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  1. ((Hololab, Deck 10, USS Darwin-A)) ::For quite some time he had been there, isolated at the fortress of solitude, speechless, incommunicable, forced by himself to deal with the consequences of his actions. He deliberately avoided all senior officers for quite some time and accepted all the assignments that could keep him busy all day long without having to interact with them. He needed time to mentally and emotionally purge his sins.:: ::The official excuse for his enraged behavior during the last mission was some kind of radiation within the Nebula that tampered with his endocrine system. But that was the ease way out, put the burden of his actions over someone’s shoulders or something.:: ::For Christopher, the problem was bigger than that. He had spent the last weeks confined and assigned to the hololab, reevaluating his priorities, his life and assimilating the changes that came from the last mission. Some of them he could not even discuss openly with his superior and others were a question of wounded pride. He had apologized with Shayne, and kept distance from Isabel, but would it be enough?:: ::But working alone did not mean that he was sad or depressed about what he had done. It was a time that he chose to dig deeper into his holographic research.:: ::Darwin was undergoing another mission right now and Christopher was sat next to the primary workstation, resting his eyes for a moment, when a big white cat came from nowhere and started to purr.:: Lambert: ::stroking his long silky hair:: Ohhhh mon petit!! ::opening his eyes and pulling his legs down to the ground:: Has the simulation ended? ::Christopher seemed to expect that the cat would answer that question and he indeed delivered three short meows in return. He then stood up and stretched his legs and arms. He had worked almost his entire shift without getting out of that chair.:: Lambert: I guess I will analyze the results tomorrow with my mind refreshed. Hocuss: ::meowing and trilling:: The Darwin is rebooting the system. ::A cat speaking came as no surprise for Lambert since he was the one that gave him that ability at the first place. In fact, he only spoke when there was no one else around or when he expressly say Hocuss to do so.:: Lambert: Why are they doing so? ::Another white cat appeared from thin air and gently joined the first. He was a little bit small but almost identical. The science officer thought it would be a good idea to give the operation system of the hololab a more concrete form of expression, but he did not want to pursue the traditional humanoid approach for an artificial intelligence. So he chose the twin white cats. They were much more cute.:: Pocuss: ::hissing:: The ship was under an attack. ::growling: Some kind of virus infected the computer core and they decided to reboot. ::One of the main specifications for that kind of hololab was to have a dedicated computer core to avoid any leakage of the holo-automata-cells. Fortunately, enough the safeguards worked as expected and the virus did not spread into the hololab.:: Lambert: Oh! That’s weird! But they probably have the situation under control. ::he turned around and grabbed a PADD:: Hocuss, Pocuss lock down everything for me. We continue tomorrow. Hocuss: ::meowing: Rest well… ::he started:: Pocuss: Lambert! ::he finished:: ::The twin cats disappeared into the air while the lights of the hololab were slowly dimmed into darkness in the proper sequence. The tired science officer stepped into the corridor and make his way toward the quarters 8808. But before he could take the next turbolift his commbadge chirped.:: Renos: =/\= Renos to Lambert. I wonder if you might be able to head down to sickbay. We’ve managed to rescue the first of the Talaxians. They won’t all have major injuries that need tending and because they’re not a priority medically speaking, it may be some time before anyone can tend to them. They’ll be scared and need food, water and morale support. =/\= Lambert: =/\= Lambert here. =/\= ::he stroked his chin while contemplating the possibility to meet Isabel again:: ::It was quite a while since he and Darwin’s Captain talked to each other. The last one was probably when he went out to the bridge to ask authorization for the hololab project. It was a few months ago.:: Renos: =/\= Maybe you can even find out what happened to them while you are there. Don’t worry if you can’t, they might be too confused and traumatized to make sense of their situation. We’ll find out one way or another. =/\= Lambert: =/\= I´m glad to be of service, Captain. =/\= Renos: Response Lambert: =/\= I will report to sickbay immediately. Lambert out. =/\= Well, socialize a little and play detective. This can be fun! ::he smiled almost forgetting his tiredness. :: TBC ____________________________ Ensign Christopher Lambert Science Officer ~ Physicist USS Darwin ~ NCC 99312-A D239306CL0 “When you have eliminated all that is impossible, whatever remains must be the truth, no matter how improbable.” – / Sherlock Holmes
  2. (( Oddas's Quarters, Embassy, Duronis II )) ((Dream - 3.5-years-ago, Control Center, Planet Kjenta II)) PAVLOVA: Its true then? It really has been over two centuries. TRENG: So again I give you the choice. Drop your weapons, sit down and we can talk things out like grown-ups, or you will never leave this high-gravity paradise of a planet. STAVINS: Don't be so sure... ::Irina just looked back and further between Captain Waltas and Dr. Treng. The long-haired captain really was from the future, or rather she and her shipmates were from the very distant past. What had the last two centuries seen pass? Moretti was alive so obviously some of the stasis chambers were still working, was Katya still waiting?:: ((Hallway outside the control room)) ::As the away team entered the control room, Gunnery Sergeant Brown emerged from the other end of the hallway and with all eyes inside the room on Treng, he approached until the angle to the open door gradually afforded him a view of more and more of the interior of the room, like an ever-expanding slice of pie. Finally he saw the back of the person he was looking for, raised his pistol and fired. The first shot took Irina from behind in the left thigh, the second in the left shoulder and the third an inch lower into her middle back. He adjusted fire as he saw the large security guard Duquzieny, and quickly put a bullet into the man's throat, killing him instantly. He then saw the Amazonian woman from the comms, Lieutenant Amman with a weapon aimed at him and he fired, but his shot went high into the ceiling, thrown off at the last second as Hsina's first .45 slug struck him solidly in the chest before he had her in his sights. He tried to bring his weapon to bear again, but another shot from Hsina's .45 came a fraction of a second later, striking him an inch from the first shot. A third shot followed, dead center between the first two. Brown stood unmoving for an instant, then crumpled lifeless to the ground. Another Columbia survivor emerged from the same direction Brown had come,this one with a rifle in his hands. As he brought the weapon up to take aim, Hsina's .45 barked twice again, sending rifle and man quickly to the ground as the bullets both hit true to center-of-mass.:: ((Inside the Control Room)) :: Things were as if in slow motion. Irina felt the bullets strike her and saw as the world began to tilt. It wasn't really tilting, but she hit the ground so quickly that was the thought that came to mind. She could hear the exchange of fire out in the hallway and was vaguely aware of the sudden weight on top of her legs as Duquzieny fell across her, unmoving. There was panic everywhere, but strangely Irina was calm, strangely at peace. She thought of Dimitri back on Earth, dead now for centuries. Katya. The last she had seen of her daughter she was crying as Irina and Dr. Solis closed the lid of her stasis chamber. Irina smelled that shampoo Katya loved, as though her nose was burried in the toddler's hair. She too, likely dead for centuries. oO But Moretti was alive, in stasis the whole time. Could Katya have survived as well? Nothing, not even Treng herself would get in the way of her seeing her daughter, alive or dead Oo. As her vision narrowed and consciousness oozed, Irina reached her still good right hand inside the waistband at the back of her pants and pulled out the small pistol. When Irina left for Columbia in 2169 her father had given her the ancient German pistol. The gun was a prize some distant ancestor took from a German officer he'd killed in the second world war during the siege of Stalingrad. The weapon had been in the family since 1944, and in Irina’s possession for fully half of its nearly five centuries of existence. The sights were increasingly difficult to see as Irina's vision darkened, but when she thought she had the sights lined up and Treng behind them, she squeezed the trigger. Sadly, nothing happened. Treng was hit, but did not die, and Irina’s arm couldn’t hold the weapon for a second shot.:: ::The dream was more than a dream, it was a memory, and an accurate one, but where usually the dream would end and Irina would just sit upright, awake in a cold sweat, this time, for the first time, it didn’t end at all. She remained on the ground, but her vision didn’t go black. She was helpless, unmoving, but Treng wasn’t. The woman, despite bullet holes, claw marks and even a a Dalid’s bite, was still standing, unaffected by her grievous wounds which seemed to heal themselves as though she were a hologram rather than a human.:: Pavlova: :: screaming :: No, you're already dead! Leave me alone! ::Treng reached down at the Daclid and with just a flick of her glance, sent the lizard-like creature flying against the opposite wall, his body striking with a sickening crunch and then collapsing to the ground, unmoving. :: She could feel someone shaking her, but try as she may, her body would not response. :: ::One by one, Treng shifted her attention to each of the officers from Discovery’s away team, and with no more than a glance, she repeated her telekinetic throw with such force that their bodies had no chance against the ungiving stone walls of the control center. Blueheart was next, his head cracking against the wall with such force as to splash its contents like water from a balloon. Hsina Amman, the massive amazon was next, but despite her size and strength she was killed just as easily.:: ::Irina could hear a voice just as Treng looked past her and locked her gaze on Captain Waltas.:: Oddas: :: softly :: Irina! :: there was no response, so more loudly and forcefully. :: Irina! :: :: Irina’s eyes focused and where once she saw Treng, now she saw Oddas, gripping her shoulders tightly and shaking.. :: Pavlova: Quick, she’s got your captain. :: Now it was Aria's turn to be confused, Irina was making no sense, unless she was still dreaming. Aria sat up and pulled the woman up with her, rubbing her shoulders and back, trying to soothe her as best as she could. :: Oddas: :: whispering :: Irina, you're dreaming. Wake up, whatever is going on, you're safe. ::Slowly it came back. She was at Aria’s place, the engineer with the bumpy nose. It had all been so real, and still was in a way. She could still feel the blinding pain of the bullets in her shoulder, thigh an back, that sickening sound the bodies had made. But it wasn’t right. The Daclid, oO his name was Steve? Who names a lizard Steve? Oo, Blueheart, Amman and Waltas weren’t killed in that room, Treng was. Irina was confused, somehow still terrified though she didn’t know why.:: Pavlova: She’s dead. She’s been dead for years. Oddas: :: softly :: shhh, shhhh, I promise, you are ok. :: Aria began rocking Irina gently, and then gradually they leaned back. Irina was so confused, but before she could process her thoughts any more, she was again fast asleep. :: (( Some time later )) :: The dream repeated again, but this time it ended the way it was supposed to, with Irina’s bullet hitting Treng, and then everything going black with Irina sitting up, wide-awake in a cold sweat.:: ::She looked down at Aria sleeping peacefully and wanted more than anything to just lay back down and hold her tightly, but as was always the case after the extremely vivid memory/dream of Kjenta, she just had to know that the reality of the last three years, was just that, reality, and that she wasn’t still down on that high-gravity hell of a planet. More than anything, she needed to see Katya and squeeze her hard enough to convince herself that she was real.:: ::Irina got out of bad as quietly as possible and dressing as quickly and quietly as she could, she made her way out and sprinted all the way back home, finding Katya and Jazmine sleeping on the living room couch and Jessica, Sergeant Wilkins’ 17-year-old daughter and Irina’s preferred babysitter now that Kai’la was at the academy, herself asleep in the recliner.:: ::Irina picked Katya up and then held her tight, waking her up, though her smile indicated that the girl didn’t mind. Irina just stood there, squeezing her daughter and crying for the better part of an hour before carrying her daughter into her room and climbing into the child’s bed with her, never once letting go.:: (( Turner Residence )) :: Irina made it to Turner’s house at the correct time and after a few minutes was showed to a changing room and given her bridesmaid dress. A few minutes later Irina emerged in her dress and saw the chaos of women running this way and that, and noticed Aria standing there in the middle with a confused look.:: ::Irina walked up behind her, not knowing what to say. She had had a wonderful time, but Aria had seen with her own eyes what Irina had thus far kept hidden from everyone else she had met in this century, including her own late wife. What would she think? Irina wouldn’t be surprised if the engineer had already referred her for counseling, but at the very least doubted the Bajoran would want much to do with her after her “performance” last night.:: ::Coming up behind, Irina slipped her arms around Aria’s waist and just leaned her face down into Aria’s shoulder and cried.:: Major Irina Pavlova First Officer, USS Bronwyn Author ID 0238908HA0
  3. ((StarBase 11 - Promenade)) ::The chaos in the promenade was common and yet not. As new faces looked around in awe and excitement and old ones just tried to get through. So many couples, individuals, and varying sized groups stood haphazardly in the way of normal flow as the Galaxy Class ship docked with the Starbase. And right in the middle of the masses was pure chaos yet utter control. Were kids on leashes, but only mentally as they burst at the seams. An older man with a long, straggling mostly white beard had his arm wrapped around a thin faced and sagging skinned, coconut blonde haired woman. The leashed ones were five, curly haired children, all with varying expressions. It was the first time most had ever seen past the snowy lands of home, let alone to be immersed with all the universe had to offer. The twins couldn’t keep their mouths closed as strange beings from unknown worlds strolled passed. They wanted to touch, to talk, to ask - but the invisible leash held them stead fast. It didn’t keep the jitters from their bodies though. Like chihuahuas needing to pee and meeting someone new. The oldest child present swayed in place as half glazed over eyes avoided all contact with those that surrounded her. Though physically she was there, mentally she was in her own world and already with her eldest brother. The seventeen year old boy acted uninterested. He had been one to have left Grayling once or twice before. He was a teenager and had seen everything already, of course. Though everything scared him, he had a tough boy reputation to uphold. Plus there was cute teen girl hanging out just behind him who he had to impress. While the youngest sat boredly on the dirty floor. He toyed with his laces and held his check in one hand. A sigh escaped his lips every now and then. As the youngest, it seemed he had the least ties to the one they had come to visit. Barely knowing the oldest boy. Unlike the second oldest, who was someone he knew and looked up too.:: Sabrine: Is’n you’s ‘cited, eh? ::she asked for the hundredth time, her own happiness showing. She missed her oldest boy.:: ::An absent minded bob from Vivian. Though she appeared distracted, the mention of her older brother made her smile and very happy. She looked up to him and never saw his imperfections.:: Diesel: Sup’osen… ::came the youngests voice from the floor.:: Sebastian & Lily: Yea’s! Colt: Sure’s Sebastian: Though be more so’s if’n …. Lily: If’n ya know’s. ::The twins made a display of looking around and even ventured to take a step or two away from the herd. Only to stop and retract right back to their original spots at the stern look from their mama.:: Sabrine: No’s now’s stopin’ yer askin’. We’s ain’ ‘ere’s fer foolin’. ::she swatted at the back of Colt’s head who was busy making his move towards the dark skinned girl.:: Colt: Wha’ tha’s fer? ::he jerked around.:: ::Sabrine turned with a warm, motherly smile to the girl making googly eyes at her son. A little wink sent the girl into a blushing giggle to which she hid her cute little face.:: Sabrine: I’s’a done got’s two babes out ‘ere I’m’a not’s gonna get’s no more gones. Steve: ::a very Santa like chuckled shook the bearded man’s belly.:: Waz wrong’s wiff datz? ::Sabrine gave him a scorching look.:: Steve: ::a goofy smile and shrug.:: Eh - sooner we have house alone ::he waggled his shoulders.:: ::All but Sabrine and Vivian - who was mostly oblivious to the conversation- erupted into “eeegawds” “icky!” and “eeeeewwww” mixed with sounds of gagging and whining. Sabrine simply shook her head with a chuckle, patting Steve’s chest in context.:: Sabrine: Now’w, now’s -not in fron’ of them babes. :;The children groaned and wished against all hope that they would soon be spared of this public humiliation. Much to the parent’s great humor. Though it pained her to watch as each babe of hers leave home, she knew it was inevitable for most of them. She moved a little closer to her husband, a longing look on her face. :: ::He knew that look better than anyone. This hint of loss and sadness, but mostly happiness and pride. It was also the look she had, looking over Rustyy’s sleeping form when he was a mere toddler… And shortly after they had Jackson… And Vivian and Colt and the twins and Diesel… The youngest was 13 which meant they had at least five years till they had the house to themselves. But that look. He was never going to get his man cave…:: Jackson: You’s standin’ ‘round fer me? ::At the sound of the new voice, the large family looked around to see the second born clade in StarFleet Cadets finest. They didn’t know he was going to be here, thinking he would have to stay in San FranCisco until graduation.:: ::Sabrine was the first to jump for joy, a quirky giggle mixed between utter joy and longing. She hadn’t seen Jackson in person in nearly 3 years. Though it seemed forever longer. She embraced him in a mama bear hug, threatening to never let go.:: Sabrine: How’s - why’s? How’s long’s? ::her questions broken more than normal as she pulled away and cupped his face, kissing his forehead and cheeks like mothers do.:: Jackson: Ma- ::he tried to pull away.:: Mama come’s on. I’s’a in uniform now.. ::he whined.:: Steve: Boooooy ::he said taking his turn with the hugs. Only instead of kisses, he messed up the curly, barely tamed head of hair.:: Jackson: Hiya pa. ::crooked smile.:: ::The next one to greet the cadet was the youngest born. Diesel smiled widely at the sight of Jackson. They had a special, brotherly bond - much like the one Rustyy and Vivian had. Where the younger practically worshipped the ground the older one walked and simply thought the world of them. :: Jackson: Hoya lil’ man. ::he smirked, picking up his “wing man”:: You’s keepin’ thing’s good while’s I’s’a be aways? Diesel: ::hugged.:: ‘Course - an’ keepin’ all them gals’a guessin’ Jackson: ‘Atta boy. ::he laughed as the two shared a high five.:: :;Sabrine only shook her head while Steve chuckled making his big belly bouncing in sync. It was going to be a big family reunion - bigger than they expected. Which simply warmed her heart to no end. It was going to be hard to leave after all this time. But she would deal with that when the time came. For now she would focus on the good and happy parts this reunion would bring.:: Lilly/Sebastian: Can’s we’s jus’ - :;The two locked shoulders and pointed just passed where they stood to a group of blue skinned people with a seam down the middle of their bald heads.:: Sabrine: ::cutting them off sharply.:: Nah. Now’s stoppin’ yer askin’. Steve: How be schoolin’? ::he said pulling Jackson off to one side.:: Jackson: Goin’ I suppose. Diesel: Gettin’ dems gals? ::The brothers chuckled together. It was a stick between the two. Even though most all the boys looked the same the second oldest and youngest were convinced they were the better of them all.:: ::As if on cue, the main gate for the ship they all waited for to arrive hissed and popped as it opened leisurely. Almost like a grand opening or a big sale or a very special day….:: Sabrine: ‘Right’y kiddies, now hushin’ up. ::The air electrified as those who sought after loved ones that had been gone for varying periods of time. For the Hael’s ma and pa - simply put, it was way too long since they’d seen their first born. Sabrine clapped her hands to her mouth and the sting of joyous tears threatened to break her composure. A parade of officers stepped from the docked ship; tall, short, skinny, blue, green, black and white, men and women and a hand full of both or neither… Golden collars, red one, black and blue. And still the one they were so antsy to see didn’t appear. The children huffed and puffed. The parents slowly deflated from their excitement. A mother’s heart sank, thinking only the worst. Try as she might, it was hard to keep sorrow from the worn face. It had been almost a month since their last communications. A lot can happen in that time.:: Colt: Wha’ be takin’s ‘im so long’s, eh? Steve: Hush up’s boy. ::he said stepping closer to his wife. A warm smile on his face.:: No worries nah mama bear. ‘Im’s be alrighty. Got ‘nough dat from’ya’s fer me to be sure’s. Sabrine: ::wry chuckle.:: Can’ be helpin’ my worryin’... Jackson: Ain’ heared nothin’ bad. He’s’a prolly jus’ makin’ out wiff them’s engines. ::he said partially weirded out by his older brother’s odd attachment to inanimate objects.:: ::Vivian’s expression sadden as they family carried on. She had waited a long time to see Rustyy again. In person. Her long, thin, pale fingers patted her pocket, the edges of a card pressing through the thin fabric. She had spent days, weeks even, of hand making him a card for when she was able to see him again. It took a great deal of effort for her to look away from the gate, fearful she might miss Rustyy stepping through. Deep brown eyes, that seemed to overlook or look past so many people found one to focus on. An older man, standing on his own in a corner. He looked like he was waiting for someone just as they were. The man’s face was long and worn and a little scruffy. Hair thinned and he was long and taunt. His expression seemed to cause others to veer away. She lowered her eyes.:: Sabrine: Maybe’s we’s can slip on an’ find’s ‘im. Steve: ::a loving chuckle.:: Nah, we don’ be needin’ ta go drudgin’ ‘round’s wha’ we don’ know’s Diesel: We can’s wai’ fer him’s else where’s :: The youngest offered, now standing on his own two feet. His curly, light brown hair falling just into his eyes. He pawed it away using most of his hands.:: ::Lily threw her elbow up to rest on her twin’s shoulder as she inspected the slightly growing, slightly diminishing crowd. She raised her chin to Sebastian, who looked back matching her look. They were the terrible, troublesome twins for a reason. A plan to escape their circus and go off to explore on their own was brewing simultaneously. :: ::Vivian watched the ground move ever so slowly beneath her feet.:: ::Sabrine threw both hands out to snatch Lily by the scruff of her shirt and Sebastian by the ear. Lily whined and pouted while Sebastian yelped and tried to twist out of the boney women’s grip. With little success.:: ::Steve kept Jackson, Diesel and Colt nearby, not letting the older boy take the younger two off to play. They were there for a reason. Though with the added benefit of them ~all~ being present. As the excitement and squeals of joy died down though, it looked almost all for not.:: ::The noises of her family was a distant echo, as the noises on the promenade seemed to quiet down. Still the ground moved past her feet as her thin form swayed. Her mouth slightly ajar. Vivian didn’t make eye contact with anyone and was bumped into and had to stop a few times. Onward she moved once other’s had past. Until the shoes of the man against the corner came into view of her concentrated range. She stopped, swaying slightly and not lifting her head. Faded white teeth brushed over chapped lips as her brown eyes looked everywhere but the man.:: Vivian: Wait? ::was all she said, merely a mumble.:: C. Foster: Waiting? ::The scruffy looking older man with a distinctive lack of perfect shaving that graced his weathered yet chiseled chin riveted his deep blue eyes on the child:: You can wait forever, doesn’t mean anything will happen any faster. Vivian::She turned her head slightly, but kept her eyes low and pointed to the gate with an unstraightened finger.:: Wait. C. Foster: Ah, waiting for your ship to come in? ::His face took on a thoughtful expression.:: Isn’t that what most people do on a backwater starbase like this one? ::Vivian could hear the slight call of her name from what seemed miles away. Her attention keen to the man she stood next too.:: Vivian: Yes? ::it was an answer and a question. The most she had to offer in any kind of conversation.:: C. Foster: Nope, I fill my time with mediocre coffee and dirty jokes. It’s not fancy, but it sure as hell beats waiting. ::Vivian smiled just a tad and twitched her head towards where her family stood. Well all except her mother, who was promptly marching in her direction. Her eyes darted up into the blue ones above her and quickly back down.:: Vivian: Who-? ::Cade was starting to catch on - quickly - that this young girl had some sort of developmental disability. Which once might think it would bring out the innate asshole in him; though the truth was much the opposite. There was an unfettered innocence about the girl that he found quite charming.:: C. Foster: Got family out there? ::It was the most common reason people waited in this spot:: Let me guess, an older sibling? ::She only nodded “yes” to his talking. She liked the way talked. The smooth undertones that shared more than words ever could. That was why she loved to listen to Rustyy. Because he spoke in volumes. Vivian turned her head to look back towards the gate and took a half a step back, bumping to the man - which made her stand still.:: C. Foster: Most everybody’s waiting for family. ::At least anybody who was worth a spit in his book.:: ::Sabrine was in a fury as she realised she was missing a child. One who had gone off and was standing with an unknown man across the room. She knew her daughter to be very picky when it came to those she interacted with. Though many were hesitant to talk with the slow speaking girl. She left Steve with the bunch handing out menacing glares before heading off to retrieve Vivian.:: Sabrine: Vivie. ::she said urgently wrapping her arm around the young girl’s front. she nodded to the man. She never apologized for her daughter’s limitation. Though offered a warm, motherly smile instead..:: Vivian: Waiting too. ::she said as she looked past her mama.:: C. Foster: Hello there. ::He straightened up, looking every bit a distinguished professor and not the asshat he was known to be.:: I take it you’re waiting for a ship to come in? ::Vivian simply nodded, barely registering her mother's presence.:: Sabine: Mat’r fact we is. An’ ::knowing very well what the answer would be.:: you too, ehs? C.Foster: ::he nodded slowly:: Yep. Only reason to stick around when there’s coffee shops and bars that would more comfortably carry my backside. ::Vivian giggled, a spark of delight sprinted across her features. It was only a second before it disappeared behind the slightly airy daze she regularly held. The man was funny. In a charming kind of way. She could listen to people like that at the diner her mama worked all day…. If they’d let her.:: ::Sabrine lovingly squeezed her eldest daughters shoulders as she relaxed a bit.:: Sabrine: Ain’ tha’ there truth. ::she snorted. She pause for half a second. So far from home left her at a distint disadvangae.:: There’s’a ship comin’ in soon righ’? ::Cade canted his head, suddenly curious.:: C. Foster: A ship coming in soon? ::He checked the display:: The Saratoga or the Constitution? Vivian: Con-st-tu-tion. ::she answered. She had memorized the name of the ship her eldest brother worked on.:: C. Foster: Well, that’s a coincidence. Sabine: ::she canted her head.:: Oh? Yer’a waitin’ for it too? C. Foster: I am. ::He nodded a simple assent:: Sabrine: Well all be. ::she smirked.:: Ma’be- ::Vivian pulled at her mother and pointed out urgently. A large ship drifted towards the port. From the angle there was no way to OD and with having no knowledge of the ship’s appearance her brother was on, she had to ask. Big brown eye darted between her mother and the man. Her messy hair jerked.:: Vivian: Rus’tyy C. Foster: ::He perked an eyebrow at that. If she wasn’t a child - a simple one at that - he would have probably made a crass joke. But he was a big stupid teddy-bear softie when children were involved.:: Is that your brother? ::Sabrine patted her daughter's head.:: Vivian: Yea’. Big bru’der. C. Foster: Well, hopefully you’ll be seeing him soon. Sabrine: An’ yer kin-folk too. ::she extended her hand.:: Sabrine Hael. C. Foster: ::He shook, a firm, confident grip:: Doctor Cade Foster. Sabrine: Have’s yers’self a good ol’ time. C. Foster: Maybe we’ll see you around. ::He gave a nonchalant shrug and went back to idly thumbing through one of the technical journals he had brought with him, planning how much he would have to call his colleagues out on.:: ::Sabrine nodded and waved to the charming man. She could hear her family calling out for her. They stuck out like a sore thumb. And it made her incredibly happy. She steered her daughter back towards the herd and a wide smile.:: ___________________________________ PNPC Steve, Sabrine, Jackson, Vivian, Colt, Lily, Sebastian, & Diesel Hael 7 Civilians & 1 StarFleet Cadet Simmed by: LtC Rustyy Hael A239202RH0 And pNPC Dr. Cade Foster Retired Starfleet CMO; Professor - Harvard Medical School Simmed by: Wyn Foster
  4. (( Starbase 11 )) ::Walking onto the dock of Starbase 11 was somewhat surreal. It was only a few weeks past that the last time she came off ship, it was due to being involved in the finding of the Yarhala and the controversy storm that followed. She had tried to avoid people as much as possible as while her involvement was minor at best, she had a feeling reporters eager for a new side of the story would try any lede possible. This time however, among all the families visiting, she felt she could easily blend in, and be invisible for the time being. It was a feeling she wanted to reveal in, but instead it felt like a bitter fruit on her tongue. Rationalization was a protective blanket one could evoke mentally, and that is what she did, convincing herself that the only thing she needed to do was run a few errands and stretch her legs. It was fine. It was all fine.:: Security: Excuse me, Ensign Blackwell? :A young, male, human security ensign stepped towards her, waving his hand to get her attention. Blackwell: Dragged out of her thoughts, she looked at the Security officer blankly for a moment: I’m sorry? ::She paused for a moment, and after determining she did not know him, waited to see what he wanted:: Security: Apologies there, I was a bit abrupt. Are you Ensign Blackwell? Blackwell: Quirking a brow warily, she nodded: I am. Security::He broke into an eager grin: Oh Good! ::He then looked over into the crowd and raised his hand, waving:: She is over here folks. Sorry to keep you waiting. Blackwell:::Rue’s mouth opened slightly, and she walked forward:: Wait..what are you…::her questioon was cut short as she saw her mother, father and brother breaking free from the crowd, and breaking into a half jog towards her. Rue blinked with confusion and then walked around the Security member:: Mom, Dad…Luke? What are you doiing here? Mara Blackwell:she was first to answer, not with words, but by walking to her daughter and tightly embracing her:; To see you! Oh Rue. ::In some ways, Rue and Mara could be looked at as past and future images of themselves. Mara matched Rue in height, hair color and facial structure. The nuance was in the details as Mara had long red-auburn hair that was streaked with white, pulled into a bun with fly away tendrils here and there. Rue Blackwell:Returning the hug, she attempting to hide the shock:: Oh! I just.. you didn’t send any message. I just am surprised! Gabe Blackwell:Walking up to his daughter, the tall, limber man who appeared to be robust even in his fifties, guffawed loudly and patted his daughters head:: Of course you are! That was the point of a surprise visit. Luke Blackwell:::He smiled faintly at the near bear hug his mother was giving Rue. oO Well that is one way of making sure she doesn’t just run.Oo ::Turning to the Security officer, he offered his hand to shake:: Thank you very much, Ensign Schell. We appreciate the help. Security: No problem! I am glad I can help. I’ll be off now but if you need anything, let us know. ::He waved to the Blackwell family and scuttled off to handle other aspects of his duties, leaving the family with each other:: Rue Blackwell::Looking at her father, she managed a smile:: Well you accomplished the surprise part. ::She pulled back from her mother to hug her father, who embraced her as fiercely as her mother, and lifted her up to spin her about::: DAD! I’m in Uniform..D..AD! Gabe Blackwell: Look at my girl! You are all grown up, but you are still my girl. ::He spun her two turns and then set her down, laughing.: Rue Blackwell:She was used to space travel, she was used to the harsh landings and the strange inertia one felt being transported, but her father’s “spins” could still make her dizzy..given it was combined with an excessively beating heart and rising blood pressure. oO Calm down. It’s good. This is good. They came to see you. Darcy isn’t here.Oo. ::She managed a weak giggle:: “okay okay, yeah, I’m grown up.” Lucas Blackwell: The younger man with the tumultuous hair walked to his sister and steadied her gently with a hand on her shoulder. A hundred jokes ran through his mind on ways to tease his sister, but the fear that a joke could turn a stable if emotional reunion into a tempest, he simply smiled:: “Easy there, sis. Dad’s gotten older, but he hasn’t gotten slower”. Rue Blackwell: She managed to look at Lucas, and not flinch. She saw his smile, and remembered how he’d tousle her hair jokingly when they were young, and give that same smile of reassurance when she was feeling insecure. She did not flinch, but the tension tightened her shoulder and she immediately regretted it:: “ Yeah, no kidding. Hey bro” ::Before he could pulled away, she hugged him and patted his back. Her shoulders felt like iron, tensing uncomfortably, but she did not want this to turn into a dark comedy of family drama:: Good to see you. How’s the art world. Lucas Blackwell:the hug surprised him, but he returned it eagerly. He could feel the tension in her petite form, and the fact she seemed physically stronger than before. In her rush to make this a happy reunion, her grip was rather tight on his ribs. oO Guess I won’t be winning any brother sister fights any moreOo:: “Good, but hey, I enjoy breathing and that might make it easier if you want more than a one word answer. Rue Blackwell: Realizing she had managed to put her tension right into her grip, she eased up and backed up, giving him an awkwardly sisterly pat on the shoulder:: Right right. Breathing is a valuable ability. ::For a moment, there was an awkward silence, until Rue said:: So! When did you get here? Lucas Blackwell: Just a few hours ago – we got guest accommodations and had a look around. Nice statiion. Mara Blackwell::She smiled brightly. She