Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'round 15'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Welcome to our forums!
    • Board Rules and News
  • News & Updates
    • Community News
    • Ship Mission Reports
    • FNS Headlines
  • Hall of Honor
    • Appreciations
    • Graduation Hall
    • Awards Ceremonies
    • Contest archives
  • Community Discussion
    • General Discussion
    • Trek Discussion
    • Poll of the Week
  • Community Collaboration
    • Graphics requests and Image Resources
    • Teams
    • Squadrons
    • Guilds
    • Duty Posts


There are no results to display.

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



Discord Username



Current Post

Wiki user URL

Wiki character URL

  1. [FLASHBACK] ((Starfleet Academy, San Francisco Campus - Colleen Bancroft’s Quarters - 239105.10 11:10 Hours)) ::Colleen was just finishing up a paper for her Hostile Species Diplomacy course when a ping came in on her PADD. She wrote the last couple paragraphs, saved the paper to her terminal, and then grabbed said PADD. A private message sat in it from one of her instructors, Mike Logan, who she had trained under since she’d gotten to San Francisco. He owned a dojo in ‘Frisco proper, where he taught Aikido, Judo, and Jiu-jitsu, as well as an Anbo-Jytsu class. Mike also taught Anbo-Jytsu at the Academy, as well as one of the basic Unarmed Combat courses.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy Hey Colleen: Happy Friday. I’ve got a student in my class this semester who is massively struggling. At this rate, he’s going to fail, and yes, I know we still have two and a half months (or so) to go. I know you’ve got your own class load to manage, what with the dual major and all, but is there any chance that you can do some private lessons for him? -Mike // ::Colleen sat back in her chair and considered. He wasn’t wrong that she had her own course load, and it wasn’t simple or very easy, but she also hadn’t been training as much this semester - she could use the training time, as well as a chance to teach. Besides, it was unarmed combat. She had yawned her way through the course and still would have gotten an A+ if it’d been possible. Leaning back forward, she pulled up her reply box.:: // To: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Mike: Yeah, I can do it, favor to you. Can I count this towards my Judo ranking? (Kidding) Do you mind if I use the dojo for it though? Trying to schedule time at a campus dojo is a bitch. -Colls // ::It only took a minute for the Master Chief to respond.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy Yeah, go ahead and use the dojo. You have your key, but you also know the rules, no interfering with regular classes! And I’ll think about counting it. -Mike // // To: Master Chief Petty Officer Logan, Michael, Instructor, Starfleet Academy From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen I was kidding about the ranking, but thanks. After two and a half years, I definitely know the class schedule; I’ll be sure not to interfere with regular class. Send me your student’s details and I’ll get him into shape. -Colleen // ::Colleen exchanged a few more messages with him, getting the student’s details in the process, before bringing the conversation to a close. She glanced at the student’s profile - Choi Ji-hu. He was an Engineering major and Mike’s note said that the guy was miserably failing the class. Couldn’t throw, couldn’t get thrown, couldn’t… well. The guy needed help.:: ::Colleen sighed, and then composed a message to the other student.:: // To: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Cadet Choi: Your TAC101 instructor has asked me to provide you with private lessons in the curriculum, so that you might pass his class. Would you please send me your current schedule, so that we may figure out when best to train? Sincerely, Cadet Colleen Bancroft // ((Starfleet Academy - Choi Ji-hu’s Dorm Room - 239105.10 11:20 Hours)) ::Ji-hu was sprawled out on his unmade bed, halfway through reading a paper on Denobulan nanotechnology in the treatment of degenerative neurological disease for his end of term course paper when a ping came from his wrist-mounted PADD. He keyed in a command, summoning his VI assistant.:: Choi: Turing, put the message on screen. ::He flopped off the bed and into the chair in front of his console. The private message was from a fellow cadet, a third year, which was odd until he read the body of the message with mounting horror. He had fumbled through the basic combat courses as best as he could. His shooting was dismal, but he’d had managed a C- in small weapons, miraculously. Unarmed combat was another matter, he was failing, dismally, in terms of both grades and skill.:: Choi: ::sweating slightly:: Crap, crap, crap… Turing, crap. Send my schedule… and answer in the affirmative… Send message. CRAP! ::He tossed himself on his bed, chest heaving, trying to get a breath. It was one thing to embarrass himself in front of a cohort of 30 first and second years and Instructor Logan, now he was going to have to take remedial combat with an upper year! Why couldn’t he just stick to tech and science?! Nanotechnology, math and systems architecture made sense. His flailing limbs did not.:: // To: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen From: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu Cadet Bancroft: Affirmative. I am attaching my course schedule. Sincerely, Cadet Choi Ji-hu (Message prepared by a VI Assistant) // ::Colleen received the message and quickly glanced through it -- a VI Assistant? Huh -- and then looked over the schedule. The way she figured it, if she was going to get this guy into shape to pass this course, they’d need to practice a minimum of two to three times a week, every week. Based on the schedule, and compared against her own, she figured lessons on Wednesday and Friday nights, and Sunday afternoons, would be best. She attached the schedule and a map to the dojo before composing the message.:: // To: Cadet Second Class Choi Ji-hu From: Cadet Third Class Bancroft, Colleen Cadet Choi: I have attached a schedule of when I think would be best to practice. I have secured space on a dojo off campus, where we will be able to practice without any interference from others, including your classmates. Please respond as soon as possible as to whether the attached schedule will work for you. Thanks, Cadet Bancroft // ::The response came back shortly after Ji-hu had calmed himself enough that he was considering a trip to the dorm’s cadet mess hall for some noodles, but the message sent him into fresh terror. A dojo?! Was he going to be fighting a ninja or something?! Ji-hu responded in the affirmative, dread mounting. He had hoped the instructor would let him squeak by and keep what little dignity the cadet had left, but that was not to be the case. This would mean a couple of months of extra lessons before the end of semester. A couple of months of endless embarrassment. He found he wasn’t hungry anymore.:: ((Mike’s Dojo, San Francisco - 239105.10 18:27 Hours)) ::Colleen brought the push broom down the last section of mats before shaking it out the window. It was a beautiful spring evening outside, and the skylights in the ceiling cast brilliant beams in from the west, giving the large room more than enough light without turning on the internal lights. She had already dressed out in her gi, but had hesitated before tying her black belt around her waist. Instead, she had placed it back in her bag and pulled on her old white belt, which had so much use that it fell completely limply at her waist - and stayed tied easily - and was more a dark grey than white at this point. Putting up the broom, she glanced at the clock. She expected her new student here momentarily. But first…:: ::Colleen sat down in seiza, facing towards the north wall of the dojo, and bowed to the Shomen before going over to the small desk against the south wall and resuming her seiza to review the dojo logs.:: ::Ji-hu had arrived half-an-hour early--he was always early, especially when it came to traversing the bewildering geometry of San Francisco’s layout--but dithered outside the dojo before finally taking the plunge. As instructed, he came in his school issue Academy tanktop and jogging shorts, which made him feel like a gangling mass of noodly limbs, unlike the majority of other students, more athletically inclined, who seemed to fill in their exercise outfits perfectly.:: ::To his intense relief the school seemed quiet, and he left his sneakers on a rack in the first room. He followed Bancroft’s instructions and soon entered a large room straight out of an old action flick, sun glancing through the windows above, casting dramatic shadows through the beams.:: ::A woman sat on her knees inside the room in the white dojo robes Ji-hu was sure had a fancy name, but which escaped him. He cleared his throat.:: Choi: Uh… C-C-Cadet Bancroft? I’m… uh… Cadet Choi. ::Colleen flicked off the PADD she’d been reviewing and turned towards the door, where a man in Academy standard issue workout clothes had just entered. He looked nervous as hell.:: Bancroft: Hey! Yeah, I’m Bancroft. Welcome, Cadet Choi. Hope you found your way here easily enough. ::Ji-hu nodded and placed his backpack down just inside the door and took a few steps in, feeling awkward.:: Choi: Th-thanks for… doing this. ::clearing his throat nervously:: Ma’am. ::Colleen smiled and rose to her feet to move towards the door, offering a hand to the other Cadet to shake.:: Bancroft: Yeesh. Ma’am? I’m only a year ahead of you. Call me Colleen. Please. Choi: ::feeling his face burning red hot as he shook her hand:: Okay. Ji-hu. You can. Call me. ::He kicked himself inwardly. As graceful an entrance as he could have expected walking into a dojo. At least there weren’t any other students to observe his fumbling, both athletic and social.:: Bancroft: Ji-hu it is then. Pleased to meet you. You can relax here. We’re the only ones here and the next class isn’t scheduled until tomorrow morning. ::Colleen flat ignored how red Choi’s face was getting. She understood social anxiety, although maybe not to the level it seemed the other Cadet had it at.:: Bancroft: So. First things first, we’ll run through the same warmup routine as they do at the Academy, yeah? Ah. Yeah. And another quick thing: I don’t expect you to have already known this. Before you get on the mat, please be sure to bow towards the front. ::She gestured towards the Shomen at the north end.:: ::Ji-hu nodded and pivoted on his heel, giving a respectful bow towards the shrine-looking setup at the far end of the room. As a polite Korean son he could at least manage that much.:: ::Once Choi had bowed on, Colleen ran them through the warmup routine with efficiency, but made sure not to run through it so fast she lost him or caused him to overheat or give up. Once they were finished with the warmup, Colleen began.:: Bancroft: Okay, so. First things first. Punch me. Choi: ::eyes going wide:: M-m-ma’am?! ::Colleen raised her eyebrow at him.:: Bancroft: No, seriously. Punch me; you’re not going to hurt me. ::For emphasis, she gestured sharply towards her stomach.:: Good punches and kicks are crucial to everything from here on out. Also, learning to fall, but we’ll get there. ::Ji-hu felt a sweat breaking out across his back, he was having trouble breathing. He attempted to channel his inner action hero, like a loose-cannon starship captain who doesn’t play by the rules from the vids he loved, tried to remember Instructor Logan’s lessons, and swung his fist back before bringing it out in front of him.:: ::He sort of missed her stomach and punched her in the left boob, but it was more like her chest deflected his fist entirely. Ji-hu took a couple of steps back, mortified.:: ::As Ji-hu flailed to hit her - and hit her lightly in the left boob, far enough off to the side that she barely felt it - she sighed inwardly.:: oO We have a lot of work to do. Oo A Joint Post By: Ensign Colleen Bancroft Security and Tactical Officer USS Gorkon G239404CB0 AND Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0
  2. (( Tar’rec, Conference Room)) :: A few hours had passed since the leader of the TFM had contacted him. It had been the first time that he had personally spoken with her and the woman had irritated him slightly. There was something in her voice that had not fitted and the irony of their words had not passed him entirely. D’Nal had decided to see how things shaped up with the TFM and then adjust his plans if necessary. Another point of interest was that the Warbird tracing the second federation ship had managed to scan the Thunder while passing. She was obviously in a critical stage of her repairs and so vulnerable that Merek’s hands itched. A potential target of that caliber was hard to ignore however an open attack on a federation vessel was not an option and other paths had to be followed. The experienced officer gazed out of the window contemplating methods to reach his goal. A success at this point would help secure his position and while Admiral Turner had proven to be an accomplished opponent so far, the loss of another ship in orbit of the same planet currently struggling through yet another crisis would hardly improve her standing with her superiors. Federation citizens got so touchy when loved ones were killed and D’Nal was aware this was especially the case when it happened twice in similar circumstances. What he needed here was either official backing making an assault legitimate, or a more subtle approach which had many far more positive aspects. Then again there was always ... . His watch chimed a reminder and he turned back to the large table and took a seat at its head where he continued to look over the data pads before him. Three other officers silently entered the room and made themselves comfortable and waited until Merek deigned to notice them. :: Merek: :: looking at his flag officers :: Gentlemen the current situation on Duronis provides the empire with an opportunity to strike. The movement against the governing body of the Laudean people is no longer growing but thriving, unfortunately however once again the Federation has chosen the wrong party to side with. It is time to act. The Thunder is incapacitated, their second ship, the Bronwyn has teeth but is no match for our vessels while there is a reasonable chance that a third federation ship is in the vicinity. :: He let his words sink in, aware that the two captains were no doubt intrigued why he was speaking to them rather than just giving orders to attack. Over the years Cr’air had slowly grown used to the fact that his Riov preferred listening before acting, and now he himself wanted to know what the two latest additions to his commanding staff thought about, well thinking. That is voicing and defending an opinion rather than just backing an idea because it came from their superior. The two men at least had the poise not to look at each other or to Cr’air for help before answering. :: Virinsus: Riov, the fleet stands behind you as do I. I ascertain that you do not wish an open conflict with Starfleet? Merek: ::shrugging:: Why use a hammer when a feather can have the same effect? Our tactical position is strong and an attack would likely be successful, however we do not have the resources to occupy Til’ahn, the TFM have not yet gained the full support of the population and the Laudeans have the regrettable tendency to be unreliable partners. Virinsus: And the Federation would no doubt send ships to ‘investigate’ any losses. Jechrohk: If a direct assault will only net a temporary gain, then I suggest we use our allies instead. Let them strike into the heart of the federation forces and we will pick up the pieces. Virinsus: Indeed and if the assaults fail then nothing would point at us. Merely a regrettable incident. Merek: ::waving a hand irritably:: Yes, yes. We are already supporting the TFM as much as we can without openly showing ourselves. Other means need to be employed to cripple the Thunder and if possible destroy the Bronwyn in both cases without our direct involvement. With most of their counter arguments burning in orbit of the planet the Federation will have no choice but to vacate the Embassy. :: There was general agreement over the fact. :: Merek: Of course if and when the TFM succeeds we will dissuade their further influence and steer the populace towards our own goals. ::smiling ::, ‘erhwi u’mnhei mhivoi na nneikha’! (divide and rule for the empire!). :: The Romulan commander had no difficulties in speaking cursively. :: Jechrohk: Mhivoi na nneikha! Merek: Then I wish reports on how we go about achieving our goal. How do we get the TFM to remove our strongest enemy? Reports within the hour. :: The men nodded in his direction and rose to leave. Merek found himself contemplating Cr’air who had remained silent, a trait he would normal welcome. This looked different. While he pondered this he looked spoke up again without looking to his captains. :: Merek: Oh, that reminds me. I was informed that two of our vessels were spotted and knowledge of our presence is compromised. The D’Entin with her older cloaking abilities will continue shadowing her target. As the Federation will no doubt begin scanning for cloaked vessels she will be no doubt found soon enough, however they are hardly in a position to object to the D’Entin’s presence. We in the meantime will remain in the shadows of the sand bar where their eyes can not find us. Jechrohk: That may hinder our indirect support of the Laudeans. Merek: Maybe, however we will continue as I have ordered. If we need be in closer proximity of the planer then the Tar’rec and Deuxis will do so under the cover of our superior cloaks which the Federation have yet to counter. You both will only join us if we openly attack. Jolan tru. :: After the two officers had left D’Nal turned his attention to his aide once more. The younger man had been attentive and was even now alert, his silence no doubt had a reason. :: Merek: Your thoughts Cr’air? Cr’air: Riov, the Thunder may be an easy target. Especially as it is clear that they are replacing a large part of their hull and armor and truly are defenseless. The Bronwyn however is far better armed than the Laudeans ships and I have no doubt that Starfleet intelligence is far away. :: Yes that Chang never seemed to be far whenever the Laudeans had a crisis on their hands. D’Nal ignored the urge to clench his fists at her mention. Anger was not the best ally when planning the downfall of others. :: Merek: I agree. We should use caution. The Thunder’s demise is possible so we should try and achieve that at least. Everything is a bonus. I suppose you have an idea? Cr’air: But you just ordered Virinsus… Merek: ::raising a hand:: They will no doubt come up with something. Maybe it will work maybe it won’t. As I said the Thunder is possible with the right tactic at the right time and I know you have an idea. Cr’air: If the Federation scan for our ships they will no doubt employ tachyon technology and subsequently find our vessels. As said vessels are not doing anything illegal, the Laudeans have no cloaking technology and a Klingon fleet is also not present then we should react accordingly. :: Merek liked the way Cr’air thought most of the time, but the man could be trying at times even for an amicable commanding officer. :: Merek: I can follow you thus far and would approve if you made your point. Cr’air: I was thinking that we could flood the system with static and other things deemed nasty by their sensors. They will no doubt react and a disagreement will ensue, raising of shields powering of weapons, the D’Entin repositioning herself at the Thunder’s location. I believe the terrans call it sabre rattling. Merek: So now we have one blind and invalid Thunder, still protected by their Bronwyn and no doubt that b**** Chang and many sabres being rattled, pray continue. :: Merek liked where this was heading, though he had to admit not much intelligence was needed to paint the picture. :: Cr’air: We have one ship very susceptible to an antimatter warhead cloaked with the superior cloaking technology that the Tar’rec utilizes. ::smiling :: Her guards are not likely to leave her side and they will not see us strike. One blow and three targets. Merek: ::smiling distantly:: By using the correct materials they will not even be able to ascertain where the explosion came from even after the attack. Cr’air: Indeed. As such they will not be able to lay the blame on us. With the D’Entin close by and her also sustaining damage… well sabre rattling… antimatter explosions it is understandable that a captain opens fire on enemy vessels after such an unprovoked attack and only justifiable that our other vessels rush to her aid. Merek: Very impressive. I see your time spent out here is not being wasted. Too many possibilities to be able to clearly point the finger at us. Very regrettable incident … loss of life… strongly condemn this 3rd party attack … :: chuckles :: See to it, Cr’air a report within an hour. Tag! Commander D’Nal Merek Romulan 3rd Task Force Duronis Sector Simmed By Jaxon Mc Ghee Civilian Advisor Duronis II Embassy Writer ID: E238801JM0
  3. ( Ready Room ) IC: ::Once they were inside and the doors had shut, Roshanara turned around and leaned against the edge of the small desk in the room. Kelrod remained standing in front of the captain, looking at her trying to know what her reasoning will be to have ordered the locals to be brought to the ship.:: Rahman: Why did you order the sedation of the locals? Was it a medical situation? Kelrod: oO Interesting question to start Oo As we’re to bring a pre-warp civilization into a far more advanced vehicle and see Aliens, I wanted to prevent a cultural shock, seeing themselves surrounded by strange things. Rahman: Did Dr. Ryan concur and approve? Kelrod: Dr Ryan was in the planet and we’re in a rush to retrieve them, to avoid them to be caught by the local pursuers and to get back to the ship in time so you don’t have to leave us there for nine months. :: Kelrod said that in the calmer tone he could muster, but he didn’t understand why she’s asking him those questions instead of explaining to him why she’d ordered them aboard. :: ::She crossed her arms.:: Rahman: I can appreciate your caution and wanting to minimize the damage that can be done to these people. ::She looked right into his eyes.:: But we need to make one thing clear: that was not your call to make. Kelrod: And who was Rahman: Dr. Ryan is the chief medical officer of this ship. That means all medical matters are under her authority, and even I as captain would only overrule such authority in the most extreme of exceptional circumstances. I expect you will respect such professional boundaries in the future. Kelrod: I will, but I considered that this was one of those circumstances. It was clear that she’s emotionally compromised with those people, so in my opinion she’s lost objectivity about the repercusions of them being transported what could be about four centuries of biological diversity and technological improvement. :: he took a deep breath, conscious that after all, she’s the captain. :: However,... I’ll remind this conversation for any future situation like this. ::She nodded.:: Rahman: Now, that said, we do indeed have a rather… “complicated” situation on our hands. You needn’t remind me of the prime directive, commander. I am well-aware of my responsibilities and duties as captain to uphold Starfleet's most sacred mandate. Rahman: But there’s a reason the prime directive has 47 sub-sections. And as one of Starfleet’s greatest captain’s once said, "There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute.” Kelrod: Yes, but The Prime Directive isn't just a set of rules; it's a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proved again and again, that whenever anyone interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results could be disastrous" Rahman: You and the rest of the senior staff will be debriefed soon, but in short, the society on that planet has been found to have been previously interfered with by non-Federation citizens—in this case, the Valtese smuggler we picked up. Mr. Ver has revealed that he has helped resettle these refugees across various planets in the Shoals. If we’re to have any hope of dealing with the fall out of this interference, we’re going to need to hear their side of the story to understand the full picture. Kelrod: :: That was an interesting piece of information that he didn’t know about. :: So, they’ve already been made aware of life outside their planet? I wasn’t sure that he’d revealed himself to be from out of this world, if I’ve known that I could have... considered leaving them conscious. Anyway, they’re in sickbay waiting for you to give the order to wake them up. :: Kelrod was facing the captain, ready to ask the uncomfortable questions, but that was part of being one of the senior officers of the ship, and the second with more pips on his collar. :: Kelrod: I have a few questions captain,... ::She nodded for him to proceed.:: Kelrod: Are we to assume that the whole planet knew about life outside their world? I mean, did Mr. Ver revealed himself as a force against the ruling forces that pursued those locals? Rahman: No, from what I understand thus, Mr. Ver smuggled locals out from persecution in exchange for dilithium. Whether the rest of the planet’s population knew about his presence is unknown but unlikely. That said, this is why we will need to speak to the locals themselves to learn more about what was the arrangement they had with Mr. Ver. Kelrod: I know they’re primitive and with very limited resources, but how will we be sure that they’ll not seek revenge over the people that tried to kill them, asking other aliens like Mr. Ver to help them? Rahman: We don’t. We don’t even know the full extent of the diaspora across the Shoals. Kelrod: Will the Federation or the the Shoals government take any measure to ... respect that planet’s civilization to evolve on their own way? Will we be taking care of their well being and safety? ::She took a deep breath.:: Rahman: These are all questions I’ve asked myself as well. Ones that Mr. Ver and those who violate the directive brush off or never even examine. In Mr. Ver’s case, he is not a Starfleet officer and was never bound by any obligation. We are. ::She took a moment to glance at his commander’s pips, now no longer provision but the same as any other fully commissioned officer. The pips she had agreed to allow him to wear that came with the highest of expectations now for him as Kelrod, the Starfleet officer—not the soldier.:: Rahman: While I cannot answer these questions at this moment, you can be assured that I as your captain, we as a crew, and Starfleet and the Federation will be examining every possible measure and implementing those that are appropriate. Kelrod: Sorry sir, ::He stood at attention.:: I just wanted to have things clear and understand the ramifications and our policy about what we’ve done today. You’ll have my report about the whole away mission in a few hours. Rahman: I can understand that, commander. That desire to know more about why decisions were made and wanting to make sure they were the right ones. And all I can tell you is that what may seem clear and straightforward is not always so from the view while sitting on the chair out there. ::She gestured back to the bridge that stood just outside those doors.:: Kelrod: :: Kelrod nodded in agreement, remembering his time on the Veritas, including the time when he had to put Captain Blueheart under arrest for destroying a ship full of Romulans from another time when they're defenseless :: Been there, done that. Rahman: I look forward to reading your report. Kelrod: It'll be complete and fully detailed. Rahman: Also, now that we’re in calmer waters, give me an update on the SAR shuttle project when you get a chance. In addition to Commanders Mei’konda and Walker, I’d recommend you get in touch with Commander Core. He is a components expert and now working back in R&D. I think he’d be an asset to your team. ::She was aware of course of the potential awkwardness of the captain asking a subordinate to put her partner on a project, but she was confident in the Rodulan’s abilities to help with what Kelrod wanted in the new shuttle. Kelrod: I'll see to it. I planned to talk with them tomorrow when we've all rested a bit. I'll be sure to inclued Commander Core. ::She gave him a final nod, and decided she'd throw one more quote back at him. She almost smirked.:: Rahman: "Make it so." Dismissed. :: Kelrod simply raised an eyebrown in the most Vulcanoid way and left the room. :: TBC:
