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  1. ((Guest Quarters, USS Thunder-A, Deck 3)) Shi'lar: :: turning to Savan again:: Why would I need such a guard? You should not concern yourself with that duty. They will not kill me. ::Savan was fascinated by her confidence.:: Savan: How can you be sure? Shi'lar: ::confused again:: I'm not sure how I know that, other than they need me. My captors were told not to harm me. But when I refuse to tell them anything they carried things too far and I almost died until I was rescued. Savan: Would you have ever told them what they wanted to know? Shi'lar: Worla! Not until I'm sure . . . Minister Varaal must approve. Savan: Approve of what? :: Again she responded that she didn't know. Somehow the reasons behind his questions alluded her. :: ::At that time, Savan’s comm badge went off.:: :: Shi'lar occupied herself, standing in front of the Kol-Ut-Shan, but she listened to the conversation.:: Ryan: :: =/\= Counsellor Ryan to Lt. Savan. =/\= ::Savan recognized the name, though they had not yet met. It was the new Terran counselor who had tried to enter Shi’lar’s room at the medical building, according to the security reports. He raised his eyebrow.:: Savan: =/\= Counselor, this is Lt. Savan… =/\= Ryan: =/\= Doctor T'Leira and I are wondering if this would be a good time to attend to our guest? =/\= ::Counselors had their way of being insistent. Savan chose to be polite but formal.:: Savan: =/\= I will need to confirm this with Admiral Turner, but I believe so. =/\= Ryan: =/\= Alright then. Ryan out. =/\= ::Shi’lar seemed concerned.:: Shi’lar: ::staring at him quizzically :: Who was that? Savan: That was the ship’s counselor. I believe you may have met him. Do you remember? Shi’lar: ::pondering the question for a moment:: How many counselors does the ship have? I met one the day I met you, and later, I met another in sickbay, but Conners and his Marines threw him out of my room for bothering me. Savan: He and one of the ship’s doctors would like to see how you are doing medically. ::Savan was not certain how Shi’lar felt about this news.:: Shi’lar: Oh, then I will see them. The doctors have treated me very well, and this will give me an opportunity to thank at least one of them them. Savan: I will need to check with Admiral Turner to verify they may proceed. Shi’lar: Why? I have given my permission. Savan: I prefer to take a conservative approach. Shi'lar: I see. Okay, if you must. ::With Shi’lar’s approval, Savan hit his comm badge.:: Savan: =/\= Lt. Savan to Admiral Turner =/\= ::There was no response. Just a quiet static. Savan: =/\= Admiral Turner, this is Lt. Savan. Please respond. =/\= ::Savan became concerned. He saw that Shi’lar was observing him.:: ::Savan quickly went over to the quarter’s terminal.:: Savan: Computer, activate station terminal, clearance Savan-Delta-Five-Three-Tango. ::Instead of activating as usual, the display turned erratic. Shi’lar turned to him.:: Shi’lar: ::hinting her fear:: What's wrong? Savan: I am not certain. I ran a full set of security protocols beforehand. Savan: =/\= Lt. Savan to Security =/\= ::Once again, no response. Savan took out his tricorder. Shi'lar: ::her worry intensifying :: Is this usual? Savan: I am detecting an odd power signature in a nearby EPS power junction. Shi’lar: ::Unfamiliar with Starfleet terminology:: What does EPS mean? Savan: It appears that someone has left a gift for us… ::Savan ran over to an engineering panel. He was a security officer, not an engineer.:: Shi’lar: ::his swiftness alerted her to his concern about the gift. :: What are you doing? Savan: I am trying to determine if this is a system overload or something else. Unlike most Vulcans, science and engineering is not a favorite subject of mine... I am trying to divert power to another junction. ::Then he heard the door chime going off. Apparently, that system had not been disabled.:: :Shi’lar appeared concerned.:: Shi’lar: Should I answer it? Savan: It may be the counselor… or someone else. Shi’lar, please get behind me. ::As Savan drew his phaser, Shi'lar did as he told her. Placing her hands on his sides so he would know where she was.:: Savan: Is that you, Counselor? ::Savan was not certain if the door intercom was working.:: Savan: Counselor Ryan? ::Shi’lar’s face began to grow serious.:: ::Savan’s Vulcan hearing allowed him to detect a Terran voice on the other side, a supposition verified by his tricorder. He decided to try his luck and pound on the door. If anything Savan could pull the door apart... or blast it open, though that would be far less elegant..:: Ryan: Lieutenant, ::He leaned and shouted at the door.:: is everything okay? MSPNPC Shi'lar Simmed by Rear Admiral Toni Turner Commanding Officer Embassy Duronis II - USS Thunder NCC - 70605-A Author ID number: E238209TT0
