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  1. ((Ranger 3rd Division Headquarters, Tajna III )) ::It was a glorious spring morning. The sky was a perfect cloudless teal, the sun warm but not too hot, the breeze sweet and gentle. Tajna III was a perfectly unremarkable little Federation colony, possessed of a pleasant and temperate environment that would have made it a fine tourist destination, were it not so far off the usual trade routes. Instead, it was something of a large retirement village, where people came to live out quiet and peaceful lives. ::All in all, Matías was rather pleased that the Rangers had decided to headquarter their third division on the sleepy little planet. There was a good variety of environments to train in, a large portion untouched by the small colony's development. The headquarters itself was set in one of the woodlands of the planet, with dense forests and spectacular mountains. His own office looked out onto the crystal waters of a vast lake, often visited by local wildlife. ::The stunning surroundings were not doing much for his mood that day. Preliminary reports had come in from the 451st about a mission that had gone seriously sideways, with significant loss of life. And then, when he stepped into that office to begin his work day, he stopped dead. While his heartbeat kicked up several notches, adrenaline surging through his system, the doors hissed closed behind him -- and the diminutive woman in his chair, her feet up on *his* desk, looked up from the PADD she was studying.:: Reynolds: Good morning. ::As casual as you like. As though she had every, let alone any, right to be there. But he didn't call for assistance, not yet. Someone capable of getting onto the base, into his highly secured office was someone who likely would have taken steps to ensure he couldn't. No, for now, he had to observe and wait for the right opportunity.:: Cavallero: Good morning. ::She smiled at him, evidently pleased by the simple exchange of pleasantries. Skinny as a rake, mousey-haired and freckled, she wouldn't stand out in a crowd. Her clothes didn't stand out, either; worn boots, dark trousers, a plain tunic and a weathered leather jacket. He couldn't see any obvious weaponry, but that didn't mean she wasn't carrying something concealed.:: Cavallero: Is there something I can help you with, Ms-- ::That got a reaction. She narrowed her hazel eyes and interrupted him.:: Reynolds: Sir. You mean "sir". ::She paused, and almost as an afterthought, added,:: But not ma'am. Never ma'am. Cavallero: Excuse me? Reynolds: You really have no idea who I am, do you? Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds. You know, the sector commander whose sector you've recently been conducting operations in. Whose ship you commandeered for a mission without so much as a polite note. ::He frowned. Well, if she wanted to be addressed properly, maybe she should have turned up in her uniform?:: Cavallero: Then I'm sure you won't mind if I confirm your identity? Reynolds: By all means. ::He took a few steps forward, and tapped the console on the desk, the monitor rising from it. With a sharp twist, he turned the screen so that it was facing him, still thoroughly annoyed by the fact the woman was sat in his chair. A few quick checks to confirm nothing had been tampered with, and he summoned the appropriate files. She looked like the image on Reynolds' personnel file, but he needed more, and so tapped another command into the console.:: Computer: Please confirm your identity. ::He shot "Reynolds" a significant look, and with an obliging smile, she spoke.:: Reynolds: Reynolds, Quinn Erin. Serial number JG-262-5102 WCH. Computer: Voice pattern recognised. Identity confirmed; Fleet Captain Quinn Erin Reynolds. Current assignment; commanding officer, USS Gorkon; sector commander; Tyrellian sector. ::He realised that he had been hoping for a lie. Instead, he had a self-important senior officer with delusions of clearance, believing they had the right to know everything and anything they wanted. Matías had encountered a few through the years, and he'd grown quite adept at fending them off, tedious as they were.:: Cavallero: Well then, *sir*, I shouldn't have to explain to you that some operations are highly classified, with associated clearance levels. Higher than even yours. Reynolds: ::Mildly,:: Are you sure about that? ::He had been. Absolutely certain. A fleet captain wouldn't have the appropriate clearances for the 451st's mission. But hers was a question asked with such gentle confidence, he immediately knew he was on the wrong side of it. He hadn't checked. Dammit, he hadn't checked!:: Reynolds: I'll take your silence as a no ::She paused.:: Perhaps you'd like to look again at that personnel record. ::His jaw locking in frustration and a touch of embarrassment, Matías brought up the relevant data. She had been Chief of Intelligence on Starbase 118. Director of Intelligence for the Menthar Corridor. A vast swathe of her career was classified even to him… and yes, she had the appropriate clearances.:: Reynolds: You're hardly the first intelligence officer to sanctify secrets, and you won't be the last. But let me remind you of something; the purpose of intelligence is to make sure that the right information gets to the right people. The Gorkon and its crew have been intimately involved with combating the Orion Syndicate in the sector. It's proper and just plain common sense to inform the sector commander if you're undertaking covert operations against them. ::His cheeks begin to burn, and he felt a whole lot like a schoolboy being scolded by teacher. He very rarely made mistakes, and he was more annoyed with himself than anything else. There was an old saying, "to assume is to make an [...] out of u and me", and sure enough, he felt like an [...] right now.:: Cavallero: Aye, sir. In future I'll ensure that any mission my Rangers-- ::Once again, she interrupted him and he frowned at her. Was she enjoying this? It was hard to tell -- she played her cards exceedingly close to her chest -- but he got the distinct impression she was deriving at least a little bit of satisfaction from making him squirm.:: Reynolds: *My* Rangers. Cavallero: Excuse me? Reynolds: From oh-nine-hundred tomorrow morning, the 451st are under my command. Check your orders, if you like. I can wait. ::Now, he *was* furious with her. Coopting his command, taking his officers away from him? Who the hell did she think she was?:: Cavallero: Those are *my*-- Reynolds: ::Curtly,:: No, they're not. And might I remind you that the 451st currently consists of one person, and that's very likely due to your blind dedication to secrecy. If they hadn't felt obliged to hide from the Gorkon, there's a good chance this tragedy could have been averted. You made a bad call, Commander, and people died. Be glad this is the only consequence. ::That took him aback, dulling his anger somewhat. Was she right? Maybe. Events would have played out differently, that much was for certain. He'd had the preliminary reports, and if the shuttle hadn't been in the air when… Dammit.:: Cavallero: I… ::He grimaced, squaring his shoulders, and nodded. Blame where blame was due.:: I can give you some personnel recommendations, to rebuild the squad. Reynolds: That would be appreciated. ::He had known that most of the squad was gone, but Matías hadn't quite processed it yet. Never before had he lost so many, all at once, and his thoughts turned to the lone survivor.:: Cavallero: How is she? Freeman? Reynolds: It's early days. Physically, she's fine. There was some kind of physical altercation between her and one of my officers, so she's confined to quarters until we untangle that mess. ::She eyed him.:: We have a fine psychiatrist aboard, who specialises in trauma counselling. She'll be looked after. ::That was something, though he was disturbed to hear about the incident of violence. What had happened there? He would have to wait to find out -- with the languid grace of a sunbathing cat, Reynolds uncrossed her ankles, lowered her legs to the floor, and stood. Their conversation was about to end.:: Reynolds: One of the hardest parts of command is when your mistake costs someone else's life. Do better, Commander. It's the best way to honour them. Cavallero: ...aye, sir. Reynolds: I'll see that you get the results of the inquiry. ::He eyes flicked away from him, to the majestic scene of the forested mountains outside.:: Quite a view. ::She looked back to him.:: Good day, Commander. ::She took her leave, out of his office with no further words or backwards glance. When the doors hissed closed, Matías reclaimed his chair, collapsing into it and burying his head in hands. A few minutes of self-pity, that he would allow himself, and then he would begin the heart-wrenching work of writing to the families of the fallen.:: -- Commander Matías Cavallero Commanding Officer Rangers 3rd Division simmed by Fleet Captain Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
  2. OOC: Takes place after "After the Hocktin" but before "A Fresh Start." The stardate used in the sim corresponds to the date the sim was published. (( Runabout Yahtzee)) [[Time Index: En Route to Antor II]] :: Sleep eluded him. It wasn't that he didn't want to sleep, quite the opposite. He was exhausted, physically and mentally. While he craved sleep with every fiber of his being, it continued to slip his grasp. With a sigh, he sat back up and pulled his legs onto the bunk in a half lotus position and began to breathe rhythmically as he began some of the meditation techniques he'd learned. Today was much like any other day, but with one exception. It was his birthday. :: (( Flashback -- Transporter Room 2, USS Za )) (( Time Index: 239407.06 )) :: Chythar took up a position near the transporter console and began programming in the specifics for calibration of the biofilter as Mindor spoke. He needed this to work, for all their sakes. Alex, Lael, his own, and Maddie’s. His focus, or lack of focus, was shaky at best and it took him every ounce of will to keep it. He was likely going to hate himself if he couldn't get this to work before his memory failed him and he forgot how to work this thing. :: Skyfire: Almost got it… :: Once the biofilters were calibrated, he slammed his hand to the button and retrieved the away team, beaming them straight into the quarantined Sickbay before treating Mr. Mindorn's injury with one of the medkits in the transporter room. After said injury was treated and their guest had departed to the surface via the transporter, Chythar beamed himself to sickbay as well. :: (( Sickbay, USS Za )) :: Mark was busy injecting the cure into everyone who was afflicted by the virus. He was assisted by Greywin Fergus, who remained oddly silent during the whole thing except when spoken to. The hologram was also relatively quiet, but that was more because he hadn't been gifted with a small talk routine yet. As the away team returned from the surface, Mark smiled at the Vissian. :: Vondaryan: ::blinking:: Well, that was surprising. ::smiling:: But I'm glad to see you. ::he coughed again, more blood coming forth:: How's the cure coming along? Mark: Done. It's good to see you too, sir. I just want you to lie back now, and relax. :: The holographic doc pressed a hypo to Trellis' neck and allowed him to sleep it off. :: :: Chythar materialized also and lay down onto a biobed none the worse for wear. He was running a high fever at this point and was experiencing rather severe tremors. It was probably just as well he didn't attempt to handle anything. Mark took one look at the doc and quickly injected a hypospray into Skyfire's neck, helping him lie down before he passed out. :: Mark: =/\= Mark to Dr. Alexander. =/\= Alexander: ::taps her commbadge:: =/\= Go ahead, Mark. =/\= Mark: =/\= Just wanted to let you know, thanks to your efforts the away teams are stable. Thanks to Dr. Skyfire's efforts, the teams are home. He and Maddy are also stabilized. I can only assume the Hocktin guest has been returned to his people. =/\= Alexander: =/\= Good to hear, Mark. I still have more batches to mix. Keep me updated.=/\= Mark: =/\= Understood. Mark out.=/\= (( End Flashback )) (( Present, Runabout Yahtzee )) :: Another unremarkable day, except in a few respects. One, he'd lived to see this day through the efforts of his best friends: Alora DeVeau, Dassa Alexander, and Lael Rosek. Two, he'd just been asked by his partner to move in with him aboard the Veritas, which was a major stepping stone in this phase of his life -- his first serious relationship. Three, Alex had survived through the exact same efforts, plus a bit more because of Lael's heroism displayed during the away mission. :: :: Another year older, and some things didn't change -- he never actually marked the occasion with anything. Recently, after his recent doubt in his abilities and his gratitude at being allowed to survive another day, he decided he had to give thanks to someone. Even though Dassa had only told him half a dozen times to have faith, he wasn't a true believer; not yet. He whispered a silent prayer of gratitude at being allowed to survive, following it up by making the sign of the cross. He felt calmer now, but sleep was still going to elude him for a while to come. :: :: In his head, he made a list of what all he had to do upon their arrival. :: oO Step one: check in with the captain and XO. Step two, attempt to arrange for staying with Alex. Step three, get checked out by medical. Step four, get checked out by the counselor. Step five, introduce Alex to my sister. Oo :: He remained in meditation until they landed. :: === Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire, MD Medical Officer USS Veritas NCC-95035 O239002CS0 & Mark (NPC) EMH Mk IV O239002CS0 Featuring Flashback Content by PNPC Lieutenant Dassa Alexander, PD, PDS Medical Officer USS Veritas I238110RH0 & Lieutenant Commander Trellis Vondaryan First Officer USS Za O239208TV0
  3. ((Captain's Quarters, USS Veritas - Around 0400 hours)) ::Sometimes, fate and the universe were truly cruel masters. Just a few months after Tristam’s Starfleet commission had been reactivated, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers saw fit to have him head off on assignment elsewhere in the Shoals--away from Veritas and away from Roshanara.:: ::It made complete logical sense of course. She’d probably have assigned him similarly if she were back on Earth looking over the Corps’ resources and seeing a components expert posted on a deep space cruiser that didn’t really offer him the same resources as say a Galaxy class ship or a starbase for research. More importantly, Tristam’s skills were vital to the Corps’ efforts (and the Federation Council’s stated commitment) to improve infrastructure throughout the Shoals.:: ::But she thought they’d have more time.:: Rahman: I know we should go to sleep, but I don’t want this night to end… ::Her voice was wistful, her head resting on his chest as they both lay in her bed staring up above. Tristam gave a quiet sigh, nuzzling against her hair.:: Core: The good news is, it’s still in the area. Rahman: Hmmph. Ketar? Karakka? Wherever they send you out here, it might as well be the Delta Quadrant. ::She turned slightly to look up towards him.:: Rahman: You know it could be months before we see each other again... Core: I’m not thrilled about it, either. But maybe it’s a good thing - professionally, I mean. Walker has everything tied down here. With everything else . . . well, I mostly fixed the com problem, remember? Rahman: True… and since that is what I presume you’ll be focussing on now for the rest of the Shoals, maybe finding a way to keep us in touch better is a pretty good incentive for you to do well. Core: Well, I’ll need numerous com tests. Veritas is equipped for that. Not my fault if the captain decided to take those calls. ::She chuckled, reaching back with her right hand to stroke his lightly-shaved beard with the back of her fingers. As she thought though of what their relationship was to become--long distance, again, and one sustained (inshallah!) by subspace calls--painful memories of her last experience with such an arrangement began to resurface.:: Rahman: Tristam, we don’t have to do this. ::He frowned a little, the hand that had been tracing small patterns on her arm now still.:: Core: I’m guessing you don’t mean halting my transfer to the outpost. ::He was trying to keep things light, fully aware of what she was trying to say, but unwilling to let it, or rather, his reaction to it, ruin a good day.:: Rahman: It’s just… I’ve been down this road before. I know how hard it can be. ::She stopped to correct herself.:: Rahman: How hard it *will* be. ::She closed her eyes as she felt them begin to water.:: Rahman: If it becomes too hard for you, I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me. And if there’s any doubt, then maybe it’d be best to resolve it here, now--while we’re together. Not months or even years from now when we’re divided by a screen. ::He didn't want to dismiss her concerns. He had no intention to, not after the disaster that had been his time on Rodul. But he couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t getting the whole story here. He thought about it for a few moments, hand resuming its patterns on her arm.:: Core: Is that what *you* want? ::She didn’t answer immediately. What did she want? Was she just trying to give him permission to break up with her? Or was she just too afraid of enduring a familiar pain again? Of loneliness and insecurity.:: Rahman: I want… I want you to be happy. ::She sat up a bit, propping her elbow on the bed and placing her chin now on her palm. She looked over at him as he continued to lie there, curious all-black eyes staring back.:: Rahman: I love you, Tristam. And I don’t want you to ever feel like you’re trapped or that you’ve been expected to hold up an obligation to us--to me. Especially when we’re not even married. ::She glanced down a bit, her voice quieter.:: Rahman: I don’t want you to ever become resentful because of what we decide tonight. ::He gave her a curious look, opting now to sit up with her, stealing a pillow to lean on.:: Core: I see it in that we have two options. Rahman: I’m listening. Core: We can call it quits here, if that's what you want. It's not what I want. Because I don't feel trapped. But I do have an obligation to us. And I might not completely understand your reasoning, but I respect you too much to make *you* feel like you're stuck with *me*. ::At that, her chuckle erupted into a snicker, almost an embarrassing snort.:: Core: Or, ::He said, smiling and tilting his head (perhaps a bit too far to the right by typical standards):: We stick it out. Being on Rodul was the hardest time in my life - and I say that knowing I have another two hundred years to go. I know we distanced ourselves then, and time zones were unbearable, but I regret us, or really, *me*, not telling you about what was going on. I think I can do better than that. I *know* I can do better than that. ::Roshanara sighed. The time Tristam had been away on Rodul had been hard for both of them, but she couldn’t fault him for needing to take the time to figure out what he wanted. And it had ironically been her own prodding that he finally go back and revisit his homeworld.:: ::It was more the feeling of being left out of a decision that affected both of them that had hurt her more. It was what had happened before with Javed, and what she feared would happen now, even if she were bracing for it.:: Rahman: Just… promise me one thing. ::She stuck out her right index finger and traced it along his bare chest in a similar pattern as he had been tracing on her arm earlier.:: Rahman: Just keep me in the loop about how you’re feeling as time goes by. About us. I know you don’t want us to part ways today. And maybe not tomorrow or a few months from now--or ever. But... ::She let her finger run in a spiral until she stopped it right over his heart.:: Rahman: ...anyway, let’s both be better than that. ::He smiled again, black eyes sparkling in the low lighting.:: Core: Of course, ervami. ::By now, the late hour had finally started to bear its brunt on the Kriosian, whose eyelids began to fall lower and lower. She drew closer to him and placed her head back against his now slightly upright chest.:: Rahman: Good. Mmmmmm. ::She closed her eyes, drifting towards slumber but not before whispering one final, barely audible remark.:: Rahman: ...if you ever break up with me over subspace, I’ll hunt you down, stuff you in a torpedo and shoot it into a blackhole… ::He chuckled.:: Core: It'd be a waste of a torpedo. Rahman: Shhh. Pillows don’t talk. === Lt. Cmdr. Tristam Core Components Expert, Starfleet Corps of Engineers C238803SB0 & Capt. Roshanara Rahman Commanding Officer, USS Veritas I238705TZ0
  4. ((Dominicus VI. Mines “Sickbay”.)) ::If there was but a single man in the galaxy that fit the imagery of an “old kung-fu master”, then it was him. He wore his long silvered hair in a topknot with some left loose either side of his head. His long beard was silver, and bound at it’s longest point with beads. His robes were loose, flowing and various shades of brown, as were his tattered old shoes. He wore cream coloured wraps around his calves and down to his ankles, the dirt of the mine staining their lower halves brown also. He wore a black belt with a scabbard where once a blade had rested, although he had not possessed his own for the seventy years he had been here.:: Tenaka: oO Seventy years. But not much longer. Oo ::He was slight of frame and mildly hunched forwards, walking with a shuffle as he leaned upon a staff that was well beyond his own ninety-eight years. He spent most of his time in this place, the closet thing the slaves had to a sickbay. It was more like a butchers shop combined with a torture chamber, the stink of blood and bowels liquefied in fear permeating the air without pause.:: Tenaka: oO I cannot remember fresh air. Oo ::They had stopped trying to prevent him from spending his days here, tending to the spiritual well-being of those slaves and indentured workers that passed through. Every guard had tried in their turn, and every one of them had been carried limply to this very room for treatment. Some had been cast aside to rot where they lay in the tunnels. The frail and blind old man with the staff laying them low with ease, for some reason not one of them had ever dared to shoot him. He did not know why this was. Perhaps it was the Goddess protecting him? After all, despite learning the ways of war and death as a fiery youth, he had never forsaken his vows to Her as a healer. Perhaps his recent dreams were a message?:: Tenaka: oO All of my days I pledge to Her. To seek out the sick, and the lost. The damaged and the broken. To cast light upon their shadows and lift them from suffering. All of my days I pledge to Her. Oo ::His attention had been drawn much earlier to three new arrivals. Two of them sounded like rough, military men and a fight had ensued. There had been a single heavy shot, and Tenaka recognised the sound of Bardur’s heavy slug-throwing pistol followed by a dead weight hitting the ground. The other military man had been soundly beaten and tied, the third man being bound also, despite his panicked cries and sobs.:: Bardur: Quiet! ::The heavy sound of a backhanded slap from an armoured glove.:: ::Tenaka stood slowly, his sightless eyes boring into the hulking guard.:: Tenaka: You will leave the boy unharmed, Bardur. Lest I provide you another lesson in humility. ::He heard the guard alter his stance, the sound of the halberd scraping the floor as it was raised to a fighting stance. Tenaka slowly picked up his walking staff, tapping its end on the floor by his left foot. He knew the mines and its corridors and tunnels better than any of those with their sight intact and this room best of all. He swept around the nearest table, the tip of his staff at Bardur’s windpipe before the huge guard could even blink.:: Tenaka: Leave us. ::The atmosphere changed almost instantly, the guards slow nod and quick retreat a sign that there was at least a sliver of intelligence in the man’s brain. He grounded the butt of his staff once more and spoke without turning.:: Tenaka: And what is your name, young man? Paradi: Julian. Crewman second class, USS Colum- ::Starfleet. Tenaka held a hand up. Pointing with startling accuracy between the other two new arrivals, one beaten, one dead, he offered the boy a smile as he turned.:: Tenaka: I am not your gaoler. Tell me, Julian. Who are they? Paradi: Marines. That’s Private Lockwood in the chair. ::A sniffle:: The other was Private Selkirk. ::Tenaka nodded slowly. Yes, he would not live here much longer. Time passed, perhaps an hour or two when another slave was dragged into the room and slammed into a chair for treatment. The Marine was unconscious, battered and bleeding where he sat bound to his chair. The boy – Julien – had fallen into a fitful sleep. That was good. He would need his strength.:: Tenaka: And what may I do for you young man? Maxwell: Tripped on mah laces an broke my hand. Tenaka: oO That voice! Oo Then let us attend to it. ::Tenaka bound the fingers and set the broken hand as best as he could, which considering his resources was not very well at all. When the boy returned to his ship, it could be healed properly. But Tenaka could do no more for him than prevent the broken bones from setting themselves too far out of line.:: Tenaka: There. Good as new. ::A ghost of a smile played across his lips.:: Your friends will be safe here with me, Arturo Maxwell. ::He didn’t need vision to tell him of the shock and surprise on the young man’s face at the utterance of his name by a complete stranger. The boy was hauled from the seat once more by the guard – which was Rell’tharn judging by the tiny bells tied around his collar – and Tenaka grabbed the prisoners arm fiercly, leaning in to whisper in his ear.:: Tenaka: Fear not young Maxwell. She is coming for you. Maxwell: Wha? Tenaka: A lady of fire and flame. She comes for you. ::Pause:: For all of you. Rell’tham: Move! ::And with that, the boy was manhandled from the room.:: Tenaka: ::Quietly to himself.:: Fear not. She comes. --- Master Tenaka. Healer. Dominicus VI Mines. Simmed by; Lieutenant (JG) Arturo Maxwell. Tactical Officer. Starbase 118 Operations. O239311AM0.