  4. (( Day 4: Morning )) (( Intelligence Office, Deck 2: USS ATHENA )) ::Lan was reviewing the latest reports, with various degrees of satisfaction. The deployment of the sensor buoys had progressed nicely, but their newly-acquired Gamma Owls had so far failed to find Basai's tracks, nor his kidnappers'. He looked up from his work when he heard the door to the Intel suites activating. Curious... all of his team members were here, and the Captain usually called before coming down. Maybe the Queensguard? He hoped it wouldn't be z'Tholia, he wasn't in a mood for arguments or apologies today.:: ::A few seconds later, Hawkins walked inside his office with a smile.:: ::Hawkins didn't know what procedures he'd be going through in Intelligence for Executive Officer clearance. It was probably the department he knew the least about. He stepped in and found Riel. He offered him a smile.:: Hawkins: Good morning, Lieutenant. ::Lan got up from his chair to welcome his guest.:: Riel: Good morning to you, Commander. And allow me the congratulate you on your recent promotion, by the way. To what do we owe the pleasure? Hawkins: The Captain ordered me to report here for an Alpha-Two clearance briefing. I'm to be assigned a... command authorization code as well. Riel: Aaah, yes. Can't have our XO kept in the dark, of course. Can you spare a few minutes right now, or do you want us to schedule an appointment? Hawkins: I'm ready whenever you are. Riel: Good. The sooner, the better. In that case, allow me to inform my team... :: He activated the comm terminal in his desk :: =/\= Riel here, I'll be giving an Alpha-Two VIP briefing in the Dark Room for the next few minutes. =/\= .. and I'll gladly give you the ten credits tour. This way please. ::Hawkins nodded, wondering what a "Dark Room" was. He hadn't heard anything about it, but he didn't know much about the intelligence department as it was. Hawkins followed him into a meeting room that looked unremarkable, and saw Lan pluck his badge off of his uniform and drop it into a box. Hawkins glanced from the Box to Lan's face.:: Hawkins: Problem with your badge? :: Lan closed the door of the office behind them and they walked the short distance to the Dark Room. As soon as they were inside twhat looked like every other meeting room in the ship, complete with a replicator and an oval table, Lan put down his commbadge and placed it in a box by the door. :: Riel: Please leave your commbadge and electronic devices here, Commander. This room will be perfectly isolated from the rest of the ship for the duration of the briefing, and you wouldn't want the scrambler to mess with your gear. Hawkins: I see. ::He swiped his off his uniform and laid it in the box.:: :: Lan punched a button, and the door closed. He walked to the safe embedded in the opposite wall, and placed his hand in a small cavity besides it. He winced slightly as the door opened, retrieved a PADD from the inside and closed it again. :: ::Hawkins watched Lan open a secured wall container and produce a PADD. It was clear to Hawkins that Lan was a cautious and careful officer, which was necessary in his department perhaps more than most.:: Riel: I really wish they could upgrade it to a DNA lock that doesn't involve a needle. Oh, well. Take a seat, please. I assume that you are aware of the official pretense for our presence in the Gamma Quadrant? Hawkins: The standard mission, of course. What do you mean by pretense? Riel: :: With a smile :: Wouldn't have phrased it better myself. To boldly go, and so on. Now, on a much less official side, we are hunting artifacts left behind by the ancient and now extinct civilization known as the Yeltans. :: His fingers danced on the PADD, and the holo-display embedded in the table came to life. A piece of stone covered in Yeltan scripts hovered silently before their eyes. :: ::Hawkins watched the hologram spring up with a chiseled stone. It rotated in slow, lazy circles. The characters were foreign to him. He turned to look at the intelligence officer.:: Hawkins: Yeltans? I've never come across them. Riel: I wouldn’t be surprised. Their very existence is classified, and the crew of the Athena only heard of their name on a need-to-know basis. Same goes for our main contenders in the race for Yeltan artifacts, the Sentinels. Short for :: a quick look at his PADD, as the symbol of the cult replaced the Yeltan artifact :: Sentinels of the Black. A doomsday cult that routs for the eradication of sentient life in the galaxy, so that it could start with a clean slate. Charming people. ::Hawkins pursed his lips into a thin line.:: Hawkins: So there must be some information contained in the artifacts that would allow these Sentinels to further their agenda. What's the connection, and how much do we know about the artifacts and the Sentinels progress in finding them? :: Lan gave Hawkins a smile and a nod of approval. Apparently their new XO was a perceptive one. :: Riel: An excellent question. The information I just summarized has been shared amongst the senior staff. Now, we’re about to enter strictly code-black territory. Hawkins: Code-black. Go on? Riel: Commander, my clearance level is Beta-Two. In other words, the Captain has asked me to brif you on something even I shouldn't theoretically know. Communicating any of this information outside of this room is strictly forbidden, barring a direct order from the Captain. And… I apologize in advance, Frank. :: The file on display bore the markings ‘Top Secret - Code Black’, ‘Level 5 Clearance required with Need to Know authorization.’ In other terms, none of them was supposed to see this. Lan had to fight the urge to close his eyes, for he had already seen the images and information that came next, and they still came back to haunt him in his sleep sometimes. :: ::Hawkins saw the file with its ominous flag. He looked from it to Riel, wondering what could be so important as to require such secrecy. Riel's obvious discomfort at discussing the material made Hawkins uneasy.:: Riel: Lieutenant Commander Hawkins, meet the Hunger. They’re currently trapped behind an energy barrier at the edge of our galaxy. When they break through - when, not if -, they will treat us as an all-you-can eat buffet. I won't mince words: we are not, not by a very long shot, ready to face them, and the Sentinels are trying to let them in. ::Hawkins jaw hung slack at an angle with his lips parted. It took him a moment to get his mouth working. He studied the file on Riel's PADD, sliding a finger over it to scroll through the scant information. His finger trembled as he read more of the speculations, analyses, and directives.:: Riel: Out there, Starfleet explores the galaxy, meets new civilizations, forges new alliances, seeks new knowledge. Gathers strength in knowledge and numbers. Our job here is to stall the Apocalypse long enough for the galaxy to be ready for it. Hawkins: You've got to be kidding. We're just one ship. Well three, technically. It brings so many questions to mind. Why don't we have more ships out here? Starfleet should have every available vessel searching for these artifacts, and a task force looking for the Sentinels. :: Hawkins had gone a shade paler, and a fine sheen of perspiration made his hairline glimmer. Lan replied in a soft, pained voice, trying to quell the Human’s budding panic before it overcame his own mental barriers. :: Riel: Commander, you didn’t know of this menace until a fistful of seconds ago. How do you know we’re the only ships with a similar mission? Hawkins: The whole time we've been out here, wasting precious time on these... installations and minor affairs. We have a slipstream drive, we should be spending every second we have on this. What about the Dryary? They have a right to know. :: Ah. A hint of revolt there. The fight-or-flee switch leaned towards “fight”. It was something Lan could work with. He put a touch of bitter sarcasm in his voice. :: Riel: Barely a minute in the know, and you’re already contemplating a breach of confidentiality? That’s a new record. Hawkins: I'll abide by the protocols, but I don't agree with them. Keeping it secret seems like a mistake. I don't see how anyone benefits from keeping it under wraps. ::Good. That was the spirit. A sad little smile came to play on Lan's face.:: ::Hawkins noticed a strange melancholy smile form on Riel's face. He wondered what it was like working in his field, knowing all manner of terrible secrets and probably unable to tell his closest friends about them.:: Riel: A perfectly respectable opinion. But allow me to give you a few pieces of information to help you with the bigger picture. Hawkins: All right, what's the big picture? Because the only picture I'm looking at is a galaxy headed straight for oblivion. All my friends, my family--they have no idea what's coming. Even if we can delay them, it doesn't look hopeful for anyone. ::Hawkins took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He felt bands of muscle tighten around his stomach. He felt queasy and wondered if he was in danger of puking as he tasted the tang of acid at the back of his throat. He swallowed it down.:: Riel: We could be chasing blindly after rumors of Yeltan artifacts or Sentinels sightings in an unknown Quadrant, that’s true. Instead, we are establishing a base of operation, and ingratiating ourselves with a local power. One with access to centuries worth of information on this quadrant, allies, a network of informants... :: He looked directly into Hawkins' eyes:: Believe me, we’re not losing time here, Commander. We’re investing it. ::Hawkins ran the palm of his hand over the sweaty back of his neck and paced across the room, shaking his head. He turned at the end to face Riel again, swallowing a few times more. He didn't feel well at all.:: Riel: And as for broader disclosure of the Hunger’s existence... :: He shrugged, going for brutal honesty. :: Actually, I’m partially in agreement with you, in that I would like to be able to share this intel within the senior staff at least, so that everyone could have the necessary information to operate at their best. But I would oppose spreading it further. Hawkins: On principle or because of regulations? :: Lan shook his head, and his voice started to take a metallic edge. :: ::Hawkins frowned as Riel shook his head. Listening to him was like walking down a corridor of logical twists and turns. On top of feeling queasy, the byzantine labyrinth of the conversation fractured his thoughts along different paths.:: Riel: How do you think the Sentinels came to be, Commander? Some people learnt of the Hunger, and seeing that we’re fighting a nigh-desperate battle here, they chose to fight for the winning side. Such people exist. In every group we haven’t vetted ourselves beforehand, we are likely to find some of their kind. And on the other hand of the spectrum, you’ll find the well-intentioned extremists. Hawkins: Extremists? :: A quick dance of his fingers on the surface of the PADD, and the display changed to show another dossier, with a stylized dagger on the front page. :: Riel: Heard of Sicarius? Terrorist organization? They’re technically on our side in this. Except they have decided to strengthen the galaxy against the Hunger by any means necessary. If it means culling the ones they consider ‘weak’, so be it. If it means conducting unethical experiments, or causing massive collateral damage, they will. To give you an order of magnitude, their last attempt at developing an anti-Hunger weapon ended up causing the Prometheus Incident. Hawkins: Isn't it better in the long run to release it anyway? You might have a few more groups like this pop up, but how many people could be helping the cause? I think that equation is balanced in our favor, if you think about it from that perspective. Riel: That being said, if you want to petition the Captain for the diffusion of this information among the senior staff, I certainly won't oppose you. ::Hawkins nodded slowly, the nausea settling a bit as he breathed more. He took a seat at the table all the same.:: Hawkins: I'll consider it, if you help me draft a proposal. Writing isn't one of my strong suits. ::Lan nodded gravely.:: Riel: Gladly. It will be a good opportunity to give you a refresher on dissemination limiters and the rest of the Intel lingo. But maybe this can wait until another time? I'm afraid building an Intel network in the Gamma Quadrant essentially from scratch is a rather time-consuming endeavour. Hawkins: Let's get these authorization codes done and I can let you get on with your work. I'll be honest, this has really shaken me up. I'm not going to be able to think about much else today, and I've got a full morning. I'd much rather go to ten-forward and get a few drinks in my system. :: With a sympathetic smile, Lan put the PADD back into place and closed the safe before deactivating the Dark Room protocol. He remembered the day when this information had been released to the whole Intel department, due to an accident that was still under investigation. To say that this had shaken them to the core was more than an understatement. Sometimes, he wondered how Iael managed to keep the terrible truth a secret from his wife. :: Riel: It won't take long. I'll just need a voice and DNA sample for the higher-level code, and you can be on your way. As for the need for a few drinks... :: he sighed :: I know where you come from. :: Except he couldn't hold even synthehol for the life of him, and couldn't afford spilling out the truth in a bout of tipsy honesty. So... coffee. :: :: He motioned towards the door, and picked his commbadge back on the way. :: Hawkins: We'll have to toss back a few when we're off duty sometime. Hawkins: We'll have to toss back a few when we're off duty sometime. :: Lan let out a chuckle and patted Hawkins lightly on the back in a sympathetic fashion. :: Riel: It would be a pleasure if we manage it. But from my observation of your predecessors, First Officer Hawkins? There doesn't seem to be much 'off' to you duty. :: He closed the door behind them, trying to lighten the mood of the Human officer by making small talk on theur way to his office. Selene still had to tell Hawkins about the other secrets - the ones that he had excluded from the briefing. Time travel, alternate universes, Selene herself... Hawkins deserved all the jokes and friendship he could get. His wild trip into the rabbit hole had just started. :: Respectfully Submitted by, Lieutenant Lan Riel Intelligence Officer USS Athena Writer ID: G239107LR0 F. J. HAWKINS Lt. Cmdr., Starfleet Executive Officer USS ATHENA, NCC-97780 Fleet ID: A239312FH0
  5. (( Starbase 104 - Promenade-07, Haeng Syo Boys )) ::Ji-hu had the largest, most glorious plate of kimchi fries he’d ever seen in front of him. He and his mother had been connoisseurs of junk food back in Seoul. She was a homebody, but she’d venture out when a glutinous mood took her. They’d sampled every bit of junk food from Goyang to Guri, from every culture and species they could find, but Ji-hu’s favourite always came back to the divine dish that had emerged triumphantly out of the 21st century. Kimchi fries. Nothing could top them.:: ::He’d arrived at Haeng Syo Boys an hour early, partially out of a need to taste the fries, but also to scope the place out before his crewmates arrived. It was a trendy, casual Korean fast food place. Bibimbap dishes of every variety were freshly prepared, bulgogi, meat or soy-based, sizzled on cast iron skillets, kimchi stew was a speciality, the eomuk bokkeum, “fish cakes,” made Ji-hu drool, but it was the kimchi fries that Turing had tracked down. Ji-hu didn’t know the next time he’d get the chance to have fresh, non-replicated Korean food, so he’d take advantage of the unbelievable chance to grab some on the Starbase.:: ::It was also nice to speak Korean with someone other than his parents, he conversed with his server as he grabbed a cola and waited for his meal. The server, a teenage boy, was a spacer, but his grandparents had immigrated to Starbase 104 with a few other Korean families from New Pyongyang, and were the founders of Hongdae Alley, a trendy little slice of Seoul in the middle of the Earth sector of Promenade-07.:: ::His plate arrived and he almost cried he was so happy. French fries topped with a layer of caramelized kimchi and soy bulgogi, sprinkled with cheese and an intimidating dollop of chili mayonnaise. Diced onion, cilantro, sesame seeds and chili sauce topped this masterpiece, a fusion of the best that Earth had to offer. Ji-hu would gladly order a second play to share with the others when they arrived. This plate was for him.:: ::He was glancing over the FNS feed on his wrist-mounted PADD, a belly full of fries, when he saw Lieutenant Wynter walk in. He stood, smiling, and gave a wave. Tucked in a booth in the back in civvies, a hoody, a pair of jeans and replicated black Converse, he wasn’t exactly as recognizable in his yellow collar.:: Choi: Lieutenant Wynter! Back here! Wynter: ::waving:: Lieutenant Choi, there you are. Choi: ::grinning:: I’m so g-glad you came! P-pretty cool place, huh? Wynter: Yeah and easier to find than I thought. ::looking at the plate in front of Choi:: You have already started? Foster: Who started already? ::The CMO’s brash voice called from across the way.:: ::Not that he was particularly surprised. He and Rue were a bit late. Fashionably late one might say. If Wyn was a normal person the rest of the crew might think Rue and Wyn were dating and they had been caught up in getting ready or finishing a quick morning lovers tryst. Nope. In truth Wyn had overslept and Rue had been kind enough to wait for him - mostly because she knew his predilection for getting lost in any map he hadn’t completely memorized. But, hey, better late than never!:: Blackwell:: Let’s just hope they ordered plenty. ::Rue walked along the Andorian - she was dressed a pair of denim jeans, a black shirt and a red leather jacket with rather “vintage” combat style boots- an antiquated fashion that she couldn’t help but adore. She hadn’t been surprised when Wyn wasn’t ready to go when she arrived and so she had patiently waited, reading a new book from her PADD while he made his fashion decisions. By now, however, she was starving and quite ready to eat:: Wynter: Yeah, I hope you ordered something for us too, Choi. Choi: ::giving a sly smile to the Andorian:: Well, I h-had to make sure they’d b-be up to your stringent standards, Commander Foster. Foster: ::Settling down, Wyn let his antennae crane forward, sniffing the mix of spices on the plate before them.:: Hey, I haven’t met a fry I didn’t like! Blackwell::She smelled towards the food and considered:: This is going to be interesting. ::She chuckled and settled down in a seat, perusing the choices of drinks. Hmmm.. .a wine with the taste of blackberries - Count her in! She looked to the waiter who was approaching to take the new guests orders:: “I’ll try the Bokbunja please… and water to go along… and I’ll start with spring rolls for an appetizer ::She smiled and the waiter looked to the others:: Wynter: ::looking bewildered at the foreign selection on the menu:: I’ll have water, too. And a… uhm… Baek-se-ju? As for food, Choi what do you recommend? Choi: ::taking a breath:: We’ll have a party size plate of kimchi fries to share, and we’ll also split an order of veggie deep fried dumplings--you’ll like them, Lieutenant Wynter, I promise--and then we’ll each have a bowl of spicy tofu soup, and I’ll get the bulgogi for myself. And water. ::he glanced at Foster, a devilish challenge in his eye:: Foster: Is that a challenge? Me? I’ll take the bulgogi, and I don’t mind spice. ::He had a bit of a familiarity with that particular dish as there had been a Bulgogi counter nearby the college where his Dad worked when Wyn was growing up. Counter being a fast serve restaurant that catered to busy students.:: Wynter: ::closing the menu:: Sounds good, we’ll have what he said! Blackwell: ::She shrugs:: Works for me, you only live once! ::she chuckles:: And if anything, ::glancing at the drink menu:: I am going to need the food so that I don’t end up dead drunk from the alcohol. Choi: ::giggling nervously as the waiter walked away:: I h-hope I wasn’t too… uh… assertive. I just come from a f-family who take their meals v-very seriously! Blackwell: ::She chuckles:: Oh, I can understand that. Food is important stuff! Wynter: ::laughing:: Relax, it’s fine. You are the expert on korean food here. Foster: No worries, we all gotta be strange about something otherwise we’d be boring. Choi: Do any of you ever c-cook on Constitution? My quarters don’t have kitchen, but I’m garbage anyways. ::grinning:: Blackwell: ::She eyed Choi carefully:: I’ll assume you mean your cooking skills are poor and not your person as a whole. ::She chuckled:: And I cook a bit..I prefer it to baking. I can do both but cooking ...is more “ throw in the pot and see if it works” while baking is all about precision. Wynter: ::grinning:: Oh, we have a chef among us! Blackwell::She shrugged, sipping her drink:: I don’t know about “Chef”. I’ll go with home cook - I do make a good spaghetti and meatballs. Foster: I can cook. ::he said nonchalantly, shrugging it off as if it were nothing. There were some thing Wyn never spoke of - cooking skills were one of them.:: ::The server brought over three little individual dishes to share that contained kimchi, a seaweed seasoned sweet vinegar and salt, and a boiled, seasoned sweet potato shoots dish, with a little bowl of individual rice for each of the dinners. Ji-hu picked up his chopsticks and spooned some of the seaweed onto his rice before chowing down.:: Choi: ::to the server:: Actually, m-maybe I’ll grab some Baek-se-ju, too! Thanks! ::Rue smiled as she saw her wine and water and looked at the rice and decided to take a few bites of that -before- taking in the alcohol. She also sampled some of the other shared dishes, and chewed thoughtfully as she considered the dishes taste, and swallowed:: Blackwell:: Not bad at all. Unfamiliar, but not bad. ::She smiled and then took an indulgent sip of the wine and made a pleased sound:: mmmm….This wine is lovely. ::Damian started on the dumplings. With his mouth full he sighed delighted. This was really good. After chewing down the dumpling he tried the rice wine. It, also, was really good. Not to sweet, with a subtle taste to it.:: Wynter: ::spearing another dumpling:: This is fantastic! You’ll have to try these. Foster: Don’t mind if I do… ::One dumpling was deftly snatched by chopsticks. Those nimble fingers that were so good a microsurgery were also good at snatching snacks it seemed. He cast a gaze over towards Rue.:: Getting drunk already are we? Blackwell:: Now now, I promise not to be a painful lush. I’ll...just be a hilarious lush ::she winked:: Foster: I’ll hold you to that ::He waved a second dumpling at her before chomping it down in one bite.:: ::At that moment, Ji-hu watched the server come out of the kitchen area carrying a tray in his hand, only it wasn’t a tray. It was a single plate, and piled on top was the single largest mound of kimchi fries he’d ever seen. Chili sauce dripped off the mountain of fries, caramelized kimchi slid down the sides like an avalanche, crushing the little sesame seed people unfortunate enough to be in its path. Tears of joy filled his eyes. It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.:: Blackwell: ::batted her eyes at Foster and then looked at the plate of Kimchi fries:: Holy moly. That… puts Chili Cheese Fries to shame. Foster: I wonder how many ways you can serve fries… ::he mused stuffing one into his mouth.:: Wynter: ::swallowing his dumpling:: A new frontier! Choi: ::stuffing a mouthful of fries into his mouth, grinning, mouth full:: “V-Veni, vidi, vici.” Blackwell: ::she munched on a dumpling and looked to Choi:: Well, I think you achieved the first goal of the day. Wynter: Ji-hu Choi, culinary guide to Starbase 104! Choi: ::chewing, mouth full:: Set c-c-course for a starbase with a traditional Canadian p-poutinerie! Foster: ::With a fry held high:: Huzzah! To Ji-hu, master of the kim-chi fries! TBC As simmed by: Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B C239402CJ0 & Lt.jg. Damian Wynter Engineering Officer USS Constitution-B A239203DW0 & Lt. Commander Shar’Wyn Foster Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B E239010ST0 & Lt. JG Blackwell Comm/Helm/Ops U.S.S Constitution-B G239308PB0