had been angry at her son and daughter in law when Rue had been made to feel so alone. It had been her own mother however, that pointed out she was just as much to blame as any of them. She loved Darcy, and felt terribly for her family being lost, but the choices she made..they were still raw. She clasped Rue’s hand tightly. oO I am never letting you go like that again, little flower Oo. Rue Blackwell::She felt a momentary feeling of suffocation, of wanting to break free, but her mother clasping her hand made her feel anchored, and somehow..safe again in their presence. She cleared her throat and laughed a bit:: Well, I think we can take a tour, Dad. Just don’t touch anything. Speaking of tours, do you guys want to show me where you are staying..and get out of this crowd?” Gabe Blackwell:: “Absolutely! Let’s head to the hotel. Nice place, and if you want, we can grab a quick bite to eat or something to drink.” Rue Blackwell: She nodded and let her mother and brother lead her from the docks and onto the streets. She found herself readily to able to chat about banal things that her parents found interesting – the ship, the crew, her room. She deliberately avoideed the conversation about the past two missions, and kept walking with her family. As the came to a hoteling structure, she nodded at the artful way it was designed – looking like a 20th’ century bed and breakfast, with a lovely covered patio guests could sit and eat or chat:: Oh this is nice! Mara Blackwell: It is lovely! And there is a pool, which has been a nice respite after traveling. Sitting too long still gets to my back these days. Gabe Blackwell:: Well, least we have a nice week before we ship back home. How about we catch up on the patio a bit more. Rue Blackwell: Nodding, she decided to take a passive role for the moment. She had no immediate duties she needed done, and well, it was good to see her family. oOMaybe it won’t be so bad.Oo.::As they were seated at a table on the patio, she gave a drink order of an ice lemonade and leaned back:: “ So how are things at home? Gramma and everyone doing okay? Mara Blackwell: Oh yes. Grandma is refusing to believe she is older than us, and still insists she is more spry. She sends her love and such. Lucas Blackwell: Arts doing pretty well, I have a gallery showing in a couple of months. ::He ordered a beer as the waiter looked to him:: Gabe Blackwell: Following suit of his son:: I’ll take a beer as well, with lemon. ::He looked to Rue:: Shop’s fine – we keep getting interesting new things all the time, and collectoors looking to find them. I got my hands on an authentic juke box – real beautyy! Rue:: Fantastic! That’s pretty cool dad. Mara Blackwell:::Looking to the waiter:: Ice Tea please :: And then to her daughter:: your cousin Jessie got married to Amanda. Lovely small wedding. Rue Blackwell: Leaning back, she let them each “catch her up” on the dealings of the family. Commenting or laughing when appropriate, and following through on family jokes. She felt somehow back in sync, like a link in a chain that had been put back in place. She felt her shoulders ease, and sipped her lemonade pleasantly. After two hours of eager chatting, she finally noted her mom starting to lean a bit too much on her shoulder, and her dad’s yawns becoming more frequent:: “Oooookay folks. I think you two should nap. We have a week, and we can catch up for dinner, but I think you all need a nap.” Mara and Gabe looked to each other and nodded reluctantly. Mara looked to her daughter and squeezed her hand one more time:: “I’m so glad to see you, sweetheart. ::Parental hugs were given and returned, and the folks went up to their room, leaving the siblings to themselves. It was a moment of awkward silence before Rue started to stand.:: Rue Blackwell: Well, I gotta get back.. Lucas Blackwell: Wait….please. ::He put up his hand and rested it on Rue’s forearm:: I..need to say something. Rue Blackwell:She tried to keep her eyes from narrowing, her lips from drawing into a thin line. She sat back down and looked to him:: Well? Lucas Blackwell: He looked to his sister and the look on her face. Her jaw was tight and her eyes held a wariness he’d never seen directed at him in the past. That said..he couldn’t blame her.:: “ What..happened. Between us, and with Darcy….Look, it shouldn’t have happened. At all. Darcy…I know its hard and she isn’t fair to you, but I love her…that said, your my sister and..I should have defended you. ::Hee finally spit it out:: I’m sorry. I am really, really sorry. Mom and Dad are sorry…but..well..It’s more my fault than there’s. Rue Blackwell: She inhaled sharply and looked down at the table, starting at the small grains in the wood as if she could somehow mediate the threatening tears away. She swallowed and looked up and nodded slowly:: “..I accept your apology. And..I get it. I don’t want to be between you and your wife. It ..was never my intent.” ::She let it end at that. There were things that a younger, less mature version of herself would have raged on about, but now..well, she’d rather let it rest. Lucas Blackwell: Reaching over, he grabbed his sister in a hug and squeezed her, before letting her go. He attempted to speak but was cut off by a yawn of his own:: oooh boy..maybe I need to get sleep too. Rue Blackwell:She laughed with him, and nodded:: “yeah, why don’t you do that. You look kinda like crap at the moment. ::She stood:: I’ll check in with you later, okay? Lucas Blackwell: Nodding, he stood up as well:: You better do that. I’ll chase you down if I have to. Rue Blackwell:::She rolled her eyes:: Oh there’s a threat. ::They shared one mild laugh again and parted ways. Rue managed to finish her errands and walk back to the dock, and then back to her room to try and process the reunion she had just had:: Ensign Blackwell Comm/Helm/Ops U.S.S Constitution-B G239308PB0
  5. ((SS Yze))oO Who names a ship "ship"? Oo::"Yze", in Brekkian Seritonan, quite literally meant "ship". So when she'd boarded the vessel on it's way to the fifth colony, she was a bit skeptical of it's captain's competence.::"It's time for you to take a leave of absence," her own captain had said. "Go home and see your family", she'd said. It'd taken a quiet argument with Zhou and co. literally pushing her aboard to get her on a transport to the Delos system.::It would be a quick trip, much more so than she was used to. Two days, if that. And then she would be in Seritona.::::Sky Blake had plans. Before being forced into heading to her home, she'd arranged travel back into the Shoals, the area she was most comfortable with. Now she was being confronted with seeing her young children once more. ::She threw a ball, catching it again when it bounced off the bulkhead of her guest quarters. Thinking about her own kids shouldn't bring dread, but the truth was she hardly remembered them. She did not remember carrying Faith to term, or the important parts of their relationship. And Ayeden . . . ::Thinking of Ayeden dragged memories of Sabor to the surface.::::Her bondmate. His death had left a hole in her head, a space that constantly ached and mourned. Happy memories of him holding Ayeden, spending those short four months as a father. For a Vulcan, having felt it necessary to keep his emotions collected together in a neat little bundle and for expression only in his private times, he'd been the most emotional person she'd known during that period. ::And then the fatal mistake, having taken Sky to Meridarna following a seizure, itself a symptom of a much bigger problem.::She'd lost Sabor because she'd trusted the safety of her own planet. She'd ignored the warning signs of an impending attack and hadn't gotten the hell out of there when she'd had the chance. When she woke up, he was gone - for months on end, she felt cold. Lifeless, even. After the procedure, she'd tried to step back into Skyleena Blake's life and carry on without him, but she just kept hitting brick walls. She couldn't do it. So she ran off in the middle of the night in such a childish act that she cringed every time she thought about it.::oO Mother of the Year. Oo::She'd spoken to her mother, of whom was currently looking after them - Faith and Ayeden. Lila would no longer act as their caretaker, a demand likely trying to prompt some sort of motherly responsibility from Sky that would drag her back home. It hadn't worked, but Sky hadn't wanted to push the issue, saying she'd find an alternative. She'd considered Hannibal Parker or Hannah Martinez - they were both listed as her childrens godparents - but she couldn't bring herself to ask them to look after her kids when she didn't remember much about them. Not to mention, how does one get away with dumping her own kids onto someone else with little reasoning?::No decision she'd made was logical. But the truth of the matter was, she intended to relocate her children. As soon as she said her final goodbye to Sabor.::((Bintac))Caronx: Dishes are all washed up. ::Sky was rubbing her eyes as she walked out of the bedroom she'd set her kids down to sleep, a controlled yawn going with it. It'd been a long day - Faith had been nothing but excited, babbling on about mommy being home and encouraging Ayeden to do the same to little avail. It was draining, but relieving at the same time. Despite her obvious absence for two years, her daughter was as loving as she'd initially imagined her to be.::Ayeden was every bit his father's son. That was what hurt the most - Sabor's eyes reflecting back to her own, slightly pointed ears signifying his Vulcan heritage. Ayeden had clung to her and refused to let go for hours as they traveled to the relative safety of Bintac, Ornara - where she knew security was high, where she knew they'd be safe from terrorizing maniacs that wanted "justice" for their Brekkian comrades affected by Ornara's uplift. It was a decision she should have made years ago.::Blake: I can't thank you enough. For all of this.::Veitan Caronx was her partner during her time in Bintac's LE, the woman having kept Sky on the track of sanity for many a year, long before the Veritas showed up to pull her back into the Starfleet fold. Fears that Sky was developing a borderline drinking problem had Caronx nipping it in the bud before the Brekkian Betazoid hybrid had even begun. "Here, learn koJuta instead - when you beat me you can drink". She'd known all along that Sky, whom was not aware that koJuta was a martial art, would not pin her to the floor. Ever.::Many a bruise later and Sky was still trying to deny anything close to alcoholism as well as trying to kick Caronx to the ground just to prove her wrong. But now here Caronx was, setting Sky's family up with a small place in the ever-rainy Bintac.::Caronx: It's nothing, Blake. But . . . let me know when you need a hand looking after those two. They seem like a handful.Blake: Faith, yes. She will bounce up and down these walls if you let her. But Ayeden? ::She took a deeper breath.:: Ayeden is just like his father. Settled.Caronx: You never wanted to talk about him before.Blake: I still don't.::The Ornaran raised her hands innocently.::Caronx: I'm not asking you to.::She picked up her bag off the bench, sliding it onto her shoulders.::Caronx: I'm gonna head off. I'll talk to you in the morning, yeah?Blake: Yeah. ::By the time Caronx had left, Sky found herself standing at the doorframe to the bedroom, watching over her children as if there were a threat headed her way.::The problem Sky was facing now was simple: she didn't want her kids to be without either parents, but she didn't want to drag them through what she considered to be her hellhole of a life either.::::A knock at the door pulled her back to reality.::::Caronx hadn't left anything behind - not that Sky could see. Eyes flickering to the door, the Brekkazoid pulled a BLE stun baton into her hand, twirling it round as she stepped closer to the door. She didn't call out - she'd never hear the end of it if she woke Faith - but she wasn't taking chances either.::::Ever so slowly, she inched open the door, peering past into the hall. The figure had almost turned their back to leave again.::But the minute she recognized Syb, she'd dropped the baton. When she'd made it into his arms, she was a tearful, blubbering wreck.::Tbc . . . Sky BlakeOn Leave
  6. (( Flashback. Stardate 239212.31. New Year’s Eve. )) (( The Lighthouse Lounge. Starbase 74. )) :: The Lighthouse Lounge had a reputation as being difficult to get into. That was doubly true tonight. This close the the Sol system, New Year’s Eve was a popular holiday, and many of the Starbase’s 200,000 inhabitants were hoping to spend it here. With only a hundred tables, Evan had been forced to call in a lot of favors to make it happen. :: :: And though this was Evan’s first time in the Lighthouse, it quickly became obvious why it was so popular. The lower tier of the restaurant was built around a stage where, tonight at least, a series of jazz performers had been entertaining the room throughout the night. The second tier, where Evan had managed to secure a table, was on a balcony that provided a perfect view of the round viewscreen set above the stage. Tonight, that screen displayed a crystal clear image of a starfield looking towards Sol. This close to Earth, the star easy to identify. Occasional pop out displays would show celebrations of the New Year taking place throughout the sector. :: :: Dressed in tuxedos, Evan and Mei’konda were seated at an elegant square table, quietly talking about everything that had happened over the last few weeks. It had been a difficult time for them. Between Evan’s court martial and Mei’konda’s father effectively returning from the dead, they hadn’t had much time to just talk. And, as Evan prepared for his next assignment, they both knew it could well be a long time before they saw each other again, even if Evan hadn’t been able to share the specifics. :: :: In any case, the night was doing exactly what Evan had hoped. Mei’konda had been tense and as work-focused as ever since taking on the Astreus refit project, but tonight, he seemed more relaxed than Even remembered seeing him since their last shore leave together. Evan waited for a lull in the conversation, then began to ask what he’d come here to ask. :: Delano: So, listen. That assignment I told you about… I got word this morning that it’s about to go into effect. My transport will be arriving in just a few days. :: Mei’konda’s mood visibly dropped as Evan brought up the painful subject. Evan forced himself to continue. :: Delano: I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think it was the best thing for me right now. After Invicta… after Ross… I need to find a way to be useful again. :: Mei’konda’s conspicuous silence continued, though Evan could tell it was more a matter of not knowing what to say than of not wanting to say it. :: Delano: But I want you to know, I love you. We’re as good as family at this point. And I promise, I’ll be back. Eventually. :: He paused, then reached into his pocket and produced a simple titanium ring comprised of scrap taken from Garuda during it’s last trip to drydock. :: Delano: This is to prove that I mean it. :: He held the ring out to Mei’konda, who looked at it with a mixture of trepidation and happiness. :: Mei’konda: Evan… Delano: I know it’s not the best of circumstances, but I’ve realized that if we wait for that, it’ll never happen. And I know now this is what I want. Mei’konda: I… I do too, Evan. But, you don’t even know how long you’ll be gone. Delano: Does that matter? :: The Caitian looked at the ring, then back to Evan. After a long pause, Mei carefully took the ring from Evan’s fingers. :: Mei’konda: No. I suposse it doesn’t. :: As Mei’konda slid the ring onto one of his fingers, Evan had to fight back a surge of mixed emotions as he tried to memorize every detail of this moment. Mei’konda’s tuxedo. The happy expression on his face. The images of fireworks playing in the background. The gentle music wafting up from below. It was as perfect a moment as any he could remember. :: :: As the night continued, people began to stand so they could better see through the viewscreen as several ships lined up in preparation to launch what promised to be an impressive fireworks display. :: oO I will be coming back. Oo :: Evan thought to himself as he placed a matching ring onto his own hand. At that moment, he wasn’t sure if that thought was a promise to Mei’konda or himself. :: === Lieutenant Evan Delano On Leave ID: T239007ED0
  7. ((Starbase 118, commercial sector)) ::She was finally on an adventure, her second day in Starfleet and already an adventure. Just like she’d always imagined it would be. Nothing could stop her now, nothing but a certain pink hued targ. As she made her way through the ordered streets of Starbase 118, she idly considered if she’d get a medal for her efforts. At the very least a commendation. As images of a giant awards ceremony flashed through her mind, the excitable nurse rounded a corner slightly too quickly and she upended herself. The tricorder flew out of her hand and Hattie found herself spinning along the sidewalk on the back of her shell, only to come to a very sudden stop as she slammed into a firm pair of legs. Her legs flailed slightly, like an upside-down tortoise as she looked up in horror at the very large marine she’d collided with.:: oO Oh no. Oo Kro: ::Holding a hand up toward Gazkra:: It's alright. Hattie: I’m so sorry! Are you okay? Did I hurt you? Oh god, I’m such an idiot! ::She rolled herself over onto her belly before pushing herself back up to her hind legs, her antennae curled almost entirely around her head in shame. :: Kro: I'm pretty sure I'll recover. Gazkra: You'd better. Or I'm telling Doctor Ezo what you put me up to. ::The Betazoid could be a bit of a terror; Gaz could respect that.:: Hattie: I-I just needed to be fast, in case it got away. I’m really sorry. ::She slowly picked up the battered tricorder from the ground, tears began to well up in her eyes when she realised the already battered device had given its final bleep. She’d really made a mess of things now. Did this count as dereliction of duty? She’d lost all the data! And charged head first into a pair of marines! They could court martial her for that, couldn’t they?:: Kro: ::Putting a comforting hand to her shoulder.:: There there, nothing that cant be repaired. ::Hattie stared up at them, even on her hind legs she was completely dwarfed by most humanoids, these two even more so. It was taking almost all of her concentration not to curl up into a ball and roll away. Then, another thought came to her. Maybe they could help.:: Hattie: ::In a tiny voice:: Are-are you Klingon? Gazkra: ::curtly:: Half. Hattie: ::She swallowed, not sure if what she was about to say could be considered xenophobic:: Does that, ::She coughed and raised her voice to a slightly more audible squeak:: does that mean you know how to catch targs? Kro: ::Eyes widening:: Did you say targs?! ::She visibly shrank backwards, antennae curling and exoskeletal plates bunching up in fear. Her and her big mouth:: Hattie: ::In a panicked yelp:: Sorry! I-I… I didn’t m-mean it in a bad way, just… Kro: No no, you misunderstand. You see we're looking for a targ as well. I don't suppose the one you are hunting is...::An awkward question every time.:: Pink? ::Her antennae perked up and her eyes glittered in the freshly renewed excitement.:: Hattie: It is! ::Her already fast speaking pace seemed to accelerate with each word:: I was meant to be doing the inventory on one of the medical store-room, and then I found something had destroyed all the supplies, so I tried to figure out what happened, and then I noticed a tuft of pink fur, so I put it under the tricorder and found out it was targ, and because I really need to make a good impression for when Doctor Ezo comes back, I thought I’d… ::She stopped to take a long overdue breath, then her face fell.:: Sorry… I-I tend to babble when excited… Kro: ::Looking to Gazkra:: What are the chances? Gazkra: ::shrugs:: It's a big station Kro: Alright, well our trail has ended. Did you see it near here? Or have some idea where it is going? You were in an awful hurry.... Hattie: I do! I worked out how to track it on my tricorder! Let me show you… ::Suddenly remembering the black, cracked screen her face fell.:: Oh… ::Hattie gave it one more hopeful prod with her claw, eliciting a long and static-ridden warble which slowly faded into silence. The death throes of a tricorder had never sounded so sad before.:: Hattie: ::Staring at the floor:: Sorry… Kro/Gazkra: ? Rozera: =/\= Rozera to Kro! Target in sight, sector 52-D. I’m in pursuit. Can you cut her off at the intersection to sector 53? =/\= ::The combadges’ chirp was accompanied by a sharp, excited intake of breath from Hattie. Maybe this would work out after all.:: Kro: =/\= Your sure?! =/\= Rozera: =/\= Affirmative, bacon is on the grill. =/\= ::The sound of her knuckles popping made it over the communicator.::=/\= And the grill is hot. =/\= Kro: oO I like her Oo =/\= Understood. Keep the tongs ready!. =/\= Gazkra: Sir, after this you owe me bacon. ::she rubbed at her sore arm again.:: At least. Kro: ::A wry smile:: You might be right about that. ::Hattie looked between the pair of them, her confusion evident.:: Hattie: Bacon? ::Other than it was apparently grilled, Hattie had no idea what bacon was meant to be, or symbolised.:: Gazkra: Targ first, stories later. ::And alcohol, if she had anything to say about it.:: Kro: Right, lets move! Gazkra: ? ::Hattie dropped to the ground and began to scuttle quickly along behind them, she could have gone faster, but the new nurse still had no idea where they were actually going:: Kro: Stand aside! Marine business! Gazkra: ? ::The group of cadets had only just began to reform as Hattie scuttled past, trying not to upend any of them, they didn’t look nearly as sturdy as the large marine had been.:: Hattie: Sorry! ::She called out as she emerged from the crowd:: Kro: Which way is 53-D?! Gazkra: ? ::She turned suddenly to follow in the new direction, her claws skidding across the floor for purchase, though this time she managed to remain on all 8 limbs, and then she spotted it. That had to be it, bright pink, small, and apparently being attacked by someone wielding a, what did they call them? Tennis rackets? Hattie put on a burst of speed, attempting to make up for the lost ground when she’d turned the corner.:: Hattie: There it is! Gazkra/Pran/Rozera: ? ::She watched in part terror, part fascination as the large marine fumbled, sending the targ soaring into the air. She knew exactly what to do, without thinking Hattie surged forwards, putting on even more speed and readying her limbs to jump. This is exactly what they’d do in her adventure stories, it’d be perfect.:: Kro: Catch that Targ!! Hattie: I’ve got it! ::Unfortunately for Kro, he was in the excitable crustaceans path. She sped along the ground, then onto Kro, and then jumped off him and into the air. Any potential social problems this might cause had long been forgotten.:: ::Hattie’s tail and cyan tassles that constituted a uniform billowed out in cape-like fashion as she sailed through the air, all limbs extended, towards the tumbling targ. Her form about as majestic as an un-shapely brick in freefall.:: oOJust a little bit closer, closer, there!Oo Gazkra/Pran/Rozera: ? ::Hattie grabbed the targs tail with one pincer, pulled it closer to her body and then curled into a ball, the audacious animal safely tucked inside the Nasat’s defensive shell as they hit the ground and rolled for several metres before coming to an abrupt stop on a street lamp.:: ::It was at this point that Hattie realised what a bad idea it was to restrain a struggling targ mere centimetres away from her face. It’s claws were sharp. Hattie let out a loud yelp and unfurled from her ball-state, ending up on her back holding the unhappy creature aloft and trying to turn her head away from its claws.:: Hattie: Help! Someone! Please! ::She called, and then felt a very welcome sensation as the beast was lifted out of her grasp by someone. She let out a long sigh and a quiet:: Thank you. ::as a small trickle of purple blood dripped down her face from the unprotected flesh around her eye.:: ::It was then that Hattie realised she’d just used a superior officer, a marine no less, as a springboard, after already coming close to bowling him over. Mortified, she did the only thing that made sense, curled back up into a ball and hoped nobody would notice her. She was going to be court martialed for sure.:: Gazkra/Pran/Rozera: ? Crewman H8 Blue Nurse Starbase 118 Operations As simmed by: Ensign Phrik, MD Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops O239308P10
  8. ((Arboretum, Deck 9, USS Za)) :: With his belly filled by all the oriental snacks Alex lied down like a well fed Roman of the ancient times. As he laid on his side he looked at Femi again. She seemed happy. Alex assumed she was probably looking for new friends out here too. He wanted to know more about her and thought of several ways to bring up “home” but he didn't want to get to young woman homesick. Even though she signed up for this assignment leaving home, and earth on top of that, it was a big step for someone her age:: ::Femi sighed happily. She was glad that they choose to meet up at the Arboretum. The peace surrounding them was nice and Femi felt calm. She looked at Alex who laid on one side. The basket with food was almost empty. Femi made herself comfortable too and laid next to him on her back with her head turned towards her. Her ponytail was in the way so she freed her hair from the strap. Her brown curls fall on her back and shoulders:: oO nothing beats a fresh breeze through your hair Oo Williams: So, here we are.. In the middle of nowhere, about to discover new life and new civilizations. Who knows.. we might find something like the old Egyptian culture out here… It reminds me about one of my first missions. We found this gateway to a planet that was in a pre-warp state. Best view of our history I’ll ever get. Cattan: :: Femi was surprised and intrigued at the same time:: wow that must've been an amazing experience. Only imagine, Earth was once like that. Williams: It felt like home even though it was far away. Camping in the moonlight, hunting for deer in the morning… Believe it or not… it was the best mission I ever had. Cattan: I believe you it sounds… romantic. ::smiles:: camping outside joined by the moonlight watching the stars. ::her eyes were dreamy as if she was living in that moment.:: but I don't think I would join you on the deer hunting. :: Alex tried to bring back the memories, knowing the full story about the tense situation in the mine and losing his friend Marcus wasn't “romantic” at all. It was relaxing at night at the small camp but once trouble found them it was one disaster after another:: Williams: What do you hope to find out here? Cattan: ::she was quiet for a moment thinking about the right answer since there were many reasons:: I think… learning more about our current and new species and of course the medical treatments used in different cultures. ::she looks at Alex:: And you? :: That question was easy to answer as it was something that had come up with his bar talk with Baxter a few days earlier:: Williams: A fresh start most of all. Exploring. Living the life on the frontier sounded like a good and welcome challenge for me. Cattan: ::nods:: it does sound challenging. oO what could he mean with a fresh start. Did something bad happen to him in the past? Oo ::They laid next to each other listening to the chirping birds and it was quiet for a while. Femi did have some “burning” questions but she'd tried to resist herself from asking. But after a while her curiosity won:: Cattan: Alex, ::she turned to her side so she could face him. The space between them was minimised but for Femi it didn't feel strange :: I've been wondering about one thing. ::beat:: Where on earth were you born? Williams: hehe.. haven't read my file yet? ::Femi starts to grin. He just played her own joke against her:: I’m from Straatsburg, North West of the European continent. Nice place, but nothing special. Spend a lot of time with my father hiking in the Ardennes and Black Forest and by the time I got to go to high school we moved to Hawaï. My folks still live there. Cattan: It must be wonderful to be outside in a forest, together with your dad....Never been to those parts of Earth.. oh but I’ve heard from Hawaii before. :: she was careful with asking people about their home. It brings a lot of emotions and memories with it:: Do you miss your home place and family Williams: I miss the hiking with my dad at times… ::Femi nodded. She could understand that he would miss doing such activities together with his dad:: but beyond that no, not really. I’ve been on my own for almost ten years now. You? ::Alex said it before thinking about it, and quickly added something to comfort her assuming she was feeling a little homesick:: Williams: … Leaving Earth your age is a huge step after all… :: Femi got the feeling that he was thinking about those questions too for a while. She wanted to get to know him better and she felt comfortable enough with him to exchange some personal information:: Cattan: ::it was like he was trying to comfort her. She didn't mind talking about home:: it was a huge step as you know. And of course, I miss my family but I'm not homesick…. yet. ::She gave him a comforting smile because she knew he was being considerate:: I enjoy being here, with this crew, it's all I ever wanted. ::she paused for a moment and looked for a second into Alex’s brown eyes.:: But I was ready to leave my home and family behind despite the consequences…. Williams: I sense there is a story behind that answer…. but only if you want too. Cattan: I don't mind telling you...but it's kind of a long story. And I don't know if it's that interesting ::She smiled at him:: Williams: All in good time. ::She smiled gently. He was interested but not pushy at all and she liked that. He had manners, something a lot Egyptian men round her age were lacking:: Cattan: ::her right side began to ache. She pushed herself up and stretched for a moment:: Let's make it easier...is there something specific you'd like to know about me, my background? ::she picks up a flower:: You're allowed to ask anything Williams: uhm… ::The question caught Alex off guard. He looked up towards her assuming she made some sort of bad joke but she seemed dead serious. He thought of something he should or could ask but nothing came to mind:: Williams: ::he couldn’t do anything else than give her a somewhat sad look as it kinda killed the mood:: It's not an interrogation Femi… ::Femi was surprised by his answer. She didn’t mean to make him feel uncomfortable with her question. She just wanted to give him an appropriate answer. Somehow the mood changed and Femi felt some sadness overwhelming her:: ::Alex could see the disappointment in her eyes. And then he started to wonder what this was all about. :: Williams: oO Is she looking for something more than a friend? She has done everything I could think off to please me and really wants to open up somehow. A bit too direct maybe for a first “date” if you could call it that to begin with. Oo :: Alex turned his eyes away from her for a moment and looked at the playing children again thinking of a way to get them on the same page somehow:: ::Femi saw Alex drift off for a moment. He didn’t respond at all and he had even averted his eyes from her. There was something on his mind but she didn’t know what it could possibly be. Was it because she wasn’t that tactful?:: oO I should really think first before speaking Oo Williams: oO Should I just ask her? If she says no I make a fool of myself. And what do I tell her if… Oo ::The more he thought about it the more complex it became. As far as Alex was concerned he wasn't really “on the market”. Until a two months ago he’d been dating with Sun. It wasn't a formal relationship and come to think of it they hadn't spoken since his transfer or the holodeck accident on the Constitution:: oO Guess that ship has sailed. Oo Cattan: Sorry, let me try that again….I didn’t mean to make it sound like an interrogation. :: she looks at him and ask quietly but kind:: Is there something on your mind? ::she looks a little bit worried at him:: ::Cattan laid down on her side again with her head towards Alex. As she came to his level Alex caught her eyes. As he looked at them he looked for something. A blink, a sign, anything that could give him more to go with. But he couldn't really tell if “it” - whatever it was- was there or not. As he kept staring he felt as if he knew Femi for a long time. It felt comfortable yet totally awkward. :: oO Ugh.. what is this! Oo ::Femi noticed Alex staring into her eyes for a long time. She didn't mind that, but he looked troubled and she didn't like to see that. The sparkle she saw earlier in his eyes was missing:: Williams: No need… My mind is playing tricks on me… I feel like I know you for a long time. Is that weird? ::Femi was quiet for a moment. She did respect him a lot and she did have a great time when she was with him. Yesterday on the ceremony he was the first one to come up to her and they had a wonderful time. She liked his humor, they shared some same interests. There was just something about him that made her happy and smile :: Cattan: I don’t think that’s strange. I noticed, that when I’m with you I feel at ease. You have a great sense of humor... even though you think you don’t and you’re really kind hearted ::she smiles at him:: ::With the warm compliments out there Alex felt the need to give her some parts of his thoughts:: Williams: It's just that. oO Damn! How can I explain this without hurting her feelings, assuming she has any feelings for me Oo I was sort of in a relationship when I left the Connybe and … oO And what? Oo ::Alex now wished he hadn't started but this time his heart had spoken before his mind. He never dreamed of speaking about his feelings like that, especially not as he brought it up first. But with the start out there he had no chance to run all the scenarios in his mind to make sure it was said the right way:: ::Femi saw that this kind of conversations were hard for him. She thought it was very courageous to tell her about his feelings and doubts. She gave him a warm smile and hoped that he would understand that she didn’t mind him telling this. She wanted to give him some time to speak up what's on his mind:: Williams:... and. Sorry I’m not very good at this. ::He took a deep breath. He was about to embarrass Femi or make a total fool of himself. If either was true it could ruin a starting friendship but with the die cast, there was no turning back now:: Well I get this feeling you might see me as more than a friend… and If that’s so I’m not sure if I’m open for it at this point. I mean… it’s going a bit fast with the transfer just behind us and all... Cattan: It’s oké Alex. ::she gently places her hand on his arm:: There’s no need to apologize. I think you’re very brave to muster up the courage to talk about this. :: she takes her hand from his arm. Now it was her time to answer his question. She wasn't even sure herself.:: How should I say this, I’m not good at this either ::she laughs:: Right now I don’t see you as more than a friend….yet, I think. ::she fell silent for a moment:: oO Gosh! this is difficult. I don't want to give him the wrong idea Oo Cattan: I have to admit that there is something about you that makes me want to know more about you. Not just your background, I could read your file if I wanted to know more about that ::she was trying to lift the air with a joke:: ::She was quiet for awhile. She wanted to tell him that she was willing to wait for him to make up his mind but she was in no position since she didn’t know yet if she was “into him” like that. But something about her was not content with saying to “just stay friends”:: Cattan: This might sound weird, and I’m a little bit ashamed, well you had your share too ::she grinned but felt embarrassed at the same time:: I wouldn’t mind giving us a try but I do think that is best for you to take some time, think things over…. just don’t take too long ::she gives him a playful wink:: ::With the truth out there for both of them Alex felt relieved. She wasn't hurt, far as he could see, and being honest with her turned out to be rewarding in its own way. As he thought back of the past five minutes he came up with a simple yet encouraging idea:: Williams: You did mention you like to try that spaghettio? How about next week? ::Not waiting for her reply Alex tried some of his humoristic skills again:: You have seen me in my pajamas it's only fair you get to see my cooking skills. Cattan: ::thinking:: mmm let’s see. Only if you’re going to wear those same bordeaux pajamas again.::she laughs:: next week is fine by me. Williams: Ha! Don't get your hopes up on those pajamas. I’m confident my cooking is enough to please you. Cattan: Let’s see if you can beat this :: With his mouth half open to say something she picked up one of the remaining snacks and put it in his mouth. Femi laughed out loud when she saw his surprised face:: sorry couldn’t help it! ::Alex tried to speak but with his mouth full he couldn't. His first thought was to push her over and kiss her but it didn't feel right yet. And with the food still in his mouth it would have been a weird kiss anyway. So instead he picked one of the pink hydrangea flowers that was in his reach and handed it over to her:: Williams: mom always told me to bring flowers to a date… Cattan: ::she smiled and smelled the pink flower she got handed:: And suddenly this is a date….::she smirked at him:: Williams: Well unless you do this with all the pirates you meet at a bar I’m calling this a date ::He stuck out his tongue which was really immature, but somehow it felt right:: Cattan: ::she laughs:: You should be thankful to be on a date with a Egyptian Goddess. To be in my presence…. to even get a chance as a mere Pirate Captain… :: she stick out her tongue as well:: Williams: A Goddess and a Pirate walk into a bar… ::They laughed and laid down on their backs and looked at the beautiful atmosphere of the Arboretum. Femi was happy and relieved and so was Alex:: Williams: oO Taking that transfer turned out perfectly Oo ::As he lied down and looked at the scene he started to feel something he didn't expect. It was more than happiness. It wasn't the trees or the fresh air. It was her. She was making him feel this relaxed. He felt appreciated again, and it had been a long time since anyone gave him that feeling. He knew that people valued him as a good officer but she was accepting him as a person:: Williams: I could get used to this you know? Cattan: Please do… ::it slipped out before she knew it. But it was the truth. Something gave her the feeling that he’s worth waiting for. She thought back at the conversation she had with her sister. The difference in age and rank didn't bother her anymore. It wasn't even noticeable in the way they're interacting with each other:: ::It was getting late. The artificial light started to dim and the birds had fallen silent. For Femi and Alex it was time to head back even though they didn’t want to leave at all. They stood up and folded the blanket together. As the pieces of cloth were brought together they looked into each other's eyes again but neither one had to courage to take the next step. The basket was empty, their stomachs full, and their hearts and mind wondering what would happen next. Cattan: Thank you for this wonderful day. You did your job well as “food tester” ::she grinned when she looked at her empty basket:: Your turn to impress me…. same time, next week? Williams: You sure know how to set the bar… but don't celebrate your victory just yet. Cattan: oO There’s that twinkle in his eyes again. It suits him much better Oo ::Femi just couldn’t resist it. She leans forward to give him a kiss on his cheek. His beard was softer than she expected. She spoke softly into his ear:: You’re a wonderful person Alex ::Alex could feel his cheek turn red as her soft lips gently moved away from him. They could hear the children giggling in the distance as they headed out with a smile on their faces:: ================================ With great pleasure written as: Ensign Femi Cattan Nurse Officer USS Za Z239308FC0 & Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Williams Chief Tactical/Security Officer USS Za News Team member Writer ID:A239006AW0