  2. ((Main Sickbay - Starbase 118)) ::Mirra had reluctantly left Tyler's side, so she could order the necessary tests in order to get him discharged. It was strictly precaution, but had they not reached Tyler when they did, things could have ended very differently. Being blown through the wreckage into the deep cold of space, was more of a common occurrence in the lives of Starfleet officers than one would think. So, tests it was. Besides, the longer he was confined to bed, the more likely he would get the actual rest he desperately needed. She finalized the order in the computer, and sat back, staring aimlessly at the terminal in front of her. She was tired. No, she was exhausted. Both physically, and emotionally. Her empathic senses had been battered so thoroughly, she wasn't entirely sure there wouldn't be lasting damage. Her shoulders hunched involuntarily as unwelcome memories came bubbling to the surface. The mission...the suicidal mission, had been hell. Everyone felt it, the Sickbay of the now destroyed Albion had been filled with it, the dark, cold, fear. So thick it was as if it was being pumped through the air-vents. Looking down, she became distracted by the shaking of her left hand. When had that started...? She hadn't left Sickbay once since they returned. Tyler knew it, and had called her on it. He said she should go home. She had amazing staff and support doctors, he said that her staying was unnecessary. He was right, of course. She had what she thought of as a "dream team". Now even more complete with the addition of Dr. Phrik. Despite their...creative first encounter, Mirra was pleased he chose to accept Sal's offer. Like any good department head, she had done her research. He was a brilliant and talented surgeon, he had a finesse about him, that was noted heavily in remarks by his superiors. As was his...unique bedside manner. Which she had already noted, much to her amusement. He wasn't cruel per-say, just...direct. Very direct. Considering some of the more colorful patients that came through Sickbay...he'd fit in perfectly. So when she caught sight of Junior Lieutenant Taelon walking by with a trolley of mechanical arms, heading towards Tatash' room, she stopped herself from following. Taelon was a uniquely brilliant scientist. His enthusiasm, and raw talent, was second to none that she had ever encountered, which, was why she sought him out to be the one who would be in charge of prosthetics. And considering Dr. Phrik was already planning on following up with Tatash...his direct, and realism would be well matched to ensure whichever replacement was chosen, was the right one. The shaking of her left hand was consistent, making a fist would only relieve the tremors for a short time before they'd return. It had to be due to the lack of proper sleep...or the fact that she hadn't had a real meal in...well she couldn't remember when. Glancing at the confirmation on the terminal, she realized the tests she ordered would take awhile to be completed, and then the results to return. It was enough time for her to go to her quarters for a shower and a change of uniform. Walking back by his room, Mirra saw Tyler had fallen back asleep. Good. She wouldn't disturb him. Catching the eye of one of the nurses, she relayed that she would be going home for a bit, but she'd be back soon. The look of relief on the nurses face was confirmation enough for her. They had been worried, and she made them that way. A small pang of guilt rippled through her, she quickly banished it and gave a small smile and wave of parting before heading out.:: ((((Brief timeskip - Mirra's quarters - Starbase 118)))) ::Getting back to her quarters had been uneventful. It was a nice change of pace from the last few days. Finally stepping in, it struck her. The familiar smell of the incense and meditation candles, the haphazard array of medical journals she had left on the table, a small ceramic cup that had been painted for her by Tyva Dal still sat next to the journals. The contents long gone, but the barest of stains from the tea she had sipped while reading remained. The tremors in her left hand increased, her whole arm now succumbing to the minuscule movements. Over the course of this last mission...some part of her never expected to see her quarters ever again. The realization slid up her spine, leaving a chill and goosebumps along her flesh in it's wake. That was the bare truth of it. She expected to die out there. Her whole body began to shake, she hadn't died, not physically anyways. But..a small part of her somehow never returned from the Albion...until now. Her breath became quick, and labored. With wooden legs, she hobbled over to her meditation area. Her hands shook so badly, she was unable to light either candle or incense. The tears came, coursing down her