  6. (( USS Constitution - Deck 22, ESPO ))::Ensign Frag came up with nicknames for everyone—Ji-hu was “Jitters.” Ensign Berenez loved to talk about his favourite game strategies, and didn’t like being bluntly corrected when he made mistakes. Crewmen Ix and Te loved to take things apart, and had to be ordered not to with specific items, or else they’d claim anything in ESPO. Ensign Tor… well, they didn’t seem to like anything, but especially not Ji-hu.::::After Sindri had introduced him and given him his orders as provisional Engineering Systems Programming Office head, Ji-hu had spent a few days settling in to his little corner console in the deck 22 office, next to Tor and Berenez’s workspaces—the Bynars and Ensign Frag kept their section a little too chaotic, even for Ji-hu. He mostly spent that time organizing the backlog of maintenance requests and systems reviews—and there were a lot of both that had not been dealt with since the last office head had retired. What he quickly learned was the ESPO personnel liked to take their favourite tasks and leave the others conveniently unanswered. Even Tor, who claimed to have run the office without problems, avoided tasks outside of their expertise.::::Mostly, though, he listened and started to learn about the ESPO crew. Once they realized Ji-hu wasn’t there to march them out of an airlock or report for group counselling they left him alone, and it gave him a chance to observe, learn a little about the others. Frag insulted anyone she could at any given point, but like other Tellarites it was simple common courtesy, and if she tried to argue with you it meant she liked you. Berenez had an astounding knowledge of games and a fierce analytical mind, he would’ve made an amazing STARSHIPS teammate. Ix and Te were adorable, Ji-hu had to admit, and they both had these odd little smiles whenever they spoke binary to one another. Tor… well, Tor was insecure underneath their self-assuredness and ego.::Frag: - -think you understand, Berenez! I’ve tried to explain to you about ten thousand times, but it doesn’t seem to penetrate those little cheek flappies! Parrises squares is about brute strength, you puny, hairless Ferengi mono-testicle! Strategy only gets you as far as you can whip a stick around!Berenez: Ensign Frag, you fail to see the intricacies of the sport. There are some theories that say Zakdorn minds work fractionally faster than other humanoids, and applied to physical competition, this woud- -Frag: ::barking, amused laughter:: Not if you’re too chubby to get off your chubby butt, Creet! Have you ever even been on a court?!Tor: Shut up, you two! How’s anyone supposed to hear themselves think with you two cretins blabbing all day?!::Ji-hu sighed. There was a certain camaraderie between the four… no, five, Ix and Te were two people… five of them, maybe born out of just being stuck in the same room together, but they wouldn’t work together by choice. Frag didn’t take any of the others seriously, Berenez was witheringly condescending, Tor got frustrated when the others didn’t listen to them, and Ix and Te seemed to just do whatever they felt like.::::He had the message written. Ji-hu took a deep breath and pressed “Send” on his console.::::He heard a series of pings from throughout the room. Ensign Tor’s head snapped around to fix a glare on Ji-hu.::Tor: We’re right here, you know!::Ensign Frag ambled around the corner of the central console, with the Bynars in tow.::Frag: ::casually scratching her butt, to Ji-hu:: Hey Jitters, ::to Tor:: Smiley, ::to Berenez:: Flaps. Hear there’s an ESPO meeting.Te: Crewmen Ix…Ix: … and Te reporting…Te: … as requested, Lieutenant Choi.::Ji-hu nodded as Tor crossed their arms, scowling. Berenez turned in his chair, keeping his face neutral.::Choi: A-alright, thank you all for c-c-coming. ::he looked down to his wrist-mounted PADD and pushed a document through, and five sets of eyes went to their PADDs, consoles or implant feeds in the case of Berenez and one of the Bynar:: I’ve b-been working on grouping the b-b-backlog of maintenance requests and routine s-system reviews we need to finish b-b-before shore leave is over.Tor: ::scowling, looking away:: There was a backlog before Lieutenant Sarolk retired. We’ve been trying to get caught up.oO Yeah right, and I’m Fleet Admiral Wolf’s glorious Klingon masseuse… Okay, deeps breaths. Tor is just insecure. OoChoi: I’m n-n-not blaming anyone. ::maintain eye contact, even though it’s the absolute worst:: Listen, I g-get that everyone likes focusing on their specialities, b-but other d-departments have been p-picking up our slack. Here’s m-m-my idea. I’ve grouped the jobs based on particular complimentary skills with the m-most important tasks at the top. Ensign Tor, you’re g-going to work with Crewman Ix and Crewman Te on the maintenance requests that have to do with programming errors, data recovery and computational systems circuitry hardware.::Tor gave a begrudging nod, while Ix and Te blipped at each other for a second before nodding their assent.::Choi: ::glancing at his wrist-mounted PADD:: Mr. Berenez I’d like you to h-h-head up some data analysis and system reviews. ::Berenez nodded, but Ji-hu wasn’t finished:: And I’d like you walk Ms. Frag through it. We n-n-need someone else who is g-g-good tackling routine m-maintenance checks online and off, and handling the data flow.::The pair started to argue, but Ji-hu ignored them and pushed on, his hands trembling.::Choi: Ms. Frag, you’re going to be handling the b-bulk of the physical systems repairs, and there’s a lot of them…::Including an analysis port in Main Engineering Ji-hu had accidentally set fire to, but there was no need to mention that.::Choi: B-b-but I’d like you share some of your expertise with Mr. Berenez. ::the Zakdorn looked horrified at the idea:: Consider it a challenge, Ensign.::That shut him up. The Zakdorn had fallen into a sullen, contemplative silence.::Choi: I’ll m-move between b-b-both groups and tackle some of the backlog on m-my own. Uh… sound g-g-good?::The group started to turn away to collect tools and head out to their first tasks, but Ji-hu cleared his throat and they turned back.::Choi: A-a-actually there’s one more thing… oO Deep breath. Oo The Constitution’s been flying for almost th-thirty years, and even though it saw an overhaul with the QSD, the computer system is still operating on Class XIX. ::he glanced down at his PADD and pushed the proposal through to them:: We’ll n-need to bring a proposal to M-Main Engineering, we might even need to speak with the Command Officers, but we’re g-going to come up with a plan for strategic retrofitting, including systemwide hardware and software updates. I w-want to bring the system up to at least a Class XXI.::Except for the Bynars, the ESPO crew’s jaws all dropped open in shock at the proposal.::Tor: That would mean…Choi: ::nodding:: Yup. We’re g-going to improve overall system processing speed by .015%.::There was a shocked silence. Berenez shook his head.::Berenez: ::muttering:: You’re a madman… you’re… a madman…::The Tellarite took a couple of menacing steps forward. There was a moment’s silence before she reached up and clapped Ji-hu on the shoulder, hard enough to leave bruises, grinning an enormous toothy grin.::Frag: Jitters, you may be as hairless as a Laudean molerat, but you’re worthy of my mother’s bushy, glorious [...]-beard!Choi: ::terrified:: Uh… th-th-thanks?ENDThe Engineering Systems Programming Office PNPCsEnsign Creet Berenez, Ensign Frag, Ensign Tor and Crewmen Ix & TeAs simmed by:Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-huEngineering OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239402CJ0
  7. (( Starbase 104, Level 7 )):: Tad silently contemplated all the life choices that had culminated in him standing at the entrance to Garkon's Meatatorium and Boot Repair. The area was surprisingly quiet. He was the only person in sight, and the only sound was the buzz and grinding hum of the oversized neon bat'leth that continuously pivoted up and down above the restaurant's door, appearing to slice through the neck of some pig-like tusked neon beast. Tad was so engrossed with the sight that he never heard his "date" approach until she spoke up behind him, nearly making him jump out of his skin. :: Jordan: Punctual. I like that.:: Tad spun around to greet her but froze when he saw her. At least, he assumed it was her. The voice was familiar but the woman before him wore a cornflower blue dress with dark ankle boots and her hair was done up in a ponytail that fell below her shoulders. Most surprising of all were the light violet eyes, no longer hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. For a long moment he wasn't entirely sure she really was Jordan. ::Jordan: ::She pointed up at the neon sign.:: Targ got yer tongue?Cooper: oO Yup, it's her. Oo Ah, you're just...ah, not what I was expecting, Deputy.:: Jordan's smile was yet another thing Tad hadn't seen before. ::Jordan: Jenny. :: Jordan noticed Tad's eyes widen in surprise, even through his dark lenses. ::Jordan: I'm off duty, ya know. Can't be on all the time, right Tad?:: Tad reeled as if she'd punched him. ::Cooper: You know my name?Jordan: We're both Starfleet security, it's not like it was hard to find out. ::She held her arm out toward the door.:: Shall we?:: Of course, his name wasn't a secret. What surprised Tad wasn't so much the fact that she'd discovered his first name, but that she'd taken the time to look for it. He pushed the thought aside and accompanied Jordan into the restaurant. Immediately upon entering his ears were assailed by a loud banging from his left. Turning toward the source of the sound he saw a full workshop where several Klingons took hammers to the thick soles of sturdy looking black boots adorned with all manner of studs, spikes and other adornments. So it wasn't just a name, they actually did repair boots here. Apparently Jordan was accustomed to the sight because she walked by without comment. ::Jordan: The place keeps a standing reservation for station security. ::She shrugged.:: I think they figure we're Starfleet's version of warriors, so they don't mind us droppin' in. It's a nice corner seat, good for keepin' a wall to your back. Cooper: Lead the way. :: The further they moved into the restaurant the dimmer the light became. By the time they reached their red cloth covered table Tad felt comfortable removing his tinted glasses. They were seated for barely a minute when a friendly looking - for a Klingon, anyway - waiter handed them each a menu. ::Waiter: Good evening. My name is Kras and I'll be taking care of you. May I start you off with a beverage?Jordan: Bloodwine.:: Tad winced inwardly at the choice, but decided to play along against his better judgment. ::Cooper: Same for me. :: As the waiter strode off toward the bar, Tad opened the leatherbound menu to find a single page, completely blank save for the word "MEAT" printed neatly in the center. He cast an uncertain glance to Jordan, wondering if it was some kind of joke. Jordan gave him a knowing look in return, shaking her head slightly. ::Jordan: Don't worry, it's no one you know.:: Somehow that failed to put Tad's mind at ease. :: Cooper: That's ah, a little vague.Jordan: ::grinning:: That's the Meatatorium. You get what they got. Could be ostrich, could be wild targ, could be Cardassian vole. It's not just a meal, it's an adventure. The only guarantee they make is it won't be anything sentient. :: Well, that was something at least. Kras returned, placing a glass of bright red liquid before each of them. ::Waiter: Here you are. Have you decided yet?Jordan: ::She closed her menu and handed it to Kras.:: I'll have the meat.Waiter: Excellent choice! And for you, sir?Cooper: Ah, the meat, also.Waiter: Very good! ::He collected the menus.:: I shall return momentarily.:: In the silence that followed the hammering from the cobblers' workshop could clearly be heard. Tad craned his neck to look in that direction, then turned back to Jordan. ::Cooper: Are you sure they won't try to serve us any of that boot leather? ::He was only half joking, and managed half a smile. ::Jordan:: ::Holding a finger up to her lips:: Shh! That's on the secret menu. :: Jordan gave another smile. The unusual atmosphere of the place combined with the sudden and extreme change in Jordan's personality filled Tad with a sense of unease. He reached for a drink to calm himself, but paused when he felt the warmth of the wine in his glass. In this place, he couldn't help wondering whether the bloodwine was more blood than wine. ::Jordan: ::making a tsking sound with her tongue:: You need to lighten up, Tad.:: The way Jordan - make that Jenny - seemed to be reading his mind didn't help matters either. He dared a sip of the wine. He expected Klingon alcohol to be intense, but even so he wasn't prepared for how quickly it seemed to go to his head. He blinked rapidly as the liquid burned its way down his throat. ::Jordan: Did that help?Tad: ::in a choked voice:: Affirmative.Jordan: ::rolling her eyes:: Oh yeah. I can tell you're really loose now.(( TBC ))(( OOC: List of police codes: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Tad_Cooper/Police_Codes ))PNPC Ensign Tad CooperSecurity officerSimmed byLieutenant JG Jerome MilsapAssistant Chief Medical OfficerUSS Constitution-BC239208JM01
  8. (( Planning Chamber, Deck 2: The Jade Geming )) Romani: The all-knowing, all-seeing vision of the council of gods ends. Today. ::Romani waited in the darkness along with the people standing behind him. He shifted from foot to foot, and tapped the fingers of his left hand against the insignia on the glove of his right.:: Vinpri: Message sent, Demra. Romani: Thanks, lights up please? ::A collective sigh hissed around the room as the thick shadows dissolved. Most of his crew departed on their way back to Main Control. Romani moved forward to sit at the planning table. Chanko and Lorana remained and took seats to either side of him.:: ::Chanko had an imperious, thoughtful demeanor that suited him as the Ohan, Romani's strategic commander of the organization. Lorana contrasted this with a more outspoken personality, more suited for her role as Mishra, his council. The fact that she was Romani's mate sometimes made things far more complicated than he cared for on more than one occasion.:: ::They sat in a mellow silence for a while. Chanko perused a holographic screen of information. Lorana had her own screen up and was responding to a few messages, and Romani had his own thinking to do.:: ::When he'd completed a few trains of thought, he broke the quietude by tapping on the table with his right-most finger.:: Romani: Well, what do you think of the speech? ::Chanko and Lorana exchanged a silent glance, apparently deciding who was going to speak first. They were equals in terms of qualifiers such as rank or position, and contrasted each other to a fine degree. Romani looked back and forth between them, and opened his mouth to repeat the question but Lorana beat him to it.:: Lorana: My honest opinion? It sounded like a villain delivering a monologue. Pollution protocol, Usah? ::Chanko broke his normal routine by delivering a quiet laugh.:: Romani: ::Parting his lips to smile.:: Good. It's precisely the image I wanted to convey. Lorana: The image of a villain? Then I would say you succeeded on a grand scale. ::Her small shake of the head was one he'd come to recognize as mockery riding on the winds of disdain.:: Romani: It's a caricature. An exaggeration to get their full attention and evoke strong emotions. It's the only way I can reach them. As we've seen, appeals to logic won't work. ::Chanko permitted himself one of his slow, ponderous nods and slid one hand over the other indicating understanding.:: Chanko: An appropriate tactic, and one that was well executed. ::Lorana narrowed her gaze at Chanko and tipped her head up a fraction. Romani shifted in his seat, and hoped they wouldn't begin an argument that he would have to reign in.:: Lorana: Of course you agree with him. But was all the posturing necessary? Gods of pollution, council of gods--it borders on a secular attack on their ideology. Romani: It has a strong impact on the technocratic mindset. Comparing them with deities should at least get their blood boiling. ::The door slid open and Ebso, a male Kunjai, poised on the threshold. Physically intimidating, he had hardened layers of muscle and sinew visible under the dark, violet-hued skin. Lorana regarded him with a smile.:: Lorana: Yes, Niffidi? Ebso: Thank you Mishra. Important message from Vedima. ::The Kunjai's fate was one of Romani's chief reasons for taking up his cause. The uplifting bio-techs had enhanced their physicality, but more importantly their brains ability to rapidly process information. Their minds broke things down into chunks, storing them and iterating over the whole with supremely fast analysis. The result was a fearsome combatant, who could react to multiple situations in an engagement with swift precision. Romani had seen a holorecord of a Kunjai warrior facing no less than six trained soldiers. It was over before it began.:: ::This alteration had an unforeseen side effect. This chunking tendency carried over into speech processing. They rarely spoke in more than four or five words between pauses, as their brains were simply too fast for their speech center to handle.:: ::The Dryary technicians had done their best to mitigate this with each new generation, but Romani's position was they never should have tampered with them in the first place. He'd done what he could, taking in any Kunjai that wanted to join their cause and offering them any position they were suited for.:: Romani: To the main display. Thank you. ::Speaking to them using the same structure was a courtesy that Romani insisted his crew adopt, as it made it easier for them to analyze the words.:: ::Ebso bounded over to the screen and tapped his fingers over the wall panel. A female Dryary appeared, but the colors were offset and reversed, an effect of the encryption methods they used.:: Chanko: Receiving, Vedimi. Vedimi: There is a complication. The council has moved to ask for help from the human presence at dreaming star. Iristi is meeting with their leader now, a Captain Selene Faranfey. Lorana: So their alliance is all but official. Romani: Wonderful. Do you have any more information on them? Vedimi: They have three vessels at their disposal. The largest is capable of incredible speed, and the report shows they defeated Agragonian warships with one of the adjunct ships. Chanko: Impressive, and troubling. Lorana: What is their stance on the u-protocol? Vedimi: Their own protocol is opposed to it, from what I gather in the planning chamber. Romani: That's splendid news. Vedimi: I must close the transmission now. Remember them forever. Lorana: They are remembered. Chanko: Forever. ::The screen returned to the flat, grey gradient. Ebso made a quick hand gesture, almost too fast for the to catch before speaking.:: Ebso: Return to work now? Lorana: Yes. Thank you Niffidi. ::After he quit the chamber, they sat in a contemplative silence. Romani's heart and mind throbbed with the new information. Chanko, as usual, was waiting for someone else to speak. Lorana, as usual, was happy to oblige. She looked between them as she spoke.:: Lorana: Usah, you have to contact them. Maybe this Faranfey will aid us, and convince the council to at least consider stopping the program. ::Romani offered a few taps on the table with his fingers. He knew she would suggest it, and he would have liked nothing more than to take the advice.:: Romani: Assuming they'll listen, what makes you think they'll have an easier time of it than us? The council won't concede, especially to outsiders. Their judgement is clouded by technocratic rigidity. It's a cultural psychosis. Chanko: The immovable pillars of science and vision. Romani: It's far too late. No doubt they've heard my ultimatum since it was broadcast openly. Vedimi indicated in a previous message that they've already helped the Directorate. As you said, their alliance is all but official. Lorana: Be reasonable, Usah. At least make an attempt? ::Romani stared back at her. She wasn't going to let this go, and he had too much on his mind for an involved argument.:: Romani: I can't be reasonable. Don't you see? The council's reason is their foundation. It's unbreakable. I must be fully unreasonable to get around it. This Stellar Federation, once a legend, has now come to aid them. My ultimatum will irk them, if Vedimi's assessment of their culture is right. Lorana: ::Spreading her fingers on the table:: Then you're hoisted by your own petard. If you'd only waited before delivering your villainous pledge, you wouldn't be in this situation. Romani: I'm only Dryary. I make mistakes. Chanko: She's correct-- Lorana: Thank you, Ohan. Chanko: --but so are you, Demra. It's far too late. I recommend accelerating the plan. ::Romani looked between them, then stared at the table for a moment. His breath felt hot in his nostrils.:: Romani: Accelerate it how? Chanko: Destroy the UP7 laboratory ahead of schedule. It would show them you are unpredictable, and put pressure on them. ::Lorana rolled out an exasperated sigh, and swiped her hand across the table.:: Lorana: Moving quickly caused this new dilemma, you want to make it worse? Romani: I'm not sure how things could get any worse. We're already in league with the Cardassians, and have a mutual agreement with the Romulans. Lorana; I'm just waiting for those to backfire. And trust me, they will. ::Romani sighed and swallowed a few times, licking his lips. He picked at a wrinkle in the folds of his glove, staring at the symbol etched on it. He blew out a breath and looked at Lorana, then Chanko.:: Romani: Is UP7 evacuated? ::Chanko went back to his personal screen and flicked his hand over it. Lorana sat back and folded her arms a few times until she had them situated where she wanted them.:: Chanko: ::Looking at Romani:: Yes, the personnel evacuated an hour ago due to the threat. Lorana; Don't destroy it yet. Wait to see what the Federation will do. Romani: ::Exchanging a long glance with Lorana before turning to Chanko.:: Let's contact the Federation. Lorana is right, we can explain things and perhaps they will put a small dent in the council's armor of scientific faith. Chanko: You can't do that, Demra. Lorana: ::Unfolding her arms and leaning forward:: Why not, Ohan? Chanko: We can't risk it. I have no doubt they have a very capable crew to run that sophisticated ship. They will certainly have a signal technician, or an equivalent. The chances they'll locate the source of our position are high. If they choose to side with the Directorate, the most likely scenario, we'll have to evade and your agenda fails once again. ::Romani leaned forward himself and rubbed at the middle of his forehead with two fingers. Every solution brought with it unwanted complications.:: Romani: ::Taking a breath.:: All right. Open a channel to the operative. Lorana: This is a mistake. Chanko: ::Touching his screen.:: Channel is open, Demra. Operative: Jade Raven receiving. Romani: This is Jade Leader. Proceed with UP7 detonation. Operative: Understood Jade Leader. Detonating now. Chanko: ::Glancing at another inset on his screen, he slapped the table with the flat of his hand.:: Wait, it's not clear. A construction crew is still-- Operative: Detonation in progress-- Romani: ::Glaring at Chanko.:: What? Jade Raven abort, abort-- Lorana: ::Shouting:: Stop Raven stop! Operative: We can't, detonation complete. Facility destroyed. ::Charged silence filled the chamber in all directions. Lorana shot up from her chair, her eyes glassy and wide. Romani stood slowly, closing his eyes and bringing his hands together. He touched his fingers to his forehead.:: ::Chanko stared at the wall, his gaze downcast.:: Operative: Further orders, Jade Leader? Romani: ::Dropping his hands, his voice hoarse.:: No. Further orders. Jade Leader out. Lorana: ::Storming past Romani:: Don't come to our chamber tonight, I'm through with you today-- Romani: ::Reaching for her arm, grasping it.:: Lorana, please-- Lorana: ::Yanking her arm out of his grip, her eyes moist.:: Don't touch me with those hands. They reek of blood... Demra. MISSION SEQUENCE 2 - The Romani Gambit MSNPC's Usah Romani / Lorana / Chanko / And others: Respectfully Portrayed And Submitted By... F. J. HAWKINS Lt. Cmdr., Starfleet Executive Officer USS ATHENA, NCC-97780 Fleet ID: A239312FH0 Player Mentor
  9. ((Play Room)) Garth: ::looking out the window:: I's board. Wish wees cood goes outs and pay in da trees. :: The tiny Tr-omu-vulc, sighed her frustration as well and dropped her armful of toys on the floor.:: T'Sara: Me too. If we was at dah ranch we could play wiff my ponycorn, Sir Twinkles The Brave. Garth: ::turning around to look at her:: Watts a ponycorn? :: She picked up a couple of building blocks and stacked them in a horse shaped animal.:: T'Sara: Oh, deys neat! Dey for riding, and petting. Dey like big dogs with a horn wite in dah middle of their pony-head. :: She stuck a block up to her head to demonstrate.:: Garth: Wow! Wish I's cood sees um. ::thinking:: Where's ya ranch at? Maybe we cood go dare. :: That was an exciting thought, until she saw the Nanny pass by.:: T'Sara: I don’t finks we can. ::whispering:: Deys always lookin at us. It kinda creepy. Garth: ::excitedly:: All wees gotta dos is get pass da Nanny an da guards outside, din wees is home free. T'Sara: OOoo… like a mishun? Like our mommies go on Garth: Yup! Ands no body knows where we goes until wees gets back. T’Sara: I kin bees dah enginesneer lady, like Lootienant Oddie. What do you wanna be? Garth: I's bees a capin likes capin Wallers. T’Sara: Like your daddy. Garth: ::beaming a smile:: Yeah, likes my daddy. T’Sara: I gots my tool kit! I kin make a d’strakshun, an’den we kin got to dah beach, an’den we kin get to dah ranch from dere. But you gots to get us past dah nanny and dah s’curity poopies. :: She pulled her bag of goodies up to her chest. It was the kit LtCmdr Oddas gave her. She never left home without it.:: Garth: Yup, wees need d'strakshun to get passes dim. T’Sara: Otay! Let’s doo’ed it. :: She tucked her tool kit close, and they sneaked across the hall into the bathroom.:: T’Sara: You keep watch. I’ll make a ‘straction. Den we goes. Garth: I'll watch real goods here at da door. I fink da Nanny went downstairs. :: T’Sara headed right over to the sonic shower and started dismantling the control panel. Having learned a lot from her friend Mo, the little girl began to screw with the harmonic frequencies, and then reroute it into all of the basins and cleaning stations throughout the house.:: T’Sara: Weady? Garth: Weady! T’Sara: Cover your ears. It gonna be weally loud. Garth: ::sticking his fingers into his ears:: Okee dokee! Done. :: With that done she set off every shower, stall, and basin in the house with a deafening screech of sonic sounds. There was no way anybody could hear the two little jailbirds running to their freedom.:: :: She giggled and came up behind Garth tapping him on the shoulder and waving for him to lead the way out of the house and past the grown-ups.:: Garth: Com'on, Dat was welly louds. But da Nanny is louders. Hers screamin'! ::When the Nanny came running up the stairs to check the bathrooms, Garth lead T'Sara downs to the kitchen to the back door, grabbing a plate of cookies on the way.:: Garth: Hear, puts these ins your bag cause wees mites get hungry, then watch and learn. :: Waiting until she had the cookies in the bag, he opened the door, yelling:: HELP! HELP! SOMPIN TRYIN' TA GETS US! ::The guards came running and wanting to know what was wrong, but the noise in the house told them all they needed to know, and went running inside. As soon has they passed by the children, Garth grabbed T'Sara's hand.:: Garth: Wees gotta makes a run fer it! This way, T'Sara. Wees needs to get to da bushes so day won't sees us! :: T’Sara gladly followed along, taking refuge in the bushes. This was exciting! This was just like all the stories her mommies told her about.:: T'Sara: I fink deys gone. Should we go? Garth: Da beach it dis way. Its ain't far. T’Sara: We bettah hurry. Dey gonna be mad. :: She giggled. She couldn’t help it. She was having so much fun! Off they went, running for the beach. T’Sara was a little lost already, so she was happy to let Garth take the lead. As they stopped at the sandy shores, T’Sara looked in her tool kit and frowned.:: T’Sara: Deh cookies is broked. Garth: Oh nooo! Watt we gonna eat ifen wees gets hungry? :: She pulled out a little bandana that she liked to use to “pretend” to wipe down her dirty tools. Laying the cloth on the sand, she dumped the contents of the bag out.:: T’Sara: We’s better eat dees now, or dey gets all in my tools. I has snacks at home. Garth: ::brightly:: Otay wet's do dat. Captins need lots of food to gets strong to do dare jobs.. :: The two picked at the broken cookies and crumbs. T’Sara grinned at her little boyfriend.:: T’Sara: Did your new daddy teach you how ta trick growed-ups like dat? Garth: No, mommy did. She say if I gets into trouble, and someone trys ta takes me, I should yell as loud as I cood. Where did ya learns to make noise wif da water pipes? T’Sara: ::she shook her head:: I learnded to play wiff the shower from Uncle Mo. He teaches me neat stuff about Kwantum Mechnix and far away places dat live next to us, but we can’t sees them. Garth: Dat wuz a good tricks. T’Sara: He’s weally smart. He says dere’s lots of Garths and Aunt Tonie’s out there, but they’s all different. Garth: Welly? I didn't knows dat. T’Sara: Like dere might be one of you that is still wiff your other daddy. But he says I’s only one in the verse. Ain’t no others of me out dere. He says I has a special porpose, and I need to learns stuff. Garth: I's haves porpose too. I's welly be a Capin someday. T’Sara: Mo helped make me, cos my two mommies couldn’t. I’s his protojay. I dunno what dat means, but it important. I think. Don’t tells nobody about him though. He’s a secret. Promise? Garth: Promise! T’Sara: Pinky swears? :: She held out her pinky.:: Garth: ::hooking her pinky with his:: Pinky swears, but we welly need ta goes now. T’Sara: Yeah. Deys gonna be lookin’ fer us. My ranch is dat way through the forest. Den we kin plays with my ponycorn, and show you dah Qoots, n’ Wesos. We get milk and eggs from dems. Garth: Wow, I's can't waits to sees your ranch. :: She collected her things, and noticed they were leaving tracks in the sand.:: T’Sara: What do we do ‘bout dose feetprints? Garth: ::breaking to branches from one of the bushes they had just come from:: Wees drags dees behines us and day brushes da feetprints away. ::showing her:: See? Alls gone! T’Sara: Looks, I’s a ponycorn and dis is my tail! :: She held the branch behind her and swished it around as they headed off toward the forest.:: Garth simmed by: Rear Admiral Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Author ID number: E238209TT0 T'Sara simmed by: Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Chief Science Officer Embassy, Duronis II Author ID I238301T10
