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  1. ((USS Blackwell, Deck 4, Brell’s Quarters)) ::The young Bolian sat down his bag as he entered his Uncle’s quarters. The bag though small contained everything he had brought with him to the Blackwell. Three grey and teal tailor made cadets uniforms; plus the one he was wearing, his academy workout clothes, the holoimages of him as a small boy with his mother and father, a small hand carved model of the the Daros’ll homestead resting against its undersea trench walls that had been made for him by his artistic cousin Viau, and a PADD that held his school work. Everything else he had in his dorm room in San Francisco he had sent back to Bolarus before he left to come to the expanse.:: ::He liked to think his parents would be proud of him being out here doing well in his studies and everything else, but they were little more than a memory to him now. The stories of the larger family unit the only thing keeping their faces, their lives and how much they loved him from fading. With his uncle Brell he did not have to wonder, he had been there in person or correspondence to offer his praise and reassurance usually with a bad pun or two along the way. It was why he had requested a room reassignment to live with him. They were Bolian after all and liked to live close to family even out in the depths of space.:: ::He also felt like his uncle needed to know he was here for him during this time of strife in the family. The news of the affair that Brell kept hidden from his spouses was a shock and made him feel for Lyldra and Hars. He felt his own trust slightly shaken but was looking at like a warning of possible side effects when getting close to an alien. Humans were often as repressed as the were enlightened. He knew there was a good deal of anger going toward the human involved though it was odd as they did understand things were complicated. He had never met Didrik Stennes but he had looked him up and didn't see what all the fuss was about other than he was mildly handsome. He felt worse for Lyldra as she had apparently been working side by side with the human while as this was going on.:: ::As much as he cared for his uncle Brell and his spouses, he was a more interested if his own love life would exist out here. He had a girlfriend at the academy but she was two years ahead and broke things off when she got her posting. That had been tough and he had not dated anyone since. Here many were older than he was but not by that much. There were Bolians here and on the starbase but he had always told himself he would never limit himself that way. He didn’t know if he felt that way still with everything that had happened but he had to hope most would be more open minded.:: ::He looked out of the window seeing the planetoid Debin VII below, he knew right now there were teams on the surface and on the freeworlds starship.:: Morin: oO And I’m up here. Oo ::He loved being here on Blackwell and serving his cadet cruise on such a start of the art medical starship. But he often was close, but far away from the action.:: Morin: oO There are a lot of people here that are not on the away missions. … They don’t have to miss out due to having to sit through a lecture though. Oo ::Almost on cue his PADD beeped alerting him he had five minutes to get to a terminal. He took the PADD silencing it and moved over to the desk where he could use the terminal and have workspace. He logged in and was connected to the Academy distance learning class link up. Starfleet had officers and cadets in subspace distance learning curriculums on many remote outposts and starships. Today he along with the other distance medical cadets would be hearing a lecture on variations of endocrine systems of Vulcanoid species by professor T’Vaili. He found her lectures to be enjoyable, which was odd as most of his other professors that had been Vulcans tended to near put him to sleep with their lack of inflections.:: ::The tone that signaled the lecture was about to begin sounded and he screen changed to the live feed from the professors location. Often he had to view these lectures after they occurred by right now there were no problems with the connection to DS26 and then from the starbase Academy facility T’vaili was at. Stylus in hand ready to take notes on his PADD the Vulcan took her podium and began speaking, the images accompanying her presentation displaying on the sides of his screen. He tried to get into the topic and keep his mind and eyes from drifting to looking out the window and thinking about the action he would one day get to be apart of.:: PNPC Cadet Morin, Medical Trainee, Uss Blackwell, NCC-58999 Simmed by, Commander Brell - First Officer Andaris Task Force, USS Blackwell NCC-58999 Academy Deputy Commandant E239109B10
  2. ((Debin-DeepDive5 - Rosette Shaft, Debin VII)) ::It was dark. The lights along the mine shafts had died due to the generators that had shut themselves down, this was due to everyone who had come down with this illness that there was hardly any staff working and those who soldiered on were alone and no one was able to reset them. Luckily for them, there was light at the end of the tunnel as the backup generators had kicked in, the only bad thing was, apart from being ill the generators were required to provide light, and a fresh oxygen supply in and extract all the toxic gases that would build up. Gone were the days where they would bring an exotic bird down and when it stopped singing and was still, it was time to evacuate to the surface.:: ::The Rosette Shaft was as it was named, a new grade of laser that mined the resources, gave a strange shape to the internal structure of the walls and once the supports were in place, from a bird's eye view it would give a rose shape to the caverns that had just been mined, so it was aptly named the Rosette Shaft. This was the shaft that Mihai Bratic and his three best friends were working in. A few hours before, the alarms had begun to blare as an announcement was broadcast warning that all personnel was to report to the medical areas for tests. By the time they received word over the noise of the lasers and other mining equipment the safety doors had closed and sealed them in, once the equipment had died down that's when they then noticed the broadcast. By that time Mihai and his friends were trapped. They attempted to call out for help however as there was a mass quarantine it would take some time to recover them, crews were stretched thin and they weren't the only crews stuck down the shafts. Mihai, Bajic, Petro and Sulim grew up together on the the planet Oscion, which was a planet with many islands and got into the labour of mining under the sea however the four wanted to use their skills and explore a part of the galaxy and the Tinaldax Heavy Industries company offered them that, pay was good, accommodation was great and the holidays granted were not to be sniffed at. They trained together and knew what dangers lay ahead but they did the job and loved it. Mihai made his way to a communication panel and pressed the emergency button these panels acted as a two-way comms with someone at the other end if someone was at the other end which they were but usually asleep. But for once they were awake.:: Mihai: Hello tower, this is Mihai, worker number 5398332, I’m trapped here with Bajic, Petro, and Sulim… we missed the broadcast what has happened, and how long till the doors open? Tower: This is Tower I read you loud and clear that illness that was going about has been ::Cough:: affecting more and more people it has gotten out of hand and the medical teams have declared that all employees are quarantined… ::Mihai, knew this was a standard procedure. The same would happen if there was a gas leak or a cave in teams would declare areas shut down and they would become inactive and special teams of dedicated workers would then go and aid in restoring said areas as quick as they could as not to cost Tinaldax Heavy Industries any losses in profits.:: Mihai: Ok so how long have we got to wait this out till we can get to the surface and join the quarantine… Tower: Sorry guys I don’t have an answer there is a lot of people who are confined to quarters the medical bays are over ::Cough:: flowing with sick people. But I’m on this end and will be here for ages I can’t leave until my relief comes… ::Mihai turned to his friends who were stood listening to the conversation. Bajic was around six foot four and four feet wide he was a powerhouse, he loved to do anything that involved heavy lifting, had begun to feel angry for such a large man he began to feel claustrophobic and pushed Mihai out of the way to get to the panel.:: Bajic: ::In an angry tone:: You listen here I want you to go and get a rescue team to get this hatch open and get us the hell out of here… Tower: I’m sorry I can’t… ::Cough:: There is no rescue team free at the moment, you guys are not the only ones trapped. :This was bad news, every shaft had provisions for each team from first aid kits, blankets water and a week's worth of rations that would be used in such emergencies. There are teams out there they just need to get to them.:: Tower: ::Cough:: News just in… There is a note made on your location and our own Navy is on its way... ::Cough:: Man this must be big especially if the navy is coming… ((Time skip 9 days)) ::The messages stopped and the hours became days. The four friends had sat and played games and shared stories of each other when growing up, laughing at the times they had shared, the rations and water were divided to last a little longer than the week they were intended as situations like this there was no time frame, but at least they would have two more days worth of food left.:: Bajic: ::Cough:: I don’t feel good… Mihai: Hold it together it won't be long how much ::Miahi was the only one who looked normal, his friend's flesh looked pale and almost as if they were malnourished, their hands began to show black fingertips and it almost looked as if their hands had been on a barbecue and extremely burnt. They had lumps that were protruding in their groin, armpits and neck, what they didn’t know was this was their lymph nodes, swollen from fighting off an infection. He looked to the other two who were sat slumped over Sulim was resting against Petro. They had not spoken for a few hours, Miahi, thought they were asleep and left them to it, it was the only time they weren't coughing or spluttering, rest seemed to be the best healer. He moved over slowly and began to study them, something was not right there was no movement at all coming from them. They weren't breathing. In a panic Miahi separated the pair and grabbed a wrist in each hand and checked for a pulse, his hands slide from their wrists due to their skin being all clammy, and parts of their flesh were beginning to rot. Not from they were dead but something was eating at them and decaying their flesh at an alarming rate. He grabbed a shock box and attached it to Petro’s chest and shocked him. The body jerked and stopped moving, no output on the reader, he shocked him again and again and again. A large burnt looking hand touched his shoulder.:: Bajic: I ::Nasty cough:: don’t think you're going to ::Painful cough:: help them, they are gone… Miahi: ::Tearful:: But they… we were… ::Bajic placed his finger to his own lip to silence him.:: Bajic: Come sit with me ::Extremely painful cough:: ::He winced as he sat upright. Miahi, squatted down next to him offering support the best he could to take some pressure from the sore parts that ached.:: Bajic: I feel we ain't going to make it but you're not coughing… Miahi: Your right.. I feel fine why am I not ill??? ::For nine days he had shared the same small confined space, air and company with his three best friends and he was the only one who wasn’t ill. He scratched his head and began to wonder. Bajic tried to drink some water and threw it up all down himself. He coughed violently and beckoned Miahi to come closer:: Bajic: We were there… when... Wamukota found a strange material… ::Cough:: The process… ::winces:: The process of finding a new material was to…. Miahi: Shut down the machines and get the teams in and scan also run tests and… What did he do???? ::Miahi had a bad feeling he already knew what Wamukota did. This was the one-time Wamukota stepped in as Miahi had a slight near miss with an old cavern collapse on him, he was pulled out and sent to the medical centre to be checked over. One day he was out of action and replaced where his team had made a discovery and he wasn’t there to be apart of their achievement.:: Bajic: He took a laser and decided to cut a small chunk off… ::Cough:: I don’t know what he did with it after… after… ::Bajic’s head slowly tilted forward.:: Miahi: Bajic… ::He shook the giants shoulders vigorously, nothing. Miahi knew instantly he was gone with his brothers who lay just a few meters away. He grabbed three blankets and lay the bodies flat on the ground and covered them individually. He was now alone.:: ((Time skip 2 more days)) ::It was dark. The lights along the mine shafts had died due to the backup generators that had shut themselves down. The air was getting thinner and he knew he was breathing in large amounts of carbon dioxide. He felt his breath begin to shorten, He wasn’t getting the adequate oxygen levels in his bloodstream, his blood had more co2 and he was starting to feel drowsy, very drowsy. He closed his eyes and thought of joining his Caraadian brothers in the fields of Azure where they shall be free with the great ones. He felt the ground around him rumble, a small breeze tickled his face.:: Miahi: oO This is what it must feel like to go to the great beyond… Oo ::Voices rang around his head, some he thought he knew and others that he didn’t understand. He felt as if he was a rag doll being tossed about and thought this must be his spirit moving and travelling to his final resting place, every often he would get a glimpse of a bright light then it would disappear.:: ::Two days ago Miahi was rescued by a rescue crew from the Navy. He had been brought to and placed into an Oxygen tank to reverse the effects of carbon dioxide in his system by getting a very high level of oxygen into the blood system in an attempt to get the inert gas out of the system.:: ::Miahi hadn’t joined his brother. After his recovery and a green light from the quarantine team. He now stood looking at the amass piles of bodies that he helped stack in rows on top of crates which were specifically designed to burn. He now stood in front of his three best friends that he called his brothers. A tear ran down his face as he was passed a lit torch. He leant in and began to touch the cloth that surrounded the bodies with the torch. Each part he touched shot up in flames. He stepped back.:: Miahi: Rest easy brothers…::Cough:: MSPNPC Mihai Bratic As simmed by Lieutenant Cook - Chief Medical Officer USS Blackwell NCC-58999 - Andaris Task Force D239206GC0
  3. (( U.S.S. Constitution - Deck 03 - Sol’s Quarters )) (( The Day after the party. )) :: The party the night before had been fun but after she'd had gotten back to her quarters she had spent a lot of time thinking about things. She had found her ribbons and her new pip sitting on the desk. And that had gotten her thinking again. Maybe it was time to talk to the Captain. The worst that could happen was… well a lot of things, actually. :: McLaren: Computer, locate Captain Rajel. Computer: Captain Rajel is in her quarters. :: Sol picked up the PADD containing the official requisition to SB104 for their new Flyer and headed out of her quarters. :: (( Deck 02 - Captain’s Quarters )) :: Sol’s hand hovered over the button, almost as if hesitating for a moment, before she pressed it. She was still wearing her new cloak. Being off duty had its perks. :: :: Jalana had enjoyed the party, the music, the people, seeing everyone relax and enjoy themselves. That was what made a lot of things worth it. Now she was looking forward to her date with Jerry, but had to do a few things before she could fully jump into that. Like finding the right outfit for example. She was now dressed in a sporty spandex outfit with a loose shirt covering the top part of it and sneakers. She was quite sure that as soon Jerry saw that he’d try to get out of their adventure, but she was looking forward to it. The Trill dug through her little drawer to find her hairband when the door chimes went off. :: Rajel: Come on in. :: Sol stepped in. :: McLaren: Hello, Captain. Rajel: ::Without looking up she recognized the voice and rummaged through the things in the drawer, planning to sort and order this sometime soon..:: Hey Sol. McLaren: I hope I’m not intruding? Rajel: Of course not. ::Her fingers brushed over a smooth material and she dug in deeper pulling the hairband out. :: HA! Gotcha. ::She raised her hand triumphantly and turned to Sol, blinking once, twice.:: Nice cape. ::A wide grin.:: McLaren: Its not a cape… :: Sol grinned. :: It's a cloak, it has a hood. :: She chuckled. :: Find what you were looking for? Rajel: Oh this old thing. ::chuckling, she grabbed her hair and with help of the newly rediscovered hairband put it in a ponytail.:: What can I do for you? :: Sol stepped further into the Captain’s quarters. :: McLaren: You remember that shuttle idea I pitched to you? :: Jalana gestured to the seats, and sat down on one herself, pulling her legs up and getting comfortable. :: Rajel: Yes, I remember. :: Sol took a seat, producing the PADD from within her cloak. It was almost as if the PADD had just appeared. :: McLaren: I checked with the 104 Quartermaster before things took off last mission… they have a Flyer we can requisition. So I drew up the appropriate paperwork for you to submit, along with a list of equipment the shuttle would need. :: Sol handed the PADD to Jalana. :: Luckily, we have or can replicate nearly everything needed to outfit the ship properly. ::She took the PADD and browsed over it, reading some bits here and there. She had liked the idea the moment Sol had proposed it, it was exciting to see that they could bring it to life. :: Rajel: That is great news. How long do you think until it’s done? McLaren: Depends. Once the requisition is approved and we get the shuttle, it shouldn’t take that long to modify most of it, if I got Engineering involved. The longest job would be the hull plating modification… the rest of the Flyer-class is pretty modular. I’d say a couple of weeks at most and we would have a proper intel prowler ready to go. Rajel: You have some great people helping you with this. I’ll send the files today, so you’ll be able to start as soon as possible. ::She smiled and looked up to Sol.:: I have the feeling though, that this is not everything you have on your mind. :: Sol nodded, smiling faintly. :: McLaren: No… if this were the only thing… I would have just filed it to you electronically… Rajel: Thought so. ::She placed the PADD on the table.:: So what can I do for you? :: Sol leaned back in the chair, playing with the edge of her cloak. She looked back to the Captain. :: McLaren: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since the other day after everything went on on the Starbase… and especially after last night. :: Jalana nodded, the events could have that effect on people. She herself had thought a lot about many things ever since they had come here. For some reason it appeared that Sol was nervous about what she was going to talk about, so Jal didn’t want to hold her back so she could get it out and gestured to Sol, to go on. :: McLaren: I think… it all came to a head when I got around to looking through a box of my grandmother’s things… she was so much like me… but with a drive that I didn’t have… or at least one I didn’t think I had... Rajel: ::She listened carefully, and her observations did lead to a conclusion, but she did not want to take the matter from Sol’s hand. So instead of doing some guesswork, she asked a question.:: And now you found that drive? :: Sol was sure the Captain could see where this was going. :: McLaren: I want to look into command opportunities… :: One thing to be said was, that Jalana had been right in where this was going. She had seen the reports, she knew that Solaris had done great work during the last mission on the bridge keeping everything in mind, in her eye, coordinating not only the Conny’s departments but also with SB 104. She had seen many people have the bridge, but not all of them kept a cool head in a chaos like that. :: Rajel: I believe that is a great idea, Sol. McLaren: Really? :: Sol seemed surprised, especially after having previously explained what her outlook was to the Captain. :: Rajel: I know that you enjoy your job in Intel, but I have also seen you in action outside of your department. ::She leaned forward, her arm resting on the arm of her chair.::I don’t think there is any reason for you not to pursue … more. McLaren: What would that mean? Rajel: We can look into this together. There would be the possibility to get the bridge more often, to lead away teams, to lead team building exercises. Just for starters, since nobody starts that path on the top. ::smiling:: What do you think? McLaren: I’d like that… how would it work? Rajel: Well, I try to give everyone the chance to shine, to show me what they are made of. So I can’t promise that you’d be ‘up there’ every time, since others are waiting for their chance as well, but if you are willing to put the work into it, I’m absolutely willing to work with you and get you there. :: Sol nodded. That all made sense to her. :: McLaren: I'm willing to work to get there too. Rajel: So where exactly do you see your ‘there’? I do recall you saying that you couldn’t imagine you in the big center chair before, so that info might need an update. ::smirking:: :: Sol chuckled, but shook her head. :: McLaren: No… I don't think the center chair is exactly right for me… not full time. Second officer, yes. XO even, yes… but I don't think I could ever fully command a starship. Not for a long time anyway. Rajel: ::chuckling:: Fair enough. It is good to know your limits and what you want. That’ll make it easier to work towards that goal. :: Sol smiled. :: McLaren: I'm sure this will be a good move for me, plus I think red might look better than black does.. :: She stood, her cloak closing around her, making her look almost as if she were just floating there. :: Thank you, Captain. I’ll let you finish getting ready for your day… Rajel: ::Jalana watched the cloak fascinated, wondering if that would be a good look on herself, but then followed suit and got up from her seat.:: Anytime, Sol. ::She grabbed the PADD from the table.:: I’ll get this going for you right away. :: Sol made her way toward the door, before pausing. She looked back. :: McLaren: Have you heard anything from Essen? I know she took leave, but not much else. Rajel: Sadly not. She and her sister might have some things to take care of, since both left, but I don’t know anything else. McLaren: No, I didn’t think so, but I thought I would ask. I think about her pretty often. :: She smiled faintly. :: Lá maith, Jalana. Rajel: ::Smiling, she was not surprised that Sol did think of Essen.:: If I hear anything I’ll let you know. ::The farewell did not go past her, she had caught a few words while visiting Viktor’s family on Earth years ago. So she nodded, trying to keep the smile on her face.:: Same to you, Sol. :: Sol turned and left the Captain’s quarters with a bit of a flourish from her cloak. :: :: Jalana looked after her, tapping the PADD against her fingertips. Before she would do anything else she’d make good on that promise and signed the paperwork, before transferring it back to SB 104’s hands. Sol’s visit had been a pleasant surprise, seeing Sol grow from her first days on board to the woman she was now had been quite something. Jal looked forward to see more of that in the future. ::
