: :: But wait. Surely if he already had picked Mei’konda or even Delano, then why had he called to see her-- Oh no. :: KELLS: I’m assigning you as my first officer. :: She just looked back at him for what seemed like the longest moment, blinking once. :: KELLS: Well, say something! :: She hesitated, not exactly sure what there was to say! Maybe she’d heard him incorrectly. :: :: So many thoughts and possible reactions were rushing through her mind to what he’d just said. Shock. Confusion. Fear. Anger. :: :: Oh, to hell with it! If he wanted to know what she thought, then she’d let him know, [...] him! :: RAHMAN: Um, permission to speak freely, sir? KELLS: I think I just gave it. :: She nodded, taking a deep breath before furrowing her brow. :: RAHMAN: Are you out of your #@%$-ing mind?! KELLS: ...Not that freely. RAHMAN: This is a Galaxy class starship with a crew of a thousand, not some personal pleasure craft you just hand over to any pretty face wandering by. ::beat:: Or dole out in a sense of pity. :: He raised an eyebrow so high that he suspected that even Saveron would’ve been impressed. :: KELLS: Or loyalty? RAHMAN: Surely there are more qualified candidates! If not Mei’konda, then a transfer from elsewhere in the fleet. KELLS: That is an option, of course. Astrofori One has its own dedicated task force -- Peaceforce Five -- and I’m sure its ships are full of officers looking for advancement opportunities. RAHMAN: Excellent. Choose one of them. :: To this, he only gave her a wide smile. It was almost goading, and he tried to tone it down a little. :: KELLS: But I don’t want them. I want you. :: She could feel herself wanting to ball up her firsts. She wanted to pound them on the desk that separated them. :: RAHMAN: Captain… I don’t think I would be the best first officer for you. KELLS: Oh? Go on, Doctor, talk me out of it. I’m listening. RAHMAN: Your first officer should be someone you can count on, as surely as you would count your life--and those of your crew--on any one of the myriad of systems aboard this ship that keep us alive. ::beat:: I can’t guarantee that. KELLS: Perhaps. But then again, maybe Doctor del Vedova thinks otherwise. Maybe Fleet Captain Egan Manno agrees with my choice. Maybe-- :: But he cut himself off and smiled again. She got the point, no doubt. In fact, he had spoken to both Del -- who seemed remarkably more receptive to conversation with him now -- and Egan Manno, both of whom had agreed with his choice. It was only his choice that was disagreeing now. :: RAHMAN: Captain, with all due respect to Captain Egan Manno and Doctor del Vedova, it’s going to be you who needs that security of mind. A crew is like any other system on this ship. You don’t knowingly install a faulty component in it. :: His sigh was slight, but it was there nonetheless and took the place of his smile. He was reminded, thanks to her metaphor, of another conversation they’d had -- though he hadn’t exactly been himself just then. :: KELLS: And who do I replace you with? You’re not a component, faulty or otherwise, to be stuck in and taken back out when the mood suits me. I have thought about this. I’m not asking you on a whim. I want one very specific individual to serve as my first officer: you. :: She looked back at him, and all she could think was of the much older man who had been standing over her two years ago in sickbay. The Aron Kells who had finally revealed the truth to her about what lay in store. And yet even that Aron Kells was gone now. The man who stood before her today didn’t know the future anymore. How could he be so willing to trust her, even more so than she herself? :: RAHMAN: Captain, why? KELLS: I have some memories, though they’re not mine, per se-- :: And he grimaced. He was still sorting out what did and didn’t belong to him, but he thought that everything would eventually be there. Eventually. :: KELLS: --of you. Standing firm against a particularly horrendous version of me, if the memories can be trusted. He wasn’t very nice, was he? But you disagreed with him. And you were right. If you can disagree with him, then you can disagree with anyone. Particularly me. And I’m going to need it. :: She returned her own exacerbated sigh. He really had committed to this. Well, fine. If he genuinely wanted a spirited XO who would challenge him, at least in the ready room, and not just rubber stamp his conscience, then that’s what he was going to get. :: RAHMAN: If you’re really serious about this... KELLS: I am. :: She placed her hands on her hips. :: RAHMAN: Then fine: I have two conditions. :: Again with his eyebrow. That hadn’t taken long. He told her he wanted disagreement, and by god she was going to be contrary from the beginning. He grinned. :: KELLS: Go on, then. RAHMAN: If and when you come across a better candidate for the job, you do not hesitate in replacing me. KELLS: Mmm. Maybe. ::beat:: But you’re just stating the obvious, aren’t you? If I came across a highly qualified candidate for any position, I’d offer it to that person. :: She nearly rolled her eyes at him. He was enjoying this far too much now clearly. :: :: She crossed her arms. :: RAHMAN: And I get to keep the gold shirt. I’ll continue my work with the Corps of Engineers as my free time allows. KELLS: I’m not going to steal your clothing. I’m not Egan Manno. :: She bowed her head slightly. :: RAHMAN: Well then. I suppose I better go find my uniform and brush up on the duty roster. KELLS: Yes, I expect that would be a good idea. :: She wasn't entirely convinced yet this wasn't a terrible idea, but perhaps it was that sense of loyalty again that made her willing to go along with it. She'd trusted him before, and it seemed he trusted her just as much. If he truly held such faith in her, then perhaps she could attempt to have such faith herself. Before she turned to leave though, she looked back at the man. :: RAHMAN: I trust you are familiar with the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for,” captain? :: He was grinning so hard his face was nearly split. Who said that? Who? :: KELLS: Indeed I am, Commander. And I have another phrase for you, once spoken to me very recently by the person who ::beat:: offered me this position. About the inevitability of facing an officer who knows what she or he wants out of an -- accomplice. :: She simply returned a raised eyebrow. :: KELLS: Deal with it. --- Captain Aron Kells CO, USS Garuda & Lt. Cmdr. Roshanara Rahman First Officer, USS Garuda