  5. (( Ijo House, Hathon, Bajor )) ::The older Bajoran woman listened to Irina, showing interest, she knew much of the information but she often found people more at ease when they revealed information about themselves. Plus, it would tell her how safe Aria was, along with those new grandchildren of hers. :: Cada: And, you? Pavlova: At first I was safe. The captain and security officer on the ship that rescued me, they altered my record so it looked to all as though I was in stasis, with the damage to my eyes blamed on failing circuitry in the stasis pod, but Starfleet Intelligence and medical knew better, and soon they were watching me. They made three attempts, but I was lucky and managed to stay a step ahead. ::She listened to Irina describe the how she was worried coming for her, and Cada's mind wandered to the contacts she had around the quadrant. Depending on how things played out someone would be willing to take on another mission, pay off a favor. She broached the subject. :: Pavlova: Completely? No. But, some help? I have friends at the embassy who would protect me as I’m sure you are aware, but I need to know who it is, and have leverage to stop them. ::Cada knew self-reliant people, and understood the attitude. Some people attributed her and Teevin's life to self-reliance, wanting to take care of their own. :: Cada: You need a pointer, no strings attached. Pavlova: I’m tired of violence. I just want them to know that if something were to happen to me, that it would not end well for them, and that if something were to happen to those I care about…, well, I’ve taken head shots from over five kilometers in high gravity, if I knew who they were, they know what I would do. Cada: I can understand that completely Irina. ::And she could, she had seen the look enough, played the role enough, understood it could work. She hoped it worked. :: Pavlova: I'm supposed to be some kind of prodigal soldier, but now, all I want to do is grow old with my family, make breakfast every morning and hold my wife every night. ::Cada made a resolution to herself, silently, and finished her juice. :: Cada: ::half smirking:: Well, if this retired Bajoran housewife has anything to say about it, that's exactly what's going to happen. ::She stood and made her way back toward the house, she turned back toward her new daughter-in-law at the last moment. :: Cada: Let's get more juice ::pausing to add, gesturing towards the occupants of the house:: We'll make it OK, for all your sake. Ijo Cada Ordinary Housewife Lt. Commander Oddas Aria Executive Officer Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor, NCC-82607 ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training Team E239305OA0
  6. ((On a Royal Navy Ship, Somewhere on the Atlantic)) ::The black and yellow walls of the holodeck disappeared, replaced with large wooden sailing ship, in the same design as a 19th century English naval ship. It had a deck comprised of great wooden planks, with three huge masts protruding from it. Each of the masts was furnished with great off white sails. Above were clear blue skies and below dark blue water. The ship was apparently sailing upon the high seas, gently rolling with the waves:: :: The two starfleet officers now stood at the stern of the ship, with a sweeping view of the ship in front of them, men busying themselves with work. Stood just in front of them, was a grimy looking human male, with ill fitting, ragged clothes and a cloth over his head, currently steering the ship via a giant wheel:: Thoran: Lieutenant Pond, welcome to Her Majesty’s Ship Destiny. She is an old Earth sailing ship, from the 19th Century. :: He tapped the wooden rail nearby.:: She is a thing of beauty. Thoran: ::He turned to face Isabel:: I’d imagine this is not quite what you expected? Pond: ::smiling awkwardly:: Indeed. I usually prefer something better protected against… ::feeling chilly:: the wind, for example. I feel like I’m a little… wrongly dressed? Thoran: Quite. Perhaps, you may wish to change into something more suitable? Pond: That sounds like a good idea. Those clouds over there do not look very friendly. ::As someone mainly concerned with space, the interpretation of clouds and winds was of course far beyond Isabel’s grasp of understanding. However, she had lived on a planet, and whenever dark clouds like these appeared over the sea, it had been time to search for a sturdy shelter.:: Pond: What has the program to offer? Thoran: Well let me see. :: He thought for a minute about the different options he could present to Isabel, which thankfully were not a lot.:: I think you would be best suited with an outfit similar to mine, as i’m not quite sure you’re ready for the lower decks. ::He smiled at the thought of the young trill trying to run the guns amongst the beast like men of the crew:: Computer, create outfit 19th century Royal Navy officer’s attire. ::The integrated replicator circuits of the holodeck produced an uniform quite similar to the one Ensign Thoran was already wearing. However, it was evident from afar that his was of a major quality. The signs of wear alone made it blend into the scenery, very different to the brand new suit in Isabel’s hands.:: Pond: I think I’ll go downstairs to change. Thoran: Very well Isabel, I shall see you shortly. :: As Isabel disappeared, Thoran closed his eyes, feeling the wind upon his face and took a few deep breaths, taking in the smell of gunpowder, wood, grease mixed with the salty scent of the ocean.:: ::Without further ado, the Trill slid down the wooden stairs as she would have done on a Starship. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very much experienced with wood and caught pinpoint an enormous splinter. It was of course not a big problem for a physician, but it still hurt a bit.:: ::On the lower deck, or however it was called in sailor terms, the air was sticky and one had to search for a bit of unused oxygen. No wonder everyone who was able to spent the day on the deck. Like that, she easily found a hidden corner where she could change. She hid her jogging clothes inside a hammock, hoping they would be left behind once they would terminate the program.:: ::Now adequately dressed, she had a look around on this deck. It was a very cluttered sight and she questioned the ability of anyone finding anything in this mess. The only neat thing around were accurately lined up cannons. They all had enough space around to manipulate them and ammunition and powder was ready at hand. This clearly seemed to be a warship.:: ::Continuing further towards the bow, Isabel had to climb over barrels of supplies, hammocks hanging criss and cross and seabags full of stinking clothes. She was indeed relieved when she reached the exit at the other end of the deck. The Trill took the ladder back to the top. With only her head sticking out of the bulkhead and after her eyes had once again adjusted to the light, she looked at the boots of another very heavy sailor.:: Sailor 1: Aye Matey what do we have ‘ere? ::Rather ruggedy, he grabbed her at the collar and pulled her out in one go. Isabel was too astonished about the strength of the character to do anything about it.:: Sailor 1: Mates, look at that, a gal in officer’s attire. ::Within seconds, Isabel was surrounded by a flock of more or less angry looking sailors. She tried to strike an impressive, authority-inducing pose, but it had no effect at all.:: Sailor 2: A cutty indeed. What do we do, lads? Sailor 3: That’s not good… Not good at all. Everyone knows. A shrew on board ain’t no good. ::The sailors drew the circle closer and Isabel learned very quickly how walking the planks must feel like. Actually, she was surprised that no-one handed a wooden board to the mob leader, just to make the feeling a tad more real.:: Pond: Uhm, Thoran, a little help here? ::She couldn’t see the Ensign from her standpoint. Her 5 foot 2 was barely chest high for most of these bears in front of her. Quite agile, she jumped on top of the rail and barely got a hold of a piece of rope, preventing her continuing leap into the ocean. From what she had seen, Thoran’s dress surely made him something quite high ranking on this vessel, he could bring some sense into these men. She hoped.:: :: Thoran had been discussing the ship's supplies with the Purser when he noticed a small gathering at the far end of the ship. He called to the ship’s Master, a heavy set man, with a big thick beard who went by the name Hal.:: Thoran: Hal, sort that ramble out, we have not got time for this nonsense. :: At that moment a figure broke from the gathering, and via a rope leapt into the ocean. Cries of man overboard resounded around the ship. He could not be certain, but that figure who had gone into the sea, looked a lot like Isabel.:: ::”Leaping” Was not exactly how Isabel would have described it. Maybe she would have considered it in more tropical waters, like the ones of her hometown, but this ocean looked dark and scary and very cold.:: ::And unfortunately quite wavy. A specially devious one just had hit the ship from eleven o’clock, sending a gentle but rather unexpected ramble through the ship’s body, making her lose her footing and plunge backwards towards the ocean.:: ::She couldn’t exactly see when the surface was arriving, but it had to come at any moment. The top of the ship grew smaller and smaller, while more and more faces appeared at the edge. Isabel was definitely sure most of them looked amused.:: ::Then the Trill hit the water and it was as cold and uninviting as she had expected it to be. Her extensive clothing instantly dragged her down, but luckily, she had teared down the rope she initially hung onto. Two swimming strokes were enough to once again reach it and she was able to pull herself back to the top. For most of the time, anyway.:: :: Thoran headed to the source of the commotion, where some of the crew were now grabbing poles and holding them over the side for the seaman to grab hold of. As he reached the side, he saw the figure of a very angry Isabel bopping up and down in the water:: Thoran: We’ll have you out in a moment. :: He turned to the Master:: Find out what has happened here, I want a full report, including any charges:: Master Hal:: Aye cap’n. Right you ‘orrible lot, get back t’it or i’ll ‘ave you’ll up on charge. :: He turned to one of the figures stood in the centre of the group:: You there, get yerself below deck NOW, I wanna ‘ave a word wiv ya. ::Isabel then was quickly brought back on board. Everything was cold and she felt quite miserable and considerably angry. The Trill wished she had not changed clothes, the water-soaked uniform must weigh a couple of tons.:: Thoran: :: He passed Isabel a woolen blanket:: Glad to have you back with us. Come, let’s get you dried off and some new clothes. :: He gestured towards his cabin at the far end of the ship:: After you. :: The crew made way for them, giving them a salute as they passed. As they approached the door to the cabin, the marine sentry stood to attention and opened the door. Once inside Thoran gestured to a screen on the right hand side of the room :: You may get changed behind there. :: He turned to a young boy stood in the corner of the room.:: Yeoman, please arrange for some tea.:: Pond: ::grumbling:: Maybe with something extra in it, that would be fine... :: The boy returned carrying a tray with a teapot and two cups, placing it down on a large oak deck in the centre of the room and proceeded to pour two cups. Thoran sat down in one of the chairs adjacent to the table, picking up one of the cups and taking a sip. Isabel emerged from behind the screen, slightly drier than when he had seen her last.:: Thoran: Please, take a seat and have some tea. :: He gestured to the seat opposite his:: And perhaps, you could tell me what happened? Pond: ::calmly upset:: Well, your men were not exactly pleased to see me on board. I wanted to jump unto the fence-thing around the deck to make myself heard, but you see, it didn’t turn out quite as I’ve thought it would. Pond: oO I should have picked up gymnastics instead of dancing. Some somersaults on the beam and nothing could have brought me off that reiling. Oo Thoran: :: Trying to stifle a laugh:: I am sorry about that. The men do tend to get a little :: he paused for a moment, trying to think of the best way to phrase this:: excited when they see a female, especially one in a uniform. Pond: ::seriously not serious:: I feel like… You know, what do sailors do? Keelhaul someone? Thoran: Well I will admit you do slightly resemble someone who has been keelhauled, although you are a lot less ragged than they would be. :: A small smile spread across his face:: it doesn’t seem like we’re getting off to a good start here. If I may ask, what do you prefer I call you? Pond: ::sighing:: I guess we’re past Lieutenant Pond by now. You can call me Isabel when off duty. Thoran: Well it is a pleasure to meet you Isabel. Care to indulge in a spot of pirate hunting? ::Pirate hunting sounded much more violent than the peaceful run through the forest. However, Isabel rarely Pond: I don’t know, I might have seen enough naval daily business. Do you think you can make these characters not throwing me over board a second time or do we have to temporarily change the program before that? :: Thoran leant forward and took another sip of tea. It had been one of things he had missed since leaving his homeworld, real home-brewed tea. It was not often his father was without a cup.:: Thoran: Whilst I cannot guarantee they will not throw you overboard, they can be a lively lot after all, you have my assure the matter has been dealt with. :: Thoran stood up, walking over to a sizeable desk at the rear of the cabin, covered with yellowed parchments. He picked the top one, unfurled and read it, before placing it back down:: Thoran: Now, there have been rumours of pirates attacking merchant ships just north of our current position. Our orders are to find and apprehend them. It should make a good prize for the crew. :: He turned to face Isabel:: Tell me, do you know anything about sailing or warfare? ::Isabel had almost interrupted him with a remark about better going south, as there it is supposedly warmer as in the north. But then she realised that this wasn’t a shuttle and they couldn’t possibly sail far enough within the remaining half hour or so to have thie making a difference.:: Pond: ::shrugging:: I know in which direction the ship’s supposed to go. ::pointing hesitantly:: Thoran: :: He smiled to himself. She at least knew something, more than most fresh faces on board did.:: That is correct. I will warn you, although this is a holo program, it can get quite um messy. Especially when it comes to the fight.:: :: The pair were interrupted by a knock on the door. Thoran called them in. It was young boy, no older than fifteen, with ill fitting clothes and holding a cap in his hand:: Boy: Beg ya pardon Cap’n, ships bin sighted windward offa starboard. Pond: oO Uhoh, Captain, already… Quite ambitious, this young man… Oo :: He thanked and dismissed the boy. He turned to face Isabel with a large grin on his face:: Thoran: Well, it seems we may not have to wait long. Care to join me on the deck? ::The doctors hopes that they would calmly cruise through the water on an unsuccessful search were therefore eliminated. Honestly, that had been to be expected, after all it is a programm designed to entertain and not to bore someone into a coma. As this was all that it was, a program, Isabel decided that if she’s here already, she could also let some of her anger about her own incompetence out on these virtual bad guys.:: Pond: Sure, let’s kick some pirate’s butt… Thoran: Excellent! I like your spirit. After you Miss Isabel. :: The pair left the cabin and headed up to the main deck. The crew was already assembled and waiting for the Captain’s orders. The Trill met some rather strange looks from the crew, she prefered to not know what had happened up here while she was drying off under deck. However, her gaze was soon directed to the horizon, hoping to spot the enemy ship. Isabel was not entirely sure if she was looking at the right spot, even though she knew where starboard was. Still being unsuccessful in her attempts, she looked back to Thoran, expecting some sort of rousing battle speech.:: :: Thoran took the telescope the sailing master handed him and looked in the direction the man was pointing. It seemed they had found their prey and Thoran was looking forward to playing this out with Isabel.:: Thoran: :: He passed the telescope to Isabel:: Just over there, on the horizon. She’s smaller than us, so she will be faster but we have the wind gauge. :: Isabel nodded knowingly, without knowing what that means. He turned to face the crew who had been assembled on the deck.:: Right men, the time is upon us. They have raided several of the King’s ships and we cannot let this continue. As I look upon you, I know you will each do your duty and you are as eager as I to get into the action. If we can take the ship undamaged, she will make a mighty prize.. Now, every man to his station and be quick about it. _______________________________ Ensign Jarred Thoran Security And Tactical Officer Andaris Task Force, USS Blackwell NCC-58999 A239405JT0 And Lt Isabel Pond Medical Officer USS Atlantis D239212IP0
  7. (( A Guided Fall Within The Center )) :: There were 56 of them. 56 was ideal. Many would remain Shadowed and some would be Seen. Large ones would be Seen. The Wayward learned truths more quickly when the larger Keepers approached them. This had been learned, over many cycles. They moved through The Center, with silvery swiftness. The Song had changed, with new tones - the Keepers had come upon the Wayward who had dared to break the seals, and they had taken them into The Center, and guided them through a Fold to the hearth and the Ascension of Rest. The Wayward would want to see the Ascension of Rest; the one who guided them had seemed most interested to find it. This was a truly golden moment; the Wayward would only find their way to the True through Rest. Through Rest and the Folds. 56 Keepers moved onwards, and the Song moved with them. These Wayward were farther away from the golden notes. They walked beneath the Ward, in the light of the True, and brought with them fire and dust and gray thoughts, heavy as stones. They brought rage, red as the Shorewalker shells. The Eyes that watched them and the crystals that listened to their notes saw only distrust and heard only dissonance. There had been a flow of the song, and the Keepers, and the Shorewalkers, and the Highwatchers, and the Shining Sleepers arrived at a truth; these Wayward risked becoming too red, too gray. They must be brought to The Center. So the Shining Sleepers had fed subtle harmonies to the shell that lay above The Center, and let the ground buckle and welcome the Wayward and their ruined vessel to the Center - and for a few blessed moments, had ceased their endless gray tumble of red words. 56 Keepers moved on, some in Shadow, some Seen, and the Song moved with them. They moved into the Rounding where the Shining Sleepers had neatly weakened the shell to let the Wayward fall after the one in the carapace had set off her dissonant chemicals. The Wayward were gathered here, already rising. They were resilient. This was ideal; it was one reason the True found them so suitable for Rest. The Keepers had brought two with voices with them. Curiously, the Wayward seemed more comfortable with voices than the hisses of welcome. So voices they would have. One was sung to be the speaker, with another ready if the Wayward needed more voices, needed more endless words. It was not the Song. It was clumsy. But it made the Wayward think silvery thoughts, to have words given to them. So it would be. They moved from the Fold, into the Rounding, their mandibles wide and legs raised in the embrace of greeting. The Song called for soothing, for assertion of security, for a guiding away from the gray. The Song also called for the one with the carapace to be kept in harmony, and so she was enfolded with four of the largest Keepers, and they had the Thread ready to snare her if she became red. So the words came in the awkward heaps of "Standard" as the smaller Keeper addressed the Wayward. Even as one of them spoke. Sevo: Stay calm, *untranslatable: All Those Present*. They don’t seem to be *untranslatable: Those Without Singing* *untranslatable: Those Who Serve The Shining Sleepers On The Shell*. :: The Wayward were so very hard to understand sometimes. :: Keeper2826: Happy *campers* are so glad to *smell* you, *lost*! You will cease all *gray* and remove your *harms* and come to *Home*, to *hearth*. This is a *silver* function. Do not have *sauce*. Sevo: Th...they *untranslatable: Sing Truly*? *untranslatable: Gathering Of The Lost* Standard no less? :: The Keepers shifted in the dance to keep the Wayward in view. Some kept their lights in the rose hue of welcome. Some shifted to the blue of The Center, preparing to map the Folds. :: sh'Idrani: response Millis: Hi. :: One the shade of the Shining Sleepers in full blossom held his hands out, in a somewhat innocent attempt at the embrace of welcome. Just as their "Standard" was clumsy, so too was their organic design, but the gesture was appreciated. The voice-given Keeper raised his arms in greater welcome in return. :: MacFarlane: Sir? Are ye sure tha’ is a good idea. Some o’ them are quite big. :: The Song urged calm, motivated an embrace. There must be a harmony, a unity. There must above all be clarity. :: Keeper: Welcome! You are *lost* but now you are safe in *Home*. There is no *gray*, no *red*. Only *silver* functions and *lights* with the *lost*. Sevo: I don’t think they mean us any harm. Millis/Freeman/sh’Idrani: response Sevo: Who are you? What is this place? Keeper2826: We are *campers*. We are of the *Home*. We are the ones who hold the *lights*. This is *Home*. Home of *others*, open to *lost*. Come. Your *lost* await. There is *hearth*. You may *lights* with those present. Millis/Freeman/sh’Idrani: response :: Questions, questions. The Song wavered with the impatience of a crystal flower in shade seeking the light of the True. The Song flowed between them, and more Keepers emerged from the Shadow, surrounding the Wayward. They began to shift forward, gently herding, urging, guiding. The Wayward must be guided; this was the most utterly golden note of the Song the True had left for them here in The Center; the Wayward MUST be guided. Guided to where they needed to be. :: Keeper2826: Come. *Home* awaits just beyond the *Wrinkle*. Come. We will remove your *residue*. :: The Keepers moved, gentle but inevitable, to slowly and harmoniously try to guide the Wayward to the Fold - they would not know the Fold as more than a chill, more than a darkness that would seem as no more than the shadows and damp of a cave. But the Folds were how the True had built The Center here, under the shell, beneath the Ward and the light. From anywhere, to anywhere within The Center, there was a Fold. The Keepers sought to guide the Wayward to one that would take them to just outside the great dome of the Ascension of Rest. :: Sevo/Millis/Freeman/sh’Idrani: response :: There may have been some curiosity. The Wayward always had curiosity. It was in their nature. Some of them seemed to have heavy thoughts about their smoldering wreckage, brought low by the Ward. The Ward disabled the Wayward's curious toys. That was in its nature. Keepers began to clamber over the primitive craft, and work at it with bright plasmic lights, to break it apart into useful components. :: Keeper2826: The *residue* must be removed. It is useful to *Home*, but not as it is. It must be *cleaned*. *Campers* are fine for making things *clean*. *Lost* must not be so *gray*. It is a *silver* function to keep things *clean*. There will be no *blue* damage. Sevo/Millis/Freeman/sh’Idrani: response :: The Song flowed, and brought with it a closed fist, a warning of the need for sternness, to keep the Wayward moving. More of them enfolded closer, to try to guide them into the tunnels towards the Fold. :: Keeper2826: Do not have *sauce*. :: They could not be clearer than that. :: 56 Keepers (The ideal number) The Center as simmed by Ensign Connan MacMorna Helmsman USS Gorkon I238605NL0