face. Rivers of pent up emotion that burst through the haphazardly constructed barriers. A sob tore through her, bringing her to knees as the proverbial flood gates burst through. Memories of the Albion, the Avalon, the countless death certificates signed, the number of catastrophic injuries that some would never recover fully from. Tatash, coding on her table. Tyler, half frozen and gasping for precious oxygen. Theo's burned hands, Aitas broken ribs, Taelon's bloody and broken face, the swirling faces of crewman lost assaulted her senses. Eyes open or closed the images remained the same. Somehow she managed to reach her bathroom before the retching started. Clinging to the cool metal of the receptacle, she gasped through the retching as everything over the past several days came pouring out along with the small amount of tea, toast, and the thoughtfully crafted catalana swirls from Lt. Kro. After a small eternity, the retching and dry heaves subsided. Breathing heavily, she slid down to the floor. Her sodden cheek laid against the cool tile of the bathroom floor. The tremors had begun to fade, only small little quakes remained. She had fallen apart spectacularly, it had come on sudden and unexpected, but...it was over. Curling into herself, she lay on the cool floor, utterly spent physically, and emotionally. The release had been brutal, cathartic, and completely necessary. She wasn't sure when, or for how long, but she had fallen asleep, curled up on the floor of her bathroom while the world continued on around her. She only became aware of that fact when she was jolted awake suddenly by the familiar voice of Theo.:: Whittaker: =/\= Whittaker to Senior Staff. Report to.... =/\= :: he looked down at the docking information. :: =/\= ... Main Hangar Bay, Docking Port Sixteen Baker for immediate deployment. We are taking our new auxiliary vessel for a shakedown cruise. =/\ = ::Sitting up, she looked around, momentarily confused. Then the events of last night came seeping in. She nervously laughed at herself. Big, bad CMO curled up and crying on the bathroom floor. Shaking her head at the enormity of it all, she stood slowly, her aching muscles protesting their repose on the hard, unforgiving cold of the floor. She had slept there all night, and she was acutely aware of that fact with each new creak or pain from her joints. Sighing heavily, she caught sight of herself in the mirror. She looked...terrible. But beyond the swollen puffy eyes, tear stained cheeks, and crisscross impression on her forehead from the bathmat that had been her pillow, she looked alive. And that, was everything. Giving her reflection a small smile, she stripped off her crumpled uniform and stepped into the shower. She had a hanger bay to report to after all... --------------------------------------- Lieutenant Mirra Ezo, MDChief Medical Officer Starbase 118 OpsC239205ME0
  3. ((Traenor's Quarters - USS Za)) ::Barque was yipping in a quiet whimper of excitement, happy to see the stranger. Guard dog the beagle was not, more willing to play with any intruder rather than scare them off. The interloper wandered aimlessly throughout the quarters, picking up and displacing knickknacks and running an idle finger along the ebony sheen of the case on the piano in the main living area. The visitor, a security officer, used her role and position on the ship to override the lock on Maxwell Traenor's door, not for the first time in the man's career. Going to the replicator, the stranger ordered a Saurian brandy and upon retrieving it, finally acquiesced to the plaintive cries for attention from the canine inhabitant of the room.:: Noros: You're new. I though Max didn't like pets. ::She scratched the dog behind the ears absently as she looked about some more, nursing the drink that Commander Traenor claimed as his favorite. In fact, the same vintage bottle that she had seen before sat in prominent display, heralding his love for the sweet liqueur.:: Noros: 'Commander'. Still feels strange to use that title for ol' Max. ::Noros had served with Traenor a year ago, before she was removed from the Darwin under dishonorable circumstances. There had been misplaced munitions that were used by a saboteur, and though the Bajoran security officer hadn't personally left them unsecured in a cargo bay, she had been acting security chief at the time, and the de facto one to blame. She had been moved to Deep Space 32, and lo and behold one year later, she had ended up on the same ship as Traenor yet again. She sported a sly smirk.:: Noros: ::vocalizing her thoughts to Barque:: Purely coincidence, mind you. ::It was actually an easy choice, for she much preferred serving on a ship as compared to a starbase, so when the Za came to port and was looking to shore up its crew compliment, Lt Noros gladly put in her transfer