  4. ((Ruwon’s Office - Deck 4 - USS Za)) ::Ruwon absently twirled the [...]tail glass in his hand as he read the reports in front of him. Their newest transfers had a history - a long one, both together and apart. The list of misadventures was longer than usual, though the whole ‘ended up in an alternate reality that nearly killed us all’ bit stuck out, to put it lightly. And one, Skyfire, had a requirement for mandatory counselling. Privately, Ruwon wondered if a few others in the crew couldn’t do with some of that, but he wasn’t going to force anyone onto the couch that wasn’t interested. He set the glass aside as the man in question opened the door, right on time.:: Ruwon: Mister Skyfire. ::He smiled, broadly, and offered a hand.:: Counsellor Ruwon. It’s a bit late, but welcome to the Za. :: Chythar smiled and took the offered hand when it was offered. He was never one for formality, though being called “mister” seemed so long ago. He hadn’t been called that since he first started in the academy, so it was a bit of a throwback for him. :: Skyfire: Ah prefer the label “Doctor”, actually. :: He glanced between the couch and chair. :: Which do yeh prefer tae conduct business in? Ruwon: The couch or chair is fine; whichever you prefer. Can I get you anything to drink? Skyfire: Jasmine tea, please. :: As he took a seat at the desk, he took a breath while the Romulan got the tea. Once it seemed Rin..no, Ruwon...was ready to begin, he began with the long boring part of his demographic information. He’d spent the better part of his morning memorizing the educational history, because counselors for whatever reason loved starting with all the boring stuff. :: Skyfire: Lieutenant Chythar Daniel Skyfire, MD. Serial DC-981-851, medical officer, USS Za NCC-65305. Age discrepancy of one year in my records, which state ah’m 32. Actually 33. Current telepathic status, T4/E6. Educational history. Diploma, Roosevelt High, 238007.06. Doctor of medicine, University of Washington, 238402.05. Starfleet Academy, science - xenobiology major 239002.17. Sexual orientation, prefer not to answer. :: It wasn’t because he didn’t like the question, as he knew it was a necessary part of these evaluations, but he didn’t want to jinx it. His relationship with Alex was still solid, just a bit strained since he mentioned the level of connection with Lael. :: Ruwon: That all matches your records. ::He sipped from his own cup - black coffee, in his case - and flipped the PADD over, shoving it away across the desk.:: I’ve read them over. I suppose the best place to start is with what it is you’re here to see me about. :: CD nodded faintly and allowed the counselor to begin with the interrogation questions in earnest as he considered some of the questions he was asked in his last mandatory meet the counselor discussion. As he began, his accent dropped. :: Skyfire: Yes. Social anxiety, mild autism, and a list of loathing about as long as my forearm. Probably a bit of PTSD mixed in. My record doesn’t say it, but it’s probably there. Likely because of the time spent in the alternate universe. Hope to gain an outsider’s perspective on mental discipline which doesn’t involve mind melds. Ruwon: Mind melds? ::He raised a curved eyebrow.:: You’ve tried those before, I take it? :: Now, he actually had a good reason to explain. He took a sip of his tea and began slowly, his accent fading as he told his story. :: Skyfire: My abilities began as limited to humans after treating a Dokkaran patient with a vision impairment. I somehow linked nervous systems with him, and he rewrote my genetics when I assisted him getting his sight back. Over the course of two years, my abilities morphed into what they currently are. I have strong connections with four people in total, 2 of which were formed out of freak accidents similarly to how I gained my gifts, and 2 which formed because I got close to them. In this universe, I used a specifically targeted set of melds to show my story to Saveron, in hopes that he’d be able to see what I went through and how I got them. Since then, I’ve used melds infrequently to gain temporary shielding help until we got stuck Over There. While we were trapped in the alternate universe, I met another Vulcan who wanted to help me gain control, so melded with him a couple times to learn additional techniques, which resulted in a fractured hand from anger when I smashed a table. When I returned here to this universe and on the Gorkon, I participated in a process known as the Exchange, which is some sort of El-Aurian telepathy with another counselor.The first time, it was fine. The second time, she lost control of it and exposed me to some of her memories of her family being assimilated by the Borg. I never want to go through anything like that again. I want help, but you’ll forgive me if I display reluctance for telepathic contact with your teaching. :: He didn’t add that he needed this in order to sort out the mess he accidentally caused with Lael by refusing to let go. He hoped that Ruwon was understanding enough to provide the help he asked without engaging in the need to see his mind. :: Ruwon: ::He laughed, softly.:: You don’t need to worry about that with me, trust me. I’m afraid I find such techniques, mmm - ::He paused a moment; the correct answer there was distasteful, fuelled by his own long-held fear of having other people in his head. In the end he went with a more diplomatic answer.:: Situational. If they haven’t worked for you in the past, there’s no reason to pursue them further. ::He set his cup down, running a thumb over the curved handle as he thought.:: Ruwon: It sounds as though your goal is mental discipline, then. Why are you pursuing that? :: He raised a quizzical brow, but the reasons now were probably different than when he began receiving counseling. He had another sip of his tea as he contemplated an answer. :: Skyfire: My mind is mostly a disorganized mess of chaos. All my mental training has either come from mind melds and the occasional Betazoid interaction. If my gifts are to be of any use to anyone besides myself, I need that structure and sense of control. If any of that will help me keep foreign influences out of my head, then it’s a welcome fringe benefit. I’m taking jiu-jitsu lessons, but it’s not helping with the mental part. Ruwon: Well...I’m not sure I can help you improve your telepathic talents, as I’ve not been so blessed. But if control and calm is what you’re after… ::Ruwon sipped his coffee as he considered.:: Ruwon: There are many methods that are almost purely cerebral. Meditation, of course; programming, writing, and music can be helpful. Personally, I tend to lean towards music, but that’s personal taste. I suppose it would depend on your own interest and what form your mental chaos tends to take. :: That made a lot of sense, though how writing and programming helped, he had no idea. He knew music had a purpose in this, but he hadn't considered it seriously enough to help with his meditation. :: Skyfire: How do you figure? Ruwon: ::He crossed his legs, steepling his fingers.:: Intrusive thoughts, night terrors, physiological distress…humans in particular have a lot of things that can lead to a feeling of lack of control. :: That was true. There were many things in this whole business he didn’t have control over. One of them was apparently forming these sorts of empathic links with patients, as he didn’t want that to happen again. Although, now he thought about it...why didn’t one form with Quinn when he pulled her back from the brink of death four times? It didn’t make sense at the moment, but it probably would later. :: Skyfire: Makes sense. What would you suggest? Ruwon: For your purposes, a regimen of meditation, cerebral skills and self-control is where I would start. Skyfire: Regimen of meditation already integrated into my days, along with incense and light meditative music. I do occasionally have nightmares, and my current meds are not helping with that. Ruwon: Meditation isn’t necessarily so complex. ::He tilted his head slightly; medications being ineffective wasn’t surprising, exactly, but coming from a medical man it was a bit surprising.:: What medications are you currently taking? :: CD nodded slightly as he considered, a lock of hair falling across an eye. He brushed it back behind his ear and ran his hand along his chin for a moment. When the question came up, he reached across the desk for the PADD and pulled his records with the prescription information in it before sliding it back to the counselor. :: Skyfire: Anxiety meds, mostly. Any reading material you can recommend for either the skills or self control would be helpful. Ruwon: Hmm. You mentioned music, incense, the meditation ceremony - do you find that effective? Can you do it easily? :: Ceremony? A bit more formal than most regimens, perhaps, but it was working for him. Just not so much on the self control bits. :: Skyfire: Yes. Sometimes more easily than others, but it’s all dependent on the circumstances. After code blues, meditation takes a lot longer. Otherwise on a low impact day, it’s a cakewalk. Ruwon: Makes sense. What do you do in moments of immediate anxiety? :: He reached under his collar to pull the chain of tags out and started rubbing them, offering a brief explanation from his previous posting. :: Skyfire: In my work with my previous counselor, she had me on a behavioral therapy program. It started with a rock in my pocket. Once Alex gave me these, I’ve started rubbing them instead. :: He paused and realized he hadn’t explained what they were. :: His dog tags from his days as a marine. Ruwon: So you use physical stimulation as a way to center your thoughts? :: The doc’s brow furrowed thoughtfully and offered a silent nod, his fingers idly running over the pressed metal within his hand. It was probably not the best place to start, but it helped. :: Ruwon: ::He nodded, as if in answer to the man’s silent affirmation.:: What sort of thought exercises do you do? Skyfire: Haven’t tried any. Ruwon: Really? ::Alright, that did surprise him.:: Are you familiar with the concept of centering? :: He thought back to his days on the Garuda, and the work he did with his family after he returned from the alternate universe. After a minute or so of silent recollection, he nodded. :: Skyfire: Yes. Ruwon: In what form? ::He watched Skyfire curiously.:: Skyfire: Rhythmic breathing. It’s been a while since I last did it regularly. oO May need to start adding that to the meditation regimen again. Oo ::Ruwon nodded, considering. After a long moment he got to his feet, walking to the shelf behind his desk and pulling out a small stack of PADDs. He flipped through them as he sat back down.:: Ruwon: I think, given your goals, you might find the concept of physical centering useful. It’s a skill that can be difficult to acquire, but has quite a few benefits - especially with anxiety attacks. ::He found the PADD he was looking for and handed it over.:: Ruwon: It’s a focus on the purely physical - draining one’s mind of all conscious thought until you can focus single-mindedly on sensation. :: CD’s brow furrowed as he accepted the device, then fired an inquisitive glance at the man before him. Purely physical techniques to gain mental control was probably the point, but Chythar was a bit of a skeptic. :: Skyfire: And you think that, given what I’ve explained, this will help? Learning how to focus on sensation rather than a physical stimulus? Ruwon: It may, yes. Learning to use your own body as your stimulus and having the mental control to shut down rushing, intrusive thoughts seems a good place to start. It’s similar to meditation, so I imagine you’ll be able to determine if you find it helpful fairly quickly. :: Again, Chythar gave a nod. He was intrigued by the notion of being able to shut the thoughts down before losing his calm in high-stress situations. If he had to start somewhere, that’d probably be as good a place as any. :: Skyfire: I’ll give it a go and get back to you. :: Then he paused and considered again. :: Do we need to adjust my meds, given this conversation? Ruwon: Mm. I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’ll need other’s opinions. I’m not intimately familiar with medications, unfortunately. ::He smiled apologetically.:: But we have others on board who are. I’m sure we can safely make adjustments if you’d like to go that route. :: As much as he didn’t like the idea of mentioning it, he knew Shira was aboard and could be of some assistance in this regard. :: Skyfire: I’d recommend you touch base with Dr. Yishira Somlen, one of my previous counselors. She’s another recent transfer who is familiar with my case and meds. :: He paused again, and decided not to bring up his other issue during this meeting. He’d seek advice on that one later. CD left out the part where she was the above-mentioned El-Aurian, but Ruwon would probably figure that out when they met. :: Ruwon: ::He inclined his head.:: I will. I have to ask, though; would you prefer to continue seeing her? Skyfire: I’d rather not. She’s a good person and all, but I’m not comfortable with her methods. Ruwon: Understood. I’ll do what needs to be done to make sure you’re content. ::He smiled.:: I trust you’ll let me know if you feel uncomfortable? Skyfire: :: nodding :: You can count on it. Ruwon: I appreciate it. ::For a moment, the Romulan’s face shifted - a flicker of doubt, before returning to his typical placid look.:: Do you have any concerns about your current post? Being a medical officer offers a unique challenge, no? Skyfire: It can, at times. No concerns about it at the moment. I am intrigued though that the present CMO is a jay-gee. Ruwon: It’s an odd situation, to be sure - are you concerned about serving under her? :: He nodded slightly in understanding of it being a unique situation. He knew he was only a medical officer here, but he had worn the title of CMO with distinction across a couple vessels now even before his demotion took effect. If he could be of any help to his boss, he would do so in a heartbeat. :: Skyfire: No. Not looking to replace her, just looking to help her become more comfortable in the role. :: He paused thoughtfully, running a hand along his beard. :: Are you worried I will intimidate her somehow? Ruwon: To be honest? ::He shrugged.:: Nurse Cattan is competent, but also new to her position. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t intimidated. That said - I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Skyfire: oO She’s a nurse, but leading a department. Impressive. Oo Ruwon: Sometimes people need an extra push to prove themselves. Perhaps you can supply that. Skyfire: Totally understandable. I look forward to the challenge. Is there anything else you feel we should go over before I leave you to other appointments? ::Ruwon considered for a moment, glancing at the PADD in front of him. Then he smiled.:: Ruwon: I think that’s it for now. Try the techniques I mentioned; we can reconvene in a week, when I’ve had a chance to speak with Dr. Somlen. Does that work for you? Skyfire: Aye, it does. Thank you for your time, counselor. Ruwon: Any time. Let me know if you have any questions before then, Lieutenant. :: He stood up and left Ruwon to his thoughts, deciding now was a good time for a stiff drink. He had a long overdue appointment with the barkeep. :: === Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire Medical Officer USS Za O239002CS0 & Ensign Ruwon Counselor USS Za O239303T10
  5. ((Temtibi Resort Beach, Risa))Bancroft: Hey boss, can I get a beer please?Millis: Got a nice ale. ::He turned back to the bar for a moment before returning and handing over a bottle.::Nkai: Make that two!Bancroft: Thanks.::She took the beer that was set on the counter.::Bancroft: Hey, I'll see you all later. Jayla, thanks for the race.Soyinka: Sure thing! Enjoy your evening!Millis: Welcome to the Gorkon.Nkai: Come back soon!Marshall: Look me up tomorrow!::She raised her drink to them all, took a sip, and set off in search of a quiet spot by the water. After a moment, she changed course and made a quick detour back to her hotel room to grab her personal PADD before heading back outside to resume her search of a quiet spot by the water.::::It was an absolutely beautiful evening. Colors shot across the sky above her in an amazing display of reds, pinks, purples, blues. A basically perfect evening. Close to the water, a bonfire was being lit, to which Colleen smiled - she'd always loved fire. She wandered quietly towards the water, towards a spot that was away from the majority of the people. After a few minutes of quiet wandering, occasionally sipping from the ale in her hand - it was decent, Millis was good at this - she was close to the water, and began walking a parallel path to the shore, towards a cloister of trees in the near distance.::oO When was the last time I was on a beach? Two? Three years? Not since her. Oo::Despite the relaxing nature of the drinking, it was also wearing on her depressive side.::oO Go figure. Oo ::The thought shot wryly through her head. She snorted softly. Eventually, her wandering led her to the stand of trees, and she sat down at the one closest to the water, leaning back against it. She slipped off her shoes, setting them aside, and dug her toes into the sand for a moment before removing them, stretching her legs, and letting the water lap at her feet.::oO A good tree. Blocks most of the noise from the crowd, gives a little privacy while not entirely blocking everything out. A very good tree indeed. Oo::Colleen took a sip of the ale again before digging the bottle into the sand beside her, where she wouldn't knock it over easily. The water was soothing in its sloshing, and reminded her of camping trips with her parents, when she had been a lot younger. And, of more recent camping trips.::oO Ah, Grace. Where'd it go wrong? Oo((Flashback - Campground, California Coast, Earth - c. Early 2390))::Colleen grinned as Grace Freeman flopped into the sand beside her before coming back up sputtering.::Freeman: Crap! Sand. Mouth. Bad combination.Bancroft: You dork. How did you not see that one coming?::Grace lightly punched Colleen's arm, managing to land it right over the birthmark - again. She always managed to.::Freeman: You know you love me.Bancroft: Well duh. ::She paused.:: You're still a dork.::Grace rolled her eyes.::Freeman: So you decided to take on a minor, on top of your dual major? I never figured you'd be that much of an overachiever.Bancroft: In my defense, it's only like... three or four extra classes. And I'm still going to have room left to spare in my schedule.Freeman: Colleen, you're turning into a workaholic.::Colleen snorted and lightly punched Grace's arm in return.::Bancroft: But not too much to push you out of my life. ::She leaned over and kissed Grace's cheek.:: I love you.Freeman: ::A moment's hesitation.:: I love you too, Col.((End Flashback))::Colleen surfaced from the memory to feel a couple tears rolling down her cheeks. Silently cursing, she wiped the tears away.::oO I'm strong. Grace is old news. Get yourself together, girl. Oo::With another small snort and an eye roll, Colleen took a large swig from the ale. Half the bottle was gone now.::oO Have to slow down or I'll be going right back to that bar to get another, too soon. Oo::The memory had been from January or February, middle of the first semester that year. She and Grace had taken one of the few long weekends during the Academy to go camping. Despite it being plenty warm out, there hadn't been that many people at the campground that time of year, a fact for which she remembered being thankful for. The whole trip had been like a break from reality, a time when the other worries, the future plans, the problems, had simply... not existed.::::It hadn't been eight months after that trip when Grace had broken up with her. Colleen still wasn't sure why the other woman had left, but it still hurt.::::With active determination, Colleen put her PADD into her lap and pulled up her messages. A couple random blast messages from Starfleet, a message from one of her old classmates from CAP-A, and a message from Ensign Hannah Ramsey. Smiling at the last one, she pulled it up, read it through, read it through again, then pulled up the reply function.:: >\/< Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0
  6. ((Temtibi Lagoon Resort, Risa)) ::Stars were beginning to peek through the darkening sky, while one of Risa's two moons crept above the horizon. The beach party was beginning its transition from family fun to wild night out, and the bonfire in the centre had been coaxed into life. The scent of grilled food was creeping through the air, enough to tempt even her dampened appetite. ::Her attention drifted from the antics in front of her, out towards the sea. It was as though there was a lead weight attached to her mood, dragging her down despite the buoyancy of the party around her. The healing wounds scattered across her middle were crossing the line from aches to pains, and it was increasingly hard to steer her mind away from the events that had left her with them. ::It would be easier if she could be angry at the two men who'd tried to murder her. But how could she? They were hardly wrong for hating her -- she *had* killed Væbn's brother, and Volkov's son *had* died because of her orders. Brunsig: A word. ::She startled, so lost in her own thoughts she hadn't noticed his approach. Tall and broad, with a short crop of white-blond hair and startling blue eyes, Walter Brunsig was usually hard to miss.:: Reynolds: Now? Brunsig: Well gee, Cupcake, only if there's a gap in your busy schedule of staring vacantly into the middle distance. Shall I wait here while you check your diary? ::He scowled at her, and she replied with a roll of her eyes and a heavy sigh. How often had they danced this dance? She'd lost track over the years, but there was odd kind of comfort in its familiarity. ::Lifting her hand, she gestured for him to lead on. He peeled away, at a gentler pace than his usual, which allowed her to walk alongside him without any difficulty as they put some distance between themselves and the party. It was particularly appreciated, given how sore her midriff still was. Perhaps that was why he was taking it easy.:: Brunsig: Spit it out. ::But not too easy.:: Reynolds: What are you talking about? ::He scowled at her again. Maybe he thought she was being deliberately obtuse, but she had genuinely no idea what he was talking about.:: Brunsig: You look like hell, Quinn, and I'm not talking about the fact you checked out of sickbay before you should've done. ::Their footfalls were soft on the white sands as they walked, her feet clad in sandals, his in a pair of tan espadrilles. The beach was quiet at this time of day, the setting sun sending revellers toward Risa's many restaurants, bars and clubs, and so the empty sands afforded the two some privacy.:: Reynolds: I've had a long day, that's all. Brunsig: Orrey? ::How did he know? He must have seen them talking earlier. She nodded, slow and thoughtful, her gaze on the sand in front of her. Whatever else there was to be said about him, Walter Brunsig could keep a confidence.:: Reynolds: He's sick. ::She paused.:: Dying. The doctors don't think he'll see next year. ::A long silence followed. The only sounds that of the nearby sea, lapping gently against the golden shores, and the muted music of Millis' party in the distance. There was a gentle breeze, cool but not cold, and Walter's loose, light blue shirt fluttered in its grasp.:: Brunsig: You sure can pick 'em, Cupcake. ::::He shook his head in a show of vague despair, while her answer was a weak ghost of a smile, gone as quickly as it appeared. He wasn't wrong. She really did seem to have knack for picking broken men to grow fond of: Tildaen, Pedro, Alleran, Kael, Harry... ::And of course, there was Walter himself.:: Reynolds: What would you do? If you knew you had just a few months left? Brunsig: Get drunk and stay drunk. ::An answer that would surprise no one who knew him. That was to say, as much as Walter allowed anyone to know him.:: Brunsig: You wouldn't? Reynolds: ::She shook her head.:: I have my kids to think of. And I don't drink anymore. Brunsig: You're going to tell me that story some day. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: Some day. ::Maybe. She wasn't sure how to tell the tale. Least of all to him, who was unknowingly at the centre of it. Perhaps that particular story was best kept between the counsellor and herself.:: Brunsig: When are you shipping him home? Reynolds: He wants to keep working until he can't anymore. We're probably already at that point, but… ::she shook her head.:: I've given him one more mission. ::She shot him a sidelong glance, anticipating his response.:: I know, I know; that's one mission too many, he should already be at home with his family, he should already be under the care of specialist doctors, he's-- Brunsig: --being indulged by a commanding officer who should know better. ::He had her there, and she heaved a heavy sigh of defeat.:: Reynolds: Yeah. Brunsig: Then why are you doing it? Reynolds: Because… ::She looked down at the sand, a guilty frown pulling at her brow.:: I can't decide if I want him home for his own good, or for mine. I don't want to watch another friend die. ::Ever since Jansen had told her about his condition, she'd often found herself remembering Alleran. The Trill had been betrayed by his own body, unable to sustain the connection between host and symbiont. She sat with him through his final days, watching him fade away, holding his hand until he'd passed. The idea of living through that again with Jansen was terrifying.:: Brunsig: We're all cowards when it comes to that kind of crap. Reynolds: Thanks. ::She paused, squinting at him.:: I think? ::He answered with a non-committal grunt, and they were both content to leave it at that. They walked together in an almost comfortable silence, though she found herself increasingly distracted by his physical presence at her side. ::A bright flash of light and a thundering crack sent her heart hammering against the inside of her chest. She whipped around, trying to locate the source of the explosion, stilled only by a warm hand on her shoulder and the sound of his voice.:: Brunsig: Quinn. ::He jerked his head up, toward the sky. She followed the gesture, her heartbeat as loud in her ears as the colourful fireworks booming and crackling overhead.:: Reynolds: Oh. ::She cleared her throat, cheeks beginning to burn, embarrassed at her own panic. Her heart was still hammering inside her chest, and she was mortified to find that she was shaking a little. Walter gave her long look, his hand sliding off her shoulder.:: Reynolds: I'm fine. ::She paused.:: I will be. I'm just… a little jumpy. Brunsig: A little. Reynolds: I'm fine. ::It didn't sound any more believable the second time around, and the look on his face said exactly that.:: Brunsig: You'd better be making your counsellor earn her paycheck. ::It was also her turn to scowl. She was, but that was hardly the point. Walter was every bit as bad as she was when it came to counsellors. Both of them had spent far too much of their lives avoiding the help the profession could offer, rather than embracing it.:: Reynolds: Pot, kettle..? ::His grin was a flash of lightning; electric, sudden and brilliant. It changed his face and she found herself smiling back, her fears ebbing. He held her gaze for a moment, and then the smile fell away, turning away as an expression much harder to identify crossed his face. His eyes settled on the flickering lights at the far end of the beach, providing a convenient subject to change to.:: Brunsig: So is there booze at this party? ::She almost laughed. In light of who organised it -- and the fact the Gorkon was a dry ship -- it was a foregone conclusion.:: Reynolds: Well, it's Millis' brainchild, so short of a dramatic personality change on his part… yes? ::That was all the answer that was needed, and he turned back to retrace his steps, Quinn falling in alongside. She could see their footsteps trailing away, and some had already been washed away by the encroaching tide. Would that the past could so easily be cleansed, and regrets so easily made right.:: -- Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  7. ((Deck 2 - USS Constitution)) ::As the evening wore down and everyone started making their way out of the holodeck, Maxwell was happy and content. Honored to be the Constitution's new executive officer, he was equally pleased that he had started that tenure by supping and socializing with his peers. Tired and excited for the days to come, he bid adieu to the last remaining stragglers, setting his program to close and archive once the last visitor left, and made for his quarters for a night of good sleep.:: ::There were few people around the ship at this time of the evening, even though it wasn't terribly late. With the most extreme of protesters detained on Starbase 104, it was once again safe to travel and visit South End Station for visiting ship crews, and that probably explained some of the reduced foot traffic throughout the corridors. The very few he did pass, Maxwell went out of his way to greet them. As contented as he was, it seemed the least he could do to pass on a bit of good cheer to those he met.:: ::Coming up to his quarters, it still felt strange to be all the way up on Deck 2. His stuff had been moved to the executive officer's quarters just that afternoon, and he had only really had time to ensure that Barque was settled before he left for the party. He could almost spit on Jalana's door from here, and it felt like a long time since he had such prestigious digs.:: ::The door opened to darkness, and the unfamiliarity of the quarters left him disoriented for a moment. Were it the daytime, Barque would be waiting at the door for him, but at night the lazy mutt couldn't be bothered to rouse himself off the couch to greet him. Some guard dog. So it wasn't any surprise to Maxwell when the beagle wasn't at the door, considering the late hour. However, the plaintive, almost inaudible whine from the couch was definitely strange.:: Traenor: Barque? Are you okay, boy? ::His eyes were just starting to acclimate to the gloom, and he finally noticed a strange shadow over where the couch was, right where Barque's whine had come from.:: Traenor: Computer, lights. ::The lights did not come on as expected.:: Traenor: ::concerned:: Is anyone there? Noros: Hello, beautiful. ::Maxwell nearly jumped out of his skin in shock. Having come into the quarters proper and allowing the door to close, the cut-off of light from the corridor helped his eyes adjust to the darkness that much quicker and the shadowy blob from the other side of the room resolved into the features of another person sitting on the couch. Hearing that voice, he knew exactly who it was.:: Traenor: Noros Tanna. Lieutenant, what are you doing here? Did you override the lights? ::Barque whined again, a tentative yet urgent sound. The beagle had always been well attuned to the emotional state of his humans, and could likely feel the waves of confusion and exasperation coming off of Traenor. But it couldn't just be that, thought Maxwell, since Barque had whined even before he had known something was amiss.:: Noros: I came to