  10. (( Harkin’s Den - Backrooms - Starbase 118 )) ::The group followed their marine escort. It didn’t take long before they had arrived at the area in question. It wasn't exactly what any of them had expected.:: Flynn: It just looks like an empty room.. ::Taelon unslung his tricorder as the others looked around, walking along the small room’s walls. It did look like just any other room. Clever, really. The owner had likely had people in here with no idea they were so close to something secret… Darkly, he wondered how many other secrets the station had hidden behind seemingly innocent walls. He might not sleep tonight til he’d tested the edges of his quarters, just to be sure.:: Falcon: ? Rozera: It seems they used it for private parties. The hidden door is behind that wall. ::She pointed.:: Be careful. We haven’t found its trigger yet, and it’s blocking scans. ::Antero walked to the wall mentioned and rubbed his hand over the surface, an action he instantly regretted as he felt the abrasive grime over his fingertips.:: Flynn: What are our options? Is there some kind of key to getting in? Or do we just blow it? ::Taelon looked at the tricorder, but it wasn’t helpful in answering Flynn’s question. It’d picked up the anomalies that he suspected were a tell, but that was all it said. He’d set it up to filter out any electronic feedback in an effort to have the lifeform scans be as clear as possible, and changing that would take time. The lifeform scans said what they’d been saying the whole time, though: Flynn stood right where the trail cut off. He looked over as echoing foot falls came towards them. It turned out to be two marines, one holding a large thermal cutter. The Andorian gave a half-shrug.:: Rozera: We’ll cut our way in. It’s fastest and hopefully won’t damage whatever evidence is on the other side. Flynn: ::He nodded:: I say do it. No time to spare. Falcon: ? ::Rozera and the other two marines shooed the three officers back towards the hall - a good move, as the heat generated by the thermal cutter was considerable even at that distance. It was efficient, though, melting through the wall without generating sparks or even much noise. The hot slag was a shame, but the metal floor didn’t seem likely to catch fire. Taelon hoped, anyway.:: ::Antero stepped back as the fake wall was carefully and efficiently taken care of. Taking a few steps closer with the job finished, a clear passage now revealed itself. Stepping in behind the marine, he coughed on a foul mouthful of dust. He looked to Taelon.:: Flynn: What do we have? ::Taelon managed to bite back his immediate urge to state the obvious, though it was a close call. He approached the void behind Flynn, peering into the darkness. The hallway beyond was dim, in bad need of repair, and dusty...though footprints on the floor told of recent use.:: Taelon: Looks like some manner of...storage? ::He looked at the doors suspiciously. They were oddly reinforced, weren’t they...?:: The readings we followed are from here... ::Flynn approached one of the doors hastily, and peered through its square pane of glass, still gripping his phaser. Taelon had started to follow him when Flynn’s eyes went wide.:: Flynn: We need a medics over here! ::He reared back and kicked the door open as the marines ran forward.:: Rozera: Lieutenant - ::The protest faded from Taelon’s notice as the smell hit him - it blew out of the dark room like a wall, rank with the odors of blood, sweat, waste and fear. The Ensign gagged as his eyes started watering, and he stumbled as the marines shoved past him. What lay in the darkness was worse, though. People were in the room, crowded together, barely moving. One or two lay so still he knew they were dead. A few tried to move away as Flynn approached, protests weak. All their eyes glimmered with one feeling - fear. Some seemed to tinge to hope as the light filtered in, but others seemed beyond even that. As reality hit him, the physical shock faded. They didn’t have medics here, and he didn’t have the equipment to help...but that wasn’t entirely at the front of his mind as he ran into the room, kneeling by one of the fallen. The woman rolled her head to look at him, her features sunken and bruised. She moved her cracked lips, but no sound came out. He put a hand on her shoulder as he hurried to adjust the tricorder. Taelon: It’s alright - ::He smiled, even as the grime and filth on the floor soaked through the knees of his uniform. The smell and darkness crowded in around him, but seemed secondary to the problem at hand.:: You’re safe now. ::He looked to Flynn and Falcon as they worked, and the marines beyond them. His fingers squeezed her shoulder gently.:: Taelon: I promise. ::There was one lone figure in the far corner - Taelon only saw it as his eyes adjusted. The captive sat curled up against the wall, knees to their chest, arms wrapped around them. They were so still Taelon thought at first they might have died like that, but as his eyes continued to adjust he saw the gleam of yellow eyes moving. Unlike the fear in the other captives, this one looked nearly primal. The hands were clawed, their bare feet the same. The alien whose life signs he’d followed in here, no doubt. The look it gave the group wasn't like the others, either; this expression was deep, burrowing, primal fear, the sort that made cornered animals attack. Taelon swallowed, and looked away. The group continued to work as he carefully looked over the captives nearest him. Some were alive, but unconscious. Others clearly didn't understand him when he spoke.:: Rozera: =/\= We need medics and an evac team scrambled down here, now. =/\= ::She had her hand to her helmet, fingers moving as she switched through comm channels.:: =/\= And decom teams. It’s a mess back here. =/\= ::She lowered her hand, looking to Falcon and Flynn.:: Rozera: They’re on their way. Falcon/Flynn: ? Rozera: We’ll get the other rooms open. Don’t worry. ::She’d lost the put-upon vibes to her tone - now she seemed resigned. The sight was a sobering one.:: Commander, with all due respect, I suspect Command would rather hear this report from one of your team. Falcon/Flynn: ? Rozera: No one's used to finding this sort of [...] in their own backyard. Sirs. Falcon/Flynn: ? Sergeant Major Rozera A'daar Starfleet Marine, Bravo Squad Starbase 118 Marine Cont. & Ensign Taelon Science Officer Starbase 118 OPs O239303T10
  11. ((SB118 - The Raven)) ::Tatash watched as Dal headed out with the engineers, the little reclaimed science machines rolling ahead of them like sniffer dogs. It would be a slow process, The Below was more then just a few empty corridors, it was something altogether more awful judging by the first few telemetry feeds coming through the small screens on the logistics station set up in The Raven. Slavers, the worst kind of scum operating right under the nose of Starfleet and the thousands of civilians spending their lives blissfully ignorant above their heads. But now they had Oma-Saan firmly under control and his little friend as well, the ring well and truly starting to collapse:: Whittaker: Any news from Dal? ::Tatash peered up to look at his friend and gestured with a finger to the console:: Tatash: Slow, but steady. It might take a while but it's going well. Whittaker: :: nodding :: Alright. :: beat :: I'm just going to make a call. ::Tatash nodded and continued to watch the process through the monitors, although his mind wandered. While the here and now took precedence, he'd caught side of that floating bed returning draped with a blanket with a figure underneath it. Each Marine had their 'in case of' plan, and Hughes had joked before that he'd like something simple. His parents undoubtedly would be informed by Sal of the terrible situation, but he'd made it clear that his body (like most of them) would be buried 'at sea' according to some ancient terran traditions. That meant a touching send off from the hanger bay, a flag hanging over a re-purposed torpedo before being launched towards the nearest star to begin one final journey. A somber, but fitting departure. Still, that wasn't enough. At least not to Tatash.:: Tatash: =/\= Tatash to Captain Tem. Tem: ? Tatash: =/\= Can you meet me in the Raven? Tem: ? ::He waited a few minutes before the young Captain appeared with the rest of the equipment in the beam in site. She wasn't her usual smiling self, but in fairness none of them could be expected to be.:: Tem: ? Tatash: I wanted to speak to you face to face. Raisillius isn't really the sort for this, and I confess I am still at heart an alien to a lot of Starfleets customs with regards to... ::He paused, not knowing the right word to say. But Tem nodded, while the Marines were as always tough as nails, having someone with more of a heart in the upper ranks was a requirement to stop them from succumbing to a complete lack of sympathy:: Tem: ? Tatash: Yes. The service will be held as soon as medical gives us clearance to recover him. A usual send off, but, I would ask as a personal favour if you and the pilots that knew him would fly honor guard for his...vessel. Tem: ? Tatash: Hughes always spoke highly of you, when he actually did speak. He recommended you for promotion himself, I just agreed. "She can fly rings around Raisillius as well as she can the station." I believe was a choice quote. Tem: ? ::Tatash shook his head a little, he was so used to suppressing his own emotions that he didn't realise how deep grief ran in other races, although his tone changed when he saw her struggling to keep her composure. :: Tatash: Save your sorrow for the service Jandara, don't waste your tears here. ::he offered a soft smile, gesturing to the puddles still forming:: they would just get washed away. Tem: ? Tatash: I'll leave it in your hands. Feel free to help monitor this situation, I need to go and start... ::he frowned:: writing a eulogy. Tem: ? ::Tatash nodded once more before heading off quietly, the drama of combat and action starting to wear off as he slumped against the wall of the turbolift leaving the Dungeon behind. He couldn't cry, Gorn didn't have the need for it. They were an arid race and to have their bodies leaking at every opportunity would be a death sentence, but still he felt that hit. There was no anger, no rage to redirect his emotion or a mission to occupy himself with. Now there was him, his thoughts and the dull, terrible ache that radiated through his chest.:: Tatash: Hold lift. ::The machine stopped, waiting permission to continue it's incline from it's lone passenger, who was now sat with his head resting in his hands, wracked with tearless sobbing.:: -- Major. Tatash Marine Lead SB118 Operations C239108T10
  12. (( Ready Room- United Orion Starship Devastator, orbiting Farius Prime)) :: Quiana sat in her large chair, her long legs crossed, her lips pursed. Much conversation was had that day concerning the upcoming assault on the Duronis sector. The sector was still hers to rule..she had made that perfectly clear, especially after killing the other Alpha female who opposed her. Quiana didn't like the [...] anyway. Killing her in a roomful of allies solidified her position as leader, and blood stained the dagger on her desk:: :: Truly, things had not gone well. Starfleet was no shrinking violet, especially those who manned the Embassy on Duronis. Risking her ships in a pitched battle was not her goal or her plan..she needed those to control her territory and make it impossible for Starfleet to even consider taking the planet away from her once she had it. One non member planet was not enough to risk a fleet to try to retake it:: :: She was one of many in the Syndicate who were planning to assault Starfleet in a manner in which to beat back the Federation from the fringes of the quadrant. The Syndicate was made to rule, to control. Life on Orion proved the strong survive, the weak perish and are subjugated. Quiana was once one of those, but clawed her way to the top, and she intended to stay there:: :: She was not happy when her door chime rang, especially since she asked not to be disturbed. Looking angrily at the door. she shouted:: Quiana: WHAT IS IT? I ASKED NOT TO BE DISTURBED!!! :: It was her First Officer, Tauron:: Tauron: My apologies, my lady, but we have received a message from one of our operatives on Duronis... :: Quiana had given strict orders for her operatives to maintain strict silence until she contacted them. This had better be important for them to contact her now:: Quiana: ENTER! ::The massive Orion entered. He was holding the Orion equivalant of a Starfleet PADD in his hand as he approached. Stopping before her desk,he bowed slightly:: Tauron: My apologies again..but I think this is something you will want to see... :: Handing over the PADD, Quiana read over the information. Admiral Wolf was coming to Duronis II. Taking him out would create a power vacuum..and also give her the opportunity to eliminate the troublesome Admiral, and perhaps her entire command staff. She had files on each of them, thanks to her friends in Starfleet, and she had committed the names to memory...Turner.....Waltas...Pavlova...Frazier...Parker. Each with a set of skills which defied logic. Each was battle tested, decorated. This was indeed a rare opportunity to strike a blow for the Syndicate...and for herself. Quiana immediately smelled a trap, a deadly one. She would not underestimate Starfleet again. Looking up from her PADD, she spoke:: Quiana: Has this been confirmed with our Starfleet contact? Tauron: Not as of yet. Starbase 118 has not confirmed any information concerning Admiral Wolf's movements. ::A juicy target, seemingly placed in her lap. She didn't like it. Her first thought was to approve the attempt, but something about it smelled funny, like a wet Ferengi. Looking up at Tauron, Quiana spoke:: Quiana: It would seem to be a great opportunity to remove the command structure... Tauron: It does indeed. It is, however, disappointing... Quiana: Disappointing? How so? Tauron: I had hoped to meet Parker in battle..he is their strongest warrior, one which I would love to see defeated...in chains and paraded across their networks. The long haired one..I wish to place his hair on my battle axe..after I cut his head off... :: Quiana smiled. While it would be pleasing to her to break Starfleets' toughest warrior and see him in chains, the sight of Tauron decorating his axe with the hair of an enemy excited her just as much. However pleasing those thoughts were, her mind turned to the practical.if they could kill them all now, taking Duronis would be so much easier. Of course, such a mission would have to be run by The Council, the upper echelon of the Orion Syndicate. Nodding, she spoke:: Quiana: I will present it to The Council. However, I am not in favor of this plan.. ::Tauron smiled.:: Tauron: You wish to give me the opportunity to defeat them? Quiana::shaking her head:: No, it's not that simple. This looks like a trap, designed to bring our moles out in the open and eliminate them. So far, they have had great success in defeating our plans. We need our spies where they are, not exposed to such a risky endeavor. Tauron: Perhaps so, my lady. I may yet have my opportunity to defeat them... Quiana: Perhaps you will, Tauron. Now, allow me to present this to The Council.. Tauron: Yes, my lady.Will there be anything more? Quiana: No...that will be all for now. :: Bowing again, Tauron spoke:: Tauron: By your leave.... Quiana: Dismissed... ::Once her First Officer had left, Quiana contacted The Council, and requested an audience. Now, all she could do was wait until they contacted her to meet with them. For something this big, she knew she would not have to wait long for an audience.:: TBC PNPC Quiana Alpha Female Orion Syndicate As simmed by: Major Hannibal Tiberious Parker Marine CO Acting Chief Of Security USS Thunder-A/ Duronis II Embassy C238703HP0
  13. ((Charlotte Farnsworth's New Quarters - Deck 4, Cabin 46J, USS Constitution-B)) =/\= Charlotte Farnsworth's Personal Log: Stardate: 239305.26 Having visited Doctor Foster and obtained my prescribed treatment, for the barbarism suffered by the hand of untrained Starfleet meddler's, I find my body to be healing at a most acceptable rate. I have taken the time now to settle in to my new quarters. Though it will be several days before I am medical fit to return to duty as the schools literature teacher, I find that I am actually hating the down time. I have never managed void activity well. With little or nothing to do, I often have found myself getting into trouble. I must make an effort to see that this does not resume. No doubt, Starfleet would find any excuse it could to quarantine me again, and criminal activity would help facilitate that. I will never endanger my personal freedom again... End log. =/\= ::Charlotte stood naked in her quarters, gazing out the one star port, her single sized occupancy quarters allowed her. It was better, however, then the stark, grey cell that Starfleet had stuck her in for several months. She had just worked out for nearly an hour, mostly pullups and pushups. Nearly 300 in all. Her body was firm, toned, glistening in sweat. Her hair was a mess, her eyes were running with gleaming mascara, and hatred. Her brown hair hung loosely about her, and got in her eyes. To any outward observer, she might have looked like a crazed animal, focused on her next kill.:: ::She began to focus her mind, using Vulcan meditation techniques taught to her by the chief Starfleet scientist, obviously himself Vulcan.:: oO Imagine your fear of insignificance, of dying alone and unloved, as a deafening heartbeat. Oo ::He had said.:: oO Now imagine that heartbeat becoming quieter and quieter in your mind, until only silence remains. Oo ::Every night before sleeping, she had done exactly that. She had taken years of unresolved issues, of co-dependency with Nate, of self-loathing, arrogance, misguided distrust and reckless behavior, and she destroyed within herself. She held her hands together, fingers interlocked, and picked a focal point, usually the stars, and set her gaze and attention there.:: Farnsworth: I am the living heart, the unaffected meaning of my own self worth. ::She was more focused now than she had ever been. She felt control, purpose, true peace.:: ::And then the computer began playing Ralph Vaughn Williams Pastoral Symphony No. 3. Had that been the only distraction, she might have bore it. However, in a overlapping miasma of noise, sound effects, and comm traffic, she heard other persons private logs, subspace chatter and general dreck.:: ::Her eyes shot wide open and she stared at the hidden speakers in her ceiling.:: Farnsworth: What the blood hell? ::She broke her meditative posture, her body still sweating with exercise and muscular definition. She went to the wall panel and attempted to terminate the mess. The computer did not comply.:: ::Instead of using the auditory assault as an excuse to revert to type, Charlotte focused her mind and used it as pure, meditative, mental fuel.:: ::Releasing her body, and relaxing all muscles, she dropped down, performing a sudden handstand. All her hair fell to the floor, and the blood rushed to her head. She shut her eyes, and concentrated only on her sense of purpose.:: Farnsworth: Anyone can achieve peace in the garden. Focus on sun. Feel the warmth, the light, the heat, but see none of the glare.... ::Everything else faded from her mind.:: ::Nothing was real, everything was only mental. For a moment, for the first and only real true moment in her entire life, Charlotte was dependent on nothing.:: oO Even if this moment is lost, Oo ::She thought.:: oO Then I can truly say, for one moment, I am whole. Oo ::She returned to her feet. She no longer heard the noises, though they had not gone away. She walked to her cupboard, retrieved the osteo-regenerator the doctor had given her, and began treating the effected area. Her body ached, but the sensations quickly faded to nothingness, just like her meditations of the heartbeat and sun.:: ::Her mouth crooked into a smile.:: Farnsworth: I am the unaffected meaning... ::And she believed it.:: PNPC Charlotte Farnsworth as simmed by the lovely Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer HCO USS Constitution-B E239107NW0
  14. "Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever." ~ Anthony Doerr (( USS Blackadder )) :: Perception had the habit of being quite subjective. Not only different from person to person, but also from situation to situation. It was never the same, ever changing, in a constant flux. It wouldn't pass in one event, but fly by faster than warp in the next. The same moment could be perceived differently by participating parties. It never was the same for everyone. :: :: This ship housed over 300 people, who now believed this flight to be short. The distance between SB 11 and Trill would be covered in about half an hour, in contrast to over 4 days at max warp. Just one person stood at a window, staring at the passing colorful lines the Quantum Sliptream Drive made stars look like, and it passed like a snail crossing the street. And there was no time. Every second counted. She hated to wait. :: :: Again and again she went through the conversation in her mind. Her father had a severe heart attack and for the first time in many years it had come evident to Jalana what she had always known, but pushed aside. Her parents wouldn't be there forever. The last thing she wanted was to lose her father without having spoken with him, maybe try to get a response other than sending her away. Every since he had learned that she wanted to become a doctor and not a diplomat like him he had refused to have any kind of conversation with her. Now he couldn't decide to hang up. She'd be right there and he would have to listen. And no matter what he would say, she would be there as his doctor as well. She needed to. And she knew it was her guilt talking, but she didn't care. :: :: The view changed, the typical change when a ship slowed down. And then there it was, the view she wanted to have for the last half an hour. The purple waters glistening under swirls of white clouds dancing around the globe. Land masses in different areas of green pastures, deserts, snow covered mountains. The planet she had called home for a long time. The planet none but two of her previous hosts had ever left. Melancholy spread through her very being. She had missed the sight more than she admitted to herself. :: Edmund: =/\= Captain Edmung to Rajel. Captain we have arrived. We can beam you to the surface whenever you are ready. =/\= :: That pulled her out of her melancholy and the urgency with which she had began her travel, returned to her blood. :: Rajel: =/\= Thank you, Captain. Would you please beam me to Leran Manev? I am ready. =/\= Edmund: =/\= As you wish, Captain. One to beam to Leran Manev. =/\= :: The Trill grabbed her bags and just a moment later she left the Blackadder in the signature blue glitter. :: (( Leran Manev - Trill )) :: A gust of wind welcomed Jalana to the streets of her home city. She had been born in Mak'ala, but when her father had become Ambassador, the whole family had moved to the capital city Leran Manev. She had been younger, oh so much younger it felt now. She hadn't been here for over 10 years. Back then she had left for Medical School, then moved to Vrans for her residency and then had taken on the long adventure of Starfleet. But in all that time this city hadn't changed. It still looked the same. It was full of people, not only Trill but also other species, buzzing in activity. Shops and other businesses had taken root; maybe some had changed but the overall feel welcomed her with familiarity. :: :: They had dropped Jalana off in front of the Embassy, which meant that the estate, which had been her home for many years, was close. Without waiting, she pulled her suitcase behind her and walked along the Embassy's side wall towards the metal gate resting on a side-walk only a few hundred meters away. Another thing that hadn't changed at all. Her thumb found its way to the scanner at the gate and it opened without hesitation, which actually surprised her. She had expected to be removed from the access list, but the habit of using the entrance that way had proven her wrong. :: :: The front garden was well taken care of, without a doubt by her mother, who always had loved her calling as a botanist. Briefly Jalana thought of Sherana, wondering if these two woman would have a connection through their work. She hadn't even reached the front door when it opened and the familiar calm face of Ilur, their butler appeared. He had been there for as long as she remembered, silent and obedient, but she had always known that he had covered her back more than once. Whenever her father didn't have time, he had been the one teaching her, all according to her father's plan of course. He was older, the gray her had won the fight over the black he had work before and canyons of wrinkles painted a fascinating landscape in his face. :: Ilur: Miss Laxyn, it is a pleasure to see you again. Rajel: ::She smiled gently, not even caring that he still called her by her birthname.:: Just as it is for me, Ilur. ::He stepped forward and took her luggage.:: Where is he? Ilur: In the Master-bedroom. Mrs Laxyn asked me to send you up right away. :: Jalana placed her hand on his forearm and gave him a thankful look and without hesitation hurried inside, ignoring the pompous hall and ran the long and elegantly swung stairs, two steps at a time, up to the next floor. She had walked the way to the bedrooms and the study so many times, that she did not even have to think, her body just followed the ingrained memory and with a gentle knock entered her parents' room. :: :: The massive bed swallowed the frame of her father, usually standing proud and tall he now looked small and vulnerable. And asleep. Jalana's stomach sunk, not it plummeted into the basement. She had never seen him like that. Being a doctor never prepared one to see ones own parents in any role than a hero. Swallowing hard only added weight to the sinker her insides already were. Despite everything it hit her as a surprise how much this image in front of her weigh on her soul. :: Caline Laxyn: Sweetheart! :: Jalana had not even seen her mother in the room. Like in a trance she welcomed the taller woman in her arms and squeezed her gently, feeling the slight jerks in the embraced body, knowing that her mom was not able to hold back the tears. After so many years of not seeing each other, that was to be expected. Jalana had been a mother in several lifetimes. She could not only imagine, she knew. :: Rajel: ::whispering:: How is he doing? C. Laxyn: Sleeping. The Doctors brought him only 15 minutes ago, when they heard that you are coming. Geral says hello. :: Geral had been a young doctor back when Jalana had so many questions about the profession. He had answered them all and was one of the factors that she had taken the plunge and she'd be forever grateful for that. :: Rajel: ::nodding:: Did they leave his file? C. Laxyn: Of course. It's in the study. But you should sit down and have a tea. Are you hungry? :: Jalana looked from her father to her mother, seeing it in her eyes. She was worried, she was scared. She needed her to sit with her, just for a little time. Right now her father slept and she could hear the familiar beeping of the medical equipment watching over his vitals. If anything would go wrong, she would hear it. She had to push her worry aside, for just a little bit and squeezed her mother's hand, gulping down the upcoming tears, and told a little white lie; to be strong for her.. :: Rajel: Starving. ----- Captain Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator A238906JL0