request. Imagine her surprise when she saw Lieutenant Commander Maxwell Gordon Traenor's name on the roster. It was fate as dictated by the Prophets, if she was so inclined to have more than a passing and begrudging respect for the deities of her people. She hadn't been studiously avoiding Traenor since the Za's launch, but neither was she making her presence aboard well-known to him. He in the science labs, she in the security suites, and slight was the chance that the two shall pass. Until she wanted to, of course. She missed the dour man, clueless as he was, even though he never saw her friendship as valuable as she saw his.:: Noros: So, poochie, is your master still as naive and clueless as he always was, or did the weight of rank beat that out of him yet? ::Barque, whose entire Federation Standard proficiency consisted of "dinner" and "cookie" and "ball", among very few other words, simply tilted his head inquisitively and stared at her confusedly with his tongue all agog. Tanna smiled and renewed her efforts at scratching the base of his ears, which suited Barque just fine regardless of what gobbledy[...] she spouted.:: Barque: Bark. ::With a nod of agreement at the dog's astute assessment, Noros arose and sat at the piano. She remembered well the times she had blackmailed Max into playing a song for her, and looked forward into tricking him into doing so again. She struck a couple keys, crinkling her already-creased nose at the tuneless discord of her choices. She would leave the tickling of the ivories to him, and she would stick to making his life interesting in return, whether or not he appreciated it. Noros would have rummaged further, had not the klaxons of red alert sounded. Needing to report to the security offices or the armory, she strode quickly towards the door before coming up short. The glass of Saurian brandy she had been drinking was left on the lid of the baby grand piano, collecting a pool of condensation around its base. She thought to retrieve it and place it back in the replicator for reclamation, but with a smirk she decided to let it be.:: Noros: ::muttering to herself:: Ol' Max is absentminded enough the think that he left it there himself. No need to bother. ::raising her finger to her lips in a shushing gesture, she spoke aloud to Barque:: No need to tell your master that your Auntie Tanna was here today. Our little secret, okay, poochie? ::Noros let herself out, not her first covert visit to Maxwell Traenor's quarters even if it was the first time on the Za, and certainly not the last covert visit she would make.:: PNPC LtJG Noros Tanna Security Officer, USS Za ~as simmed by~ LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor Chief Science Officer, USS Za =/\= Top Sims Contest Facilitator =/\= A239111MT0
  4. ((Dagorin VI - Underground Bunker)) :: Lazlo sat back in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, and waited impatiently for word from Urian and Gaixor. Their last transmission indicated an encounter with Starfleet, and he was anxious to know if they'd been able to deal with the intruders. :: Peon: Mister Lazlo, sir! :: Lazlo spun his seat around, his face a combination of anger at the interruption and relief for a distraction. He eyed the short human. The man's skin looked pale and clammy, and he held the handle of a large metal case resting on the floor. :: Lazlo: What is it? Peon: Sir, I brought the package you were expecting. :: Lazlo shot out of the chair and hoisted the case easily in one hand. :: oO The delivery didn't even register on sensors. Looks like Brenda did well this time. Oo Peon: ::swaying slightly:: On the way back I was bitten by some kind of weird rabbit thing, sir. :: Lazlo was faintly aware of some kind of buzzing behind him, but his attention was focused on the case. He nodded absently in vague acknowledgement. :: Lazlo: Mm hmm. :: The human looked at the bite marks on his arm, showing angry red with black lines beginning to spider outward. :: Peon: I think it might be infected. Lazlo: Good, good. Peon: I'd like to visit the sick bay, sir. Lazlo: Glad to hear it. :: The man shuffled off unnoticed while Lazlo popped the clasps on the case. His anticipatory smile became a frown when he looked inside. :: ((short timeskip)) Brenda: Totally Legit Business secret lair, how can I...oh, Mister Lazlo! I've been working on my greeting, do you like it? Lazlo: ::scowling into the communications terminal:: Brenda. Brenda: Yes sir? Lazlo: About the clothes you sent me. Brenda: I sent you the warmest looking thing in your office. Is something wrong? :: In response Lazlo silently held the open case up to the screen. :: Brenda: Oh. That's...not what I took from your office. Lazlo: It certainly is not. Where are my clothes, Brenda? Brenda: I, uh...there must have been some kind of mix-up. (( Risa, Taiz