apologize for the other day. I shouldn't have slapped you, Max. Do you apologize for making me angry enough to hit you? Traenor: ::sputtering:: Me, apologize? For what?! You broke into my quarters, an altogether way too common occurrence, and accosted me! ::Barque whined again, accentuating the heightened tension in Noros's raised voice.:: Noros: Come now, Max! You keep leading me on, then pull away when I kiss you? I've heard of playing hard to get, but this is ridiculous! ::Eyes fully accustomed to the dark, Maxwell could now clearly see Tanna sitting on the couch with Barque half on her lap. With one hand gently petting his head, the other had a vise grip on the scruff of his neck. He was being held there against his will, and that likely explained his discomfiture.:: Traenor: ::hissing through gritted teeth:: First, let go of my dog. Second, I have never led you on. I have never professed any attraction towards you in any way, shape, or form. In fact, quite the opposite. I have told you numerous times that I do not appreciate your forward, intrusive personality. Noros: ::laughing, but a hollow, shill sound:: Oh, Max, you're always trying to act so gruff. You should know by now that you don't have to try and impress me. I like you just the way you are, silliness and all. ::She had still not let go of Barque, so Maxwell stormed into the room and grabbed Tanna's offending arm roughly by the wrist. She let go of Barque then, which allowed the beagle to scamper off the couch and towards the bedroom, but she planted her other hand on Maxwell's wrist in return. Her grip was painfully strong, and she only broke it when he released his grip first.:: Noros: ::standing, facing off toe to toe with Traenor:: Don't touch me like that, Max. Why do you always have to make me so angry? Traenor: ::seething:: Oh, you don't know angry, Lieutenant. You'd best leave now before you regret it. ::Tanna's face was screwed up in a nasty scowl, which made her look ghoulish in the pale gleam off the starbase in the windows.:: Noros: Regret it? Why, you going to use your newfound powers to make me pay? Letting your new role as First Officer get to your head? Yeah, I heard about that, even though you 'conveniently' forgot to invite me to your party. Don't power-trip on me, Max. Traenor: Look, Noros, I've taken it easy on you over the years. I've never once raised an official complaint against your infractions against the rules and my personal privacy. I've given you the benefit of the doubt, time and time again, from one ship to another. ::momentarily distracted:: How do you even end up on every ship I serve, anyways? ::back on topic:: But this has to stop. Now, and for good. If that means I have to act within my jurisdiction as executive officer to levy official punishments against you, then I will. Please don't make it come to that, Lieutenant. ::Maxwell earnestly meant that plea. Disciplining officers was never a task to be taken lightly, and he would only do so as a last resort. Besides, he didn't want to air his dirty laundry for his superiors to see, either. Filing reports for Jalana and Starfleet Command to peruse was the last thing that he wanted to happen to this unique and uncomfortable situation that he had allowed to fester for far too long.:: Noros: Oh, yes, First Officer Max. You'd just love that, wouldn't you? Write me up! ::manic, ugly expression on her face:: Tell me this, Max... Did you seduce *this* Captain in order to become first officer, like you did last time? ::It was the lowest of blows, and Maxwell visibly reeled as if she had reached out and punched him in the gut. Maxwell Traenor had loved Renos, the commanding officer of the Darwin, very much; still did, though he tried to deny that to himself. The two of them had tried very hard to keep their doomed relationship private and inconsequential to the operation of the starship. It was Maxwell's eventual inability to do just that, by nearly sacrificing the Darwin and its crew in a suicidal attempt to rescue Renos against all logic and protocol, which had removed him from his first stint as an executive officer. Not only that, but Maxwell had risen to his status through hard work and perseverance, not nepotism. He never would have accepted the role back then if it had, and he and Renos had discussed that extensively. To rend through that raw wound was beyond the pale, and Tanna had to have known that. That she would still choose to sully herself in the muck of his doomed personal life was more than he could bear.:: Traenor: ::face a steeled mask:: Lieutenant Junior Grade Noros Tanna, you are hereby relieved of duty effective immediately. Pending confirmation of said penalty by Captain Jalana Rajel, you will remain relieved of duty until you pass a psychiatric evaluation to prove that you are indeed fit for duty. If you are caught further abusing your security code privileges to violate the privacy of any other individual's private domains, you will be confined to quarters. Do you understand? Noros: ::shock, dismay:: But, Max- Traenor: DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Noros: Yes. ::The edges of Maxwell's vision were graying from stress-induced elevated heart rate and a massive dump of adrenaline in his bloodstream. He was literally seconds away from hyperventilating. It was taking every last iota of his willpower not to fly into a blinding rage.:: Traenor: Leave, now. Before I call Security to escort you out. ::Like a chastised, petulant child, the statuesque Bajoran turned to leave, but paused in the open doorway. She never turned back, but waited, as if anticipating one last parting shot before she completely departed. She was right on the money with that prescient feeling.:: Traenor: And don't you ever invoke Renos's name again, else you'll see just how far I'm willing to abuse my powers. ::The door closed, darkness complete and whole again. The room was silent, but Maxwell wouldn't know for the torrent of blood rushing through his veins that created a cacophony and tempest in his ears that matched his mood. He felt he could weep, but was afraid to let emotion rule unless he lost all control over it.:: Traenor: oO Congratulations, Maxwell. Perfect way to end your first day as first officer. Oo LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor Executive Officer, USS Constitution =/\= Top Sims Contest Facilitator =/\= A239111MT0
  8. (( Starbase 104, Promenade )) :: Tad stood in the center of the promenade floor, the eye of a storm of bustle and activity. Now that he was here for shore leave instead of on duty he had a chance to really take in some of the sights. He marveled at the sheer number of beings around him, more species than he'd ever seen assembled in one place, and wondered which ones were up to no good. As soon as the thought occurred to him he shook his head as if to dislodge it from his mind. He was here to relax, and maybe grab something to eat. On a station this large it was even possible he'd be able to track down the one thing that had eluded him since he left New Jersey - a really good cheese steak. His eyes scanned the countless shops, booths and kiosks that stretched from one side of the enormous place to the other and gave a contented sigh. It was time to celebrate the previous day's job well done. Nothing was going to get him down. :: Jordan: Cooper! :: Every muscle in Tad's body clenched at the familiar voice. He squeezed his eyes shut as if the woman would disappear if he did it hard enough. In truth he knew Jordan wouldn't leave until she'd said her piece, so he decided to get it over with quick, like tearing off a bandage. He forced himself to relax and slowly turned. He was greeted by the expected sight of the woman combining a standard Starfleet security uniform with a ten-gallon hat, cowboy boots and her unique star-shaped combadge. When he spoke, he did his best to not sound like he'd rather be anywhere else. :: Cooper: What can I do for you, Deputy? Jordan: A word. Cooper: oO Here we go. Oo Certainly. Jordan: I hear you helped apprehend some suspected terrorists recently. Cooper: That's right. Not just me though, I had some backup. Jordan: It was, what, a 10-28? Cooper: ::A look of surprise crossed his face.:: You know police codes? Jordan: I'm in law enforcement, right? :: Technically all security personnel were in law enforcement, but the only other Starfleet officer he'd met so far who knew police codes was Captain Rajel. And she only knew because one of her symbiont's past hosts was a police officer. :: Cooper: How did you know I was a cop? ::Even through her mirrored shades it was obvious Jordan rolled her eyes. :: Jordan: Please. :: Tad grimaced at the thought of being so transparent. Then again, Jordan had already proven to not be your average security officer. :: Cooper: It turned out to be a 10-28, but I was responding to a 10-26 from some of our engineers. :: Jordan crossed her arms and raised her chin, looking at Tad down her nose. :: Jordan: Ah hah. And I suppose it was a 10-22? Cooper: Well, no, more like a 10-83. Jordan: I see. I was wondering, because you didn't announce your presence to any of my staff. Cooper: I was under the impression that the base requested assistance from our ship. Jordan: We requested engineering help, not security. Cooper: ::defensively:: Now wait a minute. The first time I came on board you told me I could operate here so long as I didn't interfere with base operations. Jordan: Exactly. The first time. That don't give you permission to just come to South End whenever you want and play patrolman. Not on my station and not on my watch. Do I make myself clear? :: A bead of sweat rolled down Tad's temple and he straightened his back involuntarily, as if standing at attention. He hadn't had s dressing down like that since the academy. :: Cooper: Affirmative. :: Seemingly satisfied by his answer, Jordan once again relaxed her stance and stuffed her hands into her uniform pockets. :: Jordan: Good. ::sigh:: Look, you did good work. Truth is my team was stretched thin during the talks, and I do appreciate the help. Just make sure you give me a 10-1 next time or I'll 10-86 you so fast your head'll spin. :: Tad grinned despite himself. :: Cooper: 10-4. And thank you, Deputy. Jordan: Cooper! One more thing. :: Tad had turned to leave, but Jordan's call made him turn back. :: Jordan: 1800. Cooper: ::His brow creased.:: I'm...actually not familiar with that code. Jordan: It's not a code. It's when I get off duty. :: Tad's eyebrows shot upward as if trying to escape his face. :: Cooper: Ah, I'm not sure.... Jordan: Because at 1900 you're takin' me to the Klingon barbecue place on level 7. Cooper: Ah...Klingon...barbecue? Jordan: ::She shrugged without removing her hands from her pockets.:: It ain't cow, but it's close. Besides, it's the least you could do. Cooper: I, ah.... Jordan: ::turning serious again:: The very. Least. :: Tad knew there was no talking his way out of it, so he bit the bullet and gave in. :: Cooper: ::nodding:: 1900, understood. Jordan: Good. ::She spun on her heel and strode away across the promenade, causing the small crowd of curious onlookers that had gathered around them to suddenly remember they had somewhere else to be. She called out once more over her shoulder as she left.:: Don't be late! :: Tad let his head loll back, gazing open-mouthed toward the ceiling, and wondered why he didn't just stay on the ship. :: (( OOC: List of police codes: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Tad_Cooper/Police_Codes )) PNPC Ensign Tad Cooper Security officer Simmed by Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01
  9. ((Caraadian Battlecruiser, Deck 8, Engineering Section)) Nalai: ::sullen and angry:: Two days! It couldn’t hold itself together for two measly days. ::Sub-Lieutenant Para Nalai hit a bulkhead with his fist and regretted it instantly. He was not at all a fan of personifying ships, but right now, he was almost sure that this ship was willingly ruining him.:: ::He looked onto his display unit, the connection bars to the main computer in the top-right corner were flashing erraticly. One moment, he had perfect data uplink, one later there was no connection.:: Nalai: It cannot even decide if it wants to fail or not… ::The display showed in all sorts of red many failures in the main reaction-core room. He would just have to turn right, down that corridor, duck under some hanging pipes, go through that door and… Computer: Access denied. ::Nalai tried to use the manual opener at the side of the door.:: Computer: Access denied. ::The engineer stopped his fist mid-air while it was on its way towards the display. With his luck, the display surely would shatter and only add to the pain that was already throbbing in his knuckles.:: ::Actually, Nalai did not even know why he was trying. He had been one of the lowest of the lowest, assigning the cleaning teams to corridors and the technicians to the lightbulbs that needed changing. Sometimes even doing so himself.:: ::The display still showed error codes en masse and all of them did not say anything to him except „Do something about me!“. That was no problem, he would make something up when he found a way inside.:: ::His look fell onto a service hatch a little back up the corridor. A good idea almost made him smile. The panel was removed within seconds, that was something he actually knew how to do. Then, with some more hue and cry, he squeezed his bulky belly through the tiny opening.:: ::Luckily, behind it, the tube got much bigger and he had no trouble reaching a second hatch that would open into the core-room with his own access code, not without sending an instant warning to the bridge. Not that anyone there cared, most of them were ailing somewhere with the plague or already being dead from one of many explosions.:: ::The second hatch opened and gave way to a wave of heat. After Nalai could open his eyes again, he saw a labyrinth of fire-spitting energy conducts, unhealthy current discharges and dangerously dangling ceiling tiles. He closed the door in front of him.:: Nalai: Thats… Thats just too typical. Not one of those super-awesome smart-asses from engineering command is left. Just let old Para do it, two days before his year off! ::He took a deep breath and opened the hatch again. He would have proudly described his parkour efforts as „better than Lara Croft“ if he had actually known who that was. In reality, his thoughts were more concerned with him ending up as a roasted chicken or a current-induced x-ray-image of himself.:: ::Against all odds, he reached the console at the other side of the room. It was right next to the door he initially wanted to enter through. He was breathing heavily and his palms were sweaty. A stinging pain in his forehead reminded him that it was since two weeks time for his next cigarette.:: Nalai: ::grimly and determined:: Let’s see… ::He pushed some buttons and some of the red lights were vanishing, while others appeared instead. He managed to stop the leaking from the pipes, but the biggest read-flashing warning messages were not disappearing.:: ::By accident he summoned a navigational status map onto the screen. He saw the miniature representation of the battlecruiser directly plunging towards a tiny planet.:: Nalai: ::resigned:: Oh my, we really need some help here… ______________________ MSPNPC Sub-Lieutenant Para Nalai Engineering Officer as simmed by Lt Isabel Pond USS Darwin-A D239212IP0
  10. ((ACMO’s Office, Sickbay, USS Constitution)) ::It was one of those eternal laws that Sickbay was busy. On a ship the size of the Galaxy-class, there was always someone in need of a doctor’s attention, even if only for a checkup. It wasn’t only in times of crisis that people got sick or injured.:: ::Patience was a virtue in such places, and having been on the other side of the bench, Saveron was content to wait until he could have a private word with T’Reshik’s treating physician.:: Saveron: Doctor Milsap. I am appreciative of your time. :: Jerry stood to welcome the counsellor. :: Milsap: No problem, Commander. Have a seat. ::He waited until Saveron was settled in and sat back down himself.:: Saveron: I wished to speak with you about Ensign T’Reshik; I understand that you are her treating physician. Milsap: If you can call it that. ::There was a hint of regret in his tone.:: From what I’ve been able to find out about...her condition, there ain’t much I can do in the way of treatment. ::That earned him a faint, curious [...] of the head from the Counsellor.:: Saveron: At times it would appear that little has changed since the twenty-third century. ::He considered the situation carefully.:: What does Starfleet Medical know about the condition? ::He knew what Vulcan cultures knew of it of course, so he’d never bothered to look up what Starfleet’s Medical databases had to say about it. Now he was on the outside, looking in, and had no desire to offend the hard-working man sitting across from him.:: Milsap: I admit, I never encountered a Vulcan in pon farr before, so I don’t have any real experience. And all the cases I’ve researched, they didn’t often turn out so well. Saveron: I have noted that has generally been the case. ::He acknowledged.:: I anticipate that the problem is two-fold; a cultural reticence on the subject, and a lack of personal planning, particularly amongst young Vulcans. ::Neither of which was easy to overcome.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: It does seem to be a touchy subject, which I can understand. Lots of young people from all species find it awkward to discuss sexuality with adults. Learning about pon farr is kinda like the Vulcan version of what humans call “the talk”. Except in this case, if you don’t have it, you might die. ::That was truer than Saveron would have liked.:: Saveron: I believe that Terran culture speaks of a tall bird that puts it’s head in the sand to disagreeable situations? ::His tone was dry.:: What do you know about the underlying biology of the situation? Milsap: ::He sat back in his chair.:: Well, it’s a neurochemical imbalance that, if left untreated can cause death within eight days. It can be alleviated with a telepathic mating bond, but that could also bring on the plak tow. Then the patient runs a high fever and becomes irrational and violent, sometimes even unable to speak. And that can be deadly too. ::pause:: It’s pretty nasty, honestly. Saveron: Only if improperly managed. ::He revealed.:: Which is generally the only situation that Starfleet has cause to observe. ::But Jerry was obviously up on what happened in those situations.:: From that basis one would assume that you can deduce what the natural resolution would be. ::If he was serving as a Medical Officer then Saveron would simply have delivered a short lecture on the subject to fill Jerry in. But he wasn’t, he was the Counsellor and his job was to lead people to their own conclusions, especially when he suspected that the knowledge was there, but the cultural inhibitions were preventing the connection. And as a Vulcan he knew all about cultural inhibitions.:: Milsap: The natural resolution, so far as I can tell, is to either mate or fight someone, and T’Reshik don’t seem too keen on either of those. Saveron: That is correct, whilst the latter does not always resolve the situation. ::After you fought someone, you claimed their mate, after all. It was only if you lost the fight that you lost the biological imperative. The patient’s recalcitrance didn’t help the situation.:: Milsap: She’s done a lot of research on the condition, as I’m sure you know, and she thinks she can control the situation with isolation and meditation, and so long as she’s not in immediate danger I was willing to let her try it. If nothing else, just not giving her an argument over it might help calm her down. Cadet Thyar was willing to work with her too. Saveron: Indeed, she has an interesting background with regards to certain areas of Vulcan biology. ::’Interesting’ was one way of putting it.:: However resolution through meditation is generally only available to those who had achieved the kohlinahr. She is aware of this. Having spoken with her, it is apparent that her condition is progressing. ::More’s the pity. He would wish her every success in that endeavour, but he knew that such was extremely difficult; Saveron held no illusions regarding his own ability to achieve such.:: Milsap: Another option is medication, keep her sedated and hope she sleeps right through the whole thing. And if her condition worsens I plan to do just that. I’m fine with letting T’Reshik try to fix things her way, but not if I think it’ll wind up killing her. Saveron: It will kill her regardless. The physiological stress, if allowed to continue, is generally terminal. Is it unlikely that it will spontaneously resolve, despite your excellent care. ::He replied gravely. It the reason that such situations could be so dire.:: There are cultural mechanisms on Vulcan to manage such situations, but not here. :: Jerry appreciated Saveron’s compliment, he just wished he believed he’d really earned it. Ever since he’d graduated medical school it was very rare he’d find a condition he didn’t know how to treat. Part of the reason he’d joined Starfleet was to expand his knowledge to encompass treatment of other races and learn how to handle conditions he’d never be exposed to on Earth. Sometimes dealing with alien sickness was different from curing human maladies, but with a little research he was able to learn what he needed to do. This pon farr situation was the first time he’d encountered an affliction with no real medical resolution, and he felt at a loss. He’d had to rely on the expertise of others and, while that may have been the best course of action for his patient, it gave him an unaccustomed and unwelcome feeling of powerlessness. :: Milsap: I get the impression that T’Reshik is resolved to ride this thing out her own way, even if it does kill her. ::Saveron had received the same impression from T’Reshik herself.:: Saveron: Having spoken with her at Counsellor Taurek’s request, I believe that I have persuaded her to review her objections in light of a ‘live to fight another day’ perspective. ::He said at length.:: Her researches, if successful, would be revolutionary. But she must survive to continue them. :: That news lit a spark of hope behind Jerry’s eyes. :: Milsap: Well, that’s a start. What can we do to help her now? Saveron: She has made a request that she be transferred by direct transport to her quarters. I would consider this reasonable, on the provision that Security sweep her quarters for weapons and medication, and lock her replicator and console down to civilian functions only. ::That way the damage that she could cause would be minimalised.:: She has agreed to these conditions, but you are the treating physician, and the decision lies with you. :: As he listened, Jerry nodded thoughtfully. :: Milsap: Sure, I’d go along with that. Sometimes just a change of scenery can do a patient good. Saveron: I anticipate a relatively rapid resolution, once she has the privacy and comfort of her own quarters. ::His tone was dry.:: Milsap: But even in that circumstance, won’t we have the same problem? She’ll still be suffering the same symptoms. ::Unfortunately Doctor Milsap didn’t get the subtle hint. Even Saveron held a certain reticence on the subject, although years amongst aliens had cured him of some of it.:: Saveron: You are correct, and she will continue to suffer them until her condition is resolved. ::At least now it seemed that T’Reshik would entertain the idea of that resolution.:: Milsap: You mentioned Vulcan has ways to deal with this kinda thing. Is it possible we could reproduce them here? Saveron: Indeed, entirely possible. ::He agreed.:: Given the evolutionary purpose of the drive, the resolution is straightforward and effective. :: Jerry felt like he was missing something. He still wasn’t sure what the alternate treatment was. Unless, of course, Saveron wasn’t talking about an alternative. Jerry’s brow creased. :: Milsap: Are we still talkin’ about mating? Saveron: Affirmative. Whilst I am aware of T’Reshik’s previous recalcitrance, I would ask, has curative therapy been offered? ::His tone was one of polite enquiry, as though they were talking about a vial of analgesic.:: :: Curative therapy? He couldn’t be asking what Jerry thought he was asking, could he? Maybe to a Vulcan for which pon farr was a fact of life that kind of thing could be viewed clinically, but to a human from a tiny town in Louisiana the idea was a little more unusual. :: Milsap: You mean did anyone offer to *mate* with her? Not as far as I know…. ::The Vulcan raised a hand in a ‘wait’ gesture.:: Saveron: In fact I have done so. ::He said bluntly.:: However, it ill behooves a doctor to withhold lifesaving therapy. What I am interested to know is, had I not offered, would you? :: Jerry opened his mouth to respond, then closed it and looked down in thought. It never occurred to Jerry to offer to mate with T’Reshik, for several reasons. Still, Saveron raised an interesting point. From a certain standpoint, it could definitely be viewed as a lifesaving procedure. But was a doctor really obliged to save a patient’s life at any cost? If not, where was it acceptable to draw the line? This conversation was raising some uncomfortable trains of thought in Jerry’s mind. :: Milsap: That’s a hard question, Counsellor. Saveron: I believe that it is the Counsellor’s prerogative to ask hard questions. ::He pointed out, a certain light in those grey eyes.:: It is important that we are all aware of our respective cultural inhibitions, and I trust you appreciate that I know that of which I speak. ::As he spoke his tone became dryer. After all, it was Vulcan cultural inhibitions that had landed T’Reshik in her current situation, and Saveron was hardly blind to the problem. First, solve thyself.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: I’m sure. As for your question,I think the short answer is no, I wouldn’t have offered. Saveron: I would be as to your reasons. Milsap: Chalk it up to those cultural inhibitions. Now I’m not saying I would have just let her die, of course. If mating turned out to be the only thing that would save her, and she was willing, we’d find her a suitable and willing partner somehow. But I wouldn’t ask anyone to go against their own beliefs to do it if they didn’t want to. ::The Vulcan considered Jerry’s words. They were perhaps indicative of the reason that such situations caused such difficulties, but cultural conditioning was something they all had, with it’s associated inhibitions.:: Saveron: It’s a complex question; what is the value of a life? ::He posed rhetorically.:: Is it to be placed above one’s inhibitions? One’s comfort? One’s culture? And what are the duties of a medical officer? Can one withhold lifesaving treatment on a cultural basis? ::After a moment he made a placating gesture.:: The subject interests me because this situation continues to present a problem within Starfleet. There is only one reliable treatment, but it’s application appears to be fraught with difficulties, including lack of awareness despite all professional good intentions. ::Jerry hadn’t even been certain of it.:: You will, I trust, tolerate my endeavours to remedy that. Milsap: ::smiling:: Besides, the Academy never taught us about sex as medicine. If they had, I suspect we might have a few more doctors in Starfleet. ::He chuckled:: Heck, it might have even made my brother get into medicine! ::That earned Jerry a quirked brow accompanied by an amused light in the Vulcan’s eyes.:: Saveron: Perhaps we should suggest an addition to the curriculum? :: Jerry threw his head back and laughed, even though he was pretty sure Saveron hadn’t meant the comment as a joke. Pretty sure.:: Milsap: Good luck with that. Saveron: I have nothing further at this junction. If you will permit T’Reshik’s transfer then I will arrange the rest. Assuming that she agrees to treatment. ::He decided not to mention the euthanasia option at this point.:: Milsap: ::nodding:: It makes sense to me, and as you have a lot more experience in the matter I think you’ll agree it’s logical to follow your recommendation. As soon as I get back to the office I’ll take care of the formalities. A JP by Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01 And Commander Saveron Counsellor and Diplomatic Officer USS Constitution-B R238802S10