  9. ((Duronis II, Embassy Beach)) Vetri: C’mon, give her here. :: T’Lea did so, but Della, totally on purpose, fumbled the catch completely and T’Sara ended up dropping butt-first into the water.:: Vetri: Oops. :: The Romu-vulc erupted in a short laugh, and T’Sara continued to giggle.:: T’Lea: That right there just won you the evil award tonight. Vetri: No comment. ::turning to Garth with a moderately evil grin:: Of course, there’s *this* giggling little critter as well... :: T’Lea, apparently, was going to take this one, and started stalking toward the little boy.:: T’Lea: Oh yes, the Dragon of the Seas requests your presence, young warrior. Garth: Noooo! Ya can't dunks me, Miss Tea! I's dunk ya instead! T’Lea: Ha! Ha! Ha! No one dunks the Lady- :: Actually, they did. As the splash of water that heralded T’Lea’s fall – the result of Garth’s neat little evasion – made clear. The Romu-vulc popped back up quickly, though, faking a gloriously overacted death.:: T'Lea: You got me… so brave… so tiny… so… aggg… Turner: ::trying not to laugh:: Sorry T'Lea, I should have warned you. He's been taking self-defense lessons. :: Della flashed a grin at the newly-arrived Toni, helping T’Sara up to her feet.:: Garth: I sorrie, Miss Tea, butts I warn ya. Donts be mads at me. :: T’Lea gave him a pat on the head, clearly holding no grudge at all. Or at least not much of one.:: T’Lea: Don’t forget to follow through. ::tickling him:: Because the Dragon of the Seas will rise again! ::scooting on shore:: Out you go. Vetri: C’mon nugglet, looks like bath time’s over for now. :: Her daughter’s hand in her own, the Trill ambled back to the shore whilst her wife wrung out her hair and made sure she was still decently covered. Covered, she was, but in Della’s opinion, there was some distance between T’Lea and decent, given what the water had done to the already snug fit of the woman’s dress.:: Turner: ::taking Garth by the hand to get him out of the water:: I came to get my little scamp to eat dinner and then take the kids home. If they don't go to sleep early, I'm afraid they'll be cranky tomorrow. Care to join us for supper? T’Lea: That sounds like a lovely idea, except for two things. One, if my dress shrinks anymore I may suffocate, and two, we already ate. :: She could sense a certain regret in T’Lea’s aura, but Della agreed with the priorities. She could feel T’Sara flagging a bit, too, though the little girl was hiding it well.:: Vetri: I think a quick bit of rescheduling might be a plan. Turner: ::talking as she walked back to the tables:: Well, what about meeting at my house tomorrow about 1200 hours with the bridesmaids. We all can do our hair, and get dressed there, and beam to the beach by 1500. That should be plenty of time, don't you think? T’Lea: That we can do. :: Was that eagerness, Della detected? If so, that was a first.:: Vetri: ::smirking:: Also, make sure that you don’t run off and hitch the first ride off-planet. Turner: Yeah, that too. I have to admit, I'm really nervous and may need a pep talk ahead of time. T’Lea: Oh, please, you’ve face, borg, gorn, time fractures, and me. There’s nothing to be worried about. Besides, if I can marry *her*, with multiple crazies running around in her symbiot, then you can certainly bond with *one* man. Vetri: Might I remind you, you were one of them for a while? T’Lea: Adorable crazies then. Vetri: If you insist. Turner: ::stopping at a table to fix Garth a plate:: Okay, we'll see you tomorrow at 1200 hours. :: T’Lea grabbed her arm with a serious expression, and one of Della’s eyebrows rose in a silent question as to just what that was about.:: T’Lea: Maybe I should have said this sooner, but… he’s a good man. You chose well. Just… don’t tell him I said that. Vetri: You’ll make each other happy, Toni. Even crazier than you both are already, but happy. :: With a cheery wave, Della watched Toni and Garth head off, then glanced at T’Lea.:: T’Lea: So, soggy bottoms let’s get you home and— :: The way T’Lea cut off, her gaze dropping to where T’Sara was sprawling in her arms, had Della looking down sharply – only to chuckle as she saw just what their daughter was doing.:: T’Lea: ~~ Well, that was fast. ~~ Vetri: ~~ No kidding. I didn’t even feel her conk out. ~~ T’Lea: ~~ Question. How are *you* going to get her out of those wet clothes and into her pajamas without waking her up.~~ :: Okay, that *was* a good question. Luckily, Della had an equally good answer.:: Vetri: ~~ Simple, I’m not. ~~ :: Her cheerful smile made it abundantly obvious who she had in mind for the job.:: T’Lea: ~~ Oh, no, I hereby decree that motherly duties such as these are granted to the absent parent upon her return, forever more.~~ :: She was sure there was some sort of dig in there, but Della let it pass. After all, it wasn’t like the duty was exactly onerous. In fact, she’d kind of missed it.:: Vetri: Fine. And after I’ve done that, I’ll even help get *you* changed, too. Though that dress may not survive the process. :: Not, she suspected, that either of them would be all *that* bothered by that outcome...:: (PNPC) Captain Della Vetri Commanding Officer USS Tiger Author ID: O238506DV0
  10. ((OOC- Slight backsim – after Rue gets off duty from the bridge after the mission, but before doing girls things and seeing Wyn/Hael)) ::Rue got back to her quarters, grateful for the relief arriving when they did. She had an early morning apparently. She still inwardly was debating about the “girls night” but Snezhana seemed nice and exubriant and Akoni seemed like good company. She knew she also needed to build partnerships with her crew mates..and socialization was one way of doing that. She stripped of her jumpsuit and threw it in a hamper for cleaning, and switched out for a t-shirt emblazoned with a giant reindeer with the words “Made In Portland” arching over it. She fell onto the small couch that would serve for reading and watching movies, resting her head on the back. A sigh mingled with a groan escaped her lips and she was again quite grateful to the relief team. After a few moments of resting, and letting her mind wander, she got up and went to the replicator and had it “cook” a bowl of chicken and dumplings, and then a glass of fruit punch. Carrying her meal, she went to her bed and sat down and then used the panel beside her bed to display the messages she had received. The first was the reminder about the Family fest being held for shore leave. She quickly deleted that and restlessly scanned over the rest, then switched the screen to an old movie:: Ensign Blackwell: “Right. Whatever. I can already imagine Little Orphan Darcy screaming how we are all monsters and liars.” ::She took a bite of the soup, attempting to swallow down the bitterness she was feeling. As she chewed, she closed her eyes oO I shouldn’t mock her …her parents died tragically….even more tragically than she realizes.Oo. Rue opened her eyes and took another bite, and winced at the memory. It was soon after “the incident”…after Lucas and Darcy had come back from their honeymoon, and Rue was preparing to leave for the Academy. She couldn’t recall the full details, but what she remembered was asking if they would all come to see her off, and Darcy making a snipping comment. Rue had tried to stay calm, but it was when Darcy had asserted the Federation were simply monstrous murderers and dictators, and Rue had finally asked that Darcy simply “Not”. She knew what she said wasn’t that bad…but it was enough to send the new bride into a rage and upset Lucas. Her parents had seemed torn…but at the same point..had encouraged Rue to apologize and try to make amends..as if she had somehow been at fault. After that, the tension was so palpable that Rue simply left a few days early, opting to stay in a hotel near the Academy rather than try to apologize when she knew Darcy would simply use it as continued criticism. She sighed and shook her head, finishing her last bite of soup and then took a swig of juice: “Damn it.” She stood up and took care of the dishes, and remembered a night in the academy when she’d received a letter from her brother, asking if she could just apologize to make it right. She had hastily deleted the letter and then found herself looking up the accident that had killed Darcy’s parents. She had found articles, investigation reports that were open to the public, and as she read late into the night…she had found an inconsistency. The report given to the news organization was informative and yet…generic. Darcy’s parents, Jonathan and Emily Salter were engineers assisting in part of a shakedown for a small shuttle. The crew was sparse but more than sufficient for a small vessel simply “testing the waters”. What was believed to have occurred was a dire malfunction lead to an explosion on the shuttle, starting with the propulsion drive, and that “tragically, all lives were lost”. While not a regular occurrence, events like the explosion were what many considered an unfortunate fact of service – that even with the best technology, the best trained crew – things simply went wrong. It was looking at other stories looking more towards Salters themselves that Rue found something troublesome. An article, half obituary, half expose, gave the impression that the Salters, while known for their professionalism, were having trouble in their marriage, and potentially leaning towards a divorce. The author had also dug up some rather troubling reports that Emily had dealt with “severe bouts of depression, that had jeopardized her position at times. The author finally, bluntly and coldly postulated, that the explosion was no accident and in fact an act of murder-suicide, and then proceeded to argue that Starfleet should discourage married couples from going on missions together, and the concerns of mental health for Starfleet members. It was a troubling article, one that pushed Rue to leave her computer, and had given her a sleepless night. After that, she had tried to be kinder to Darcy and when she had taken a Christmas holiday to visit, tried to make amends, to bridge the gap. But it was when Darcy was given a picture of her parents by a loving..if potentially misguided family member, that things began to Fracture. The comments, the snipes and eventually the full blown insults ground against Rue until she could feel her temper ready to erupt in a catastrophic surge. She’d had found safety by playing with some of her younger cousins, keeping her safe from the “adult” conversations. The goodbyes again had been strained and tense, and since then, communication was sparse. She paced restlessly and shook her head, and finally used the replicator to summon a nightcap guaranteed to put her to sleep:: “No…no, you are not messaging them. Your just getting settled. Lets..just let the dust settle….for…a few decades. ::she snorted a bit:: “yeah…that might be enough.” ::She swigged the drink and winced at the burning, and then made her way to bed..letting the liquor and the exhaustion drag her into the darkness of sleep:: Ensign Blackwell Comm/Helm/Ops U.S.S Constitution-B G239308PB0
  11. ((OOC: The location of this one was intentionally withheld to keep the mystery for the crew)) Dalor: oO My father served in the great Telaxian war. He was a soldier, one of the few survivors of the battle of Stinnett IV. He was not like me. Me? No, I am not a brave man, not like he was, not by any stretch of the imagination. When he passed several years ago rather than joining the military I came to the mines to find work. There wasn't much else for someone like me. But in the dark times like these, when things were really bad, I can still remember something my father used to tell me. Oo Dalor: oO “Fear had a smell, it has an odor all its own.” He told me. He said that it was not something you could describe exactly, but you would know it when you smelled it. Oo Dalor oO I was so young then, I didn't understand. Oo Dalor: oO I do now. Oo ::Fear poured out of Dalor, it came up of his pores leaving great big dark patches under his arms, around his neck, across his back and in other less mentionable places. He could also smell it on his breath and in his nose, breathing it in as he did in great big heaving gasps as he scrabbled his way through an air duct, his nose wrinkled in distaste as the odor hit him in the confined space.:: ::But at least he was still free!:: ::All he knew was that a short while ago he was in the mines, working on the next load. He had just come to the surface to prepare for the next one when every nerve on his skin felt . . . weird. Like his whole body hummed and then shimmered and then the world he knew vanished!:: ::Then his world had rebuilt itself piece by piece and he was in some other place. . . And he was not alone.:: ::Around Delor were several other miners who like him were Telaxians, and they all looked as confused and as scared as he did. Well most of them did. And then a door opened and people stood there transfixed!:: Dalor: oO Humans? Oo ::He had heard about them but had not had a chance to meet them, not that he really cared to. Now he was here staring at them as they held guns on them.:: Benidell: What are we doing here? ::That was one of the other Telaxians of course, one of the larger ones, one of the braver ones.:: Dalor: oO Stupidly brave. Me? I'm smaller and smarter. So as the humans were turning to engage him I bolted through the door as it slid closed. Oo ::For a moment Dalor felt like laughing and would have if the situation were not so dire! Even as it was he couldn’t help but stop and look back at the doorway that he had just so narrowly escaped through. He could hear the confusion on the other side of it. It was as if they had not anticipated his flight.:: Dalor: oO The severely underestimate this Telxanian! Oo ::Then he heard the door slide open.:: Dalor: oO Run you fool! Oo ::Twitching his whiskers in nervousness Dalor sped down the corridor just as fast as his legs could carry him! At the same time people came boiling out after him and shouting! He rounded a corner and kept running, knowing that he didn’t keep moving he would be right back in there . . or worse!:: ::So Dalor went faster!:: Dalor: oO They underestimated me before and they would do it again! Maybe I can get back to the mine and maybe warn the others! How far could they have taken me? Oo ::But here the walls and halls were strange. Not only in color but texture. It was not the comforting rock of the mines, no was it the familiar metallic grey walls from the upper areas of the colony. No this was different.:: ::As Dalor sprinted from one hall to the next the corridors seemed to curve strangely and came to unexpected dead ends. He could only conclude that he had no idea where he was.:: :: If the mines were anywhere, he could not find his way to them.:: ::It was only as he was leaning against a wall trying to catch his breath that Dalor heard it. Heard is probably not the right word. He could feel it at the edge of his whiskers, it was like something in the air that was not quite sound or scent but it was there.:: ::Something was tracking him!:: ::Scrambling down the hall, one to the left and another to the right he slid to a stop barely gripping onto the corner of a wall at the last moment as he saw a patrol! They were looking for him too! They started coming in his direction and he took off running again the muscles in his legs starting to burn!:: ::He could still feel it behind him, a looming presence, and it was not the humans that were chasing him, it was something else. Sometimes he would look back behind him and see a moving shadow, but it would disappear.:: ::He kept pushing on, even as his legs and feet were starting to get heavy.:: Dalor oO Another patrol! Oo ::With the pain in his feet and legs and the growing stitch in his side Dalor stopped to pull open a grating in the wall. Tucking himself inside he just closed it behind him when he heard voices.:: Patrol: Where is it? Patro: I don’t know, he’s here. Keep moving! ::Dalor sighed as heard the men move on and lay on his back, breathing in deep gasping breaths of air. He was not used to running so hard and so fast. He could smell the fear in air as he prayed that somehow he would find his way out of this.:: ::But at least he was still free!:: ::That’s when Dalor felt them. Large fingers wrapping around his ankle and what felt like claws cutting through his pants and biting into his skin and tearing as he was pulled violently out of the duct!:: Dalor: ::scrabbling desperately to hold himself inside fingers scraping the smooth surface of the floors and walls:: NOOOOOOooo!!!! ::It was an unabashed scream, one torn from Dalor’s chest without thought!:: ::Lifted high into the air and dangling from his ankle, it was only now with his arms flailing, his other leg kicking futilely that Dalor finally got a chance to see what it was that had caught him and the knowledge paralyzed him!::. Manyx: I have you now Telaxian vermin! ::Dalor could only describe it as a large jungle predator given the shape of a man. Although it was dressed like the other soldiers, it had jet black fur and gold slitted eyes. Even its speech sounded more like a feral growl than real words!:: ::With his snout pulling back into a tooth filled grin of satisfaction Manyx spun Delor around obviously looking him over and then tossed the Telaxian across his back and began to walk back in the direction they had just came, still holding his prisoner by his ankle like a sack of potatoes.:: Dalor: What are you . . . who are you? ::It was hard to speak bouncing on this creature’s back. He wished he had some sort of weapon that he could stab with. But he could feel the power of this creature and he wondered if could find anything hard enough to kill it.:: Manyx: Manyx Dalor: ::Even from his upside down position on Manyx’s back Dalor was still confused.:: oO Was that a name or a species? Oo ::He tried again with a different set of questions.:: Dalor: Why have you done this, where are you taking me? Manyx: Enough Questions! ::All too soon they rounded a corner, the same corner that Dalor had just fled from. Inside the room he could see the other Telxians on the far end and even courageous Benidell was inside cowering as they appraoched. There was a wall of haziness between, like the sun on the hot deserts of Hiraba.:: Manyx: Drop the field. ::Dalor didn’t know who this creature was talking to but the haziness vanished.:: Manyx: Now this time don’t run, or when I catch you this time I may not be so kind! ::Shaking his head back and forth Dalor found it hard to breath and the blood was rushing to his head, probably from flopping upside down on the creature’s back.:: ::As the Manyx creature unslung Dalor from his back he looked at Dalor in the eye and the Telaxian wilted. The creature smiled, or at least Dalor thought it did. It was more like the creature’s lips curling back to reveal fangs.:: Dalor: I . . I won’t Manyx: Good! There was a swing through the air, then there was a sensation of free floating as Dalor traversed the distance between the front and the back of the room, the sound of wind and movement filling his ears as he spun, cartwheeled and flipped!:: ::Then Dalor's shoulder hit the wall, then his back and pain radiated across his body in such powerful waves that as he slid to the floor in a heap. As he was pulled him into the sweetness and restful bliss of unconsciousness there was a last fleeting thought.:: oO My father didn’t tell me tell whole story. He didn’t tell me fear had a taste. It tastes something like salt but still bitter. Oo -------------------------------------- MSNPC: Dalor - Captured Slave @ CSS Vanquish MSNPC: Manyx - Hunter/Soldier @ CSS Vanquish (Played by) LT MERRICK R'VEN - Science/Cybernetics Officer USS Darwin-A ID: A239210MR0
  12. ((OOC: Reference is made to previous posts named “Sweet Music” - Part 1 and Part 2. Though not necessary reading, it does provide background information on the situation. )) ((Holodeck 1, Deck 7 - USS Darwin-A)) ((1st POV)) Renos: =/\= You know, that’s not a transmission I think we should be worried about. =/\= :: The J’naii captain stopped mid stride, stooping to pick up a mishandled PADD ne’d fumbled and dropped. Ne had butterflies in nir stomach again today and was all thumbs. It wasn’t the first time ne’d sent something tumbling and clattering to the floor. It wasn’t like nem at all - ne wasn’t known for being a clutz. Renos huffed audibly, regretting putting the efficient Dokkaran in the role of Acting Chief of Tactical and Security. :: :: Ne paused outside of the holodeck door and thumbed the panel by the door, calling up the program ne intended to run, complete with secret subroutine. If only ne could get Icavoc to drop the matter, or at least postpone things long enough for nem to get some much needed down time. This was the third time ne’d tried to get some holodeck time and ne had to draw the line somewhere or ne’d never get a break. :: Icavoc: =/\= But it could contain a corrupted attachment that may have been garbled by a subspace relay or even something more risky, like a virus. =/\= Renos: =/\= Leave it with me! ::Insistently:: =/\= Icavoc: =/\= As you wish Renos. ::In the same neutral calm tone as ever:: =/\= :: By now the J’naii deviant was pulling out nir special red PADD and silently cursing the idiot who didn’t follow the proper procedure for contacting nem with underground business. Having nir activities uncovered and linked with an organisation considered criminal on nir homeworld didn’t make for a relaxed mood and ne didn’t notice the error that flashed up briefly on the holodeck control panel before ne breezed in, determined to get some joy out of the day. :: :: When ne entered ne couldn’t help but smile. The place was exactly how it was meant to be and there was Traenor by the piano. Ne’d been particularly withdrawn lately and had missed this man greatly. Ne felt like ne had a bit of making up to do after being so cold and withdrawn. Despite better judgement ne'd been reading about the complexities of human dating customs. It was genuinely mind boggling compared to the arranged pairing common on J’naii. It wasn’t necessarily a practice ne agreed with or liked but it certainly made matters simpler. Then again simpler wasn’t always better. :: Renos: Hello Gordie. ::Brightly while checking nir red PADD and then stuffing it away for later.:: :: Renos could see Gordie’s face was already lit up with a big smile as ne approached. Strangely, if Renos was reading things right he actually looked a little relieved. Why would that be? He couldn’t be expecting someone else surely? :: Traenor: Renos, I’m so glad that it’s you here right now! Renos: Of course it's me. ::In an amused tone:: ::With Noros gone and out of the way, no one remained aboard who knew about this program except for nem so this Traenor wouldn't be getting any other guests whether he knew it or not. Gordie gave nem one of his charismatic grins and Renos felt the tension begin to melt away. :: Traenor: Why don’t you come take a seat, and we’ll get some music started. :: Ne approached and scooted the holographic man over, feeling a rise in nervousness. Nir mouth seemed to dry up and the J’naii had to question what ne was doing here, what ne hoped to achieve. Had ne not ruled out this possibility the last time ne was here? :: Renos: Actually, I thought I'd show you what I've been working on. :: This was something of an exaggeration. Due to the demands of the mission ne hadn’t really had the time or opportunity to practice but hopefully ne'd get lucky and show enough improvement. All this really needed to be was an icebreaker to set nem at ease more so ne could try what ne'd come here to practice. :: :: Renos took a long, deep breath to steady nir nerves then demonstrated what Gordie had shown nem before. It did not sound good to nir ears and ne tried to focus on the positive - ne had at least managed to hit all of the keys. :: Renos: Ah well. I don’t have the same deftness or lightness of touch you do but perhaps we can agree that at least it wasn’t so wooden. Perhaps I’ll leave the piano to you. :: Ne made a gesture that invited him to play and wondered what he might choose today. The J’naii observed Gordie and his reactions to nem carefully, wanting to know what landed well with him and what wasn’t working. Ne’d never attempted anything like this and it was simultaneously exciting and terrifying. Nir heart was pounding hard and fast in nir chest and ne was increasingly aware of nir close proximity to the object of nir desire. :: Traenor: Oh, I don’t know about that. That was a pleasant surprise, and I hope you keep at it. I thought it was wonderful! :: Renos hadn’t tinkered with the program and yet had a sense that things were different this time. Was it nerve related paranoia? His responses didn’t quite add up to what ne was expecting, yet he seemed more natural and realistic than before. Ne didn’t know what to think of it but ran with it anyway. :: :: After waiting a moment to gather nir nerve ne was ready. The love struck officer had over half a dozen pick up lines prepared and ready to try. In the course of nir research ne’d found this was how humans expressed their interest in one another. Unfortunately the success rate was not reputed to be good but this was thought to be down to ill crafted lines. Renos didn’t expect to need or get the chance to try them all but preferred to have too many than come up empty handed should they all miss the target. Gordie had barely begun to play but Renos couldn’t bare to wait any longer and blurted out the first one to the holographic man, regretting that the delivery wasn’t as smooth because of it :: Renos: Did you just move from the subdominant to the supertonic? Because I think you’re my perfect counterpoint. Traenor: Heh, actually I believe that it was a variation of the mediant… wait, what did you just say? ::The J’naii winced at the sudden jarring break in the music and the way he clearly looked put off by nir comment. The colour of Renos’s face deepened further and ne felt the heat rising. Sweat formed on the palms of nir hands, the back of nir neck and back. This wasn’t the reaction ne’d expected. Ne’d been so nervous and shy that it must’ve come out as incoherent babbling and ne didn’t have the guts to repeat it. :: Renos: I was… just admiring your music… ::Sheepishly:: Traenor: Oh, okay. ::chuckle:: For a moment there, it sounded as if you were making a pass at me. How silly of me, right? I mean, not that there would be a problem with it. Er, not that it would be appropriate. ::vehemently:: Or inappropriate! ::big pause:: I need a drink. :: Renos felt increasingly flustered and looked away, wondering what to say. The thing that really struck nem in the heart was the question of how appropriate it’d be. This wasn’t a primary concern for nem, after all ne’d broken dozens of J’naii rules and helped others do that too, so clearly this wasn’t a deal breaker for nem. It was troubling because ne valued nir relationship with Starfleet and the Federation a great deal more than nir homeworld and didn’t want to unduly put at risk a career ne dearly loved. :: :: Gordie got up and poured them both a drink, leaving nem feeling confused and surprisingly vulnerable. Ne couldn’t help but notice the difference between the portions in the drinks and eyed the glasses with mild suspicion. Did the subroutine running the holographic Traenor not think ne could handle the same amount of drink? Did he simply not pay attention to what was being poured? That made even less sense. This was most unexpected and strange considering nir last experience here. :: Traenor: Perhaps I should try another song. How about this one? Renos: Whatever makes you happy. :: Renos listened to Gordie’s next song a while, letting the awkwardness of the failed attempt wash away while considering what went wrong. After a bit, ne decided to select the next one to try and plucked up the courage to deliver it. When the opportunity presented itself, ne tried again, this time trying to be more seductive without being overly obvious. :: Renos: Did you just move from V to I? Traenor: Yes, I did. Good catch! Why do you ask? Renos: Because I think you’re perfect. Traenor: I can assume that you’re talking about the chord switch, because that makes sense in a literal fashion. Or I can assume that it’s a thinly veiled attempt to ply me with a flattering compliment, in which case I’m left to wonder - why? ::suspicious glance:: What exactly are you doing? :: So far nir experiment into human dating had been a shuttle crash of embarrassment and mixed signals. It felt as though ne was navigating a minefield. The complexities involved were mind boggling, frustrating and clearly not getting nem anywhere. If ne’d learned anything from this experiment it was to stay clear of it. The pick up lines were a disaster. Ne couldn’t work out if there was a problem in the delivery of them or if ne’d crafted them to be too subtle. Was this simply a quirk of the holographic character’s programming? Perhaps there was simply a missing element, like touch. Ne hadn’t found a way to work this in yet and while the atmosphere seemed charged, ne hadn’t felt a kiss would be appropriate. :: Renos: ::With a creased brow:: What is it with humans? Why must you tip toe around your emotions so? Are you embarrassed by them or is it the fear of rejection that’s created such a complex yet hit and miss dating system. Help me understand why your people can’t just talk plainly. Traenor: I-- I don’t-- :: Ne really needed to get Gordie out of nir system. Ne still had niggling doubts and concerns over the appropriateness of all of this. It was hard to properly relax knowing the dubiousness of using a holographic character modelled on a real person anyway. Now was the time to say what needed to be said; maybe that would release those pent up emotions. :: Renos: I’m trying to tell you that I find you attractive. You’re handsome, very handsome, charismatic and funny. I just want to be with you. I don’t know if it’s appropriate or not but I can’t get you out of my mind or my heart. It’s exciting, alien and even a little scary but I’m tired of fighting it so do you reciprocate or not? :: Renos looked at him intently, waiting for a straight answer, wondering if ne’d get one. There was no doubt ne’d put him on the spot but then it wasn’t really him. Ne’d opened up nir heart but it was easier to do knowing the person you intended the words for was out of earshot. The admission was probably the first time ne’d been completely honest with nemself, so was refreshing and a weight off nir mind. Ne knew, should ne meet rejection here then exposing nemself to the real deal was out of the question. At least it’d put matters to rest one way or another. :: Traenor: Darn you, Renos! :: Renos was shocked by the growling response and initially took it to be rejection. Ne was caught off guard, swept up and trapped in a tight embrace before ne had a moment to process what was happening or what it meant. With his hand cupping nir neck, he leaned in, kissing nem hard. There was no room to retreat and nir senses were overloaded. Renos felt nir desire for him spike sharply. Caught by surprise and inexperience, ne was clumsy and highly self conscious because of it. Nir body tensed and stiffened up as ne floundered and struggled to cope with such a strong display of affections and the powerful emotions it brought out in nem. Just as ne had when the holographic Traenor had acted seductively the last time, ne felt nir level of anxiety rise as panic set in. :: :: The captain had dreamed about this so many times. Ne couldn’t believe the way he smelled, the way his skin felt as ne brushed the side of his head with nir fingertips, or the way he tasted. The experience was far more vivid, far more real than expected. Renos wanted him so much but at the same time was overtaken by terror until finally ne pushed him back forcefully. Ne couldn’t allow nemself to get too involved with a hologram, this wasn’t how it was meant to be. Suddenly filled with doubt again ne wondered what exactly any of this had achieved except to prove just how much this man could influence nir emotions. :: Renos: Computer. End Program. :: Renos’s eyes widened and ne stared ahead in disbelief when Traenor failed to vanish. Ne was terrified about the possibility of a malfunction and deeply regretted creating the program. Increasingly ne began to wonder if ne’d tricked nemself about the benefits of doing this. Ne was always on edge as it seemed ne was only ever two steps from discovery. The colour drained from nir face and ne gulped hard. :: Renos: ::Quietly, with befuddlement:: I don’t… What’s going on, why are you still here? Traenor: Why am