  8. (( Ijo House, Hathon, Bajor )) ::The trip had made Aria more nervous than she had anticipated, which said a lot. She thought she had masked it well by answering the questions of the girls as best she could, of course she knew that meant she had told them much more than they wanted to know. She had seen that glazed over bored look in Katya's eyes telling Aria she had been talking too much. The stop on DS9 was brief, barely enough time to get to the next shuttle, Jazmine seemed disappointed she couldn't go into the bar. Aria was confused until she saw the girl looking at the Tongo table and whispered she knew a place in the city they could play together. Aria wasn't sure Irina heard. Finally they stood outside the Ijo house, a decidedly tall gray and blue building on the outskirts of the city. It was far enough on the outskirts it had a small yard inside a low wall, but close enough space was still at a premium and the building was much narrower and deeper than it was tall, 4 levels tall with a small vehicle landing pad hanging off the roof. Aria could not walk between it and the neighboring buildings. She had stood here countless times and she couldn't remember being as nervous as she felt this time. So much was different, even her clothing felt wrong, for some reason it felt as if she should have worn something that didn't make it obvious that her very body was different. She should have covered her arm up. :: ::Irina’s thoughts were entirely different. Despite four years having passed since her rescue from Kjenta II, Irina had actually been to very few worlds other than her own and Til’Ahn. This was also different because she knew how difficult it had to be for Aria. This was the home of her former fiance’s parents, her former fiancé who died literally in her arms; again a situation Irina knew far better than anyone should ever have to.:: ::Katya and Jazmine, for their parts, looked about equal parts tired, bored and curious, though neither of them complained at all, which made Irina happy.:: Oddas: I guess it's now or never. Pavlova: We are your guests, so after you. ::Irina had a point, so Aria lead the group toward the gate and opened it, and made it one step inside before the door to the house opened. Aria looked up in surprise to see Ijo Cada, Mother Cada appear. Cada was older than Aria remembered, but still had echos of Alea. Shorter than either Aria or Irina, hair that was officially more grey than red, some lines on her face that she wore with a mixture of pride and innocence. She smiled in a way that made Aria think of all mothers, except her own. :: Ijo: Aria! ::Before Aria knew what was happening the woman was across the walkway in a feat defying her age and had wrapped her arms around Aria's neck, standing on her tip toes to do so. Aria couldn't help to embrace her back, squeezing tightly. She felt tears on her face, she felt home. She felt someone tapping on her back, it was Cada. :: Ijo: Aria! ::laughing:: Aria, not so hard! ::Aria let the older woman go and smiled at her. :: Oddas: It is so good to see you Mother Cada. ::in that moment Aria felt a huge burden lift from her shoulders.:: Ijo: ::squeezing Aria on the shoulders:: It is so good to see you Aria, welcome home. ::turning her attention to the rest of the group:: And this is the other woman in my daughter's life, Ms. Irina Pavlova. Pavlova: I’ve heard a lot about you. ::Irina held out her hand as she replied. :: Ijo: ::looking at the woman's hand:: Nonsense! ::pulling Irina in for her own hug, equally as heartfelt, but not quite as rough.:: ::Irina was rather startled, but adapted quickly and returned the hug.:: Pavlova: It’s a pleasure to meet you. Ijo: And ::making her mouth form the word correctly:: Katya and Jazmine? Thank you so very much for coming with my Aria home. Katya: Hello ma’am. Jazmine: Thank you for having us. ::Cada took the girls by the hands, one in each, and led them towards the door. :: Ijo: Call me Ama Cada ::she looked over her shoulder at Aria and Irina:: you two bring the bags, I have treats for the girls. Oddas: oO Yep, I'm home, not in command of anything anymore. Oo Pavlova: And you were worried about bringing us. I’m guessing Ama is either Miss or Mother? Oddas: ::smiling and picking up a bag:: I guess the closest thing in standard is 'Grandmother', Grandmother Cada. ::Aria had a moment of panic, stopping as she was slinging a bag over her shoulder:: If, if it bothers you, or them, I'm sure she won't mind if they don't... Pavlova: Why would it bother me? I’m sure they love the attention. ::Irina picked up the heaviest of the bags:: Pavlova: Come on, lets get moved in. ::They made it inside a few minutes later and upstairs, to where Cada had set up a majestic spread of foods. Aria thought she was blushing when she saw the foods were mostly desserts and could smell a pot of coffee coming from somewhere. Her survey was wrong though, a small, very small portion of the dishes were savory, and a few she didn't recognize, they seemed almost Earth-like. She squinted her eyes and could have sworn she had one of the dishes at Irina's table. :: Oddas: Cada, this was not necessary. Pavlova: Is that? Piroshki? ::Irina looked closedly one of the pastries and couldn’t hide the smile on her face, while Katya’s and Jazmine’s attention went straight for the deserts.:: Ijo: ::beaming:: You were not going to come all this way and not let me cook for you. Pavlova: Cook away. Ijo: ::motioning for everyone to sit around the round table:: It is! I hope I got the recipe right! We make nothing like it on Bajor, but I wanted you to feel at home as much as Aria. Pavlova: For real Piroshki we’ll move in tomorrow. I’ve never had a good one anywhere outside of Russia. May I? Ijo: I insist, if its not right, you will make it with me before you leave. If we don't do something right we shouldn't do it. ::Irina bit on and immediately felt like she was Katya’s age, sitting at her Aunt Svetlana’s table in Sochi.:: Pavlova: Vkusno (delicious). Ijo: You like it? I made what I could, but had to replicate a few things. Oddas: ::biting a cookie and pouring coffee, trying to take in the scene around her:: Knowing her, she didn't replicate much. Pavlova: Your recipe is just fine. We can cook though, I’ll teach you my grandmother’s stroganoff, and you can teach me one of the dishes Aria grew up with. Ijo: It's a deal, anything for my Aria, ::she glanced at Aria who was trying to pretend she wasn't embarrassed by the attention:: and anything for a recipe. Is it something you do often? Pavlova: I’ve always liked to cook. (( Timeskip until much later in the night. )) ::Cada had explained Teevin, the man they had come to celebrate, had to stay at the University to finish paperwork and other things to not leave them in a lurch when his retirement became official. Cada was entertaining Irina with a story of Aria's teenage years. It was a very long, very elaborate, very embarrassing story of Aria being brought home by a Constable for trespassing. :: Oddas: ::laughing:: They had the part I needed! Ijo: ::laughing very hard and hitting the table:: So you snuck in at night to take it? Oddas: They would have said no if I had just walked in and asked for a power converter! Besides, it was just sitting there with the other junk! ::Irina was really enjoying herself. Excellent food, good drink, and despite any apprehension she had about Cada being uncomfortable with her or the amount that the woman had managed to find out about her, Irina found herself really liking her.:: Pavlova: But you got caught. Oddas: They heard the hounds chasing me! Another 10 meters and I would have made it to the fence too! ::They all began laughing simultaneously and Aria realized she hadn't thought about day in years. :: Pavlova: So how did you end up here? Oddas: Oh, I told the Constable this was my house, Cada was my mother. Pavlova: Why the need for deception? Oddas: Otherwise, they would have realized it was not my first ... part collection. ::Aria realized the two young girls were looking on, Katya in particular had wide eyes. Evidently Ijo noticed as well. :: Ijo: ::grinning, conivingly:: You don't know about Aria's criminal records? Oddas: Okay! Okay! I don't think Irina needs her girls to know I'm not the shining influence she thinks I am. Katya/Jazmine: Please!!!!! Pavlova: Its time for you two to go to bed. Oddas: ::trying to change the subject:: It is late. Pavlova: Come on, Aria and her evil ways will be still be here in the morning. Ijo: ::smiling in a way that said it wasn't over:: the guest room is made up for them, and I have plenty of Coffee and Drinks for us. Katya/Jazmine: Okay. ((A few minutes later)) ::Irina knew it was a very sensitive subject, but sitting here and enjoying the company Irina just felt compelled to share her feelings.:: Pavlova: I really appreciate your inviting all of us. I honestly can’t imagine everything that must have gone through your mind when learned about Aria and I. ::Irina put her hand gently on Aria’s thigh, who for her part poured herself a small glass of kali-fal and breathed in the aroma deeply before taking a sip. Aria felt content, if a little embarrassed as she interlocked her fingers in Irina's hand. :: Ijo: ::reaching for her spring wine:: Pavlova, I'm sorry, Irina, forgive an old woman's lapse, ::taking a drink and seeming to get lost in thought:: many years ago Alea started telling me stories of a girl she knew who was brilliant, and shy, and yes, beautiful. She went on and on about this girl, like I had never heard before, and Alea was not shy, not like Aria. ::winking at Aria:: I knew Aria was special because Alea, who never lacked for self-confidence, was completely at a loss around her. Oddas: ::looking away:: That doesn't mean anything, lots of people get infatuated, often with the wrong people. Ijo: ::nodding:: That's true, but then I met you, Aria, and I understood it. I mean, beautiful, ::shrugging:: so is Alea, and Irina here, but Alea was right about all of the rest of it too. I'm proud to call you my daughter. ::looking at Irina:: And I trust her judgement with people, she's not going to associate with people that don't deserve it. Oddas: I've never felt like I was good with people. Ijo: ::finishing her wine and standing:: Aria, you may not be good at talking to people, but you know faster than anyone if they are good. ::kissing Aria on the head:: Irina, what went through my head was my daughter, who I want to be happy and who happens to be a good judge of character was happy. ::she cupped Irina's shoulder and squeezed as she headed for the stairs:: I'm going to follow the kids' example, do not wait up for Teevin. Pleasant Evening. Oddas: ::wiping her eyes with her palm:: Pleasant Evening. Irina: Pleasant eventing, and again, thank you. ::Irina caught herself wiping a few tears as well.:: Oddas: ::pausing for a moment:: Thank you Irina. Irina: Thank me? For what? Oddas: Making me come home. Irina: You are so lucky to have a home to come back to, and such a loving one as this. I could get very comfortable here. Oddas: You've been home? St Petersburg? Irina: Yes, I’ve been back. There were a few, VERY distant descendants of my brother and cousins, but none of them had even heard my name or knew that I ever existed until I showed up with Katya. Oddas: Was it happy? Irina: We had tea and talked for an hour or so, but there really wasn’t anything in common. None of them had stayed in music, none had gone to Starfleet. They were just strangers who shared a small fraction of my parents’ DNA. The building I lived in, my old school, everything I knew except some of the ancient statues and the old opera house were gone. It wasn’t home anymore. Oddas: ::resting her head on Irina's shoulder:: You can always be home with me Irina. ::Irina found herself suddenly speechless, and was certain she was blushing as she realized that there was nothing she wanted more than “always”. She’d wanted it with Dimitri, or at least thought she did, and had wanted it with AJ, but even that somehow wasn’t the same. Right here, sitting on the couch in the home of Aria’s dead fiance’s mother, Irina knew, with certainty, exactly what she wanted.:: Pavlova: Always? Oddas: ::jerking her head up as she realized she had spoken without really thinking:: I mean, of course, if, I mean, ::sighing:: yes, always. ::Irina just leaned in close, not caring how brightly she might be blushing.:: Pavlova: Then I guess my answer is….., yes? Oddas: ::smiling:: That's a relief ::kissing Irina:: Lt. Commander Oddas Aria Executive Officer Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor, NCC-82607 ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training Team E239305OA0 and Major Irina Pavlova Chief of Security Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor Author ID O238908HA0
  9. ((Restaurant, Starbase 11)) ::Loleh sat alone at a tiny table located in the corner of the restaurant. The whole place had a quaint feel to it. There was a mixture of different cultures, which made sense as the restaurant specialized in serving famous dishes from different Federation worlds. Surprisingly, she had found a traditional Al-Leyan dish on the menu. Despite her instinct telling her not to try it, she couldn't help but get a taste of home. She specifically requested that they make it for a native. Similar to the Thai dishes on Earth, she found that most places replicated Al-Leyan dishes at a much lower spice level for non-natives. ::Before her, she held a PADD with an old book called "Night". It was dark and sad, but she found herself intrigued in learning more about Earth's dark history. The fact was most species had their own dark histories. Her own still lived in the idea of conformity. Of course, there was always their history with the Klingons as well. She took a sip of water and read as she waited for her food to arrive.:: Waitress: Excuse me, miss. Your food is ready! ::Loleh had not even noticed the woman approaching. She couldn't even smell the food before her, but she smiled just the same. Clearing her area for the dish, Loleh nodded to the woman.:: Rejock: Thank you. Is this made for my tastes? Waitress: Yes, they assured me it was much stronger than usual. Rejock: Thank you so much! ::As she took the first taste, she was happy to have it be almost exactly how she remembered it. Of course, her mind wandered back to the time that Lan had tried her food. :: Rejock: oO Oh Lan.. Oo ::It was then that it struck her. It couldn't possibly be! Was it her season? Already?! She had no desire to procreate, but if it was her season, it would only get worse. The problem was mating outside her species was frowned upon. Loleh never gave it much thought because she didn't see the need in mating. There were many others out there having children, why should she? But maybe that was about to change...:: TBC ----------------------- PNPC Lieutenant junior grade Loleh Rejock Science Officer- Astrophysicist USS Constitution-B as played by: Lieutenant Commander T'Mar First Officer USS Constitution-B Community History Team Co-Facilitator/Training Officer
  10. ((Holodeck 1, USS Darwin-A)):: Valdivia had initially meant to come back to Camelot, check how the population was doing against the dragon. He knew the creature was programmed not to attack the city itself, so they were mostly safe, but the simulation could have interesting points for every character involved. The city would go on. But would Lancelot or Gawain? Would any of the knights decide to take on the dragon? He wanted to know, but he would also feel bad going in without at least telling Varaan, whether he decided to join or not. Also, although that would be easily solvable, there was the matter of his knee. He didn't want to strain it, and while it wouldn't be necessary for his role as Merlin, it was certainly a risk. :::: So he ended opening a normal program, just a random mountain setting, where he could don his modding gauntlet to enjoy the environment. He summoned a platform, stood on it, and used the developer commands of the program to make it fly, so he could move around the recreated environment freely to find nice spots. He flew around, thinking on all that had happened recently. The captain's situation, and specially Iy's betrayal, hit hard on everyone onboard, and yet they had to move on with little opportunity for healing. For wasn't it a bit selfish to demand time for healing for everyone else when the captain had to still make nir process, yet ne personally brought the Darwin back home? :::: But everyone had their own processes. Valdivia was not a sentimental one. He was not hiding and crying over what had happened, nor was he even wanting to and resisting the urge. But it affected him in more subtle ways. He had seen three people he had never met onboard the Darwin already, possibly engineers on repairs, and he had had to resist the urge to scan them and confirm they were their apparent races and not J'naii hunters in hiding. ::COMPUTER: You have a request for holodeck access.Valdivia: Uh? From whom?:: With a movement of his hand he stopped his movement and turned the platform towards where he came. Which was actually a rather foolish movement as the computer would place the holodeck archway in a closer position and possibly orientation, too. The fact was he ahd no idea where it was. ::COMPUTER: Martha Williams, civilian.Valdivia: WHAT??? Granted.:: Martha Williams? She was here? She was the engineer that took the Mainardi project after Valdivia had rejoined Starfleet. But she was much more than that. While they had worked together, they had had a very involved relationship. He loved her deeply. Not in a forming a family and growing old together kind of way, but more in a local, passionate and burning way. Like a comet, passing each others lives from time to time, and enjoying every moment of it, and then saying goodbye, or more precisely 'until next time'. They both knew they could not be together for too long. He wanted to travel and explore. She resented the fact he had joined the military to do that. And she preferred to stay put and build new things, while Valdivia had spend his years in a static office looking out at the stars and checking the fleet news.. :::: The archway appeared in a plain and the doors hissed open. Valdivia slowly descended the platform, with his mouth open in surprise, not knowing what to do or say. ::Williams: Hey! Glad to see you.Valdivia: Glad to... yes, yes. Welcome aboard the Darwin! What are you...?Williams: Doing here? Just passing by.:: She laughed. He loved when she laughed, she was beautiful. And, of course, there was the humor on the answer. Passing by? The Darwin was not even in the same quadrant, there was literally nowhere in federation space that she could be going that had her passing by Outpost Unity. And yet, there she was. ::Williams: Are you still there? :: Valdivia finally snapped out of his surprise. ::Valdivia: Yes! Yes. But I'm still surprised. You could have told me.Williams: And missed this moment? No way!:: She towards the forest for a bit, and summoned her own modding gauntlet. Although with different focuses, one of the hobbies that joined them at the start was holoprogramming. He smiled seeing her violet bright one. ::Williams: A race?:: One thing Valdivia enjoyed, and had showed Martha back on Regulus III, was real time modding. He had the program running, and used modding tools and admin privileges on the fly to modify it. Just run around a forest, and then use a programmed motion to extend a tree, or move a branch into reach, create steps in front of him, move a body of water... on Regulus III they used to run freely through holodecks using this. ::Valdivia: I met an engineer used to run, and we designed a game where jhe would run through the forest and I tried to catch her. But jhe left some time ago... Well, anyway, not this time. I got hurt on the last mission.Williams: What happened?:: Valdivia sighed, and started walking towards the forest slowly. ::Valdivia: A lot...:: Valdivia proceeded to explain the mission. At least the non-confidential parts. And having to withhold information from her was a bit uncomfortable for him. But other than that, he opened to her again, after more than a year of just talking through subspace channels, and occcasionaly at that. ::Valdivia: But bottom line is, no running for a few days.((Flashback - CSO's office))R'Ven: Thank you. However there is another matter. . . . :: They had been discussing the officer situation onboard the Darwin, since after the events related to the Machine, R'Ven was uncomfortably thinking his position might be in doubt. Valdivia assured him that was not the case, and the Rodulan seemed to accept that. But if there was another matter, maybe not so much. ::R’Ven: . . . You have injured your knee. Have you sought medical attention?:: The question disconcerted Valdivia for a moment. What had the knee to do with anything? It took him a couple of seconds to realize he was only showing his worry for a fellow officer. ::Valdivia: Yes, and yes. I dislocated it when we were hit. And I had Doctor Pond tend to it.:: When the Rodulan looked back into his eyes Valdivia realized he had been looking at the injured knee. Did his transformation (for lack of a better word) give him better senses? It was worth studying, at some point. But, excited as he was to study him, Valdivia wanted to make an effort to avoid having R'Ven feeling like a lab specimen. :: R’Ven: I would expect that you have been given the requisite pain relievers for your injuries?:: Valdivia: Yes, indeed. R’Ven: Excellent. Under Doctor Pond's ministrations I am sure that you will have a short recovery time. :: Valdivia offered a warm smile. Lately R'Ven had been a bit distant, one could say even hostile towards Lambert at first. Now he knew why, and R'Ven was even approaching again. Valdivia, as the Chief Science Officer, felt a weight being lifted off the department's shoulders. :: Valdivia: Yes. Relative rest during this Shore Leave and it should be good. Thanks for asking. :: That gave the conversation for closed, and R'Ven stood, ready to leave. :: R’Ven: Well sir, unless you have something else for me I will take my leave. Valdivia: Not, that will be all. And thanks for coming to me with this. Enjoy the shore leave. ((End Flashback)) Valdivia: So... maybe a quieter plan? Computer, set simulation to night time. Williams: I think I like where this is going... TBC Lieutenant John Valdivia - Chief Science Officer - USS Darwin NCC-99312-A PotW facilitator D238701JV0