  11. ((Admiral's Office)) Ashana: Well, I’ll attempt to keep it brief, I will tell you what I was told. The Federation needs a strong, stable alliance with the Laudean government. With the maneuvers of the Orions and then the Romulans over the past year, there are concerns that the outer perimeter of the Federation is threatened. A firm alliance with the Laudeans would make for a strong sign to other non-members worlds we have opened talks within neighboring sectors. If they see positive benefits from the Federation, they would less willing to collaborate with those hostile to our values and interests. Turner: I can't disagree with that at all. Although Prime Minister Daysa has been more than cooperative with us, there are factions within the Laudean population, criminal elements, and infiltrators from neighboring species with an embedded hatred of Starfleet. Ashana: And yes, right when I arrive there just happens to be a terrorist attack that shows the weakness and ineffectiveness of the government at ensuring its citizens’ safety… :: Ashana's statement was more telling to Toni than the Ambassador may have thought. Did she think there was a conspiracy to discredit her as a diplomat or perhaps, even to get rid of her?:: Turner: Let me assure you that this uprising has been brewing for quite some time. It all goes back to the Romulan occupation when the Laudeans were treated like trash on their own planet. Ashana: I’ve read the briefs on Prime Minister and his administration, but it sounds like you have a working relationship with him. What should I know about him and his staff? Turner: Vail Daysa is an honorable man, who rose to power through his military service, and was instrumental in ousting the Romulans from the planet. Awhile back he did have some staff who were clearly infiltrated by Orion propaganda trying to disturb his influence with the population, but he stood up to them and peace was restored. Ashana: And that peace is unfortunately deteriorating once again… Turner: :: leaning back in her chair:: You have to understand that Daysa is a strong leader, but during the Romulan occupation their Lomales were taken hostage, causing zero growth in the population, and over the years every time the population showed growth, the planet was hit by Bluegill invasions ::remembering her second husband's death::, battles such as the one at Bondi that took a devastating toll, and other invasions, most recently, by the Orions. So you see, no matter how strong the leader, if he has no people to lead, he is pretty much ineffective. ::It appeared the Admiral had connection to the prime minister, which was understandable.:: Ashana: But it also sounds like the FTM has been garnering support away from Daysa and his government, enough to grow their movement to the point that the Laudean forces could not repel them, as you mentioned during the briefing. Do we know where the FTM has been drawing their new supporters from? Turner: ::sighing heavily:: No, not at this point. I'm hoping that Daysa will supply that information when we meet with him. Ashana: ::speaking more slowly, with Ashana's acquired British accent becoming more clear.:: While every planet and species is different, there are certain commonalities, Admiral. People join and support radical, violent movements when they are desperate and afraid. While I can’t rule out the FTM may have off planet support given the history here that could support its growth, the FTM must be striking a chord somewhere for them to have gotten so strong, so fast. They must be promising something to the population that the government has not provided. Ashana: In my opinion, Daysa will need to appeal to those segments who may agree with the FTM’s ideas. No large-scale movement can survive without its base… ::referring to her padd:: your Commander Jorey mentioned that the support for the FTM was mainly rural, but only 60 percent of the urban population was in favor of his government and Starfeet. While that is a majority somewhat, that still leaves 40 percent that may be considering the FTM’s stances… or even supporting them. Those kinds of margins may be the first signs of greater unrest. But if we can sway public opinion against the FTM…. Turner: People, in general, tend to hate what they don't understand. The rural population has not seen how the Federation has worked in their communities to safeguard the planet from further occupation from those who would try to take over the planet. Ashana: We need to find out what the dissatisfied part of the population wants and is not receiving from the government. Obviously, there is the issue of safety… but there has to be something else at hand. Turner: I agree, and unless Daysa knows, and will tell . . . :: thinking about his silence so far:: us, we'll have to start from scratch to find out. Ashana: As for us, we need to be in the supporting role. The face of hope and resistance must be Laudean… I know how propaganda works. If we are too active and visible, the FTM will turn that to their advantage, portraying him as a puppet or even a weak leader who can’t handle a domestic issue without the help of off-worlders. Daysa must represent the change, he must represent a better future for all Laudeans. Turner: I believe he can deliver on that, and our support would come from the fact that we had casualties, during the bombing of their government offices. I think we should hammer the fact that the FTM has made war on innocents, and that we are supporting Daysa, because, after 10 years of living here, this is our home, and have children at stake too. I believe that any mother worth their salt would see a common link between us. :: checking the time:: We should be leaving soon, and I need to go home and change clothes and arrange for guards to accompany us to the Prime Minister's Mansion. Will your entourage be going with us? Rear Admiral Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Author ID number: E238209TT0
  12. ((Somewhere?)) ::He was falling. No wait, he was…. No, he was definitely falling. The sun was shining, and the smell of freshly cut grass lingered in the air. Flowers of all colours danced in the gentle breeze as he walked along the path, his daughters arms around his neck as he carried her along. There were couples and families scattered about here and there enjoying a picnic or just lay in the sun. People on skates or bicycles zipped by every now and then a couple of dogs barked and yapped as they chased each other about, whilst their owners watched as they flirted back and forth. He looked her, giving her a big grin and a kiss on the cheek:: Maxwell: Love you, squidge. Amelia: Love you too, Daddy! ::Her little arms tightening in a hug:: ::They walked over a stone bridge, it’s three arches spanning a sparkling blue river that on their left opened out into a lake where little boats and pleasure craft bobbed about on the tiny waves, and birds circled overhead. He realised she was staring at him, and he smiled questioningly:: Amelia: Daddy, are we dead? ::Before he could answer, an immense pain blossomed just above his heart and he fell, losing his grip on…. On who? There was nobody there? He was lay face down on a threadbare carpet in a grotty room somewhere. He could hear the honking and stop-start of road traffic, and the slashing rain that hammered against the windows. The pain in his chest was still there, and breathing seemed hard. Should breathing be hard? He wasn’t sure… Picking himself slowly from the floor, he looked around the quite frankly disgusting room. There were discarded food wrappers all over the place, and countless little packets, dishes and hypos on a filthy coffee table. There were three sofas arranged in a ‘U’ around it. One sofa had a young couple under a blanket on it, the girl dribbling and the guy muttering some utter gibberish about giant hamsters. He put a hand to his chest in the way people have always done. As if simply touching it would make the pain go away. The occupant of the second sofa was a young woman, totally naked but for a single sock. She held a half-dispensed hypo in one grubby hand and was sprawled out in such a way as to leave no shred of modesty. Maxwell looked away to the third sofa. And his heart skipped a beat.:: Maxwell: oO Karey!? Oo ::Her arms were scored with countless old marks from razor blades and needle pin[...]s. On the sofa by her feet lay an old style manual syringe, a single drop of glossy pinkish liquid beading at its point. He reached out to brush the greasy hair clear of her face, when a second pain exactly like the first exploded square in the middle of his stomach. He doubled up, and dropped to his knees.:: Voice: MAX! ::Opening his eyes, he jumped slightly as he saw… Who? Marla? Mayra? Mirra? That was it! Mirra! She was the…? She was the? It was medical. He thought. Maybe? He looked down at the bridesmaids dress she wore and beamed at her.:: Maxwell: You’ve done the hard bit lass! Erin’s here the now, and you just need tae walk in behind her. ::A smile:: Stop her tripping on that wee dress ae’ hers… ::The blonde woman in the long flowing bridal dress looked on the verge of a meltdown as she stood before him, chewing her bottom lip over and over:: Erin: I can’t do this, Max. It’s too much! Maxwell: Of course you can! He’s in there now, twice as scared as you are! ::He offered her his arm, guiding her to the door of the little church in…? Somewhere? Did it matter? He’d been asked to give her away at the ceremony and he felt truly honoured to do so. He wasn’t sure why her father wasn’t performing this traditional role, but he wasn’t going to be insulting and refuse the part he’d been offered in this wonderful day. They paused at the church door. His stomach and chest hurt, and he wasn’t sure why. He squeezed her hand in a “Ready?” question. Getting a gentle nod in return, in they went. The priest was waiting, and with a grin, clawed at his skin to reveal a familiar blue face and a maniacal laugh. It was only then he noticed he was stood on his own. A group of people he knew but couldn’t place were all bound and being beaten by men with green skin. Orions? Here? He pointed a finger at the blue woman as a third pain blossomed in his shoulder. He cried out in agony. The blue woman laughed. The green men all drew long knives, pulling back the heads of his friends. Blackness engulfed him, and he heard a voice. Voice: Taelon! We could really use those doors to be closed right about now! ::He wondered what the point was? The church was on fire, his friends all lay in motionless heaps, the Orions gloating over them. He couldn’t move, the trio of hurts were too much. His limbs wouldn’t function. Was he being dragged….?:: Maxwell: ::He let out an agonised groan:: Anybody get the number ae that shuttle….? --- Lieutenant (JG) Arturo Maxwell. Tactical Officer. Starbase 118 Operations. O239311AM0.
  13. ((Harkins Den – The Dungeon – SB118)) ::Hughes watched quietly from the corner of the room as the two men conversed with each other, brown eyes only occasionally flicking in their direction as he kept his wrist aiming roughly in their general direction. The small parabolic microphone disguised as a button doing it’s job as the conversation fed wirelessly into the virtually hidden speaker resting in his ear.:: Oma-Saan: What Chennel doesn't know doesn't hurt her. ::smirking:: More profit for us. Janker: Exactly. ::He put his fingers together, tapping them lightly.:: Oma-Saan: What do you need to do? Janker: Well, the first step is for me to take my leave of you and do some exploring. I said they sealed five entrances and there was at least seven, hidden in the bowels of the dungeon. That doesn't mean they're easy to get to. ::The Below. Hughes knew that place, he knew the entrances and exits from him like he knew every other hiding place on the station. He’d been down there himself a few times for some of the more questionable activities the Black Tower had him running now and then, one of the derelict secure area’s functioning as a black site for ‘enhanced interrogation’. Now, once more it was going to be the destination of criminal scum.:: Oma-Saan: You know where they are then? It shouldn't take you long to find them at all. Janker: ::Scoffing:: If it was easy to find do you think it would have persisted for so long or stayed secret to so many? The Below is stuff of legends, and while a lot of that rested on people believing it was a myth, lots also stayed on the steady shoulders of it being incredibly hard to find. Oma-Saan: ::muttering:: Assuming it was even real in the first place. ::louder:: If the rumors are true, Starfleet did some damage to it a while back. ::That was an understatement. The place was a ruin, save for the aforementioned site, pockmarked by firefights and explosions in the wake of a terrorist assault. Then again, it was also quiet with no civilian interference. If the Tower gave him the relevant code words, he could make this Oma-Saan disappear as swiftly as a raindrop in a thunderstorm.:: Janker: Yes, there's also the question of how much damage was done down there. No point in trying to move goods or people through the area if its busted up. Oma-Saan: ::smiling:: It seems you know the basic tenets of business after all. I'll stay here to keep distraction away from you. Let me know how it goes. Janker: ::He smiled, showing off a mouth of sharpened little teeth:: Oh, I'll do the scouting, you stay here where its safe. I'll find you. Oma-Saan: ::He narrowed his eyes to slits and spoke in a tone that threatened violence.:: Yes, see that you do. ::Hughes waited just a few moments before following the diminutive Janker out of the exit, ensuring to leave just enough time to not make it obvious he was following him, even feigning a slightly drunken swagger as he bundled himself out of the door .He was wearing rags, deliberately dirtied to give him the appearance (and not to mention smell) of one of the other poverty stricken dwellers of the Dungeon. Oma-Saan was criminal enough, but he was arrogant. Distractions only work if they are unexpected, but now whatever he decided to throw would be identified as a ruse. Hughes had his quarry, now like the Bloodhounds his grandfather used to keep, it was time to move in for the kill. Paths twisted and turned, footsteps muffled by his shoes and a deliberately subtle step, before becoming masked once more by the sound of thumping techno music, The Raven, another one of those edgy clubs that cropped up from time to time serving the niches of the stations young and daredevil residents. Gothic, the term apparently was, although this seemed to be little more than some tragic medieval frontage on a broken old warehouse rather than the grandiose imagery of Transylvanian horror:: Bouncer: Bugger off, peasant. We got a dress code, you don’t fit it. ::Hughes muttered something in a drunken slur, stumbling off towards the side alley before dropping his loose fitting coat on the ground along with the hood he’d encumbered himself with. Underneath he wore a simple black coverall, adding a handful of puddle water and ruffling his hair to give it a rather impressive set of short spikes. Combined with his black boots, he fit the image of aging Goth who should know better quite well. He didn’t make eye contact with the bouncer as he slipped in behind a group of women wearing corsets easily a size too small for them, bulging out like overcooked muffins but chatty enough to not notice his presence, allowing him to slide in alongside them past the cloakroom and into the main area of the club. Suddenly he felt far, far too old to be in here. Surrounding him were throngs of teenagers from numerous different species, each of them seemingly come together to celebrate the droning-voiced music with its heavy and ponderous riffs. It was, for all intents, a living nightmare. The Pelian had headed up to one of the private rooms soon after his arrival, leaving Hughes to endure the horrible music in silence as he forced himself to dance (badly), blending in with the clientele and fending off a few advances from the mushroom corset ladies who’d been kind enough to get him entry. Still, after hearing the last drunken daddy issues story and how ‘dark’ and ‘cool’ the club was, the loud voice suddenly in his ear was a welcome distraction:: Trel’lis: =/\= Trel’lis to Marine Captain Hughes. What is your location? =/\= ::The voice came through loud on his earpiece, although he quickly broke into a grin and pulled out his communicator, looking for all intents like another reveller taking a call. Hughes: =/\= The Raven, the Dungeon. You should get down here, this club is amazing!=/\= Trel’lis: =/\= Lieutenant Zinna and I need to get with you, ASAP. Details to follow upon arrival. =/\= ::His eyes flicked upwards to Janker slipping into one of the private rooms, before glancing back towards the bar:: Hughes; =/\= Hey yeah! I think it’s happy hour or something, hey, don’t forget the dress code. I got us one of those private rooms upstairs, gonna be an awesome night!=/\= Trel’lis: =/\= Good. See you in a few. Trel’lis out. =/\= ::He made a show of nodding and grinning before closing his communicator and heading slowly up the stairs behind the Pelian. He’d been smart enough to lock the door, yet like just about all technology on this starbase there was ways around it. His elbow pressing sharply against the panel did the trick when backs were turned to him, crossing a couple of wires. As he stepped foot inside, the room was empty. Something though, something tickled his sinus’s beyond the pall of smoke. Burning, the smell of welded metal giving him an invisible trail as he followed it underneath a tacky curtain, the back of his hand running against the wall as he headed towards it’s source. An ODN panel the only discernible point of interest on the plain steel wall. He traced his fingers along the outside edge of it, far too hot to be a regular power output, the stink of burnt metal clinging to the air like a fog. Footsteps came up behind him, his hand reaching towards the hilt of his combat knife tucked stealthily under his waistband before relaxing as two women approached him. Hughes: Do either of you have a Phaser? Trel’lis: I have my cricket one, to keep things ‘discreet’. I was a Security Officer before transferring to the Diplomatic Corps. Zinna: No, I don't have a phaser. ::She rolled her eyes. Counselors never needed phasers...but in this instance, she probably did need one. :: Hughes: ::Hand outstretched:: Lock the door, one of you needs to disarm the fire detection system via the computer. Zinna: ::While Trel'lis disabled the system, she looked at the Marine Capt.:: Do you have a report, Captain Hughes? ::Hughes took the weapon, waiting for the computer to confirm the club had been taken off the detection grid before letting out a steady stream of focused fire around the edge of the panel, catching it to drop it carefully on the ground::Hughes: A Pelian has found a way into the Below. He’s working with Oma-Saan to carry out something… I don’t know what, but it doesn’t bode well. Here’s the deal, we’re going to pursue him and capture him for questioning. Trel’lis: Isn’t doing that dangerous? Zinna: Being here period is dangerous. Hughes: Yes, it’s dangerous. I don’t know what’s waiting on the other side. If you’d be more comfortable waiting for a security detail I’ll fully under… Trel’lis: Say no mo! Let’s do this and quickly, so our ‘cover’ isn’t blown. Zinna: I agree... ::Hughes smiled, briefly. For a councillor and a diplomat they had a fair amount of guts between them:: Hughes: Normally I’d insist ladies first, but I’ll take point. Just one more thing… when we capture this Pelian I’ll let you lead the interrogation. If you can’t get him to talk, I’m going to ask you both to leave the room. Do you understand? Trel’lis: ::nods:: Understood. Zinna: Yes, sir. ::Hughes nodded and slowly eased his way into the gap created,:: Hughes: Area’s clear. Let’s go. -- PNPC MCapt Hughes by Major. Tatash Marine Lead SB118 Operations C239108T10
  14. ((Transporter Room, Federation Embassy, Duronis II)) ::Savan heard a chime from behind him. Paul’s face showed a definite sense of relief.:: Transporter Chief: I’m sorry to interrupt but the Godavari has just signaled. They are asking if Ensign Scudder is ready for transport. Savan: Well, it’s time…. Scudder: ::forcing a smile:: Yes. Moscoe: It was nice getting to know you, Mr. Scudder. Have a safe trip, and stay in touch. ::T'Mihn walked up, looked Paul in the eye -- Vulcans seemed to have a habit of this -- and hugged him. Tightly. Paul looked surprised, his own arms squeezed to his sides.:: T’Mihn: She's right. Write,call. And stay out of trouble, I don't have money for bail. ::Paul turned to Savan.:: Savan: Well, Paul… ::Savan’s eyes started to become watery. Paul frowned, glanced at T'Mihn and Moscoe behind Savan, sure that Savan was glad they couldn't see this display. Looking back at Savan, Paul smiled slightly, but with a feeling of great warmth for Savan. Paul was accustomed to thinking his eyes expressed his feelings to others, but Savan seemed to be reading him some other way...:: Scudder: ::forcing a flat expression:: I still disagree with some of the crap you pulled with my patient, Ensign Savan. ::Paul addressed Savan formally -- and Kaumari as "my" patient -- to indicate he was only teasing Savan.:: But I don't know how I would have managed these past weeks without you. ::His tone had softened and become quiet, intimate, meant for the others present not to overhear.:: ::Paul could see the emotion in Savan. It reminded him of the first time he saw emotion surface in the Vulcan, unexpectedly, in the Thunder's corridors. At the time, Paul had been concerned for the patient the two were trying to contain. And Paul had been concerned for Savan, as Savan's counselor. But now Paul didn't see it clinically, cerebrally -- He would miss Savan. He felt it in his chest. Savan said nothing but offered Paul the Vulcan salute, his hand almost imperceptibly trembling.:: Savan: May your journey be free of incident, Paul. Live long and prosper… ::Savan's face was still neutral, but his eyes looked ready to overflow. Paul wanted to give his friend relief and not extend this any further.:: Scudder: ::returning the Vulcan salute, though clearly out of practice:: Live long and prosper, Savan. Chief, I'm ready to -- Savan: Paul… ::Savan looked straight into Paul's eyes -- hiding no emotion. Paul felt what he thought was pain in his chest -- it alarmed him, but then -- was it coming from Savan? Before Paul could think through this, Savan unexpectedly pulled him in, very tight -- more forceful than T'Mihn -- almost as forcefully and passionately, Paul thought, as a Klingon. Savan held the strong embrace silently for a few moments before finally speaking.:: Savan: ::with a whisper, into Paul’s ear:: Please take good care of yourself. I will miss you. ::Paul was taken aback. He looked around Savan to T'Mihn and Moscoe. He frowned.:: Scudder: ::whispering as well:: If I didn't think it might hurt you, I'd kiss you goodbye. ::Paul blushed, realizing it might sound like he was referring to Savan's beard-burn. But he was referring to his feeling that Savan preferred not to be intimate with other officers. Had Savan told Paul this or had he invented it?:: So instead, I ask, the next time we speak, please call me Sudarshan. ::again his accent emerged:: That is an intimacy we can share over any distance. ::There was another chime coming from the transporter control.:: Transporter Chief: ::almost embarrassed, making a coughing noise:: Um.. I’m sorry, Ensigns… but the Godavari needs to leave orbit. ::Savan released his embrace and looked at Paul.:: Savan: ::calmly as possible:: Yes, of course… ::Savan did not turn around yet and Paul saw a stray tear run down the Vulcan's face. Paul frowned and nodded to the Transporter Chief.:: --- Ens. Paul Scudder Counselor, USS Darwin-A Author ID: E239302PS0 and Ensign Savan Tactical/Security Officer Embassy of Duronis II/USS Thunder-A Writer ID: E239303S10