I still here, pulse racing and out of breath? Fine question to ask! Let me ask you, what are YOU doing here? :: Slowly the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. The reactions that had seemed not so much off but different - less robotic and more organic than before. Nir face burned red as ne took a step backwards, covering nir mouth with the fingertips of nir right hand. Soaring anxiety left nem feeling somewhat light headed and dizzy. :: Renos: oO ::Horrified:: What have I done? It’s not… It can’t be… Oo Renos: ::Apologetically:: Sorry! Ignore me. I’m babbling. I should go though. :: It was a really stupid thing to say and ne regretted it instantly. Nir mind was buzzing but not forming coherent thought. Traenor had never spoken to nem like that before and while ne could hardly blame him it still hurt. Renos was increasingly mortified and angry at nemself. Ne’d known this was a foolish idea from the get go but had put aside inconvenient facts and downplayed them until ne’d convinced nemself to do it anyway. As an ex-mental health professional ne knew ne should’ve known better and felt a particularly strong surge of guilt and shame. Ne didn’t need to be an expert on behaviour and body language to see how Traenor was hurting and it made nem feel a stab of pain. :: Traenor: I don’t think you should go anywhere, Sir, until you explain just what is going on in here! ((Holodeck 1, Deck 7 - USS Darwin-A)) ((Concurrent - 2nd POV)) ::Although he had a piano in his quarters, Maxwell Traenor was content to open his personal program on the holodeck and play piano there. Being designed and based on a fond locale from his past, it was where he preferred to go and play when he wanted some quiet, nostalgic reflection. He practiced in his quarters, with it being a relatively sterile environment, but here, in the warmth and comfort of the bar, he created. Sitting at the piano, swaying gently to the tune that emanated forth from his ministrations, he let his mind wander aimlessly.:: ::It came as a bit of a surprise when he heard the distinctive whoosh of the exterior holodeck doors faintly through the simulated leaden glass portal of the holographic bar, and his thoughts instantly went to one person. There was only one individual who ever entered the sanctity of his privacy unbidden. Noros Tanna. But that made no sense, as she had been transferred off the Darwin, so it was with great curiosity that he awaited the arrival of the interloper.:: Renos: Hello Gordie. ::Brightly while checking nir red PADD and then stuffing it away.:: ::Letting out a huge sigh of relief and smiling broadly, Maxwell turned to face his friend. Compared to who he thought it might be, he was very happy to see the J’naii captain. He had fully feared that Noros was back and up to her old tricks, so this was a nice surprise.:: Traenor: Renos, I’m so glad that it’s you here right now! Renos: Of course it's me. ::In an amused tone:: ::Grinning even wider, Maxwell was struck with how easy going and natural Renos seemed right then. As of late, there had been a certain kind of tension between them. Nothing tangible, nothing terrible, just a difficulty in keeping eye contact, or conversations that faltered slightly where before they would flow naturally. It had started sometime over the previous shore leave, and Maxwell wasn’t sure why. But the old chemistry was back, and in full force, so he intended to take full advantage of it.:: Traenor: Why don’t you come take a seat, and we’ll get some music started. ::Expecting nem to take a seat at a bar stool next to the piano, Maxwell was surprised when Renos moved in and scooted him over on the piano bench. Willing to play along, he made room and locked eyes with Renos as ne looked at him expectantly.:: Renos: Actually, I thought I'd show you what I've been working on. ::Showing a surprising bit of initiative by tinkering with a topic that he didn’t know his friend had any interest in, Maxwell was bemused by the genial, playful manner of Renos. He had missed this side of his friend for so long, that he was going to encourage it for as long as he could. With calculated, deliberate movements, ne placed nir hands on the keys and played a faltering yet passable primary musical scale. Eyes wide in surprise and mirth, Maxwell wondered when Renos had decided to try nir hand at playing the piano.:: Renos: Ah well. I don’t have the same deftness or lightness of touch you do but perhaps we can agree that at least it wasn’t so wooden. Perhaps I’ll leave the piano to you. ::Unable to take his eyes off the newly invigorated J’naii as ne looked back at him, Maxwell was almost at a loss for words. From the recessed, protected, withdrawn individual over the past several weeks to this… outgoing, smiling, eyes bright and mischievous… he couldn’t process it. But, he sure could relish it. Spilling into one of his face-splitting grins, Maxwell took the challenge and decided to try his hand at a Vulcan piece that had inspired him during Kael Thomas’s promotion ceremony a while back.:: Traenor: Oh, I don’t know about that. That was a pleasant surprise, and I hope you keep at it. I thought it was wonderful ::The compliment seemed to give Renos pause for a moment, as now it seemed that perhaps ne was at a loss for words. And it might be Maxwell’s imagination, but it almost looked as if ne was sporting a slight blush.:: Renos: Did you just move from the subdominant to the supertonic? Because I think you’re my perfect counterpoint. ::The tune stopped momentarily, in a discordant sound. Though fluent in the terms of musical theory, over the years Maxwell had learned to play intuitively, and hadn’t needed to think about the notes he was playing, but rather just breezed through by touch. Trying to think back to the notes he had been playing a few bars back, and digging through the archived theory he hadn’t referenced in a long time, caused his fingers to temporarily tie up in knots. With a nervous chuckle at his error, he resumed playing.:: Traenor: Heh, actually I believe that it was a variation of the mediant… wait, what did you just say? oO Did you really just say what I think you did? Oo ::Being a plain, unassuming person, and a scientist to boot, Maxwell tended to look at the literal, logical context of words first and foremost. It meant he was slow on the uptake when there was subtext or innuendo. And if he wasn’t mistaken, that last phrase was heavy innuendo. Now it was his turn to blush.:: Renos: I was… just admiring your music… ::Sheepishly:: ::There was no way that Maxwell was going to let Renos backpedal out of that unexpected statement. Was it a come-on line? Just the possibility of it made his heart flutter with emotions that he had been suppressing and resolutely discounting for months now. Yet, the rational part of his mind sternly told him that it was an inflated weight placed on innocent words, a desperate grasp to make more out of a closeness that had been conspicuously absent as of late. Far too late, Maxwell tried to affect a calm, flippant air, as if he took Renos’s dismissive answer at face value. However, it just came out at awkward.:: Traenor: Oh, okay. ::chuckle:: For a moment there, it sounded as if you were making a pass at me. How silly of me, right? I mean, not that there would be a problem with it. Er, not that it would be appropriate. ::vehemently:: Or inappropriate! ::big pause:: I need a drink. ::All too quickly, Maxwell arose from the piano bench and went to the bar. Grabbing a bottle of brandy and two glasses, he came back and sat down at the bench again. He poured up a sizable portion for himself, and a reasonable one for Renos. He put his drink back in one long pull, feeling the warmth spread through his midsection and invigorate him. Though the holodeck only dispensed replicated synthehol, the psychosomatic effects still instilled him with liquid courage and he was able to recollect his composure.:: Traenor: Perhaps I should try another song. How about this one? Renos: Whatever makes you happy. ::Switching to a simple, melodic composition, Maxwell took a few moments to mull over what was happening here. Renos had entered his program unbidden, though that was hardly an issue, just uncharacteristic from nir recent behavior. Ne was lively, friendly, provocative, all the things that Maxwell wanted from and craved from nem, and yet it all felt off, somehow. :: Traenor: oO How can ne know what I want from nem, when I don’t even know myself? Oo Renos: Did you just move from V to I? Traenor: Yes, I did. Good catch! Why do you ask? Renos: Because I think you’re perfect. ::Again with the provocative statement. He didn’t stop playing this time, but Maxwell did turn his head to fix Renos with a questioning stare. This conversation was getting eerie. The two of them had never talked this way before, and he wasn’t sure why it had suddenly started. Though ne was flush with emotion, Maxwell had a twinge of intuition that ne was testing him, trying different methods to get a reaction out of him. But to what end? What precipitated this? Was it the change in their professional dynamic? Was it a release of pent up stress from their recent encounter with Raikenoff? Maxwell was flattered and heady from the attention from his dear friend in ways he dared not admit to himself, but it was so far out of character that it was too jarring.:: Traenor: I can assume that you’re talking about the chord switch, because that makes sense in a literal fashion. Or I can assume that it’s a thinly veiled attempt to ply me with a flattering compliment, in which case I’m left to wonder - why? ::suspicious glance:: What exactly are you doing? Renos: ::With a creased brow:: What is it with humans? Why must you tip toe around your emotions so? Are you embarrassed by them or is it the fear of rejection that’s created such a complex yet hit and miss dating system. Help me understand why your people can’t just talk plainly. ::Maxwell was certain his jaw had dropped, and his ears were ringing with the words that Renos had just said. Emotions? Rejection? Dating!? He was so confused, and his racing pulse did not help matters any. He felt lightheaded and weak. He could hardly formulate a coherent thought, let alone verbalize the jumbled mass of conflicting ideas tumbling through his mind.:: Traenor: I-- I don’t-- Renos: I’m trying to tell you that I find you attractive. You’re handsome, very handsome, charismatic and funny. I just want to be with you. I don’t know if it’s appropriate or not but I can’t get you out of my mind or my heart. It’s exciting, alien and even a little scary but I’m tired of fighting it so do you reciprocate or not? ::The J’naii had the audacity to sit there, ramrod straight, and look at him with intent earnestness and anticipation. No sense of impending “Gotcha!”, no sense of theatrical sleight, just plain honesty. Maxwell wanted to slap nem. All the repressed emotions that he had worked so hard to discount, dissuade, and discredit seethed just beneath the thin veneer of self-control that held them in check. There was no lying to himself any more. Renos was more than a friend to him, ne was an object of desire. A paragon of traits and skills that Maxwell had coveted for a long time now, eliciting emotional urges from him with greater and greater intensity as time passed. And now, to have nem sit before him and profess a desire that matched the one he had tried to deny himself, for fear of impropriety and rejection? It was more than he could bear. With his heart bursting in equal measures of fear and elation, he growled a response.:: Traenor: Darn you, Renos! ::In one quick, fluid movement, Maxwell swept Renos to nir feet and swooped in closely. Wrapping one arm around nem in a tight embrace, he used his free hand to cup the back of Renos’s neck. Fingers entwined in nir silky, thick black hair, he pulled nem in and kissed nem fully. Savage in his intensity, his senses exploded in a fireworks of sensation overload as he breathed deeply, gripped tightly, losing himself in the tsunami of emotion that overwhelmed him. Lost in the moment, he didn’t even notice Renos tense and stiffen, until ne pushed him away forcefully.:: Renos: Computer. End Program. ::The holodeck environs froze, then whooshed out of existence, leaving Maxwell staring at an obviously startled and frightened Renos.:: Renos: ::Quietly, with befuddlement:: I don’t… What’s going on, why are you still here? ::Now it was Maxwell’s turn to be confused and upset. What did ne mean, “why are you still here”? Ne had led him on, drove him past the point of self-restraint, brought out emotions and urges that he had carefully crafted to be so hidden as to even deny them to himself, and the response was “why are you still here”? Heightened by the surge of adrenaline that still coursed strongly through him, Maxwell’s response was harsh and accusatory.:: Traenor: Why am I still here, pulse racing and out of breath? Fine question to ask! Let me ask you, what are YOU doing here? Renos: ::Apologetically:: Sorry! Ignore me. I’m babbling. I should go though. ::Hurt, confused, angry, and vulnerable, Maxwell fell into an ingrained stiffness and formality, infused into him by Starfleet, that really had no place or appropriateness in the current conversation. He could tell the words stung its audience as soon as they left his mouth.:: Traenor: I don’t think you should go anywhere, Sir, until you explain just what is going on in here! ((Holodeck 1, Deck 7 - USS Darwin-A)) ((Continuation - Combined POV)) ::What had started off as a nice, relaxing visit to the holodeck for Traenor and Renos each had devolved wildly into confusion and mixed signals as each discovered the disparity in the others purpose for being there. Hurt, confused, angry, and vulnerable, Maxwell fell into an ingrained stiffness and formality, infused into him by Starfleet, that really had no place or appropriateness in the current conversation. He could tell the words stung its audience as soon as they left his mouth.:: Traenor: I don’t think you should go anywhere, Sir, until you explain just what is going on in here! :: Renos stared with mouth agape, struggling to figure out just what to tell the man. Part of nem really hoped this was a malfunctioning holoprogram but intuitively a deeper part of nem knew it wasn’t so. Ne glanced towards the control panel near the door frame, feeling the urge to run over there and find out where the real Traenor was and how ne’d stumbled so blindly into this situation. Renos: Okay… I can explain. Just, uh, there’s been a bit of a… small… mixup. ::Struggling to reply coherently or confidently:: Traenor: Were you expecting a holographic version of me? oO That’s it, isn’t it! Is it true? Oo See, the way it looks to me is that you’ve been using my personal holodeck program to do, well, who knows what with a holographic doppelganger that you’ve cobbled together of me! How long has this been going on? The last few months that you’ve been distant with me, you’ve been cavorting with a shallow approximation of me? Is that it? ::It stung terribly for Maxwell to think that somebody he considered as his dearest friend would be content to ignore him, while secretly experimenting with a fake version of himself. In his private sanctuary no less, a holodeck program that he had painstakingly fostered over many years and hardly ever invited people into, let alone allowed others unfettered access to. And experimenting romantic gestures and overtures on a pale shadow of himself? It made a mockery of all the confusing emotions and attractions he had buried for so long now towards Renos.:: :: That sounded and felt harsh to nem, more harsh and awful than how ne’d seen things anyway. It occurred to nem belatedly that this whole terrible thing had been about control. The J’naii had known well enough how ne felt, but being so unfamiliar to nem, so new, it had left nem uncomfortable. Renos had wanted to control these romantic feelings and urges yet it had become clear during nir first encounter with the program that they were stronger than ne’d thought they could ever possibly be. When controlling them and making them go away hadn’t worked ne’d been forced to reconsider nir intentions. This was about controlling how ne expressed nir feelings, about controlling nir friends reaction, testing to see whether he would reject nem. Figuring out what to say, how to say it to get a reaction ne could feel comfortable with. It was motivated from a place of intense fear. It wasn’t about pursuing romance with a figment of nir imagination to the detriment of their friendship - but the result was the same. :: :: As difficult as it was, there was only one thing ne could do now - come clean and tell the unaltered truth. If ne did that and was sincere in nir apology perhaps ne could be forgiven in time though ne didn’t hold out any hope their friendship would survive. The outcome ne’d sought so hard to avoid by using a hologram - rejection and permanent damage to the most valued friendship ne’d ever formed - was happening right before nem right now. It was truly heartbreaking and perhaps it was no more than ne deserved. :: Renos: It’s not like that, I swear. I’ve only used the program twice… well once actually. ::Quickly correcting nir error. :: :: This would’ve been the second time had ne not carelessly barged in on Traenor using his own program. :: Renos: But it’s not and never was intended to act as any kind of replacement for you. It was a bad, bad, stupid idea and I regret it completely. I was only using it to analyse my own feelings in what was supposed to be a safe environment, look for ways to impress you and find an adequate way to express my feelings without… hurting our friendship. Renos: oO And a fine job I did there. ::Remorsefully:: Oo ::Maxwell stood throughout Renos’s pained explanation with his arms rigid against his sides, hands balled into fists to try and control the torrent of emotion he was feeling. He was trying to make sense of that very emotion, to place a name on it in order to face it and deconstruct it before it consumed him. Was it a sense of betrayal? That didn’t feel quite right, though there was definitely a sense of that in there. Indignation? Some, certainly, thinking of a holographic version of himself being used like a puppet. Anger? Tons of that, though it was mere shading to the true emotion. And that emotion was fear. Fear that he had been duped into expressing his true passions for Renos, when those passions were not reciprocated. Fear that the resultant mistrust and awkwardness would poison and wither the strong friendship that these two had cultivated over so long. The power dynamic being what it was between them, and that he had made the overt advance that had been rebuked, stung him with shame and embarrassment. Despite his best effort, he could hear the woodenness in his own voice, tinged with just a touch of malicious barb. It sickened him to speak such, but he hurt too much to avoid it.:: Traenor: ::but a whisper:: I never would have kissed you had you not… oO had I not been conned into playing the fool Oo ...had I known that it was unwanted. If I could take it back, I would. :: Renos felt crushed, like nir heart was breaking to hear of his regret. Ne wasn’t sorry for the kiss. Ne was sorry for nir reaction to it. It was clear the J’naii had a problem that needed addressing before ne would be capable of being a good partner to anyone. Nir response came slowly because it was carefully considered and completely honest. Under these circumstances and after what ne’d done he deserved the truth even if it was incredibly difficult to express, especially for one who valued privacy so highly and so rarely confided anything in anyone. When ne finally had the courage to say it, all of the words tumbled out as ne hurried to get the painful admission out. :: Renos: I do want it! I just wasn’t expecting it and you were so intense. I’ve never been intimate with anyone before and I just… I just panicked. ::Placing nir fingertips to either side of nir face in distress:: This is all so messed up. All because I was too scared face my feelings and face you. Fear or rejection, fear of being embraced only to disappoint you with my… inexperience, leading to rejection… :: Renos had started rambling and pacing, ne could barely stand to remain in the room a moment longer. Ne only remained and put nemself through this because ne recognised this problem was of nir own making. Ne remained because ne hoped to make him understand. A tiny flicker of hope burned for forgiveness. Running out of steam and not sure where ne was headed with it all any more ne trailed into silence. :: ::Maxwell could hear the conviction in Renos’s words, but the memory of how ne had recoiled from his touch and pushed him away still burned like a raw wound. The caress of nir fingertips lit his senses on fire anew, but he didn’t think he could handle yet another rejection should Renos decide again that this was all too much too soon. He stepped back as his counterpart paced slightly.:: Traenor: You’re right. This is all so messed up. I need time to think. I need to figure out what just happened. I need space to digest this. I need… ::angry sigh:: I don’t know. :: The emotional pain that came with his words was unbearable and unlike anything ne’d ever experienced before. Renos began to believe that allowing nemself to become in any way close to anyone was a mistake. Nir only attempt at it had gone so catastrophically wrong ne never wanted to feel like this again. Ne couldn’t cope with it and wanted to raid the pharmacy for drugs that would dull nir emotions and take them away, take the pain away. An intense wave of rage bubbled to the surface, anger at nemself for all the decisions that had let to this and all the pain it had caused. Ne thrust nir hands out with fingers splayed and raised nir voice at him. Even though he hadn’t said it outright, this was clear rejection in nir mind and ne deserved it. :: Renos: You need space? Fine! I’ll give you all the space you could want. Good day! :: Renos turned towards the door and exited just short of a run, pushing back tears of anger. How could ne be so stupid? None of this should have happened. Ne was filled with such self loathing that ne could quite easily punch nemself in the face repeatedly. In nir mind Traenor had been completely ripped out of nir personal life, it really felt as if ne’d lost a limb. Their friendship was in tatters and they were going to have to work side by side as Captain and First Officer every day with this horrible wedge between them. It was enough to make one consider retirement but ne knew that was just the impulse to run talking and pushed it away. :: ::As Renos left, every fiber in Maxwell’s being screamed at him to stand up and run to nem, sweep nem up in his arms, apologize profusely for being such a boorish fool, and kiss nem again and again. His arm actually raised, reaching plaintively towards where the heavy holodeck door was already closed, before he realized what he was doing. And like that, ne was gone, and with nem went every ounce of happiness within him. Spent, morose, he grabbed the bottle of brandy that the two had shared. The cut glass bottle screeched a piercing scratching sound as he dragged it clumsily along the polished finish of the piano, though the sound didn’t even faze him. He brought the bottle up and gulped sloppily, letting the numbing warmth of the synthetic alcohol fill the void he felt. Boorish fool, indeed.:: END Captain Renos - Commanding Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Executive Council Member =/\= Captain's Council Member =/\= Promotions Coordinator Cadet Steward =/\= Publicity Team Facilitator =/\= FWPA 2015 Co-Facilitator =/\= A238805EB0 ~and~ LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - First Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Graphic Contest Taskforce =/\= Characters Guild Co-Facilitator A239111MT0
  13. ((Deep Space 6, Level 21, Function Room A1)) ::Varaan entered the multi-function room, which was decorated in an extravagant manner, to say the least. The last time Varaan had attended a formal gathering of crew like this, had been less than a year ago on Deep Space 26. It had been a combination of promotion ceremony for the crew of the USS Atlantis, and a "fun" get-together for the crew after the completion of the Outpost Bravo mission. It had also resulted in a terrorist attack on the station which trapped the crew and threatened thousands of innocent lives, and Captain Raj Blueheart had been kidnapped in order to brainwash him and implicate him in the assassination of some politician or diplomat within the Par'tha Expanse. Fortunately both plots were foiled. But, needless to say, Varaan did not have fond memories of the event. Couple that with the fact that Varaan was never an individual to enjoy a social gathering, and Varaan had serious reservations about attending tonight.:: ::Plus, his tuxedo was riding up.:: ::Captain Renos of the Darwin had announced that this get together would be as a masquerade ball. Varaan had to do a little research into the subject. It seemed that his uniform, even his dress whites, would not be sufficient attire to attend this function. He could have donned his ceremonial Vulcan robes, but seeing as this was following an ancient Terran tradition, he had opted for more traditional Terran garb. Now, he was thinking that maybe he had made the incorrect choice. Hoping no one would notice, he carefully positioned his back towards an wall devoid of onlookers, and used his left hand to attend to removing part of his undergarments from near an orifice where they did not belong. He was successful. Again. This was not the first time, and the Vulcan was sure it would not be the last tonight.:: ::In addition to the traditional black tuxedo, he had also chosen a very simple mask that only covered his brow and eyes, and the bridge of his nose. Half was silver metallic and the other half was electric-blue metallic, but the entire piece was covered with inlaid scroll-work. It was simple, yet elegant. Conservative, as would be the Vulcan way, but serving the proper function of attempting to his identity. Of course, his pointed ears would give him away.:: Renos: Mister Varaan? So nice to see you here, how are you doing? ::How very quickly had his ears given him away. Of course, Varaan was not ashamed of his ears. Conversely, he was not proud of them, either. They were simply...ears. They served a purpose and a function. Tonight, that function was to bring himself to the attention of the Darwin's captain. They had met briefly before, and not officially. They had both been on Away Teams sent to rescue Talaxian survivors of a doomed mission on a Dyson Shell. During the intervening time, when both the Darwin and the Triumphant were delivering the Talaxians to their world, and then returning to Deep Space 6, there had been some inter-ship movement and much communication, but there had never been an actual opportunity for Varaan to meet his new captain. Until now. Luckily, he was Vulcan. There was no anxiety about meeting your commanding officer for the first time. However, Varaan did feel a tad uncomfortable. His trousers were riding up again.:: Varaan: I am well, Captain Renos. Renos: How did you find your time on the Triumphant? ::Often Varaan's first-impulse answers were very literal. His old friend Torin Jamar, who had really been Varaan's coach towards understanding humanity, said that Varaan should skip his first impulse. Most people did not say what they meant, or mean what they said. Granted, Captain Renos was J'naii, and not human. But far too many sentient species operated under the same principles. Vulcans were direct and to the point. Why couldn't other species be the same? Renos was most likely making small talk. But Varaan had always had trouble with idle conversation in the past. A waste of time and energy.:: Varaan: Satisfactory. Renos: I've heard good things about how the crew performed and am delighted to welcome you aboard the Darwin. I hope your time here will be ::pause:: ...productive. Varaan: Well said, captain. Renos: Will you join me for a dance? ::Varaan had expected this question to come up at some point during the ball. Not necessarily from his commanding officer, but one generally did not attend a ball to stand around and make small talk. The entire purpose of a "ball" was dancing. Vulcan dancing was unlike anything he had seen from other cultures. Certainly nothing that would be appropriate for a Terran-based masquerade ball. Varaan's first thought had been to decline if someone inquired. However, thinking about his purpose for actually attending the get together, that answer would have been counter-productive.:: ::So Varaan had decided early on to study the types of dancing that would be appropriate for a ball. Waltzes he had tried, and could handle the steps easily. After all, they were a basic mathematical formula. Tangoes and flamencos were another story, as they required an injection of "passion." That was not something that Varaan was prepared to provide. Luckily for Varaan, the musicians had just started a waltz.:: Varaan: I only learned how to dance 23.7 hours, so I am not an expert. But I accept your invitation. ::From what Varaan knew of the J'naii, they were neither masculine nor feminine. So was Varaan to lead, or would the captain? Judging from the dress Renos was wearing, ne had chosen a slightly feminine tilt to his evening, so logically Varaan would lead. But Renos was the captain...how would ne feel about someone else usurping nir authority, even unofficially? Varaan decided to go with the higher probability, and extended the crook of his elbow for Renos to take, as per tradition.:: ::The two walked out onto the ballroom floor, Varaan very aware of the eyes watching all around. Watching, but not judging. That was an important social advancement that the Federation had over many of the cultures they had encountered. Individuals were free to be themselves, and did not have to conform to society's precepts. As long as no laws were broken. Varaan knew that the J'naii culture was a unique one to the Federation, being a genderless society. The Laudeans were also unique, in that they had three genders. Varaan was aware that at least a smattering of the Darwin's crew were from Duronis II, as well.:: ::Varaan stopped in the center of the floor and assumed the proper position for the lead dancer, allowing the captain to assume the more submissive position, should that be what ne wanted. If not, Varaan was sure that Renos would let him know. Varaan could take correction...he had no ego to bruise. While the captain and he began to move to the music, Varaan continued to wonder at the J'naii culture. Now, while dancing, he had a J'naii specimen 'captive.' Their conversation would not be interrupted. Varaan popped the question.:: Varaan: Captain, your species is unique. May I inquire as to the level of difficulty for a genderless J'naii to integrate into a gendered social construct, such as the Federation? I know that you may only be speaking from your own perspective, but the sociological implications are intriguing. --------------------------- Lt. Varaan Engineering Officer USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A Serial: V237810V10