  11. ((Corridors just outside the Intel offices)) ::Outside the intel office sector, officers and crew members alike were roaming the corridors, weaving past each other as they tried to reach their destination. Akoni was surprised that she had yet to bump into anyone as officers zipped past her in speeds that could be considered reckless. As she rounded a corner, she found that most of the holodecks were unoccupied, as determined by the green light that hung above most of the sliding doors. The final door at the end of the hallway would do, since people would probably avoid accidentally entering her holodeck if there were plenty of rooms before it without people in it. Today, Akoni decided to visit a more nostalgic part of her mind.:: Soriano: Computer, take me to E’Nicia Baxu on Tandar Prime, Soriano cabin residence. Computer: Generating. ::Flatlands stretched for as far as the holodeck would stretch. The graphics had come a long way since the first release before Akoni joined the academy, but even then, the edge where the deck ended fizzed and swayed as it tried to create the illusion that the forest was infinite. Akoni casually strolled toward the house suspended in the trees. Luckily, there was hardly any wild Boka-grass near her cabin for the hot season, making walking off the path easy. She gracefully navigated around the few weeds and thorns that surrounded the base of the trees.:: ::A ramp ascended up into two strongly rooted trees, leading up to two suspended cones that represented her comfortable stay. She often surprised herself with how relaxed she was, especially with mild acrophobia as the ground became further away. The ramp eventually transformed into steps, forming a jagged and curved staircase. Akoni walked up the steps, hanging onto the rail to steady herself on the ascent. At the top of the walk, she could see the the steady sea of trees that stretched for miles. Without hills or mountains in her area, and with the way the trees swayed in the breeze, the green leafy tops could almost pass for rippling waves, like the algae seas of Terre.:: Esperon: Hello? Is someone there? ::Akoni turned away from the scenic view and down to the ground. An old woman wandered around on the path just in front of the cabin. Akoni smiled to herself, immediately recognizing the hand stitched tan poncho draped over her shoulders, the worn leather shoes, and even the thick wooden cane she used to navigate around the Boka-brush. She walked noiselessly down the ramp and extended a hand towards the old woman. THWACK!:: Esperon: Don’t you touch me, you damned heathen! Soriano: Takakarai, it’s me! ::she shouted, holding up her hands in surrender as the woman raised her cane to strike again.:: ::The short woman squinted her eyes at her, poking her in the side once more and chuckling.:: Esperon: Akoni, my child! ::Her smile suddenly dropped.:: How many times have I told you NOT to sneak up on a poor, nearly blind woman? ::Akoni ducked her head, rubbing at her arm and side. Surely she would have bruises later on. Her eyes widened momentarily as she realized, this was only a materialized projection.:: oO Hurt pretty bad for a hologram. The computer must be reading my mind pretty accurately to make such a perfect version of old Kaki. Oo Esperon: ...Well? ::She asked impatiently.:: oO Too perfect. Oo Soriano: Oh, sorry Kaki. It’s been a while. Esperon: ::nodding:: That it has. Walk with me. ::She turned away back down the path without waiting for Akoni to follow. ::Akoni took one last glance at her secondary home, wondering what this computer simulation had in mind. oO My mind. Oo ::She jogged a couple of steps to catch up with her old mentor and inspiration. As usual, Takakarai was the first to speak, never leaving room for silence, which she so very much hated.:: Esperon: You’ve gained some weight. Soriano: ::She rolled her eyes, unfazed by the criticism.:: I’ve been working desk jobs lately. Esperon: I can see that. ::Her eyes squinted back at her, even though the trees overhead blocked out most of the light. She was studying her again.:: You’re not happy. ::Akoni tilted her head and frowned. Unhappy? She had just moved to another position and made a new friend, though Ezirah would surely disagree.:: Soriano: No I’m not. My new position may be a little more boring that I expected, but I’ve only just started. This IS to be expected. Esperon: No, no, ::she shook her head, continuing to hobble along the trail,:: this isn’t about your job. This is about a person. I’ve seen this look in your face before, when you had that fight with the angry Vulcan. Soriano: ::sighing:: Selar doesn’t get angry, that’s just the way he looks all the time. And it wasn’t a fight. We had a serious disagreement. Esperon: So a fight. ::She held up her free hand as Akoni opened her mouth to protest.:: You were upset because for once, you had a, ugh, “disagreement” with someone who was more knowledgeable than you. Soriano: I wouldn’t say more knowle- ::THWACK!:: Soriano: OW! Esperon: ::Shaking her cane:: Don’t interrupt me! ::She continued on.:: You expected him to take your side on the argument, but he took the other side. You didn’t think that someone who had labeled themselves as your friend would become a foe in that moment. ::Akoni nodded, waiting for her to go on. She wanted to speak out and deny it, but doing so would earn her another smack from the cane.:: oO And the Gods know that I’m not fast enough to dodge her well aimed hits. Oo Esperon: There is another like the Vulcan. ::Akoni mulled over the statement. She knew who the old woman was talking about. Prendar, the main reason for her department change and increase in anxiety. A counselor was out of the picture since she knew that any mention of her involvement with the government official would involve more people knowing. There wasn’t anyone that she could confide in about the subject… except of course for the woman next to her.:: Soriano: His name is Thomas Prendar. ::Old Kaki hmm’d.:: He works with the United Federation government. We met each other over an interrogation after our mission back in time. Esperon: An official? During an interrogation? Hm. Soriano: Well, the interrogation was more like a meeting. ::She corrected.:: He made it clear that he was only there to stop a criminal. Esperon: I was not aware that the Federation housed criminals. Soriano: But, it’s Commander Sinda! Yes, she frightened me at first, but after that encounter, I saw that she wasn’t here to hurt the crew. Her job in security is to protect the crew of the Constitution, and she has proved as much time and time again. She committed some acts of violence in her past, but most people from security grew up in troubled conditions. Esperon: A redeemed criminal, then. Soriano:: ::nodding her head:: I suppose, yeah. Esperon: And? ::She prodded.:: Soriano:: ::pausing:: And what? Esperon: This story seems rather short to have you so distressed. Enough to make you change your career. ::Akoni turned her head to Takakarai, but the short woman would not meet her gaze.:: Soriano: We had a couple exchanges after that. I needed some information that he had, and in return, he wanted… assurance that I would do any favor he asked, when he so needed. Esperon: Sounds like a keeper ::she snorted.:: This man seems to enjoy the power he wields. Power and knowledge ::she jutted her chin towards Akoni,:: over you. ::She sighed, coming to a stop on the dirt path. She wobbled around to face Akoni, her eyes no longer squinting, but soft, portraying her worry.:: Esperon: I am old, but I’ve had plenty of time to do what I enjoy, and learn from what I didn’t. ::She raised a scraggly brow at her.:: I remember when you came to me, after that little stunt you pulled with the Vulcan. ::She began mumbling:: Trying to steal my lab supplies for your personal interest. Expensive materials too! ::She blinked, coming back to the present moment.:: You wanted to learn more about the world of discovery. I was still angry from before, but after showing you a thing or two with the telescope, I could see the excitement shine through you. I’ve seen you grow from being a child into the young woman you are now. I’ve seen your face light up upon finding new truths and discoveries, and I’ve seen the shadows fall across your mind when others had put you down and shamed your passions. ::She looked over Akoni’s shoulder into the trees and sneered.:: Esperon: Particularly your parents. Damned fools they are. ::She inhaled through her nose. Leaning her cane onto a tree, she hobbled back over to Akoni, clasping her pale hands within her own age-worn ones.:: Do not let your fear of being different or fear of others deter you from your path. Trust what is right and what you love. You will find times when running may seem easier than what lies ahead of you, ::she chuckled:: but I’ve never known a Soriano to be weak in the knees. ::She released her hands and grabbed her cane, pulling it around to her front to lean on with both hands.:: Esperon: Do what makes you happy. Do what is right. Pursue your own purpose, and you will never be lost on the path you choose. ::The branches rustled behind Akoni, startling her into watching a small woodland creature scurry back into the Boka-brush. When she returned her focus to her front, she found herself alone on the dirt path. She sighed, figuring that her mind would want the encounter to be as dramatic as possible. She looked up into the sky, seeing that the sun was still at high noon. Nighttime was still far away. She flexed her feet within her regulation shoes, and turned back to go to her cabin in the woods to mull over her subconscious Takakarai’s words.:: Ensign Akoni Soriano Intelligence Officer USS Constitution-B C239210AS0
  12. Gestures, in love, are incomparably more attractive, effective and valuable than words.~ Francois Rabelais(( Trill - Laxyn Residence )) :: Time was one of the few things one never had enough of. One of the things that one needed more of, no matter what. But sometimes there was too much time and there was no way to fill a cosmic time account balance and use it for later. If so Jalana would have some extra hours on it now to use on something important. :::: The silence in the room was eerie. At some point her mind had turned off the receptors for the steady beep coming from the life-signs scanner monitoring her father in his sleep. Strong and in exact intervals, just like its owner. It had become a background noise and then it was gone. Not really, just not heard any more. She waited now for him to wake up, after having slept a couple of hours. Her own tiredness wasn't important in the light of her worry for the man who looked so tiny in the king sized canopy bed. :: :: A moan drew her attention to the source. He was waking up. Steps hurried closer and to nobody's surprise her mother entered the room, looking to the bed first and then to Jalana. She nodded to her mother, who then walked over to her husband sitting down at the edge, while Jalana stepped to the medical equipment on the other side of the bed, checking for all the details which were streaming in now that his body began to return to consciousness. :: Caline: Hey. :: Her mother's voice sounded soft and warm, as if she didn't want to overwhelm her husband with a sound too loud for him. Jalana smiled slightly, she had seen that almost every time when a loved one woke up in sick bay or a hospital. :: Vivan: Caline. ::There was a pause.:: Why am I home? Rajel: ::Turning towards the bed.:: Because I told mom to bring you here. :: His head jumped around so fast, she thought he'd become dizzy from the motion. His gray eyes stared at her as if he'd seen a ghost, then it whipped around again to look at his wife. :: Vivan: What is she doing here?:: A dagger sliced through her heart as he asked the question. Not even to her, but her mother. He did not even do that? :: Caline: She is our daughter, and she is the best doctor we know. Vivan: Pah! Caline: She dropped everything the moment I called her.Vivan: ::grumbling:: Should have stayed where she was. :: The older redhead looked up to Jalana, her eyes full of sadness and the attempt to apologize for his behaviour as she had done the rare times Jalana had been able to talk with her ever since her father had kicked her out. The younger Trill just nodded slightly. She knew her mom tried, but he was just pig headed. No doubt where Jalana had gotten that tendency from. :: Rajel: I'm here to make sure, that you'll get better. :: He did not say a word. :: I can do that without you talking with me, but it'll just lead to me having to stay longer than you want me to be here. So talking with me would be -Vivan: You still talk to much. Rajel: ::smirking:: See that wasn't hard. Now let's see how you are doing, shall we? (( Timeskip )) :: After that little intermezzo with her father -in which he had spoken more words to her than in the last 10 years combined- Jalana had taken the results with her and let him get some breakfast and talk with her mother. The results looked good and the doctors who had done the first response and first treatment had done well to make sure he was stable. Seeing this she would not have to come here, he had been in good hands. But she knew how scared her mother had been and still was. So she didn't regret coming at all. :: :: When she heard her mother leave his bedroom next door, she gave him a few more minutes and then decided to return to the lion's den to have the doctor talk with him. Quietly she entered and saw him sit in his big chair at the window. He was fully dressed in suit, as she had always seen him in. He was a proud man, who didn't want anyone to see him in his sleeping garb, not even his family. The silence was deafening. And Jalana had the intention of popping that bubble. :: Rajel: How are you feeling? :: For a while nothing happened and she believed he had decided to stop talking to her again, before he finally spoke, but not in the way she had expected. :: Vivan: Your mother said you are a Starfleet Captain now. :: She looked over to him and nodded, before realizing he couldn't see it. :: Rajel: Yes. Vivan: What about your... dream. Being a doctor. Rajel: I am. I was Chief Medical officer, earned my doctor degree and Starfleet thought I was the right person to command a starship. ::Silence, for another minute.:: Vivan: And you left your ship, because of me. :: There was no way to say it any differently. And one didn't lie in this house. Ever. :: Rajel: Yes. :: When he did not say any more, she walked over to him and pulled a chair from her mother's vanity, to sit down next to her father at the window. There she sat in silence with him, giving him time to mull things over in his head. :: Vivan: How is it? :: The question came so sudden that it felt like a gunshot. :: Rajel: How is what? :: He turned his head and looked at her, for the first time in many years, without the usual obvious disgust and disappointment. :: Vivan: To be joined. ::he paused:: Your mother told me. :: She couldn't hold back the smile. She was the first in her family to be joined, no matter how far back one would go in the Laxyn family tree, nobody had done that. It was something to be proud of, and she was. It felt good to see him show interest in something she did or had achieved. :: Rajel: Exciting, overwhelming, fascinating, fantastic, scary... everything at once. I have so many memories that I know are not mine, but they feel like they are. I still get that confused sometimes. :: He was quiet again, before he reached to the little table on his right and took a book from it. She recognized it immediately. It was one of hers, no Olen's. And it was not one of these dreaded fiction works that ruined his life, no. It was one of his early works. :: Vivan: When your mother told me your name, I remembered I had this. Is that the same Rajel? :: She took the book he held out to her and gingerly held it in her fingers, her fingertips brushing over the worn leather. It was old, so old. And it was in great shape, obviously taken care of. Her dad had such a big library that she had never seen all of his books. She had no idea that he even owned this. :: Rajel: Yes. He was the first host. ::She remembered how much these books had meant to Olen, how painful it had been to have to let go, to write something he never liked to earn a living and to then be awarded for that hated work. So much pain - She raised her eyes to look at her dad.:: The first of Six before me.Vivan: That is a lot of memories. ::As she handed the book back to him, he put a hand on the top of it and pushed it back.:: Keep it. It's yours, you should have a piece of your lives. :: Speechless about that gesture she looked at him, only seeing a blur through the veil that lowered over her eyes. Her throat closed up and she had to bite her lip to keep it from quivering. Jalana reached out and put her hand on his, covering it as she squeezed gently. No words in the galaxy would have expressed how much this small gesture meant to her, how it washed over the mine field of hurt and rejection that had built up between them in the last decade, soothing the soil which had been turned to ashes in the wildfire. :: :: Maybe not all was lost. :: :: Maybe. :: -----Captain Jalana RajelCommanding OfficerUSS Constitution BImage Team FacilitatorA238906JL0
  13. ((Garridon V)) ::The flashes of the lightning broke the relative darkness spread by the storm. For a moment it blinded her, making her blink, but the collective gasps around her forced her to focus. In the sky, the shuttle that had just launched seemed to be falling. Everyone seemed to watch in horror as their friends and fellow crewmates fell to the ground, the shuttle crumpling on impact.:: Blair: We have to help them. Do whatever you can! Doctor what’s the chance that they survived impact? ::She wanted to run to them, but she was cautious. With those creatures around, was it safe for the rest of them? She offered hope to the First Officer as she assessed the situation.:: Nicholotti: It's more than possible that they've survived, if we can get to them. ::The answer she waited for came quickly as the others began to run for the crash, but the scene quickly faded in a flash of blue shimmers. She fought to come to a realization of the newly changed situation, which coalesced in her head as the scene in front of her did. The dim nature of the planet faded, along with the rain and ice, to be replaced by the familiarity of a starship flight deck. Immediately she found Jonesy nearly on top of her, on guard until he, too, figured out that they were safe.:: ((Flight Deck - USS Daedalus)) Cody: Ladies and gentlemen. First, let us apologize. We determined there wasn't enough time to inform you, and rather than establish communications, decided the best course of action was to descend and beam all of you directly onto the ship. You are aboard the USS Daedlaus, a Prometheus-Class Starfleet vessel. We are currently ascending off planet, which based on what little I saw, I'm sure we're all glad to get off. ::indicating Scythe:: This is Lt.Cmdr. Elizabeth Scythe, the first officer of this vessel. I am Commander David Cody, temporarily commanding this vessel, although it is not my permanent command. ::Somewhere in the middle of the crowd, shadowed by her 'security' detail, Kali found herself drawn to the voice. There was something familiar to it, something almost comforting. She searched her mind, looking for the name, seeking the reasons behind her instinctual reactions as she listened to the exchange between the familiar voice and her own First Officer.:: ::Drawing many blanks, she wished she had been on the Gemini where she could look it up in her logs. Thankfully, the conversation at the front of the room turned towards that very eventuality and the raven-haired doctor stored the feelings and thoughts away until she was back in her quarters. In silence she waited, instinctively looking around her for injuries that needed treatment. For a moment, she allowed those in charge to do what they did best while she fell back on her own strengths.:: ::But there wasn't much there. Weston had been right, they had missing, but not really many injuries. Once again she found her gaze drawn to the front of the room and those in charge. The sound of a padd dropping and cracking hit her and she found herself looking at the eyes of the man whose voice had sent tracers through her mind.:: ::And all she could think of was how hard it was to look away from those eyes.:: ::Finding herself unable to tear her gaze from his, Kali watched as he approached. The crowd seemed to part easily, leading him straight to where she stood, frozen in that moment. And then, as if the universe had conspired against death itself, she found herself staring at him as he stared back at her. For a long moment it felt as the entire galaxy was holding its breath. Even she felt like she stood on the edge of something so much greater than herself, but for the life of her, she couldn't figure out just what it all was.:: Cody: ::almost disbelieving:: Kali? ::The sound of her name spoken from those lips felt sweeter than anything she'd known or could remember. A wave washed over her, though she could not tell what drove it. Deep inside Kali wondered why something so simple, like the sound of another officer saying her name, touched her to the core. She blinked, questioningly, searching for answers that didn't readily surface.:: Nicholotti: ::Barely audible.:: Yes? ::The feelings felt like they were undermining her ability to control the situation, and that scared her. He looked as if he were going to speak again, but then he reached out and took her hands. Another wave washed over her as the universe seemed to fade into nothing. With nothing to link the strange familiar feelings to, she felt detached and unsure.:: Cody: It's me. It's David. ::David. The name rolled around in her mind as if it belonged there. She clasped his hands a bit tighter, as if she held on to something, though she was far from sure of what that something was. It was the lack of connection to a memory that forced her to look away. Finding a place on the floor to stare at, she searched once more among her thoughts to figure out what and who and where...and then with a profound sadness she looked back at him, her crystalline blue eyes shining with tears she didn't allow to fall.:: Nicholotti: ::Shaking her head slightly.:: I'm sorry. ::Her voice wavered. She wanted to, but she couldn't remember. And it felt like she was missing a large part of herself in the process.:: I don't remember. ::Again, he stared at her, a searching look in his eyes. Her lack of memories didn't seem to bother him then as he leaned forward and kissed her cheek before drawing her into a tight hug. She didn't fight it, but found herself, for a brief moment, caught in an embrace that felt more real and natural than most of her experiences since her return. His voice whispered directly to her as she relaxed slightly in his arms.:: Cody: ::whispering, just to Kali:: It's okay. I'll remember for both of us. Nicholotti: I'm sorry. ::Hidden from the others, the raven-haired Fleet Captain allowed a tear to fall for the past that she didn't remember, but found herself desperately seeking...Soon she would return to the Gemini, but in this moment right now, she felt safe and complete. What that meant she wasn't sure of yet, but like so much since her return, it would take time to figure it out.:: Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti Chief Medical Officer USS Gemini