  15. ((Shuttlebay, USS Invicta)) :: Much as she might have been tempted, Della didn't give the woman who'd helped T'Sara and herself load their gear into the shuttle a thoughtful frown. Instead, she was busy sending a silent reminder to her daughter not to stare at the same dark-haired female as she strode off, a bag slung over one shoulder, toward the turbolift.:: :: Not that she blamed T'Sara in the slightest. It was probably the first time that the little girl - and, for that matter, herself - had encountered someone that had no aura at all... that wasn't a hologram, at any rate.:: :: As the woman, who'd apparently come in on the same shuttle as the pair of them were due to be leaving on, disappeared from view, a far more important reason to ignore extraneous details turned up, and Della was glad to see her. Not that she'd doubted that such an appearance would happen, of course. One last opportunity to try and blame her for everything would hardly be missed, after all.:: :: Still, there was at least some hope that this would go better than she suspected it might.:: :: Saying goodbye to loved ones was never easy. Saying goodbye to loved ones and feeling responsible for their leaving was even worse. It was for that reason why T’Lea almost didn’t show up see them off, but here she was watching a stranger load her family’s belongings onto the shuttle like she was a stranger herself.:: :: Emerging from around the corner as the woman that had been helping Vetri with the luggage passed by, T’Lea steeled herself and focused on control, for T’Sara’s sake. That’s why she was here after all. For T’Sara, and to make one last ditch effort to convince Della to stay.:: T'Lea: I was held up. :: She said that while looking through Della and at T’Sara. The girl showed no signs of stress about leaving, but to her this was probably just a vacation to visit her grandparents.:: Vetri: We'd have waited. :: A simple statement, but very true regardless. They'd found time for a goodbye before Della had gone to see Kells, and T'Sara had surprised her by how well she'd taken both the news of what was happening and the reality of it. Better, she suspected, than either of her mothers had.:: :: And just to really rub that point in...:: T'Sara: I lefts Andy and Fruggles to keep you compn'y. ::looking down at the small black and white cat in her arms, who was eyeing the surroundings suspiciously:: Inky din' wanna stay. :: Just when she thought her heart couldn’t break anymore, her daughter finished the job.:: :: T’Lea smiled through the ache in her chest and knelt down to T’Sara’s level.:: T'Lea: That’s because he’s your cat. He should stay with you. Always. :: She realized how that must have sounded to Della after she’d said it. It could have been construed as an indirect jab at the woman, even though that’s not how it was intended. But it did fit the sentiment she was feeling.:: T’Lea: Is there any more luggage inbound that you need help with? :: A minor slip up that may have indicated she’d been watching from afar.:: T'Sara: Nah, we gots everyfing. The not real lady helped get it all put away. T'Lea: Not real? :: The little frown was given to T’Sara, but it was the woman behind her that answered. With a helpless little shrug, Della was willing to admit ignorance on at least that much.:: Vetri: New arrival is all I know, but she's as real as anyone else around here. Anyway... I'm glad you came. T'Lea: Yeah. :: It was a short acknowledgment, but T’Lea kept her sights on T’Sara while she fidgeted with the girl’s backpack.:: T’Lea: I know what you’re thinking…. Just make sure Inky doesn’t walk on the helm controls, okay? It might be funny to annoy the pilot with him, but the cat hasn’t passed his flight exam yet. :: The giggle and smile from T’Sara brightened T’Lea’s mood for a split second, until she remembered that she wouldn’t be seeing or hearing that smile or laugh for a while. Apparently T’Sara saw the change in her mother’s colors without even trying.:: T’Sara: I dunno what d’big deal is. I not going forevers. :: Reality check. T’Lea rocked back slightly and set her hands gently on her daughter’s shoulders.:: T’Lea: No you’re not, but I still get to miss you. :: The not so tough Romu-vulc tucked the little girl into a tight hug; one that she hoped wouldn’t break the restraints she had on her emotions right then.:: T’Lea: Have fun. Stay safe, and look after your mother for me, okay? T’Sara: Kay, but you’re squishing Inky. :: Releasing her grip, T’Lea blinked at the unhappy cat.:: T’Lea: Sorry, Inky. ::to T’Sara:: Be good. I love you. :: T’Sara threw her arms around T’Lea’s neck and gave her a quick peck on the cheek before scooting off excitedly into the shuttle.:: :: For a moment T’Lea just stood there, arms crossed as if trying to keep what she was experiencing behind the bars of her rib cage. Something that was all too clear to the Trill standing a meter or so away, though there was no denying that no matter how hard she'd tried, it seemed to be a whole lot more distance than that.:: Vetri: We'll call as soon as we arrive, let you know that we got there okay. :: A half-glance back, and then T’Lea followed through and turned around to finally look at the woman. She swallowed hard, took a shallow breath and met her eyes.:: T’Lea: Don’t do this. If it’s revenge you want, you have it. ::a step closer:: I’m sorry, okay? I am eternally, painfully sorry. I know I can’t undo what happened, but give me a chance to fix it. I’ll make it right, I swear to you I will. :: Begging. This was not the T’Lea everyone knew. This was the act of a desperate woman willing to do anything to make the woman she loved remain with her. Begging was not beneath T’Lea at this point, and the mere thought of that was enough to twist in Della's gut.:: :: It didn't *need* to be this hard. Did it?:: Vetri: You don't need to fix it, T'Lea. I told you, *that's* not the problem. T’Lea: Then what is it? You said something was going wrong inside of you, well, let me help you damn it. Tell me what it is and we’ll work through it together. You’ve been there for me in the past; let me be here for you now. Just stay. :: As if she wanted anything *but* to stay. Leaving was going to tear her damned heart out, and she knew it... but she also knew that what she - they - needed couldn't be found here. But explaining that again was going to get them nothing but more trouble.:: Vetri: You will be with me, lilyali. ::touching her heart:: Right here. And that's what I need. All the rest, all the incredibly distracting things about you that are part and parcel of what I love, will make it harder for me to get right and get back here to you. Not easier. The best help you can be to me, T'Lea, is right here. :: Stepping closer, she wrapped her arms around her wife, hugging her tight and, from the sense she got of the other woman, taking her somewhat completely by surprise. Whatever the Romu-vulc may have expected her to do, this was clearly not it. The kiss that followed it probably didn't help her keep her balance, either, but Della really, *really* needed it.:: :: T’Lea’s mind raced for answers in the conflicting chaos that suddenly, and physically enveloped her. She tried grasping onto anything that would make sense, but in the end all she found was the fabric of Della’s shirt clutched tightly in her fists, and then a surprising embrace of lips against hers.:: :: It was so unexpected that she didn’t have time respond to the affection. In fact, she wasn’t even sure the kiss had actually happened.:: T'Lea: I don’t understand. :: Each syllable was profoundly spoken to impart exactly that.:: Vetri: Call whenever you want, lilylai. And expect me to do the same. And if it's any help at all, remember that I'm going to be with my parents. There's no way in any hell you care to name that I'll be able to put up with that for too long without going crazy, which will be a pretty good incentive for us to get right back here as soon as possible. :: The expression on T’Lea’s Vulcan brow pinched, and she shook her head. The hard realization that there was nothing she could do was starting to sink in.:: Vetri: ::sighing:: And I don't want to leave, but... :: With clear, and extreme, reluctance, Della stepped back. Whether she liked it or not, it was time.:: :: T’Lea felt the break in contact and the fabric of Della’s shirt slip away from her hands, but that wasn’t the only thing that felt like it was slipping away.:: T'Lea: … but you are. :: It probably would have been better for both of them if she had left the obvious unspoken, but it either way it hurt. She shrugged, and backed off with another confused wag of her head.:: Vetri: ::smiling just a little:: Don't blow up the ship whilst I'm gone, 'kay? Or steal it, for that matter. T'Lea: No promises. :: Her tone was hollow, no humor, no feeling. Kind of like how she felt inside. The words themselves reflected that she didn’t expect a return soon, or maybe even at all.:: :: And that was about all there really was to say. Not without repeating themselves, anyway. After a long, silent moment, Della reached out to lay her fingertips on T'Lea's cheek, then turned and headed into the shuttle.:: :: It was time to go.:: :: Unable to watch the shuttle leave, unable to take any more emotional punishment, T’Lea departed the deck hoping to get back to her quarters in time to deaden her feelings with a bottle of Romulan Ale before she felt the cold distance of space begin to separate the last connection she had to Della – their telepathic bond.:: FIN -------------------- Ambassador Della Vetri Diplomatic Officer USS Invicta Author ID O238506DV0 & Lieutenant Commander T’Lea History & Archaeology Specialist USS Invicta Author ID I238301T10
  16. ((USS Constitution-B, Science Lab, Deck 6)) ::Nate had taken his assignment seriously and in so doing, enlisted the aid of Nessa, to get to the task at hand. Nessa and he had taken quick pace to the science lab, and began setting up the one piece of technology, that should the others succeed in their efforts, might become incredibly necessary during a murder investigation.:: ::The technology was old, but somewhat reputed to be accurate.:: ::Nessa knelt down, her long, purple hair, tumbling from its perch, atop her head. She would really have to adjust to this new length. For years, she had cropped it short, to a pixie style and she was beginning to miss the ease of that. How Nate had convinced her to try something new, she could not say. He seemed to be able to talk her into just about everything and anything.:: ::Grabbing the encephalographic polygraph scanner, she attached the old, cylindrical style palm-scanner to the arm rest, and then to the ODN junction, to the isolinear chip reader, and so on and so on. It was a laborious task, but one she hoped would be worth it.:: James: An' they really want us to hook up this ancient piece a' garbage, yeah? ::Nate knelt beside her, assisting her with tools, and the heavier aspects of the machinery.:: Wilmer: T'Mar was specific. Counselor's, empaths, detectives, tricorders. They are all wonderful investigation tools. But this thing has been a tried and true mind sifter, since the days of Constitution class vessels... ::Nessa wrinkled up her nose, and looked at the antiquated "lie detector" and hated the idea of it. Something that invaded the mind, read the impulses, discerned the truth? She thought not. It was bad form. And to leave those bodily interpretations to a computer. Double bad, indeed.:: James: So the subject just sits 'ere, an' spills their guts...an' out comes the truth, eh? [...]s... ::Nate consulted the one hundred year old diagrams on his PADD. Made the final adjustments, finalized the power consumptions, the computer EPS managements, and confirmed they were good. He flipped a switch on the chair, and the machine came to life.::: Wilmer: Computer, is the machine ready for sample inputs? ::The computer responded.:: Computer: The encephalographic sensor is now operational and functioning within designed parameters. Awaiting test input. ::Nate smile, and evil, twisted smile and motioned that Nessa should sit in the chair.:: ::She shook her head, in total revulsion to the idea.:: James: Oh no, sir. You ain't gonna strap me brain into some Federation slap n' tickle, mind ripper... ::Nate became somber and serious.:: Wilmer: Nessa, T'Mar needs this. If we indeed catch a killer, we're going to need to be able to determine if they're telling the truth or not. ::He flexed his rank muscle and smiled. ::Do I have to make it an order? ::Nessa hated that she was a subordinate in this matter, but bowed to the inevitable. With the reluctance of a death row inmate about to be strapped into an old style electrocution chair, Nessa stepped up into the old style, 2260's command chair, and sat gingerly. The seat vibrated slightly, as it read her biosigns. She sincerely hoped it would stop doing that soon. She looked to her command officer with eyes that both dared him to ask her something invasive, and a mind the prayed he would not.:: James: Be gentle, if y' please... ::She shut her eyes, hating that someone had access to her inner thoughts.:: ::Nate consulted his PADD for the standard interrogative questions.:: Wilmer: State your name for the record. ::Nessa sighed at the stupidity of the question. It was a baseline. Meant to establish the 'default' reading. But she complied.:: James: Necessity James. ::The computer acknowledged a metered response..:: Computer: Affirmative. ::Nate continued.:: Wilmer: What's your middle name? ::Nessa sighed again.:: James: Don't 'ave one... ::The computer gave off a ridiculous loud and frightening klaxon.:: Computer: Negative. False response. ::Nate smiled, so far, the machine appeared to be working.:: Wilmer: What is it? ::Nessa looked to her friend, her eyes squinted. She would kill him if he ever repeated her next words.:: James: Alice. Me middle names Alice... ::The computer confirmed her truthful statement.:: Computer: Affirmative. ::Nate smiled. He believed her middle name to be lovely, but the purpose of this experiment was determine the functionality of the machine, not embarrass his friend. He moved on to the series two level of the reader experiment.:: ::He continued reading the PADD while instructing Nessa.:: Wilmer: This thing is supposed to be capable of reading independent lies, not just affirmative and negative questions. Say something blatantly untruthful to me. Without being asked... ::Nessa thought of the stupidest thing she could and rolled her eyes.:: James: I'm a thousan' year ol' man, by the name o' Watusi Jones. ::The computer again went off with a ridiculous klaxon. Nessa looked like she wanted to pull the panel off the arm-rest and toss it across the room.:: James: For pete's sake, can we change the negative alarm, t' somethin' pleasant, like a bird call? ::Nate was simply pleased with the fact that the machine was doing everything as promised.:: ::He had to move on to the final phase of the test before he could tell T'Mar it was ready.:: Wilmer: I have to ask you a final question, something invasive, something your mind would resist. Is that okay? ::Nessa rolled her eyes.:: oO How can it get any worse? Oo ::She shrugged. James: Me brain's yer playground, Nate-O...:: She batted at him with annoyed pale blue eyes.:: Crack me head open and poke at the contents, if ye please.... ::Nate came to the question suggested in the manual. It regarded deep emotional context, and was completely and randomly selected by the computer. He didn't think twice about asking it.:: Wilmer: State the name of the first person you ever fell in love with. ::Nessa stopped breathing. Her heart raced to a level she wasn't prepared for. Something about the question filled her with immediate panic, before the reality of the invasiveness even registered to her. She would not answer. She could not answer. This farce had gone on long enough.:: ::She stood up, from the vibrating, antique, mind-thief, and interrupted its sensor contact with her skin. In obnoxious terminated lines of code, the computer essentially "freaked" and began spitting a series of whirs and clicks at having its primary functions terminated without warning.:: James: I ain't sittin' in yer lousy chair no more. "Ow's 'bout we call it good and pass it to Commander T'Mar in Like-new condition? Yeh? ::Annoyed, hungry, angry and embarrassed beyond belief, Nessa stormed from the computer lab. Nate was so deep into his scientific process, he could not fathom why. For the last eight months, he'd seen Nessa endure invasive test after invasive test. Perhaps, he mused, this interrogation of his had awakened negative sentiment of those tests. Or perhaps, Nessa was just being Nessa.:: ::Nate shrugged, sitting in the chair. He just simply did not understand Nessa sometimes.:: Wilmer: Women... ::He mumbled to himself.:: ....I will never understand them. ::The computer set off a series of processed beeps.:: Computer: Affirmative. ::Nate squinted his eyes and looked at the evil, invasive chair, who could not have possibly understood his statement.:: Wilmer: Oh shut up... TBC Lt. Cmdr. Nate Wilmer HCO USS Constitution-B E239107NW0
  17. SECURITY FOOTAGE: The Rule of Balzog ((Ooyetirent Control Center, Asav, Five Years before the Gift of Zolrak)) :: In the center of the large operations center, Asavii Science Minister Atorin paced back and forth, waiting impatiently for the arrival of an important guest. Ooyetirent was in a remote mountaintop location, which was good for privacy and maintaining state security, but was horrible for arranging quick meetings. Still, the meeting had to occur here, where the genesis of an audacious plan had been formulated and hatched. The plan only had one chance of success however, and it hinged on the wildly exotic theories of one Professor Zuril. Science Minister Atorin had gained his position through political means rather than scientific ones, which meant that the Professor’s theoretical technology was beyond his ability to comprehend, but his advisors assured him that should the technology come to fruition, it would be the perfect tool for the radical plan. And, glancing at some of the display screens, streaming the news reports of protests and violence that were becoming more organized and numerous by the month, their plan could afford no delays. :: :: Professor Zuril arrived at the command center with the slow steps of his old age. He was considered one of the best scientists in Asav, and had received several prizes in these last years of his career. His mind, however, was more centered on furthering his research than on any recognition, and being called away for such futile matters disturbed him. :: Zuril: Minister. You asked for me. Atorin: I did, Professor. Thank you for agreeing to come here today. First, allow me to show you around these fine facilities. :: Looking around as they exchanged pleasantries, the professor realized two things. First, he was not here on some trivial matter for publicity. He was in a highly protected command center, in Ooyetirent, the center of the Asavii Space Program. The second was that the screens around them did not only show the space program. They showed the news, full of demonstrations, protests, and fanatics with signs of ‘Balzog Rules Asav’. :: Zuril: I guess I am not here to discuss science. Atorin: ::noticing the target of the professor’s attention:: Science, yes, but in the interests of all Asav. There is civil unrest, and it is ever more virulent. Some of it has even taken on religious overtones. :: The Science Minister spat out these last words with a derisive sniff. Religion was a relic of the past, with no place in an enlightened, technologically expanding Asav. The fact that the old gods were being mentioned by the populace was something that the current government took great pains to try and suppress, covertly where possible, overtly where necessary.:: Zuril: So I have heard. This terrible drought has brought forth the old religions, and they say it is the wrath of Balzog, old god of the land. And I though the Asavii did not believe in the gods anymore. Atorin: Yes, well… despite our efforts to appease the civilian agitators, they still howl indignation at the challenges we face dealing with the unexpected decline in planetary water levels. :: That comment made the old professor a bit angry. And in was not easy to anger a man who only lives for his research, unless you mock his projects. But this had nothing to do with it. :: Zuril: Unexpected!? Since we started using water-fueled technology a century ago we have literally destroyed half of the water in Asav. Ecologists had been protesting its use for the last seventy years. And now it comes as a surprise? Atorin: This government’s mandate is to solve the egregious problems handed down to us all by our forebears. The water-fuel technology allowed us as a civilization to experience an industrial revolution unmatched in the history of our planet! The pros and cons were weighed by our forebears, and we are making the hard decisions necessary to ensure our planet’s continued successes going forward. :: The professor calmed down, realizing the man was probably just representing his government’s official position. Still, he found the government was being hypocritical with this subject, and that made him irritable. :: Zuril: What did you want? :: The main monitor showed Asav in a planar view, with the orbits of its two natural satellites ringing it. Atorin led the aging scientist over the display, and with all the smarmy grace of a seasoned politician he started his pitch.:: Atorin: We need water. Our industry, our power grid, our very civilization is built off the need for water. Where is a readily available source of water? :: The display was interactive, as if an animated slide show. The larger of the natural satellites, occupying a slower, wider orbit, dimmed. The smaller, quicker moon with the shallow orbit lit up blinking. :: Atorin: Our second moon, of course! Zuril: That’s stupid. The idea has been proposed over and over again, and the only possible conclusion is that the mission needs way more water-fuel than it can bring back. Useless. :: Through a freak chance of cosmic fate, Asav had acquired a second moon of ice, to complement the one made of rock and metals, many many millennia ago. There were many theories about how this had happened. A massive comet captured just so by a delicate balance of planetary pull, or perhaps the gradual coalescence of a planetary ring of ice particles… conjecture and debate abounded, but however it had happened, it proved a fortuitous turn of cosmological chance for a water-starved civilization. Of course, attempts had been made using their limited rocket technology to harvest frozen water from the massive globe of ice. For over 50 years, the tantalizingly close, unlimited source of water hung in the night sky and beckoned for exploitation, but their current methods of space mining were too inefficient, with way too little return to make the effort feasible. :: Atorin: You are right. Using existing technology, we could never garner enough ice to fuel the planet’s water-fuel needs for a day. But, the government’s defence contract with Chitern Corporation has led to a wild theory, an awesome plan that will solve our problems immediately and for all time. We will use our nuclear arsenal for good instead of ill, and carve a massive chunk of ice off of the frozen moon, to be brought to Asav! :: As expected, the professor jumped with shock and incredulousness. The government’s scientific advisers had done just the same thing when Chitern first suggested this course of action. Allowing such a massive piece of ice to fall into Asav’s atmosphere would create a catastrophic event, possibly even an Extinction Level Event. Even just a sliver of the ice moon’s volume striking the planet’s surface would unleash enough kinetic energy to rival the entire Asavii nuclear arsenal hundreds of times over, sending blanketing dust and ash into the atmosphere and choking all life from the planet within a generation. But, if all went to plan, and if Professor Zuril was willing and able to assist, that would never happen. He cut off the scientist before Zuril could even start with his counter-arguments.:: Atorin: I know what you will say, and it’s been said many times over. As it stands now, such an action could only have catastrophic results as the shard fell into Asav’s atmosphere. But! This is why I have asked you here. Chitern knows of your developments with your, er… ::gesticulating airily:: space-time “bubble” thing, and believe that it could be used to safely transport the shard to the planet’s surface, where it will slowly melt as an almost limitless source of water-fuel! So, straight to the point. ::leaning in close, speaking tersely:: Are the rumors true that your “bubble” can accomplish just sort a thing? And, more importantly… will you contribute your technology and expertise in this pursuit of a solution to the biggest problem our species has ever faced? :: Once the explanation was over, the professor was silent for a long time. The worst part was that the whole plan was stupidly naive and reasonably feasible in equal parts. :: Zuril: Its name is Warp Field Generator. And, with time, I intend to create an engine that would permit Faster Than Light travel. That would allow us to colonize other planets where we could find water. Atorin: Time, you say. That is one resource that is running out even quicker than our water. We don’t need a solution decades down the road. That is the same dismissive hubris our forebears had, that allowed us to get to the point of crisis we are in now. A drastic plan of action is essential, and we must be brave enough to grasp it. So I ask you again… can your technology do this? Zuril: It… :: He had to shut up. The minister had a point there, their people needed a faster solution, or they would soon face massive dehydration and the destruction of their civilization once their main energy source was turned off worldwide. :: Zuril: I don’t like it. But it is feasible, yes. Atorin: ::relieved, toothy smile:: Good. Good! Chitern contractors will be visiting your lab very soon then, to assist you and ramp up the completion timeframe for your technology. With their advanced research and production abilities, they should help you work out the bugs in your, er, Warp Field, was it?, technology in no time. Those people out there ::pointing to the protests on the news screens:: will be singing your praises when you save our planet, Professor! :: The professor just stood there for a few seconds, looking grimly at the screens showing the news worldwide. :: -------------------------------- SECURITY FOOTAGE: The Gift of Zolrak ((Ooyetirent Control Center, Asav, Year of the Gift of Zolrak)) :: Professor Zuril had been invited to the control room on the day the different unmanned ships arrived at the satellite. He was supposed to be one of the project leaders, but in reality he had not had any authority, just being consulted in regard of the Warp Field Generators. :: Zuril: What happens if we are successful? That gives us water for maybe another century, but we cannot base our economy on chipping pieces of our own moon… Atorin: This is meant to buy us time, as we begin to phase out the water-fuel technology. Time we wouldn’t have had anyways. But that’s a discussion we can discuss at a later date. Right now, we’re on the cusp of history! :: The professor sighed and looked at the screens. The whole Gift of Zolrak project involved five unmanned ships. Two of them to dig under the required part of the ice satellite, and then detonate two nuclear warheads deep under the surface. That was supposed to chip a huge part of the satellite away. A hundred kilometers in diameter, about four trillion liters of water. The other three robots would generate a warp field that would separate the newly created meteor from the moon’s gravity well, and bring it towards Asav, where it would be destroyed and collected as it fell into the atmosphere. :: Atorin: ::over the din of the operations room as the mission reached its critical phase:: Look, look! The mining ships have broken the surface! :: Though he was ostensibly the government official in charge of the mission, in actuality Science Minister Atorin was but a figurehead. In the intervening years since the mission had first been devised, Chitern Corporation had slowly but surely taken over key elements of the planning, construction, and execution phases. The government had become basically a spectator in what was Chitern’s crowning achievement, and Atorin himself wasn’t even a prominent member of that government. The one thing he had contributed with any lasting effect to the mission was its name, “Gift of Zolrak”. In a fit of pique against a religiously-tinged opponent during a televised election debate, Atorin had invoked the name of the ancient water god as a tongue-in-cheek jab at the nouveau Balzog initiate. The name was apt enough to stick, and with his political title and as the originator of the mission name, Atorin was granted