  14. ((Tuggy the tugboat - Waters of Earth, 1914)) Foster: are we there yet? Hael: Ya'know we ain't gonna be here much longer... We could just drive. :: He chuckled at the paddling doctor. :: ::Wyn Foster raised his head and offered Rustyy Hael a tight-lipped smile. Pause. He turned stubbornly back to paddling. By all outward appearances this was wholly because he was a contrary, stubborn jerk. Which as admittedly true - he was frequently any of those and sometimes all. But at this particular moment he was channeling a well of negative energy into something useful rather than using it to pace the deck, snapping profanities at whoever annoyed him the most. It also gave him time to think. At the moment the entire little team was exhausted, hungry and run down. Worse, despite having finished the mission on the planet, Wyn was quite sure that a bigger stack of problems awaited them when they returned to the ship. And while that was the overall cause of his aching muscles and the malaise in his emotional landscape, the particular blow he kept dwelling on was innocent as best. Or at least innocently delivered. An offhanded tap that had hit home like a vicious sucker punch that preyed on all of Wyn's insecurities. All those things he hid under a coating of sarcasm and arrogant proclamations of genius. William's words were etched in his mind, like the afterimage of bright lights burned into the retina after the eyes are closed. "Interesting, for a doctor that took the Hippocratic Oath you have an interesting arsenal at your disposal." He had almost lost his temper right there. He had wanted to yell at Williams and let him know that cold-[...]ing a man with the butt of a gun was far more damaging than a drug that caused nausea and retching. Getting them to double over was a way to administer sedatives without anyone getting shot. And Wyn had the antidote close at hand. Those sailors were the easiest of the bunch - just drag them to cover and let them sleep. But Williams was trying to be sneaky, they couldn't break their cover, and of course the Human hybrid simply assumed certain things. He probably didn't know the terrible tangles Wyn had already gotten into with authority over the murky definitions of 'right' and 'wrong' as they were curiously judged for people wearing teal. And therein came Wyn's biggest problem: assumptions. Stereotypes. All doctors were soft and cuddly nice people who baked cookies and bandaged wounds, right? Or at the very least they were charismatic sweethearts like Jalana or demure researchers like Renos. Not sharp-tongued asshats like Foster. So what happened when one didn't fall into the boxes of what people expected a doctor to be? A difference in attitudes was one thing - a difference in fundamental morality was another. Wyn had been called upon to use his skills to protect life. To save life. To save innocents and prevent good people from getting hurt. And, attitude aside, he stuck to this oath with a dogged perseverance. And yet his actions always seemed to be questioned. Even if it wasn't officially - it rarely was anymore - the social stigma of 'not being accepted' by fellow officers who were expecting a different sort of doctor was stinging.:: ((Flashback - 10 months ago, Deep Space 26 - Temporary Quarters)) Foster: I quit! ::The word was barked at the viewscreen hot and heavy, while Wyn gripped the back of his chair with such fury that if chairs could protest this one would be whining. The world spun giddily around him as his one remaining antennae struggled to compensate.:: Jos: So easily? ::The man at the other end of the viewscreen was one of the few Andorians Wyn could claim to know in any capacity further than 'name, rank, serial number, and traded punches.' Lt Commander Jos had served on the USS Augury with his father, now he was Director Jos, of Starfleet medical. And he was still every bit as scary as Wyn Foster remembered him from childhood. While not physically imposing, the director has a presence about him that communicated the sort of gravitas that was only gained from over a decade serving on some of the most dangerous missions Starfleet could offer. Coupled with a faint lisping Andorian accent and eyes that could stare through your soul, it was like facing down a soft-spoken devil who somehow had your best interests at heart but was going to flay all the armor from your ego before helping you.:: Foster: It's not easy! ::The younger man protested, a petulant note entering his voice.:: ::The director leaned his head to one side, one antennae perked forward, the other stayed upright and he stayed there for longer than Wyn felt was comfortable before he spoke again:: Jos: Giving up is always the cop out. ::He frowned very slowly:: I had heard you were a medical genius. ::That hurt. And Jos knew it hurt. He was staring the kid down openly and digging for the meaty center.:: Foster: ::He stayed stubbornly put behind the chair, as if it would shield him from the onslaught:: I was removed from my ship by a man I trusted. ::Of course he was avoiding answering the posed question, but in his round-about way of thinking it all made sense.:: I saved his life. ::fast:: Aneurysm, with infectious complications. Four and a half hours of surgery, only person who could have done it. And how am I repaid? Betrayal. ::That last word was spat towards the screen.:: ::Director Jos' gaze softened fractionally. Admission meant they were getting somewhere - slowly - but moving. Wyn was, on the whole, easier to reach than his father; though still just as frustrating.:: Jos: Do you regret it? ::Such a simple question. Such a dangerous question.:: Foster: ::A deeply furrowed frown:: I don't know. ::beat:: I think he died that day. There, on the biobed. In fact I know he died - six seconds of clinical death before life support was activated. But the real question is; did the same person wake up? I always felt like I revived a monster rather than saved a person. ::Wyn shook his head. Such questions came dangerously close to concepts of playing God - something expressly forbidden in the medical trade.:: Jos: Not your call to make. ::plain and simple:: Foster: ::Throwing his hands up in the air:: I know! ::Bad move. His balance flipped him the middle finger and he stumbled ungraciously forward, finally landing in the chair. After a few more seconds of untangling his limbs, he turned back to the viewscreen, navy-flushed, with his entire argument deflated.:: I know... ::replied meekly:: Haven't we all taken oaths? Jos: ::A light nod:: But an oath isn't a black and white rulebook. It's a promise, made by you, kept by you, and interpreted by you. ::Wyn frowned, squirming under the steady gaze of his superior.:: Foster: And I keep it. Jos: ::light:: records would say otherwise. Foster: ::color flushing into his neck:: Records are skewed! They're the perceptions of other people! Other people who don't understand what it's like! ::He took in a small breath as his tone changed from defensive to pleading:: So many lives are out there, hanging in the balance and there's never enough of you. You make choices - triage - who lives, who dies. And then, you have horrible people who you know will hurt others, and I just can't justify saving them, if all it will bring is more blood and misery. Jos: ::searching:: How do you make that decision? Foster: ::anguished:: You can't put a marker on it, Every situation is different. I make decisions and stick by them - and half the time I'm the only one acting while others stand back, not making the hard decisions! Right is right, wrong is wrong, and you save as many innocent people as you can. ::The director leaned back, considering everything with a masked expression. He already knew his endgame, and they were getting ever closer to it:: Jos: Hypothetically, if you were faced with another surgery on the crew that evicted you. ::he left that open ended - it was not Wyn Foster's first transfer. He was amassing quite a colorful record of arguments and misunderstandings to his name:: What would you do? Foster: ::disheartened:: Help them. They're Starfleet officers until someone rules otherwise. I would have to, it's what you do. Jos: ::He perked a slender snowy brow:: And the man you consider a monster? If he was laying on your biobed? ::Pressing a bit too hard, looking for something:: ::Wyn's eyes floated to the floor. He already knew the answer, but for some reason the words stuck in his mouth and didn't want to be spit out. Not because they were bad words. They were vulnerable words. Words that exposed a tender meaty center under a callous shell, something that could be exploited to cause a great deal of pain.:: Foster: I'd save his life again... ::dropped from his lips in a hoarse tone:: Jos: Why? ::Dropped so lightly, and yet it struck home so hard. Wyn clenched his teeth and looked pointedly at the floor. It was a reaction the director found childish. And he was a man with two grown children of his own. Inwardly he smiled, knowing he was very close to his goal, but outwardly his expression remained in stone.:: Jos: Wyn, look at me and tell me why. ::Slowly, reluctantly, he lifted his head and spoke in a tiny tone:: Foster: Because every time you try, there's the hope that the person who wakes up is ... better. Not just in body, but in mind and soul. ::tears welled at the bottom of his eyes. Hope was a fragile gift, and to hold it up to the light exposed it to the greatest pain.:: ::Silence fell between them for a second, enough time to make Wyn feel sick to his stomach, before the director nodded.:: Jos: And that is why I'm fronting your dismissal for a full appeal. ::Wyn's jaw dropped. He had expected the book thrown at him, not a chance for redemption.:: Foster: ...why? Jos: ::with a light smirk, he revisited the beginning of the conversation.:: I had heard you were a medical genius. ::Wyn closed his eyes, face turning deeply navy as the tears that were hanging around unshed dribbled down his cheeks.:: Foster: ::mustering a tiny bit of his usual bravado:: I am a medical genius. Jos: I trust Starfleet needs a little genius on the front lines. ::A warmth entered his tone:: I trust this means you are not quitting? Foster: ::he took in a breath. He had been played, and played perfectly. And somehow he didn't mind:: Yes, director. Jos: Good. ::a nod:: Do not despair, I will see to it that this is addressed quickly. ::The call had ended shortly afterward, leaving Wyn's head spinning a little. He never understood the machinations of Starfleet, only knowing he was usually on the losing end of moves and transfers. Who knew where this one would lead?:: ~*~ ((Tuggy the tugboat - Waters of Earth, 1914)) ::Oddly enough, Wyn had gotten his chance at redemption. Here he was, chief medical officer again - and with the same crew since the launch of the Conny. He wavered, paddle dipped into the water, struggling with his own thoughts of the past. The future - whatever it was now, wondering what would come from here. In many ways he felt that every day lately was a crossroads. On one hand he was growing in comfort with his crewmates on the Constitution - on the other, he feared getting too comfortable because that's usually when one got burned the worst. Step forward, step backwards? Close off, open up or move on? He didn't want to think to hard on that. Only on the dip and paddle.:: Lt Commander Shar'Wyn Foster Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B
  15. ((Earth Starfleet Headquarters)) Personal Log. I find myself sitting in my temporary quarters, looking out the window towards the setting sun of the San Francisco bay area and contemplating my experiences over the last few days. It's hard to describe my feelings from what I have been through, and it feels all like a mind-numbing dream, and a part of me still thinks that maybe it all was. But it felt so real. I was there, if only for a short time. Back home. Back in my universe of origin. But was I? It seemed so real. The sounds, sights, smells. It felt real and maybe that was enough, even if it wasn't. But while there, I was offered a choice. An awful choice and when I chose and returned here, it was as if not one single second had passed. But to me, it felt like an eternity. As I prepare myself to return to duty, I can't help but wonder what, if any of the consequences would have been for me should I have chosen differently. I guess I'll never know. But one thing is certain, I will never forget this particular return visit to Earth. It all started when I arrived a little more than a week ago. ((Time Warp - Home of the Townson Family - Earth)) ::The house loomed large in front of Tracey as she gazed along the pathway that led to the front door. She stood there for a moment gripping the handle of the hover-stroller tightly as the fall colored leaves swirled at her Starfleet issue boots. She knew she was heading into uncharted territory and had not been home for quite some time. In fact, this was not her home at all, but the home of her namesake who ended up in a different universe on that fateful day she found herself here in this strange, peaceful universe.:: ::Tracey slowly made her way up the pathway towards the black front door of the home and after climbing a few steps, she breathed heavily for a moment and looked into her hover-stroller as a feeling of almost panic gripped her. The smiling and cooing Romulan infant inside however brought a sense of calm back to Tracey as she mustered up the courage and lifted the ancient door knocker. Before letting it drop she looked at the intricate details on the carved iron-clad ancient device and she found herself chastising herself for feeling so insecure. She had battled the Dominion in a relentless war in her universe of origin. Watched friends and family die, walked the battlefields where the stench of death and charred flesh from phaser fire pervaded the surrounding environment. So why was she so scared of this, she thought? With that in the back of her mind, Tracey let the iron knocker drop and a loud clank could be heard from within. Moments later the door opened a crack and then further as an older lady stood and smiled.:: Cynthia Townson: Tracey. ::smiling:: How wonderful it is to see you. Tracey Townson: Thank you. I hope I am not intruding. Cynthia: No no! ::opening the door wider so Tracey and the child can enter:: Please. Come in. ::Tracey smiled nervously as she pushed the stroller ahead and entered the home. She looked around the home that was in the same neighborhood she grew up in and in the same location she remembered, but the home itself was just so much different. This was an estate compared to where she grew up. Her home was much smaller and looked nothing like this one did. Tracey entered the hallway and looked around in awe.:: Cynthia: Anything familiar? Tracey: ::stealing her eyes away from her surroundings and focusing back on her mother she slowly shook her head and tried to smile a bit:: I am sorry, mother. The neighborhood is familiar to some extent but the layout is just so different. This is a much larger home than that which I remember, for example. Cynthia: I see. ::with a hint of sadness in her voice she attempted to change the subject as she loomed closer to the hover stroller:: So this is the little one I first met on DS26. Tracey: ::following the older woman's gaze:: Yes, mother... ::looking at her mother:: My apologies. Cynthia: ::standing up straight and putting her hand up:: No. Please. I am pleased you think of me in that way. Tracey: I know you must miss her terribly. Cynthia: I do...:looking away for a moment:: but it has been so long. Sometimes I forget. Tracey: Are you certain you will be able to do this? I do not wish to burden you. Cynthia: ::turning back to Tracey and smiling:: Anything for my daughter, and I do have help. Your uncle Sorel has taken a permanent residence close by and will assist me. Tracey: I don't believe that Starfleet is any place for children. ::looking down at her adopted Romulan infant.:: And he needs special attention. Cynthia: I know. You've always thought that way. ::There was a long silence between the two of them as they watched the child in the stroller falling asleep. Tracey then leaned down and placed her real left hand on the cheek of the child and whispered in Romulan.:: Tracey: Heis'he Hvaid. Arhem ssaed llhnae. Krenn hwio nhrai erh'na shikaen Townson. (My love Hvaid. I will return. Here you will become part of the Townson family) ::She then kissed the boy on the cheek and stood up and looked at the woman who was her mother in this universe.:: Tracey: I thank you once again. As soon as you find yourself overburdened, please contact me. I shall attempt to find other accommodations. I can't live outside of Starfleet, and I cannot take him with me. It is a difficult choice for me. Cynthia: I know, Tracey. Don't concern yourself. I am here. Tracey: I wish I could bring your daughter back to you. ::Once again there was a long pause as the two women stared at each other. Then Tracey's mother spoke.:: Cynthia: You have. In you. Tracey: I must go mother. Cynthia: ::nodding solemnly:: I know. ::smiling:: Now don't worry, Tracey. He'll be fine. Better than fine. ::With those words, Tracey felt a sense of calmness wash over her like she felt in her mother's presence when she was a child. Tracey smiled warmly then gave her mother a hug before giving one more tearful goodbye to her Romulan son, and then left to return to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco for her new assignment.:: ((Earth Starfleet Headquarters)) Personal log - Supplemental All was going just fine as I arrived here in San Francisco for my briefing and to await my new assignment. In my free time, I would try to relax and had called my mother many times to make sure all was OK. She kept on reassuring me all was fine and I was happy that my mother found someone who could speak Romulan to Hvaid so that he would understand his native language as he learned to talk. On a few occasions I would even head to the Academy grounds and watch the Cadet exercises on the grounds. But as the Academy was not far from Starfleet medical, where I was housed in their Psychiatric ward for two years, I would sometimes find my focus to shift towards that building and the window to my old room, recalling those days when all I knew was fear and anger and sadness. It felt like an eternity ago, but how quickly those memories could return. Who would have thought all those years ago, that I would now be fully integrated into this universe's version of Starfleet, and a full Commander at that? Certainly not I. Especially after that Kobyashi Maru test. But lo and behold. I made it. So two days ago, I headed back to the building I once called home and decided to pay my Psychiatrist a visit. It was that day that I faced my fate and the choice I was confronted with that I made. One that I really hope was just a figment of my imagination. ((Starfleet Medical - San Francisco - Earth)) ::Tracey entered through the familiar doorway and headed inside the building she was an in patient at when she first arrived to this strange, peaceful, universe. She made her way through the busy, bustling corridors and arrived at a main desk. The nurse on the other side looked up at Tracey and her eyes opened wide when she noticed the pips on her collar and then quickly stood at attention.:: Townson: Please. At ease, Lieutenant. I am looking for the office of Doctor Samuel Huff. Lieutenant: Yes, Commander. ::Tracey watched as the woman worked and then looked up questioningly at Tracey.:: Lieutenant: You are aware that Doctor Huff is a Psychiatrist. Townson: Yes. Now if you will, Lieutenant. ::The Lieutenant gave Tracey the information she needed and Tracey went to visit her old Doctor. All went well and after about a two hour conversation, Tracey took her leave and headed back to Starfleet Command feeling proud and happy that the Doctor was impressed with her progression and that she was much more integrated into this universe than she ever imagined she could be. She entered a turbolift that would bring her to her temporary quarters and there were four people inside. The doors closed and turbolift moved along on its trajectory. Three of the officers were of Lieutenant rank and one was a Captain. The Lieutenants were standing at attention and Tracey nodded at the Captain. The lift stopped short of Tracey's destination and the three Lieutenants quickly exited the turbolift. The doors closed and the lift continued. Suddenly the Captain, who was behind Tracey, spoke.:: Captain: You no longer come to attention in the presence of a superior officer, Commander? ::Tracey frowned at the question then turned towards the man behind her who was now wearing a black uniform with red trim and had a phaser on his belt and a communicator that was no longer part of his uniform. Her eyes moved towards the stripes on his sleeve that represented that of a Captain. The uniform was exactly that of a Captain in her universe of origin.:: Townson: Who are you? Captain: I am a Starfleet Captain. And you are to come to attention in my presence no matter what the circumstances, Commander. Or have you forgotten your training in this universe? ::Tracey did as the man said but kept her eyes locked on the man waiting for him to make a move. He didn't and in that moment, Tracey tapped her com-badge.:: Townson: Starfleet command security... ::The Captain smiled.:: Captain: They can't hear you, Commander Tracey Townson. Townson: I'm sorry. I don't know who you are. ::Tracey remained at attention but was ready to attack. Her false right hand was rising clandestinely ready to be used as a weapon if necessary. She didn't have anything else to defend herself with.:: Townson: Who ever you are, please return me to where I was heading. Captain: I will return you. In due time. But first I wanted to let you know that we have been watching you. At ease, Commander. ::Tracey relaxed her posture and looked over the man's uniform. Every detail was perfect. It was if he knew of her Starfleet.:: Townson: Me? Why? Who are we? Captain: All in due time, Commander. ::The man snapped his fingers and Tracey knew her uniform had changed as well. She raised her right arm all the way up and looked at the stripes of that of a full Commander.:: Townson: What are you doing to me? Captain: I am giving you an opportunity to right a wrong. Townson: ::shaking her head:: How? ::Suddenly the lift started moving again. Tracey turned to look towards the doors of the turbolift that changed to a sickly familiar sight. She turned back towards the Captain and he was gone. Then the turbolift rocked and almost threw Tracey to the ground. It was the telltale sign of an attack. Tracey looked at the steel workings of her now uncovered false right hand which she used to keep herself from falling by bracing herself against the turbolift wall.:: Comm: =/\= Marine contingents report to cargo area 57. Triage units report to deck 22 section 57. Commander Townson, report to the bridge. =/\= Townson: I'm back...ev...everything I knew is gone. Captain Riley, Captain Waltas, Captain Blueheart, Doctor Sampi, Doctor Velana the Tiger, Independence, Discovery, Atlantis, Avandar. My time at Starfleet medical. My rise back through the ranks. Hvaid! Everyone! Everything! They are all gone! ::The turbolift doors opened to a chaotic scene as dead officers lay all over the bridge. The bloodied familiar face of Tracey's old Captain Roberto Cedeno turned towards Tracey and barked his orders.:: Cedeno: Take the helm, Commander. Fast! ::Tracey ran from the turbolift towards the helm and threw the bloodied body of the dead officer in the seat to the floor. Tracey sat quickly and could feel the liquid blood of the dead officer on the back of her uniform as her fingers danced over the controls of a configuration she had not used in years.:: Townson: Three Jem'Hadar battlecruisers flanking us. Attempting to find an escape route. Cedeno: Hyperwarp now, Commander! No time to be pretty! Townson: Yes, Captain. ::And with that, Tracey pressed a button on her console after entering coordinates that would hopefully not have them colide with the battle-cruisers and closed her eyes as the battleship Resolution jumped to hyperwarp. Tracey then slowly opened her eyes and turned towards the Ops station and the Captain who had brought her back to this universe smiled this time in a uniform with Lieutenant's stripes.:: Captain/Q: Good work, Commander. ::Tracey sighed as she jumped from her seat and headed towards her former Commanding officer who was badly injured in his Captain's chair. Captain Roberto Cedeno looked up at Tracey's yellow eyes and spoke softly and his breathing was labored.:: Cedeno: My injuries are grave, Commander. If I don't survive, I trust you with this ship and crew. Never give in to the Dominion. ::Then the medics arrived and began to care for the Captain. Tracey turned back towards the Captain that brought her here and spoke to him quietly.:: Townson: Please tell me this is a holodeck scenario. Captain/Q: No. This is as real as your so called life gets. Would a holodeck capture all this? The smells, the tastes, the feeling? Townson: ::pausing and looking over her bloodied uniform and then looking back at the Captain.:: No. But why? Captain/Q: Now you have that which you really wanted. Your returning to your universe of origin, and your own command. Townson: ::looking at Q sharply:: Captain Cedeno will not make it? Captain/Q: No. Townson: Then what...what about me? Captain/Q: I am certain you'll be a fine Captain. I can go now. have you decided to stay? Townson: No no. That's not what I mean. I mean me. The one who was me here? Captain/Q: Ohhhh ::scratching his chin and nodding:: Well she's just, you know. Gone. Like everything else from that strange, peaceful universe. Townson: Can't you just put her back to that universe where she came from? Captain/Q: ::shaking his head:: Sorry, us Q have no powers in this universe. If we bring someone here, the other will just disappear. Like poof. Townson: Q? You are a Q? So that's it. I read about you while studying in the other universe. ::A voice from the back of the bridge sounded.:: Voice: Commander Townson! We're are draining energy reserves while at hyperwarp. Townson: Then drop us out. Be certain no enemy warships are in the area. Voice: Yes, Commander. Townson: ::to Q:: I...I can't do this. My life...my child is in another universe. I can't be responsible for the loss of all that I had and the loss of an individual who was here and made a life, no matter how bad, here for herself. You should give this...gift to the one who was here. I don't deserve it. If anyone should disappear, it should be me. I stole her life. I couldn't live with myself if I stayed and took her life once again. It was bad enough I did it once. ::Announcements for ship repair specialists began chiming through the Comm as Q looked at Tracey.:: Q: I could send you back. But you'll never have this chance again. Are you sure. Townson: ::nodding:: Yes, but if you can, remove her memories of her time in the peaceful universe. I know from experience, it would be easier. Q: It is your choice. ::Q then snapped his fingers and they were both on the turbolift at Starfleet headquarters in their Starfleet uniforms of the peaceful universe. Tracey felt for her three pips on her collar with her now covered right prosthetic hand and realized all was back to the way things were.:: Q: Welcome back, Commander. All is as it was. I hope you make the best of things. We will be watching. ::Q then snapped his fingers again and disappeared. The turbolift doors opened to the sterile air of the hallway ahead that lead to her temporary quarters and she paused at the doorway to the turbolift and looked back inside and wondered if all that happened during that short trip real or not.:: -TBC- Commander Tracey Townson Intel USS Invicta H237708TT0 -- Envoyè depuis mon palm pre
  16. ((Bridge - USS Albion)) ::There comes a time when life slows to a standstill, and the hyperactive brain starts making commentary on the action around you. Something in the subconscious becomes a play-by-play announcer, wondering if this next decision will be the thing that propels you to victory or kicks you into the void. Sal felt like he was on a see-saw, balancing on a highline several hundred meters above a hard concrete. One wrong move and everything would tumble, and he would end up a meaty vaguely Betazoid-shaped smear on the pavement of history. Despite that, his resolve was solid. It had to be - they took all your pips away if your curled up into a ball crying on the bridge. Not that pips motivated Commander Taybrim. The lives of his crew, his duty, doing the right thing and all the other lofty ideals that made Starfleet stand out for over a century were the same things that pushed him forward. Gods of the galaxy, he hoped he was right.:: Taybrim: Now Falcon! Do it now! Falcon: oO Close enough! Oo ::Sal gripped the edges of his seat so hard his knuckles turned white. The Albion was certainly taking a beating, though curiously enough they had escaped without much structural damage. Engines, weapons - all targeted, but the Stormcrow aimed at leaving them toothless, not gutted. Why that fact clarified in his mind as the Albion spun giddily in the star field, he never knew. But it was something that lingered with him...:: Malcolm: ? Falcon: Swinging now! Tatash: Beams primed, I've got them. ::he exclaimed, his console flaring to life as he silently thanked Theo, weapons, all be it limited starting to respond once more:: Taybrim: Target the main power relay! ::The schematics had already been called up when they cooked up this plan:: Vondaryan/West: ? ::The whine from the Albion's engines was a terrified sound. Though the deck plating it sounded like a muffled screaming as they pushed the ship to her limits - and beyond. In the flare of the red alert, the bridge crew struggled to keep focus on their duties as the ships did a sickening pirouette around one another.:: Falcon: Ready! Cut tractor! Tatash: Tractor detatched! Bridge: Response? ::Sal held his breath as there was a shift in momentum, and the Albion slowed as the Stormcrow accelerated. It was magnificent and dizzying, with the backdrop of the asteroid field, the Cheyenne class ship careened towards the mines like a lemming towards a cliff.:: Taybrim: Set the pulse wave! Hit him with everything we can muster! Falcon: oO I am a black belt in Starship Jujitsu, and don’t you dunderheads ever forget it! Oo ::Sal held in a smirk, eyes flickering towards Falcon. He appreciated her humor. Little did he know that raft of humor would be his last oasis for quite some time.:: Anders: Filling the tubes with Hot Plasma, there may be a bump. ::under his voice:: and a mess to clean up. Vondaryan: Responses? ::The pulse wave lanced out, cutting through the blackened sky. It disrupted the Stormscrow's power. A [...] for a tat, it took her weapons offline. They watched as her shields flickered, with a sickly green corona. Green? Sal's head twitched. That wasn't what he was expecting, but there wasn't enough time to point that out. The Stormcrow twitched against the minefield, explosions going off around her hull that drained her already battered shields. The lights on the Cheyenne class cruiser guttered in a quick succession. And yet she had fight in her. Sal imagined Arrhimen was picking up the pieces of what he had, because the Stormcrow steadied herself and the torpedo tubes glowed blue for a split second before Tatash's quick hand pre-empted them. A single torpedo lanced out from the Albion, impacting at point blank range. What happened next was not what Sal Taybrim expected. Shields were down, the hull was breached, and the torpedo, which he expected to tear through the engine core of the Stormcrow and leave her dead in the water - something they could easily tow back to StarBase 118 - impacted with a brilliant white corona. The engines shuddered and were pulled inwards before they exploded out into the asteroid field with a force so hard that it threatened to tear the Albion into pieces. The shields of the Excelsior class starship groaned and crackled, as Sal shielded his eyes. The viewscreen was engulfed with fire. When he could see again, all that remained was the saucer section. It looked like something had taken a large bite out of the disc, burning circuitry was visible from the jagged edges as it slammed into an asteroid and fell silent like a dying predator licking the cooling blood from mortal wounds. Sal's eyes went wide, staring at the screen. An ice-cold numbness came upon him.:: Tatash: Target destroyed. Three lifeboats, life-signs aboard. Anders: ::Looking at the view screen:: So much to a peaceful draw. Transporters are down sir, we can use a shuttle to round up the lifeboats. Taybrim: Get all the remaining shuttles mobilized. ::He clenched his teeth, unable to rip his eyes from the screen. He didn't care if there were 24 crew onboard the Stormcrow or 240. How many were dead? how many were left?:: Anders: One of the pulse wave devices is stuck in the torpedo tubes, and it is over loading. ::running the number quickly:: it will over load in less than four minutes sir. ::That snapped him out of his reverie:: Anders: I can get down there and disarm it sir? Taybrim: Get down there now. Let engineering know and co-ordinate with them! ::They hadn't survived so far only to get knocked down by a malfunction.:: Go! ::Silence settled across the bridge as Sal looked from station to station, and he finally voiced the question nobody wanted to ask:: What the hell just happened? Tatash/Vondaryan/West/Falcon/Nira: ? ::He shook his head, casting a gaze at the injured Gorn. Tatash was an incredible officer, and he wasn't sure if it was the damage to his console - or the injury that had prompted the mistake in inventory. Sal's next word came out searching, not accusing:: Taybrim: The Albion doesn't stock quantum torpedoes, Lieutenant. She was never refitted with the new systems. ::he paused, letting that fact linger in the air:: Tatash: ? Taybrim: I'm neither questioning your shot, nor what we saw. The fact remains that the firepower of the Albion should have disabled, not destroyed. And yet we just saw the Stormcrow get destroyed to a quantum blast. ::he paused, looking around meaningfully.:: I want to know how we fired it. Tatash/Vondaryan/West/Falcon/Nira: ? ::The speculation was cut off by a screeching crackle from the commline. The Stormcrow's lifeboats were hailing. Sal was halfway up the stairs towards the ready room when the call came through, and his directive into the diplomatic think tank was short and to the point:: Taybrim: Lieutenant Trel'lis, I need your team on the bridge right now. We have a call coming in from Arrhimen. Trel'lis/Broi/Zinna: ? ::Sal turned, heading towards the center of the bridge:: Taybrim: Put him on screen. ::He waited until the screen came to a whitewash of static, slowly fading to a visible form:: Stormcrow, this is Commander Sal Taybrim of the USS Albion-- ::A man that held his gravitas even though a bleeding temple and a insane twitch in his eye interrupted with a passion that rolled through the airwaves.:: Arrhimen: PROOF.... ::Pointing:: Proof I was right. I was trying to push you out of the way of a hidden Romulan Predator. Taybrim: What? ::he furrowed his brows:: Captain Arrhimen, you attacked us... Arrhimen: Dont be a fool, Commander Taybrim. Open your eyes, you did not destroy the Stormcrow, with all do respect your torpedo tubes are just to small and my knowledge gave me a greater battlefield advantage. The Stormcrow was destroyed by what we call target A.2 a hidden Romulan ship. ::Sal's jaw lolled for a split second. How could Arrhimen propose that they were 'protecting' the Albion by damaging her? Taking away her ability to flee or maneuver?:: Taybrim: Do you have proof? Arrhimen: ? Taybrim: ::he held up a hand:: How many of you crew are on the lifeboats? Arrhimen: ? ::Three boats, only seven people. That was a tiny handful, even for a crew of only 24.:: Taybrim: ::His voice was tense, cautious:: There's no readings of a warbird any closer than a half hour at full warp. If you have proof, Captain, we can discuss it. We're sending relief shuttles and we'll check the remains if the Stormcrow for survivors. Arrhimen: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ ~*~ Commander Sal Taybrim Executive Officer / Acting CO StarBase 118 Ops / USS Albion
  17. ((Bridge, USS Ronin-A, Menthar Anchorage, Universe #14762)) ::The shock had been palpable. The normally ragged and unruly crew of the USS Ronin-A had been quiet and businesslike on the journey away from what was now a boringly normal patch of space. Shockingly normal. No USS Invicta, no Legate Prianna and her fleet of Cardassian warships, just the Ronin. The tension in the air had been palpable until they received the signal from the first of the hidden asteroid sensors. Either they were a common way of eavesdropping on space traffic, or they were still in their own universe.:: ::It meant that they had not managed to progress through to the far more peaceful universe of the Invicta, but neither had they been destroyed nor ended up somewhere else entirely. Reversing their previous course heading for want of an alternative direction, they had found the Menthar Anchorage not only intact, but populated. The mixture of confusion, shock, joy and relief had been palpable, and the Ronin had all but emptied once the docking doors had opened.:: ::Not entirely however. The ship was in far better shape than she had been in months, but there was still the odd engineer working on her overworked warp core. And, the statue-still figure of her Captain, sitting alone on the bridge. The crew knew to stay out of his way when he was in a pensive mood.:: ::Well, most of the crew. Raissa having remained on the ship, walked to stand by his chair. With him seated it was the only time she could look down at him.:: Moonsong (alt): So it didn’t work. ::There was a moment's silence before he answered.:: Saveron (alt): You are correct; we were unable to traverse the phenomenon. ::He acknowledged in a tone that gave nothing away.:: However, many questions remain. Moonsong (alt): Such as? Saveron (alt): Where is Legate Prianna and her fleet? How is it that those aboard the Invicta are returned to the Anchorage? ::Well, most of them. He suspected that if Roshanara Shandres was ever presented with the opportunity to kill him, she would take it.:: Moonsong (alt): Maybe because that is where they belonged. Saveron (alt): One might almost begin to suspect the intervention of something more directed that mere probability. ::Something conscious and casually malevolent.:: Moonsong (alt): Maybe all that quantum babble your pet scientists like mean that we are where we are supposed to be, Sav. ::pause:: And maybe you were wrong to try and force the issue. ::He looked at her sidelong, narrow grey eyes watching her face, pondering the true meaning behind her words.:: Saveron (alt): Perhaps, if you believe in fate and predestination. ::He said at last. Such was illogical, but he knew that people had to believe in something.:: Moonsong (alt): No… I believe this is where we belong… as awful as it sometimes is.. this universe is our home… ::It wasn’t a belief that Saveron would normally have entertained, but the fact remained that they had not been able to pass into the Invicta’s universe. None of them, with the exception of Tasnim Shandres, who by all accounts did not exist on that side.:: ::But if they did belong there then to what end? To die messily like those who had gone before them? Yet they had not, when other ships had been lost. What was the point of all their trials?:: Saveron (alt): So it would appear. ::He allowed at last.:: ::It was unlike the Vulcan to give an inch, but if anyone could push him it was Raissa.:: Moonsong (alt): And by the way, Alora really is back. Saveron (alt): No doubt the crew will be pleased. ::He said blandly, then paused before continuing.:: They took her death harder than anticipated. The appearance of her alternate was greeted as that of a ghost. ::He spoke slowly, as though his mind and attention were elsewhere.:: Moonsong (alt): They are pleased… She was missed. ::He looked across the bridge at the viewscreen, currently showing the starscape afforded by one of the station’s sensors. After a moment he rose to his feet, walked a few steps closer, then turned and walked back to stand in front of his chair. A diversionary behaviour. He looked down at her, saviour of so many lives and perhaps the only member of the crew who truly got under his skin.:: Saveron (alt): This situation presented ideas and viewpoints none of us would have considered before now. ::He acknowledged.:: Moonsong (alt): Also true…::She took a deep breath as she looked up at him. Her eyes searching his face. Searching for something she had seen before. Something she had caught a glimpse of in the eyes of his alternate.:: Moonsong (alt): You know I met them… the other you and me... Saveron(alt): Indeed? ::His curiosity was piqued in spite of himself.:: And did they represent all that was good and wholesome in their universe? ::He asked acerbically.:: Moonsong (alt): That’s rude. ::She frowned slightly as her eyes searched his.:: Moonsong (alt): He was a skilled doctor...Calm, peaceful, aware… like you used to be. And she… ::she suppressed a shudder:: Something happened to her. She’s a T6 telepath. She caught out Mei’s listening device in a moment. Among other things... ::That was… unexpected. Raissa’s empathic abilities had always been useful, but the prospect of a T6 - as sensitive as himself but without the ability to not sense. Useful for the crew, damaging for the individual. Had it been anyone else, he might have been intrigued by the possibilities.:: ::As for himself, he’d left behind medicine when he’d left his old life on Vulcan. Care and empathy had done nothing to forestall the implosion of all that he held dear, long before the Dominion had arrived.:: Saveron(alt): A useful talent, but difficult to live with. ::He said at last.:: And if I had remained a doctor on Vulcan I would be dead, along with my kin. ::And perhaps all those aboard this ship.:: ::He looked into the middle distance, still considering their previous line of conversation.:: Saveron(alt): Yet...If this is our home, ::he began, a little less sharply,:: and we have a purpose here, what is it Ris? I cannot accept that it is to die messily as the Federation’s last gasp. I will not accept it. ::As he had not, since fate had brought them to this accursed patch of space.:: ::Raissa’s mouth trembled slightly with suppressed emotion.:: Moonsong: (alt): I don’t know… Alora is always telling me not to give up hope… ::She finally looked away from him. She tried to focus on what he considered important.:: Moonsong (alt): But with the Cardassians gone in the rift… Then maybe…. Saveron(alt): Maybe we have the advantage? ::It was what she expected him to say, he knew.:: One notes that the Legate’s fleet does not appear to have survived the closing of the rift. ::Which meant that he spied an opportunity. Without Prianna’s ships and leadership this section of space was vulnerable. They could take the Piktar system, claim a significant tactical advantage as well as the military resources there. They could bring in other resistance fighters and their ships, carve out a base of operations and really begin to take back some of the local space. Perhaps they could even push towards the wormhole…:: ::He looked down at Raissa, who still wasn’t meeting his gaze. She looked… tired. Sad. … like you used to be... Were those words wistful?:: ::In a gesture rare these days he set his hands on her shoulders.:: Saveron (alt): Or maybe we have room to breath. ::He said quietly, long fingers moving to her chin, lifting her face to look at him, a whisper of thought with that touch.:: oO Perhaps we all deserve a chance to rest; a chance to remember what we’re fighting for. Oo ::For there were times, when things were most grim, that he had not admitted anything beyond the fight for survival.:: :: Her eyes rose to meet his, startled. They had been fighting and running for so long it had been a long time since he had touched her in any way. And to feel his thoughts… Warm instead of the cold wall he kept up that allowed him to focus and keep them all alive against all odds. She swallowed as she trembled under his touch. Her voice was no more than a whisper.:: Moonsong (alt): They gave us a chance, Sav… To breathe… to remember… ::She was right. So often she was right, and he could not admit it. The Romulan understood; show no weakness. This woman was his. She faced down his anger and got through his guard in a way no one else ever had, the voice of reason to his fierce determination. And she was right.:: Saveron (alt): oO That they did. Oo ::He leaned forward, head lowered, and their lips met; at first a brief touch and then more fervent, as he pulled her into his arms. How could he have forgotten?:: END Turn your face Towards the sun Let the shadows fall behind you Don’t look back Just carry on And the shadows will never find you -Rihanna A JP by Dr. Raissa Moonsong Chief Medical Officer USS Ronin-A G239107RM0 and Captain Saveron Commanding Officer USS Ronin-A R238802S10