Resort, Diva Suite )) :: D'ghash wouldn't normally wear make-up, but tonight was a special case. Tonight the Klingon woman would accompany Lassk, a member of Saurian royalty, to a one-night-only performance of Saurian opera. Lassk, she had come to find, had very specific tastes when it came to his companions, and D'ghash would have to meet his expectations if she hoped to get close enough to carry out her mission. Now she sat on the bench in front of her room's vanity mirror, rolling her eyes as her date pounded on the door for what had to be the tenth time. :: Lassk: Are you almost ready my dear? D'ghash: Almost! You'll just have to be patient! :: She pursed her lips in disgust at the thought of hanging on the lizard man's arm all night. At least this would be the last time she'd ever have to see him. :: Lassk: Hurry, my darling! The anticipation is killing me! D'ghash: ::chuckling:: oO If you only knew. Oo :: Her makeup perfect, she stood from the table and crossed the room to the garment case on her bed. She carefully opened it and frowned in confusion, lifting the clothing up to examine it. This was certainly not what she had requested. She cursed silently. It was too late to find something else to wear, and if Lassk was displeased it could jeopardize the entire operation. Again came the pounding. :: Laask: I simply cannot wait any longer! I'm coming in! :: D'ghash was out of options. She quickly donned the garment from the case. As the door opened she spun to face Laask wearing a heavy dark-green knit sweater with "REPTILIANS DO IT IN COLD BLOOD" emblazoned across the front in white letters. Laask stopped in his tracks and regarded D'ghash with a slack-jawed stare. :: Laask: Oh, my. How.... :: Just as the Klingon started to think the night was ruined, Laask's mouth curled into a lascivious grin. :: Laask: ...provocative! ((Dagorin VI - Underground Bunker)) Brenda: ::smiling cheerfully:: On the bright side, that should keep you nice and warm! Lazlo: Yes. This and my incandescent rage will keep me warm. Brenda: Good! Is there anything else I can help you with? :: Lazlo sat in silence for long seconds, his left eye twitching noticeably. :: Lazlo: No, Brenda. Brenda: Ok, call if you need anything else! :: Lazlo sat perfectly still save for his twitching eye for several minutes after the screen went blank. :: MSNPC Lazlo Orion Syndicate Overseer Lieutenant Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01
  5. ((Conference room - IKS S’Tarahk)) ::Dempok sat, hands gripping the side of his chair as he watched General Crang pick apart the tactical report on one side of the viewscreen. On the other half was an ashen faced looking Romulan carrying out the same task. Toval, that was his name, Admiral of the 9th Republic Fleet and the only one that had offered any sort of communication when the intelligence had been passed on. Captain Taybrim stood behind him, while he'd wanted to change into something smarter than his scorched uniform Dempok had insisted that he hadn't. Both these military hotheads needed to see the toil and hardship with their own eyes, etched into the very fibres he was wearing:: Crang: Arrhimen is dead, the Sienov is destroyed. Good. Toval: Loss of life is always regret... Crang: Don't even try to offer your condolences, Romulan. If it wasn't for your inept security this would never have happened! ::The Romulans visage became the very model of indignant, while Crang spat rage in his usual blowhard manner. It was somehow expected, even with the threat neutralised the stink of blood was in the air:: Toval: We came here under a flag of truce, we will not tolerate such insults. Crang: I still smell Romulan trickery at work. ::Dempok ground his teeth in his mouth, before rising up in his chair:: Dempok: Then don't take it from us, Crang. Take it from him. ::he thumbed towards Sal:: The Federation lost two ships, hundreds of crewmembers trying to protect us both. The Avalon was destroyed, the Albion was destroyed, yet they are not sat here trading insults like petty children! ::There was a pause, a lull in conversation before Toval spoke:: Toval: I would hear the Captain speak, the Republic had nothing to do with this abhorrent set of attacks. ::Sal Taybrim drew in a long breath, taking in the expressions of those speaking. Tempers were high, but not yet flaring and he was trying to balance a diplomatic tone towards Toval with the honesty that was necessary to keep the respect of the Klingon representatives around the table.:: Taybrim: This is the intelligence I know upon the matter. ::he paused and spoke clearly.:: Haz Arrhimen was a Federation criminal and former Starfleet officer. Incited to act by a terrorist act by the Raalaram Ocala on the Federation ship SS Annabelle’s Lament Arrhimen hijacked a Starfleet vessel the USS Stormcrow