the privilege of overlooking this historic event. :: Zuril: :: raising from his chair, speaking terribly slowly. :: No… they have not. Are you sure this will work? Atorin: ::dismissive sniff:: No, I’m sure everything is fine. The calculations and projections have been checked, and rechecked, and double checked a dozen times over. It’s all going as to plan. :: Atorin, not as astute as should have been for a man in his position, was blissfully oblivious to the ominous change in smell of the room from the enhanced emotions, the subtle shift in the tone and gravity of the background din. He was too busy watching the pretty graphics on the news screens, the ones that showed no true information but were created mostly for the consumption of the uninformed and ignorant masses. Had he been watching actual data feeds like Zuril was, and had any scientific experience to support the worth of his title as Science Minister, he might not have been so blissful. :: Zuril: Is there a second detonation, maybe? Chitern Operative: No. This is all that was planned. It SHOULD have separated the objective meteorite. :: That ‘should’ hung in the air. It was dead clear that it didn’t. They had seen the explosion, the shockwave illuminate the dig holes, the moon’s surface rumble. But it had not broken apart. It could have been a problem with the warheads. Or a terrible miscalculation of the moon’s density or structure. Whatever their failure was, the moon was still whole. :: Zuril: Abort mission. Disengage Warp Field Generators. We have failed. :: The old professor had no real authority in that room. But his dark tone resonated on everyone’s moods, and no one was able to respond. Slowly, painfully, they started looking down from the main projector, towards their own workstations, to give the unmanned ships the orders to stand down and return. :: Chitern Operative: It’s not working. They are not responding. Zuril: What? Why? Chitern Operative: The magnetic pulse from the nuclear blast is interfering with our comm systems. :: That would mean the robotic ships would not be able to return, and would be stranded on the moon until their space program was advanced enough to retrieve them. It was a pity to lose three warp field generators, both for their cost and the amount of work the professor had put on them, but luckily there were no lost lives. The whole project had been a very long shot, anyway. :: Zuril: It’s alright. Let them crash on the surface. :: His whole career as a scientist, being a war veteran, and a prison camp survivor. None of his past experiences could have prepared him for the terror the following words awakened on him. :: Chitern Operative: No, professor. The system is automated. Unless they receive a counter order, they will keep up with the mission. Zuril: WHAT? Atorin: No. No. ::wringing his hands and sniffing rapidly:: They will just terminate their mission. The mission will just abort now that something had gone wrong. Correct, Professor? :: Before answering the minister’s question, the professor frantically checked the code of the robot’s programming. In hopes of finding something, some small line saying that they would automatically stop if something went wrong. There wasn’t anything. :: Zuril: The Warp Field Generators can’t be turned off. They will start bringing the chipped part down towards Asav. If there is no chipped part… they will bring the whole moon. Atorin: What do you mean, they can’t be turned off? Zuril, you designed those “bubble” generators, find a way to stop them! Zuril: I designed the generators, but the robots were Chitern work. And apparently they didn’t count a nuclear blast next to them, which was their intended mission, would be a problem. :: The Chitern operatives in the room looked away. They had not been involved in the design program, they were trained to control the system. But it was a terrible mistake on the part of Chitern, and they were a bit ashamed by it. :: Atorin: ::laughing, a nervous, shaky titter:: “They will bring the whole moon”... That is funny. You couldn’t seriously expect your little bubble machines to move a whole moon?! Zuril: Not in the same way they would have brought down the meteorite. But it will be enough to deviate the moon from its orbit. From there… anything can happen. It can crash on us in a month, a year, five years… who knows, but it will be definitely coming down. Atorin: Come down?? ::he couldn’t even fathom such destruction on a planetary scale:: It would… will… destroy Asav and everything on it... ‘ Zuril: Even before crashing, just orbiting close enough to us will drag our atmosphere away and destroy our ecosystems. ::In a state of shock, unbelieving yet stricken and frozen in place, Atorin didn’t know what to say or do. He was a nobody, a middling provincial politician who had gained his position in life more through luck and happenstance than through any reasonable amount of intellect or skill. Now, being the face of the mission which would ultimately end all life of Asav, Atorin never felt more small and helpless in his entire existence. As short as it would ultimately end up being.:: Atorin: We cannot allow this to happen. There has to be something we can do! We can, I dunno, blow it up or something?! :: Now, that was the first sensible idea that had come out from the minister’s mouth that day. It was completely crazy, but they were in a dire situation. Blowing up the whole satellite would require an arsenal far more impressive than what had failed to break it. But it would avoid them the main impact and gravity effects. :: Zuril: Let me do some calculations. :: he unceremoniously pushed an operative away from her computer. :: The moon is 750 km in radius, and that’s 1.7 times 10^9 km^3 worth of frozen water. ::Atorin had spoken out of panic and desperation, but with the professor taking the suggestion seriously, it cleared his head enough to embolden his words.:: Atorin: Yeah, I mean there will still be widespread destruction as shards of ice rain down on the planet, but there’s still a chance for life, right? Zuril: It is better than the alternative, but the amount of water we are bringing back is enough to raise the water level by five thousand meters. It will destroy civilization as we know it. Atorin: Darned if we do, and darned if we don’t. The “Gift of Zolrak”, we called this. ::maniacal sniff:: I wish I had never said that. This is more like the “Wrath of Zolrak”. :: The professor just nodded. He didn’t want to be the one to actually say it, but it was their only option, and it was the minister’s place to convince the different nations of Asav to use their joint arsenal on this. The professor definitely did not envy his position. :: Atorin: ::defeated, shoulders slumping:: Somebody get me set up on a conference call to the President and the Minister of Defence. The unthinkable must be arranged. -------------------------------- SECURITY FOOTAGE: The Wrath of Zolrak ((Ooyetirent Control Center, Asav, Year Two after the Gift of Zolrak)) :: Former professor Zuril and former minister Atorin sat in their chairs, silent, as they had been so many times in the last months. The years of work in the failed Gift of Zolrak had made them respect each other in their own way. But the two years since then had made them friends, mostly because they didn’t have anywhere else to go. :: Zuril: Any news? :: The former minister had come back recently to the now abandoned and hidden facility, with a new uniform and some equipment. Going out was more and more dangerous each passing day, since the Church of Zolrak became a de facto dictatorship after the floods started. :: Atorin: ::abusing a well-worn and macabre joke:: Yes, It’s still raining out today. :: Zuril managed to produce a sad smile. Of course it still rained. It had been raining for the last year and a half, since the first drops from the destroyed ice moon started falling onto the atmosphere, and the storms covered the whole surface of Asav after the massive shards of ice started falling from a decaying orbit around the planet. The ocean level had already raised by two kilometers, and if his calculations had any merit, it was supposed to raise way further in the following months. :: Zuril: And this new uniform? What’s the AFP, some new government maneuver to save their hide? Atorin: Ha, you jest. There has been a government in name only for the last 6 months. Powerless, fragmented, hunted by the clerics of Zolrak. :: If the drought had brought forth the faith of Balzog, god of the earth, the floods did the same for Zolrak, god of water. But, for some reason, the church of Zolrak were better prepared, and as their faithful grew in numbers, they started taking over the cities and governments, violently routing the unfaithful, more preventing their evacuation than actually dirtying their hands. Government facilities, as well as libraries and any other buildings that would be a proof Zolrak had not always ruled Asav, were left to flood and be lost under the water. The government had tried sealing some of them, in order for them to survive, but most were discovered and destroyed. Ooyetirent was yet to be found, thanks to its secluded and protected location, but it was a matter of time. Either they were found, or they drowned. :: Zuril: And Chitern? What happened to them? Atorin: They are bringing the first of their “biodomes” online. Apparently they will be self sufficient under the surf, each housing thousands of Asavii. ::derisive sniff:: I don’t care what they claim. These domes were under design well before the Gift of Zolrak failed. I swear they had planned for this eventuality right from the beginning. Zuril: So they had been preparing for our failure? I’m guessing the ‘Wrath of Zolrak’, as they have nicknamed themselves, did not take that news very well. Atorin: Apparently, Chitern is finishing the domes under threat of death from the followers of Zolrak. They will likely wrest control of them once they are finished. I wouldn’t doubt it if they cast out Chitern as soon as their usefulness is complete, much as they have already done to the unbelievers. The Wrath of Zolrak blame Chitern nearly as much as they blame you and I, my old friend. :: Another long silence, made deeper by the offline computers and the generator at the edge of failure. All their problems were in part due to Chitern failure, but since the two of them were the visible heads of the project, they took all the blame, leaving them ostracized in the abandoned facilities, knowing the whole world would bring on them the weight of all their disgraces. So they did not feel bad at all for any terrible destiny Chitern would happen to suffer. But with them went another part of the old world, of the Asav before religious war took over. :: Atorin: ::contemplatively:: How much longer will the heavens rain ice into our atmosphere, do you think? Zuril: If my calculations are right, for another three years. But this will be underwater in a few weeks. :: That train of thought brought them towards the new equipment, and they both looked at the boxes next to Atorin. It was the equipment to seal the entrance of the lab, so it would not flood and be destroyed when the water level raised over it. :: Zuril: So you are going to do it? Atorin: It has to be me. It was my hubris that led to the loss of all that made Asav great. If anything is to survive of the way it once was, then it falls to me to be the final steward. :: The former minister showed the sealing instruments. Complete with a sensor that would work as a beacon for those that knew how to decrypt it, but would jam comms for anyone who didn’t. Apparently they were hoping this religious uprise would end up shortly, and when the rational and scientific society Asav had been for years raised again, they would be able to find their old computers and dig up their old knowledge, that this Wrath of Zolrak was trying to erase. Looking over the beacon activation signals, Atorin had to choke back a barking laugh:: Atorin: “All Hail Balzog”?? You have a twisted sense of humor, Zuril. :: The professor sniffed in a mischievous and entertained way. Taking this from Zolrak was one of the last few pleasures he could afford. :: Zuril: Can you think of a password the Wrath of Zolrak is less likely to produce? Atorin: No, I concur. If anyone overcomes the Wrath of Zolrak, it would likely be someone who turned to Balzog out of desperation or survival. And, it is guaranteed to be something that would never be uttered by a follower of Zolrak. ::with all seriousness:: Where will you go now, Zuril? Zuril: Me? I will probably go into hiding. I would love to see my Warp Field Generator become and actual engine that can take people away from this sinking planet-ship. :: Sinking planet-ship. Apparently there was yet some energy left for additional humor somewhere in the old professor. :: Zuril: But I don’t think they would appreciate it right now. Maybe I will try to find an apprentice I can teach everything I have discovered so far. :: They didn’t know yet, but he wouldn’t. He would be found, and killed fighting for his freedom, unwilling to let himself be captured. Apparently, there was yet some energy left for fighting in the old professor, too. :: Atorin: You could always hide out in the remnants of the old Chitern facilities near here. Did you know, the Wrath of Zolrak have christened them Skarlozent. ::sad smile:: In retrospect, it’s the perfect name. Unbeliever’s Folly… that sums up all of our actions in a nutshell, doesn’t it? Some day, everything we have touched will be called Skarlozent. ::pause:: After some thought, disregard my suggestion. You deserve better than some old Chitern factory. Zuril: So, this is farewell, isn’t it? Atorin: Yes it is, my old friend. It truly is the end. :: Stepping just outside Ooyetirent, the two most hated men in Asav, and maybe the two men who had given more for their planet in an age, shook hands until they succumbed to a heartfelt embrace, sniffing in respect and affection for each other. As the old professor turned to leave the control center that had been so important in his life for these past years, he slowly came to a terrible realization. :: Zuril: Minister… you are going to seal this place from the outside, right? ::The only response was another sad smile, as Atorin stepped back through the door and closed it between them, and the last thing Zuril ever heard from Atorin was the heavy clank of the locking latches clamping into place.:: -------------------------------- Minister Atorin Old Asavii government Minister of Science & Professor Zuril Asavii Astrophysicist as simmed by Lt. Maxwell Traenor Chief Science Officer USS Darwin-A NCC-99312-A & Lt.JG John Valdivia Science Officer USS Darwin-A NCC-99312-A
  18. ((Main Engineering)) ::Oh how the engine room hummed out a tune similar to gospel to engineers. The constant vroom, vroom ,vroom Sent from my iPhone ::To most anyone else, the room would have sounded loud and obnoxious. But to the trained ear it sounded like a finely tuned, healthy machine... Like a doctor listening to a healthy heart.:: ::Rustyy stood over the computers in charge of initiating and monitoring the QSD. He didn't exactly specialize in its operation, but he didn't really specialize in anything. He was an everything kind of guy. Made him feel more useful.:: ::Rustyy had been almost fifteen minutes late to the morning shift. He had planned on working the graveyard. But apparently one of his 1st shifters had gotten sick the night before, so here he was in all his splendor. Bed head galore, wrinkled uniform and boots barely on with the laces tucked into his socks. But he had made it just in time to receive the Commander's call, so no harm no fowl.:: Lex: Good morning sunshine. ::The man mocked as he walked up on Rustyy.:: Hael: Hey, you the coffee delivery guy? Lex: Nah, that would be your girlfriend, Penny. ::Rustyy turned to look at Lex and leaned against one of the many computers. He crossed his arms a shook his head with a smirk.:: Hael: Girlfriend? Ha! Not likely, you see me bein' the type fer datin' anoyone? Lex: Please, you two spit fire at each other the same way people dance the salsa... Hael: ::Balked at Lex.:: The crap that mean? Lex: Seriously? Don't you know what kind of dance that is? Hael: It's a dance? ::Looked slightly horrified.:: I thought you was talkin' 'bout food. Lex: ::Paused.:: Ooookaaay... ::[...]ed his head. It just looked like to the rest of us that sparks were flying If you know what I mean. Hael: ::Deadpan.:: I know what that means... Really? Ya'll thought that? Lex: Oh yeah... Computer: Message for Ensign Rustyy Hael from Dial. Hael: Go 'head play it. Dial: Hey hey. Actually I had hoped we could have dinner alone. Tell me what you think about that Lex: Sounds like you got two girls into you... ::Baffled:: How does that work? Hael: 'Into' me? What Dial? Nah we just friends is all. ::Rustyy turned to check on his computer. There had been a noticeable silence in the room. Lex hadn't said anything after Rustyy denied the supposedly interested girls.:: ::He hadn't been on the ship for a week yet. Penny had a child, so dating a child was out of the question. And Dial wasn't exactly a female so would she even be interested in males? It wasn't something he had asked her about yet.:: ::That and Rustyy wasn't into the whole relationship thing. It took to much work, you had to watch what you say to them AND to others. Rustyy was a flirt but no charmer.:: Hael: What don' believe me? Lex: Can't say I do, man. Sounds like that nurse is asking you for a date. Hael: ::Paused. Baulked at Lex.:: No, no way... Really? Lex: Yeah man, she's asking you to dinner... Just the two of you... You know... Like what couples do.... Hael: Friends do that too. ::There was another moment of silence. Rustyy crossed his arms high on his chest and bounced from foot to foot. His mind now pacing through every time he hung out with Dial. :: Haell: No... No freakin'' way... ::He bit his lower lip just as realization hit him like a Mack truck. He was being hit on and he didn't even realize it... But the thought of being in a relationship turned his stomach... Nope it wasn't something for him.:: Lex:: Yes way, what I want to know is how? Hael: :::He huffed and puffed.:: You got me. Lex: I mean no offense, you you're not much to look at. And most of the time you're kind of rude. Hael: :::Deadpan.:: Thanks fer that. Lex: Soooo are you going to go out with her? Hael: I'll go to dinner, but only to let'er know I ain't in'erested. Lex: Any idea why she was? :: Rustyy shrugged, then pointed to his hair.:: Lex: Wow... Okay then. Hael: Honestly I donno why. You know where we be goin' in such a hurry? Lex: Why to change subjects... But no I don't. Hael: Then what good are you? Don't you be gotten work to be doin'? Lex: Sure, we'll go with that. :: Lex smirked as he turned to leave. Rustyy once again stood alone in the secured room of the QSD.:: :: Slight panic began to set in. It wasn't that he wasn't into girls. Not by any means. But the thought... Of dating. Just not his thing. And why did either of those girls seem interested in him? Of all people.:: ((Timeskip - Arrived at DS 285)) ::Rustyy had found many ways to kill time. Mostly just twiddling his thumbs, getting coffee and bantering with those few engineers he knew. :: ::The call would come in to shut down the QSD because they had arrived at their location. Where that was, he didn't know but they seemed to get there in record time.:: Rajel: =/\= This is your Commanding Officer speaking. All of you have received a message just this minute. This message is your Transfer orders. A small part of the crew will leave us and has been assigned to new ships. Thank you for your service and hard work, it has not gone unnoticed. You have made us and Starfleet proud. The bigger part of the crew is going to relocate to the USS Constitution effective immediately. Please begin to pack your things and head to Docking Bay 45, where the Constitution is located. You may use cargo transporters when needed. I will see you on the Constitution. Bridge out. =/\= :: Rustyy shared looks with his fellow engineers. The voice hadn't sounded like the commending officer Rustyy knew. D something... Now he was going to have to move again and try and remember another person's name...:: :: But just as the new commander had said, consoles scattered all over the engine room lit up with messages. Rustyy looked down and saw that he was one that would be going to the Constitution. As well as a few officers he knew and a few he didn't...:: Hael: Fer those of ya headin' out away from me, best of luck. :: He announced to the room.:: ((Timeskip - Rustyys personal room - Constitution)) :: Rustyy hadn't yet bothered to really unpack. Not because he didn't thing he was going to stationed on the Apollo long. But because he was to lazy. The laziness paid off. It took minutes to pick up his things and walk over to his new ship... He couldn't wait to check out the new toys that was meant for this style of ship.:: Hopper: =/\= Hey Rustyy... You busy?=/\= Hael: :: He tapped his comm badge.:: =/\= Not really.=/\= :: He threw his luggage onto the two seater couch...:: Hopper: =/\= Why doesn't that surprise me? =/\= Hael: :: Grunted.:: =/\= Whatever.. What you be needin'?=/\= Hopper: =/\= I need some help moving.=/\= Hael: =/\= Um... Yeah sure I can do that... =/\= Hopper: =/\= No don't go making this weird or anything. Room 17. Can you be here soon?=/\= Hael: =/\= I ain't gonna make nothin weird, I'll be there in a jiffy.=/\= (( Timeskip - Out Front Penny Hoppers Room - Apollo)) :: Rustyy stood outside Penny's room. The thought past his mind last minute that he might meet her daughter. There was a scary thought... He rang the doorbell.:: Hael: Can I come in? :: He yelled though the door.:: Hopper: Not yet! I'm in a towel! :: she yelled back.:: Hael: ::He paused. She was going to bite his head off for this one.:: I'm blind, it's okay. TBC _____________ Ensign Rustyy Hael Engineering Officer USS Constitution - B
  19. ((Backsim - Recovery Wing, Sick Bay )) :: Jalana entered the Recovery wing and saw the name she wanted to see right at the first room. As she approached the door opened without making a sound and she slipped inside. Stepping closer to the bed she looked down at the patient inside and smiled softly.:: Rajel: Hey, Alize. :: Jalana had never been one for formalities and she had always addressed her colleagues with their first names, even when she had been new or CMO. That was just who she was. It made her feel like they all were in the same boat. She did realize though that she hadn't with Foster. She was not sure why, maybe she was not sure if he would mind. Before that did not matter since she had been the boss lady, but that had changed now. She should find out, but not now. :: Sorenson: Hey, Jalana. ::She managed a tiny smile.:: When did you get here? :: The Trill smiled a bit more and reached out, taking the Doctor's hand.:: Rajel: I just came back, Doctor Foster told me that you had fun without me. ::tilting her head slightly.:: How are you doing. Sorenson: Tired. There's not much pain anymore, but my chest feels tight and I could sleep for days. ::She sighed:: I don't think I'll get my reports in on time. Rajel: Don't you worry about that. Right now all you've got to do is getting better. So, was that your first witnessing of a resurrection or does that happen more often? ::She chuckled slightly, hoping that Alize would not mind a little humour, despite the dire situation she had been in. :: Sorenson: I have never seen that before. ::She took in a tiny breath:: I need to see what kind of chemical she took to give her such a convincing state of death. ::looking up:: I know, I know... later when I feel better. Rajel: Exactly. I'm sure it is in the files, so it won't run away. ::Pause:: Have you been well taken care of? ::It was after all the time she had not been CMO any more, still strange to be away and know that everything was taken care of. Old habits really did die hard. :: Sorenson: Well, it's not every day that strange young officers rush to your aid. ::A small smile again:: I'm pretty sure I was bridal carried into sickbay. Which is sweet, if disturbing. Rajel: ::laughing:: Well that is a treatment we all would like to have. :: The moment of quiet, and that look in Alize's eyes announced the question she would ask next. Jalana did not have to be a telepath to know. Sorenson: Commander... do you know.. did Dakrevi hurt anyone else? Rajel: ::She gently squeezed the woman's hand.:: No, not after she had been with you. The young man who helped you apparently was a hologram, so she could not hurt him even if she had tried. ::She paused and for a moment a memory flashed through her mind of a past life. His voice echoed in her head as she spoke the very same words he had once used.:: She will not hurt anyone any more. She is dead. :: The following sigh was filled with relief. The change in the facial features, the body language was unique to that emotion. And Jalana could not blame Alize for that, from what she had heard about Dakrevi. It was a double edged sword. As a Doctor every life was sacred, but as a person the actions the Zakdorn had planned and performed disgusted her. :: Sorenson: She was a monster ::Sorenson whispered:: Rajel: She is gone now, so we don't have to worry about it any more. In time she will be a mere name in reports. :: Jalana squeezed the hand of her colleague gently as she saw how tired Alize was. Quietly she raised from her chair. :: Rajel: I shall leave you for now, so you can get some rest and sleep. We're right outside if you need anything. :: She offered a gentle smile and waited until she was outside to drop it again. Alize had looked bad and she knew that the scars could stay with her for a while. Jalana still had bad dreams from things that had happened to her, and she had never needed to stay in Sick Bay to heal. At least not in this life. She just hoped that Alize would get through this stronger. :: ----- Commander Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator
  20. ((Mount Vishlu, Vulcan)) ::Sovak stood alone in silent meditation, high on the face of Mount Vishlu.:: ::He'd been exiled to the monastery there as a child, cast out by his Uncle Taarikh, a stern old Vulcan master who couldn't find a place in his life for an undisciplined, overemotional orphan.:: ::Now, after an escape to Starfleet service and nearly two years aboard USS Atlantis, Sovak had exiled himself to Vishlu. It was, for the first time, a relief to retreat to the ancient, craggy red home of his lonely childhood, and lose his cares to the well-ordered life of the Vulcan monastics.:: ::The wind whistled merrily through the mountain's sundrenched corners, and Sovak heard Ren's laughter in it.:: ::The monks were strict in their routines. When it was time to eat, they ate. When it was time to meditate, they did so. When it was time to work, to sleep, to build, to mend, each action had its time, and each time was held sacred to its purpose. All was in service to order. All was in order with logic. Sovak found it much easier to follow logic here. On Atlantis, it was hard to forget his emotions, with Ren always so near at hand, his turbulent Trill feelings a constant trigger to that part of Sovak that wanted to throw logic out the window.:: ::Sovak thought of the last time he'd kissed Ren, aboard Atlantis. At last, they'd almost come together. Then they both left that ship on different paths.:: ::Ren had been transferred. Sovak had run. Without pausing for so much as goodbye, he'd taken off alone from Atlantis, back to the hard discomforts of home.:: ::The young Vulcan's path had never been clear. His parents were Starfleet officers who perished aboard USS T'Vel, his mother T'Nal giving up her life to see her small son placed safely aboard a lifepod. T'Nal's brother Taarikh took Sovak in, but could not crush the willfully emotional child's spirit as efficiently as he would have liked. On Mount Vishlu, the beleaguered monks had learned to leave Sovak to his own devices. Unable to divest himself of the strong emotions that tore through his heart every day, he'd made a study of pretending to be like the other Vulcans, until he could make his escape.:: ::It had not been easy to get into Starfleet Academy without a mentor, without a sponsor. The monks had not wanted him to go. Taarikh disapproved allowing his nephew to live among varied emotional creatures from across the Federation. But Sovak had managed it with studied determination, and he'd landed Ren Rennyn as his roommate in San Francisco. There, Sovak's adventures had truly begun.:: ::A scuff to the ground alerted Sovak of a presence behind him in the monastery's rocky red garden.:: ::He had not been really meditating anyway. He turned to find his uncle, Taarikh, looking on him with well-practiced disapproval. The stern old cleric had descended upon Vishlu like a plague the moment he learned his wayward nephew had returned.:: Taarikh: I am informed you plan to leave Vishlu once again. Sovak: Indeed. Starfleet has ordered an end to my leave of absence. ::They spoke in such calm, reasonable tones that no observer would have known they were spitting venom.:: Taarikh: Your time here has been too brief. I am not certain you have managed to center yourself during this short visit. ::Translation - You are a failure, as always.:: Sovak: Disobeying Starfleet's orders is not an viable option. Taarikh: That is so. A commitment such as you have made to Starfleet must not be broken lightly. ::Translation - That's your fault. You broke your commitment to kohlinar, and to me.:: ::The planet Vulcan was too hot for Sovak's comfort. In his first four years, he'd grown accustomed to the mild temperatures of his parent's quarters on USS T'Vel. In more than twenty years on Vulcan, he'd never learned to love the heat. Sweat clamored from his pores now, running off him in desperate attempts at escape. Taarikh, in his heavy formal robes, remained cool and unaffected.:: ::Sovak stood to meet his uncle eye to eye.:: Sovak: A commitment made in good faith must be fulfilled. ::Translation - You promised to raise me as your family, Taarikh, but you sent me away, a lost, lonely child. Translation - I promised to love Ren on Atlantis, but I ran from those feelings, not knowing what to do with them. Translation - Maybe I have been a failure. At feeling. At not feeling. At being what you wanted me to be. At being what I wanted me to be. But I'm determined to succeed.:: Taarikh: Starfleet was never the place for you. A more logical choice would have been to remain here on Mount Vishlu. Sovak: Your disapproval of Starfleet is illogical, Uncle. My work there is in service to the greater good of the Federation, and, by extension, all Vulcankind. Taarikh: Indeed? Starfleet? ::Sovak could not translate the wearily vengeful look that passed through his uncle's aging eyes. For a moment, they nearly brimmed with emotion.:: Taarikh: Starfleet killed your mother, my headstrong sister T'Nal, whose insistence on living a life among outsiders compromised her offspring's upbringing. My sister was a fool, her husband was a fool, and the child she bore has been the greatest fool of all. ::Sovak stared. This outburst was unprecedented. Perhaps the monastery's altitude was affecting Taarikh's cognitive function. Perhaps too many years of repression had finally forced grief to take hold.:: Sovak: I have never heard you speak of my mother. Taarikh: She was meant for a greater life than to die pointlessly in a vacuum with that man who was your father. You are too much like him by far. ::These words caused no harm to Sovak, neither to his feelings nor to his self-confidence. He'd known his father to be a good man. He'd watched his mother sacrifice herself because there was no other way to save her son. He'd learned in one moment that logic and emotion could be the same thing. Taarikh's bluster meant nothing, except as evidence that the old cleric had a nerve after all, and that, despite all his talk, that nerve could be touched.:: ::A show of sympathy was the worst thing Sovak could have done to Taarikh. Instead, out of kindness, he pretended the outburst had not happened.:: ::They were saved by a gong.:: Sovak: The hour is struck. I must assist in preparing the midday meal. Sit inside where it is cool. Perhaps you can meditate. Within the hour, you must join us at the table. ::Hospitality was a way of caring for others. He'd learned that from Ren.:: ::Taarikh, looking tired, made no move to go in.:: Taarikh: I shall remain here, if you please. ::Translation - I'd rather eat a hat than do anything that was your idea.:: Sovak: As you wish. ::Sovak walked away, into the cool interior corridor. Tomorrow, he would depart for his new assignment aboard USS Darwin-A, reemerging into the universe from his secluded retreat. He didn't know where Ren had gone after Atlantis. For now, it didn't matter.:: ::It was time for Sovak to succeed at being himself, on his own terms. To honor the life his parents had given him and to embrace his uniqueness. It was time for Sovak to stand on his own.:: TBC ============================================ Ensign Sovak Operations Officer simmed by Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ============================================
  21. ((City of Vrans, Lower East End, Trillus Prime)) ::Andressa Castyr surveyed her disorderly and chaotic room, taking a final look to make sure she was not forgetting anything. Azmol, the largest of her three domestic feathercats sat sullenly on her ratty bed, covered as it was in threadbare sheets and the down and quill casings her animal companions shed relentlessly all over the apartments furniture. He refused to look her in the eye, as was his habit whenever he saw his owner packing suitcases, seemingly in the hopes of guilting her into staying home instead of whatever mission abroad took her from him on occasion. :: ::She smiled sadly at the beast while brushing strands of bright red hair out of her face and tucking them haphazardly behind her ear. Her pet, who she had rescued from a life on the streets of an impoverished lunar colony when he was just a kitten had become preoccupied with mindlessly licking a pillow, determined to ignore the presence of a mistress who was sure to abandon him imminently.:: ::She addressed her large pet sweetly, drawing out her words plaintively. :: Andressa Castyr: Azmol darling.... you know I am going to come back for you, I would not leave you alone with those idiots forever, I promise. ::As if on cue, her brother Jazren shouted indistinguishably in the other room. Jaxan, the other brother she lived with answered equally indistinguishably, but clearly also in attempt at matching his older brothers intimidation-factor (and almost certainly failing, Jaxan was a slight, pale and reedy-voiced slip of a boy, whose singular ambition in life seemed to be to become as tough as his idolized eldest sibling).Andressa closed her eyes and massaged the bridge of her nose, before continuing to survey the room. Azmol lost a bit of his resolve and allowed his large reflective blue eyes to dart up to Andressa, before dramatically sighing and rolling onto his side with what could only be described as defeat.:: :Andressa abandoned her packing and pounced on the animal, aggressively rubbing his tummy and cooing at him :: Andressa Castyr: Oh my POOR Azmol, how do you put up with how hard your life is.... ::In spite of his attitude, he began purring quietly, as if against his will. Their moment of bonding was cut short as the muffled shouting began to take on a slightly more dangerous tone, and was now joined by the sharp bark-like sounds the other two feather-cats made whenever excitement was under way. She sat up, blowing the recently freed strands of hair out of her face huffily. :: Andressa Castyr: Seriously dude, I am sorry for leaving you with those idiots, even if its not forever. ::She stormed angrily out of her bedroom to intercept whatever nonsense-scene was unfolding in their kitchen. It was difficult to figure out what had began it, but now her brothers were wrestling on the floor. The other two feathercats were also play fighting in solidarity, growling and barking (although their claws were still retracted, which was a reassuring sign that intervention was not required). One of her medicinal plants had been knocked over and dirt had been sprayed across the kitchen and into their living room, and for whatever reason, there was also bits of red hair pretty much everywhere. :: ::The boys paused in their scuffle, going suddenly still and quiet upon observing her entrance. The other feathercats took slightly longer to recognize that fighting time was for the moment over, but eventually got there, and also ceased their melee, sitting prettily to show off their obedience, their tongues ridiculously hanging out of their mouths. :: ::Andressa waited a beat before saying anything, drawing out the awkward absurdity of the scene. :: Andressa Castyr: What. ::It was not delivered like a question, but she clearly expected a response. The two brothers looked frigthened and embarrassed for a moment, before they both started trying to explain themselves in concert. Jazren, the eldest (and toughest) who had been clearly in a position to win the scuffle, being positioned on top of their tangled pile of limbs was angry and accusing. He looked so much like their deceased eldest brother Jeheran, pale skin, green eyes and long red hair, although he was a great deal larger in build, having spent considerably more time alternately in gyms and prison. Jaxan, who was younger than both Jazren and Andressa had gone to great length to appear different than the rest of his large family, dying his long hair black, wearing thick black makeup around his eyes, and having cosmetically altered his eye colour from their natural Castyr green to an unnatural-looking bright red. Although she equally could not make out his words to those of his older brother, his tone indicated a plaintive and imploring nature to them. :: ::Baz and Gurr, the two other feather cats said nothing, but were clearly quite excited to be included in the proceedings. :: Andressa Castyr: ENOUGH. I don't care, I am leaving in half an hour and I want to trust that you will be okay without a grownup supervising you. ::They stopped talking, and separated, sitting on opposite sides of the kitchen floor. :: Jaxan Castyr: I don't think it is too much to ask to not shave in the kitchen sink. Its disgusting. Jazren Castyr (accusingly): Well somehow the bathroom sink has become clogged with some disgusting black sludge, I can't imagine how. Andressa Castyr: HEY! WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT NOT CARING? ::Azmol lazily ambled into the room. He was the clear alpha of their apartments pack, and the other two feathercats laid on their stomachs submissively assuring that their heads were not higher than their adored leader. :: ::Andressa had stopped yelling, and was again massaging the bridge of her nose. :: Andressa Castyr: I need you guys to get it together, I have to get all the way to Deep Space Six, and then to J'naii, I might be gone for weeks, and mom does not need any added stress right now. ::Their mother Aelya was currently battling a deep depression, her second husband and their step father Fraz had been arrested at a demonstration in Leran Manev outside the presidential candidates debate at the Trill Senate Tower. He had been denied bail while awaiting his trial, and was currently enjoying the hospitality of their State, in the minimum security holding complex Erix Molaz. :: ::Jazren, the eldest (well, he was the eldest now, ever since they had lost Jeheran) tried to help, assuming a calm, soothing tone of voice. :: Jazren Castyr: We are gonna be fine... this is routine at this point right? I mean you were doing work in the J'naii system three months ago and the apartment is still standing. ::Andressa's frustration got the better of her, and she blurted out without thinking :: Andressa Castyr: Yeah but I have been trying with no luck for a week now to reach Avar.... ::She stopped herself but it was too late. The boys both sat up straight, incredulity plain on their faces. Baz and Gurr also sat up at attention, aware that something emotional was occurring, although likely missing the needed context to make sense of it. Azmol had a solid 7 years on the kittens and had learned to stop minding emotional occurrences, and remained lazily reclined. :: ::Andressa's brothers mouths gaped open, shock plain on their face as she had just inadvertently given away that she was planning an action with the assistance of their well known and incredibly shunned former associate, Avaris Torrin. :: Jaxan Castyr: ... Who have you been trying to reach Andressa? Jazren Castyr: You can't be serious! ::They both began yelling again, but this time the accusations were being hurled at her. :: Andressa Castyr: ENOUGH. Yes fine, you are right, its Avaris ::They protested loudly and vehemently, it was enough that Gurr and Baz joined in, howling in the pathetic, comedic way that centuries of inbreeding had rendered the once majestic and threatening calls of their wild ancestors. :: Andressa Castyr: I know! I know its messed up, but the captain of the ship he is on is a part of the underground apparently, and even if we don't like the guy, he clearly has some connections that could help us. Jaxan Castyr: Or his connections could get us all hanging out with Fraz in Erix Molaz. Jazren Castyr: How can you trust him? ::Andressa was quiet, her tendency to burst out emotionally was subject to the very reasonable and accurate accusations and questions being directed her way. She seemed to be thinking carefully as she answered her brothers :: Andressa Castyr: You both know I don't like the guy any more than you do. After he ran off with that HUMAN, that STARFLEET human at that, we all cut him off, and I think reasonably so. But this isn't about me and it isn't about Avaris bloody Torrin. This is about a J'naii non-conformist who is in danger. I think its worth burying the hatchet to help nem, even if it means helping the turncloak in the process. Jazren Castyr: Well don't bury it too deep sister, you might find yourself needing a hatchet before you are done with that fence-jumping slime-mold. Jaxan Castyr (hesitantly) : ... are you going to be okay with this anyways? I feel like its gonna be really hard seeing him again... I know how close you two were, I dont know if I could do it... ::Andressa looked seriously at both of them. :: Andressa Castyr: I'll be fine. Eyes on the prize right? If I can't put aside my feelings to help this poor kid out, than what kind of Unjoined Majority operative would I be? I might as well cut off all my hair and get a barista job serving hot vanilla milk to the senators in Leran Manev. ::They didnt answer, but were still and pensive. :: Andressa Castyr: Now. Can I please get your word you wont tear each-other or my apartment to pieces in the next month? I don't know how long this is going to take and I want to be confident you can handle yourselves in my absence. ::They both huffed and grunted in a general agreement. :: Andressa Castyr: Good. Nyxa will drop by occasionally to help with the cats, she has the entry code so don't walk around naked either. ::They both laughed uncomfortably, still clearly upset about what they had learned, but unwilling to pursue it any further. Andressa turned around to go back to her bedroom and finish packing her things, on her way to the room she called back behind her :: Andressa Castyr: And clean up that makla plant before Gurr eats it, I don't have time to go to the vet today. ::She didn't wait for confirmation that her orders were heard and obeyed before going back into her room and picking up a few final things. She rolled the name of Avaris ship around in her mind as she gathered ear-rings, scarves, first aid supplies and PADDs full of reading she would catch up on during her long trip. "The Darwin". Clearly named after some human or other, the name had that unsettling quality of sounding like it should be a word in Federation Standard, and yet had no meaning. It was easy to think of the humans language as being a universal one without any history or meaning aside from its utility given its prevalent usage across thousands of worlds and cultures with their own native and more natural sounding languages, it was interesting to remember that it had grown from a native tongue centuries ago, and that there were names that clearly came from the same etymological history. :: :: She looked to a picture she kept on her night stand, a picture of their deceased eldest brother, who had once been Avaris Torrins lover, back when Avaris Torrin was considered to be basically a part of their family. She had adored Jeheran, and she had adored his boyfriend just as much. She had dreamed of their wedding, of being her brothers prime attendant at the ceremony, of how they would grow old together, maybe adopt nieces and nephews that she could spoil and fawn over. Jeheran had held their family together, was the broker of peace between the other more explosively-tempered members of their large family. He was also fearless and galvanizing, and had lead the charge in so many actions and protests and demonstrations and missions, that even their mother, a long-standing and established leader within the Unjoined Majority had looked up to his courage and commitment to their causes. And then he had been taken from them, before he had even seen his 21st birthday, and the void he had left in their lives could never really be healed. :: ::And before his body was cold, Avaris had run off, not just with anyone, but a Human soldier. She could not believe she was willing to speak to him let alone work with him again, and not for the first time, she questioned whether she could in fact ever see him again without falling apart completely. :: oO You must Andressa. This is important. Oo ::She picked up the picture of Jeheran. It had originally been a picture of the three of them, of her with the two tall men on either side, their arms lovingly wrapped around her shoulders, a family. She had cropped the right-most third (and therefore Avaris) out of the picture, but you could still see his hand around her if you looked for it. :: oO I think I need you brother. You are coming with me this time. Oo ::She placed the picture in the smaller of her bags, and felt a little better about facing ghosts of the past, knowing that in some way, Jeheran was going to be there too. :: PNPC Andressa Castyr Civilian Unjoined Majority Operative as simmed by ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Avaris Edral Torrin Civilian USS Darwin A
  22. ((DS26 - Deck 11 Arboretum)) ::Varaan walked in to the arboretum, resplendent in his dress whites. Even without the enhanced hearing provided by his E.A.R.S, he could tell from the sound of music and conversation that the promotions ceremony was just on the other side of a row of large ferns. Varaan made no move to circumnavigate the foliage and "join the party" just yet. It wasn't that he was apprehensive. Vulcans didn't get apprehensive. But he was cautious. Despite knowing Marcus already, and seemingly making some headway with Blueheart, and a fairly uneventful dinner with Anora and Conti, Varaan was sure he was still being considered an "outsider" with the crew. Crewmembers change assignments all the time without much notice, but this time...the senior staff did not trust him - Helling for certain, and Townson most probably.:: ::In addition to that, Varaan had not had an opportunity to meet hardly any of the other officers. Haase he had met, and that had not gone very well either. But Haase was on temporary leave. Doctors, counselor...some had been at the briefing after Outpost Bravo, but there had not been time for a "meet and greet" then. And Varaan had heard that they had a diplomatic officer now assigned to them. Probably a good idea if Atlantis was to stay for any length of time in the Par'tha Expanse. The political situation everywhere in the Expanse seemed to be constantly shifting, and incredibly unstable.:: ::Varaan and Admiral Krieger had both been removed from Project Colossus by Admiral Garcetti, and Varaan had been debriefed, but he still had his network of contacts and informants throughout the Expanse. One had contacted him not an hour ago with a piece of interesting information. The upcoming sitting of the Freeworlds Council was to be held in the Holonna system within the week...that was public. But Varaan's informant had heard that the Valcarians had been invited. That had tremendous potential to "go sideways", as Varaan's former CO would have put it.:: ::Varaan had finally decided to join his new crewmates and had taken only a step when he heard the voice. He stopped dead.:: T'LANI: Varaan? ::Varaan was not one to be surprised normally, yet this was at least the third time in the last week. Of all the voices he would have expected to call his name, here, in an arboretum on an alien station, on the other side of the Jenatris Cloud, hundreds of light years from his home planet of Vulcan...the last voice he would have expected to hear was that of his wife.:: ::He hesitated only a moment before turning slowly to face the Vulcan woman behind him. She was standing in the access hatch about 3 meters away, the bright light from the corridor behind her casting a soft white glow into the darker section of the arboretum Varaan was standing in. Her long, dark hair fell gently across the shoulders of the pure white dress she was wearing. Varaan simply stared. What had it been? Six years. He hadn't been home and seen his wife in six years. This was his only "regret" about being in Starfleet. He hadn't seen his wife in six years. Varaan's body seemed to move toward her of its own accord. He stopped directly in front of her. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.:: VARAAN: My wife. ::He raised his hand in a traditional Vulcan salute. She stepped toward him so that their bodies were only inches from one another. Her hand on the same side came up to mirror his.:: T'LANI: My husband. ::Together they moved their hands until the fingertips touched. The touch lingered. They were staring into each other's eyes, neither wanting to look anywhere else. Their voices were almost breathy.:: VARAAN: It is not disagreeable to see you. T'LANI: I, too, am content to be in your presence. VARAAN: May I ask why you are here? T'LANI: The Science Academy has sent a team to study the nebulae here. VARAAN: Logical. May I inquire...were you assigned, or did you volunteer? T'LANI: It is a great opportunity. I could not...would not decline the offer...for many reasons. ::They stared into each other's eyes for another couple of seconds, the universe existing around them, but of no importance to them. Varaan seemed to shake the moment first.:: VARAAN: Is she here as well? T'LANI: Of course. I could not leave her behind on Vulcan. VARAAN: What of her studies? T'LANI: She is already enrolled in the school here. Ms. Stone has assured me that a curriculum can be in place for her in the next couple of days. ::Silence.:: T'LANI: She would like to see you. She...misses you. VARAAN: And I her. I have been reassigned to the Atlantis, again. Intelligence Liaison and Officer of the Deck. There is a ceremony that is to begin momentarily. T'LANI: I understand. Perhaps after? VARAAN: Yes. I will find you. ::After another second of lingering looks, Varaan's wife elegantly turned to go. He watched her body move, wondering if there was something else he could say to extend their time together. She was walking slowly, probably wondering the same thing. Then the access door closed, ending the moment. Varaan looked at the door a moment longer, straightened his back to attention and took a deep breath, then turned and marched to his waiting crewmates.:: OOC: Let the ceremony begin! --------------------------- Cmdr. Varaan Acting Chief Engineer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  23. (( Auditorium - Display Deck - Utopia Planetia Shipyards )) :: The auditorium was a large, oval space built to house quite a number of people. Crimson carpet of the finest quality had been installed that matched the color of the cushions on the chairs that were neatly placed in sections through out. The raised oak dais housed the wood lectern that showed the emblazoned symbol of the United Federation of Planets. Nugra looked about and admired the scenery that lay before him. The most attractive was the massive wrap around window that allowed the crowd to have an up close look at the starship being christened. In this case, it was his girl, the USS Victory. :: :: The day had finally come when he would be getting his own command back and though the ship looked different, he could still feel the same vibrations and spirit that he had fallen in love with on so many tours aboard. It was going to be an exciting time. The only people in the room were the technicians, who were setting up the final electronics that would broadcast the re-christening for anyone who would want to watch. There was enough seating for the 160 crewmembers that served aboard her, but the person he was looking for were the two special guests of honor. He saw the Asian woman first as she came in to the room, the one gold pip surrounded by a box glimmering in the overhead light. Straightening his own dress whites, he approached and snapped her a salute. :: Nugra: Fleet Captain Nicholotti? Captain Nugra, USS Victory. It is good to meet you. ::Kali couldn’t help but smile and salute in return. The Gorn captain stood against the backdrop of a ship that her memories couldn’t place, but she knew from her logs that she had a history with. The Victory had stopped wars, stood against insurmountable odds, and had gone on to become what was before her today. History had come a long way, and now they were standing in the face of a brighter future because of the name ‘Victory’.:: Nicholotti: You as well. I have heard a good many things about my old stomping grounds and her new Captain. ::There was no need to bring up her own recent history today. No, she would make the best of today and create new memories for herself and those who would share in this momentous occasion.:: Nugra: I wanted to thank you for accepting the invitation to be our opening speaker. It is quite an honor. Nicholotti: ::Shaking her head slightly.:: The honor is mine, Captain. :: An older black human entered the room and immediately made his way to them. He wore the rank of a Rear Admiral and the stubble and broad smile told the lizard that it was his other guest speaker. The Gorn also provided the respectful salute which in return the man clasped his hand in a human handshake and wrung it vigorously. :: Zimbata: Captain Nugra! It is a pleasure finally meeting you. Thank you very much for inviting me. I did not think our email exchange would become an invitation to speak. ::Peering at the refitted Intrepid. :: She's a beautiful ship, worthy of the name. Nugra: Thank you, sir, if I may introduce Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, Chief Medical Officer of the USS Gemini. Zimbata: :: Jovial :: It's good to meet you, Kalianna. Excuse my informality, I've been retired for quite a number of years and had to replicate this monkey suit for the ceremony. ::Kali grinned at that, sharing a moment between the flag officers. Yet, at the same time, she couldn’t shake the ability to respect the rank.:: Nicholotti: Well it suits you sir, despite the discomfort. Glad you could make it today. ::Time grew short and preparations required attention. Soon the room would be full and she would be sharing her thoughts with the masses. For now, however, she followed the other two and waited for the festivities to begin.:: ((TIME WARP - Beginning of the Ceremony. )) :: Nugra, Zimbata, and Nicholotti took their places in the three seats on the raised dias. The crew had found their seats and the camera crews had finally finished moving in the far corners of the room. A Lieutenant Commander tapped the mic and began to speak. :: Borgia: Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Lieutenant Commander Josef Borgia and I will be the masters of ceremonies for this event. I would like to thank Rear Admiral Marien Zimbata and Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti for their attendance today. :: Polite