  18. ((Island Beach, The Next Day)) ::Raissa went for a walk up the beach. She put a little distance between herself and the crew, but she did make sure she stayed within sight. There were several jetties of stone the stuck out into the surf. She took a seat on the stone, trailing her feet in the water. The advantage of this shore leave was that the uniforms were put away and they stayed away. The wind blew her dark hair around, but she didn’t try to tame it.:: Core: Good morning, Counsellor. ::She looked away from her contemplation of the waves to see the chief engineer. She frowned slightly.:: Moonsong: Good morning….Commander…. ::Tristam looked down, giving a small chuckle.:: Core: I’m sorry, should I mention your promotion or stick to first names? Congratulations, by the way. Moonsong: ::she raised an eyebrow at him.:: And you think my first name is Counselor? Core: Well I’m not sure what you prefer! I’ve never used your first name before. Plus, apparently some cultures prefer you ask them first. ::He paused.:: Would you prefer I called you “Raissa” during shore leave? ::She considered giving him a little grief about it. Sometimes to some people what she did and who she was seemed interchangeable. They were on shore leave and she was clearly out of uniform. And as he had just pointed out, he could have just asked. With a small sigh, she decided not to.:: Moonsong: I would prefer it when I’m off duty. And the few friends I have sometimes call me Ris. Core: Okay. Well, *Ris*, that wasn’t awfully difficult. Moonsong: As much as it always is. ::pause.:: So what can I do for you? Core: I . . . have an apology to make. ::Her eyes widened in surprise. This was a first... from anybody.:: Moonsong: What do you think you have to apologize for? Core: Well, last time we spoke properly, I could hardly talk. You may have mentioned that it might be due to my telepathy and I shut you down. And since that conversation, my verbal skills have improved marginally, and my telepathy has returned. And I am sorry. You were right. ::Though in hindsight, what was he supposed to believe? At that point, his telepathy returning was a distant dream - something unachievable, unlikely to happen due to the damage done. But she was right. He was wrong. Oh, he’d been so wrong.:: ::She had the urge to laugh. She suppressed that urge viciously. She also had the urge to beat the point on why she was right upside his head. She resisted that urge too. Mainly because she was still picking up the crew’s thoughts and emotions which sometimes colored her own. She was not really that impulsive. But dang it, she was a professional after all.:: Moonsong: Thank you… So having your abilities back… how does that make you feel? Core: Uh . . . I feel as though we are on shore leave, and that you shouldn’t have to worry about my mental health right now. ::He took a seat next to her.:: Core: I’m honestly more curious about how you’re doing? ::Her eyes widened in clear amazement.:: Moonsong: I admit, you’ve surprised me. Core:::frowning:: How so? ::She paused a moment, considering how to answer. Finally she shrugged.:: Moonsong: Most people don’t seek me out for my scintillating personally. They want someone to talk to. Core:::raising an eyebrow:: I was under the impression that communication between two people was considered “talking”. Moonsong: The difference is people wanting to talk to the counselor. Not talk with me. Core: That’s implying you’re basically a brick wall to them. No, that’s not what I was trying to achieve here. ::He laughed.:: It’s shore leave - this shouldn’t be a time for work. And I know counselling sessions are important no matter what the crew’s situation, but right now is your time off. And I also remember saying I’d help you with your telepathy. Moonsong: ::chuckles:: Let me respond in order. ::pause:: People come to me for help with their problems. And shore leave after a stressful mission is why I’m usually so busy. ::sighs:: I do love what I do… but sometimes…. And my telepathy is why I’m way out here for the moment. ::Tristam cringed. He’d disturbed her quiet time.:: Core: Do you want me to leave? Moonsong: No, you’re one of the easier people to be around. I can read you, but I have to work at it. So you’re fairly quiet minded to be around. Core: Don’t work at it. Because then I actually feel it and it gets a bit awkward. I know your status changed and your power’s impressive, but I don’t really want either of ending up in front of Saveron explaining what happened. Saveron’s great and all, but I think a “why did you ever think that was a good idea” coming from him wouldn’t be at all pleasant. Moonsong: ::She put a hand to her mouth as she giggled.:: Tristam, we’ve had the conversation before. I have no desire to delve into your mind. At most I’ll get a flash of a directed surface thoughts and that’s all. I don’t need to go any further. It’s probably full of technobabble that’ll make my ears bleed. Core: ~~ Not all the time. ~~ ::That one sentence marked the first time he’d actually projected telepathy to someone else, despite being somewhat of an accident. The Rodulan cringed again, remembering just after it’d occurred that the Federation weren’t necessarily all in for telepathic communication whenever and wherever.:: Core: I’m so sorry. That was uncalled for - that was my fault. ::Raissa frowned slightly. She leaned close to him, face to face and then crossed her eyes at him.:: Moonsong: By my ancestors… there really is a hamster on a wheel in there… ::He tried desperately to form a response to that - he truly did. But he instead found himself inhibited.:: Core: . . . I don’t know what that is . . . Moonsong: ::she chuckled and leaned back.:: A small furry terran rodent kept as a pet. The put a little wheel in the cage so it can run very fast in circles. ::She smiled.:: Moonsong: And I didn’t mind the thought from you. It was nice to have something directed toward me instead of the usual random blasts of thoughts and emotions. ::pause.:: Sometimes… for all I’m sensing… I’m invisible. Core: It’s a learning process. I can’t offer much advice for it, either, but . . . I don’t know. Keep up your relationships, is what my brother would say I guess. ::She looked out toward the water, the smile fading from her lips:: Moonsong; You’ve told me that before. Saveron has said the same thing… ::pause.:: My… relationships can be counted on one hand with fingers left over. Core: I . . . don’t know what to say to that without sounding insensitive. But I *will* say that I’m glad I joined the hand. Moonsong: ::smiles:: I’m now up to three. One more and I’ll be back to four. ::the smile fades slightly.:: Or not, considering my situation. Core: Situation? You mean your telepathy? Moonsong: ::nods:: It’s why Carter and I broke up before he left. ::Tristam sighed.:: Core: Well then, Greyson was incredibly short minded now wasn’t he? And if telepathy was the reason you broke up, then a relationship with him wasn’t viable in the first place. What an incredibly childish decision. ::Raissa was surprised she had to suppress her amusement. It was a nice feeling to have someone jump to her defense so quickly.:: Moonsong: Tristam… I broke up with him… My telepathy put him sickbay. ::Tristam found himself frowning again. Perhaps he’d been unaware just how grand her telepathy was - with the Community, she’d been . . . far too great for him to comprehend. For Rodulans, though telepathy was dangerous whilst trying to read each other, is was . . . he couldn’t explain it. Basotile was created with telepathy - the foundation for most Rodulan relationships. Telepathy was a peaceful thing, despite the danger. His time with Starfleet had him seeing it from multiple perspectives - it was educational, to say the least, and though some ideals challenged his own a few times, he’d always returned to his original belief.:: Core: That’s . . . unexpected. ::He was comparing Moonsong’s relationship with Carter to his own with Roshanara - though Artist knows why. The situations between them had nothing in common. Though his telepathy came back at the most awkward of times for he and Roshanara, he’d never felt to be a danger to her. Reading her mind (while he refrains from doing it all the time) was just something they’d been doing since he first met her - she seemed comfortable with it, though admittedly, he’d never truly asked her. Their relationship hadn’t hindered because of his ability to read minds. :: Moonsong: I’m a freak, Tristam. Saveron sequenced my DNA to figure out what I am. Human telepaths are rare. A T6 is… unheard of. I had to relearn everything. I have to be extremely careful when touching a non-telepath. I can never lose control. Ever. Carter… couldn’t… wouldn’t understand the danger. Nor would he understand that I would always have to hold a part of myself away from him. ::It was at that point he realized that he’d been comparing the wrong people.:: Core: You and Roshanara are strangely alike, you know that? Moonsong: I don’t see how.., ::And the next challenge was explaining that without delving into Roshanara’s situation too much. He wasn’t sure if Raissa was aware of “empathic metamorph” status she held . . . hmm.:: Core: Not in terms of telepathy, but . . . in terms of situation. You should talk to her. I don’t know if it’d help, but . . . I think you should talk to her. You are *incredibly* similar. ::Tristam had had to chase after answers from Roshanara before he finally, literally, cornered her and demanded them. Empathic metamorph. Dependant on those around her, she’d “become unable to live with the stimulus of those around her. Unable to lead, unable to serve in Starfleet. Unable to function in daily life” - her words, not his. It was only until she’d realized that she couldn’t conform to Tristam’s emotional state did things actually turn for the positive - as a Rodulan, no telepath or empath could get a glimpse of his mind (not including Raissa - her circumstances were unique, to say the least). Tristam was quite literally one of the very small minority of people of whom couldn’t manipulate Roshanara Rahman. ::Nowadays, even those whom *weren’t* part of the small minority Tristam was included in could successfully manipulate her. She was building up her ability to avoid it - and was making astonishing progress. This is what happens when she no longer resigns herself to the possibility of a “doomed future”. Now look at her - back to her confident and stronger self and working as the Invicta’s First Officer.:: Core: And for the record, you’re not a freak. *I’m* a T6, remember? And before you go on stating the differences between us, know that I had to go through this when I had my Academy years. Rodul, as a place for telepaths, it’s silent. Well, maybe not silent, but there’s way less noise than what there is on the Invicta at the moment. Going from that to the Academy . . . add homesickness to the mix, I practically lived in the medical centre for months. ::Raissa had opened her mouth a couple times, but nothing had come out during his speech. She did have to concede he did make several valid points. She knew about Rahman’s situation due to the reports, especially when she was made FO. She held her hands up in a gesture of surrender:: Moonsong: All right.. you have a few points… I don’t agree with all of them. I do have to have a chat with your girlfriend, but not about this. Core: Oh no . . . about what? What’d I say!? Just because she’s First Officer . . . Moonsong: ::chuckles:: I have to talk to her about parenthood. Core: Ah. The dear Tasmin. I take it back - talk to her as much as you’d like. Moonsong: I’ve already talked to Ki. Core: I don’t mean to pry, but how’d that go? Suddenly being father to a teenaged daughter of a different version of himself now displaced in what we consider to be the true universe must be a lot to take in. Moonsong: It went as I expected. ::soft sigh:: He has no family left. Tasnim is the closest thing he has to that at the moment. While technically she was left with Roshanara, if she is shipped back to Earth to live with her ‘grandparents’, don’t be surprised if Ki requests a transfer. Core: I wouldn’t be. While they aren’t technically her parents, they do worry about her - there’s no one better than Shandres to keep an eye on her should she end up on Earth. But I don’t think Roshanara’s quite ready to make that decision yet. I’d be awfully surprised if she does, considering all she’s done to try and settle Tasmin in. Moonsong: There are other children on the ship, so that isn’t an excuse. Ki and Ms. Rahman need to sit down and actually talk. They barely speak to each other. Core: She’s barely spoken to *me* about it, let alone Ki. But I’ll do my best to try and raise it with her. If she does have Tasmin go to Earth, it won’t be because of the danger on the Invicta, it’ll be something to do with Tasmin’s mother. I’m not sure of the circumstances of her being onboard, but . . . I don’t know. She hasn’t told me much. And that’s fine - I’m okay with that, it’s not really any of my business, but . . . ::He sighed.:: I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when you do. ::He laughed once.:: Moonsong: Since it affects your relationship, I’d say it is your business. It’s not something you can separate and put into a little box on the shelf. ::pause.:: I’m counseling again, aren’t I? Core: If it makes you feel any better, that’s partially my fault again. Moonsong: Not really. I’m the one who brought it up. ::shrugs:: Mostly because I was curious. Core: Considering we’d just finished talking about your own relationships, I think it was well within reason. But like I said, she hasn’t said much about Tasmin’s situation to me. Moonsong: The plus side of being a counselor… I can legitimately be nosy. Core: It’s always a good perk to have. Moonsong: So…. what do you plan to do for shore leave? Core: Hmm . . . ::He gave a small huff.:: I’m still settling down. Roshanara wants to take a shuttle and do a quick fly over the moon - I’ll tag along with her, take the opportunity to try and get a conversation going. Other than that? Swim. This sand and ridiculous air quality is making my knee and shoulder ache. ::After having his knee replaced after the accident on the Pioneer, he’d had the occasional spike of trouble with his left leg. Nothing other than what Medical had expected, of course, but enough to be rather annoying when walking on sand for extended periods of time. It’d be fine, if he’d kept up with physiotherapy. The same could be said for his shoulder - after the incident aboard the Mercury, that’d had to undergo some interesting surgery, as well as having had it strapped to him for he-didn’t-remember-how-long, and now forgetting to continue on with whatever Skyfire’s exercises were wasn’t necessarily helping with the strength in that arm.:: Moonsong: Well…. you could always try for that romantic moment that doesn’t require conversation… Core: Aha, yeah, uh . . . thanks for the idea. It honestly depends on how good a mood she’s in. ::He laughed.:: Moonsong: Take a picnic on your jaunt. You’re both on shore leave. Core: Aye aye, Commander. Moonsong: I’m never going to get used to that. ========= LtCmdr Raissa Moonsong Chief of Counseling USS Invicta G239107RM0 & LtCmdr Tristam Core Chief Engineer USS Invicta
  19. ((Holodeck 3, USS Invicta)) ::The north American forest was an interesting environment, and one that Saveron had not experienced before. The trees were larger than any he had ever seen, much of the undergrowth outcompeted for light and thus the walking wasn’t difficult. The pair wandered through the soft, dappled light as a breeze stirred the leaves and occasional hints of movement gave away the native fauna.:: ::Saavok had run ahead somewhere, pursuing a small creature that Alora had identified as a ‘squirrel’. He appreciated new environments as much as his father, but expressed that appreciation with rather more enthusiasm. When they were not amongst others Saveron tolerated his son’s bouts of energetic exploration without comment.:: ::He was content to follow behind, walking sedately at Alora’s side, appreciative of her company. It was a state that had only grown since that evening in the ravine, a level of uncertainty had vanished. That she appeared to find his company as agreeable as he found hers made it easy to relax and simply spend time together.:: ::As they strolled through the underbrush of the forest, their foot falls punctuated with gentle snaps of twigs and various plant matter beneath, it was difficult to keep her hands to herself. While Alora had no ambitions to get too intimate so early in their relationship, the desire to touch was still acute. Yet, she didn’t want to offend. Touch was such a sensitive subject to Vulcans. In truth, it could be with Humans, though in a different fashion. So, she refrained from reaching out for his hand, although her fingers longed to thread with the warmth of his. She stopped herself whenever she found the desire to reach out and simply place a hand on his arm. This wasn’t anything particularly unusual, she’d been doing it since the first time they’d shared mental contact, but it was becoming increasingly more difficult - especially now they’d revealed their affection for one another.:: ::A smile of amusement crept over her lips as Saavok delved into the depths of the forest. Her hand twitched, but she kept it at bay. To fight the temptation, Alora clasped her hands behind her - a motion which allowed her some insight into why the Vulcans took such a common stance around others.:: ::The movement caught Saveron’s eye and he glanced over at his companion. That wasn’t common body language for her, indeed it was something that he might do himself. Excessive time in Vulcan company, or indication of some other factor?:: Saveron: Are you comfortable? ::He asked.:: ::The environment they were walking through was quite wild and did not make for the easiest of strolls, for all that it provided an array of experiences for the senses.:: DeVeau: I’m comfortable. ::Alora assured him. She wasn’t uncomfortable, she was just having a difficult time reigning in her desires, as innocent as they were. She flashed a smile over at him, then turned away to focus on forging onward. DeVeau: You? Saveron: Affirmative, I find the environment interesting. As, clearly, does Saavok. ::The last was said in a slightly dry tone. When a few moments of silence passed between them he tried again.:: Saveron: I ask because you have adopted a stance that I have not observed you use before. ::He saw no reason not to speak plainly.:: DeVeau: Stance? Saveron: You have your hands clasped behind your back. DeVeau: Oh. ::It was true. Alora was not inclined to keep her hands in such a manner. That had been spurred by her desire to make sure she didn’t do something he didn’t like.:: DeVeau: I just don’t want to...inadvertently touch you when you do not wish it. ::Saveron paused in his long-legged strides and turned to look at Alora more carefully, clearly considering her words. Alora went on two more steps before she too stopped and twirled about to face the Vulcan.:: Saveron: You are extrapolating based on Vulcan social etiquette. ::He guessed.:: DeVeau: Yes. I’m trying to keep from doing anything you might find...disagreeable. Saveron: You need not; I would have no objection. ::Quite the opposite, though as ever cultural constraints kept him from expressing that; personal wants were not logical. After a moment’s consideration he held up his hand, two fingers extended as he had in the ravine, though this time he did not offer it to her.:: Saveron: You may make invitation with this gesture at any time, and I will not refuse. ::She studied the Vulcan and the gesture he made, then stepped forward and extended her own two fingers. She knew what such a gesture meant among Vulcans and it was their way of showing affection. Yet it quite didn’t run the gammit of what she wanted. Still, the touch was enjoyable, even desirable and she tilted her smile upon him as their fingers came into contact with one another.:: ::Reaching out, Saveron did not make the same firm contact he had before but rather tapped his own two fingers momentarily against Alora’s. The result was a mere flash of mental contact, a brief sense of the other and their uppermost thoughts, mostly just their presence.:: Saveron: Such contact is acceptable in public. ::He explained.:: ::The smile faded and she glanced down at her fingers, then let them drop to her side, her expression fallen.:: DeVeau: I see. I’ll...try to keep that in mind. ::The disappointment was stark on her features; it might almost have been comical did it not cut him more than he cared to admit. They came from two very different cultures and whilst many things ran easily between them, sometimes they came up against some convention that did not.:: Saveron: You do not find such agreeable? ::The fingers that had enjoyed the quick caress rubbed lightly and briefly against her thumb as she pondered how to answer.:: DeVeau: I find it… ::No, not it, a lack of it. She considered the question, and finally set upon the path to an answer by asking one of her own. DeVeau: What are we? ::Saveron deduced that this was not a time for stating the blindingly obvious.:: Saveron: I do not understand the context of the question. ::He said carefully.:: DeVeau: I mean...we’re more than just friends, right? What we did, what we shared...we’re a couple? ::Doubts weaseled their way into her thoughts at any opportune moment, especially when no official conversation had taken place to establish specific boundaries..:: ::Now he understood; she was questioning the nature of their relationship.:: Saveron: I would consider that status eminently agreeable, if you would. ::Sometimes words could be incredibly awkward.:: DeVeau: I was kind of hoping...yes, I would find it most agreeable. ::More than just agreeable, but at times she felt perhaps matching his terms was the best way to communicate with him at that particular moment.:: DeVeau: But… ::She trailed off.:: Saveron: But you are not satisfied by my actions. ::There was no accusation in his words, rather he was voicing a conclusion to which he had come. He had known that they had a huge cultural barrier between them; it seemed that they were up against it once again.:: Saveron: Then tell me what you want, or show me. oO Do not make me guess, I do not have the same script that you do. Oo ::He was reminded acutely of their awkward holonovel experience.:: ::Tell him or show him? Both? And yet she was trying to avoid unpleasantness.:: DeVeau: I want to touch you. But I don’t want to annoy you, or make you uncomfortable, or offend you, or… ::Or any number of things that would be considered ‘disagreeable’.:: Saveron: You will not. ::He spoke gently, finding her sudden agitation disagreeable, more so than anything she might have done. He understood that patience, flexibility and an open mind were necessary if they were to be close. Such was no burden.:: Saveron: Did I not invite your touch? ::He asked rhetorically.:: I can only show you Vulcan social conventions, you must teach me Terran ones. I do not object to learning. All I ask is your patience. ::As he had before.:: Together we can find what is mutually acceptable. ::There was a moment of reluctance, but Alora stepped through and drew even closer to the Vulcan. She offered the two fingers extended. Then, when he joined her, she unfurled her hand and clasped his in her own. Gently and silently she urged him to open his hand fully, then laced her fingers between his, her palm resting against his. She smiled as her pale skinned hand pressed gently against his more verdant one, then lifted her gaze so that her emerald eyes locked with his silver.:: DeVeau: I want to hold your hand...but I don’t know if you would find that acceptable. ::The initial contact brought the mental contact that they’d previously shared, and his thoughts betrayed nothing but calm curiosity and the steady surety of his growing affection.:: ::However as Alora teased his fingers open Saveron drew in a sharp breath and clamped down on some of his thoughts, even as his high cheekbones flushed decidedly green. As she wound her fingers through his he let that control slip just a little. He didn’t find the contact disagreeable at all; quite the opposite.:: :::There was now a hint of more confidence in the telepathic connection they shared. Tendrils of her thoughts wound their way to gently caress his mind in a manner that suggested experience in reaching out to a telepath to some extent. Desire was a pale hue that tinted the very edges even as she silently prompted him for an explanation.:: ::His mind welcomed the touch of her thoughts, responded in kind as their thoughts wound about each other. It was their hands he had difficulty with. After a moment he clasped his other hand to hers, sandwiching her slim hand in between his two larger palms, to stop her playing with his fingers any further. Tones that were far from logical had begun to tinge his thoughts.:: Saveron: That is an intimate gesture. ::He explained carefully, his words echoed in his thoughts.:: We have very sensitive hands. ::There was a timbre to his voice that hadn’t been there before.:: ::She hadn’t been there on 83 Leonis II when the flash-burn to his palms had felled him as readily as a kick in the nuts.:: DeVeau: Do you wish me to not touch you? Saveron: I have no objection, I simply wish you to understand. That which I demonstrated earlier is what is acceptable in public for that reason. ::He tried to think of a way to explain.:: Saveron: Professor Bakewell once tried to explain certain Terran activities to me. His words were ‘There’s a polite smooch on the cheek and there’s Olympic-grade tonsil hockey’. ::His PhD supervisor had been both a mentor and a friend.:: This is how Vulcans kiss. ::There was a twitter of giggles at the words, made more humourous by the way they were spoken and who uttered them. That laughter was fleeting, however, as she paused to consider his statement a little more carefully.:: DeVeau: Humans...when we care about someone, we tend to hold hands. It is an outward sign of our affection, as well as a way to maintain close contact without being indecent. ::A hint of amusement coloured Saveron’s thoughts and he raised their entwined hands slightly..:: Saveron: Amongst Vulcans this would be considered very indecent. ::She hadn’t considered that. Alora was aware of the sensitive nature of a Vulcan’s hands, but what was considered socially acceptable had eluded her.:: DeVeau: So I should not hold your hand in public. Saveron: I would find that preferable, though I have no objection to brief contact. ::The finger-to-finger touch that was often colloquially referred to as the ‘Vulcan Kiss’ flashed briefly in his mind.:: DeVeau: But in private? Saveron: In private you may do as you will. I have no objection. ::Far from it.:: DeVeau: But not in front of Saavok. Saveron: Preferably not. We do not keep our children ignorant but neither do they require a practical demonstration. ::He said dryly.:: ::There was another soft giggle, but as the boy was not currently in sight, Alora kept her grasp on Saveron’s hand.:: DeVeau: It’s going to be hard. Saveron: What is? ::He asked gently.:: DeVeau: Not touching you. It’s...I guess it’s an automatic response, automatic desire for humans when they care about someone. ::That drew a warm, wordless response from his thoughts. Behind that mask of emotional control he cared for her, with all the strength of his people’s emotions.:: Saveron: I would not be offended if you did. ::He said gently.:: Only other Vulcans might. ::The rest of the crew probably wouldn’t realise what effect that gentle touch had on him.:: DeVeau: Straasik. He’s an engineer I met when working on finding the Treasure Sprite. He might get offended. Saveron: Possibly. ::Or he might be more cosmopolitan, working amongst aliens.:: DeVeau: So...when dealing with humans, I guess you have to fend off any sort of social touch. Saveron: That is why I usually adopt the stance that you did earlier. Terrans particularly are inclined to casual contact. ::Alora nodded, though not all physical touch among humans was considered casual.:: DeVeau: Particularly the shaking of hands. Saveron: In some things, one must be prepared to compromise. ::He allowed.:: ::He shook hands with people who had his respect.:: DeVeau: Are you...sensitive elsewhere also? ::That earned her a long look and an amused tone of thought.:: Saveron: Nowhere currently visible. ::He said dryly.:: ::Alora had to admit, she’d plunged right into that one. The comment set her cheeks aflame, but she could not hold her thoughts back from pondering where and what exactly - which only caused the colour to deepen.:: ::The green on Saveron’s cheekbones had begun to fade but it flared up again as, through their linked hands and minds, he followed the direction of her musings. And as attractive as he found Alora there were directions he was not yet ready for the relationship to go.:: ::The sense of relief that emanated from Alora at that thought was, perhaps, more intense than one might have expected. It was clear that she was not quite ready to travel that road yet by any stretch of the imagination - even if she didsuccumb to certain wonton thoughts.:: ::In that then they were agreed. Perhaps a change of subject was advisable.:: Saveron: Let us find my son, before he finds that squirrel. ::He suggested.:: DeVeau: Good idea. We might have to rescue the squirrel. ::And it would help provide a distraction from temptation.:: ::As they set off through the forest again, Saveron kept hold of Alora’s hand.:: END A JP by Lt Cmdr Saveron SO and CMO USS Invicta R238802S10 and Lt Alora DeVeau Chief Science Officer USS Invicta M239008AD0