and announced his plan to release a biological weapon onto the Romulan Valdis colony. The USS Albion, commanded by myself was the response ship. We met with the USS Tribal to engage the Stormcrow. Long story short, the Tribal was badly damaged, the Stormcrow was destroyed and Arrhimen was taken into custody. An unidentified Romulan Warbird decloaked after the Stormcrow was destroyed and the Valdis colony’s safety was ensured as the damaged Albion was leaving the area. No communication nor aggression occurred between the warbird and the Albion, but Haz Arrhimen was beamed directly off the Albion through our badly damaged shielding. ::He paused and let that sink in. The fact that the warbird that arrived did not identify themselves was meaningful. While the Romulans were seen as sneaky by other powers in the quadrant this was largely something that was hung on them by the actions of the minority. A Romulan Military warbird would have hailed and identified itself. Meaning whatever vessel had appeared was almost certainly controlled by the Tal’Shiar instead of the military…:: Crang: So the Romulans kidnapped a confirmed war criminal and what, let him run amuck once more? ::Toval seemed to be drawn to the green PADD handed to him by another officer, scanning through the details:: Toval: It was not a naval ship that took Arrhimen, the reforged Republic has a strong non-aggression treaty with the Federation. Crang: But still, a Warbird took him. Did you try and stop them? ::Crang’s tone had at least changed from purely accusatory to investigative, his ridged brow furrowed as he tried to piece it all together. Dempok knew that behind that ego was a surprisingly shrewd tactician.:: Taybrim: We were in no condition to protest - nor did we have a choice. The warbird re-cloaked and the Albion was allowed to return to Federation space without incident with the remaining survivors of Haz Arrhimen’s crew who remain in Federation custody to this day. There is no further mention of Haz Arrhimen in our intelligence until stardate 239306.14 - over eight months after the destruction of the Stormcrow. Arrhimen attacked the civilian salvage yard on Halgar VII killing seven civilians including the Romulan quartermaster. He stole, with the aid of several Orion Syndicate criminals the Romluan freighter Mohtiri. We believe this is the ship he used to get close enough to board and capture the Sienov. Toval: It was highly likely he was captured by rogue elements looking to facilitate exactly the sort of conflict we’re trying now to prevent. ::Crang snorted derisively:: Crang: ‘Rogue elements’, call them what they are Toval. Once more you’ve failed to keep a leash on the Tal Shiar… ::Another face appeared in the corner of the screen, prompting Dempok to stand up from his chair like someone had delivered an electrical current through the underside of it, the bearded face of the Chancellor regarding everyone with a disapproving glare. Even Toval stayed respectfully silent:: Dempok: ::lowly:: It seems he got my field report. ::It seemed he did. Sal stood as well, mimicking the posture of the others, different and yet respectful all at the same time. When he spoke he offered a single tip of his head.:: Taybrim: Chancellor J’mpok, we are honored by your presence. Crang: Chancellor… this is unexpected. Chacellor J’mpok: Is it? A war brewing on my Empires doorstep wouldn’t draw my attention? I have received your full report Dempok, the matter has been resolved. This continued posturing is achieving nothing. ::he paused:: I have consulted with the Romulan senate regarding these events and we have reached an accord. Dempok: An accord, Chancellor? ::Sal held his breath. This could either be very good news - or very bad news. Judging from J’mpok’s tone and the fact that the Romulan end of the communication hadn’t been suddenly cut he was expecting - or maybe hoping - for good news.:: Chacellor J’mpok: The Senate has agreed to pay reparations for our colonies and provide raw materials for their reconstruction. Considering the hardship they are facing and their already scarce resources, it is an honourable and genuine offer of remorse. Although in return, Crang, you are to assist the Admiral here with flushing out and destroying the last remnants of the blasted and dishonorable Tal Shiar, for both our empires security. ::Dempok fought hard to fight back a grin as the two Military officers on the screen physically balked at the idea, two hotheads being forced to work hand in hand for the betterment of relations.:: Toval: It appears I am being contacted by the Praetor. ::he frowned, someone speaking to him from off screen:: General Crang, it seems we will be working together. I am moving my fleet away from the border to await further instruction. ::Toval dropped from the call leaving Crang biting