  15. ((Personal Quarters, USS Gorkon)) ::She was exhausted. Not just from the minor matter of a serious head injury that was still healing, but the emotional fallout from the earlier, repeated threats to confine her to sickbay, and the twists and turns of her present conversation with Jaxton. And so he had asked him to leave, so that she might get some rest. ::Jaxton stood, making his way toward the door. His mood had taken a nosedive, but she couldn't tell if he was disappointed or angry. Vee (Alt): Just remember one thing Quinn. That woman has had every advantage her universe has had to offer her. She was only able to accomplish things because she had help. You have survived a Dominion war by the sheer strength of your character. No starfleet command training. No extra decade of education or family to see you through the rough spots.. You survived and you made sure others survived. I say this with all the love and friendship I have to give you ::He paused.:: Give yourself some damn credit. Reynolds (Alt): I'll try. But I still don't want to talk to her. ::She paused and offered him a soft smile.:: Thanks for trying, though. I appreciate it. Vee (Alt): Yeah well you are still my best friend even if I'm a horrible friend to have. I'll see you tomorrow. ::He turned, stepping toward the door, and then stopped. A quick glance around the room and she saw him locate the reason for his aborted departure -- Shelby had taken the opportunity to slink onto the couch, and was in the process of resting her head in Quinn's lap. ::She smiled, gently stroking the sleek fur across Shelby's back. In other circumstances, she might think about getting a pet of her own, but she'd never been able to justify the drain on their resources. Jaxton didn't know it, but she'd thought long and hard before going to Walter to argue a case for Shelby.:: Vee (Alt): No you can not spend the night. She will never get any sleep. ::He tapped his right leg to signal the dog to heel. Shelby stared at him for a moment and then stood up on the couch, licking her face a couple of times before darting down and over to her master's side.:: Vee (Alt): Good night Quinn. ::A moment passed, and then he added,:: You know I could only bring myself to speak to you like that because you are the closest thing I have to a sister. I will always be there for you. Even if it's just to tell you what you need to hear. ::With that, he left. She smiled a little, hauling herself off the couch, and shook her head, amused at his determination to get the last word. He meant well, and that was what mattered. Now, she was going to and get some desperately needed sleep. ::Three hours later, she was pacing the floor of her quarters. She'd spent two hours in bed, staring up at the ceiling. That hadn't worked, so she'd tried hot milk, a book, relaxing music, all of the traditional remedies. ::But everything felt wrong. It was too quiet, the air was too clean, the sheets were too crisp, the mattress was too comfortable, the room was too large, nothing was what she was used to. ::She was at her wit's end, and a quiet groan of defeat, she left her quarters, heading along the corridor to another set of doors. She pressed the chime, and waited. It took a minute, and then the doors parted to revealed the dishevelled occupant in the process of pulling a charcoal t-shirt down around his torso. Brunsig (Alt): There better be a good reason that you've woken me up. Reynolds (Alt): There's… *a* reason? ::She stood there, her discomfort evident in her awkward posture, and her fatigue in drawn expression and the dark circles under her eyes. She suddenly realised that she was also barefoot and in her pyjamas, a plain, pale grey set made of jersey that clung to her slight frame and made her look even more skinny and washed out than usual.:: Brunsig (Alt): You can't sleep. ::Her shoulders sagged in defeat, and she nodded.:: Reynolds (Alt): I can't sleep. ::He sighed and stepped aside, gesturing melodramatically inside. Her thanks came in the form of a fleeting smile, and she stepped inside. Only a step, enough to let the doors slide shut behind her, and then she stood there, staring at the expansive VIP quarters he had been assigned.:: Reynolds (Alt): They don't do anything small on this ship, do they? Brunsig (Alt): Nope. ::He eyed her, suspicion evident in his blue eyes.:: You haven't eaten, either, have you? Reynolds (Alt): I… wasn't hungry. Brunsig (Alt): Did it occur to you this is exactly why they're trying to confine you to sickbay? ::Not him as well.:: Reynolds (Alt): Or maybe it's *because* they're trying to confine me to sickbay that I've lost my appetite. ::She retorted, then frowned at him.:: You heard about that? ::He grunted, his bare feet padding softly on the carpet as he walked over to the replicator. He muttered something to the device, and after an electric hum, returned with a mug in one hand and a plate of buttered toast in the other.:: Brunsig (Alt): Eat. ::She gave him a long look, tired of being told what she could and couldn't do, and she was on the verge of telling him as much when he scowled at her.::: Brunsig (Alt): You hauled me out of a very comfortable bed in the middle of the night, Quinn. The least you can do is humour me and eat some damned toast. ::A fair point. She reached for the mug -- cocoa, now she had got a whiff of it -- and the plate, and settled into the nearby soft armchair, balancing the plate on her legs after tucking them up alongside her. ::Walter dropped himself indelicately into the couch, scratching at his stubbled jaw and not bothering to hide his yawn. When she had first known him, he'd been fastidious about his appearance, but that was years long past.:: Brunsig (Alt): Yes, I heard about it. Who's "they"? Reynolds (Alt): Vess. And Kellan. Brunsig (Alt): They're trying to do their job, Quinn. Reynolds (Alt): Do you know what it's like to have no say over what someone's doing to you? Tests and treatments performed on you, even if you're saying no, you don't want them? All because someone has decided that they have more rights over your body than you do, just because of what they studied at school. ((Personal Quarters, USS Gorkon)) ::He gave her a long look, devoid of his usual exasperation or irritation.:: Brunsig (Alt): If we're going to have a conversation like this, I need a drink. Reynolds (Alt): No-- ::She shook her head.:: No, it's fine. I don't really want to talk about it anyway. ::He nodded, and they sat there in comfortable silence as she nibbled her way through the toast, taking the odd sip of cocoa. Once she'd finished the first slice, and started on the second, he broke the quiet with a question.:: Brunsig (Alt): Is that why you can't sleep? Reynolds (Alt): Maybe. No. No, I don't think so. My quarters just feel weird, it's all wrong. I'm used to curling up in the corner of my office. This ship's too big, it makes me uncomfortable. Brunsig (Alt): Cupcake, you have more neuroses than I've had hot dinners. ::She frowned at him, taking another bite of toast before she answered.:: Reynolds (Alt): ::Sourly,:: You're not much of a comfort. Brunsig (Alt): Realism I can do. You know I'm not much of one for comfort. Reynolds (Alt): Could you at least… try? Brunsig (Alt): Certainly. ::He leaned forward and contorted his face into an exaggerated expression of sympathy, patting her knee.:: Poor Quinn. Would you like a lollipop for your boo-boo? ::She scowled at him, despite finding the humour in it. Theirs was an odd friendship, she'd be the first to admit, but it was one she treasured.:: Reynolds (Alt): I really hate you sometimes. ::He grinned at her, an expression as rare as diamonds, and sat back. He really was quite handsome when he wasn't scowling.:: Brunsig (Alt): That's a very large club that you're a member of, there. ::He stood, taking a step toward the separate bedroom.:: Finish your toast. Reynolds (Alt): What-- Brunsig (Alt): Eat. ::She complied with another frown. It really was quite delicious -- another case of "when was the last time, I can't remember?". Chief Ro'Vaz had tried baking some bread aboard the Triumphant, but the attempt had not been… successful. ::He returned short few minutes later as she polished off the last of the toast and cocoa, a set of pillows, a sheet and a quilt in his arms.:: Reynolds (Alt): Oh, I-- That's not-- ::She paused to let herself form a full sentence, rather than keep stumbling over the beginnings of one.:: I can't sleep on your couch. Brunsig (Alt): I know. You're in the bed. Reynolds (Alt): What? No, I-- ::He interrupted her with a stubborn stare. It was clear from his face that his mind was made up.:: Brunsig (Alt): You'll sleep in the bed, because I find your whining about it a lot more palatable than listening to numerous doctors whinge at me that I let a woman with a serious head injury sleep on my couch. Reynolds (Alt): I could just go back to my quarters. ::He flicked a long finger at the door without looking at her, while he tucked the sheet in underneath the cushions. Once, his fingertips had been calloused from his viola, but it had long time since he'd touched an instrument. Since either of them had. Music had been the foundations of their friendship, and she missed it.:: Brunsig (Alt): There's the door. ::She sighed her defeat, and he dropped the pillows onto the couch, followed by himself a moment later. Taking it for what it was, an indication that he was saying good night, she stood up as well, putting the cup and plate down on the coffee table and heading toward the bedroom. ::As she stepped past the threshold into the bedroom, she heard him call sleepily out to her.:: Brunsig (Alt): Quinn? If you snore, I'm smothering you with a pillow. fin
  16. ((Asavii Exploration Craft Zelsinger)) ::Ren's eyes squinted as he took in the new information Captain Renos relayed over the comms. The Trill was to join another of the small exploration groups, so Renos and others could work out the diplomatic situation back on Darwin. Ren still hadn't met Captain Renos. He hadn't seen any more of the Darwin than the transporter room. He also didn't know the team members he'd be working with.:: ::Despite all that, Ren's Trill curiosity made him want to find out the secrets of Skarlozent. He was eager to explore.:: Thomas: Alright, well you heard the Captain. Thanks for your help Rennyn, and keep me informed of any exciting developments with your new team. Rennyn: I will, sir. ::He stood, and looked around at Thomas, Valdivia, Alekos and Manius.:: See you all back on Darwin very soon. Good luck out here. ::He thought about asking Manius for some last minute advice dealing with his underwater panic, or maybe some medication to take with him just in case. But he didn't want to sound any more foolish in front of the others than he already had. So, with a stiff upper lip, he went to the back compartment to prepare for transport.:: ::At least he was transporting to another ship, the one Renos' team had been on. It's not like he was just plunging out into the depths of the ocean, right?:: ((Sunken Facility, Skarlozent, Asav)) ::Ren materialized in the depths of the ocean.:: ::If a heart rate has ever jumped so fast as the underinformed Trill's did at that moment, medical science would be hard-pressed to prove it.:: Rennyn: I misunderstood the mission parameters! ::He wasn't used to panicking. He was accustomed to staying cool and calm. Especially when on duty, he liked to think of himself as a collected, composed, well-organized professional. Not a cat in a bathtub. But here, in the giant bathtub that was the planet Asav, Ren possessed all the scrambling, frenzied qualities of the universe's wettest felines.:: ::Quickly, he tried to get his bearings. He looked left and right, up and down, moving his whole head, shoulders and neck in the bulky EV suit. He remembered Manius' admonition to breathe, and he sucked air deeply in and out of his lungs, afraid of hyperventilating, afraid of not ventilating at all.:: ::He limbs scurried through the water desperately. He was no swimmer, beyond the occasional dunk in the old swimming hole deep in the back forest at the farm. Even there, with his brothers and sisters diving off the steepest bank they could find, he'd tended to stay in the knee-deep shallows, pretending to look for interesting rocks, as if there were any rocks anywhere that were interesting.:: ::Ren breathed, and breathed, and tried not to flail too widely. But now his leg was caught on something. No, no, he thought. Something has my leg! He pulled frantically, yanking the leg away from whatever it was, somehow making the thing, thin and tentacle-like, coil more tightly around his ankles, his calves.:: Rennyn: Let me go!! ::He tumbled around in the water, reaching for the tentacles with his hands, until his arms were trapped, too. The more he fought it the more it wrapped around him. His breathing was wild, and in his panic, he could barely see.:: ::A forced calm was all he could do. Sovak, that dang backwards-brained Vulcan he was plagued with, would have told him to cling to rational thought in the face of greatest danger. Or some such pointy-eared nonsense. But Ren knew it was right, and tried to reach through his own panic to find something logical to hold on to.:: ::Holding on. His hand had been gripping one of the tentacles this whole time, and it slowly occurred to him that the tentacle hadn't moved. It was hard, dense and ropy. The lights built in to his suit illuminated it just enough for him to see. Ren stopped struggling, feeling foolish once again.:: Rennyn: It's cable. It's nothing but a gol-durned coaxial cable. Didn't These People Have Wireless!? ::His own struggles had trapped him. His own panic about being underwater had put him in danger, just as he'd known it would.:: ::As he sheepishly unraveled himself from the cables he'd twisted himself up in, a horrifying thought came to the worked up Trill. As standard operation, before transporting, he'd turned on his comms and tied them in to the other team members he was transporting to. Chances were, they'd just heard all of that. His heart sank a hundred fathoms, and his yelling voice was replaced with a soft, professional, artificially calm tone.:: Rennyn: =/\=Lt. Commander Rennyn to Jellico and Iy. I have joined you near your location.=/\= ================================================================ Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ================================================================
  17. ((XO’s Office)) ::Eerie worked on his part of the mission report. Normally he liked to do it as soon as possible, but this time he had taken a lot of time writing it and was choosing his words carefully as he tried in vain to keep his emotions in check. StarFleet loved dry, boring, analytic reports and he had been pretty good of lulling people asleep while they read his reports. This one was another matter. After each paragraph he found himself going back and having to go back and ‘rephrase’ terms that had emotion couched in the statements. He was tempted to have someone reread them, just in case, but he dismissed it. He wanted to take total and complete credit for this report for good or for bad.:: ::Roo was the only one that was fitfully relaxing as Eerie wrote his report. Eerie struggled to put the actions into words. Also the recommendations was having a hard time this time. He had also put his meeting with Lieutenant Sevo in the report. The Captain could accept or reject it as was his right. Eerie frankly didn’t care, he had done what he had thought was right. Not taking the the Captain’s approval for it in consideration was a departure for him as well. Eerie had been bred and trained to keep superiors happy. There was now other influences now exerting a lot of control in his workup. .:: ((Captain’s Ready Room - Deck 1 - USS Victory )) :: The first sign that something was terribly wrong with his mood was the fact that Nugra was pacing back and forth. He continually squeezed his fists, searching in vain for a way to calm himself down. Eerie had insulted him on the bridge of his ship, the Gorn was sure of it. It was not something he could just let go. He slammed his fist on his desk’s communicator button. :: Nugra: =/\= Eerie. My Office. Now! =/\= Eerie:=/\= Right away, Sir.=/\= ::Eerie saved the document, and picked up the cat and put Roo into the cat carrier.Then he moved out of his office, briefly onto the bridge and entered the Captain’s office. Eerie didn’t have any expectations for what the Captain wanted. He came to attention on a behavior.:: ((Captain’s Ready Room)) ::Eerie looked at the Captain.:: Eerie: oO Looks a bit distressed, wonder what is up?Oo:: Eerie: Reporting as requested, Sir. ::Eerie had his emotions in check at least from any outward appearance. He had prepared for the next meeting with the Captain. In fact, he wasn’t going to bring up the entire matter with the Captain. If Nugra, didn’t put any stock in what Eerie wanted to discuss, he wasn’t going to bring it up for another go around. As a security officer, Eerie would only give one warning if warranted before action, in typical Brikar manner. Eerie had already requested once to talk with the Captain and he was left deserted for three hours.:: Nugra: ::Angry:: You want to explain to me why you disobeyed my order? I left you in charge of the bridge for a reason. ::Eerie stood there, while the Captain laid it out to him. Eerie certainly wasn’t happy with the Captain, but he felt like he had followed procedure to the letter. It certainly wasn’t Brikar way and he felt that the Captain was completely out of line in his charge. He however, maintained his posture, but a voice inside of him was screaming in him. In most cases he would of just taken the narrative. In some respects however, the pure Brikar was gone, now a human part of him screamed to let it all hang out. However, the last vestiges of military training kicked in, and he forced a muted response.:: Eerie: Sir. Permission to speak freely. ::He was using the all of his self control to keep his voice level.:: Nugra: Out with it, Commander. Eerie: Captain. I don’t know what you are referring to, but what you did during the last mission was completely out of line. A first officer should have input to away missions and to just send junior officers on such a dangerous and important mission borders on negligent in my opinion. However, I am willing to hold my official report back until you can give me a compelling reason other that they needed experience or you needed us on the bridge. It makes no sense. You have more combat experience in ship to ship engagements that the rest of us combined, why I or a senior officer wasn’t in charge doesn’t make sense. ::Eerie had no plans on stopping. He took a quick breath and then really got into it.:: Eerie: Add to that to leave an officer, your first officer in your ready room for three hours....it was inexcusable. I expected more from you. Captain Vetri or Captain Herrera never would have done such a thing. That shows a complete lack of respect for one of your officers. It will be duly logged in my official report to starfleet. :: When it happened, Nugra never realized it. His vision went red for a split second as the inner rage and fury broke through the carefully crafted layer of control and stability. The Gorn’s fist flew towards the Brikar’s face in its full fury. If Eerie had been human, he would have painted the opposite wall. Never in his life since the war had he ever used his full strength against anyone. :: :: The blow caught the rock straight on and the Gorn could feel the pressure and microfractures shoot through his knuckles. He did not care and the blow had a satisfying crunch to it. Eerie did reel from the unexpected strike. :: ::Eerie was shocked on several levels. First he was threw back in the bulkhead with a deafen crash. He had only been hit before like that on a few occasions. The last time was from a glancing blow from a shuttles phasers that had launched him into the woods and games of the Guess which was a Brikar form of ruby. Eerie felt the bruise to his face and after his impact with bulkhead he crashed on the floor. He picked himself off the floor and looked at the rage of the Captain face. Somehow, Eerie had been released from the normal emotional shackles that kept his emotions in check. His normal expression pose was replaced by him hunching down a bit to take full advantage of a closer center of gravity. A mask of rage was now was on his face. He moved with rapid speed towards the Captain. He stared at the Gorn for a quick moment..:: Nugra: ::seething :: I am DONE with your arrogance, Commander. Who do you think you are telling me how to run my ship. As you said, I have more years running a ship than you do. You better learn to respect that. Eerie: You don’t deserve respect. CAPTAIN! ::With rage in his voice.:: ::Eerie charged like a unbridled bull directly towards the Captain. Raising both arms out at the last moment. Eerie saw a bit of movement from the Gorn, but he was a big target and he connected using all of his strength sending the Gorn reeling into a opposite bulkhead.:: :: When the full weight of the Brikar hit him, it felt as if the Gorn had come in to contact with a duranium wall. The species had power and all he could do with wrap his arms around his foe and hold on until his back slammed into the wall. Eerie threw a punch that struck his face hard bringing tears and blurred vision to his eyes. He hit much harder than a Gorn, but he did not have the flexibility in comparison. Giving Eerie a head butt to create room, the Gorn placed his foot by the side of Eerie’s leg and pushed sending the man crashing over. It did not quite go to plan as the Brikar grabbed a fist full of uniform pulling Nugra with him. The two landed on the ready room table causing it to groan and crack under the weight of the two massive titans. :: :: Nugra kicked Eerie off, but not before the latter landed a blow straight on the snout. Nugra rolled off the table, tasting blood in his mouth. He spit and one of his teeth fell out. :: Nugra: ::snarling:: You’ve made a grave mistake, Commander. Eerie: You have make the the mistake. Gorn! :: Eerie came at him again and Nugra felt the feral version of himself begin to descend on his mind. No longer was Eerie a comrade, but a target that need to be killed. The Gorn’s mind was calculating and he saw it. The two open points. Landing a blow to the man’s chest and then to the knee cause the Brikar to stumble and growl in pain. He was not down though and was able to throw himself on to the lizard and fasten his hands around Nugra’s neck. Pushing and shoving, the lizard was able to break free sinking his teeth in to the hard skin and locking his jaw. Eerie thrashed to break free and both went flying in opposite directions. :: ::Eerie could feel some pain. Which wasn’t very normal for him. He could feel rawness on his body and his tunic was torn. He looked over at the Captain and his madness was subsiding a bit. He was still angry but the actions were now coming to light. He was sore, and he unsteadily picked himself up. He wasn’t sure if he was really hurt, but he was certainly slow getting up. Watching the Gorn wearily.:: :: The two lay in the opposite corners of the room heaving and gasping. Nugra shifted gently feeling the three broken ribs and bruised body. His right eye had gone fuzzy compared to the other one. :: Nugra: ::gasping:: The whole point of command, Mister Eerie, is choosing who will die. Space is not safe…::Gasping::...and each and every person you put on an away team has a chance of not coming back….like Talia…::gasping::...That is my decision to make and mine alone. Eerie: I’m aware of that fact, but your first officer should have input. You know that better that I.:: With a passion that was rare for the Brikar.:: ::Eerie had worked up a full head of steam, nothing was going to keep the lid down now.:: Nugra: I….:: was he really saying this?::...forget sometimes. I spent so many years having to make these decisions alone, its...its hard to break. Eerie: IF you want a first officer I expect to have input into these decisions! Otherwise transfer me, and if you want a lap dog find another, I will not be disrespected again. ::The steam was starting to run dry a bit and Eerie caught himself for a moment:: Eerie: oO What are you doing? You hit the Captain? Oo ::Eerie backed up a bit, realizing what he had just done.:: Eerie: Sorry.....sir.::The tone and volume had dropped somewhat, but his eyes were still burning a bit.:: Nugra: ::standing:: Don’t apologize, Commander, you were defending yourself. I threw the first punch. If it would be alright with you, I’d like to keep this off the records….and...I promise to try harder to make sure you’re included. ::Eerie was a bit confused. He lived by the rules and regulations of Starfleet and his own personal code. Both of them had just evaporated in the heat of rage and anger. Under regulations he should be in the brig waiting for a general court marshal. Now he was being asked to forgot the worst part of it.:: :: Nugra placed a hand on the Brikar’s shoulder. :: ::Eerie gave a small flinch as he felt the hand on his shoulder but he didn’t back off.:: Nugra: In my fleet sometimes leaders get in to it to work out their situations. At times, it's better for the subordinates not to know. Eerie: In the Brikar world, I wouldn’t expect any explanation, but situations have changed. I have changed. ::Eerie had know for a long time that the Brikar of old, had changed but to publicly voice it was another matter. He had spend over a year trying to suppress that part of his personality. He was a bit confused by the admission. However there was some relief as well.:: Nugra: You think we can still work together? If you want a transfer, I’ll get you any ship you want. Eerie: Other than my own ship?.::Letting humor drift in the conversation taking the edge off a bit. He relaxed a bit more. He felt the scrape on his face..::No, I’m quite happy here. Nice shot, by the way. Not too many have ‘ever’ knocked me down. Nugra: There’s an advantage to being a large lizard. ::chuckling:: I suggest we make our way down to sickbay and tell the doctors we had the holodeck settings to high. Eerie: Sounds like a good idea. Sorry Captain. I was out of line. ::Eerie was not happy with his behavior. He took in a large breath of air.:: Nugra: So was I, Mister Eerie, so was I. ::Eerie put out his three fingered hand to the Captain and they both shook. :: JP By…. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Captain Nugra Commanding Officer USS Victory, NCC-362447 FWPA '15 Facilitator ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ & Lt. Commander Eerie First Officer USS Victory