  22. (( Arboretum | Deck 10 | U.S.S. Columbia )) :: Theo stood at a distance from Providence's hologram as she walked into between the many flowerbeds on the main floor of Columbia's arboretum. She ran her hands across the large petals of a large purple flower and while she showed no outward show of emotion thanks to the primitive hologram that she had constructed- Theo was in doubt that the girl at the heart of the A.I. was excited. From the little he knew of Piktar II and Outpost Alpha- he surmised that flowers were in short supply on the barren world and he could not imagine such immoral scientists having any time for such things. With a pang of sadness, the young engineer that he was probably exposing Providence to flowers for the first time :: :: The holographic girl moved out of Theo's sight for a moment, alarming him. Although she was now only hooked into Columbia's holography systems and she likely couldn't penetrate any further into the computer if Tatash and Silveira had finished inside the main core- he didn't want to let her out of his sight. Even with the appearance of an adorable seven year old, Theo simply could not forget that she was an integral part of a weapons delivery and tactical strike system that made the Genesis device look like a toy. While he hoped that Providence was learning to trust Columbia's crew, he was filled with dread in case she ever did manage to 'complete the circle' and find Mercy. :: :: As he caught up with her a second later, a sense of relief washed over him as he found her examining another flower. She clearly heard his footfalls and turned around and looked up at him with her big, expressionless eyes :: Providence: "I like this flower. It reminds me of my mother". :: Theo was intrigued. In the half an hour so since she had materialised in the main computer core, Providence had volunteered very little information about herself aside from her programming- which Theo was still unsure how she perceived. He sat on the floor next to her and motioned for her to do the same by patting the ground next to him She did so and he turned his head to look at her :: Whittaker: "What makes you say that Providence?" :: he was improvising as he went, but he was certain if that the girl felt she could confide in someone, she would come to trust them more. He had hoped for a counsellor, but instead it fell to him :: Providence: "I remember seeing them in her bedroom" Whittaker: "Where is she now?" Providence: "I don't know. She took me to school one day and then never came for me". :: The engineer felt a surge of emotion. She had not been dealt a fair hand in life. Seemingly abandoned by her mother and then slaved into a computer system in a horrific experiment. He took her by the hand, if nothing else to comfort her. :: Whittaker: "What about your father?" Providence: "He went to a place where bad people go when they get caught". Whittaker: :: he fought to keep his voice even, as sadness threatened to overwhelm him :: "Oh, Providence. I'm so sorry". :: he smiled sadly at her, but of course, she remained seemingly unmoved. A thought came to him :: "Do you know how you ended up on Piktar?" :: Providence shook her head :: Providence: "I just woke up there. A Vulcan lady told me I had been in an accident and that she was going to help me get better". :: Theo balked at the idea of a Vulcan being involved in such a project. They always seemed so... logical and to the engineer, this entire fiasco was as far away from logical as you could get. :: Whittaker: "Do you know what the Vulcan lady was called Providence?" :: Again, she shook her head :: Providence: "She didn't speak very much and when she did she didn't make sense". :: Theo reasoned that the scientists didn't really have much to say to a small girl they simply considered an experiment. She had spent twenty years being integrated into a computer system. Who knew what condition her body was in. :: Whittaker: "Well not everyone is like that lady, Providence". :: he squeezed her holographic hand slightly :: "My friends and I just want to help you" :: saying that, he felt hollow. Although they had not said so in front of the girl, Theo was certain that Silveira and Tatash were already working on ways to neutralise the threat that Providence posed. Placing that particularly unpleasant thought to the back of his mind, he forced a smile on his face :: "Will you let us?" :: Providence nodded once and then got up. Theo followed suit and kept an eye on her. His thoughts returned to Silveira, Tatash and Ambassador MacLaren and how they were progressing with Captain Livingston. Even though he hoped they could find a peaceful way out of the situation they now faced, in reality he knew that there would be no happy ending for the little girl at the centre of it :: Ensign Theo Whittaker Engineering Officer USS Columbia NCC-85279
  23. (( Palais de la Concorde, Paris )) :: Xanti stood outside the double doors to the Pahkwa-thanh councilor’s office. He smoothed out his white dress uniform, then checked and rechecked it for any flaws. Personally seeing the councilor of your race was one of the most important meetings - on par with a state dinner with a Fleet Admiral! Xanti did not want to make a bad first impression. :: oO Whoo….okay. I swear I haven’t been this nervous since my first hunt. Here we go. Oo :: Xanti buzzed the ringer on the keypad by the door. Moments later, the doors entered inward, and Xanti stepped through. :: :: The place suddenly reminded Xanti of home. The color of the wall was a sandy brown, while the floor was wooden - real sawed and finished wood. Various standing ferns and plants lined the room, and pictures of landscapes from all over Duhpwa-thuv hung on the walls. Even more than the sight of the office was the smell. :: oO <sniff...sniff> Ooh! Smells just like home! Is that…<sniff...sniff> ...is that tahka ferns I smell? Oo :: Entering from around the corner was a relatively young female, roughly Xanti’s age. However unlike his jungle ethnicity, she looked like a plainsrunner. Her scales were tan with a slight mottling of orange-yellow. Her frame was slightly smaller than his, being female; though her tail was quite thick and toned. Xanti’s eyes widened and his nostrils flared at the sight of her. :: oO Skree!! What a female! Beautiful! Oo Aide: Hello, sir, and welcome. :: Regaining his composure, Xanti finally remembered to greet her with the customary Pahkwa-thanh greeting - crossing his arms over his chest and bowing his head. :: Liss: Erm, greetings, miss. Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss. It is an honor to be here. Aide: My name is Ilana Vero Tana Dak, aide to the councilor. Let me show you to her. oO She is of the councilor’s clutch?! I had better tread carefully. Oo :: Xanti followed Ilana into the main room. :: :: The Pahkwa-thanh councilor was standing at the far end of the room, behind a squat desk. She was staring out the windows of the Paris skyline. She turned to greet Xanti. :: Ilana: :: Extending an arm towards Xanti. :: Madam Councilor, may I present Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss, Petty Officer Second Class, Engineer’s Mate of the U.S.S. Victory. Xanti: :: Xanti repeated his greeting, keeping his head bowed longer. :: Madam Councilor, it is a deep honor. :: The councilor turned from the window to greet Xanti. She was dressed in an elegant forest-green wrap, threaded with an intricate design of red. Over the wrap of her torso flowed a long robe of the same color and design. She further wore a matching headpiece that was draped over her head behind her eyes and down her neck. She had the same general scale coloring as Ilana, but it was subdued and less saturated. A clear sign of advanced age. Xanti noticed she also moved slower, and her torso was bent almost horizontally, unlike the diagonal, semi-upright slant of youth. :: Xanti: Elder! Councilor: :: Waving her hand up and down:: Please, please! You don’t need to stand on such formality. I may be old, but I’m not decrepit. :: Returning the greeting. :: My name is Tsana Yith Syno Dak, but please feel free to call me Tsana. Xanti: Y...yes, Eld - Tsana. Councilor. Matriarch. Tsana: Well, if you insist on being so formal, Matriarch will do; even though that title no longer applies to me. Xanti: Y...you are not a Matriarch? But...you are an Elder; you wear the robes; your station demands… Tsana: Enough. I am no more a Matriarch than you are a primate. Perhaps I was at one time, but I gave up the position to serve on the Federation council. :: Xanti thought about that a minute. :: Xanti: If I may say so, Matriarch, I don’t think that is true. You may no longer represent your clutch, but by serving on the council, you are representing our entire people. In a sense, you are Matriarch of us all. :: Tsana’s eyes widened; her nostrils flared. She looked over at Ilana, who showed a similar display of surprise and approval. Was that a smile? :: Tsana: My, what a logical and rational mind you have! I never thought about it in those terms, but I suppose you are right. :: Sigh. :: If you must be so formal, Matriarch or Councilor will do. Come, sit. :: Tsana gestured to a corner of the room. There was arrayed a table surrounded on three sides by resting platforms. Pahkwa-thanhs didn’t use humanoid chairs, but instead rested on their bellies on a sort of “resting-couch.” :: :: Tsana sat in the middle, while Xanti sat to her left, and Ilana to her right. Xanti waited for Tsana to start the conversation. :: Tsana: I am glad to see your Pahk skills have not diminished in the company of aliens. Xanti: Federation Standard is a fairly simple language, though it did take time to learn. Plus, the Federation universal translator is remarkable. :: pointing to his combadge :: It is instant and usually is able to translate fairly well those words I do not know. :: pause :: I will admit that being able to speak in our native tongue again is a relief. Tsana: <chuckle> I imagine. That is kind of one reason why you are here. oO Ah...now to the reason for this meeting. Oo Xanti: I was wondering why you summoned me, Matriarch. The last thing I was expecting when we docked at Mars was a communication from a Pahkwa-thanh, let alone our Federation Councilor! Tsana: There is that curiosity again. I see why you prefer engineering. Anyway, I mostly just wanted to “chat.” oO Huh? “Chat?” Thats it? You specifically commed me, asked me to fly to another planet to “chat”? Oo Xanti: Um...Matriarch? Tsana: In the sense that I am Matriarch of our species, I see it as only fitting to take an interest in all Pahkwa-thanhs serving in Starfleet, and the Federation. I have a standing order to be notified when any of our kind is coming to Sol, and extend an invitation to them. Xanti: :: Nostrils flaring in confusion. :: But...why? Tsana: Simple politeness, young one. Being new to the Federation, there are still so few of us serving in Starfleet or off Duhpwa-thuv. I would think it would be nice to see one of our own after being amongst aliens for so long. Was I wrong in this assumption? oO That is...very polite! Oo Xanti: Um...no. Not at all. It was just a surprise to receive your message. I will admit, it is nice to speak with you...er...I mean a fellow Pahkwa-thanh. Most of the aliens in the Federation are not used to me. I’m not entirely sure why, other than we remind them of “monsters.” :: Both Tsana and Ilana chuckled. :: Tsana: Not monsters, really. Millions of years ago on Earth, before primates evolved, let alone gained intelligence, the Earth was populated by reptiles of all shapes and sizes. Not intelligent, but dominant. Human paleontologists called them “dinosaurs.” oO Ah yes, I have heard of these. Oo Xanti: Go on. Tsana: We remarkably resemble one family of them - the Theropods. Either through a higher power, or simply a fluke of parallel evolution, we Pahkwa-thanh greatly resemble these ancient beasts. Xanti: So, these “dinosaurs,” they are the stuff of Human nightmares? Tsana: <chuckle> Actually, quite the opposite. Dinosaurs take a favorable place in Human fiction; a “what might have been,” or “what was.” Being so different from them is what draws Humans to the idea of ancient, roaming reptiles that once dominated the planet. Human hatchlings...er…”children” have especially imaginative minds, and love the idea of dinosaurs. Xanti: Fascinating. Ilana: There is a wonderful museum here in Paris that has an excellent exhibit of dinosaurs. I suggest seeing it. Tsana: :: Nodding. :: Indeed. It may give you a new perspective on Humans. Ilana: Although, I was mistaken as part of the exhibit a couple of times. Xanti: I will consider it, while I am here. :: A brief pause. :: Tsana: So, how are you enjoying your time in Starfleet? How long have you been serving? Xanti: Pretty well. Their technology is fascinating! Substantially more advanced than what we have on Duhpwa-thuv. I have been aboard a couple of ships for about a year now. I was transferred to the Victory shortly before it was severely damaged. Tsana: I see. Why engineering? Our people are known for our medical skills - a stereotype not undeserved. :: Xanti thought for a moment. :: Xanti: I guess...I guess I just like to tinker. I’ve always been curious how things worked. Even as a hatchling, I took things apart to see how they worked. I couldn’t always put them back together again, though, to the irritation of my parents. :: Ilana chuckled. :: Tsana: Well, I am glad you decided to choose your own path. We need not be stereotyped into one category. Are you finding it difficult to live among aliens? Xanti: Not really. Well… Tsana: Its okay, go on. Xanti: The ships seem really small. I can understand that, as they were designed primarily for humanoids. But many of the maintenance tunnels were designed for humanoids to crawl through. I am simply too big to enter them, and as such, I am unable to work in many areas of the ships. Tsana: Hmm. Perhaps I can speak to the ship designers about that. Maybe in future ship designs they will consider larger beings in their maintenance designs. Xanti: That is nice of you, Matriarch. I am given to understand that some of the newest ships do indeed have service passageways large enough to walk in. Tsana: Good, good. I’m just looking out for us. Ilana: Grandmother, what about considering… oO Grandmother? This lovely young female is the councilor’s granddaughter? Tread carefully, Xanti; very, very carefully! Oo Tsana: Oh! Yes! :: Grabbing a PADD. :: There is a particular tool...erm...well, not really a tool; but something you may find extremely useful. However, you cannot just order one up like at a store. :: Handing him the PADD, Xanti looked it over. It looked like an interesting proposition. :: Tsana: You will have to ask them to...well...I guess borrow isn’t the right word. Join you? I have recommended these to a couple other officers. Xanti: I...see. This would be hugely beneficial with my size issue. I will ask them. :: Another pause. :: Tsana: Speaking of which; tell me, Xanti, why are you not a commissioned officer? Xanti: I...I don’t know. Many, many people only enlist, taking only the classes necessary to do their job on a ship. I felt the same. Tsana: You have no desire for a commission? Xanti: Not really. At least, I never really considered it. Why? Tsana: Think about it. There are a few Pahkwa-thanh officers currently serving. Imagine - one day you could even command the engineering department, or even command your own ship. It would be a great milestone for our people. :: Xanti paused to consider Tsana’s words. :: Xanti: I...I never thought about it like that. My own department...responsible for the smooth running of an entire ship. Tsana: I urge you to consider applying to the Academy and completing your officer training. It will take a couple of years, but I think it would be worth it. You don’t have to physically attend the Academy. You can do your studies on board your ship. Xanti: I...I will consider it, Matriarch. :: Tsana got up, and Ilana followed suit. It was only proper for Xanti to do the same. The councilor led the pair into another side room; this one was very spartan, with sand instead of a hardwood floor. It had only a table; a very, very bloody table. :: Tsana: I have prepared a meal for us. I hope you don’t mind. Some of it is from home, while others...others may still suit your taste. :: Xanti looked at the array of raw food sitting on the table. All of it was raw carcasses of animals, as if they were freshly brought from a hunt. They were still dripping on the table. His mouth salivated, and his nostrils flared. :: Xanti: Are those Duhka Shanks?! Ooo! And a Fahlo bird! Tsana: Please, dig in! :: Xanti said a quiet prayer for the spirits of the beasts he was about to eat, then promptly dove his clawed hands into the fahlo. His head followed suit, opening wide and chomping vigorously. Tsana and Ilana did the same. Blood splattered everywhere; on the table, on the sandy floor, and on themselves. Occasionally, Xanti would pick one up and start slamming it around, or pulling pieces off the bone. Playing with one’s food was practically required! :: Xanti: Mmm...delicious! What is this one here? I don’t recognize it, but it tastes really good. Tsana: Ah...that is a Klingon Targ; one of their most popular dishes. I have an...arrangement with the Klingon ambassador here. He provides me with some delicious raw meat. Xanti: Mrm...thank him for me. Tsana: I would suggest finding similar connections on your ship. I know replicated meat just isn’t quite the same as a raw, freshly-killed beast. Caitians are similarly carnivorous. You should find some of their food to your liking too, and they are much more numerous in the Federation. Xanti: I will consider it. You said you had an “arrangement” with the Klingon ambassador? Tsana: Ah yes. Well as you probably know, Klingons also enjoy the pursuit of a hunt. While it is very difficult to hunt wild animals here on Earth - for some reason Humans are very...what's the word...conservative of their environment. So you cannot just step outside anywhere and chase a deer down. :: Xanti wondered what a ‘deer’ was, but let the councilor continue. :: Tsana: Anyway, I have an arrangement with the African Confederation, a political subdivision here on Earth. Much of the African continent is wild, untamed wilderness, with lots of wildlife. They allow me and my staff to occasionally hunt within the nature preserves. A couple hundred years ago, when Humans were still hunting for sport or wealth, they would never have considered it, but today the wildlife populations flourish. Ilana: Grandmother has taken me many times. There are some dangerous and powerful beasts over there. Tsana: Indeed. You know what? While you are here on Earth, why doesn’t Ilana take you hunting? Ilana: :: looking mildly irritated. :: Grandmother… Xanti: I… Tsana: Ilana, please. This young one probably has not hunted in a long time. A real, proper hunt. Ilana: I suppose so. Xanti: Well, it does sound intriguing. Tsana: Good, good. I will make the arrangements. Now please, finish your meal. I don’t want all this to go to waste. :: The trio finished their bloody meal, while Xanti pondered all the new information the councilor passed his way. He had many things to do, but first came a long-overdue hunt… :: ---------------------------- PO2 Xanti Ilas Ysa Liss (PNPC) Engineering Specialist U.S.S. Victory ---------------------------- simmed by ---------------------------- Lieutenant JG Ayiana Sevo Chief Science Officer U.S.S. Victory ----------------------------