  20. ((Bridge - USS Atlantis)) ::As the computer began its process of searching for the prefix codes for the USS Christopher Pike, Tracey leaned back and looked up at the two Romulan vessels lingering on the main viewscreen, and she wondered what deceit they had planned. Tracey knew first hand the levels of deception the Romulans can go to to get what they want, and her memories of a particular mission to a Romulan refugee colony, while serving on the Independence flowed back to the forefront of her consciousness.:: (USS Tiger-A - Sickbay 2 Years Ago)) VELANA: Commander, this might sound odd, but by any chance, have you ever been to Bilire VI? ::Tracey's features changed to that of curiosity. Tracey was curious how the Doctor knew about Bilire VI. It was before she came aboard the Independence.:: TOWNSON: Yes, Doctor. Is there a problem? It was there actually where I suffered my first loss of consciousness. Is there a link somehow? VELANA: When I was at the Academy, one of my xenopathology professors was...well, you could say he was obsessed with incurable diseases. One of the biggest that we studied originated on Bilire VI. I suppose I remember it because he was so close to finding a cure. All he was missing was one chain of amino acids that would break down the virus in the bloodstream, but every time he tried to manufacture it...he failed. TOWNSON: We had the same problem, as well as the Romulan Doctors at the colony. VELANA: Those amino acids...they're present in your blood, Commander. In exactly the right pattern. ::She paused.:: I can't explain how or why...but you're carrying the cure for one of the more unique diseases in the galaxy. TOWNSON: How!? ::Tracey looked at the Doctor with curiosity. Tracey recalled the day she passed out with vivid clarity.:: (( Bilire VI - Jungle - 3 Years Ago)) ::The trek back to the main colony was more difficult to traverse than it was to head to the campsite where Commander Clack was. Tracey figured it had to do with the darkness setting in. On her way through the brush, Tracey slipped on a root and lost her footing. She would have fallen but she was stopped by a strong arm. Tracey looked at the face that was attached to that arm and a look of recognition crossed her face. Tracey stood up as straight as she could, in the mud and water under her boots.:: TOWNSON: Commander Tal'Aura? TAL'AURA: ::smiling:: Yes Cadet Townson. It is I. But I am not a Commander. At least not here. TOWNSON: Cadet? TAL'AURA: Yes Tracey. You must remember. I was your Commanding Officer while you were stationed on Romulus. TOWNSON: Yes...but... TAL'AURA: I know what you are thinking. I too, was dragged to this universe during a transporter accident. TOWNSON: ::looking skeptically at the Romulan male standing in front of her, who was easily 6'7" tall and extremely muscular.:: What? TAL'AURA: About two years ago, I was ordered to Aramus II in the Delta Minara sector, where a Romulan convoy was attacked by Dominion fighters. During transport from my warbird, I was caught in a transporter accident and ended up on a warbird in this universe. TOWNSON: I...see...::still skeptical:: The information regarding my situation is readily accessible in my personnel files, and seeing as to how the Federation and the Romulans are... TAL'AURA: Commander Jaxx...How is your husband Commander Jaxx? TOWNSON: What? TAL'AURA: I remember when you used to sit at your desk on the 12th floor of the office building where we worked in the city of Solius, on Romulus as a signals operator. You would look out the office window and up at the stars. When I would come to your desk and ask you what you were looking at, you would respond with " I wonder what star Andrus is closest to now." ::smiling:: TOWNSON: ::blinking and shaking her head:: This...this is not possible. I... TAL'AURA: During that one training class when I had you fight that Norscican. The whole class was laughing at you, and bet against you saying that you'd never win. TOWNSON: ::tinge of anger:: And I didn't. I didn't last one minute. He threw me against the wall like I was yesterday's trash. That was completely unfair Commander. TAL'AURA: ::light laugh:: You're still the same, aren't you. I'm glad this universe didn't change you. I remember the first 30 seconds, you tried everything to win against the Norscican, despite the odds against you. You went at him with every skill at your disposal, despite the odds. ::pointing to the pips on her collar:: That is why you are wearing those. And that was the kind of soldier I saw in you so many years ago. ::Tracey looked up at the shadowed Romulan whose only source of light was coming from the planet's twin moons glowing over the man's head. Tracey had no idea what to make of her former superior officer potentially being also from the same universe as she was. And every part of Tracey wanted to believe that she was not alone.:: TOWNSON: Did you find a way to return? Did the Romulans try? TAL'AURA: ::looking down and speaking with a touch of sadness in his voice:: Unfortunately no. When I arrived in this universe, I came as a Centurion. I found it difficult to contain my skill level on the warbird I was assigned to. The Commander found me to be a threat to his authority. I was forced out of the military. TOWNSON: ::looking up and smiling:: Me too. When I first came here, I was an Ensign. At the beginning, I received quite a few tongue lashings by taking command in situations where I shouldn't have. TAL'AURA: At least they didn't force you to resign. TOWNSON: No. But I did spend a year at Starfleet Medical. I had a lot of trouble integrating at first. TAL'AURA: Understandably so. Do you still know how to speak our language? TOWNSON: Daie Riov. D'sora hrrau'khir nnaenukhe mh-aigrev reh, mrht p'tned-pra'krsh aeu. (Yes Commander. Coming here took a lot from me, but never that.) TAL'AURA: ::looking up at the darkened sky:: We should head back to the compound. Come to my...home...if you would call it that. We'll share some stories over some ale. TOWNSON: ::smiling:: That would be nice. I am honored, Commander. ::As the two headed back to the refugee camp, they spoke of the past when Tracey was stationed on Romulus as a Cadet. They also spoke about how they could, maybe, set an example for the Romulan Empire and the Federation to work together towards a more trustworthy coexistence. Upon arrival to the camp, Tracey and Tal'Aura entered his abode and continued to talk and laugh about the past, over a bottle of Romulan ale well into the night.:: ((Later)) TOWNSON: ::putting her empty glass on the small table in front of her:: I really must be going, Commander. Tomorrow I will introduce you to my superior officer and perhaps we can work on a dialog between the Federation and the Empire. If that could work out well here, perhaps it would spread throughout the quadrant. TAL'AURA: ::smiling:: And bring a piece of our universe into this one. And hopefully make us feel better about all the shameful things we have had to do in our careers, and do at least one thing good. TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Exactly. ::Tracey stood up and stood at attention:: TAL'AURA: Have a good rest Commander. TOWNSON: ::looking ahead without flinching a muscle:: You as well Commander. TAL'AURA: ::pause:: Dismissed. ::Tracey left the small building and headed out into the night. As she walked further away, she hummed the tune that was given to her by her bartender friend on DS 17, Jack. Tracey smiled all the way to her temporary lodgings, and she had a skip to her step, despite the muddy conditions under her boots. Hvaid Tal'Aura stood and picked up the two glasses, and as he was heading to put them away to be cleaned, his door opened and Arrhae entered and closed the door behind her.:: ARRHAE: I thought she'd never leave. TAL'AURA: You really should knock. ARRHAE: And wake up the whole neighborhood? ::Arrhae went to a small desk, opened up a drawer and pulled out a hyposyringe, rolled up her sleeve and placed the syringe on the inside part of her wrist and pushed down. Arrhae winced and clenched her fists as the welts in her arm began to disappear. She then replaced the syringe and went to sit down.:: ARRHAE: So? does she believe you? TAL'AURA: So far. Everything is going just according to plan. Except... ARRHAE: Its going to happen. Don't worry Hvaid. TAL'AURA: So far its only us who are getting sick. ARRHAE: It may take awhile, but they will. TAL'AURA: But we are dying. Not them. ARRHAE: Patience, my dear Hvaid. ::standing up and taking him around the waist:: Patience. TAL'AURA: I did overhear from their camp in the jungle that they have sent crew back to their ship. ARRHAE: ::smiling and looking up at he lover:: Excellent. And infected crew as well. TAL'AURA: Hopefully soon, Arrhae. Or else all this would have been for nothing. ARRHAE: Shhhh ::embracing the man:: We'll make them pay for what they did to Romulus. And they'll suffer for it for years to come and throughout the quadrant. And we, will have the only antidote. ::looking towards the desk:: TAL'AURA: Does anyone else know? ARRHAE: Not a soul. Everyone thinks I'm Federation friendly. TAL'AURA: Good. And we're about to get friendlier. That undercover agent on Earth sure did perform wonders retrieving that material from Starfleet Medical. Rest his poor soul. ::smiling:: I'm happy her doctor took terrific notes. ARRHAE: I must get back to my rounds before someone suspects something. ::And with that, the two embraced one more time and Arrhae continued going door to door to check the conditions of those in the camp before she herself headed to bed.:: ((Timewarp - A few days later - Bilire IV)) ::Tracey ran. She ran as fast as she could. With each footfall to the muddy ground, Tracey counted the seconds. She knew she would not make it to the conference on time, and being late was never Tracey's way. But Tracey had a second chance, to right a wrong she did years earlier. Even if it meant a poor mark on her service record, Tracey was not about to do once again what she did years earlier.:: ((Time-Warp - City of Solius - Romulus - Otherverse - Years Ago)) Tal'Aura: Beautiful evening, isn't it? ::Tracey had just finished work at the office and she was sitting at an outdoor terrasse at a Romulan version of a cafe. All day, Tracey had seen the sunlight beat in through her office window, and she knew that after her day of work, she wanted to relax. The Romulan Cafe was just on the ground level of the offices she worked at. Tracey was sitting, enjoying the setting sun of this alien planet as the Romulan soldiers patrolled the streets. This was a bustling, military city, where 90 percent of the soldiers were Romulan. The other 10 percent was made up of a mix of different alien species, with her being one of them. Humans who were assigned to Romulus were dispersed all over the planet. Since her arrival, Tracey only counted a handful of humans assigned to the city of Solius. And only about three times that amount who were members of Starfleet.:: ::Looking up from her PADD, Tracey squinted through the setting sun over the man's back. Placing her hand over her brow to protect her eyes, Tracey looked up and smiled.:: TOWNSON: Why yes it is. ::gesturing towards a seat opposite from her:: Would you care to join me, Commander? TAL'AURA: Why thank you Cadet. ::pulling out the chair and sitting down:: ::Tal'Aura ordered a drink and when it arrived, he took a sip.:: TAL'AURA: Still working I see. ::gesturing towards Tracey's PADD:: TOWNSON: Just studying, Commander. ::Tracey watched as the well-built Romulan sitting across from her took another sip. Tracey found him to be quite handsome, and if her situation would have been different, if Tracey was not with Jaxx, Tracey would have probably tried her luck. But She also knew it was completely inappropriate to think the way she did. But her loneliness of being away from her Betazoid boyfriend for so long, and the lack of any relationships in her environment, Tracey found herself to be flirting with her superior officer. To Tracey, it was as if there was an internal battle between her brain and her body. And up until today, her brain had won out. But all that was about to change.:: TAL'AURA: Very good, Cadet. I am very proud of your progress thus far. TOWNSON: Thank you, Commander. Tal'Aura: Please, Cadet. In there, ::referring to the office building they both worked in:: my name is Commander Tal'Aura. Out here, my name is Hvaid. ::smiling:: TOWNSON: ::placing her PADD on the table in front of her and looking at the Romulan with a mischievous smile:: Thats very unprofessional of you, Commander. TAL'AURA: ::feigning a broken heart by holding his hands to his chest:: My, my. Are you going to report me, Cadet. TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Only to say that you are one of the best teachers I've ever had. And only if you stop calling me Cadet. TAL'AURA: ::taking one last sip then putting his empty glass on the small round table.:: Then we have an agreement. ::Tal'Aura looked around the landscape of the city before returning his gaze on Tracey.:: TAL'AURA: Have you had the chance to tour this city, yet, Tracey? TOWNSON: ::nodding:: I took the primary tour upon arrival and I have walked around the center core near my place. Why do you ask? TAL'AURA: Well I know this city very well. My grandmother used to live here. I used to visit quite often as a child. I know places here the tour guides would never show you. TOWNSON: Is that so, Hvaid. TAL'AURA: Would you like me to show you? TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Yes. Since I've come to Romulus I find it all to be quite enchanting. I would very much like to see the rest of the city. ::And with that, the two stood up and left the little table at the cafe and walked. The two walked for hours throughout the evening, as soldiers wound past them at every turn. They went into various shops and tried different local treats. Tracey practiced her Romulan with each shop they'd enter and look around in. The two laughed and spoke the whole evening through, despite the ever present backdrop of the familiar war-zone they both lived in. Several hours later, the two found themselves on top of a mountain on the edge of the city, looking down at the city lights, while sitting on a bench.:: TOWNSON: There! That's it! ::pointing to building in the distance:: TAL'AURA: No, no! That's it! ::pointing to another building close to the one Tracey was pointing to:: I'll bet you dinner that's the one. ::smiling:: TOWNSON: No...Look at the markings on the roof. That is our office building over there. TAL'AURA: Oh...yeah. I guess you are right. ::smiling and looking at Tracey.:: It looks like I owe you dinner. TOWNSON: ::looking up at Tal'Aura and smiling:: Yes you do. ::On the bench next to theirs, a young Romulan couple were embracing one another.:: TAL'AURA: Young love. TOWNSON: ::looking towards the shadowed couple then back to the city lights:: Yes. TAL'AURA: How is Jaxx? TOWNSON: ::without averting her eyes from the lights below:: Far away. TAL'AURA: You miss him. ::Tracey just nodded.:: TOWNSON: I hate this war. TAL'AURA: Don't we all. It makes us all feel very lonely. TOWNSON: ::turning to look at Tal'Aura:: Is there someone special in your life, Hvaid? TAL'AURA: ::shaking his head and looking down to the ground:: I have put all my efforts into the military. I had no time for much else. I had to work hard to earn the rank of Commander at such a young age. Plus with the war...::trailing off:: TOWNSON: I know. You can find that one special person one day, and loose them the next. ::The couple at the opposite bench stood up and walked away hand in hand as Tracey and Tal'Aura watched them leave. Tal'Aura turned to look at Tracey and their eyes locked for a minute. Tal'Aura gently took Tracey's hands in hers and Tracey didn't pull back. She knew what would happen next, and for the first time in years, Tracey allowed her body to overrun what was going on in her head. Tracey took a deep breath, and the two embraced.:: ((Later)) ::A light misty rain was coming down over the city of Solius, as Tracey an Tal'Aura were walking down a lane-way, hand in hand, leading to Tracey's temporary home. When they arrived, the two stopped.:: TOWNSON: Thank you...for a wonderful evening Hvaid. TAL'AURA: And thank you too, Tracey. ::pause:: Back to work tomorrow. TOWNSON: Yes. Back to work tomorrow. ::The two kissed one last time, and then Tal'Aura started walking away. Tracey watched as the man became a shadow under the lights and then a message came through her PADD that drew her attention. Tracey quickly scanned the message which said she was being recalled from Romulus in the morning. Tracey looked up at the retreating Tal'Aura in the distance and opened her mouth to shout something. But before she did, she closed it and watched the man disappear into the night of this alien city. Tracey never saw Commander Tal'Aura again.:: ((Bilire VI)) ::Tal'Aura had been reading and the more he read, the more he was fascinated by this Starfleet Officer. The tales of battles and near death experiences were quite extraordinary. This one was not afraid of confrontation. Tal'Aura would look up from his reading once in awhile, hearing the moans of agony coming from the hospital, and he cringed each time and look towards the drawer wher the cure to the disease lay. And he would fight himself to not just take the hyposyringe and walk over to the hospital himself and cure all those suffering. But he knew Arrhae would kill him. Literally. He was under the watchful eye of the Tal'Shiar continuously. He was the chosen one to infiltrate Starfleet and introduce the "wrath". But so far, it was the Romulans who were dying. And Tal'Aura was torn man.:: ::Tal'Aura was interrupted by a knock on the door. He quickly hid his reading material and went to the door fully expecting Arrhae to be on the other side. But to his surprise, it was not.:: ::Huffing and puffing, Tracey found the door to her former superior officer's abode. She quietly chided herself for being so out of shape, despite the fact that running through mud was quite physically demanding. Tracey quickly caught her breath and knocked on the door.:: ::The door opened and Tal'Aura stood and looked down to the petite human standing in front of him. She was dirty and muddy and appeared to be catching her breath.:: TOWNSON: Hvaid. I've been ordered back to the ship. ::Tal'Aura just nodded.:: TOWNSON: I didn't want to just leave again without telling you. TAL'AURA: Well thank you. ::Tal'Aura was curious as to why the human used his first name.:: TOWNSON: I never told anyone. I...I tried to forget. It would have been impossible. TAL'AURA: ::with no clue what the human female was talking about, but nodding nevertheless:: I know. TOWNSON: Then you are not angry? TAL'AURA: If I was, I would have told you last night. TOWNSON: ::smiling:: Thank you, Commander. TAL'AURA: Return to your duties, Commander. Dismissed. TOWNSON: Aye Commander. ::Just as Tracey was about to leave the doorway, she became very weak and her world began to fade. Tracey then passed out as blood trickled out of her mouth. But she was once again caught by the Romulan and kept from falling. Tal'Aura then brought her inside and lay her down on his small couch, and placed a small saucer under her mouth to collect the blood. He then stood and looked over her unconscious body and recalled all the adversity this human had gone through in her short life. Despite her tiny frame, there was an obvious strength to the human that he admired. Besides, from the short conversation at the doorway, there appeared to be more going on than what was written in the Medical logs. Tal'Aura was just a minor Centurion in this universe and he was finally given the chance to be someone by helping in this mission. He grabbed it at the time, just to get out of the doldrums of life. But from the readings of the human lying in front of him, Tal'Aura knew he could be more, without having to kill. Without having to watch people suffer. Without thinking, Tal'Aura went to the drawer where the hypospray with the antidote rested, opened it, removed it and headed to the couch where Tracey lay. He pushed aside her long, black hair and pressed the hypospray to her neck. The audible hiss sound emerged and Tal'Aura returned the device to the drawer and then washed the blood from the human's mouth and waited till she came back to consciousness.:: ::After a few minutes, Tracey groggily sat up and looked up at Tal'Aura.:: TOWNSON: I...what happened, Hvaid? TAL'AURA: ::smiling:: I believe you may be overworked, Tracey. You should get some rest as soon as you get the chance. TOWNSON: That's never happened to me before.::sitting up:: How long was I out for? TAL'AURA: There's always a first time. You were only out for about five minutes. I gave you some smelling salts to revive you. So are you going to follow my order or not? TOWNSON: Hvaid? TAL'AURA: Your dismissed. ::smiling:: ::Tracey stood, came to attention in front of the Romulan for a moment, then turned and headed to the door. But just before leaving, Tracey turned back to face the Romulan.:: TOWNSON: Thank you once again, Commander. I will be back. TAL'AURA: I am looking forward to it, Commander. TOWNSON: This colony is lucky to have someone like you here. They could learn alot from you. You have always been the best teacher.::smiling:: TAL'AURA: oO As have you, Lieutenant Commander Tracey Townson, and that is why I could not let you die. Oo You are wearing out your stay, Commander. ::smiling:: TOWNSON: ::tapping her com-badge with her prosthetic hand:: Townson to Independence. One to beam up. ::Tracey took one last look at Tal'Aura then took a deep breath, closed her eyes and waited for the transporter beam to envelop her.:: ::Tal'Aura stood in the doorway looking at the spot where Tracey was standing seconds earlier, with a smile, then a look of shock overcame his face as he felt the blade enter his back. Then nothingness.:: ((Sickbay - USS Tiger-A)) ::Tracey stared at the Doctor, but her focus wasn't on her, but with a memory of a day where she lost more than a friend. A day she paid a price by befriending an agent who was out to destroy the Federation, she later learned. To a man she believed was her kind, from a place no one in this universe could fathom, nor would she want them to. And a day where she lost her rank, a piece of her life she held so dear, for one last chance to right a wrong she had done many years previous in a place that only existed in her own mind now.:: ::As she forced herself to contain her emotions in front of the emotional Vulcan doctor, Tracey sat with a look of shock on her face.:: TOWNSON: Tal'Aura! Fvah partrai hwi sthear i arhem? ::Velana jumped a bit as Townson shouted in Romulan. She understood the words, but the meaning behind them escaped her.:: VELANA: ::frowning:: Who is Tal'Aura? What did he do to you? ((Bridge - USS Atlantis - Present)) ::Still staring at the two hips on the main viewscreen, Tracey whispered words in the Romulan dialect.:: TOWNSON: What have you done now? ::Suddenly her panel beeped, the prefix codes for the USS Chistopher Pike was found. She turned and faced Commander Mitchell.:: TOWNSON: Commander. I have the prefix codes for the Pike. MITCHELL: response -TBC- Lt. Commander Tracey Townson Intel USS Atlantis
  21. ((Unknown location)) ((Several days later)) ::How long had he slept? How many hours? How many days? He tried opening his eyes, fearing the glare of light would burn them, but they only saw a soft red ambience all around. His neck hurt when he tried to turn it to the side, the ligaments and tendons taut with strain. He winced, closing his eyes momentarily. When he opened them again, he took half of the room he was in into view. He was on a four-poster bed lined with burgundy satin sheets and draped with matching heavy drapes. The faint scent of jasmine lingered in the air, as if left behind by a retreating visitor. The walls were plastered with ornate wallpaper, of various motifs and of various red hues. On the deep brown wooden bedside table a single white candle burned radiantly, casting mirthful shadows across the room, its wax spilling over like ivory locks. A vellum-bound printed book lay beside the candle, but from his position, Emerson could not read what was inscribed on the cover. He turned his head to the other side, a slow and painful process. He tasted crusted lacerations on his lips with the tip of his tongue. A man sat in a chair beside his bed.:: MAN: Hello. ::He was Gabriel. He recognized the voice. He remembered it despite bloodied, swollen and tattered ears. He also remembered the words that spilled out ice-cold from Gabriel’s mouth. “My name is Gabriel. I am here to take care of you, Quinn.” His heart pounded furiously inside his chest like a bat that had flown in through an open window and gotten trapped inside a room. He struggled to speak, his throat parched and raw as if he had swallowed brambles. A few helpless words escaped his bruised and bloodless lips.:: RAVENSCROFT: I.. am not.. Quinn. ::Gabriel sat with one leg crossed over the other in an enormous Louis XVI chair adorned with intricate upholstery. He was as calm as the candle-flame, barely flickering. His black hair, slicked back and greasy, and his black suit, pants, tie and shoes made his milk-white alabaster skin almost glow in the gloomy red room. His voice, when he spoke, was just as smooth as his youthful skin.:: GABRIEL: We know. Please accept our apologies for the error. ::Emerson felt the life-force sucked out of him. The room grew frigid in a heartbeat. Surely this must be a vile dream, he consoled himself in vain. The pain, oh the excruciating pain, all that pain.. simply because they thought he was his dead brother? His mind threatened to whirl out of control, out of sanity, almost.. but his dead brother’s name anchored him to reality.:: RAVENSCROFT: What do you want.. with Quinn? GABRIEL: It does not matter now. ::The man’s face was a statue made of marble. His sharp black eyes were just as cold and emotionless. Emerson tried to push himself up, up against the headboard. Every muscle and bone in his body screamed with agonizing pain.:: RAVENSCROFT: It matters to me. GABRIEL: ::sighing deeply:: Suffice to say, your brother owes us. RAVENSCROFT: ::gritting his teeth through the pain:: What do you mean? Owes? You mean owed.. He’s.. dead. ::It hurt even more to hear himself say those words.:: ::Gabriel stood up, lithely and silently and turned his back to Emerson. He was a small man, slim and light-boned. His tailored clothes fit him well.:: GABRIEL: Your brother is not the man you think he is, Emerson. RAVENSCROFT: I asked you, what do you mean? ::The strength of his voice was returning, rapidly, fueled by anger and confusion and a severe lashing of long-forgotten memories.:: Why are you after Quinn? What has he done?? GABRIEL: I have told you, Emerson. It does not matter now. We will continue our search for Tarquinn Ravenscroft. I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience we have caused you. RAVENSCROFT: Sorry? You’re sorry?! ::He forced himself silent by biting down on his tongue. After several seconds, he exhaled, long and hard.:: I told you, Quinn is dead. You’re wasting your time looking for him. GABRIEL: ::stopping to turn his head, just slightly:: Is he, Emerson? ::He turned back and continued towards the door.:: ::His heart stopped. What does the response mean? Is Quinn.. alive? Who is Gabriel and who are “we”? He had questions, many questions, spinning and roiling inside his mind like a storm of moths under a full moon. But only one came out of his mouth.:: RAVENSCROFT: Why haven’t you killed me yet? ::His voice was flat and cold, devoid of all life and hope.:: ::Gabriel opened the door, twisting the brass Victorian doorknob, the hinges squealing and whining like piglets led to the slaughterhouse. He stopped at the doorway. Turning, he cast Emerson a deadly gaze. Deadly, because of the faintest flicker of a smile on an otherwise cold statue.:: GABRIEL: You are no longer ours to deal as we please. You belong to the lady now. She procured you from us with a handsome price. Seems like you are just as desperately wanted as your brother. Good day, Emerson. ::He slipped out the door like a shadow, leaving it ajar and leaving Emerson frozen in a state of bewilderment, still plagued by a swarm of questions. And amidst that daze of confusion, he heard the distinct sound of soft rustling and light footsteps striking the floorboards, drawing closer to the doorway. It was a familiar sound, a sound from the distant past, a sound he could not quite place yet was right there, dancing and teasing on the tip of his memory. The scent of jasmine grew stronger, wafting into the room, stirring shadows and memories and turning his blood to ice. For once, the candle-flame trembled, terrified of things yet to unfold. He remembered now. He remembered all too well. He remembered the sound of rustling taffeta and chiffon, the bewitching scent of the midnight blossoms. He remembered her.:: TBC ================================ Lt Emerson Ravenscroft Xenolinguist USS Atlantis NCC-74682 as simmed by Captain Raj Blueheart
  22. ((Intensive Care Unit, Medical Starbase 358, Four Years Ago - Late 2387)) ::Silence. Pure silence.:: ::Silence, of which was deafening. Though it’d been a few days without thoughts other than his own invading his privacy, it’d been excruciating. He’d only felt like this when he was a child, growing up in the world of extremely quiet minds. It was difficult to get into a Rodulan’s head, so leaving the home planet for Starfleet had been overwhelming. He’d dealt with that. Gotten used to it, even used it to his advantage. But now?:: ::Not even a whisper.:: ::Tristam glanced around his room, glaring at the beeping monitor, of which (he presumed) kept track of his heart rate. Hadn’t 24th century technology gotten past the need for sound confirmation? With the absence of something proper to listen in to, he could hear his heart beating in his ears. Loud thumps. Sometimes a millisecond slower or faster, the beeping was getting on his nerves. It *had* been getting on his nerves, for the last few days.:: ::His mind was so foggy that he couldn’t even keep track of how many days it’d actually been. What a disaster. No telepathy, no mental ability, no physical ability . . . he might as well have been a vegetable.:: ::Out of nowhere, a new sound, rivalling that of the annoying and incessant beeping of the monitor, found its way into his ears. Footsteps, on the hard floor in the corridor. It was, at least, something to distract him, compared to the lack of activities he had to actually engage himself with. Whether or not it was just a passer-byer was his main question, one which was answered quickly.:: Sampi: Good morning, lieutenant. ::Doctor Charles Sampi stepped into the room, pleased to see that Tristam was awake. The junior doctor of the Pioneer had elected to stay with the engineer on the medical starbase while he was still in a coma following the accident. For the first couple of weeks, there were some precarious nights, but gradually, the Rodulan’s brain function seemed to be improving. Whether he’d actually be able to return to duty though was still too early to say.:: Sampi: Did you get a good night’s rest? ::The Rodulan took a breath in, holding it for a few seconds before he replied.:: Core: I don’t know. ::He hadn’t even been aware that it was morning until the doctor’s mention of it. Days blurred together. He’d close his eyes one second, open them to what might have been a new day the next second. Tristam looked down, fingers doing their best to motion towards the monitor.:: Core: Sound. ::he gave a slight sigh.:: Turned on again. Sampi: Yes. After the scare you gave us two nights ago, we felt it better to keep you on 24-hour telemetry. But if you’d like them muted… Core: The tone could be changed. The sound it puts out. It’s . . . emitting a frequency. And it’s irritating. I-I would like it turned off . . . ::The young doctor nodded and went over to silence the monitors.:: Sampi: Of course. Unfortunately, it’s one of the cruelest ironies that it’s difficult to get proper rest in a hospital. Core:::mumbling:: Unconscious and sleeping are two different things. Sampi: Now, lieutenant, the nurses tell me you haven’t really been eating much. Core: ‘M not hungry. Sampi: Understandable, but it’s important that you continue to get proper nutrition, especially while you’re bedbound. We really don’t want you to lose too much of your muscle mass. ::Muscle mass. It’d never been important to him, never came up at any point in his life except for now. Sure, he required muscles to lift things - lifting all sorts of things - but keeping a mass whilst bed-ridden? Wasn’t exercise required for that? He didn’t even know how bad his knee was, hadn’t been willing to test it and the doctors and nurses hadn’t been willing to make him stand - assisted or on his own - let alone move that leg.:: Core: My knee. Reconstructed . . . should be moved, shouldn’t it? Therapy of some kind? Sampi: Yes, but we have to make sure it’s safe for you to do so first. It’s only been a week since you’ve regained consciousness. Core: It aches. All of it. ::Tristam was an engineer. He wasn’t built to deal with injuries like this - he wasn’t even fully aware of the whole list of injuries he’d received, but he knew it was bad. He was lucky to be awake right now, let alone speaking, being about to nod, move his fingers - he could probably move both his legs, he’d just been too frightened to try.:: Sampi: I can increase your pain medication if it’s still bothering you after the nurses administer your current dosages. How does that sound? ::There was a pause and a frown as he considered the doctor’s words.:: Core: I don’t like being foggy. Sampi: All right, but let me know if you decide otherwise. Now, I’d like to go over a few questions with you, lieutenant. ::He offered a warm smile.:: I’m sure you’ve memorized them by now. Core: Always nice to test me. ::It gave him something to do, to think about. Maybe even to come up with new creative ways to answer - though the questions were so bland, requiring the correct answer. It was difficult to come up with interesting ways to answer questions like this.:: Sampi: ::nods:: Can you tell me your name. Core: Tristam Daniel Core. Sampi: And where are you right now? Core: Medical Starbase. No one’s told me the number - it’s never come up. ::He did hope, however, that the nurses had conveyed the proper information to his family. Last thing he really needed was for Gamighan to have a fit because of a nurse telling him his son had been in an accident without bothering to tell him where Tristam was now. Speaking of Gamighan, it’d be nice to have a family member around - Taywor or his dad. He’d even settle for Yanata, Taywor’s partner.:: ::The doctor nodded again.:: Sampi: And what day is it? ::That was always the hard one. He glanced up at the doctor, suddenly working his mind more to come up with the correct answer to that one. When had their last conversation been? Yesterday, wasn’t it? No, because . . . ::He didn’t know. He wasn’t even aware that *weeks* had passed since . . . :: ((Three weeks earlier, Main Engineering, USS Pioneer)) ::The Rodulan leaned in closer to Rahman to whisper to her, an amused smile on his face.:: Core: Remember that Admiral Kj-whatever is watching. Could definitely end our careers if we relax and all. ::It had been an attempt to lighten the “official” mood of the long awaited experiment. An Admiral - of whom Tristam had never been able to remember his name properly - had visited for a reason only the Artist knew. Something to do with this experiment being a part of the larger “quantum slip” project or whatnot. He didn’t really find it all that important and therefore didn’t pay it all that much attention.:: ::After a brief inspection of the systems, of which were flawless as per usual, they had commenced. So far, it was going smoothly - except for the insane amount of tension in Engineering. If he had a knife, he could probably cut through it.:: ::Roshanara was busy monitoring the increased plasma flow along the power transfer conduits.:: Rahman: Ahem. Would you behave? ::She shook her head slightly, although a smile of her own did escape as well.:: Core: Oh, I’m sorry. Am I being cheeky in front of the admirals again? Rahman: You’re being something, all right… ::She tapped a few controls on her console to initiate the graviton particle actuators.:: How are we looking on our power levels? Core: Steady. No fluctuations. ::She nodded. She was about to charge the gravitons when Admiral Kjær, head of Starfleet R&D, walked up behind them.:: Kjær: Everything looking all right, lieutenant? Rahman: Yes, sir. Just about to begin the initiation. ::The admiral looked pleased as he took a glance around the room, calling the attention of the other engineers.:: Kjær: Remember this moment, people. Just another step towards a new era of starship design and exploration. ::Roshanara took a deep breath. No pressure at all…:: ::She began the particle charge and as before, everything seemed to be going smoothly.:: Core:::nudging the Kriosian:: Seriously, you’re practically shouting your unease in my ear. *Relax*. ::She whispered back as the low whine of the particle actuators could be heard under the deck.:: Rahman: I’m sorry! It’s just… you remember the simulations. This is where it happens. Core: Don’t jinx it. ::She stared at the screen, holding her breath. They had discovered the failure once the graviton charge had reached 70%. Not consistently enough for Starfleet to call off the entire demonstration, but enough for Roshanara to have lost sleep over it the past week.:: Rahman: Particle actuators at full power. Watch those leads. Core: I know, I’ve got it covered. Calm down. ::On the screen, the charge slowly increased. 3%. 7%. 16%. It quickly picked up in pace, jumping several integers at a time. 31% 38%. 47%.:: ::An alarm went off. Roshanara glanced at the marker and tapped her combadge.:: Rahman: =/\= Bradley, I’m reading a slight dip in the flow rate. =/\= Bradley: =/\= Yes, ma’am. Just a little dirt in the mix. =/\= Rahman: =/\= Keep it to above 15. =/\= Bradley: =/\= Aye. =/\= ::Glancing back at her display, the charging process continued. 56%. 64%. 68%.:: ::She took in another breath.:: ::71%. 