  14. ((Starbase 118 Ops: Greir and Chen’s Quarters)) ::Every shift was currently a long shift. There was a mountain of work to wade through and delegating was difficult in a situation where everyone’s trust couldn’t be guaranteed. Chen had no choice but to trust a select few. Based on their actions during the Astred investigation and the ion storm, Chen felt there were a couple of officers he could rely on - Mendes, Graham, Voss and Tiam. At present, he was in the process of turning over some plans for flushing out their missing undercover agent in his mind but, after an exhausting, but quite enjoyable shift, he was ready to wind down and give his brain a little rest.:: ::He reached the door to his quarters and it slid back with a soft hiss. It struck him as quite a wonderful thing that the air inside bore the same familiar smell as it had in his shared quarters aboard the Vigilant, Darwin and Deep Space 6. Hints of Greir’s and his own aftershaves, clean fabric and tones of Masala spice chai all blended into one scent, identifiable to him and only one other person in the galaxy: home.:: ::He hadn’t walked more than five step through the door when Greir appeared from the bedroom, the pleasure at seeing his fiancé return evident on his face. His golden eyes were bright in the ambient light of the quarters and it hit Chen how much he missed him lately. Early starts and late finishes were really squeezing their time and he’d barely had time to sit down and talk to his th’se since the ion storm that threatened the station had been dispersed. He’d established that he’d been OK, and that he’d ended up lending a hand by making announcements over the comm in the commercial sector. He hadn’t been able to provide Greir with some of the specific details of what he had been up to himself, but he had been able to give him the bare bones of where he’d been, and that he’d been involved in trying to disperse the storms before they could cause damage.:: Chen: Hey, th’se. ::He crossed the living area quickly, wrapping his arms around Greir and leaning his forehead towards him, the tips of his antennae almost touching the dark blue pigmented band beneath his partner’s hairline. The expression of affection allowed him to sense his familiar warmth…:: Reinard: Hey Chen, how was your day? ::...but it wasn’t enough. In response to Greir’s question, he kissed him hungrily and insistently. His hands felt the muscles in Greir’s back relax, and it was a good few seconds before he heard him breathe in through his nose. His partner’s hands slid down his back to rest loosely on his waist, and he felt the muscles in his face moving as he smiled through the kiss. They were all signals of how much Greir was enjoying the greeting.:: Reinard: Missed me then? ::The question came during a pause for breath.:: Chen: Mm-hmm. ::And the advantage of that particular answer was that you could say it while you were kissing someone.:: ::Greir was finding the all of this attention most welcome indeed. He’d missed Chen something rotten as well, although he’d quickly realised that this must have been how his partner felt when he’d had to work long shifts as the captain of the Darwin. He’d considered that Chen would be very busy while he set up his new department and he didn’t resent him for it - in fact, while he had some spare time on his hands before final authorisation for Terraform Command had come through, he’d started to try to change his schedule so that he could always be around and awake whenever Chen was home so that they could maximise their time together. Things would stabilise soon enough.:: ::He could have stayed like that with Chen all night, but there was something he’d been looking forward to very much for a few weeks now. Some packages had arrived that morning for the wedding, but one had been a delivery that had been redirected from Deep Space 6. He had ordered it for Chen’s birthday, a long time in advance, in fact, because the item was very special indeed and he’d put a lot of thought into choosing it.:: ::He was a little out of breath and he could feel his pulse racing. Mustering his willpower, he broke the kiss, taking a step back and taking both of Chen’s hands in his.:: Reinard: There are some things we have to talk about, Chen, and I have something to give you. ::He suddenly paused, remembering that his partner had just worked a long shift and probably hadn’t eaten.:: Reinard: Are you hungry? Do you want to get some food first? ::Chen shook his head. He was a little hungry, but he didn’t want to eat yet.:: Chen: I’d like to wait a while before I sit down and eat. I want to hear whatever you want to talk about. Is everything OK? ::The Andorian’s antennae were beginning to push away from each other as he wondered whether or not Greir had run into a problem with work, or if he was unhappy with the way things were playing out on Starbase 118.:: Reinard: ::Smiling reassuringly:: They’re fine, Chen. Nothing to worry about at all. ::He’d wanted to push his partner’s antennae back into position to illustrate the point, but they moved on their own in response to his reply, pointing themselves back at him again.:: Chen: OK, so what is it? Reinard: Alright, close your eyes. I’m going to sit you down on the bed, and then I want you to hold out your hands. ::Chen complied with the instructions, allowing Greir to guide him into the bedroom. Gentle pressure on his shoulders told him when he could sit down, and he held out his hands. He was aware he was about to be given something and he was very curious about what it might be. When Greir placed it in his hands, he found it was of medium weight, and felt like it was wrapped in tissue paper. It was long enough to rest on both of his hands, so it was wider than his body.:: Reinard: You can open your eyes now. ::The excitement in his voice was unmistakeable. As soon as Chen saw the shape of the package, he had a hunch about what it could be, and he felt an onrush of gleeful enthusiasm.:: Chen: Oh, wow, this is a hrisal! ::Greir beamed down at Chen as he tore feverishly at the wrapping. He’d expected his partner to identify the Andorian sword, as he didn’t seem to miss much, but he doubted he was prepared for what he would see when it was fully unwrapped. Or it’s sheath, for that matter.:: ::Chen’s grin spread wider and wider as he removed the layer of tissue paper, then carefully unfolded the layer of navy blue silk cloth that was wrapped around the outside of the weapon. When he saw the hilt, he gasped, tilting it to catch the light as he inspected the intricate detail.:: Chen: Thirishar’s word… this is absolutely beautiful! Etheka insets? Is this hand-carved? ::Greir smiled proudly as Chen examined his gift. The etheka wood insets hilt were visible between carefully woven strands of jet black cloth, which both cushioned the hilt and helped to provide grip. The material threaded through the hilt itself in a series of thin holes, keeping it secure and in position. The carving and etching on the wooden and metal hilt depicted the scene from the Tale of the Breaking where Thirishar stood before Uzaveh the Infinite. The Tale told that Uzaveh had separated the legendary warrior Thirishar into four beings, one for each of the Andorian genders, but Greir knew that Chen had always believed the story should have been different, that Thirishar was standing up to the deity. He would never have managed to get anyone to agree to carve that onto a hrisal, but this seemed to be as good a thing.:: Reinard: Yes, and you bet it is! Take a look at the blade. ::Slowly, Chen pulled the hrisal from its etheka wood sheath. The blade itself was etched with Thirishar’s trials in scintillating detail. This was some unbelievable work by an exceptionally skilled craftsman but, more to the point, this weapon could not have suited him more. He was taken back to the sword training his charan had given him as a young chan, out in the fields near Irimari, and how he’d continued to study the discipline right through school, always keen to impress the parent he had been closest to. After Chen had broken his bond and left the homeworld, he’d severed ties with all of his parents, which had been intensely painful but hardly of his own choosing. Hrisal training had helped him to get through it, allowing him to expel all other thoughts from his mind, focusing only on how he, and his weapon, moved. And here was a sword with the deity from the Tale of the Breaking that he had always looked up to, always aspired to be. He wanted to make sure he saw every single detail of the artistry on the blade without missing an inch.:: Chen: ::Looking up at Greir for a moment.:: I love this so much. Can I look at all this etching for a minute? ::Greir took a seat next to Chen, resting a hand on his back. He could see how happy Chen was with his gift.:: Reinard: Of course you can, Chen. Take your time. ::They sat for a few minutes, with Chen examining the artistry on the blade, turning it over to look at its other side after a few moments and making sure he took in every scrap of detail. To begin with, Greir stroked his back, but ended up taking to playing with the short, spikey hair at the nape of Chen’s neck, eyes shifting between the hrisal and his partner’s face. It really looked like he’d nailed it.:: ::Only when Chen was happy that he fully appreciated exactly what he was holding in his hands did he slide it back into its sheath, leaving it sitting across his lap on top of its silk wrap.:: Chen: I don’t even know how to begin to thank you for this. This is the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given. Reinard: It actually came late because of the transfer. It was supposed to be your birthday and it’s a shame I couldn’t give it to you then, but I’m glad I was able to do it now. It was master crafted by an artisan swordsmith who lives about eighteen miles from your home town on Andoria. I commissioned him myself. ::Greir had never cared about the cost of gifts. He didn’t normally spend a lot, with the exception of his recent visit to Starbase 118’s commercial sector. That meant he’d saved up enough that he could buy extravagant things for people he cared about without having to worry about the price.:: Reinard: You don’t need to do anything to thank me. Seeing how much you love it means a lot to me. I love seeing you that happy. ::Chen really was lost for words. He just looked at his th’se and smiled.:: Reinard: That’s why I’ve made a decision that I really hope you will be happy with, because it’s something I probably should have consulted you about first. It’s just that I thought about it right before that ion storm scare, and I hoped that you wouldn’t mind me surprising you with it. ::Now that he thought about it, Greir was very slightly nervous that Chen might be annoyed he had altered the plans without talking to him. He wanted the wedding to be both of theirs, with both having the same controlling stake and both having equal responsibility. The last thing he wanted chen to feel was that he was being forced out of the planning side of things.:: ::Chen wondered what might be coming next. He wondered if Greir was going to have to travel to Earth or something to talk to his bosses about the delays to getting his department set up on the starbase, or to a distant planet on a terraforming mission. If he was then he was really going to miss him.:: Chen: What was it? ::The question was filled with curiosity rather than accusation. Chen knew that Greir had given up a lot so that they could be together and if he did need to spend some time away from the station then there was no way he would give him a hard time about it.:: Reinard: I’ve moved the date of the wedding, and the guests and everything we need are on the way. I don’t want to wait and wait and wait and end up never marrying you, Chen, because of transfers, missions, jobs… anything at all. I want you to be mine, and for everyone to know it. There’s a specially reserved space in my family that I want you to fill. I want to make the commitment to you that I promised to make over a year ago and I can’t bring myself to wait patiently to do it like it’s a piece of unofficial business that must wait its turn to reach the top of the priority list and gets postponed if something else comes along. You’re very special to me and it’s time we took action. ::The words spilled out of Greir’s mouth, engulfing everything that he had planned to say in an unexpectedly emotional speech.:: Reinard: Are you OK with that? When I did it, I did it because I thought you would be. I hope I’m not wrong. ::Those nerves were mounting a little bit more as he waited to hear what Chen made of that. Essentially, he’d interfered in something that they had planned together and changed the schedule purely because it suited him. His reasons had been good, as far as he was concerned at least, but now that he thought about it, there was a real chance that Chen would be upset that he wasn’t at least consulted.:: Chen: You know, I have to say I’m a little surprised. ::Greir shifted uncomfortably. This was not a good start.:: Chen: You just got me the most beautiful sword I’ve ever seen, with so many absolutely perfect personal touches. You know me better than I know myself, and you’re worried that I mind you moving the wedding so that we can get married sooner? ::Picking up the sheathed hrisal, Chen stood, giving it a temporary home on top of his chest of drawers.:: Chen: If you had told me that I needed to get dressed because the wedding was in an hour, do you know what I would have said? ::Being as it had now become obvious that everything was alright, Greir was finding it hard not to grin away at his partner.:: Reinard: What? Chen: I would have asked if we could do it in thirty minutes. Now c’mere. ::He reached out a hand, prompting Greir to stand from the bed and go to join him. Once again, they embraced, and Chen’s lips found Greir’s.:: Chen: Thank you so much for my wonderful present. And I am so excited that we’re going to be married so soon! I guess I’m going to have to cut down on the osol twists and hit the gym a little harder, huh? Need to make sure I look my best for the big day! ::At the mention of the tart Romulan pastry, Chen’s stomach growled loudly, reminding both of them, and probably the inhabitants of the quarters above and below them, that Chen still hadn’t eaten.:: Reinard: ::Laughing:: As if you’re even slightly out of shape! Now come on. Unless I’m very much mistaken, your belly has just decreed that we need to get you some dinner. And then I’m decreeing that we’re going to snuggle up and watch a holo on the sofa. ::Chen very much liked the sound of that. It came with the added option of falling asleep on Greir if he got particularly comfortable.:: Chen: I think you, and my tyrannical stomach, both have a deal! TBC Lieutenant Commander Chen Chief Intelligence Officer Starbase 118 Ops & PNPC Greir Reinard Regional Director Federation Terraform Command Starbase 118
  15. (( USS Tell )) ::The security officer spoke once more, but not before striking yet another subtle blow.:: Aurora: It feels much too soon before I am reporting to yet another superior. ::She raised her eyebrow.:: Hopefully people you work with are easygoing Commander? ::The words had a tone of sarcasm, but they were masked beneath layers of adhering to archaic protocol. What was said is not necessarily what is meant.:: Atimen: Likewise. ::He stood up as the ship began to dock.:: Tel-ar is a good officer. ::A good officer was indeed possibly, but she didn't care one way or another. She could have been reporting to a block of cheese and she would have been fine. All the Deltan needed was to be left alone... to her own devices.:: Aurora: ::Stiffly.:: One rarely becomes a Lieutenant Commander without being able to follow protocol. ::She rubbed the back of her neck.:: But I digress. New problems await, and its my job to do what I'm told. ::The key was in the words. The best tasks that had to be performed subliminally were usually in plain sight. Be a good officer, not a great one and one was certain to be able to move undetected. As the door opened, Atimen stopped. Turning his head towards Aurora who met his gaze.:: Atimen: Aurora. ::Looking down, the woman saw the hand that was proffered towards her. Ideally, she would have preferred being without the sentiment, not to mention the physical contact. But of course, protocol dictated she accept it in good grace.:: Aurora: Commander Atimen. ::They shook hands a single time as Aurora's heart skipped a beat. She hoped Atimen didn't notice. Unfortunately, memories were a hard thing to repress, and feeling the familiar touch of Atimen was almost enough to have her revert back... back to when...:: oO Lives are at stake. Oo ::The feelings dissipated quickly, as she withdrew the hand, folding both of them behind her back. Despite her comments, she held no ill will towards Atimen. He was just merely a pawn that she would have to play with. Unfortunately, he was still too unwell to partake in the dangerous games that were yet to come. Being assigned to different departments would be a challenge, but had she followed him to engineering, too many flags would have been raised.:: Atimen: I'm glad to have had you in my department; you're a good officer. ::He gave a quick smile.:: See you around. Aurora: ::Nodding her head slightly, the woman accepted the compliment in grace.:: You are too kind Commander. Until next time then. ::Exiting the ship, the two parted ways. She would need to set up an appointment with her superior, but before then she had other plans.:: oO I need to update her... Oo TBC! Ensign Aurora Security Officer USS Doyle-A