  24. ((Deep Space 6, Deck 18, Nebula Bar)) :: Todd had received the dreaded message, the summons he had been waiting on. He looked like a dead man walking as he slouched his way through the crowd, making his way to the Nebula bar. The tell-tale signs of the second annual shuttle race were everywhere. He’d already spotted some of his competitors from last year, seen the posters, listened to excitable whisperings and tried to ignore the FNS report blaring from the large view screen in the middle of the Nebula Bar as he weaved his way between tables. Predictably N’rila was exactly where she said she would be. Forcing his expression into one of intense boredom and neutrality he sat down. Beneath the surface his pulse raced, his stomach knotted and his anxiety was rising in an exponential way. :: Manius: Hello N’rila. How have you been? ::His voice was devoid of emotion,which was probably an increase in friendliness since last year. Since he was expecting this to be extremely bad news for him he didn’t want to antagonise her and being friendly had just as much risk, if not more of doing that as she’d probably think him smarmy. :: ::The Orion woman looked far from impressed. This little weasel had seen fit to try to disappear on her without a trace the year before, after majorly letting her down on an extra-legal job she had instructed him to do. Fortunately for him, she was a patient person. Otherwise he would have wound up watching a special news report letting all of his primary-coloured collar wearing friends know just exactly what kind of a man he was.:: N’rila: I’m surprised you can sit down, Manius, being as I have such a tight hold on your balls. Good call deciding to actually show your face this time. Manius: Well you know what life in Starfleet is like but like a boomerang I always come back, eventually. ::With a wry smile:: :: He wasn’t really trying to make light of things and knew there was going to be a steep price for what he’d done. There was just no way he’d been willing to right one wrong but making an even bigger one though. What she’d wanted him to steal, there was no way he could live with himself had he done it knowing full well the uses of that stuff. It was illegal to even attempt to try and acquire it for very good reason! :: N’rila: Funny. If only I’d known you had such a flair for comedy, I would have put you on the stage. Then maybe we would have raised enough cash to actually enter the race last year. Your little disappearing act cost us that, so I’m here to tell you what you owe. ::She blamed herself for being soft on him, to a degree. They had been friends once, but he had taken the decision to turn his back on her and the team without even so much as a word.:: :: That’s what he was expecting and hopefully it wasn’t something as unreasonable as last time. They could only do this dance so long before she finally snapped and turned him in to the authorities. More and more he began to think she would never let him out of her grasp. Every crime he committed would add to the evidence she had against him. Even after a year he hadn’t figured a satisfactory way out of this hell and it was a considerable burden and stress point for him every day of his miserable life. :: Manius: Okay. What do you want? N’rila: I want a shuttle, Todd. I want to enter the race this year. At the moment, I got nothin’, and you’re going to make it happen for me. ::She folded her arms and leaned back in her chair. She didn’t really care so much how he got the job done, but she wasn’t letting him off the hook this time.:: :: Todd thought about it. The task he could complete through legal means. It wouldn’t be easy because if it was then they wouldn’t need him to do it. They would already have one. This was going to be a huge drain on his time and his resources. He would have to be cunning and probably pull in some favours but he could do it.:: :: Last year he had been less willing to help and he’d ended up getting worse and worse tasks. She hadn’t asked him to pilot it – yet. He really would be happier if he never had to fly a shuttle again, whether in space or underwater (as he’d done last year on the planet of Asav). However since he’d seen the sort of lengths she would be willing to go and to push him to for success this would be an easier pill to swallow. :: Manius: Fine. I’ll get you a shuttle. ::She laughed and waved a finger at him.:: N’rila: Oh, no, no, no… I know you too well. You’re like a Deltan eel. Slippery, and with a vague hint of fish. ::She leaned in a little closer, her previously mirthful features contorting into a snarl.:: N’rila: I don’t just want some old bucket that you scraped together your pocket money to buy. I intend to win this race, Todd Manius. So choose something you can fly us to victory inside. I don’t care how you get it, you can go to a little auction and ask for something flashy to be delivered to us through those precious ‘above board’ channels that you seem to love so much, but one way or the other we will be standing on the top of that podium as a team. Do you understand what I’m asking you to do? :: Yep. There it was just as he suspected. She never liked to make her demands all at once. He hadn’t raced in years. He was going to have to hit the simulators hard because while some teams were putting shuttles together and seemed happy to take part, there were some serious teams out for the megabucks prize. All the trouble of getting a good shuttle would be for naught if he didn’t win and he knew she would not accept anything less. Todd Manius didn’t look like a man catching up with an old friend but he as trying harder than ever not to let her get under his skin. He wanted to see if they were on the same page about where this nonsense was to end. :: Manius: Yes. You want the best shuttle and you want to win. I do that for you and we’re done right? This whole problem disappears? ::The Orion shook her head. She was wearing a look that was smug enough to melt the bar.:: N’rila: Ahhh, that would be a no. Your little stunt last year