  18. ((Starbase 118: Habitat Section)) ::Sabina walked purposefully through the corridors of one of the Starbase’s habitat areas. She had spent the last half hour in her quarters, pacing. Something that, as of late, had become far too habitual for Sabina. Her transfer to Intelligence had come with a rigorous up-training schedule and fascinating work, each consuming the majority of her time despite any remaining leave. But she had found that upon returning home in the evenings, something just wasn’t quite right. Given any amount of time without other distractions, her thoughts inevitably turned to the Noguwip. Which, eventually caused the knotted anxiety to return to the pit of her stomach.:: ::So, rather than spend another evening lost in her own repetitive thoughts, she had taken it upon herself to seek out one of the only other people who might be able to empathize with her.:: ::Standing outside Vance Sheridan’s quarters, Sabina pressed the door chime and waited.:: ::As was the norm of late, Vance had only been back home for a few minutes before he’d slipped into a post-work funk. He’d managed to wean himself off ice cream (as long as he didn’t hear the words ‘cookie dough’ spoken aloud he would be fine) before there had been any major long-term repercussions on his waistline. In fact, he didn’t really feel much like eating at all now in the evenings. An untouched Hawaiian pizza balanced awkwardly on a heap of PADDs on the coffee table in front of the sofa, which itself hosted Vance and his black stormcloud. He stared vacantly at the screen on the terminal on his wall, which was playing back a documentary about wildlife in the Serengetti.:: ::He was wearing a pair of comfortable jeans and his dad’s old hockey shirt. Despite being a couple of sizes too big (big enough that the neckline was sagging off to one side, revealing his collar bone and the freckles on one side of his neck), it reminded him of home. It used to be purple, but it was quite badly faded, and the stitching was coming undone from one of the patches on the sleeves. As if to complete the look, he’d been lying down with his head propped against the arm of the sofa for long enough that his hair was sticking up at the back, like a duck’s tailfeathers.:: ::When the chime rang, he started, coming back into focus and hauling himself into an upright position. Travelling to the door was like walking on stepping stones between piles of discarded clothes. His furniture resembled obstacles that were stacked with used mugs and plates. Very little by way of tidying had happened since the riots had ended.:: ::He made it to the door without more of an incident than tripping over a pair of track pants. When the door slid back to reveal Sabina, he regained his sense pretty quickly. He wasn’t sure who he had been expecting, but seeing a friend on his doorstep immediately had him worrying about the state of the place and what they might think.:: Sheridan: Sabina! Hi! Tiam: ::Smiling.:: Hi. ::She glanced past him into his quarters for a moment.:: I hope I’m not interrupting anything. ::As the Betazoid tried to look past him into his quarters, he found himself angling himself to try to block her line of sight to the devastation that lay inside. It was a futile effort.:: Sheridan: Nope. Nothing at all. ::He cleared his throat and mentally switched himself into counsellor mode.:: What can I do for you? Tiam: I had hoped you might have some time- ::Sabina cut herself off and, with a breath, visibly dropped her pretext.:: It’s been a long couple of days and I could use a friend to spend some time with. Mind if I come in? ::beat:: Oh, ::She held up the bottle that had previously been tucked under her arm.:: and I come bearing gifts. ::Coming back out of counsellor mode was a little less easy than jumping into it. It took Vance a couple of seconds of silence to process what she was actually asking, which probably came over as him having been momentarily hypnotised by the bottle. One part of his mind was reminding him loudly that he wanted to be on his own. The other half was unable to ignore the fact that Sabina was asking for a friend’s help.:: ::When it came down to it, he felt like spending a time with a friend would really do him some good. He’d been alone enough. He told that part of his mind to pipe down.:: Sheridan: Wow. Good choice of gift. Come on in. Just uh… give me a second to turn this place from a dump back into a habitable environment… Tiam: Thanks. ::Walking in, she began to look around the living space as the door closed behind her. Clearly, Vance’s response to the stress of their recent mission hadn’t been neurotic cleaning. Sabina did her best to hide her amusement.:: ::He started whizzing around the room, pushing bundles of clothes into heaps and stacking all of the cups and plates in one area so that they could be ferried more quickly to the recycler later.:: Sheridan: ::Under his breath:: Embarrassiiiiing… ::He fumbled for some appropriate small talk to distract his guest from the fact he was speed-tidying.:: So what did you bring? Tiam: I’m clear out of Saurian brandy. ::Her drink of choice.:: But I did have this tucked away… I don’t know if you’re a whiskey person, but it’s honied and fairly mild. Perfect for sipping. ::Well, his luck was in then. It was really too bad that Sabina had run out of her favourite drink, but it sounded like what she had brought was very close to Vance’s favourite.:: Sheridan: Sounds good! ::He cleared a couple of t-shirts and his uniform off the seats and hurled them over towards the pile, then carefully cleared everything except for the pizza from the coffee table. The living area actually looked like a living area again.:: Sheridan: Help yourself to pizza. That was just replicated a short time ago, I promise. I’m really sorry about the mess. I’m usually pretty tidy, but I guess work kind of got on top of me lately. ::She glanced at the pizza. While she had developed an affinity for the human food living on Earth for so long, her appetite wasn’t with her this evening.:: Tiam: Thanks. And seriously, don’t worry about it. We’ve all been swamped. ::Though, her quarters were immaculate. Sabina did, in fact, respond to stress with neurotic cleaning.:: ::He decided that taking the step of plumping up the flattened cushions so that Sabina actually had a fighting chance of being comfortable might be a good idea, and took care of it in short order.:: Sheridan: OK. ::He sighed, then smiled cheerily.:: I think we’re good, although you might want to just, you know, run a scan or something to make sure this isn’t still a hazardous environment. Tiam: ::She chuckled.:: Really Vance, it’s fine. Besides, exposure is the only way to build resistance! ::Helping herself to the replicator, Sabina produced two short whiskey tumblers with ice. She filled them with a moderate amount of the drink she’d brought. Enough to not seem stingy, but not as much as to imply she was trying to get the good counselor drunk. She handed one of the glasses off to him and took a seat on the couch, pulling one leg up under the other very casually.:: Tiam: ::After a deep sip of her drink.:: Before we get too comfortable, let me say, I am here strictly as a friend. Can we leave the job outside? ::Vance had been working appointments all day again, and was certainly in need of a break. Not having to think too carefully about what he said next, or avoiding leading questions or, heck, not having to write everything down? That sounded like a major blessing.:: Sheridan: God, yes. Tiam: ::She smiled.:: Ok. Good. Then let me ask you something… ::She set her drink down on the table in front of her, leaning forward with an expression of genuine curiosity.:: How have you been? ::She asked not in the way friends did to catch up, but rather with the weight of knowing he too had gone through a difficult time.:: ::Oh, they were going there.:: Sheridan: Uhm… ::He frowned, nodding in consideration of how he was going to answer, then took in a slow, deep breath through his nose. If they were doing this the friends way instead of the counselling way, then he figured he should just go for an honest answer.:: Sheridan: Pretty crappy, honestly. I tried to bury myself in work to distract myself and now the amount of follow-up appointments is starting to get on top of me. I also cried in front of the first officer, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t do much for your kudos. How about you? ::He took a drink from his glass, features expressing his concern once he swallowed the alcoholic nectar. There was no hiding the fact he was increasingly worried he hadn’t really helped Sabina during her appointment.:: Tiam: ::She ran a hand through her mass of hair, considering.:: I could say I’ve been managing fine. Enjoying leave, staying on top of things but, honestly, it’s been really difficult. Once the day’s distractions are done… ::She trailed off and took another sip of her whiskey, welcoming the warmth that came with it. She supposed no one had said honesty was easy, but still, Sabina was finding that she had become so comfortable behind a veneer of professionalism, anything less than a polished, prepared image was challenging.:: Tiam: I don’t know. I come home and it’s like the only thing left is what happened this past mission. Which, of course, is the last thing I really want to spend time pouring over. ::Vance nodded, rubbing the back of his neck with his free hand.:: Sheridan: No kidding. I was worried I didn’t help you out enough in that counselling appointment. I think you’re doing a very good job of holding everything together, though. Tiam: I’m quite good at avoidance. But hold on, let’s circle back for a second. Did you say you cried in front of Taybrim? ::Her brows scrunched in concerned curiosity.:: ::He laughed, more out of embarrassment than anything else. Perhaps he shouldn’t have said anything. Regret was painted on his face as he answered, mostly that it had happened in the first place.:: Sheridan: Yeah. I did that. He was good about it. I was explaining to him how helpless I felt when Y-rocck… you know... ::He was overtired and didn’t really have all the necessary defences in place to deal with remembering that part of his conversation with the commander. There was no way he was going to let it happen again, so he tailed off, using his drink as a convenient way to mask the fact he needed a second to get himself straight.:: ::It took him a second to stabilise himself, and another second to get his voice back. His hand dropped onto his lap and he hung his head, looking down into his glass.:: Sheridan: Sorry. You know what I mean. ::Shifting into a new posture on the couch, one arm on the back cushion, Sabina leaned her head onto her hand with a small sigh.:: Tiam: I don’t mean to be so forward about everything. It’s just, back home, when things are hard, or difficult circumstance arise, there aren’t really secrets. Everything is out in the open, discussed and eventually I suppose, settled. That’s really not the case across the fleet. ::Vance had a different view of things as a counsellor, but that was because talking about difficult circumstances with members of the fleet was his day job. Thinking about it, he couldn’t remember very many times where he’d overheard other officers talking to each other about things that were bugging them, so he really had to concede that point.:: Sheridan: I guess. People do have a tendency to keep things to themselves. Tiam: I notice Terrans, especially, seem to keep emotional issues very private. It’s hard not to pick up on that habit. ::Some humans that Vance knew were unfailingly private. They were the ones who showed up to counselling sessions and effectively clammed up for an hour, maybe surrendering one piece of information if he was lucky.:: Sheridan: It’s easily picked up and not so easily broken. I didn’t think I was private, but I guess I found out how much being able to keep my feelings to myself means to me. Maybe it’s a human failing, and we should learn to share more, as a species. ::A brief moment of quiet settled over the pair. Sabina slowly spun the contents of her glass and watched the ice settle before looking back up to Vance.:: Tiam: Did they give you a commendation? ::She assumed they did, if anyone had really deserved recognition, it was Vance.:: They gave me one. Now, sometimes I just look at it and think, what an odd thing to receive this for. Sheridan: Yeah, I got one too. I guess I’ve maybe been seeing it as a consolation prize. Validation in some way that I didn’t make a horrendous mess of the mission. ::And a reminder, too, that someone thought that his choice to doom a Starfleet ambassador twice over hadn’t actually been a choice so much as an unavoidable necessity.:: Tiam: Maybe it’s just me but, ::she chose her next few words carefully.:: what we went through on that ship, it’s got me questioning a lot. I feel a bit like I’m being dragged through Plato’s cave. ::The main question in Vance’s mind was ‘why?’ Other than taking the chance to torture three innocent people, Vance really didn’t see any benefit to what Y-rocck had done beyond making himself feel powerful and getting a rush out of inflicting pain and suffering. Beyond that, he supposed he’d spent more time feeling sorry for himself than doing much else. He’d been up and down; the night he’d spent on wingman duty for Peters had been amusing, and he’d enjoyed talking to Kaitlyn Falcon in the pub, but other than that it hadn’t been a barrel of laughs.:: Sheridan: Having your eyes opened to the world outside? ::He’d seen a diagram that illustrated the cave during his studies at school, before he’d even joined the academy. He’d found it interesting, although the ramifications of exactly what it had meant hadn’t been fully apparent at the time. Prisoners, chained in a cave, with the sun shining through the entranceway and casting renditions of life from the outside onto the cave wall in shadow. The thought behind it was that to the prisoners, those moving shadows were the closest thing to reality that they would ever experience.:: Tiam: Something like that. ::In the allegory, the journey from prisoner to one who could stand upright and look upon the sun and the world underneath it was often described as a painful one. One would, after all, resist an entirely new reality being thrust upon them.:: Sheridan: So, what kinds of thing are you questioning? Tiam: Myself, mainly. ::The corner of her mouth raised in a smirk but her eyes remained dark.:: My principles. On Betazed we have strict moral guidelines on the use of telepathy both for within our own communities and for interacting with species who are not telepathic. But during the war, after a long occupation and realizing there were no other options, many turned to weaponizing their telepathy. ::The sentiment now made her far more uncomfortable than it once did, something that was written all over her body language. Still, hating to see a good whiskey get watered down, Sabina took the last sip of her drink. And with it gained the final bit of resolve she needed to finish her thought.:: Tiam: I used to understand that. I used to try and prepare for a day when that might be needed again, strengthening my abilities and my attitudes. But now… Now I wonder if that makes me like him. ::As the conversation turned towards something that had been nagging at the edges of Vance’s mind since the riots had ended, he shifted in his seat, tucking his legs onto the sofa. One knee was tucked into his chest, with his free arm wrapped around it in a half-guarded gesture.:: ::Sal Taybrim had told him that Betazoids had a moral code about when they should and should not use their telepathy with offworlders. Sabina had just repeated that, and then told him she was questioning his morals. Suddenly, he felt a lot less safe.:: ::The idea of someone going in his mind again was terrifying. What made it even worse was that it seemed oddly compelling somehow. Uncomfortably, no, harrowingly compelling. He scratched at his knee absently and breathed in deeply through his nose as he answered.:: Sheridan: I guess that depends on whether or not you still feel it would be morally wrong to force yourself into someone’s mind. If you don’t, or if you do but then you still do it anyway, then yeah. That would make you like him. But if you don’t, then it doesn’t. ::Part of him was expecting her to just take the opportunity then and there. There was no-one else in the room. It was odd; he didn’t feel afraid, not now he knew what it felt like. He was just preparing himself for the worst.:: ::Primarily unaware of Sheridan’s deep concern, in part due to her own avoidance of her empathic abilities and in part due to being wrapped up in her own thoughts, Sabina weighed his words.:: Tiam: It’s funny, after what happened, I can’t even access the full extent of my abilities. ::She bit at her lip.:: It’s like I scare myself off. But I hear what you’re saying. Still, can it circumstantial? ::She thought back to the series of events leading to Aidris-Taree’s expulsion from SB118, the images in her mind sending chills down her spin.:: Tiam: I mean, I hate to say it, truly I do, but what happened on that ship, clearly made us impervious to the entity on the base. And without that, things could have ended up very different. So, ::She rested her head on her arm now, propped comfortably on one corner of the couch.:: do the ends justify the means, or do the means make us who we are? ::As she recapped the events that had brought about an end to the riots, Vance made two realisations in quick succession. The first was that whether or not Y-rocck’s invasion had left them impervious to Taree’s psionic abilities was probably a moot point. The second was that he wasn’t looking at someone who was about to hurt him. Thoughts of Y-rocck reminded him who his enemy was for one thing and, for another, if Sabina had wanted to hurt him then she would have done it by now.:: ::In fact, she wouldn’t have even needed to enter the room first.:: Sheridan: The ends definitely do not justify the means in this case. With his level of psionic power, I don’t have any doubts that Y-rocck could have boarded the station himself and dealt with Taree. Instead, it was just more convenient to use expendable puppets. ::Whether or not his theory was right or wrong was irrelevant to him in that moment. He had been used, so had his friends, and he was angry about it.:: ::Sabina leaned forward, gripped by his words. He had laid out the situation so bluntly and in a way that she had not been seeing it. Had she been justifying what had happened to herself, trying to write off and minimize something that was truly terrible?:: Sheridan: He knew exactly what he was doing. He was playing with us. He walked into and out of our minds for fun, then he poisoned you, tried to cut the Ambassador’s head open and gave me no choice but to burn myself. He was a monster. ::Sabina was silent. As Vance spoke, a heady mix of anger and cold pain rolled around her like a heavy fog. Whether it was because his emotions were so strong, or because her focus on blocking out such things had failed her, she couldn’t say. In fact, she found it rather difficult to know what feelings were coming from where.:: ::She had been fine. What happened was nothing more than a fact, a bullet point in a mission summary. But Vance, he had told the real story, he had given the facts truth. A glance down at her hands revealed a faint tremble.:: Tiam: ::Her voice was thinner than it usually was.:: Is that… what happened? ::His fingers gripped his knee and his knuckles turned white. A tremor ran through his upper body, almost like a shiver, but from the cold that only anger can produce. He tried to hold everything inside himself, knowing that someone needed him to be strong enough to just talk to them, but his emotions betrayed him. He gasped in a breath as twin tears spilled down his face. He didn’t do anything to hide it this time.:: Sheridan: You’re a good person. What happened on Betazed with the Jem’Hadar is a different thing. ::He swallowed, continuing to speak past the lump in his throat.:: Sometimes, you don’t have a choice but to fight back if you want to survive and that is very, very different to making someone suffer and getting enjoyment out of it. ::For a long moment, Sabina didn’t know how to react. It had been a long time since someone had been so open with her. And she couldn’t think of a time anyone had called her a “good” person. She felt a chill on her cheeks. Reaching a hand up, she felt fallen tears there. When had that happened, she wondered. And why were they still coming?:: ::Something else was nagging at her. Vance wasn’t feeling all of this over her. Clearly, his struggle with this was equally raw. With the delicate movement of a dancer, she positioned herself closer to him.:: Tiam: Vance, ::She looked at him, making sure that he had a moment to breathe and was looking at her.:: you’re right you know. Sometimes, ::She blinked tears from her eyes.:: sometimes you don’t have a choice. Sheridan: If I’d had the power to fight back against Y-rocck and hurt him, really hurt him, so that I could defend myself, I would have done it. ::There was less anger in his words now. It had been overtaken by honesty. He spoke slowly, voice cracking under the weight of too much emotion.:: Sheridan: He humiliated us and made us suffer for fun. What kind of creature does that? ::Y-rocck was far from the most dangerous force in the galaxy, but few other threats were threats for the sake of it. The Borg sought perfection. Orion pirates were driven by greed. That didn’t justify what any of them did, but it made it easier to rationalise.:: Tiam: But we survived. ::Trembling hands wiped at her jaw line where the tears inevitably settled before falling.:: And we didn’t go through it alone. ::She was right about that. He answered her with a nod. He wanted to smile and say something reassuring, or to give her a hug, but the guilt from suspecting she might hurt him had caught up with him. He wiped at his eyes with the back of his sleeve, taking momentary comfort from the memories of home it invoked.:: Sheridan: I don’t know which way is up any more. I don’t know about you, but I feel like there are no boundaries around my mind anymore, and everyone is a potential threat. I mean, I honestly don’t know how I would have held things together through the riot if you hadn’t been there and I know we don’t know each other very well, but I already think of you as a friend… but, just now when you said you were questioning the moral code that Betazoids have, I thought you were going to go wandering around in my brain. Even though I trust you not to. ::He sighed deeply and wiped away more tears.:: Sheridan: I’m supposed to be a counsellor and tell people how to deal with things like this, but knowing what to say and then actually doing it are two different things. Have you been having the same problem? ::Just because she was a Betazoid didn’t mean that she was necessarily predisposed towards being able to hold things together any better than he could.:: Tiam: ::She nodded.:: Vance, I don’t know what to do. I feel lost, displaced in a world I should already know. And I don’t appreciate that some external force could even be responsible for it. Most my day is spent on autopilot. Working is easy. In fact, anything that isn’t sitting in my quarters, thinking, seems easy. ::For a moment, Sabina’s mind went to that place. Her thoughts slipped into the same ones that were there for her in the dark hours of early morning. Her eyes welled with tears as she felt again the same swirl of failure and vulnerability she had been going to bed with each night. The worst of it was that they hadn’t seized Y-rocck. With a small sniffle, and a conscious choice to do so, she thought on the other points he had made, feeling boundaryless and susceptible to any manner of telepathy.:: Tiam: I can’t say that I see telepathic threats more than usual. But I have more experience with telepathy. I have the biological advantage of mutual awareness. In most cases at least… ::Though, it hadn’t made a difference with Y-rocck.:: But I haven’t truly interacted with a telepath since being back either. ::She paused.:: I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but, part of me knows I also need it. ::She gave a defeated chuckle.:: If I get spooked off by telepaths, how will I ever go home? ::It was a terrible thought, not being able to return home. It had been thinking of home that had kept Vance grounded so far. Where did the cost of all of this end?:: Sheridan: I guess it’s something we’re both going to have to come to terms with. ::Some other Federation species were a little less reserved about the use of telepathy, after all. Breaking down on coming into contact with them would be no good and yet Vance couldn’t help but feel he might never be comfortable with that kind of contact again.:: ::Sabina stood, a bit more slowly than usual as she gave some of her muscles a good stretch on the way up. She began collecting their empty glasses, for recycling or for refill she wasn’t exactly sure yet. But she didn’t want to contribute to any untidiness in someone else’s quarters. Especially after Vance’s power cleaning earlier in the evening had given him such a strong start.:: Tiam: ::Changing the subject, she spoke a little more light heartedly, and with a bit of a smirk.:: Can I tell you what I don’t like about counseling? ::Vance spluttered out a shocked laugh. He hadn’t quite expected the conversation to head in that direction, although he could tell well enough that Sabina wasn’t about to slate him.:: Sheridan: Oh, so you’re going to kick me while I’m down now? Tiam: I said counseling, not counselors. ::With that, her trademark smirk was in full force. But her tone settled on something serious as she explained herself.:: There aren’t enough actionable items in counseling. You can spend hours learning about how to look at situations or how difficult circumstances should be framed as we think about them, but sometimes, you leave the room going, “Ok, but what do I do?” ::Feeling she had acceptably tidied the mess she’d brought, Sabina returned to her place on the sofa.:: ::That was an interesting comment and it was something Vance would have to admit that he and a good number of his colleagues regularly fell foul of.:: Sheridan: I’ll definitely bear that in mind. I think that sometimes, we don’t want to interfere too much and end up not quite doing enough. Tiam: Might I make a suggestion for you? ::He wiped his face on his sleeve, having now gained a little more control of himself, then looked at Sabina curiously.:: Sheridan: What’s that? Tiam: There are ways in which, even humans, can develop natural telepathic barriers. I’ll be blunt with you, they’re not magic and wouldn’t stand up to a force like Y-rocck. ::Of course, neither had her own.:: But, it can be comforting to know that you are, at least in some small way, a little more in control of which parts of your mind end up exposed. ::That did sound like a good idea. Whether or not Vance ever ended up using a technique like that, it would make him feel like he had some control over the situation.:: Sheridan: Do you know anyone who can help me with that? ::In fact, he felt like it would be as good as therapy in itself. A dedicated period of time spent taking care of the way he felt, and not by grieving, or feeling sorry for himself, but by doing something positive. He was a positive guy most of the time, not that his experiences on Starbase 118 so far necessarily reflected that.:: Tiam: ::Sabina pursued her lips, thinking.:: I would recommend a Vulcan approach. Which, is not my specialty but, I think it would be the most effective. If I recall correctly, there’s a Vulcan temple on the station that might be of use… But, there’s always the holodeck as well. Plenty of instructional programs available, I’m sure. Sheridan: I’ll give it some thought and see about getting something set up. Are you going to do the same? ::She smiled wearily with a soft sigh.:: Tiam: No, no my issues will require a different approach. ::Sabina didn’t want to go into too much detail, given the counselor’s current relationship to telepaths. But truthfully, more than anything, she would need someone with whose mind she could work, willingly of course. An opportunity to become comfortable in her own abilities again would do wonders, she was sure. Another Betazoid would be ideal, but the likelihood of that chance presenting itself in the near future seemed unlikely.:: Tiam: And a little patience. ::Still, if Vance ever wanted to test his ability to shield his thoughts and feelings, she would be happy to assist. But in the meantime, she would continue to work and play, as she had. And the stinging memories of the Noguwip would, at some point, begin to fade like old scars on thick skin.:: ::There was a brief pause as conversation on the subject petered out. Vance was sure that either one of them could probably have spoken for hours about their experiences on the Noguwip but it was unnecessary. Each had seen what the other had been through, and they had just covered what hadn’t been seen. All Vance knew was that he wasn’t ready to sleep yet, and that he didn’t feel like sitting up on his own. He breathed in slowly and deeply through his nose and rubbed at one of his eyes with the knuckle of his index finger before making a suggestion he hoped would go over well.:: Sheridan: So, do you want to maybe hang out for a while? Do something, you know… normal? I have a bunch of stand up comedy shows from Earth if you’re interested, and I’m pretty sure my replicator still knows how to make ice-cream. ::He would probably need to remind himself how to get his lazy butt down to the gym at this rate, too. Still, in the name of hanging out with a friend rather than moping in a darkened room on his own, sacrifices had to be made.:: Tiam: Normal? What even is that? ::She grinned.:: Yes, I am all for that idea. ::She leaned back, more relaxed now. Sabina felt as though the air between them had been cleared. What happened on the Noguwip was no longer a topic that needed to be tiptoed around. Instead, she felt, the two had come to a place where they could find real solidarity in one another. Now the only matter left to settle was which ice cream flavor would cap off the evening. Though, even that presented a unique challenge…:: Tiam: But I have to admit something… ::A certain playfulness sparkled in her eyes.:: ::Sabina spoke lightheartedly, lest she worry the counselor that another onslaught of emotion was coming.:: Sheridan: Uh-oh… ::He caught the whiff of some ruse or other and made a show of bracing himself behind one of his cushions.:: What is it? Tiam: I haven’t tried ice cream before. ::He dropped the cushion, gaping.:: Sheridan: What the…? How is that even possible? Alright, don’t move a muscle. I’ll be right back with the flavour to end all flavours. ::He hopped up from the sofa and made short work of the trip to the replicator. Maybe falling off the wagon wouldn’t be so bad a thing.:: Sheridan: Computer, give me two bowls of cookie dough ice cream. Large. ::He was yet to encounter someone who didn’t fall in love with that particular vice at first taste but, if the impossible happened, the replicator was right there to provide well over a thousand different back-up plans…:: TBC A JP by PNPC Lieutenant Vance SheridanCounsellorStarbase 118 Ops & Lt. Sabina TiamIntelligence OfficerStarbase 118 Ops