74%.:: ::Tristam didn’t have to read the console to know they’d made it past the critical point. His smile was still on his face as he noted the change of tone in her thoughts - relief, from what he could gather.:: ::She let out her breath.:: Core: Told you. ::She looked over at him and finally gave out a genuine smile today.:: Rahman: I suppose so. All right, get ready to begin the graviton transfer on my- ::The deck underneath them suddenly jostled, nearly sending her falling into him. A new alarm began sounding as her fingers flew over her console. The flow rate had dipped again below the threshold.:: Rahman: We need more power to the actuators. Core: I’m already rerouting. ::[...] it, it wasn’t working. She called Bradley again.:: Rahman: =/\= Ensign, I need that rate increased now. =/\= Bradley: =/\= Working on it, lieutenant. Having trouble stabilizing the EPS- =/\= ::His voice was cut off by the thunder of an explosion as the ship shook again violently.:: Rahman: =/\= Bradley? Are you all right? =/\= ::There was no answer.:: Rahman: oO [...] it. Oo ::The admiral along with the Pioneer’s chief engineer, a gruff Zaldan lieutenant commander named Meran, returned from farther up Main Engineering.:: Meran: What’s going on, Rahman? Rahman: We’ve had a loss of power in one of the actuators. It’s causing an imbalance in the system. ::But her change in tone emphasized her greater concern over the failed experiment.:: Sir, it sounds like Bradley might be hurt. We have to abort. ::The admiral seemed not too keen on that suggestion, his voice showing some frustration.:: Kjaer: Now, now, lieutenant, let’s not be too hasty. Surely you can find a work around? ::Tristam, having taken off immediately, was already in action and putting out fires on the upper deck, when he called out.:: Core: With all due respect, sir, the system is about to come down on our heads. ::The chief engineer nodded.:: Meran: I’m inclined to agree. History will just have to wait a little longer, admiral. ::He turned to Roshanara.:: Shut her down. ::Roshanara nodded and initiated the shutdown. It was frustrating to have it end this way, but they had little choice.:: Rahman: I’m deactivating the actuators now. Once I get the system fully disengaged, I’ll prepare a level 2 diagnostic to- ::Again, the ship rocked hard, this time knocking several crewmen off their feet. The admiral went over to help some of them as Roshanara looked over her panel to find out what was going on. Meran stepped up beside her, surveying the system schematics.:: Meran: One of the flow regulators isn’t responding! It’s still feeding an actuator. Rahman: It’s Bradley, sir. There must be something wrong down there. I’ll get down there and shut it down manually. ::She was about to head to the ladder when the chief stopped her.:: Meran: Negative, lieutenant. I need *you* up here finishing the shutdown. I’ll go. You can walk me through it. Rahman: Sir, respectfully, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch. ::The chief didn’t hide his annoyance, perhaps because of her use of courtesy or the implication that it was out of his grasp - or both.:: Meran: I may not hold a doctorate, Rahman, but I assure you I do know a thing or two about engineering. Rahman: Commander, I didn’t mean- Core: For Artists’ sake, by the time you two are done bickering we won’t *have* any flow regulators or actuators to shut down! ::He climbed down a ladder, passing the two.:: Rahman, do what you do best - Meran, not your project. Meran: Wait! ::But Tristam had already descended to the lower level. Meran turned back to Roshanara.:: Meran: Is *he* qualified to do this? ::To reassure him, she answered in the only way the Zaldan would understand and respect.:: Rahman: To be frank, sir, even more than you. ((Lower Engineering Level, USS Pioneer)) ::It was an unexpected mess. Tristam waved as much smoke away as he could, coughing through it as he rushed past plasma fires. The other engineers around him were working like ants, containing the fires the best they could. By the time he’d reached the flow regulators, he’d spotted Bradley - now he understood why the man hadn’t responded to Rahman’s last call. The last explosion hadn’t just fused a regulator, but knocked Bradley out cold as well.:: ::This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was just an experiment, for some new propulsion drive, and not even the entire drive - just one part of the drive. Nothing deadly. They weren’t testing a weapon. Yet here he was, dragging a Terran away to safety - and away from where Tristam needed to be.:: ::Once that was done, Tristam returned to the regulator. If he didn’t get this done in time, Bradley would have been the least of his concerns. A manual shut down on the flow regulator, when it was running this hard, was risky. If he brought down the power flow to the actuator too slowly, he wouldn’t be any help at all. And if he did it too quickly, the system could destabilize. Wiping away sweat on his brow, he started to work on the regulator.:: ::As much as he had given Rahman a hard time about being nervous earlier, he found himself a little apprehensive. He tried to remember from all the long nights spent in that lab what she had been talking about. Fortunately, while Tristam didn’t care much for propulsionists and their theories, he was good when it came to remembering the little details.:: ::And so, sure enough, as he watched over the regulator’s control panel, he realized that he actually did know what he was doing. He didn’t even have to call her as he gently guided the plasma flow downwards. The actuator overhead slowly came to a halt as it sipped its last drop of power.:: ((Back on Main Engineering)) Rahman: Actuators fully powered down. ::She looked up from the panel back at Meran and the admiral.:: He did it. ::The chief returned a sharp nod.:: Meran: We’ve still got EPS surges across half the system. ::As Meran went off to direct the other engineers in the room, Roshanara tapped her combadge. She couldn’t suppress her smile.:: Rahman: =/\= Rahman to Core. =/\= Core: =/\= We’re still in one piece, I see. =/\= Rahman: =/\= Thanks to you! Great work. =/\= Core: =/\= Yeah, well, it’s not over yet. =/\= Rahman: =/\= Trust me, when this is all done, you’ll have all the swuit sticks you could ever want. =/\= Core: =/\= That better include your company. =/\= Rahman: =/\= Hmmph. All right, lieutenant. I think you earned it. =/\= Core: =/\= Agreed. I am the best Rodulan engineer ever. =/\= ::Her smile faded as she saw one of the EPS monitors light up on her panel. She tried to stop the oncoming plasma surge, but more warning lights lit up along the EPS grid as the surge continued its cascade down the conduit towards him.:: Rahman: oO No, no, no! Oo ((Lower engineering level)) ::Normally, the Rodulan wouldn’t have been able to listen to one set of thoughts in a crowd of many - the amount of engineers scurrying around him meant he wasn’t only listening to the sounds around him, but to the thoughts of at least thirty, maybe forty other people as well. He was lucky he was able to sort through thoughts at all, considering he’d only been off planet for around six years. Rodul was a place of silence, meaning no thoughts could be heard unless you deliberately tried to read someone elses thoughts - though this was to your own peril, and the only one in his family capable of reading another Rodulan was his brother, though not without consequences.:: ::The sudden loud thoughts of one Roshanara Rahman, however, somehow managed to push through the blockade of the other random thoughts around him. The tone, the volume, and the fact that it was thought rather frantically usually meant something was up.:: Core: =/\= Roshanara? What’s- =/\= ::Her voice called out to him desperately through his combadge.:: Rahman: =/\= Tristam, get out of there now! =/\= ::Despite Roshanara’s warning, he hadn’t been given enough time. He’d barely registered what she’d said before it’d happened.:: ::It wasn’t a loud “bang” - it was worse than that. It was the sound of his ear drums bursting at what he would only later presume to have been the plasma conduit rupturing off to his side. He’d managed to clear the relay only a miniscule period of time before it blew as well. He knew that burns from an EPS relay, although painful, wouldn’t be life threatening. What he hadn’t counted on, however, was the sheer force of the explosion. He was light enough to be thrown into the bulkhead on his left.:: ::It was all very hazy after that, but despite his ears already ringing, he heard *another* explosion, close to him - whether or not it was above or next to him, he’d never know - as it caused the deck plating to tear apart. His last glimpse was of a massive bulkhead coming down on top of him. It was at that point everything went black.:: ::Silence. Pure silence.:: ---- Lieutenant JG Tristam Core Engineer, USS Pioneer & Lieutenant Roshanara Rahman R&D Engineer, USS Pioneer
  23. ((Counseling Suites - Moonsong’s Office)) :: He was still calm, and was fighting back his own waves of anger. The tears that threatened to rise to the surface were being held back by a manifestation of his will. Here he was, arguing with the one person on the ship who he came to for help. None of his conversations with Sal ever went this badly. :: ::Raissa stared him down, her dark eyes sparkling with unshed tears. She rose to her feet and moved away from him. Her hands clenched into fists as she struggled for self control. She was a counselor. This was her patient. This wasn’t how she was supposed to do her job. She was supposed to be emotionally distanced from the patient. Somehow that line had blurred and she crossed it without realizing it. A mistake that could cost both of them.:: Moonsong: ::her voice was hoarse:: I’m sorry CD… Doctor Skyfire. You came to me for help and I’m failing you. ::She paused, struggling to find the words. She decided to be honest. She wouldn’t blame him if he decided he wanted a different counselor. So much for her breaking his rotating counselors streak. :: Moonsong: ::she didn’t look at him:: You matter to me. Your life matters to me. It’s not professional of me, I know. Maybe the connection is the reason… I don’t know. But the thought of you dying… so senselessly... hurts. :: He watched her, listened to her words. His eyes continued to burn with the unshed tears, his calm seriously impacted. He had just endured the wrath of Raissa, and survived it with no shields around his mind. Much like yesterday, with the wrath of Gabi. And yesterday he got punched in the jaw for it. Did he need to reschedule? Did he want her help? After this, he wasn’t sure. Yet, something in her words touched him. She mattered to him as well, though for a different reason. His own voice seemed a bit strained as he spoke. :: Skyfire: I told you...there was method to my madness… :: He trailed off, resting his right elbow on his knee and his head in his hand. He didn’t have the words to elaborate right now. :: Moonsong: ::her voice was soft:: I know… But you have to know I will never be happy whenever you choose to risk yourself again. ::She paused and turned to face him:: And you will… it’s what you do. :: Her words cut into him like a d’ktagh, a single tear glistening on his face now from her wrath. He needed the shielding. This incident proved he needed the shielding. And right now, he didn’t have it. His calm was now severely wrecked, hurt and yet humbled by her words. He hated his profession for a few moments, but missed the sense of having a family. Desperate for one, without ever finding it within Starfleet. oO Except Sal, who’s on the Columbia. Oo He didn’t know how to react. :: Skyfire: :: Without looking up :: What do I do? :: Raissa looked down at the man sitting before her. Right now she felt as if she were looking at one of her brothers. Despite the grief she gave them, if they needed her help, she was there. :: Moonsong: It… it is your choice…. I want to help you… :: She decided to stick with the honesty route. It was better for him to make his choice with all the facts. :: If teaching you to properly shield gives you even a tiny bit of protection that could save your life…. If you’re not being battered by the thoughts of others… you can think things through with a clear mind… or without outside influence. :: Raissa returned to her chair across from him. She did not sit back. She leaned forward her hands clasped tightly together. She looked up at him with clear eyes. :: Moonsong: :: Her voice was a whisper: :: I would never turn my back on family. :: He slowly raised his eyes to meet hers, another tear or two streaking his face as he echoed the last word with a burst of confusion and relief. :: Skyfire: ...family? Moonsong: :: Her voice was soft even as she looked away from him. :: It is what I see when I look at you… feel you… :: He didn’t get it at first. Much like when he confessed his feelings of brotherly love to Sal, the ginger-haired counselor didn’t follow because he didn’t know what love is. And therefore couldn’t return it. In this case, CD dawned on the realization, and asked quietly with a touch of hesitation. :: Skyfire: Do you see Alexi or Andre when you look at me? Moonsong: :: Her eyes traveled over his face. :: You look nothing like them, but you do [...] me off like they do. :: He managed a faint nod, barely able to register what she was saying. He was still a mental wreck, unbalanced by her words. CD searched her eyes with his own, hindered as he was by additional tears that threatened to spread across his cheeks. :: Skyfire: Can we reschedule? I think I need time… :: Pause, however awkward. :: ...or shields… :: Beat. :: ...or both… Moonsong: ::She nodded. She’d be lucky if she kept her counseling license after this. :: I can give you temporary help with shielding until you take your inhibitor. I can help you put up something temporary. :: He blinked away a few tears, and noted the hesitation behind her words. In this instance, though he was still learning, he could tell she was preoccupied by...something else beyond seeing one of her brothers in him. :: Skyfire: I...I haven’t taken it in two days...not since I did that stunt on the station.. Moonsong: :: She stared at him. :: Two days…. You’ve never been able to function without them that long before have you? :: It was hard for him to find the words. His Russian was still a little noticeable in his words. :: Skyfire: I can, da. I just don’t like going that long vithout them until I get control over it. Moonsong: ::her mouth tightened slightly as she considered his words.:: I… I don’t think … I mean I guess I didn’t understand what you were using the inhibitors for. I thought you were using them to suppress your talent because you didn’t have any kind of telepathic shielding. :: To that, he just nodded. She was partly correct. :: Skyfire: That too. No shielding, no control. So, inhibitors were recommended. Moonsong: ::She just stared at him. Frowning slightly. She thought she would teach him how to shield and basic controls, but….:: But something is different…. :: Again, he nodded. He had become too reliant on the inhibitors to prevent everything from exploding around him. :: Skyfire: I think my brush with death might’ve had something to do with it, but vhat do you think it is? Moonsong: ::she shook her head slightly:: Honestly I don’t know… You need basic shielding… I think you should use the inhibitors to catch up on rest… lack of sleep makes it harder…. ::she hesitated:: I can help… if you want... Skyfire: :: He caught onto the hesitation. :: You’re hesitating, Ris. Why? Moonsong: ::She stared down at her hands: Because the easiest way, the natural way, to do that is a telepathic link. But….I’m still trying to deal with my own issues that might bleed through to you. My own shielding and control is shaky as I try to rebuild them. For that matter, I still don’t know what caused my powers to spike. :: He wiped away his tears with both hands, forcing himself to breathe. He was also hesitant; he wanted her help but by the same token if he didn’t accept it he would probably be more at risk than he was already for either doing something dumb or setting someone off. Despite his battered calm, he managed to keep his voice level. His Russian faded a little. :: Skyfire: Much as I need it… :: He glanced down at her hands, then nodded faintly. He needed this shielding, and hopefully some control would come with it. oO Is this reckless too? Oo :: I accept... :: Her hands clenched together tightly on her knees, the skin white as her fingernails dug into her palms. She swallowed hard and forced more control on herself. She was taking a risk that could be dangerous. Ironic since she had scalded him with her anger about taking risks with his life. Now they could be taking a risk with both their sanity. :: Moonsong: This requires that you trust me completely. You have to let me take control. :: He managed to blink away a few tears. Despite this “little brother” role she cast him in and the sibling quarrel they just had, he gave a faint nod. He felt his hold over his emotions starting to slip, and took a breath in an attempt to force control into himself. :: Skyfire: Alright. ::Raissa hesitated a scant moment and then reached across the table to take his hands. She was shielded but he wasn’t. She dredged up every technique her grandmother had taught her about telepathy and empathy. Closing her eyes she let go of her physical self and entered a place of the mind. The mental image she conjured was that of a plain white room. There were no windows or door but light surrounded them. She opened her ‘eyes’ to look at CD and gauge his reaction to the place. Thier surroundings would waver as his perceptions took over and she needed to see how far his trust would take them.:: :: CD also closed his eyes in the physical realm, and let himself slip into the realm of metaphysical. A place he’d been before -- the construct. Once his projected image opened his eyes, he glanced around and felt nothing. No anger, no panic, no rage. There was nothing. Just Raissa, and the light. :: Moonsong: ~ You are within my shields. ~ ::for a moment one of the walls seemed to soften and then it firmed and became solid again.:: ~ This is how I see them. ~ :: Skyfire’s projection glanced around once more before meeting her eyes. He felt words on the tip of his tongue, letting himself speak. :: Skyfire: ~Lead on, then.~ ::This time her hesitation was obvious along with her concern. Though she asked for his trust, she didn’t fully trust herself:: Moonsong: ~This is a basic shielding form I learn from my grandmother…. I want you to feel these walls and place your own. Overlay mine. They don’t have to be white. ~ ::She watched him carefully. Yet the corner of her mental sight kept catching a glimpse of a disembodied toothful smile.:: :: He walked over to one of the walls and ran a hand over it, feeling the wall. Tracing the texture. He too saw the disembodied toothful grin that seemed to take shape on the wall he was examining, and jumped back as though it was going to bite him. He wanted the cheshire to go away, so he could focus. The walls rippled slightly, forming a dark oceanic blue color. Though the grin was still present. :: Moonsong: ::she was frowning as one wall became blue. The ‘smile’ was becoming persistent; ~What is that image? It is coming from you. ~ :: Chythar tried to keep his calm, his muscles tensing as he came to the realization. :: Skyfire: ~It’s...a...cheshire cat…~ Moonsong: ~ Why is it here? ~ :: Skyfire sighed heavily and tried to use his force of will to make it go away. He still had no real shielding to speak of, only one of the walls having been transformed. :: Skyfire: ~I don’t know. I saw him..it...during my brush with death...taunting me…~ Moonsong: ::Her voice was uncompromising:: ~You do know… It is coming from your mind. What does it mean? Think!~ Cheshire: :: fades into existence, head first. :: ~Cathar!~ You are a sight for sore eyes, I must say! :: His eyes closed, muscles tensing as the cat faded into existence. He wracked his brain, trying to come up with an explanation for the cat. He was silent for several moments. :: Cheshire: :: faded into existence completely. :: ~Cat got your tongue, Cathar?~ Skyfire: ~I...I think he...was the one who…~ :: He trailed off for a moment. He needed to get the rest of the words out.No matter how much he disagreed with the reasoning. :: ~He’s the one who made me reach out to you…~ ::Raissa stared at him for a moment. The wall behind her flickered with a montage of images so fast they took only a moment. A storm, trees bending in response to a violent wind, then fire burning until the wall returned to white. In a way the wall showed a representation of her emotions. She fought for control again. He needed to shield. That was all. More could come later. Except for the issue of this annoying striped cat:: Moonsong: ~Not he…. you… you reached out to me… Your mind chose this image. Only you can control it. ~ :: The cat distorted in it’s shape for a moment, and then faded completely as Skyfire gained enough control to make it disappear as he sank to his knees. He was probably too drained to maintain control of the wall, but it held. :: ::Raissa watched and for a moment the cat had smirked in her direction as if it knew something she didn’t.:: Moonsong: ~Continue. Once you’ve finished it will maintain itself. One wall isn’t enough. ~ :: His concentration was faltering a bit. He blinked and tried shaking his head to clear it, reaching his good hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. He tried to focus his energy to make the rest of the walls the same color, his left clenching into a fist for focus. The walls gradually shifted color to the oceanic blue, and his silence indicated contemplation. :: Moonsong: ::her voice was quiet.:: ~ You need to finish it. Let got of your physical self. ~ :: He slowly obeyed, letting his hands hang by his sides. He clenched and unclenched his hands a couple times as the floor and ceiling shifted to match the color of the walls. :: ::When he looked in her direction he saw she had changed. Her form was no longer solid. Transparent and floating above the floor. Barely there..:: Moonsong: ~Make sure all the joints are sealed. ~ :: It took him a few moments to comply, his muscles tensing for a moment or two. When his eyes opened, she poofed like the cheshire had done. :: :: The cheshire reappeared again, and he laughed mockingly at the doctor. :: Cheshire: ~Was that so hard, Cathar? Why didn’t you figure that out earlier?~ :: His eyes opened slowly, a wave of shock crossing his face once again. Then he snapped back :: Skyfire: ~Oh, shut up.~ :: Despite the shielding, he attempted telepathic contact with Ris. :: Skyfire: ~Can I stop…?~ Moonsong: ::her mental voice was faint and layered in exhaustion and pain she couldn’t hide:: ~ Yes… your shielding will hold… ~ :: Skyfire came back to his physical self, opening his eyes and panting for a few seconds. His muscles were tense, and he was completely wiped from the effort. :: ::Raissa had let go of his hands and had fallen back in her chair looking almost as bad as she had when she beamed up from the station. The mechanics of teaching him to shield telepathically meant he had to literally push her out while she pushed back. It was exhausting, but effective. Especially when it worked. Of course she had never explained any of that part to him.:: Moonsong: Feel better? :: It took him several moments to formulate a response. He felt silence. Felt nothing. He wasn’t even sensing anything except the exhaustion they both felt. :: Skyfire: Everything’s gone...gone quiet… Moonsong: ::She closed her eyes:: You… you’ll learn to modify them as needed. This is the foundation. At this point….. ::she took a deep breath and then let it out:: Once… you get comfortable with the shielding…. You won’t need me anymore….. ::she put both hands to her head:: By my ancestors… what did you do to me…? :: It took him only a few seconds to react. :: Skyfire: Maybe...we can revisit this...in a few days? We both need...a bit of sleep, I think... Moonsong: If you like. But now that you have a basic shield… you really don’t need me anymore. :: He picked up the cold tea and drained its contents before slowly rising to his feet. :: Skyfire: I’ll call later to schedule those tests. Checking for brain damage and seeing where your powers… :: He blinked a few times. :: ..where your powers fall on the scale now. Moonsong: ::She leaned her head back and put an arm over her eyes as if the light was too much.:: Fine, but Dr. Ven is an arrogant a--...... His nose is so high in the air the gods don’t need toilet paper. :: The doc nodded faintly in understanding. He didn’t like the man either. :: Skyfire: If you’d rather I administer the tests and so on, I will do so. Just to minimize the friction within the department. Moonsong: ::She removed her arm to peer at him.:: If I have a choice I don’t want to deal with the man. He is very competent in his field but he makes me feel like a lab rat. Skyfire: Say no more. I’ll handle the tests, you won’t have to deal with him. :: He felt the exhaustion from her. :: Tell you what. You can call me when you’re ready. We’ll talk more at that point. ::Raissa nodded. As far as she was concerned their session was over. All she wanted to do was to crawl into bed get some sleep. Ideally she’d like to crawl into Carter’s bed and… Her eyes flew open.: Moonsong: ::her face reddening:: Uh… yes. Of course Doctor. :: He disposed of his cup and headed out the door. He felt better. For once in his life since his accident with Azin, he had some shielding and a sense of control. :: ==== Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire Acting CMO USS Garuda NCC 73809 & Lieutenant JG Raissa Moonsong Counselor USS Garuda​
  24. (( Sickbay, USS Garuda )) :: Ensign Carter Greyson had returned with the recent away team, and didn’t have time to change. He recalled that he’d seen Ris transported away at Gabi’s insistence, and made his way to sickbay to check up on her. He entered and approached her bedside, noting that she didn’t quite seem herself. :: Greyson: Hey. You alright? ::Raissa opened her eyes slowly. She felt strangely light headed and calm. Almost floating in a warm comfortable state. It took her eyes a moment to focus on the face floating above her. Her mouth curved into a warm smiles:: Moonsong: ::softly:: Carter…. You must be a dream… :: He smiled down at her, his eyes sparkling with warmth. He too was calm, but unimpeded by medication and seemingly unaffected by the projection. :: Greyson: No. I’m real. Wanted to see how you were. Gabi was pretty insistent on getting you out of there. I just got back. Moonsong: ::her smile faded:: Gabi… you’re with Gabi… not fair… ::She remembered seeing them together before she transported away. Gabi and Carter. She heard their voices in the darkness of the station:: ((Flashback)) Greyson: No, we were trapped in a turbolift. Ensign Porchevska ascended the shaft in heels and a skirt, so kudos there. I got us out with a tool kit and brute strength. Porchevska: Muscles did a great job. You should have seen him. ::Raissa suddenly felt her stomach drop. Carter and Gabi. They were together. She took a deep breath and let it out. For a moment she really hated her friend.:: ~Raissa~ ::Raissa closed her eyes, not that it made any difference in the darkness:: ~Please… Stop…. ~ Moonsong: :;hiding her physical and emotional pain:: We need to get these people to Medbay…. somehow… ::Then the lights returned and she saw them. Side by side. Then Gabi was holding her arms and pushing her away from Carter and other hands grabbed her:: Porchevska: Over extended empath. ::It was short and sweet:: Get her back to the ship. Dr. Ven will know what to do. Ocana: ::nods:: I’ve got it. =/\= Ocana to Garuda. Two for immediate transport to sickbay. Moonsong: ::frowning and shaking her head. She tried to pull away from the nurse:: No.. wait… I have to keep them calm… ::Her eyes locked on Carter. Almost pleading as she vanished in the swirl of the transporter energy:: ((End Flashback)) ::The memory seemed disjointed and unreal:: Moonsong: ::her eyes sparkled with tears:: Why… why not me….? :: Carter had a seat by her bio bed, and kept his voice low. :: Greyson: I’m not with her. She told me how you felt about me, and I realized we hadn’t spoken since my transfer to engineering. I’m not your patient anymore. I’m in love with you. ::Raissa blinked at him. She was having trouble focusing on his words. But he had such a nice voice:: Moonsong: ::murmurs:: I love your voice… I hear it in my head all the time… ::She frowned slightly:: I’m on drugs I think… You’re in my head… you’re always in my head… Can’t stop thinking about you…. :: He felt the drug-induced haze in a burst of empathy. He’d been there. Under sedation but still conscious as Chythar pried bits of shrapnel from his upper torso shortly after the console exploded. He wanted to reassure her, somehow. :: Greyson: I’ve been there...When the console blew, I was there. Lying on a biobed. Under sedation. Like you. And at that time, I thought my life was over. Now it’s not. We have a chance to be together. :: whispers into her ear :: I love you. ::Most of his words didn’t make sense. Life was over and being together? She blinked at him through tear filled eyes:: Moonsong: ‘Mmm dreaming… ::His face seemed so close. She felt the familiar warmth washed through her under his gaze.:: Carter…. why not me…? :: He took her hand into his, not realizing about the effect it would have on her. Or on him. For a brief moment, their minds linked. His mind was remarkably disciplined, but the recent talk of the exploding console brought that memory to the surface and the aftermath of his own surgery. His body seized for a moment, breathing ragged. As he let go of her hand, he panted softly :: Greyson: I...love you, [...] it... ::Raissa’s eyes were wide with shock. For a moment, while he held her hand her chest was on fire with pain. An echo of trauma that was not hers. Pain that pushed aside the mind numbing effects of the sedative. She wasn’t dreaming. He was there. The reality shook her hard as the pain faded.:: Moonsong: C-Carter…? :: He took a few moments to regain his breath, to get his breathing back under control. Then spoke once more. :: Greyson: Ris...I don’t love Gabi... I love you…. Moonsong: ::She blinked at him owlishly:: You do…? You do… I felt it… saw it… ::Her mouth trembled:: I love you… Greyson: :: he smiled at her. :: When you’re released, we can go get a drink. I’ll break out some Antaran brandy in my quarters and see what happens...what do you say? :: He glanced around, idly curious where Dr. S was. This was his sickbay, but he wasn’t anywhere in sight. Then he turned his gaze back to his love to watch her reaction. :: ::Raissa frowned. She could feel his mind. She shouldn’t be able to. “see what happens’ had a number of images involved.:: Moonsong: You’re not a telepath… :: The comment caught him off-guard. Unlike CD, his DNA wasn’t toyed with like a ball of yarn with a bad treatment. But still, that was an odd comment. :: Greyson: What? I mean...no, I’m not...what are you talking about? Moonsong: I see… glimpses… images… from you… Your mind…. ::there was a hint of fear:: Greyson: I don’t get it, hon... Something happened on the mission to trigger...something? :: This was a field he didn’t understand. He wanted to understand it, but didn’t have the faintest idea about telepaths. :: Moonsong: ::She was trying hard to suppress her fear:: Carter… I’m an empath. I sense emotion. I don’t read thoughts. I’m not a telepath. They can connect to me, but not the other way around…. ::she swallowed hard:: Something is wrong with me…. :: Concern crossed the young engineer’s face. He didn’t know what exactly that meant, but had at least a glint of understanding. :: Greyson: Does Dr. Skyfire know about it? :: He glanced around again :: Where is he, anyway? Not like him to leave a patient sedated in sickbay without being around… ::Raissa shook her head. She had some jumbled memories. All starting with an inferno of pain and her name being called. She vaguely remember seeing Skyfire and Dr. Ven arguing with a pretty Orion. Which… really didn’t make sense.:: Moonsong: I… I don’t know… my memory…. It’s jumbled. ::she shakily pushed herself into a seated position:: Greyson: I’ll stay here until one of the docs comes back, alright? We can ask then. Moonsong: You… you don’t have to stay… Greyson: :: He smiled softly. :: I’m staying because I’m in love with you, [...] it. :: Now that she seemed to be in her right mind and not loopy from the drugs, it might stick. :: Moonsong: ::she blushed. She would never tire of hearing him say it. Well, perhaps without the curse on the end of it:: I know… I was just saying… :: Greyson smiled again, his gaze locking with hers. :: Greyson: I love you. Moonsong: ::her voice was quiet:: I love you too…. ===== Lieutenant JG Raissa Moonsong Counselor USS Garuda Ensign Carter Greyson (PNPC) Engineer USS Garuda NCC 73809 Simmed by: Lt. Chythar Skyfire
  25. ((Stateroom of Tolas & Ketanya Dajhul, Creshan'na Riyas)) ::Ketanya, despite the opinions of many around her, was not an entirely heartless woman. There she sat, at the table, with the data tablet featuring Tolas’s death certificate. She felt empty. Whilst she may have used Tolas to get into her current position, high above the typical wives of Cardassian officers, she did enjoy spending time with him - regardless of the deluded opinions. He was a peaceful man, didn’t enjoy arguments. Perhaps that was the reason she enjoyed being with him - she always won against him. ::But now, here she was. His death had been unfortunate and could not have been predicted. She was vulnerable, without a plan, but that didn’t mean she still didn’t have tricks up her sleeves.:: ::People could be bought.:: ::The chime to her door sounded, and shortly after, her Cardassian handservant entered her chambers.:: Handservant: Forgive me, madame, but Glinn Noraht is here to see you. ::Ketanya glanced up in time to see the man arrive, laying the tablet back onto the table. Not waiting for permission, he stepped around her “assistant”.:: Noraht: Ahem, Gul, actually. Ketanya: *Gul*? How convenient of dear Legate Demoric. ::He did his best to suppress a smirk. No need to be rude to a lady in mourning.:: ::He gestured for the handservant to leave them before continuing.:: Noraht: When the Union calls for service, I answer. Ketanya: Oh, I’m *sure*. Just stepping up in time of need, doing what’s right for Cardassians everywhere. Save the patriotic speech, Noraht - I have no time for it. Noraht: Hmmph. ::He could see why Dajhul had enjoyed her company. Whatever else he thought of the late Gul and his idealism, that he had been able to successfully court such a woman of fierce mindset had earned him some respect in Noraht’s eyes.:: Noraht: Actually, Madame Dajhul, I’m here to let you know Legate Demoric will not be stopping by. He had important affairs to attend to, I’m sure you understand. Ketanya: Why am I not surprised. Now that Tolas is dead, there’s no reason for Demoric to see me ever again - so he believes. Noraht: ::bows his head slightly:: I am just a simple soldier, madame. I will leave the politics to you and your ilk. Ketanya: Soldier. ::She scoffed.:: You’ve never known the meaning of the word. Tolas took you by the hand and assisted you to get where you are - as soon as he died, you of course, were *quite* happy to take his place. ::He didn’t have to take her abuse anymore. She wasn’t the wife of a Gul anymore. But, staying polite would only infuriate her more, he knew, and so that’s what he did to enjoy the moment.:: Noraht: I understand how difficult a time this must be for you. I will ensure your transportation back to Cardassia along with the gul’s body is reflective of the respect owed to you and him for your service to the State. Ketanya: Unfortunately for you, *Gul*, I have made no plans to leave the station. And until those responsible for the death of my husband are found, decapitated and torched, I have no plans of the such. Because of my husband’s sacrifice, the Union, by my understanding, should allow compensation. It is my right, and would have been my husbands wish, that I remain here, assist with Cardassian efforts. ::Noraht’s smile dropped as he realized what she was doing. Public service was integral to Cardassian society, and military service in particular was revered. Typically, the widows and families of those who had fallen in battle were compensated well, but more importantly, they were granted with a high amount of vesala -- social currency. Thus, it would be difficult, if not outright improper for Noraht to refuse her request.:: Ketanya: Starfleet has willingly agreed for me to remain here, allowed me to keep their personnel assigned to me. The Union, however, has little choice in the matter. Or must I take the matter to someone of a higher stature and intelligence? ::It took a moment for him to gather his words.:: Noraht: I’m sorry, madame. I was under the impression you were not particularly fond of your placement here. Ketanya: Never assume. If anything, I’m growing quite fond of the place. Noraht: ::through gritted teeth:: How nice to hear. ::beat:: Well, perhaps I should give you a few days to think it over- Ketanya: Oh, that won’t be necessary. Soon my Starfleet assistant will be back on duty, and I will have everything I need - provided that my current situation doesn’t change. I will, however, be sure to contact you should I require . . . *anything*. ::There she was. Playing cards back in hand. It was only a matter of time before she was indeed back on top of her situation.:: Noraht: Of course, madame. If you’ll excuse me, I have station business to attend to. Ketanya: We’ll keep in touch. ::The man didn’t answer as he turned to leave. He simply shoved the handservant aside as he exited.:: ::Noraht was a bad decision made by Tolas at a time of weakness. As he walked out, she made the decision - the station could not remain under the partial command of an unpredictable Cardassian. She needed to contact an old friend.:: ::Noraht needed to be eliminated.:: --- Ketanya Dajhul Widow of Gul Tolas Dajhul & Gul Noraht Co-Commanding Officer, Creshan'na Riyas Simmed LtCmdr Bakari & LtCmdr Core USS Garuda
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