cost me big, and I’m afraid that translates into costing you big. You get this shuttle and we win this race? That puts us back to where we were this time last year. Until then, your debt isn’t anywhere close to being repaid. :: The smug look she was wearing made him want to flip out with rage but at the same time he really didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. He had known the price for deceiving her last year would be big but ultimately he wouldn’t change it. She was unscrupulous enough to sell biomimetic gel to those who would use it in the creation of biogenic weapons, organic explosives or be involved in illegal genetic and cloning experiments. He’d destroyed lives in his past and he’d spent the last nine years trying to contribute positively and give people back their lives. He felt he had done significantly more positive in life than the other way about. He felt sick to his stomach and for a while said nothing, nodding in silent acceptance. :: Manius: I hear you. Anything else, or are we done for now? ::She grinned, enjoying seeing him squirm. She used to look up to him, but now he was nothing more than a pathetic worm on a hook, wriggling about until the inevitable moment came where it was all over.:: N’rila: Oh, I think we’re almost done. Before you go, though, I’d love for you to tell me how you plan to keep me updated with your progress. I mean, you’ll forgive me for not exactly trusting you, but I’d rather not get double-crossed like the last time. Manius: I’ll check in around shifts, send pictures of my progress periodically. N’rila: Pictures? With stardate stamps embedded in the code that I can use to verify the authentication? Sounds like a good start. I’ll expect you to send them at least twice a day. ::She didn’t trust him as far as she could throw him. Being as she was smaller than he was, that wasn’t very far at all.:: :: There was absolutely no way he was going to be doing twice daily updates and she could demand it just about as much as she wanted. In fact he could see several days in a row where she would get no updates whatsoever. Certainly if she pushed her luck too far he just wouldn’t bother with them at all. He was going to have to draw the line there. Frankly if she wanted him to do this then she was going to have to accept it. :: :: The alternative was for her to make good on her threat and something told him she didn’t want to do that because then she would still be left without a shuttle and a pilot. If he was wrong and she did - well he had a contingency plan. It wasn’t a great plan, otherwise he would simply execute it rather than sit here trying to barter for a freedom that deep down he felt he would never truly have. :: Manius: I’ll send updates as of when I have time. ::The Takaran nearly choked on her own laughter.:: N’rila: What, from the other side of the sector? ::She slammed her fist down on the bar. Several people turned their heads.:: Do you think I’m stupid, Todd? You’re the one who has made the poor life choices. You’re the one who keeps screwing everything up, and you think you can just keep behaving in a way that craps all over your former friends. Well if you want to grow a spine, fine, it’s about [...] time, but do not think for one second that I don’t have enough on you to really make you suffer before I finally take you down. ::She took in a slow deep breath through her nose.:: N’rila: There’s that … woman, for example. The scientist. It would be a terrible shame if anything were to happen to her. :: It sounded to Todd as though N’rila had somehow found out about Ela and was now using her as leverage to get what she wanted. So enraged by this was he that he was certain any telepaths in the bar would be able to feel the radiating off him. He thought about breaking things off with her but first of all he didn’t want to do that and even if he did, he still didn’t want to see her come to harm. Cutting ties wouldn’t necessarily prevent it. :: Manius: ::With deep hatred and loathing:: Excuse me? ::The angrier Todd got, the angrier N’rila got. She was sick of this weasel trying to screw around. He had a debt, he’d already reneged on it once and he was for [...] sure going to pay it this time.:: N’rila: Oh, you heard. You’re not the only one who can raise the stakes, Mr. Manius. So I’ll look forward to those twice daily updates, even if they say you’re still working on making progress. You might like to think you’re in control of this, but you gave that up a very, very long time ago. Now do we have a deal? Manius: No. We don’t. What you ask is unreasonable. I may be used in an away team or the Darwin may lose communications, heck I might get injured or killed - that is the nature of Starfleet life. There may be times it’s physically impossible to provide those updates. So threaten all you want I’m not about to agree to something I can’t do. :: This whole stressful business had been hanging over him for a year now and he was absolutely sick of it. He wasn’t sure how much more of this he could deal. Frustratingly, he never had been able to recall anything from that sickening night when his whole world had been shattered. He understood all too well his debt but he wasn’t going to repay it by committing even more grave offenses or making impossible deals. :: N’rila: “Computer, send notification to my contact that I have been called for away team duty.” How long did that take, Todd? ::She stared through him, full of contempt. Then her expression softened, as realisation dawned on her.:: N’rila: You know what, no… that would be far to easy, wouldn’t it. Sign yourself off on away team duty and drop off the radar. Can’t be having that. ::She took in a deep breath. There was a way that she could really keep tabs on him, without having to rely on him taking any action. Let’s face it, she was just setting herself up to be betrayed again if she did. This would need her to speak to one of her contacts and incur a little expense, but it would be worth it in the long run.:: N’rila: Forget the updates. Forget the calls. Forget you getting chances to have any say in this. You don’t want any responsibility? Fine. I’ll take charge. You will meet me here 48 hours from the time of our initial rendezvous and I’ll give you a transponder. You put it in your quarters. It sends me an encoded databurst at random intervals, containing a timestamp and your distance from it. If you’re out of range of it