  16. ((Banquet Hall, Deck 21, Deep Space 285)) Faranster: Everyone take a seat, dinner will begin shortly, but before that, let's give you something to talk about while you eat. ::Cerissa had made of one of the tables at the margin of the room her base for this. She was feeling a little better for some rest a relaxation. Her run with Altair had been an enjoyable highlight, it helped make the job seem a little lighter. She turned her attention to the Captain as he spoke.:: Faranster: Now that everyone has had a chance to take a seat and quiet down, it's time for that special post mission ceremony. Thanks to you guys, we have one of the criminals terrorized this station safely behind bars. ::It should have been so many more, the whole mission – at least from the marines’ point of view – had been a failure. The only thing to take from it was that everyone was, broadly speaking, okay. She felt her heart beat a little faster at the thought of the mission and laid her hand on her leg to not leave a clammy hand print on the table.:: Faranster: So, for the first part of this ceremony. :: He looked towards the blonde woman. :: Petty Officer? Christin: Of course Captain. :: He watched as she picked up a stack of thin boxes from the table behind him. On the table were several stacks of thin boxes, and some smaller stacks as well as a couple small wood boxes the size of ring boxes. :: :: As she moved around the room, putting one in front of most of the present officers, except for Ensign Ezi, and Lieutenant Holly. When she was finished, Shel started speaking again. :: Faranster: Please don't open yet. :: He signaled to the Petty Officer, who grabbed another stack. :: The boxes in front of you, have a companion. :: Cerissa watched as the second round of small boxes were circulated.:: Faranster: As you open up your boxes, remember before we joined the Doyle, and were joined by Commander Lizner, we were requested by Starfleet Science and Technologies to investigate the USS Thomas Edison's disappearance. ::Pause:: Because of our involvement in stopping the anomaly from disturbing the temporal flow, and because of our assignment to Task Force Silver, on behalf of Starfleet, I present you each with both the Prometheus Ribbon and the Defence of Temporal Flow Ribbon. ::The Edison. That seemed like a lifetime ago, and had been her first mission since graduating. She looked down at the two ribbons – happier times. Then again, it was easier to be happy when things were going well…and there had still been a huge loss of life in that operation too, the Edison itself being lost with all but three hands aboard.:: Faranster: Lieutenant Hakashri, during our last mission, you handled yourself with grace under fire. Despite numerous challenges and threats, you helped the Doyle face them head on. For that, I would like to award you with the Legion of Merit ribbon. Well done, Lieutenant :: The award to Ariadust passed by but Cerissa’s focus was called back to the proceedings when the Captain spoke next.:: Faranster: Due to the secrecy of our last mission, some of our officers weren't as well prepared as they should have been and due to this, there were several injuries. ::BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM:: ::Cerissa gulped as she fought another wave of nausea at the memory of the fight in a miserable street in Mith. She watched, thin lipped as the Captain called Tel-ar up, followed by Danara.:: Faranster: Commander Tel-ar returned the members of his away team to safety before taking a savage beating that nearly cost him his life. Due to this, he has earned himself .oO Another Oo. The Purple Heart Ribbon. Tel-ar: Captain. ::As Tel-ar turned she could only see the flash of his knife as it slid into the wounded man’s throat. She gripped the underside of the table as hard as she could.:: Faranster: Lieutenant Danara was part of Commander Tel-ar's task force, and during their search for their target, they were ambushed and she was stabbed in the arm. For this injury, I am awarding Lieutenant Danara the Purple Heart Ribbon. Danara: Thank you Captain. ::Cerissa managed to get her hand out from where she was hiding them and applauded with the others, her hands tingling and shaking slightly from the adrenaline.:: Faranster: That concludes the award section of this ceremony. Thank you. :: He paused as he moved back to his seat and stood there looking at Joella. :: Now for an important task. ::There were several more boxes distributed to various members of the crew who were called forward – well deserved promotions she was sure but she could say who had been awarded what. Her mind was firmly locked on the surface of Mith. ::As the last recipient stepped back from the Captain, the Doyle’s commander signalled to the wait staff who moved in with platters of food to set on the table.:: ::Suddenly Cerissa didn’t feel hungry for anything except fresh air.:: TBC --- First Lieutenant Cerissa Tyren, SFMC Marine Officer USS Doyle-A NCC-80221-A
  17. ((Promenade, Starbase 118)) ::Pleasantly inebriated after just enough of the trendy Golden Dew concoction that was so popular at Keal’s and having excused herself from the group as things died down, Sabina Tiam found herself sitting all too comfortably on a bench somewhere in the commercial sector. With one leg tucked underneath her and the other pulled up so that her foot was firmly on the bench and her knee could act as a rest for her elbow, she watched the passers-by.:: ::Nights on the Starbase were as lively as in any city. You could find groups of friends stumbling out of pubs, couples linked arm-in-arm headed for privacy after a night spent out, or simply workers looking to head home after a long day all wandering the walkways. Even tired travelers from far off places looking for last minute accommodations were no rarity here. This scenery, combined with the subtle shift to a lower nighttime temperature, reminded Tiam of her nights in San Fransisco. That was when anything, even just sitting on a park bench, was better than returning to a dorm to give in to sleep. They were good memories. And often similarly hazey ones.:: ::This heady combination of nostalgia and pleasant intoxication had Sabina’s guard notably lower than she would usually keep it. Something she would certainly kick herself for upon the clarity of the morning. While she was certainly no more far gone than was appropriate for any officer in their downtime, this was, after all, a time when extra vigilance was called for; not the best time to relax. But that line of thinking was for the morning. Tonight, the young Betazoid would simply enjoy the air. Besides, a break from thinking everyone could be a threat had to be beneficial.:: ::It was this same unrestrained enjoyment of a peaceful moment that meant Sabina’s mind was also more open to her surroundings. Even under slightly drunken circumstances, she was still of course not invasive. No, more than reading, it was akin to when a headache made one sensitive to light. Only, in this case, the sensation was more pleasant than problematic or painful. Closing her eyes for a moment, Sabina sighed to herself. Maybe it was the drink talking, but she was finally feeling settled in here. And that was something Sabina hadn’t expected.:: ::But by now she should have learned to throw expectations to the wind. A slow smile brightened her face; an expression that, to an observer, would appear to have no cause. But Sabina was generally all too serious for any causeless frivolity. No, this particular reaction had a direct cause. The empathic feeling of a familiar mind approaching. Eyes still closed, Sabina felt a shift as another body joined her on the bench. It was only then that her eyes fluttered opened.:: Tiam: ::Speaking warmly,:: Misha. ::As she said the woman’s name, Sabina gradually leaned until her head was resting on Misha’s shoulder. In response, to the touch or to Sabina’s apparent alcohol induced flush, Sabina didn’t know, Misha just laughed her slow chuckle.:: ::Misha Rhonin wasn’t supposed to be there. With the red, straight hair that was so uncommon on Betazed, paired with her angular face and relative height, she made for a very statuesque sight. That, and a very welcome one. Sabina had known Misha longer than most. Her mentor-turned-friend-and-confidant had been able to make visiting 118 a fairly regular occurrence while she had been working with ​Starfleet's Diplomatic Corps as a consultant. But, the last Sabina had heard she was still traveling and very busy with a new project. Still, that didn’t seem to matter right at this moment. Sabina was just glad to see her oldest and dearest friend.:: Tiam: Tell me you’re here for awhile. ::Misha laughed and as she did, Sabina felt an odd push of emotions from her. Something like amusement with a swirl of gratitude and the oddest peppering of resentment. Although Sabina knew these things were not directed at her, they did still feel odd coming from the ever unfazed Misha.:::: Rhonin: << I’m here for awhile. >> ::In that moment, hearing Misha’s thought within her own mind, Sabina froze. It was the first time Sabina had experienced any truly telepathic contact since Y-rocck and the Noguwip. Part of her had wondered if she was even still capable of it, unsure if her mind would even allow it. But no part of Sabina was prepared for the sobering fear it caused to surge through her system. Had the contact come from anyone other than Misha, Sabina was sure that in the contest between fight, flight or freeze, fight would have won out easily.:: ::Thankfully, Misha spoke before Sabina could barrel too far into overanalyzing herself.:: Rhonin: Hey, ::She turned slightly to more directly face Sabina.:: are you alright? ::Sabina just looked at her for a long moment. The two rarely ever spoke verbally. In fact, especially while they’d both been working off world, the two would take respite in getting to communicate telepathically with one another; more comfortable in that than piecing together Federation Standard and trying to somehow still express a feeling. But it didn’t seem that made too much of a difference now.:: Tiam: I’m fine. Really, I am. Sorry. ::Sabina smiled and in a slightly silly motion, loosened her shoulders.:: Rhonin: Can you tell me what that was about? Tiam: It’s… a long story. Later. ::Feeling more clear headed after the unexpected jolt, Sabina was beginning to regain her wiser senses. While leave would mean considerably more freedom in when and how she took care of her duties, it didn’t mean a complete escape from work. This was, Sabina felt, one drawback no one had mentioned about working on a Starbase.:: Tiam: It’s late anyway. Do you have accommodations? ::It was dawning on Sabina how little she knew regarding Misha’s appearance on base.:: When did you get in? ::She stood, offering a hand to Misha.:: And when were you going to tell me you were here? ::While Misha was deeply concerned by Sabina’s reaction to telepathy, she decided to set her worries aside for the night in favor of addressing them when the two would have more time.:: Rhonin: I do, very late, and tomorrow morning. ::With a smirk, Rhonin accepted Sabina’s hand up but once she was standing, slipped her arm around the waist of the shorter woman.:: Rhonin: Am I not allowed to surprise you? Tiam: Schedules and surprises mix like Vulcans and Andorians. Very awkwardly. Rhonin: How much have you had to drink? ::Misha led the way as the two began to walk through the promenade.:: Tiam: Not enough to miss you changing the subject. Rhonin: ::Grinning.:: You always were a sharp one. Tiam: Well, I managed to ace all of your classes, didn’t I? ::Thinking about her time at University of Betazed felt like ancient history now that Sabina had been through Starfleet Academy, SFI training and two postings. But it would always be the four years that changed her the most.:: Rhonin: Ha, I distinctly remember a final grade of B+ in at least one course. Tiam: ::Sabina scrunched her nose.:: It was History of Betazoid Diplomats II and I had to petition the department to get my rightful A. ::Misha laughed, unbothered by the statement.:: And anyway, where are you taking me? Rhonin: Well, I was going to invite you to breakfast tomorrow anyway, and since my space is considerably closer than your quarters, I just thought it would be convenient… Tiam: Lead on, you pragmatist, you. ::The two women walked on, headed for a rental apartment Misha had arranged for nearby. Perhaps they each had inklings that there were some long talks on the horizon, but neither knew the extent to which circumstances had changed for the other. Though it seemed they would get to spend a precious few more hours in the bliss of ignorance before burdening one another with news yet unspoken.:: Lt. Sabina TiamIntelligence OfficerStarbase 118 Ops
  18. ((Jefferies Tube, Deck 8)) ::Shallowly breathing the recycled air inside her masked helmet, Mar took stock of her situation. She was in a Jefferies tube. Her biosigns were masked. She had no idea how to get out of this situation. She had no idea how she'd gotten into in the first place.:: ::Uaed was charming when she met him. He'd seduced his way into her life, despite her better judgment and all her careful plans. He'd become more important to her than she'd meant to allow. When he told her about the organization he worked for, she'd failed to listen to her instincts to get out. When he asked her to be part of it, to go on some missions where her skills as a pilot were needed, she hadn't had a choice. She had to do what was necessary to protect the most important person in her life. She had to do what Uaed asked of her.:: ::Some piloting skills. She'd been caught.:: ::Lying still in the Jefferies tube, Mar reviewed her options. Her shuttle was one, if she could reclaim it. Or the planet's surface, if she could find a way down there. The third option was rescue by the warship she'd intended to meet up with. If they didn't receive her rendezvous beacon, maybe they would swing by and rescue her.:: ::The way the organization she worked for ran things, she wouldn't be surprised if they counted her a loss and moved on.:: ::The Darwin rumbled, shaking with weapons fire, rocking her roughly in her tunneled cocoon.:: ::So they had swung by to rescue her.:: ::Mar knew better than to deactivate her biosign masker to let the warship find her. It was likely the Darwin would find her first. The same would be true if she communicated with her ship over comms. It would lead the Darwin crew immediately to her location.:: ::Was there some other way to contact the warship? To let them know her whereabouts so they could get a lock on her and get her out of this? Surely they would try to recover her ship, assuming it contained evidence that could be used against them by Starfleet. Used to uncover the illegal operations of an organization that had so far managed to stay hidden in the shadows.:: ::If the Federation learned of the organization based on Mar's ship, or the capture of Mar herself, then she would be the one who blew the cover on an organization that had protected its identity and operated without detection for years. She would be the cause of the organization's discovery, and potentially its downfall. All she'd wanted was a paycheck. To work a few jobs for them, take the money, and get back home. Back to Uaed.:: ::Her chest was heaving now, growing tight with panic. She tried to breathe, but she felt claustrophobic in the mask, in the tunnel. Why was she here? How had any of this happened to her? If what McNeil and Bui had said on the shuttle was true, she had aided in a terrorist operation. All she'd known in advance was that she was to take a team in undercover, and wait to extract them after their operation. She hadn't asked questions. She'd only thought about the money. She needed that money more than she needed to keep her nose clean. Now, she wondered if that hadn't been a big mistake. Whatever damage McNeil and Bui had caused on the surface of Zakdorn, Mar was complicit. If she was caught, she would never get home. She would never get her money. She would never get back to Uaed.:: ::None of this was what she'd intended. None of this was what Uaed had told her it would be.:: ::With mind over matter, she forced her body to calm itself. She forced her mind to the details at hand. Darwin was a science ship, she'd learned. It was outmatched by the warship in offensive capabilities two to one. But the Horizon class ship could defend itself. And surely, despite the power drains and the lack of security forcefields, Darwin retained its internal sensors, and would have her in an instant if she slipped up.:: ::McNeil, her only ally, disturbing as that thought may be, was probably in the brig by now. Let her be the one to blow the organization's cover. Mar regretted not shooting to kill. But she'd never killed anyone. She thought of the explosion on the surface of Zakdorn. Maybe she had killed after all.:: ::She shook off that thinking. There was one point in her favor – Darwin was suffering damage. They had more to worry about than just her. Otherwise, their security teams would have had her in a second. Okay, maybe two.:: ::Mar decided that now, while the Darwin was engaged in combat, she had her best chance at moving about undetected. She rolled to a crawling position, then moved along the tube until she found a likely hatch. Passing up a few that looked like they might set off all the bells and whistles, Mar emerged in glass-surrounded control room overlooking a cargo bay. A ladder and one unguarded hatch led to the cargo bay below. She'd practically struck latinum.:: ::Mar descended the ladder. There had to be something here she could use. The ship shook as she went down, and she slipped on a rung, almost falling. She regained her grip and her footing, and made her way down.:: ::Through the hatch, she found the cargo bay empty. Until a security detail decided to check or recheck this room, she was alone. How quickly could she find something useful? With the large orange visors of her helmet, she scanned the room for weapons signatures, a handy but limited add-on she'd acquired for her tech. There. She crossed the room and opened a crate.:: ::While the ship ran red with alerts, fighting an enemy outside, looking for her, the enemy within, Mar decided she had to take a cue from her horrible, evil teammates. To save herself, to get back home in one piece, Mar had to blow a few things up.:: ::She took a few charges with her, crossing back to the hatch and the ladder. She stopped before exiting and set the first charge to explode in the cargo bay. It was as good a place to start as any.:: ::Back through the hatch, up the ladder, through the glass-paneled control room and back into the Jefferies tube. Mar closed the tube hatch behind her and waited. A little thrill went through her as her mask watched the thermal readings through the wall. They exploded.:: ::She held onto the charges that remained. Her life line. Her way out. Taking off at a fast crawl, she headed for the next stop on her way home.:: MSPNPC Mar Valek Pilot simmed by ============================================ Lieutenant Commander Rendal Rennyn HCO Officer USS Darwin NCC-99312-A ============================================
  19. ((Unknown Warship - Orbit Around Zakdorn)) Tor'kath: What do you mean, the torpedoes missed again?! ::This ship was outfitted with the best military technology that money could buy, and yet the small Federation starship was dodging their ordinance with relative ease.:: Zixo: ::exasperated:: That ship is flailing through space in a way that the targeting computers can't compensate for! ::Tor'kath begrudgingly agreed, but it didn't stop him from throwing a disparaging glare at the Tactical station. The moves of the Darwin seemed so random and unpredictable that he was secretly impressed. He had underestimated the odd vessel, and it was making a fool out of them.:: Tor'kath: Double the fire rate. I want those shields down, and I want our operatives off that ship. Tassa, match their movements to give Zixo a better fire angle. Tassa: Are you cracked? I can't fly that! ::Tor'kath fought the urge to draw his disruptor and shoot her. Discipline was going to be an issue, he saw, and he intended to speak with his superiors about instituting a more rigid command structure on new vessels such as this, but for now he'd have to make do with boring holes with his eyes into the back of her head from his vantage point in the center of the bridge. The bridge shuddered slightly as two torpedoes from their prey detonated against their shields.:: Tor'kath:: They're hitting us. We're not hitting them. Change that, or else heads will roll. Zixo: Aye. Tassa: Whatever. ::The ship's commander watched as flurry after flurry of torpedoes flew at their target, continuing to miss, until finally fate smiled on them. Two direct hits on the flanking shields caused a flickering, then their phaser shots were striking the Federation ship's hull directly.:: Zixo: Yes! ::Tor'kath didn't need to look back to know that Zixo was pumping a fist; it was his signature victory move. A faint smile crept onto the commander's face.:: Tor'kath: Send the subspace signal to the operatives, to tell them to prepare for a signal lock. Lock onto the shuttle as well, just in case the operatives stowed the objective aboard it. Zixo, prepare to drop shields for transport. Zixo: Wait! Tor'kath, the planetary defense system is online! ::Tor'kath nearly screamed in frustration. The presence of the famed Zakdorn defense network was well-known, but it had never been demonstrated. He had bet on the fact that it would take a fair bit of time to be brought online, aided by the unlikely threat that a single ship posed to the planet. Apparently his assumption had been wrong.:: Zixo: We can withstand damage from the Federation ship for long enough to complete transport, but the power signature of the defense batteries are off the scale. If they hit us without shields, we're done. ::Things were spiraling out of control. If the Federation discovered what they were doing, why they were here, then the endeavor would be fatally compromised. Every second that the Darwin had the operatives on board was ever more likely that the mission would fail. Now, not only did Tor'kath have to retrieve the operatives, but he had to ensure that their nemesis in orbit did not have knowledge that they shouldn't. He seriously considered destroying the Darwin outright. Mission failure would cost him dearly, but not as much as if the mission was compromised.:: Tor'kath: Give me options! ::There was a pause on the bridge, and Tor'kath thought that he would have to repeat his demand. Or, failing that, pull out his disruptor and shoot people until the rest realized the benefit of speaking up more quickly. If only it were that easy, he thought about the half-joking desire.:: Tassa: Play lame, draw the Starfleet ship away from orbit. If we gain enough distance from Zakdorn, it'll mitigate the threat from the planetary defenses. Tor'kath: oO Nice! I knew there was a reason I didn't shoot you! Oo Go on... Tassa: If we take some hits from the defense network, then modulate the shields as if they're weakened, and make a run for it, they might take the bait and follow. Maybe vent some plasma to make it realistic, blow out a cargo bay or two... Tor'kath: ::looking questioningly to Zixo:: Thoughts? Zixo: ::giving a non-committal shrug:: Worth a try. Why not? Tor'kath: Okay then, give it a go. Keep taking pot shots at the Darwin, but nothing too damaging. We want to give the Zakdorns a reason to keep attacking us, but not disable the Darwin enough that they can't or won't want to follow. As soon as we've taken a few good hits from the planetary batteries, implement the plan to appear damaged and limp away from orbit. And cross your fingers that this works. ::If it didn't, then Tor'kath would have to revisit the earlier consideration. Take no chances and destroy the Darwin. Even if he didn't need to destroy their ship, he had nagging worries about what they might have found out...:: TBC ======================================Tor'kath (aka Raikenoff) - Commanding OfficerUnknown Vessel ~as simmed by~ LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - Chief Science OfficerUSS Darwin NCC-99312-AGraphic Contest Taskforce / Publicity Team ======================================