  19. ((Runabout Lancelot, Enroute to the USS Gemini)) ::With eyes closed now, and time drawing short, Kali had to struggle to hear any talking from the others. They had grown quiet, leaving behind a silence that deafened her. That was when she turned to the logs, which was her only link to her former life. Knowing that she was about to be thrown into so much of that former life that she didn't remember, she figured it was time to see who it was that she would be reporting to shortly.:: ::Frost, Liam, Commander. Commanding officer of the USS Gemini, where she was now to serve. After a silent break she listened with a kind of renewed focus as the voices returned. Across the [...]pit speakers she could hear the hushed tones of a sorrowful gathering. She'd played all of the logs involving her new commanding officer, and had now stumbled upon the recording of her own funeral.:: Recorded Livingston: We gather here to pay final respects to the woman who gave all she had in the line of duty. She was the best of us, inspiring each of us by her own actions and strengths. She shared the selfless courage of her Tactical officer and the heart of her Security team. She had the ingenuity of her engineers and the curiosity of her science officers. She had the critical eye of her Intelligence team, but she always had the tact of her Chief Diplomat. She pushed the envelope in a way that would make her Marines proud, but when the job was done, the medical officer inside of her made sure everyone was healed. ::Then there was a pause. Kali opened her eyes and stared out into the stars.:: Recorded Livingston: Her sacrifice protected us. Out that window, I do not see the remains of a break in subspace. I see Kali’s scar, and when I see it, I shall not mourn; I shall have hope. Fleet Captain Nicholotti gave us strength in life, and the courage to use that strength. Let us honor her by our actions and our deeds. :: A longer pause now. Kali imagined the face of the man she couldn't remember, but knew from her logs. He'd gone on to become a Captain of his own, and one she was proud of regardless of her memories.:: Recorded Livingston: If anyone else has words to share, speak now. :: The shuffling sounds on the recording led her to believe that people were moving. Soon enough, the sound of another voice returned.:: Recorded Frost: Commander Livingston is right. Kali was all of those things. But she was more than that. She was a person who gave all of herself to everything she did. She was the most dedicated people that I have ever met. And the fact of the matter is that I would not have made it as far as I have if it wasn't for her leadership and guidance. I owe her a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. I was fortunate enough to have the honour of calling her friend. And the fact is that every one of us is better for having known her. ::More shuffling.:: Recorded Skyfire: Fleet Captain Nicholotti was not the type to choose her crew lightly. She chose us because she saw the potential for each of us to become something more than ensigns. She wanted to help us reach our potential. As the commanders have stated, we are all honored to have known her. ::That was all he seemed to have to say. More subtle noises indicated that someone else was stepping up to speak.:: Recorded Orman: Hi everybody. ::she waved:: We've heard some very stirring, lovely things about Kali, and I'd wager we're going to hear quite a bit more before this is done. ::she swallowed:: But I've known her longer than... well, than just about anybody here, I guess, and from knowing her I can say that she wouldn't want to be remembered just like that. So I'm going to be arrogant and kind of rebellious--because that's kind of my specialty--and talk about her flaws. ::Kali raised her eyebrow at that. She didn't remember the woman called Orman, though she'd been in plenty of her logs before this. It would seem that they were friends.:: Recorded Orman: Kali was a sentient person, a human being, just like most of us here, and with all the failings that implies. I've seen her be impatient, self loathing, completely overwhelmed. She made mistakes, made bad decisions, sometimes for bad reasons. She committed genocide...she made bad calls that sometimes harmed her crew. Her friends. ::Blinking, Kali wondered now about that friendship, at least until the woman continued.:: Recorded Orman: She was terribly unlucky in love. It might have been circumstance, it might have been the job, it might have just been her. I really don't know. I do know that she *believed* it was her, and that every loss, every failure, broke her heart in ways she never quite repaired. ::she turned towards the flag-draped torpedo casing:: By the end, I think she felt as empty as this crukking thing. To be honest with you all, I half believe that she got in that fighter because she was looking for an end... ::she shrugged:: but I hope I'm wrong. ::It was now that a tear started to streak down her face. These words were powerful and a fitting end to thoughts of her. Kali, despite not remembering the woman, was proud that she had been her friend.:: Recorded Orman: But she was my friend. She took me in when I needed it, always supported me, gave me the trust and respect that allowed me to become better than I was. I will never forget her. I love her all the more for remembering her in whole, and so I hope you will all forgive me for my harshness. Know that it is done out of love. Kali, you're in my heart for good. ::her voice broke a little:: If you were here, I would kick you right in the [...] and yell at you for at least twenty minutes straight, but I will *miss* you! ::The shock and awe seemed to hit the crowd as murmurs moved through it as the shuffling returned. No one else spoke and a long pause ensued. Finally, the man who had started it all spoke again.:: Recorded Livingston: Lieutenant Kesaan, if you will. Recorded Kesaan: ::Standing:: Sir. ::The tears were falling faster now, blurring the vision of the stars from her crystalline blues.:: Recorded Kesaan: Present, arms! ::She heard the unifying shift as the seven members of the team brought their weapons to a salute.:: Recorded Kesaan: Stand ready! ::A pause followed full of complete silence. And then...:: Recorded Kesaan: Fire! ::Crack.:: ::Kali knew it was coming, but she jumped anyways. A shiver ran down her spine as the recording continued.:: Recorded Kesaan: Ready. Fire! ::Crack:: ::The second shot pierced the silence, echoing through the [...]pit. Again, involuntarily she jumped.:: Recorded Kesaan: Ready. Fire! ::Crack:: Recorded Kesaan: Order, arms! ::A quietude dense enough to suffocate anyone descended and all Kali could hear now was the sound of the empty torpedo casing moving along the track and firing away from the Excalibur. The sound of a whistle pierced the silence finally; the Chief of the Boat blew his whistle, signaling that the Captain was leaving the ship one last time. And then that was it. The recording ended.:: ::Awash in tears and unable to see clearly out of the window, Kali pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them burying her face and finally just crying. It had been a long time coming, and now she'd finally broken. The past was never totally in the past or totally gone. It was here, and now, even if it was in the form of an old friend and a ship she'd never set foot on.:: ::Hopefully by the time she arrived, she'd be composed, but for now she simply allowed the tears to fall. For all the pain she'd listened to in her own logs, it was high time that the tears were allowed to flow free.:: ::And flow free is what they did.:: TBC Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Medical Officer USS Gemini
  20. ((Captain’s Ready Room, USS Atlantis)) :: Sliding open the top drawer of the desk, he drew from its chamber, a yellow-paged journal bound in red vellum, the skin soft and supple after years of handling with love and tenderness. Tonight however, love would be left out of the equation. He had the rest of the room bathed in darkness before lighting a single ivory-white candle, standing apathetically in a brass candle-stand. Shadows danced across the room. Shadows fell upon his face. His eyes glowed like nebulae. A fragile thin wisp of smoke snaked through the still air like a somnolent serpent, wandering aimlessly and unwary of its destination. Also from the same drawer, he obtained a striped pheasant quill and a delicate inkpot, into which he dipped the vicious point. Turning the crisp pages to where only blank ones stared back at him, he began to stain it with the blackest of inks, with the most sorrowful of words.. Where are your hands In this sea of black I only see the shadows Holding us back I reach out for you I miss you But nothing remains Hands that once stilled my heart Lost in the dark All the memories All the sweetness Gone in a heartbeat What love is left Slips further down the abyss Down where no hands can reach I fill the ocean with tears Tears of pain Tears of regret Tears we thought we would never shed Who will hold my hand Through the dark of night For not even your ghost Graces my sight Only tears in my hands I can offer Fate For no more love Lingers in my world No more light Shines in my gloom Dead is the flame That once lit our hearts Only the cold, cold hands Of a savage universe Smothering Choking What once was ours. Where the tip still lingered on the page, a dark, grotesque shape was growing. It was both the shape and color of his own weeping heart. His heart wept black where his eyes could not bleed scarlet. He placed the journal, the inkpot and the quill back into their secret hiding place. He stared into the golden flame of the dying candle, trembling for what was to come. Then he reached out with his thumb and index finger and killed what light was left in his world. :: TBC ============================= Captain Raj Blueheart Commanding Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  21. ((Memorial Service - Deck 42 - Bar)) ::The clock said it was 0859. In the bar, the bar with no name, Starfleet had decked out the establishment with all the trappings and accouterments of Federation last rites. Two UFOP banners hang parallel to one another on either side of the constructed dais. Beautiful, and deeply rich sun bathed the surroundings in illuminated hue. The light from several large bay windows cast a half shadow on all in attendance. Due to the fact that not every crew member could attend the service, top ranking, and relevant friends and family of the departed had been allowed to attend in person. Others, who could not attend, were allowed to pause their daily activities and observe the service from their work stations.:: ::Nate stood in front of the bay window, a small PADD designed for discrete reference was in his right hand, and both hands were behind his back, draped just below the base of his spine. Lieutenant Commander Akeelah D'Sena, his very good friend, stood next to him. She had been discussing last minute details, arrangements of flowers and individual funerary rites, and now there was little if nothing left to discuss, as the service was about to begin.:: ::Nate turned to her. She looked exceptionally handsome in her dress uniform. And yet, due to the seriousness of the event, absolutely no inappropriate thoughts were currently in Nate's mind. All he kept thinking about, was how little he knew Masha Kall, and what he might say about that.:: ::He turned to his friend, straightening out the wrinkles in his dress grey and white uniform.:: Wilmer: Well...this is it.... it's time. D'Sena: It is. ::She hesitated and nodded slightly:: Just breathe, I believe in you. ::Nate smiled and looked at her. The orange aura the sun cast on her, painted her in a generous glow, that gave all new beauty to her dark and mysterious eyes.:: Wilmer: Thanks Akeelah. It's nice to know I have your faith in me... ::He cleared his throat, and placed a hand on her shoulder for a moment. Nodding, it was time to begin the proceedings.:: :: Of the fifty five officers and crewmen in real time attendance, all were quiet as he walked up the three raised steps, to the podium. His footfalls echoed throughout the bar, and he stopped, paused and turned to face them all.:: ::A moment, and he cleared his throat. He felt no nervousness, only stoic realism filled his mind.:: Wilmer: Good morning. It is the sad truth of all who find themselves in command, that one day they must be called upon to perform such responsibilities for their fallen honored dead. Today, we have lost not one, but two of our sisters in uniform. Warrant Officer Masha Kall and Ensign Zoe Heriot, two beings from opposite ends of the galaxy, whose only commonalities were assignment to this ship and unwavering devotion to Starfleet and to each and every one of us.... ::He paused, a single person coughed, clearing their throat from the back of the room. Someone close to one of the deceased broke out into hushed, but still audible tears. Nate continued:: Wilmer: ...I had the great pleasure of knowing, working and spending some brief recreational time with Zoe. She was remarkably at ease with herself, energetic, athletic and unafraid to try new things. She tested herself, and applied her talents to the devotions of her trade, and lived by a code, that became for her, a way of life. I remember the first time I ever met her. It was on the holodeck, during a moment where everything seemed to be descending into absolute and unplanned chaos. Zoe's charming naiveté offered her a vantage point of innocence that gave those of us--who were too vaunted and full of ourselves--and told us that it was okay to laugh at the absurdity of exploding birds on a beach. ::Nate smirked, and found that the truthfulness had gotten a chuckle or two from the grieving crowd and lent a moment of levity to the proceedings. He smiled somberly.:: Wilmer: Later that evening, she proceeded to have several drinks with me, and after assuring me that she had become intoxicated, proceeded to name the holographic bartender Fred. :: He let out a genuine single laugh. ::I didn't have the heart to tell her she'd been drinking synthehol all night long. ::The crowd seemed to enjoy the truth of that idea and let an appropriate tension easing laugh to the moment.:: Wilmer: But that was how she was. And those of us who knew her, can attest to the fact that Zoe Heriot was the most caring, real, true and honest of us. She was a true innocent. On a professional level, she was also the most competent junior astrophysicist I've ever had the privilege of working with. I have no doubt, that in time, she would have excelled in the stellar cartography department. She was a genuine and sweet friend. And I take no shame in admitting that I will shed tears for her.... ::Nate paused, and placed the PADD down on the podium. This was partly out of reflex, and partly because there were no words left on it. Now came the hard part--the toughest thing he would ever have to say.:: Wilmer: The next thing I'm going to say, will no doubt upset some of you, and rightfully so. When Commander D'Sena asked that I should officiate these proceedings, I was tasked with not only writing eulogies for my friend Zoe, but for Warrant Officer Kall, as well.... ::He throat dried. And he swallowed it away, speaking with only heartfelt honesty..:: Wilmer: I know nothing about Masha Kall. And I am ashamed. ::He looked to every single one of his brothers and sisters in uniform, attempting to make eye contact with all and finally wresting his eyes on those of his Rodulan friend.:: I was tasked with filling the blanks, of doing research on Masha Kall. I even began to ask around the ship, attempting to find as much as I could on a woman I had never even seen in the flesh. Up until I read her personnel file, I didn't even know she was Ullian, And after a while of realizing, that hardly any one else knew her, I began to realize something. To dig up these facts, and present them in a funerary format in the interest of detail, was a disservice to her. I should've taken the time to get to know her while she was still alive... ::He paused and slammed a solid, but firm knuckle down on the podium in emphasis.:: ::He saw in the crowd, that Kael his newfound daughter was there, dressed in black, and that the sudden slamming of his fist not only filled the room, but made her jump as well. Charlotte was next to his daughter, and looked to him with a compassion he was not used to, and had never seen before. He continued.:: Wilmer: ...because like it or not, we're all family out here. All of us. How many times have I used my personal interests, my job, my selfish recreational activities as an excuse to not get to know that new ensign that fills in the bridge position? How many times have I seen that lone engineer sitting at the lunch table in the galley, and told myself that he probably wanted to be left to his thoughts? We are not alone. We were not meant to be alone. On this ship, or any other we might find ourselves serving on in the future... ::he paused wondering how many future posts he might see.:: ...we are not only ambassadors from our representative cultures, we are a society of one. One ship, one crew, one family. There is no excuse for not knowing Masha Kall, for not knowing the person who shares our desk, our workspace, our halls and our hearts. ::He felt a single tear roll down his check as the sincerity began to fill the room, and others of greater sensitivity than he, began to cry aloud.:: Wilmer: ...we have all suffered two great losses today. But the greatest loss of all, is that everyday we all stand at the edge of danger, and we are all sometimes, alone, scared, seeking the familiar face of friendship, companionship...::He paused and looked again to Akeelah with sincere remark: ...and love. ::He paused, and picked up his PADD in conclusion.:: Wilmer: ...we are not alone. ::With that, he pressed a button on his podium, and a yeoman nearby, practiced with the established signal stood and blew his boatswains whistle.:: Wilmer: Stand at attention! ::He called with bravado. :: Honors 'hup! ::With that, all in attendance stood and turned to the port. Two individual photon torpedoes fired, one after another, streaking through the flaming corona sphere of the nearby sun. Each memory and the of the remains of each woman, turned into a flaming jet of spiritual essence, easing into the setting terminator of the forever burning star. Each would glow only for a moment, and be seen no more.:: ::It was a fitting ending, to such great and wondrous individuals. And suddenly Nate remembered a poem he'd read once as a teenager.:: My candle burns from both ends, it will not last the night, But oh my friends, and oh my foes, it gives a glorious light... ::Nate realized truer words were never written by humankind.:: ::And all were dismissed.:: END Lt. Nate Wilmer HCO/Acting First Officer USS Apollo-A
  22. ((Starbase 118 Ops: Outside the Chief Counsellor’s Office)) ::Having recently taken care of his annual physical appointment, Chen had taken it upon himself to contact the counselling department and arrange an appointment there, too. Counsellor Sheridan had mentioned something about his schedule being busy, and asked if Chen minded fitting in a little before Alpha shift was due to start. It made sense that there would be heavy traffic after the riots, and Chen didn’t mind accommodating the request one bit. He’d left Greir to sleep a little longer, got himself ready for his shift, and then reported to the counsellor’s office. The time of his appointment had rolled around, but there was no answer to the chime, even after a second try. Deciding that there was a chance there was already an ongoing appointment, Chen gave Counsellor Sheridan the benefit of the doubt. Another ten minutes later, however, and he was starting to wonder whether or not he might have just overslept. He was contemplating contacting him when he caught sight of the teal-collared officer hurrying around the corner. Sheridan staggered to a stop almost as soon as he came into view, bent forward with his hands on his knees while he got his breath back.:: Chen: You OK? Sheridan: Yeah… sorry… overslept. ::Chen wasn’t entirely sure whether or not the human counsellor was red in the face from exertion or from embarrassment. If he’d had to guess, he would have chosen a little of both.:: Sheridan: Sorry, Commander, this is pretty much the first time in my career. I can’t believe I asked you to show up early and then kept you waiting. If you file a report then I wouldn’t be surprised and I’m prepared to accept responsibility for… Chen: Woah, woah, woah!! ::He held up his hands, a little nonplussed.:: I didn’t say I was going to file anything. It’s not like you overslept on purpose, is it? ::The counsellor shook his head. Pulling the rug out from under him seemed to have calmed him down.:: Chen: Alright, so let’s just not worry about it, OK? if you’re having to cram appointments into your free time, you’ve probably been working too hard anyway. Let’s just do what we can do before someone shows up for your next appointment. ::He noted the Terran’s dishevelled hair and the thin layer of stubble that coated his face. It looked like he’d literally heard the time and then sprinted out of his quarters, pulling his uniform on along the way.:: Chen: Did you at least get a chance to eat? ::He suspected that the answer to that question would probably be no.:: Sheridan: No. ::Nailed it.:: Sheridan: I literally heard the time and then sprinted out of my quarters. I had to pull my uniform on along the way. ::It looked like Chen’s observational and deductive skills hadn’t been compromised by the early hour of the appointment. If only most situations were this easy to read. It would save a lot of work.:: Chen: Then if you want to grab some food and eat it while we do the appointment I won’t put you on report for that either. ::Vance took in a deep breath, seeming to consider what Chen had said, and then cracked a smile. Chen’s eyes returned it. The most important thing to him was that he took care of his evaluation. Both he and the counsellor had a full shift to take care of after this, and starting the day in a panic wouldn’t do either of them any good.:: ::The counsellor keyed in his access code and activated the door mechanism.:: Sheridan: Have you ever considered a career in teal, Sir? ::Chen’s eyebrows lifted and his antennae twisted towards each other. The only person he felt he’d ever supported in that way was Greir, after he’d lost his hearing, and the way things had worked out suggested that he had done at least a passable job. Aside from that, his partner was really the one who knew how to handle their friends’ personal problems.:: Chen: I think I would probably just end up making more work for the other members of the department after a while. I’ll stick to black if it’s all the same. ::He followed Sheridan into the room, finding a seat while the counsellor replicated himself a drink and some breakfast. When offered a drink himself, Chen passed. He’d not long had breakfast himself, and he intended to pick up a cup of something when he got to his office.:: Sheridan: OK, so this is just a basic annual evaluation. It shouldn’t be too strenuous. ::Chen couldn’t remember a counselling appointment that he had considered strenuous. Maybe he’d been lucky with the counsellors he’d seen, but he’d never really developed the aversion to this kind of appointment that some of his colleagues had.:: Chen: I’m glad to hear it. I was hoping it would be pretty routine. ::Vance stuffed part of a maple syrup coated pancake into his mouth and nodded, answering in a slightly muffled voice before swallowing.:: Sheridan: We sfaa wi your pwofai… ::Chen’s eyes narrowed and his antennae tipped forwards as he tried to figure out what the counsellor was trying to say.:: Sheridan: ::Swallowing:: Sorry, we’ll start with your profile. I’m not seeing anything major flagged up on here, but I’d like to take a quick look back through your records to make sure we don’t let anything slip through the cracks. ::Chen waited patiently while the counsellor reviewed the notes on a PADD with one hand and wolfed down his breakfast with the other. More than likely, he would have done it before they met up, had he been awake on time. Watching him for his reaction, the Andorian took note when his eyes opened a little wider and he squinted down at the PADD, seeming to read and re-read one of the sections a couple of times. Finally, he pushed his plate to one side and looked back up.:: Sheridan: OK. ::He shuffled back in his seat, giving Chen his full attention.:: How have you been lately? You recently transferred here from Deep Space 6, right? ::Chen nodded. The counsellor’s tone had changed and there was no doubt he had switched into professional mode, but his bed hair slightly ruined that image.:: Chen: That’s right. Things have been good lately and I’m excited to be here. Sheridan: This is a promotion for you too. What are you looking forward to most about your new assignment? ::Where did he begin? Chen could feel pride filling his chest again as he thought about it, and that bled through into his answer.:: Chen: Everything. Literally everything. I’ve never worked in a department with so many top of the range resources before, and this has come with a considerable boost to my clearance level, my own staff, the chance to re-establish some of my old contacts… it’s as close to a dream job as you could ever get. ::The counsellor smiled as he heard the enthusiastic response. Clearly there weren’t going to be any issues with motivation or settling in. He made a quick note of Chen’s response before moving to the next item on his agenda.:: Sheridan: It looks like someone made an observation that they were worried about your work-life balance a few years ago. How do you feel things are with that now? ::Chen remembered his work-obsessive days aboard the USS Echo well. He’d worked every hour he could physically stay awake for following an undercover mission on Nelvaer IV, a Romulan-controlled world, and he had nearly driven himself to exhaustion, all in his pursuit of excellence and a promotion to full lieutenant. Ironically, he had only really started to see results after his department head, Commander Cathleen McCrae, had sat him down to point out that his brain needed recovery time. “Officers at breaking point are no use to me,” she had told him, which had initially left him feeling confused and unfairly rebuffed, but had eventually sunk in.:: Chen: I think they’re pretty good, honestly. I transferred here with my fiancé, so every time I finish a shift and he gets home we get to spend time together. We sometimes just chill out, sometimes spend time on the holodeck, maybe do a bit of work around the quarters now and again when it needs it, or occasionally we’ll do separate things with other friends. We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our wedding lately. We’re just making some adjustments after the move. ::Talking to Lieutenant Commander Chen was having a very comforting effect on Vance. Listening to him talk so enthusiastically about all the things that were going right in his life and conversing with someone whose routine hadn’t been split in half by the riots was hugely refreshing.:: Sheridan: Well congratulations to you both. So you have something to look forward to when you go home, which is pretty much as much as any of us could really wish for, but are you sticking to