applause echoed through the room and grew silent. Borgia stepped aside for Nicholotti to speak. :: ::In the echoes of the applause, Kali found herself standing and moving towards the mic. Waiting as the noise returned to silence, she smiled and looked across the room. When all was finally quiet, she began to speak, her slight Russian accent drifting across the wide open space.:: Nicholotti: The past has always set the stage for the future. Sometimes the path between the two is hard and the choices few. Sometimes, however, history dictates a future bright enough to spark an entire generation. ::Kali turned and gestured towards the Victory.:: Nicholotti: Space is deep and dark, ever threatening to engulf the flames of exploration residing within each of us. The Victory is our answer to that darkness. ::Pausing a moment for the crowds reaction she turned back towards everyone.:: Through the good times and the bad, the ship you that rests before you is the epitome of the spirit of Starfleet. She has stood impossible odds, stopping wars and resisting destruction over and over again. She has offered protection, as a mother might, to the crew that serves within. And now, upgraded with the very best the Federation can offer, she stands ready to do it all again. ::Again, she paused a moment before following up with a final thought.:: Nicholotti: The universe beckons us to explore despite the dangers lurking everywhere. It always has. In the beginning of Earth’s space program, a Russian named Yuri Gagarin first stepped out into the dark wonder and saw but a glimpse of the future. He was the first to place the name of his spacecraft on a long and distinguished list of vehicles that surpassed the dreams of the generation before. Today, the Victory joins that list as well. Today begins the journey into the future, made brighter by this engineering marvel, and all who serve aboard her. You are that future. Stand and be proud of the name Victory! ::For a long moment, Kali stood there, waiting. The applause didn’t die down by the time she waved and smiled again, picking up a red carnation and stepping back to the wall against which the Victory served as their backdrop. Holding the flower high, she repeated the Russian tradition that so many cosmonauts had participated in before her. It was ancient history, but the non-verbal message rang loud and clear throughout the room as she returned to her seat.:: :: As the crowd began to quiet after the rousing speech given by a captain who understood the concept of re-birth rather personally, Nugra watched as the older Admiral, the original captain of the USS Victory, the Constellation Class vessel, made his way to the stand. He cleared his throat and smiled at the crowd. :: Zimbata: I am not one for words like Fleet Captain Nicholotti, but I do have a few to share with you. ::reading old fashion Que cards::. The Victory is a very proud name and when I served aboard the first ship of that name, I could not have been more proud. The name embodies strength, vision, dedication, and overall, relentless pursuit of the Federation ideals. To see such a beautiful new ship taking on the roles set forth by her namesake can only make me more proud of her. :: Zimbata cleared his throat and motioned to Commmander Borgia who was waiting at the side with a purple satin covered object. The officer brought it forward and set it on the lectern in front of the Admiral before retreating back to his side of the dais. With a flourish, Admiral Zimbata removed the cover and exposed a beautiful wooden model of an ancient earth ship that once sailed the oceans of Earth so many years ago. A grin crossed the old man's face. :: Zimbata: This model was presented to me by Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge many years ago as the Victory was an important part of his life. I cannot allow such a beautiful momento sit on a shelf gathering dust when it could be sailing the stars with you. Captain Nugra? :: The large Gorn stood and approached the lectern and waited at the position of attention. This part of the speech was a surprise to the lizard and he was not sure what the Admiral had planned. :: Zimbata: Captain, I would like to present you and the crew of the USS Victory this model as a tribute to your continued dedication to the Starfleet, the Federation, and most importantly, to each other. :: Nugra took the delicate model as applause erupted from the audience. The Gorn returned to his seat with it and admired the fine craftsmanship. :: Nugra: We'll make sure this gets a good place in the back forty, Admiral. Zimbata: Speaking of that, Captain Nugra wanted me to tell you that the crew should meet in the Back Forty for a ship's promotion ceremony! I will see you there! :: With that, the christening ceremony was over. :: JP By… Fleet Captain Kalianna NicholottiChief Medical OfficerUSS Gemini & ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Captain NugraCommanding OfficerUSS Victory, NCC-362447 FWPA '15 Facilitator~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  24. (( Prison Colony, Unknown Planet )) :: The descending piece of starship smashed to the ground with a definitive thundering collapse, crushing anything beneath it in moments. They'd ran for it. Staying behind to become hybrid jam at the bottom of the chasm wasn't an option. The jagged edge of the armoured piece had pierced the floor, ripping a chunk of metal from it and sending the two falling through the pit and the light, what light there was, immediately snuffed out as the metal shard scraped along the walls, sealing them inside whatever underground cavern it was.:: :: When Dade had managed to find his feet through sheer force of will, he braced himself against a flat surface in the dark. His breath heaving and chest burning from running faster than he had in years, muscles aching from trying to grab something to hold onto to keep them out.:: :: T'Lea. Where was she? He couldn't see a [...] thing.:: Adarnis: T'Lea! Where are you? :: The voice called out in the dark, but the Romu-vulc was too busy trying to shake off the hard landing to answer right away. Instead, she coughed a few times as the dusty air swirled around them.:: T'Lea: Here. :: That was all she could get out of her dry throat before another coughing fit took control of her lungs.:: Adarnis: Are you hurt? :: When she reached for the neck of her shirt to pull it up over her nose and mouth to use an air filter she felt the answer to Dade’s question bite into her wrist. She’d sprained it pretty bad, but it didn’t feel like anything was broken or torn. It just hurt like a [...] to move.:: T'Lea: Fine. I’m fine. You? :: It didn’t surprise her when he ignored her.:: :: He didn't know where they were. Underneath the colony? On the other side of it? They'd fallen a way into the middle of a planet on the verge of collapsing. He tapped his comm. badge.:: Adarnis: =/\= Adarnis to Parker. =/\= :: A crackle returned, unable to connect or make a signal. He tried again. Nothing. Empty space crackling in between. If Parker had transported back to the Thunder there was no chance of getting radio comms to them.:: :: Lifting her injured left hand to hit her comm. badge she hesitated and switched to her right hand instead.:: T'Lea: =/\= T’Lea to Thunder. Anyone receiving? =/\= :: Her answer sounded identical to Dade’s reply. Nothing.:: :: Perfect. Just frelling perfect, she mumbled under her breath. She was trapped with Dade. Of all people why Dade? Why not Parker? He would have been so much more tolerable than Dade!:: :: In the dark she scrounged around for the medkit that she’d dropped during their descent.:: Adarnis: We'll have to do something. ::he ran his hand over the wall:: I can't climb this. :: Neither could she with her wrist all twisted up.:: T'Lea: Do you have a light on you? :: She was patting the ground like a blind woman on her hands and knees searching for the medkit, but all she got in return was rubble and a thick layer of dirt under her fingernails.:: :: With a swear word spat from her lips she stood up and tried to find a wall, or some kind of surface to get her bearings. Once she’d finally found a place to orient herself, she finally realized why Dade couldn’t climb out. The surface was as smooth as glass – there was no grip anywhere, which left her mind to wonder where the heck they’d descended into.:: :: He couldn't see her, only hear her footsteps and feel her moving. Bracing his hands against the wall he tried to push it. It wouldn't budge. He tried again on the shard containing them inside, on the ceiling, pushing with every ounce of strength he had. Frustrated and angry he smashed his fists into the metal wall, hearing it vibrate as it ascended above them.:: :: She heard his anger expressed in his fists slamming into metal, and rolled her eyes at how utterly unproductive and damaging to his hands the impact would be.:: :: It was at that point that she’d removed her jacket and ripped off a sleeve from her shirt to use as a makeshift bandage for her wrist.:: :: The ground tremored as the sound of explosions could be heard reverberating through the hull plating that surrounded them. They had to find a way out.:: Adarnis: Your tricorder. It'd amplify your biosignature and they'd be able to beam you out. T'Lea: Brilliant idea. And how exactly in your infinite wisdom do *you* plan on getting out? :: His eyebrow raised. Did that question really need to be asked? He needed to get her out and back to the Thunder. If only one of them could get out, it wasn't going to be him.:: Adarnis: I'm going to die anyway, right? In this timeline or ours. :: She had a mouthful of fabric at this point, as she tied the bandage firmly around her wrist. The words in mind were, “You don’t know that,” but that’s not how it sounded.:: T'Lea: Yu’on nonat. :: He turned his head, trying to see where in the dark she was. It was pitch black. He exhaled deeply. They’d been in worse dren than this, and got out of that alive. He frowned, trying to decide if their universal translator had taken a hit as well and this was how she usually spoke.:: Adarnis: You hit your head as well? What did you say? :: Spitting a little dirt from her lips she flexed her fingers and tested her work. The wrist felt secure. The cloth wrap was tight, but not too tight. It was firm enough to keep the injury from moving too much and not cut off her circulation.:: T’Lea: I said you’re an [...]. You never change. :: Really? He didn’t realise he’d needed to. An [...] he could accept.:: Adarnis: Do you want to rephrase that? T’Lea: You have a death wish. You always have. Do you have a light or not? Adarnis: Why the frack would I have a light? T’Lea: You smoke. Where’s that stupid lighter you’re always fondling? :: That. What he would give to be able to smoke then and there. There was nothing like it, but he’d given up. Situations like that always made him wonder why. The rumbling in the hull plating echoed that of the earth around them.:: Adarnis: I quit, alright? I’m not proud of it, believe me. :: Huh, thought T’Lea. Guess he can change.:: T’Lea: You picked a great time to quit. Make your way over to me, and feel around for the medkit. We can try your combadge idea. Although I don’t know how you plan on getting anything accomplished without your eyes. :: He didn’t respond. He pushed himself off the wall and tried to see in the dark. Wherever her medkit had disappeared to, it would’ve scattered the contents.Wasn’t she supposed to have spares hidden about her person?:: :: The ground groaned again. There was a very good chance they were going to die. Keep it light.:: Adarnis: Aren’t you supposed to have bandages tucked down your boots? T’Lea: The only thing in there is my foot, which I’m saving to kick your…. ::she sighed:: …oh, forget it. :: She didn’t have the stamina right now to keep calling him an [...]. Once was enough anyway.:: ::His foot touched something and he kicked it. It moved. The sliding of a metallic object. He crouched down and picked it up. Emergency medkit, devoid of contents save for a bandage and an analgesic hypospray.:: :: From the sound of her voice and rustling, he pegged her location pretty quickly and had already taken his small toolkit from the inside of his pocket. He came upon her a bit quicker than expected, feeling her suddenly in his personal space and very warm. Stepping back he handed her what was left of the kit.:: Adarnis: Painkillers and a bandage. Unless you’ve got a hidden compartment. :: She felt around for it, and had the misfortune of having her hands touch his in the process of trying to locate him. No doubt he’d felt the fabric wrapped around part of her palm.:: T’Lea: Not for you. :: He felt that spike from her. Pain. Discomfort. If this were the last moments they had alive, he didn’t want them to be in pain.:: Adarnis: Give me your wrist. T’Lea: Uh. No. Get your own. Adarnis: Don’t argue with me, give it here. T’Lea: I said n-… ow! :: So now he had her arm against her will, but her will was slowly relinquishing to whatever it was he was doing to her.:: :: How times had changed. The last time they’d done this it’d been Dade with the busted something and T’Lea patching him up. It happened far too often.:: :: He gently took hold of her wrist with both of his hands, feeling her makeshift bandage underneath it. It started to feel warmer as he allowed the pain relieving aspect of his half Deltan physiology to flow. It didn’t heal injuries, but it was more effective than good old splinting.:: :: It was a bit of a give and take between their compositions, T’Lea’s Vulcan side always fighting for dominance over what the Deltan was trying to do. It’d been the closest the Marine had felt to anyone in years and it was a gentle reminder of what he’d left behind. He spoke, still holding her wrist, quite certain where her eyes were in the dark even if he couldn’t see them.:: Adarnis: How does it feel? T’Lea: Numb. Weird. Like your face. :: She wouldn’t thank him. She couldn’t thank him. He had spurned her, deeply.:: T’Lea: Let’s just hope I don’t have to use it in a life saving event. :: If they were ever going to have one of those again.:: Adarnis: Well, you fight like a tribble, so it won’t matter. T’Lea: You *are* a tribble. :: Weak. That was a weak retort. It sounded like T’Lea was losing some of her steam to persecute him.:: :: He stepped back a bit more as the floor shook, vibrating the plates of metal. It really was going to be now or never. They were going to die, or she was going to get married, and neither of those options left room for anything in between. The hybrid knew he couldn’t change the outcome, but if he didn’t tell her now it was never going to happen.:: Adarnis: Do you have any idea how ridiculous this is? T’Lea: Yes. You are. :: By now she remembered that her OTS (optical targeting system) was equipped with night vision, and she blinked to active it.:: Adarnis: All we do is fight! I don’t want to fight you anymore. I want to tell you I’m sorry but I can’t even do that right. T’Lea: Sorry? You’re sorry? Sorry for what? This? :: Not that he could see it, but she opened her arms and waved them around the hole they were entombed in.:: :: Wow, they really were screwed. No entry. No exit. Just a pit with a large piece of metal covering their grave.:: :: Ah-ha! Medical tricorder by Dade’s large foot. She moved over to him, scooped it up and dusted it off.:: :: He heard her move, turning to keep track of her in the dark, as fruitless as it was.: Adarnis: For everything. For this whole fracked up mess. :: She moved again and this time he caught her shoulder with his hand, stopping her.:: Adarnis: Will you just listen to me for once? :: She let the tricorder sag in her hand, and gave him a flat look like he was doing something wrong.:: T’Lea: Fine! I’m listening. :: Silence in the dark. The echoing of explosions.:: Adarnis: I’m sorry I left. :: For a long moment T’Lea just stared at him through the eerie green glow of her night vision lens, unsure what to make of his confession. Did he mean it? Was this a joke? Was he winding her up for another fight? And if he was serious did she even want to hear it now, after all these years?:: :: She looked at the expression on his rugged face, and even though it was tinted green, she could see how sincere he was. And it freaked her out.:: :: Who was she kidding, for the longest time it was exactly what she’d wanted to hear, to know, and feel – that he was sorry for the way he’d left her.:: :: And now she hated him for that too – for taking away the hate she had been carrying for him, and making her feel something else for him.:: T’Lea: What the hell, Dade? ::wagging her head:: I don’t want to hear this. :: The breath he’d held exhaled heavily.:: Adarnis: I don’t care – T’Lea: I do [...] it! It’s too late for- :: He cut her off. His usual flare of anger didn’t arrive, only a real set sense of calm. What he said was so matter of fact that he didn’t need to defend it.:: Adarnis: I don’t care if it’s too late. ::his jaw set:: I’ll never get the chance to tell you again. :: She rubbed her fingertips across her forehead, leaving a nice smudge of dirt behind. Her voice was softer, but still had a firmness to it that didn’t want to let him in. It was best for both of them if she let him off the hook.:: T’Lea: Let it go, Dade. I understand. You’re sorry. So am I. Apology accepted. What else is there to say? Adarnis: That I love you. :: Silence again. His heartbeat thudded.:: Adarnis: I loved you then, I love you now. :: The medical tricorder lit up, picking up his vitals, briefly showing them in the dark.:: Adarnis: I thought I could protect you, that they’d hunt me instead of you. I wanted you safe. ::he exhaled again:: And it was the worst decision I’ve ever made. :: Pain. That was the net result of Dade’s declaration. Pain that she wasn’t prepared to deal with.:: :: Time dragged on and T’Lea stared at his image highlighted in green. How was she supposed to respond to that? How did he expect her to respond to that? :: :: She blinked, and deactivated the night vision lens. The room fell to darkness, except for the faint glow of the medical tricorder, and with it Dade’s image faded from view.:: :: Turning in thought she moved a few steps away, and tapped at the tricorder. It’s dim lights cascading gently across the disturbed creases in her smooth Vulcan brow.:: :: He loved her. *Still* loved her.:: T’Lea: We have 19% oxygen left in the room. That gives us roughly two hours. When it drops below 15% we better not be here. Your heart rate is up. Try to lower it. We need to conserve air. :: Two hours would barely cover the destruction of the colony.:: :: She took a seat on the floor and tried to enter into some kind of meditation partly to slow her own breathing, and partly to sort out what she was feeling.:: :: Seven years on and the best she could do was tell him to stop breathing? Then he remembered it was dark. She was probably going to sucker punch him again.:: Adarnis: Of course it’s up. T’Lea: Save the air. We shouldn’t talk. Adarnis: Really? Just shutting me out? T’Lea: I have nothing to say… except… thank you for being honest with me. :: She should have known that kind of statement wasn’t going to get her silence, or peace.:: :: No, it [...] well wasn’t. :: Adarnis: And you can’t extend the same courtesy to me? T’Lea: I am being honest with you. Now, either shut up, or stop breathing. :: He threw his hands up in the air. She was unbelievable. All he’d wanted to tell her since the last time she’d told him she loved him in the Constitution sickbay had just come tumbling out of him and the most she could do was tell him to stop breathing.:: :: He wondered how much she actually meant that.:: Adarnis: Did it physically hurt to do it? :: And there went all chances of her finding a tranquil calm through meditation.:: :: She shot to her feet, and did her best to confront him in the dark.:: T’Lea: What do you want me to say? That I love you back? That I care about you? Well, I do you, idiot, and I never stopped, even when I hated you for leaving me I never stopped. :: She swore at him for making her say it, for making her confront it. Hating him was so much easier.:: :: This is what he wanted. This was T’Lea being honest with him. This was emotion, it was raw and it was real.:: :: Even if he didn’t like the outcome, he respected it.:: :: When he did speak, it was quieter and it was sincere.:: Adarnis: I never wanted to - :: She reached out for his chest, finding it, and then moved her hands up to feel the familiar outline of his face.:: T’Lea: Listen carefully to me now. I will always love you. I will always care about you. ::she stepped back and pulled her hands away:: But I am in love with Della. I love her, and nothing will ever change that. :: With a firm grip on her feelings now, she sat herself back down in the dirt, and picked up the tricorder.:: T’Lea: I should be thanking you. You did that for me. You made me open my heart enough to be hurt, but also to let someone in. I’m sorry. :: He made a half sad smile in the darkness. At least something good had come out of it all. He liked Della. He had for a long time. He wouldn’t have tried to come between them, not that he could have, and the air felt a little clearer for the first time in half a decade.:: :: If this was their fate, it wasn’t going to be for both of them.:: :: He sat in front of her, taking the tricorder out of her hands and using the light to flip open the back of his comm. badge casing. In that moment he couldn’t look at her.:: Adarnis: Della makes you happy? T’Lea: I wouldn’t be with her if she didn’t. :: He flipped out the krellide cell onto the tricorder and twirled the coiled wiring around his fingers. The ceiling shook, sending scattering sprays of dirt and shared of confetti’d metal down onto them.:: Adarnis: I mean deliriously happy. Can’t hold onto your eyeballs, Vulcan half is doing cartwheels in the Federation Embassy happy. T’Lea: Something irrational like that. Yes. Adarnis: Good. :: He snapped the casing off the back of the tricorder and sealed the wiring together with the combadge. Instant medium-wave subspace transceiver amplified by the power cell contained in the tricorder. It would be enough to get through the surrounding metal plates but it would only be enough for one.:: Adarnis: You’re the closest I have to a friend. You can’t be that if you’re dead. :: the metal shared above them slipped in it’s place, being battered by falling rocks above them. It offered marginal protection and it wouldn’t last long now.:: Adarnis: I’ll defend you until the day I’m gone, which may or may not come soon. I don’t know. I’m not in your head. T’Lea: Dade, what happened to you in this timeline isn’t necessarily- :: He spoke over the top of her rambling at him.:: Adarnis: I want you to promise me. When that day comes, you won’t do something ridiculous to save me. T’Lea: ::wagging her head:: Ridiculous or not, if it is in my power to save your sorry [...], then I will do whatever it takes. :: She wasn’t going to let this timeline dictate his fate, or hers. She wasn’t going to stand by and watch his sacrifice again.:: :: Taking her hand, he kissed the back of her fingers and looked at the blue eyes he’d missed all these years.:: Adarnis: Then you better find a way to come get me. T’Lea: What are you- :: He double pressed the combadge, activating the emergency transport back to the ship and slapped it to her cuff, scrambling to his feet as he watched her disappear in a shimmer of blue, leaving him behind as the metal hull that had protected them started to slip.:: Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Science Officer USS Thunder-A Embassy, Duronis II & Major Dade Adarnis Marine Officer USS Thunder-A
  25. (( The Pit, DSX )) :: In the center pit, a shirtless, holographic Evan was trading blows with a Klingon that towered a good foot higher than the Vulanoid. In neighboring pits, the real Evan was trying to determine how bad his holographic counterparts injuries were. Without the accompanying pain, it was harder to remember that his left knee was badly bruised and that three of his ribs were cracked. :: Still new to the way the fighting system in the pit worked, it was also difficult to remember exactly how his blows would be affected. He couldn’t trust his instincts, and that put him at a disadvantage. :: :: The Klingon came after him again. Evan delivered a series of counter maneuvers, but he was too slow. Too hesitant. He deflected three of the Klingon’s blows, but they were feints. Open on his right side - the side already injured - he took six rapid blows to the chest. :: :: Though the simulation protected him from any real pain, he still felt each of the impacts, and he knew they were vital. :: :: Though he still stood, the Evan’s holographic counterpart fell slowly to his knees then to the floor, while the small but vocal midday crowd cheered on. :: :: The humiliation he felt was as sharp as it was surprising. He didn’t recognize anyone in the crowd. It had been his first bout here, and his first fist-to-fist fight in over a year. And he’d let his emotions get the better of him early on. He’d still been [...]ed about his earlier conversation with Ignis. Not that he entirely understood why. :: :: Evan left his pit and entered a small locker room where the next fighter was waiting to take her turn. A Ktarian, of all things. :: KTARIAN: Tough luck, Vulcan. DELANO: Luck had nothing to do with it. I was terrible. oO And I’m not a Vulcan Oo :: She offered a lop-sided smile. :: KTARIAN: True, but I thought I’d be polite about it. :: Evan shrugged as he went to his locker. He’d left his uniform back on Garuda, but the starfleet combadge on the breast of his dark sleeveless shirt was still prominent once he’d slipped the fabric over his head. :: DELANO: I learned from it. Next time, I’ll do better. That’s the best anyone can say. :: She nodded. :: DELAIN: Well said. (Offering a hand) I’m Delain. DELANO: Evan Delano. :: He gave her hand a short shake, but the gesture was somewhat awkward for both of them. :: DELAIN: A human name? How interesting. DELANO: Almost as interesting as a Ktarian pit fighter. :: She laughed, but the sound of the bell cut her off. :: DELAIN: My turn! Good luck in your next bout, Evan. DELANO: Same to you. :: Once Evan had finished changing, he noticed that he’d missed a general communication. Hopefully, he hadn’t missed anything important. :: :: He tapped the badge to play the recorded message. :: EGAN MANNO:: =/\= This is Captain Egan Manno to all hands. Please return to the Garuda immediately for departure within the hour. Senior staff, please report to the bridge at once. =/\= :: Evan cursed under his breath. The one time he’d be separated from his communicator for more than five minutes and he’d missed a “report to the bridge” at once call. How long ago had this been sent? :: EGAN MANNO: =/\= I would also like to recognize two members of the crew. The first is Lieutenant Commander Alleran Tan, who has joined us very recently as the head of navigation and whose presence and strong work I greatly anticipate. (beat) The second is Lieutenant Evan Delano, who is hereby elevated to the rank of full lieutenant immediately. Lieutenant Delano will further now serve as the Garuda's strategic operations officer -- a necessary position, given the complicate politics and our evolving understanding of the region. Please offer these officers your congratulation. =/\= EGAN MANNO: =/\= Please return as quickly as possible. Thank you. =/\= :: He laughed, first. The irony of being singled out for recognition when he was undoubtedly going to be late in reporting for duty twinged his somewhat dark sense of humor. Sometimes, the galaxy had terrible timing. When that was out of his system, the gravity of the captain’s announcement started to settle on him. :: :: Full lieutenant. In less than a year. That was fantastic. Strategic operations officer, on the other hand, was a bit strange. He wasn’t aware of many starfleet vessels operating in the Corridor. What would he be coordinating, exactly? As he jogged towards the Garuda, he began to speculate. :: === Lt. Evan Delano Strategic Operations Officer USS Garuda
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.