  20. “I’ve been afraid of changing ‘Cause I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder Children get older I’m getting older too.” ~ Dixie Chicks, Landslide ((Saveron’s Quarters - USS Invicta)) ::Saavok was in his room, ostensibly sleeping though Saveron suspected that he was up reading again. His son knew that if he was too tired the following morning both his father and his teacher would have something to say about it, and Saveron would not discourage the acquisition of knowledge. He permitted Saavok to manage his own sleep and meditation requirements providing that he did so acceptably.:: ::The lighting was dimmed to grey tinged with purple, like a Vulcan dusk, and he carefully set out candles laced with Vulcan spices in the central space of the lounge room. In their centre was a sitting mat and, in front of it, a carved piece of crystal.:: ::Lowering himself gracefully onto the mat he picked up the crystal and held it for several minutes, attuning himself to it and reinforcing its programming. It was prepared to act as a katric ark, large enough to hold just one katra. Should he face imminent death without another Vulcan to entrust his katra’s return to Vulcan to, this provided an alternative to his katra being lost. Saavok had one as well.:: ::He set the crystal down and let his eyes drift closed, emptying his mind first of all thoughts and allowing his body to fall into the light, comfortable trance of meditation. He held that calm emptiness for as long as he felt necessary, before allowing the first thought that was in his mind to surface.:: ::Saavok. His younger son, who had endured four uprootings in the last two years, yet seemed to thrive on the constant change and unfamiliarity of the myriad alien cultures they were exposed to. If anything, possessed as he was of the mental plasticity of youth, he adapted even better than his father did. Yet he was his father’s child, even more so than Teron or S’Rel. All three of them had inherited his restlessness and desire to see more than the planet of their birth, but none so strongly as Saavok. He was thriving out here on the edge of the Federation, in spite of the dangers inherent in living on a ship in unknown, politically complex space. Or, Saveron sometimes suspected, because of them. He still worried about his son, behind that wall of emotional control. Like any parent he wanted what was best for him, and feared that what he had now was not it. But it was not a logical fear. Saavok’s academic and emotional growth indicated that he was faring far better now than he had on Vulcan, much to his mother’s lack of preference.:: ::T’Rel. Saavok’s mother. Teron and S’Rel’s mother. His previous bondmate. He had received notification that she had achieved Kohlinahr and then been initiated as a Priestess of the Temple of Gol. Achieving her goals as she had set out to do with a ruthless direction that brooked no distraction. He could only hope that it would bring her peace and contentment. He knew that it would not bring her happiness, she would never experience that again, or any true emotional response. As much as he agreed with the control of emotion, Kohlinahr was a future he could not even begin to contemplate. She was more lost to him now - more inscrutable, more alien - than she had ever been when she chose Serok over him.:: ::He considered that thought for a moment. Yes, perhaps he had held onto that hope, subconsciously, despite it’s lack of logic. Maybe one day… No. Not now, not then, not ever. T’Rel was lost to him, and always had been. It felt odd to make that final acknowledgement.:: ::Perhaps that was why he felt a need to assist Counsellor Moonsong. Raissa. She too had lost something that she could not truly regain, something that had left ‘a hole in the soul where the wind blows through’, to quote a pre-Surak poet. He was familiar with the stages of grief, for a moment it seemed that she had moved to acceptance, whilst in some strange way he had still been in denial. :: ::”‘Vulcans do not lie’. That is perhaps the greatest lie that Vulcans tell, and most of all they lie to themselves.” ::His old mentor Professor Bakewell in a sour mood, more insightful than many at their deepest and most philosophical. Had he lied to himself?:: ::Perhaps. Perhaps that was why he could not bring himself to Bond with Sirenya two years ago, the difference in their preferred life paths merely an excuse. Others made long-distance relationships work; perhaps the distance that had grown between himself and T’Rel in their last years had been all he ever wanted to experience of that.:: ::’Would you Bond again?’ Raissa had asked him. Raissa, who had her own traumatic difficulties to manage, still thought of her friends and their happiness. He wasn’t now certain that he’d truly thought he would. Perhaps the truer question was ‘would you Bond with another?’ Abstractly, the answer was simple. However, when he looked beyond the logical response to his own inner, instinctive reaction, It was oddly difficult to answer.:: ::A restlessness gripped him and he broke his meditative pose and rose fluidly to his feet, stepping around the candles and across the lounge room to the pictures on the wall; holographs of his family. Reaching out, he took down the one taken some twenty years ago; himself, a very pregnant T’Rel and a young Teron and S’Rel before them. A picture of simpler times, of perhaps the most satisfactory period of his life.:: ::Next to it were more recent pictures of his children - including one of Teron, his mate T’Rayel and their daughter T’Nai - and beyond those, one of Saavok. His youngest son, unecpected but no less dear. The one who lay just metres away, facing the dangers of life in space with nothing short of enthusiasm. So much his father’s son, more so than his older siblings, and unlike them he had never known a time when his parents were together.:: ::And they would not be together again. Nine years had passed, T’Rel had most definitely moved on. As for himself, perhaps even Vulcans needed time to grieve. As Raissa grieved for her loss, as many others grieved. Yet his own words came back to him; if one mourned too long, one could lose other things. Like friends, like other opportunities in life. How much of his most recent conversation with Raissa could have a mirror held up to it, and still be equally valid?:: ::Perhaps that subtly implied turnaround had been intentional, or perhaps it was simply that their lives at this point had so many things in common. And even as he had counselled her about Carter, she had asked him about others. Non-Vulcans. Humans. Confusing aliens that they were, she had spoken of a need to be near and a fear of rejection that overrode the pain of not knowing. The idea was bizarre, and fascinating. She had spoken with implied specifics. A Human. He couldn’t help but wonder.:: ::Not herself; she was grieving the loss of Carter, and regardless knew the Vulcan mindset well enough that she would have just told him. Not Aron, good friend though he was, he was just now becoming involved with Niccolo del Vedova. Not Quinn, fellow member of the Single Parents Club. He could tell by her pained looks that she yet waited and hoped for Commander Ross’s return. As did he. Not Chythar, colleague who was never more than professional.:: ::He studied the holograph in his hands, so recently ‘hung out’ on his wall, and knew that he held the answer. Someone who found repeated excuses - or no real excuse at all - to be in his presence, yet worried excessively that she was there overmuch from the number of times that she asked him if such was acceptable. Fear perhaps that one day he would say ‘no’?:: ::Alora.:: ::Carefully he hung the holograph back on the wall before turning and settling once more into his meditative pose.:: ::The question was, how did he feel about her? It was one subject on which he knew he could not rely upon logic alone.:: END LtCmdr Saveron Second Officer USS Invicta
  21. ((Deck 7: Arboretum)) ::Raissa sat quietly on a bench. She slowly inhaled, allowing the scent of growing things to surround her. The mix of smells enveloped her, but they did not soothe her as usual. She had sent a message to Carter to meet her here. After talking to CD and Saveron, she knew she had no choice.:: :: Carter had managed to break away from his duties in engineering, the promotion to his new rank causing him to be neck-deep in work. He had been meeting with the engineers and learning about his new domain. He seemed a little distant at first, until he caught sight of Ris and sat down alongside her. :: Greyson: Hey, love. What’s up? ::Her eyes caressed his face for a long moment and then she shifted away, putting distance between them.:: Moonsong: We have to talk… :: The distance she put between the two of them made his brows raise. That was never a good sign when those were the first words he heard. :: Greyson: Uh-oh. ::She couldn’t look at him. She stared down at her hands.:: Moonsong: Carter… this… this change in me… it’s permanent. ::pause:: I know you don’t understand this… :: He did understand it was permanent. They’d been over that a couple times. And his brow furrowed again. :: Greyson: I know the word “permanent.” And my guess is that we aren’t a permanent item anymore. Moonsong: I’m… I’m sorry… I love you… but we may never be able to touch safely. :: He felt like she reached into his chest and ripped out his heart with those words. He couldn’t meet her gaze, because he was now fighting back the tears that he’d been dreading. Thier last conversation didn’t go well, and this one seemed to be worse off. :: Greyson: I understand. :: He blinked away a tear to prevent it from streaking his face as he lowered his head to his hands. This time she was the one walking away, and there seemed nothing he could do about it. Only accept it. :: ::Her instinct was to reach out to him, but she snatched her hand back before she actually touched him.:: Moonsong: ::whisper:: I’m sorry… :: Carter ran a hand through his hair and blinked again, not sure what to say for a few moments. He bit his lip, then spoke again. :: Greyson: So...What you’re telling me is because of these changes, you’re the one walking away. When I promised not to do that. Right? ::She flinched inwardly:: Moonsong: It’s not that simple… I don’t want to do this… :: In Carter’s experience, nothing was ever simple. Engineering puzzles, relationships, textbook equations, and the human equation -- all complex marvels of the universe. This one just happened to be his own “marvel”, which was equally as complex as his homework all of a sudden. :: Greyson: Enlighten me. :: His voice nearly cracked as he added as an afterthought. :: Please. Moonsong: Wh-what? Greyson: Why are you doing it, if you don’t want to? ::Her hands clenched together tightly in her lap.:: Moonsong: I want you to be safe… I need you safe…. You saw what happened when we touched…. :: Her words struck him like a punch to the face, and he broke his gaze. Tears rose unbidden through his visage of calm and streaked his face. The anger he felt at himself for letting his feelings dictate all those months ago that their relationship was a good idea. It seemed like one at the time, and it was good while it lasted. Oddly, his anger at her was minimal; only for her walking away because of the changes she’d undergone when he promised not to. :: Greyson: :: weakly. :: Guess I’ll just...get back to work then… ::She fought to control her emotion, to hold back the tears. If she cried, he might react by touching her. Her control was still fragile. CD and Saveron both supported this course of action, but that knowledge didn’t make the heartbreak any easier.:: Moonsong: ::softly:: Carter…. :: He turned to look at her, but was blinking to keep the tears from his vision. :: Greyson: Hm? Moonsong: I… I…. nothing…. :: Her attempt at speech made his gaze more intense for only a few more seconds before he got up slowly. He wanted to retreat back to the confines of engineering, to get some work done. Before he did something he’d regret. It wasn’t how he envisioned spending his day. :: Greyson: I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Moonsong: Where… where are you going? :: What he needed was probably either a stiff drink or cold shower.. And as it’s new chief (albeit temporarily) he still had some homework to do in engineering as well. The latter two options would at least keep him out of trouble. :: Greyson: Engineering. I have some reading to do on the warp capabilities of the ship. ::She looked up at him, her eyelashes spiky with unshed tears.:: Moonsong: You’ll make a fine engineer. I know you will…. :: Out of this conversation, that was probably the kindest thing she had said. He nodded faintly and made a soft reply. :: Greyson: Thanks. I’ll see you around, Counselor. :: And with that, he started to head out of the room before his frustration changed targets from himself to her. There was enough tension in the room already, and the last thing he wanted was to make the situation worse. :: ::Raissa sat in silence. The fact that he used her title instead of her name was a blow. She watched him walk away, quickly masked by the winding path in the Arboretum. Once he was out of sight, she allowed the tears to fall. Her shaking hand reached for her commbadge and she tapped it.:: TBC ------- Provisional Lieutenant JG Carter Greyson Acting Chief Engineer USS Invicta Simmed by: Lt. Commander Skyfire & Lieutenant Raissa Moonsong Chief of Counseling USS Invicta
  22. ((Quarters: LCDR Core)) ::Ki stood outside of the door for a long time. He debated with himself over and over again on why he was doing this. Tristam had never expressed any real liking for him. Yet, he found himself drawn to come here.:: ::With a sigh he straightened and tugged at his black collar. Almost angrily he pressed the chime. Tristam could just as easily ignore him.:: ::With a quick glance up towards the door, he pressed a button on his PADD. Verbal commands to the computer had become increasingly difficult, so he’d had to revert to old fashioned remote controls. It wasn’t as much as a problem as he’d expected it to be - it simply reminded him of home, where not everything ran on voice control. Tristam had to admit that he was surprised when he saw Shandres standing in the open doorway.:: Shandres: ::he raised a dark eyebrow.:: Mind if I come in? Core: oO Door’s open, is it not? Oo ::Unable to speak any sarcasm, and in lieu of a telepathically readable brain, the Rodulan simply gestured to a chair. This was very odd indeed - Shandres willingly coming to see him? He gave an amused huff.:: ::Ki dropped into the chair indicated and slouched. He gave the impression of being relaxed and uncaring, but he was anything but.:: Shandres: I thought I would drop by and check on you. 40 zillion volts can’t have been much fun. Core: Wasn’t. ::Though he’d been shocked enough times by various equipment throughout his life that he wasn’t as concerned about permanent injury.:: Core:::shaking his head.:: Healthy. ::Ki snorted.:: Shandres: I suppose… although your hair's still standing on end and I still hear an occasional crackle… ::pause:: Unless that’s normal for you? ::Tristam laughed.:: Core: Ah . . . probably. ::Pause.:: What’re . . . why here? Reports . . . ::Reports could have done a better job than him explaining how he was.:: ::Ki pretended to misunderstand.:: Shandres: No, I’ve turned in all my reports on the incident. I’m just here to check up on you. ::pause.:: It's become something of a habit. ::The Rodulan frowned, not buying what Shandres was selling him.:: Core: Can’t talk. Great listener. ::pause:: What’s up? ::shakes his head:: Shandres: You can talk… ::gestures toward a PADD.:: I’ve seen the speed you type. ::He paused, staring at the Rodulan.:: Shandres: And yes, I mean what I say. I am here to check up on you. I do care if you’re all right as bizarre as that sounds.I know you don’t like me. Though I don’t know why. After that fiasco on Perplexia, looking after you is a habit. Core: . . . like you. ::Hell, he appreciated pretty much everything Shandres had done, not only for him, but for the whole team, over the last couple of weeks.:: Core: But . . . uh . . . arrogant. On duty. First day? ::Tristam shook his head.:: Impression. Shandres: Nah, I’m always arrogant and snarky. ::pause:: A long time ago I made a promise to myself that I would be myself and not what people expected. Core: Seen you - not, uh, not like that. ::Ki smiled slightly.:: Shandres: I admit I do it for fun some times. Watching people’s reaction. Did you know that when people are [...]ed they show more of their true selves? ::He tapped his forehead.:: And their thoughts become a little more uncensored. Useful in my line of work. ::Intelligence, Tristam mused. The first words he’d thought when he’d considered the idea of someone like Ki working closely with him was along the lines of “untrustworthy [...]”. How far he’d come.:: Core:::shrugging.:: Never, uh . . . I’ve never . . . ::Again with the words forming incorrectly.:: . . [...]ed someone off *intentionally*. ::But he’s definitely done it more than once.:: Shandres: Are you sure about that? Heard you did a number on a certain nurse… Does she really grab a scalpel when she sees you? Core:::giving a smirk.:: Unintentional. ::None of Bakari’s girlfriends ever really shook a shine to Tristam for various reasons. One of them tolerated him - barely - but . . . eh. Constantly butting heads with women he’d see maybe once, twice a month wasn’t much of a big problem for him. And he’d tried his best to make it up to Bakari in different ways.:: Shandres: Ha! I bet… ::Ki swiveled in his chair to look around the room. He had gotten into the habit of reading Tristam’s body language, which for him was a good as speech. But he was curious about the Engineer in a technologically advanced setting.:: Shandres: Tristam, your place is a mess. Core: Hardly! ::This? This was *nothing*! The Rodulan barely had time to pack up his things on the Garuda - thus, everything had been unceremoniously thrown into bags that were now strown all over his new quarters. A few had been opened - clothing somehow ending up in the spaces around said bag, his chessboard still unassembled on the coffee table, knick-knacks from home in unorganized positions - though the most horrific mess was the fact that there dishes everywhere (either because of disappearing into Engineering for the final time or because he’d simply become too distracted to replace them into the replicator). Tristam was not a people person - or, at least, not a very good one - and thus didn’t normally expect visitors. And when he did, all this mess would be thrown into the bedroom, with the exception of the dishes, of course, which promptly disappeared.:: ::Ki pointed to the dishes that had every sign of being used. In fact the food particles were so dried on, even the replicators gave up and secretly jettisoned them into space.:: Shandres: I mean really…. You’re growing your own pet… ::shakes his finger at Tristam, but his grin took anything serious from his words.:: You’re an engineer… not a biologist. ::He got up and poked at the dish.:: Shandres: Or mad scientist… I can’t even tell what you’ve been eating… Core: Morluawg. ::Or, more specifically, Morluawg *paste*. All the tastes of Morluawg from home in paste form, since Starfleet didn’t necessarily accommodate his sensitive Rodulan taste buds. He kept telling himself that he’d work on the actual dish later . . . that was something he’s been telling himself for six years, now.:: Shandres: ::shaking his head:: Ew. ::Ki prowled around the room. By any standards is was larger and more luxurious than the Garuda had been. As far as quarters went, the only thing he had seen on this level were suites on commercial ships.:: Shandres: What am I doing on this ship? ::he glanced at Tristam.:: Sorry, I don’t know why I said that. At least not out loud. ::A trait they seemed to share on occasion. Tristam gave a small grin.:: Core: Needed here. ::There'd be no other reason for Shandres to be around, and it was certainly a good one. The Betazoid had proven himself time after time.:: Core: Sometimes proves self worth. ::Ki shook his head clearly not in agreement. He really didn’t know why he was on the Invicta. They had plenty of security officers. His specialty was intelligence. He reported to Captain Reynolds. He spent years as a field agent getting in and out of places he wasn’t supposed to be. He gave up a lot to be what he was.:: Shandres: A ship full of scientists, engineers and Vulcans. There are plenty of Delano’s Minions to babysit them. ::Tristam rose a questioning eyebrow.:: Shandres: I know I’m not dumb. I’m not smart in the things you and the others are. ::shrugs:: I don’t need to be. Something Rosh could never understand. ::He dropped back into the chair he had vacated.:: Shandres: You know, back at the Academy, she used to drag me to her little get-togethers of engineers and physicists… trying to ‘include’ me. ::He snorted in amusement.:: Probably when I started to be snarky. ::Tristam blinked. He knew Roshanara and Shandres were friends, but . . . wait. Where they friends? Or had they been involved? What on Rodul was going on!?:: Core: Tech all day. Tough. ::Engineers together tended to clash occasionally. Whether it was because of strong personalities (dealing with malfunctioning technology 24/7 tended to bring the worst out of people attitude-wise - there was only so much computerized “unable to comply” responses one could put up with before they started having a one-sided argument with the computer) or simply because of differing opinions, not everybody knew. His own relationship with Roshanara was initially based on differing opinions when it came to slipstream drive; Roshanara was willing to take far too many risks whilst Tristam always argued for safety, thus a stand-off and an eventual compromise. ::That being said, since Tristam himself didn’t really take kindly to Ki’s attitude on that first mission they’d spent together, he could understand why a group of engineers of whom didn’t know him would be easily offended at his attitude.:: ::Ki’s black eyes were alert on Tristam, watching the play of expression on his face. He didn’t know? But then, why should he? It hadn’t come up before.:: Shandres: The point is, I’m not an engineer or scientist. I don’t want to be. Hanging out with the lot is blindingly dull for someone like me, especially once you get into advanced technobabble which only you understand. Rosh never understood that. ::pause:: We went our separate ways after the academy. There was no way we could have made it work between us. ::Tristam stood stock still. So Shandres *had* been involved with Roshanara. ::He wasn’t entirely sure what he was meant to do with this information. And he didn’t know how he was supposed to respond to Ki’s words now. Tristam was . . . sort of glad that he and Roshanara didn’t work out - there was no way Tristam could compete with a guy like Ki, absolutely none. Just because the man wasn’t well versed in the science and