standard shifts? Do you anticipate the whole being the chief of a big department thing taking up more of your time? Chen: I think I can manage it. ::In his experience, counsellors were more likely to believe that particular statement if you could show them that you had, in fact, already been managing it.:: I think I’ve fallen into quite a good routine, work wise. I work my shift, sometimes I might go in maybe an hour early if things are going to be busy during the day, then I come home at the end of the shift. Then I get to spend time with my awesome future husband until the point we both turn in for the night. He’s Laudean, so he needs more sleep than I do, so I take a short rest, then if I need to go take care of a few more things in the lab, or if there’s something else I want to do I get up again, figure everything out, then head back to get the sleep I need. Then we wake up together, and the cycle repeats. ::He scratched an eyebrow as he thought about whether or not that covered all of the bases. He realised it probably didn’t.:: Chen: Obviously if we entered into some kind of emergency scenario, the routine might have to change. Greir, my fiancé, is ex-Starfleet himself. He was a captain right up until we moved here, so he understands the work life balance. He was a counsellor before that. ::Vance grinned. This particular officer was under the thumb, then, as far as counselling appointments and taking advice went.:: Chen: Oh, no. No no. Stop looking like you’re going to set up some kind of hotline to him or something. ::The grin became a full on laugh. Chen was certainly sharp. The idea of contacting his partner to do some home therapy if ever he became a difficult patient was too funny, though.:: Chen: Do not make me order you. Seriously. ::He started chuckling himself.:: Sheridan: To be honest, I think that probably answers one of the other questions I had on my list. Chen: Oh? What’s that? ::Vance cleared his throat and settled himself down. The next point on his agenda was absolutely no laughing matter whatsoever.:: Sheridan: You’ve had an eventful career, it seems, and there’s reference in your file to you having lost a foot, and then you were fitted with a biosynthetic replacement. I can’t see anything at all in here that documents any regular counselling appointments during the time you were recovering. That’s a pretty traumatic event to have to live through so either you’re exceptionally mentally strong, or the fact you were seeing a counsellor… as in seeing a counsellor at the time meant you were effectively getting care around the clock. ::Chen took in a slow, deep breath and looked down at his right foot. Most of the time now, he barely even thought of it as anything other than his own, he’d grown so used to it. The memories he had of his old one getting crushed in an emergency escape hatch were unpleasant. He didn’t usually feel the need to throw up his guard in counselling appointments, but he made a conscious effort to keep his antennae from moving to hide the unpleasant emotions that his thoughts had stirred up.:: Chen: Greir was absolutely invaluable back then. If not for him, I don’t know how I would have got through it. We’d recently been through a bad patch in our relationship, but everything that happened put things into very clear perspective. We almost lost each other that day. He was in the tunnel, too, and he could easily have drowned. My foot was crushed because I was trying to stop his head from being caught in more of those emergency bulkheads just a little further up the tunnel. ::He paused for a moment, clearing his throat.:: We helped each other through what happened. I think the fact that we were picking up our relationship where we left off, as well as all the help and support that Greir gave me were instrumental in my recovery. He helped me to keep everything so close to my normal life from before. Of course there were two or three things that I had to do differently, but he kept my mind off everything a lot of the time. I think, in situations like that, making sure you keep a hold of your normal life is really important. ::Vance nodded his understanding. Chen’s last sentence sank into him; as usual, a session with one of his patients had provided him with some advice that was frighteningly relevant to his own life. Meanwhile, even though there was no movement in the commander’s antennae, he’d seen some of the colour drain from his face when he’d tackled the subject of his foot.:: Sheridan: Thank you for being so detailed. I think it’s a very healthy thing that you’re able to talk about it. I’m going to go ahead and make a really clear note in the files here that you did receive treatment, so no-one should ask you about it again in the future. Chen: Thanks. ::He blew out a breath, glad that the matter seemed to be dealt with. Vance put his PADD down on the arm of his chair, about done with everything that he needed to ask.:: Sheridan: So, is there anything else that you wanted to talk about? ::Those antennae quickly picked up and Chen became a beacon of relief.:: Chen: I don’t think so. Nothing that springs to mind. ::Vance rose from his seat and extended a hand in the Andorian’s direction.:: Sheridan: Well in that case, Commander, you’re all clear for duty. And, uh… thanks again for being understanding about me oversleeping and letting me eat and stuff. I really appreciate that. I’ve got a very long day ahead. ::Chen accepted the human’s handshake - that was one thing he had never had a choice about assimilating into his repertoire. It seemed to be just as much a Starfleet tradition now as a human one.:: Chen: No problem, but remember you were grilling me pretty hard about work life balance. There has to be someone who can help you or a way for you to make sure you get a break. ::Vance listened to Chen’s advice and felt it hit home. He knew he was right. He didn’t know if he was going to act on what he was saying, though. Things would fix themselves in the end.:: Sheridan: I am seriously going to replicate you a teal shirt if you’re not careful, Sir, but thanks. I will take that into consideration. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. ::Chen looked at Vance through smiling eyes one last time before turning to leave. As counselling sessions went, it hadn’t been so bad. He just hoped that no-one else caught the counsellor oversleeping, and that he would adjust his schedule to make sure he would get enough rest that it wouldn’t happen again.:: TBC Lieutenant Commander Chen Chief Intelligence Officer Starbase 118 Ops & PNPC Lieutenant Vance Sheridan Counsellor Starbase 118 Ops
  23. ((Sickbay, Deck 5, USS Achilles)) :: The faint whoosh of a door sliding open and shut. Footsteps growing louder - stop - quieter now. An almost inaudible beep repeating steadily in a regular rhythm that could easily lull one to sleep. Someone clearing their throat… Janel’s eyes finally opened then squeezed closed again. Bright light. A few blinks and he was met with a blurry scene. A familiar place, not the same as where he’d been. How did he get here? How long had he been here? He was warm and the pain was gone. That was all he’s worked out so far. :: :: He scratched his head he felt fabric, which was unexpected as he slowly got his bearings. He wasn’t alone but before he saw he had company he saw the IV line in his arm and gasped, touching it lightly with his other hand. Usually he was putting these in other people! It didn’t feel good to be the patient. :: Rosek: ::grasps his hand:: Take it easy. You’re okay. :: He turned to see Lael next to him. How had he not seen her there before? He felt a little silly but barely noticed for the overwhelming relief and joy at seeing her again. Never mind how he was, he wanted to know how she was doing now. :: Tarna: Lael! I’m so happy to see you. How are you? ::A weak smile slid across her lips. He’d been in surgery for what had seemed like hours and she’d spent the better part of it with her stomach in knots. It had been a nightmare. And yet he was more concerned about her. It was one of many things she loved about him. She moved her hand to his cheek. This man, who saw himself through the distorted lens of self-doubt, failed time and again to see himself clearly. He was so incredibly brave, so resourceful, so compassionate and so selfless. How could he think he wasn’t good enough?:: Rosek: ::murmurs:: A bit tired and a bit sore, but I’m okay...now that you’re awake anyway. :: Though he didn't realise it his face showed little change. Under normal circumstances he would have echoed Lael's smile but today that didn't happen. :: Tarna: I'm glad to see you up and about. Rosek: You scared the hell out of me, you know. Tarna: I'm sorry. :: He felt regretful and upset about worrying her even though it was unavoidable. His voice remained at the same tone and Janel slowly started to realise that something wasn't quite right. He couldn't put his finger on it though. :: Rosek: ::pauses:: There’s something I need to tell you, but...I’m not sure quite how to say it. :: His stomach knotted with concern. The background beeping seemed to come at a faster rate, sounding somehow more insistent, as if mirroring the situation. If it was to tell him about Kaji, well unfortunately he wasn't able to forget it. He took a long, deep breath. :: Tarna: Say it plainly. Rosek: ::gaze drops from his:: They found something...the remnants of a serum…in our blood streams. :: The realisation that on top of everything else they'd been drugged was devastating. He had to know what they'd introduced to his system immediately. He didn't know Lael very well, maybe not at all actually with this revelation. He knew he'd been out of sorts lately and thought it just down to the situation but if there were drugs messing with their minds and bodies too then he found it harder and harder to find the line between real and chemically induced behaviour. :: Tarna: What was it? Rosek: It affects decision making abilities in the orbitofrontal cortex and increases stimulation to subcortical parts of the brain like the amygdala, which is involved in emotional processes. :: He shook his head in disbelief. So that was the cause of the excessive emotional reactions he'd felt. Everything he'd felt... how much of it was real? Was any of it real? He was under no doubt that he'd have felt fear and a good many of the emotions he'd gone through in the circumstances he'd faced. Without that drug messing with his brain though, would he have coped better? He had been deeply ashamed of his apparent emotional weakness but it seemed everything he'd felt had been massively amplified. He just didn't know what to believe now, his sense of reality was skewed so he remained silent as Lael relayed the Doctor's findings about it to him. :: Rosek: They think that, because of my physiology, my body was able to break the compound down more quickly. ::pauses:: From the amount left in my system, they think the symptoms started to fade less than 24 hours after injection. :: What about him? Had the drug begun to fade from his system in as quick a period or was he still affected even now? His body would break it down, right? Ke kept wondering how much of what happened could be considered real. He was really struggling with this news and finding it really confusing and hard to absorb. :: Tarna: Oh. Did they mention how it affects Trill physiology? Rosek: ::pauses:: The Doctors think that you were still under the influence of the serum when the away team found us. :: It was worse than a punch in the gut and it really complicated things. He was worried that Rosek might find it easier to come to terms with everything if he wasn’t around to remind her of it. Maybe her feelings had faded and she no longer cared for him? Would his feelings towards her change? :: Tarna: Where does that leave us then? :: He couldn't bear the thought of losing her even though he logically knew he couldn't trust his feelings at all right now. He’d felt the most powerful, intense emotions of his life, felt a love and attraction to Lael so strong it made everything else seem pale in comparison. To think it may all be lies and chemical trickery and that he may lose that feeling for her was pretty disappointing and more than a little troubling. :: ::She fought back tears and kissed his forehead. She’d had her time to think about how she felt. Yes, the serum had been in her system when she’d first kissed him. But from what she understood, it didn’t create feelings, only enhanced ones that were already there. It had enhanced the attraction, not created it. The added intimacy of being each other’s only comfort in addition to the degree to which they had needed to rely on one another to survive had only accelerated the growing feelings.:: ::Her mother often said that intense stress stripped away all of the nonsense and showed a person’s true colors. She’d seen Janel’s and had fallen hard: courage in the face of certain death, a drive for justice, concern for the welfare of others over his own and a sense of humor that made her laugh when she wanted nothing more than to cry. More than that, she knew that an intelligent man with a good heart lurked beneath the seemingly shy exterior. He was beautiful both inside and out.:: Rosek: You know how I feel. ::pauses:: I meant what I said. No matter what, I’ll always be here for you. Whenever and however you need me to be. Tarna: Thank you. ::Sincerely:: I appreciate that. Would you mind passing me a PADD please? ::She placed the PADD in his hand. The words had seemed hollow even as she'd said them. Of all the reactions she'd considered him having to the news, this wasn't even in the realm of the possibility. He seemed so calm. It was her worst nightmare at this point. Head injuries were infamously unpredictable. For all she knew, his had caused severe enough damage to alter his personality completely. The question was if she would be able to live with those changes.:: Tarna: Thanks. :: He took the PADD and used it to look up his own medical file. Never mind listening to some other doctor... he was a doctor and he wanted to see what the damage was, see what they had done to him. He wiped a hand down his rough face anxiously as the data loaded up. There were xrays, brain activity charts and all kinds of data to illuminate just how close to death he'd been and how bad the damage was. :: :: Because he'd had his head slammed repeatedly off the floor over the course of the last three days at various points he'd suffered damage to the temporal lobe. They hadn't managed to completely repair all of the damage. That was the most shocking and scary thing. The frontal lobes are considered the emotional control center and home to personality. He knew acutely well how that part of the brain was involved in motor function, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgement, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior. He didn't have to read the file to know his colleagues would be doing various tests on him over the coming days and working out where to go from here. :: ::He read about the surgery, and through the detailed report could see it being performed in his mind. He knew how long it had taken, and how it had gone. He owed Doctor Vess a great debt of gratitude! He still remembered meeting the man on his first day on the Victory at an awards ceremony, it was a shame they hadn’t had more chance to get to know each other. He felt weak all of a sudden and light headed. He rested the PADD on his belly for a few minutes and covered his face with his hand. :: A JP by Ensign Tarna Medical Officer USS Victory & Ensign Rosek Engineer USS Victory
  24. ((SB118 Holodeck)) ::As the holographic sun started to set the picnic wound down and perhaps to no real surprise Tatash found himself stood alone once more. Most of the human’s (or near enough) had departed to locations unknown without offering an invite, Vitor and the Captain had shared a quiet word before going their own separate ways and now it was just him left as the last few attendees departed through the archway. Still, it wasn’t exactly unexpected. Regardless of his performance or personality he was still the proverbial elephant in the room, even with the cheerful apron wrapped around his front he still seemed to be a relic from a prehistoric age in Earths past, a menacing hulking creature who was more alien then most of the other races that served aboard the ship except perhaps for Puddles, but most humanoids seemed to have an affinity for charming furry creatures that didn’t quite extend to grumpy reptiles. Even on Cestus it had taken a long time for people to finally integrate fully and get over these minor prejudices. Despite the Federations almost utopian ideal of collective harmony, it still only truly extended to those that matched the humanoid norm, that combined with hard feelings from Starfleets sad involvement with the Gorn’s civil war was bound to leave him at a disadvantage. His golden eyes scoured the surroundings for anyone else who might be malingering before finally tapping his finger on the arch terminating the program, leaving the holodeck nothing more than a golden gridded box waiting for the next fantasy before stepping out through the door into the large corridor beyond. Activity bustled around him, and for a moment he was reminded of the time he first set eyes upon 118 from a shuttlecraft’s window, this huge blue mushroom seemingly growing larger and larger in the [...]pit glass until finally it seemed so large it couldn’t even possibly exist. It was truly a testament to the best and brightest the quadrant had to offer. More amazingly perhaps was out of the dozens of miles of corridors he knew exactly where he wanted to be as he stepped into the nearest Turbolift. Tatash: Deck 454. Section C. ((Deck 454 – Section C – Right Docking Bay Door Utility/Mechanical) ::The lift certainly moved faster then he was used too, almost leaving his stomach by the holodeck as it rocketed up towards the crown of the station, finally opening the doors with a hiss onto a rather drab looking corridor. It was narrower than the others, and certainly missing the trappings of the more civilian friendly area’s, the lighting dull and the temperature warm enough to make him feel content, which meant for others it would be uncomfortably hot. A single door rested against the wall, which he opened with a quick entry of his security code revealing a smallish room beyond stacked with numerous crates marked a couple of decades ago, if it wasn’t for the stations perfect air scrubbers and filtration he had no doubt the whole area would be covered in dust and the faded murals left on the wall indicated this used to be some sort of small observation lounge from when docking relied on people as well as sensors to watch a ships position. What drew him to it was two things, first was the silence. Outside was nothing but vacuum and several layers of fireproofing meant that any noise from the dense machinery behind the walls that opened and closed the monstrous shipyard doors was muted. Secondly, was the breath taking view the slightly dirty window offered. A sweeping panoramic of the main docking bay designed specifically to give a view of anyone entering or leaving. He could see the Columbia being attended by the tiny little yellow worker bees, swarming around her with new hull plates and cabling as they repaired the vicious looking damage done to her by the Ferengi, with a few even giving the hull a fresh coat of paint. He had no doubt she’d be as good as new by the time they returned, but she was dwarfed by some of the other ships. Odyssey, Vesta and Sovereign Classes gracefully moored like beautiful tropical fish floating in a pool, their sleek lines and elongated, elegant nacelles contrasting to the squat and ugly appearance of the older Nebula class. He felt just like the Columbia must feel in that docking bay. The old workhorse, who may not be as pretty as her newer cousins, maybe not as fast or as durable or packed with the latest wizardry and gismos, but she has it where it counts. That’s what he had too, idly thumbing the new pip attached to his collar as he gazed across the docking bay before tugging out the silver flask Gavin had given him earlier at the reception.:: Tatash: Here’s to us, Columbia. ::He took a swig of the strong smelling liquid, immediately wincing as it fought back. Synthahol never quite managed to get it right, never gave that same bite in the throat as the genuine article. Nor did it have the same fire or after-taste, the same history of every grain distilled in the process. The sensation was almost overwhelming, and he had no doubt he’d have to hold his breath before going past any security checkpoint as it lingered on his pallet. But for this moment, it was the perfect accompaniment to a lonely moment of contemplation.:: --- Lt. JG Tatash Security Officer USS Columbia
  25. (( Jurassic Duronis II )) :: Hannibals' senses were working over time...it seemed the place was literally crawling with things that would kill them. J'em Haddar were easy compared to this...:: PARKER: Something is watching us... WALTAS::Quietly:: There's probably 50 things watching it watch us. DOWN! NOW! :: Hannibal and Hannah hit the dirt, and felt the breeze of something large pass over him. Quickly rolling over and looking at the sky, Hannibal saw something he thought could only exist in the deepest pits of hell..except at the moment, it had just tried to kill the three of them. The creature reminded Hannibal of a tiger...a tiger far larger and anything he could have imagined, and this one had the added advantage of flight. Hannibal could see into its mouth, green fluid dripped from its fangs as it looked at them from where it landed, its roar filled the air. Hannibals' heart raced, and he heard Hannah gasp at the creature...:: WALTAS: Nice kitty.. Parker:: Keeping his voice even, then clicking off the safety of his rifle:: How would you like to housebreak that? :: Hannah was not having it, and he saw her slide a booted foot back away from the snarling overgrown housecat...:: Martinez: I...I think it would be more interested in eating us than being a pet....Ideas, Colonel? :: It was a primal fear which still manifested itself in humanoids...the fear of being eaten by another animal.Even in their time, some sentient beings regarded human flesh as a delicacy. While the three of them knew better than to run, it was getting more difficult to stay, but they had to do something...:: WALTAS: What do you want me to do, feed it kibbles?! We're its kibbles! :: Hannibal was in no mood to be anythings' dinner, much less one of Commander Rossh's possible ancestors..:: PARKER::: That thing is beginning to [...] me off...... MARTINEZ: I vote for killing it..... WALTAS::Shaking his head:: We can't kill it unless we have no choice. :: Hannibal knew it was Hannahs' fear talking, and Tyr was right...they couldn't kill it unless they had no other options...and the creature was narrowing them greatly. Tiring of the staring match, Hannibal saw the creature settle back on his rear legs, ears pinned back, it eyes trained on the smallest member of the party...Martinez...she was out ahead of them and literally in no mans' land..:: Parker: Hannah...back up real easy..... :: Hannibal issued his warning too late. With a speed which alarmed Hannibal, the cat pounced, with Hannah initially fending it off with her phaser rifle, the only thing keeping the cat from sinking its teeth into her. Hannibal leveled his phaser, firing around the cat o try to distract it, and Hannibal could hear the sound of gunfire, and could see the dust rising from the bullet hits and both Tyr and Hannibal closed on the hellcat. The creature leaped away from Hannah, and she rolled away, rifle at the ready. Now the creature was looking at Tyr at the source of its latest irritation, which left Hannibal slightly miffed...he was used to being the one everything usually shot at...:: WALTAS: Frak. Run! : The three took off at a dead run, although all of them were weighed down with more than sixty pounds of equipment each. Hannibal would look over his should and see they were rapidly putting the hellcat behind him, but still they did not slacken their pace until they saw the cat stop, howling at the fact it had just lost its meal...they stopped, winded but alive, one of the reasons Marine training emphasized physical fitness. Hannibal knew a regular Starfleet officer might not have been as fortunate...:: WALTAS: Well...that was...fun...too bad we didn't have a ball of yarn. Parker: And five gallons of catnip....... Martinez::: Finally getting a chance to inspect herself for claw marks or other damage, and relieved she was only scared:: I'll make sure we bring some next time we have to go to Dino land... :: Hannibal noted their shadows were gone, replaced by a gathering cloud cover...and the volcano rumbled its dissastisfaction. Looking down at his boots, he saw that they were gone, covered in mud. He tried to raise his boot out of the muck, but his greater weight only made him sink faster. Hannibal looked to his comrades, and found they were sinking as well...:: WALTAS: I'm beginning to hate this planet. :: Hannibal was sunk down to his waist, Tyr was thigh level and Martinez was sunk the least amount, thanks to her lighter weight...:: Parker: This sure as hell ain't Risa.... Martinez: The desert in Arizona would be better.... :: And, as if their luck couldn't get any worse, a snarl from their feline friend got his attention...they had run into his trap. All the overgrown housecat had to do now was wait them out. The cat sniffed around the edges, then settled down on its haunches, licking its lips and looking at them expectantly. They were ambushed and trapped by a prehistoric feline, not exactly the way Hannibal pictured his death...:: WALTAS: And we were worried about the Admiral getting into trouble.. Parker:: sinking further:: Yeah...we were supposed to be protecting her.... Martinez: Yeah..when they find what's left of us they will know not to come here.... :: Before Hannibal could respond, his communicator beeped...:: BRELL: =/\= Brell to Commander Parker. =/\= WALTAS::Raising a finger out of the sand just far enough to point a warning at him:: Not a WORD.. :: Relieved at being only a few seconds from freedom, and not wanting in any way to divulge their rathr precarious predicament, Hannibal tapped his commbadge, which was now almost buried...:: Parker: =/\= Parker here. Go ahead Lieutenant.=/\= BRELL: =/\= We had to change our landing site, that storm overhead is about to turn nasty. I'm sending our location to your tricorders, we are about three kilometers from you. =/\= WALTAS::breaking in:: =/\= Might want to give us a few moments Lieutenant. There are plenty of nasty pitfalls around here and predatory animals. =/\= :: Hannibal and Hannah both stifled a grin...she was now taller in the trap than they were, and it was one of the few times she could look at either man eye to eye while standing up...:: BRELL: =/\= We could beam you over if you would prefer. =/\= :: Brell didn't know it, but he had just saved them a world of embarrassment. The three of them would easily keep the secret of their "dishonor"...:: Parker: =/\= We would appreciate that, Mister Brell. Beam us up. Parker out.=/\= :: As the transporter beam enveloped them, Hannibal looked at the cat and smiled, while Tyr gave a universally known finger symbol, while Hannah mouthed "frak you [...]!" as the transporter beam took them...:: TBC Lt. Commander Hannibal Tiberious Parker First Officer USS Thunder-A/ Duronis II Embassy
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