his tongue hard enough that it looked about ready to fall out of his mouth, smoldering eyes burning into the rest of the conference:: Crang: As you command, Chancellor. We will withdraw. ::He too disappeared from the call, leaving just the large looming face of the leader of the Klingon Empire regarding Sal with a curious gaze:: Chacellor J’mpok: You are the Captain who fought and lost with us? ::Sal turned, facing the Chancellor with an even, open gaze. He had quelled his internal pleasure at watching the fruitful manipulations of two arrogant commanders into doing what was best for both empires.:: Taybrim: I am. ::a nod of assent:: Captain Sal Taybrim of the former USS Albion. Chacellor J’mpok: You fought hard and honourably beside your Klingon allies, and let us deliver a well deserved justice. This is not a debt owed that I nor the council will forget. Taybrim: ::he spoke simply, with an even conviction. The magnitude of this praise was not lost on him, so his words were careful and focused. ::We were proud to fight beside our allies, thank you Chancellor. ::The chancellor left the screen with an approving nod, leaving the bridge even more hushed then usual:: Dempok: Friends in high places indeed, Captain. Taybrim: Indeed, Councilor. ::He nodded, turning slowly towards Dempok.:: I believe this is a most beneficial outcome. ::In fact it was one of the best possible outcomes.:: Dempok: It is. Contrary to how people like Crang and every Warrior that wants to ascend to his place acts, we do not wish war on our people. We will fight it, to the last if provoked, but it is never desired. Taybrim: ::Sal broke his strictly controlled diplomatic stance to offer Dempok a more personal smile. Still formal, but this time there was more of a connection between the remaining speakers.:: On a more personal note, Councilor, thank you. I am glad my crew is still breathing and able to take to the stars once again. And I am honored that this victory came with an ally at our side. ::Dempok paused for a second, reaching into his belt to unsheath the wicked looking D’k tahg from his belt which let out a click as it’s crossguard sprang free. There was a pause, before he turned the dagger hilt-outwards:: Dempok: Take this, Captain. Let it always be a reminder of this battle, more so than the wounds and scars your crew has endured. May it serve you in many more victories to come. ::He accepted without hesitation.:: Taybrim: I am honored, Councilor. I will never forget this battle, the lives lost on both sides and the burning victory forged in sacrifice. May we both live on in honor. ~*~ A JP by: MSNPC Councilor Dempok By Major. Tatash Marine Lead SB118 Operations C239108T10 And Captain Sal Taybrim Commanding Officer StarBase 118 Ops
  6. (( Deep Space 6, Deck 21, Corridor )) :: The procession away from the Function Room after the meeting had been cut short by the recall back to the Darwin was, as Kurt approved, progressing quickly and orderly. Some had 'Enjoyed' themselves more than others, none to any serious degree that would require any medical intervention. :: Logan oO A few mild stimulants as available from any standard replicator should do the trick Oo :: Heading back to the Darwin it was appropriate to let the Security Chief know incase anything needed to be put in place :: Logan oO An early divert to a Transporter room or to a particular docking port could save any confusion and wasted time later on, especially considering the time pressure for launch Oo :: Activating his Comm badge Kurt spoke up as the humanoid snake wound itself through the station :: Logan: =/\= Ensign Logan to Lieutenant Noros =/\= Noros: =/\= Tanna here. Hi, Kurt. =/\= Logan oO Tanna.... Kurt... Really, I know we had dinner but .... Oo :: He did wonder if he had just woken her up :: oO She doesn't sound groggy Oo :: putting that to one side Kurt started on the reason he had contacted her :: =/\= The Staff meeting is over, everyone has been recalled to the Darwin for ship launch. I'm following the last of the crew now. Once aboard Ma'am there's some things is like to run by you if possible =/\= Noros: =/\= I'm afraid that won't be possible, Kurt. You see, I'm leaving. In fact, I'm disembarking the ship as we speak. =/\= Logan: =/\= Ma'am ?