for more than three days, you can kiss your woman goodbye. :: Todd shrugged, feigning disinterest when really his heart was hammering so hard in his heart he feared it might break through his ribcage. He was angry as much at himself as he was N’rila for dragging Ela into this. If she hurt Ela then she would be the one who ended up most sorry out of this whole thing because he would absolutely take her down even if he took himself out in the progress. The woman meant more to him than anything or anyone else and he wasn’t going to allow this unscrupulous, nasty piece of work get in the way. :: Manius: What’s the range on it? ::N’rila smirked. She’d got the rebellious little scumbag back right where she wanted him.:: N’rila: Oh, it should be enough to cover the length and breadth of the Darwin… maybe a little further. Let’s hope there are no blind spots. :: Todd wondered how long it would take security to pick up an outgoing signal from his transponder and grow curious about it. More than that he imagined that if they discovered it, they might feel it posed a security threat and shut it down altogether. He knew she wouldn’t care a fig about his legitimate concerns and would see them as weaselling excuses. :: :: If the transponder malfunctioned or was shut off by security he was likely to have Ela’s untimely demise on his conscience his entire life that was an unbearable thought. N’rila could certainly forget about her shuttle in which case as Ela was one of the few things worth sticking around for. If that transponder was stopped broadcasting for any reason the first thing he would do is appeal to Ela to get the heck off Deep Space 6 as quickly as possible, through whatever means. He’d also stop working on that shuttle altogether because as far as he could see that situation would render it a fruitless exercise. :: Manius: ::Standing up and glowering down at her:: See you later N’rila: Yes, Todd. Yes you will. ::She turned her back on him and returned to her drink. She would enter that shuttle race come hell or high water, and Todd Manius was going to get her over the finish line in first place if it was the last thing he ever did.:: =========================================================== Commander Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A And PNPC N’Rila - Subspace Scimtars manager Simmed by: Iy - USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ===========================================================
  25. ((USS Atlantis - Cargo Bay 1)) ::The transporter beam shimmer died away slowly. HE looked around. Familiar, but not recent. There were a small group of other civilians clustered around him...scientists, doctors, laborers, technicians. They were all chittering, anxious, worried, wondering what was going to happen next. The artificial lighting in here was similar to what HE was used to from the installation below. HE could blend in with the crowd. That was a good thing. But protocol being what it was, a security detail arrived in the cargo bay within seconds. They were trying to quiet the crowd, make them at ease. It was working but very slowly.:: ::There were going to be problems, and very soon. HE could see no way out of this. If HE tried anything overt, like starting an altercation or trying to flee...Flee. Where would he go? HE was stuck on a starship. Internal sensors would find HIM anywhere HE tried to hide. HIS biggest problem was, HE wouldn't be able to just sit back and "blend in with the crowd." HE would only have a minute or two, and then Starfleet protocol would either have the crowd ushered off to sickbay for routine medical exams, or they would be quarantined in here until Medical could have a chance to examine them all. That was going to be the problem.:: ::If events of a dozen years ago hadn't happened, then a med exam wouldn't be a problem. But "negative radiation," as Dr. Greene had termed it, had destroyed HIS hearing during a mission on another ship...Another ship, another place, another time. But an immediate effect, here and now. To compensate for HIS lost hearing, artificial bio-neural implants had been surgically added to HIS skull. Normally, not a problem. But these things were unique, and would make HIM stand out during any medical exam. They were on file. They would give away HIS identity...an identity HE had not used in many years.:: ::HE only had one logical choice. HE needed to be separated from the others in the crowd, and explain to someone in charge what was going on. But how to be extricated without causing attention? Wait. If HE caused a disturbance, perhaps Security would remove HIM to the brig, away from the innocents (and, HE was sure, not-so-innocents) in the motley group surrounding HIM presently. There was a guard nearby. If the guard were to be harassed? Attempting to relieve the guard of his sidearm would surely get HIM removed. But more than likely, also shot in the process. Perhaps just being belligerent towards the guard. HE slowly manoeuvred HIS way through the group until HE was at the front.:: SECURITY: Please, just step back, sir. ::HE pushed HIS way closer, actual physical contact being made. The guard took a step back, giving HIM the benefit of the doubt, but the guard's attitude and demeanor visibly changed to one of alert preparedness.:: SECURITY: Sir, I asked you to step back. ::HE pushed HIS way forward again feigning aggressiveness, and didn't resist when the guard spun HIM around and shoved HIM up against a bulkhead. The guard removed his phaser from the uniform holster and pointed it at HIS back.:: SECURITY: Sir, you're going to have to come with me. ::HE noticed the rest of the group now had a quiet aggressiveness and the remaining guards were more wary. HIS absence from the group should now not be too out of place. Hopefully HE could speak with whomever was in charge and be back, undercover, within the group soon. HE allowed the guard to guide HIM by muzzle-point through the corridors toward the brig. HE knew the way, of course. After all, HE had been here before.:: ((Brig - Later)) ::HE was within the holding cell, the buzzing of the forcefield barely audible, but present to the trained ear. HE had a practiced ear, too. HE could probably ascertain the correct resonant frequency, should anyone care to ask HIM. HE was seated on the cot in the cell. HE had requested to speak to the commanding officer as soon as HE had been safely put in here. At first