engineering departments didn’t mean he wasn’t intelligent.:: Core: Other interests. ::Surely there were other things Ki was relatively well-versed in. If he couldn’t make a couple of friends in the Science or Engineering departments, then surely he could banter with a fellow Intel or Security officer about a take-down he’d made one time. Was that not a thing for Federation races?:: Shandres: ::shrugs:: I suppose. I’m good at strategy and tactics. Especially in the field. I even learned how to play a guitar. ::He chuckled a looked away for a moment.:: Shandres: Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to stay out of trouble. ::he raised a finger.:: But the minute I spend too much time babysitting, I’m putting in for a transfer so fast I’ll be leaving my own personal warp signature. Core: oO Fair enough. Oo ::Ki looked at him in silence for a long moment.:: Shandres: So how are you holding up? I heard you’ve been put on medical leave and they are putting another warm body in your place. Core: Ha. ::Roshanara wasn’t entirely pleased with having to have that job, but at least they’d managed to glaze over it without many issues. He hadn’t found out who his replacement was at this moment, but he made it a priority to not comment. If luck was on Tristam’s side, this would be a temporary setback - he could get used to not wearing a uniform for a couple of weeks while he and Medical sorted out a way out of this hole his brain had dug himself into - and he’d hopefully be back after a month or so. At least he wasn’t stuck in a hospital bed.:: Core: Holiday. ::Well he certainly planned to spend it like a holiday, at least.:: Shandres: So what do you plan to do? Sit around here, break things and then fix them? ::Tristam had spent a lot of time sitting in the cave maintaining their equipment without support. Ki could see him doing something similar here.:: Core: Technological. Environment. ::The Rodulan shrugged, doing a click and clap as he sat down on a table.:: Still officer. ::If he truly wanted to, he could enter and leave Engineering as he pleased. It was just that he had no real authority to go ordering people around and do actual work, so long as it wasn’t vital systems he was “interfering” with. As such, in an emergency or red alert, he either needed to report to Sick Bay (no thanks to the “medical” part of his LOA) or remain in non-vital areas and out of the way. Things he was quite capable of doing with no hassle . . . well. Maybe *some* hassle. He’d at least try to find out what was happening to someone's annoyance.:: Shandres: I’m trying to imagine you not haunting engineering…. ::smirk:: I just can’t. Sure… you could read all the specs on the drive… but can you really not put your hands on it? Core: Yes. Drive - propulsion. Hate propulsion. ::As for the rest of Engineering . . . probably not, no. Not since he’d been introduced to it. Hell, even if he *wasn’t* introduced to Engineering prior to losing his active status, he still wouldn’t be able to stay out of it. But alas, a particular Kriosian would probably frown at him for not taking the time to hang around the more public areas of the ship or, dare he say it, rest.:: Shandres: Awwww…. how can you hate it? If you just got to know her better…. dinner and a movie maybe…? ::Tristam couldn’t stop himself from cringing. The Pioneer *did* have a date with him during their slipstream drive test.:: Core: Dangerous. ::Why the obsession with going faster? Tristam never quite understood it. Sure, it was probably useful to outrun hostile ships during an attack, but for regular cruising speeds? What difference did it make? So you got to someone faster than you would have if you used a less advanced ship. At what cost, though? Try to break the Warp 10 barrier, and people start evolving at a faster rate than they should - hence, no one tries to break that barrier anymore. Slipstream was a different story altogether, but in creating that, there were the ridiculous amounts of risks. He’d almost *died* proving that. ::Propulsion was not the answer. The transporter was - all he really had to do was keep working at his own theory until he could prove something. They already knew that they were able to beam someone from one planet to the next. If they could somehow manipulate the mechanics to the point where they were able to beam something as large as a starship from one star system to another, then propulsion wouldn’t even be a priority. ::Unfortunately he was simply deemed as a deluded Rodulan who hated propulsion just because he apparently needed to hate *something*. The stigma that came with being a Rodulan was sometimes just cruel.:: Core: Not worth it. ::Ki raised an eyebrow. He didn’t know what Tristam was thinking but he was lousy at keeping his thoughts to himself with his particular manner of body language. That alone made him smile. If what he heard was correct, the Rodulan’s own snark kept people from looking too closely.:: Shandres: I think I can translate that look. You don’t see the need to keep trying to go faster when there could be other ways. And you happen to have a theory. But nobody is listening even when you could talk. ::The Rodulan literally gave the man a round of applause, a smirk on his face.:: Core: Winner. ::Ki laughed, pleased with his accuracy.:: Shandres: So you have all this spare time… why not work on it? Core: Theories. Tests. Text done. ::He stumbled through the next word.:: Require assistance. Simulations. ::The Rodulan shrugged again.:: Holiday. Shandres: Simulations… ::frowns:: See… this is stuff I don’t understand. ::pause:: But if you want me to take you down to the brand-spanking new holodeck, I can follow simple instructions. ::The Betazoid paused.:: Shandres: Or I can show you my holo-programs. I’ve got some fun stuff. ::Tristam laughed quietly, but had to shake his head.:: Core: Talking. And violence. ::He shook his head again.:: Shandres: Humph! I’ll have you know I own programs that don’t involve bar brawls or picking up women. Well some of them don’t. Core: Ha! See? Federation violent. Will warn home. ::He gave a cheeky grin.:: Shandres: ::laughs:: I’m not violent… I’m… firm…. always in control. After all, I didn’t strangle you on sight. Core: Hmph. Wouldn’t be first time. ::Nova. ::He shook that thought away.:: ::Ki arranged his expression to one of dignified affront. It would have been convincing if he hadn’t opened his mouth and spoke.:: Shandres: I’m well known for my restraint. I keep my opinions to myself . And I am the most diplomatic individual you could meet. Core: Ha. oO Time will tell. Oo ::Tristam grinned, an ache forming in the back of his head again. His eyes closed for a few seconds too long, arms now crossed.:: ::Shandres smiled as he realized how much of Tristam’s nuances he had observed and made use of in communicating:: Shandres: Headache again? ::Tristam forced himself to open his eyes and retrain them back to Shandres. He flashed a grin, and though he’d fought to train them towards the man in front of him, his gaze dropped.:: Core: Yeah. ::Lying without the ability to speak properly was significantly harder than Tristam had initially thought. And, even if lying was an option for him, he didn’t see the value in denying an obvious thing to a highly trained Intelligence officer. Well - at least, he *thought* Ki was a highly trained Intelligence officer. One could never be too sure about these things.:: ::Ki pushed himself out of the chair again and clapped Tristam on the shoulder. His hand curved around the back of his neck and he squeezed gently, an almost affectionate touch he used with the other man to say things that didn’t require words.:: Shandres: Get yourself a painkiller and get some rest. Core: Hmph. ::The Rodulan had tried to stay away from painkillers since the slight incident when using them for his shoulder. Besides, this headache wasn’t horrifically bad like . . . multiple times before. ::He stood, arms still crossed. His next word was directed at Ki.:: Core: Rest. ::Ki smiled, gave a mock salute and headed out the door. It had gone better than he had hoped. The unconscious tension he had held was gone and he whistled off key as he strode down the corridor.:: End=======LtCmdr Tristam CoreMLOAUSS Invicta and Lieutenant Ki ShandresStrategic Operations / Intelligence OfficerUSS Invictasimmed by: R. Moonsong
  23. (( Ancient Station )) ::It was strange, really, how much time the many and varied species of the universe had devoted to finding new ways of causing one another pain. The only one she knew that hadn't were the Deltans -- and that was simply a matter of self-preservation. Empathic for as long as their history extended, there were no bloody wars staining their past simply because the emotional shock wave would have ruined the victors as much as the defeated. ::The Not-Harry, unfortunately, knew very well how to cause her pain. Excruciating pain, beyond imagining. And had been doing so, for what felt like an eternity.:: ROSS: ::Soft,:: I hate to see you like this. ::She shook her head, not trusting herself to speak. Not-Harry shook his head, reaching out to brush the hot tears from her cheeks. It was tender, almost affectionate, and it made her skin crawl.:: ROSS: ::Low,:: Oh, Quinn. You've been through this before, and you broke. You broke and you told the Breen everything you knew. *Everything*. ::He paused, this time to sweep sweat-damped hair from her forehead.:: It's only a matter of time. You're just not strong enough. ::The words hit home, exactly as intended. She'd never quite been able to uproot the guilt and shame she had carried with her since her captivity, and she knew he was right. It was only a matter of time. An increasingly short matter of time. ::A noise escaped her throat, a choked-off sob a of a sound, and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to blank it all out. If only reality could be so easily foiled.:: ROSS: Would it make a difference if I told you that he's in genuinely in love with you? That his feelings for you have nothing to do with me? ::He paused.:: It's not so bad. We'll make you forget. You and Harry could go about your lives, maybe even have a family. ::Somewhere in the back of her pain-addled mind, something clicked. He could very well be lying to her -- she'd expect him to say anything to get her to comply -- but there was the possibility he was telling the truth, and the real Harry was still in there, somewhere. ::It really was such an appealing option, to submit. The pain would stop, she wouldn't remember any of this, and so what if things turned out badly in the end, so long as they were good in the meantime? It wasn't as though there was ever any guarantee that life would turn out in sunshine and roses.:: REYNOLDS: No. ::He sighed, his chin dipping in disappointment. Then he reached away, out of sight, and she knew what was coming next.:: REYNOLDS: Please. Please don't do this. ::The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. It made her cringe, hearing herself beg, hearing the unadulterated fear in her voice. What kind of Starfleet captain -- no, what kind of officer was she, that she was reduced to this? ::But was there something in his eyes as he paused to look at her? Or was that just wishful thinking?:: ROSS: You know to make it stop. REYNOLDS: ::Her words escaped between a fearful, strangled sob.:: I can't. ::He almost looked apologetic.:: ROSS: Then I have to. ::It was only a few heartbeats, and then she was screaming again.::-- Captain Quinn Reynolds Director of IntelligenceUSS Garuda
  24. ((Dreamland)) ::Ren was standing in a field of tall grass in a land of green plants under a sky of pure blue with high white clouds and a faint, warm breeze. He was dressed a very well-made 21st century Terran suit, stone and gray glenplaid wool, with a crisp white shirt and a navy tie that hung loose around his neck. He knew he was dreaming, because his boyfriend Navin, who had been dead for 10 years, was walking toward him, every part of him fully transformed into a Borg drone. At least the weather was nice. While the antitoxin worked through his body in Sickbay, Ren had some issues to work through here.:: NAVIN: Well whaddya know. Rendal Rennyn, looking good. I like a man in a suit. ::Navin looked like a Borg, mechanical implants and mottled skin and one of those little skull caps and the red light shining from a piece next to his remaining eye. But he sounded like himself, not like a Borg.:: Resistance is futile. ::He made phaser guns with his fingers and pretended to shoot them at Ren.:: Pew! Pew! Pew! REN: What are you doing here? ::He could have moved, but was afraid. What if he woke up? Then again, what if he didn't? Weren't you supposed to be with your loved ones in an elysian field when you died? Yes, so that was it. He was dead.:: Where's my grandma? NAVIN: Uh.... I don't know? It's your dream. REN: My.. My dream! I'm not dead? NAVIN: What, did you trade brains with a gummy bear? Foster cured you. All this is, is you passing out while your body clears the toxin. REN: How do you know that? NAVIN: Because you're dreaming, and I'm in your head. REN: I'm dreaming you. NAVIN: Nnnnn.... is that what I said? Okay, sure. ::He winked his one Trill eye.:: Whatever you think. ::Ren didn't want to imagine any alternatives to what "in your head" could mean. He didn't want to look at Navin as a Borg. Then again, he could barely look away. Memories only slip as far away as the knowledge of how to ride a bicycle. But with people you've lost, the details are a bike you can't get on again. A photograph or a hologram can't do justice to the real thing. And dream or not, this was the real Navin. That eye, so brown it was almost black. It's corners, it's lashes. The quirk of his cheek, the fine muscle movements. Ren could have called up each detail if he thought hard enough about it, but to see them in action again, even ravaged by the Borg, was something better, something beyond memory. There was a reality here that he feared to question too deeply, lest he broke the spell and lost it forever.:: REN: I see you everywhere. But it's never as real as this. NAVIN: Your memories of me were fading. And now I'm in focus. REN: How....? NAVIN: Nah. Wrong question. Look, Ren. We're going to talk about Sovak. ::Ren stepped closer, though he'd meant to step away. He didn't know what to do or say.:: NAVIN: I know you like him. And I know you're holding back because you were so hurt when I died that you can't risk losing him the same way. Am I right? REN: ...Yes. It's dangerous out here. What if I let Sovak in? What if we're together? Then what? What if he dies? His parents died in the line of duty. So did you. I... I don't know if I can take it. NAVIN: Yeah, okay. You've put together a good routine of whining and excuses. ::With his mechanical hand, he played with one end of Ren's loose tie. His servos whirred.:: The truth is, you're not afraid Sovak will die. You're afraid that you won't be able to love him enough, the way you didn't love me enough when I was alive. When I was right in front of your face. You're afraid of feeling even more guilt than you already feel about me. REN: I was in love with you. I screwed it up with you, and then you were gone, and we didn't get another chance. Yes, I have spent years feeling low about it. But that's because I loved you. NAVIN: And you barely did anything about it. And then I was dead. You didn't know what to do about that, and you still don't know what to do about it. You go from one day to the next, going about your life, trying not to feel anything that has to do with love. And they call me a zombie. Friends - fine. Laughter - great. Jokes and jokes from good times Ren. But there's that guilt inside you, and you can't root it out. And now it's keeping you from Sovak, who could be really good for you. ::He played with Ren's hair, just above the ear, like he used to, except now, the metal fingers were cold, and they made Ren cringe.:: It can change, Ren. You can change, you can get past that feeling of guilt. I am here to tell you what to do about it. ::Ren couldn't believe it. As the toxin and the cure battled for control of his body, his poor beleagured brain was dreaming up an image of his dead boyfriend to tell him to put the moves on Sovak. This stupid toxin... He sighed in exasperation and shouted up to the sky.:: REN: Really, brain? This is the best you could do? An image of Navin to advise me on my love life? NAVIN: There you go putting words in my mouth again. ::Suddenly, Navin of Borg was pressed against Ren, his whirring mechanical parts crushing the fine material of the Terran suit. The Borg Trill's mechanical hand gripped Ren's waist tightly. The hand of dark, mottled flesh clasped Ren's face, pulling it uncomfortably close. Ren smelled death and machinery. This was not the embrace of his memories or his dreams.:: NAVIN: You want to stop dithering back and forth? I will tell you how. Give up, Ren. You will never forget me. You will never move on. You will never get past that dead feeling inside. Give up on moving forward, and be happy in the knowledge that you don't have to fight those feelings any more. Just accept that you will be miserable about me every day for the rest of your life, and forget about ever loving again. REN: This is either a nightmare, or the galaxy's worst reverse psychology. NAVIN: I'm haunting you, you idiot. What did you expect me to say? "Live and be free?" REN: Please don't make me remember you this way. I'm not a quitter. I'm not going to do any of what you're saying. Why won't you let me move on? NAVIN: Because we are one, Ren. Your biological and emotional distinctiveness was added to our own. ::Navin pulled Ren ever closer, tore the loose tie from around his neck, ripped open the crisp white shirt, and, despite Ren's struggling, inserted two nanotubes there. Navin whispered a sweet nothing in Ren's ear.:: NAVIN: Resistance is futile. ((USS Atlantis - Sickbay)) ::Ren awoke in Sickbay with a scream, and his hands scrambled to feel the warm, sweating flesh of his chest and neck, confirming no entry wound. He breathed deep, ragged breaths, trying to calm down. It had been nothing more than a dream.:: ::Someone had covered Ren with the blanket. His discarded uniform, drenched in sweat as it was, had been taken away, replaced with a fresh blue medical coverall folded neatly for him at the end of the bed. He was halfway in to it, trying to figure out how he was supposed to get the arm on over the IV, when the rest of Sickbay came in to focus, and he began to realize that the scream he'd woken to was not his own.:: TBC LtJg Rendal Rennyn Helm Officer USS Atlantis NCC-74682
  25. (( Thunderbird )) ::Her wrist was cut to ribbons from her struggles -- but oddly enough, that had proven to be useful. The blood flowing out of the ruined, ragged skin had provided just enough lubrication to enable her to drag her small, narrow hand through the rigid bond, freeing her arm. It wasn't the first time the scent of her own blood filled her nose, and she had the dark, depressing suspicion that it wouldn't be the last. ::But for now, she took it as a blessing, and with that hand loose, it was exponentially easier to free the rest of her limbs. ::So she was free. Now what? ::A glance toward the front of the shuttle told her that Not-Harry was still in the [...]pit, the doors to that section of the vessel closed. So much the better -- as light on her feet as she was, it would be easier with that extra barrier between them. ::She pushed herself up, then grabbed on to the edge of the table, her balance threatened by jelly legs and a rush of nausea and dizziness. She swallowed against a foul, metallic taste in her mouth, and a few, deep lungfuls of air helped clear some of the cobwebs from her head. ::Phaser. Then… ::She had no idea. She'd figure that out once she had some form of personal defence. Right now it was hard enough to stay upright and mobile. What the hell had he doped her with? ::Didn't matter. Forcing her feet into some semblance of cooperation, she shuffled over toward the arms cabinet, closeted away in the wall of the shuttle. Her fingers were clumsy, but she managed to coax it open. ::It was empty.:: REYNOLDS: ::Whispered,:: [...] it! ::She smacked her palm against the panel, a weak, ineffectual slap that barely made any sound at all, and slumped back against the wall. Helm was a no-go, with Not-Harry in the [...]pit. ::Could she lock him in there, and reduce the oxygen to minimal levels? No. He'd notice what was going on long before the oxygen level dropped to a point where he'd fall unconscious, and she'd lay bets that he'd be able to force the door. ::A probe? She could manually launch one, just let it fall out of the shuttle, set a delay on its activation, have it point the way for... whoever came looking, if anyone. Carefully done, the only indication in the [...]pit would be a reduction in the number they were carrying. What were the chances that he'd look at that? ::Stumbling toward the deck plating that the probes hide underneath, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was forgetting something. Something painfully obvious, that was hiding under the cotton wool filling her head. ::It should have been easy. Certainly easy for her -- the kind of thing she could normally do blindfolded, hanging upside down like a bat. Only it wasn't, and she fumbled, made mistakes, paused to swallow down another wave of nausea, corrected those mistakes only to make whole new ones. ::But she managed it. The probe was away, though she wasn't entirely certain if it would do anything except float, silent and alone, in the depths of space. ::The thought brought the weight of her situation crashing down on her shoulders. A whimper escaped her throat as memories of her captivity with the Breen flashed through her mind, the pain, the humiliation, the complete loss of self. ::Not now. Now wasn't the time to be weak, or afraid. She needed-- ::Pain ripped through the back of her head, and her gaze was suddenly on the ceiling of the shuttle. Not-Harry loomed into view, his expression glacier, and she realised that the pain was coming from his hand, bunched in her hair.:: ROSS: You really are a little Houdini. I'd be impressed, if it wasn't so annoying. ::Then she noticed his other hand, balled up in a fist, accelerating toward her face. Later, she'd be grateful that unconsciousness came so quickly, and that she didn't have the opportunity to feel or hear her nose breaking.::-- Captain Quinn Reynolds Director of IntelligenceUSS Garuda
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