the guards refused HIM, saying that HE could speak with Lieutenant Helling, their chief, instead. But Helling was presently occupied, and the captain was not. And curious to find out why someone from the doomed installation wanted to speak with him. Perhaps the captain thought HE would impart some knowledge about what had happened down on the planet. Whatever the reason, Captain Blueheart was on his way.:: ::The doors to the security area opened and in strode a man in a red-trimmed uniform, four shiny golden pips on his collar. He walked towards the cell and stopped, studying Him for a moment.:: VARAAN: Captain, you need to release me back to the group without any questions. BLUEHEART: ::raising his eyebrows:: Excuse me? VARAAN: I need to be sent into the group just as I am. BLUEHEART: And what happens if I don’t do as you say? VARAAN: My life, and possibly the well-being of your ship and crew, could be at stake. BLUEHEART: Why should I believe someone on the other side of this force field? ::He paused, taking a small step closer.:: Who are you, really? VARAAN: Captain, we really do not have time for this “back and forth.” Release me, please. BLUEHEART: Your boldness intrigues me. But I’m afraid you’re not exactly in a position to negotiate. If you want me to do as you say, you’ll have to come clean and tell me everything. VARAAN: I am not at liberty to say. ::Varaan could see that this was going to be as difficult as he thought it would be. Understandably. No one holding the rank of Starfleet captain should follow the unsubstantiated instructions of a complete stranger. Blueheart would be a fool if he did. Varaan would have to give the man “something.”:: VARAAN: All I can tell you is that you are interfering with a Starfleet Intelligence operation. I need you to release me to the group, as is. ::Not entirely true. There was no interference, per se. Granted, the Op would go much easier if Blueheart agreed. But Varaan could tell this wasn’t going to go his way.:: BLUEHEART: ::soft chuckle:: Oh come now, you’ve got to do much better than that. VARAAN: Are the Breen still out there, captain? ::Varaan waited to see what the captain’s response would be.:: ::Raj was astonished. His frown gave his surprise away. Perhaps this man was a Starfleet Intel operative like he said he was. His heart began to quicken its pace just slightly. Could it be that the Breen were in fact not looking for Elsa, but rather.. :: BLUEHEART: ::staring intently into the stranger’s eyes:: How do you know about the Breen? You were transported aboard like the rest of the scientists. How do you know about them? Are they.. ::He left his sentence unfinished.:: VARAAN: ::stepping closer to the force field.:: It is possible that they are, at least in part, here looking for me. Your ship would be safer if you returned us to the installation. ::So it was true. His heart was almost racing now.:::: BLUEHEART: ::He too, stepped closer to the force field.:: That’s impossible, I’m afraid. Outpost Bravo no longer exists. It was destroyed by violent seismic activity. ::Varaan froze at the revelation the captain had just laid on him. Return to the installation was, indeed, out of the question. Therefore, either Varaan would have to stay on board the Atlantis, or be handed over to the Breen. The latter was far more than counter-productive. Varaan really did not have any choice.:: VARAAN: That is unfortunate. However, it does only leave me with one alternative. I shall have to remain here until the rest of the installation personnel have left the ship. A cover story must be thought of, in case any of them ask about me. BLUEHEART: And why is that, stranger? And why should I lie for you? VARAAN: Captain, I am Vulcan. That much should be obvious. And although Vulcans can lie, it is very often beneath us to do so. What I am telling you is the truth. I am a deep-cover operative for Starfleet Intelligence. Currently, my cover is S’telin, an engineer working at the installation. The personnel have been under surveillance for some time, and alerting them to that fact could jeopardize years of work. Do you understand, captain? ::He let a full minute of silence pass between them before speaking.:: BLUEHEART: In case any of them ask, I’ll say you died. ::He said it very bluntly and without emotion or expression.:: Will that suffice? VARAAN: I would prefer not to “die,” so that I could continue the Op later, should I run across any of them again. BLUEHEART: Okay, not dead then. Just under arrest. Of course, you do realize that there’s no such thing as a free lunch? VARAAN: I do not require sustenance at this time. ::Unless, this was one of those annoying Human euphemisms.:: What do you mean, captain? BLUEHEART: I’ll play along but only if you tell me everything. ::short, barely perceptible pause:: EVERYTHING. VARAAN: I am not authorized... BLUEHEART: Like you said, we have no time for this cat and mouse game. Either you prove to me that you are who you say you are, or I hand you over to your ::making air quotes:: friends. No, wait. Maybe I’ll hand you over to the Breen. I’m fairly certain that’ll guarantee their leaving us alone. ::Not waiting for a response from the Vulcan, Raj turned to leave, hoping his years of serving as a counselor aboard the USS Discovery will prove his assumption right about the man. As he took his first step away from the cell, he spoke over his shoulder, with his head only partially turned towards the man.:: BLUEHEART: I give you one hour to reach a decision before I make one you’re not going to like. Good day, mister. ::His steps were slow. Intentionally slow.:: VARAAN: Captain, you know I cannot divulge anything about my operation to you. However… ::Varaan waited until the captain stopped walking away. Blueheart, however, did not turn around. Varaan continued.:: VARAAN: If you contact Admiral Krieger at Deep Space 26, inform him you have me in your custody, and give him the password “Aurelius,” he will confirm what he can to you, so you will know as much as you are permitted. I will, of course, wait here. ::Without saying a word, Raj resumed his steps until he was out of the security office.:: TBC…. ---------------------------------------------------------- A joint post by: Ensign Varaan Secret Operative USS Atlantis NCC-74682 & Captain Raj Blueheart Commanding Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
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