=/\= oO Why is she leaving .... and with us about to launch ... Oo :: It was the last thing Kurt expected to hear, even more than that wanted to hear. The two missions they had been involved with showed they could work well together, and while she did have the annoying habit of ignoring you and interrupting when she felt like it, the Lieutenant was a good officer. As he was trying to process this piece of sudden information a different thought jumped up and started waving frantically :: Logan =/\= Ma'am ... Who's Security chief ?? Were also down a Tactical Officer Ma'am who do I goto =/\= :: He half knew the answer to his questions :: oO Follow the chain of command Oo Noros: =/\= With Jellico on leave, I would imagine they would get a duty officer to cover the department, such as Cmdr Icavoc. Otherwise, you would probably have to take any concerns straight to the captain. =/\= Logan: =/\= I understand Ma'am =/\= :: Talk about bad timing though we launching and the Security wing is missing some flight feathers.... :: oO We've had some new transfers aboard and move a couple of people around like Ensign...... Sherwood from Security to Tactical he's a good officer... But Oo Noros: =/\= Oh, and one more thing, Kurt. I really enjoyed our meal together. Thank you for being a good colleague. I don't say goodbye, but how about, "see you later"? =/\= Logan:: Kurt's response caught making him pause for a second, since the conversation started he'd been thinking purely at the logistic problem, who's to report to who tacking Tactical :: oO But it's not logistical is it, it's personnel ... Oo :: He had no thought or expectation that their dinner date was anything more than it was, two officers paying up a bet. But he wasn't just loosing a Department Chief .... he was loosing oO A friend ....Oo :: Commander Thomas's words about getting to know people came back to him :: oO That hasn't helped me in this case sir Oo =/\= Thank you for the meal Tanna, and for being a good colleague to me =/\= :: Adding a smile to his face to lighten what was the ending of the conversation :: =/\= It's always see you later =/\= :: But seriousness crept back in :: =/\= Don't be a stranger and if you need anything .. I'm sure you can find me =/\= :: The signal terminated, leaving him still following the human snake but wondering if the lights had become just a little dimmer :: Tbc Ensign Kurt Logan - Security Officer USS Darwin,NCC-99312-A E239203KL0
  7. ((USS Avandar – Main Engineering)) :: This was a most special day for the tiny daughter of Della Vetri. This was the day that T’Sara was amongst the most powerful people on the ship. The engineers. Mo said so. The engineers were the only ones that had absolute power to control the ship. Not even the Captain could do what the engineers could do.:: :: With her alert blue eyes T’Sara soaked in as much of her surroundings, and listened closely to what Chief Ryan was saying as the tour progressed. The little girl was in lock step with Ryan as consoles and controls were pointed out. Nothing got by the hybrid, and the questions she asked were beyond her years of understanding.:: :: She trotted up to the main engineering console and climbed onto a stool so she could see the displays.:: T’Sara: Dis where you talk to the ship and it talks back. :: Nikki smiled as she set in beside the girl. She touched the console and made the display fully light up. :: Ryan: Yep, we can do just about anything from this one right here. T’Sara: And dis panel has powers over dat chamber dere. :: She pointed at the matter/anti-matter containment. Nikki looked toward the warp core and nodded. :: Ryan: Yes, we can regulate the matter/anti-matter ratio and monitor and control the power flow as well. ::leaning on the edge of the console and looking at T'Sara:: So, how do you know this was where it all happened? T’Sara: Mo told me so. And ifs dis panel don’t talk, you has backups, but if fings weelly get bad, you has to evacsuates the room and eject the glowy chamber. :: Nikki wanted to know much more about this Mo but she knew she would have to be very tactful in asking. The last thing she wanted to do was make T'Sara stop talking to her about him. :: Ryan: It's a little complicated but yes. But ejecting the warp core is the very last thing we really want to do. Once that happens the ship is kind of stuck in slow motion and eventually everything would shut down. T’Sara: I understands it. Ryan: I'm guess Mo explained it all to you. Is he taking the tour with us? T’Sara: ::looking around:: Nope. He not here right now. What dis do? :: Nikki automatically looked around, not that she expected to see anyone other than her people running around. Then she looked at what T'Sara was pointing at. :: Ryan: That monitors the core temperature. ::Reaching across the console, Nikki keyed in a command triggering a 3D holographic display of the ship in the center of the console.:: And with this we can run a diagnostic on all of the ship's systems and the computer will show us exactly where any problems are so I can send repair crews to fix them. T'Sara: Oooo… :: She reached out with her tiny hands and explored the holograph up close, making it spin, flip and zoom in to more intricate parts.:: Ryan: ::as casually as she could:: Mo sounds like a really good friend. How long have you known him? :: More interested in the display she was playing with, T’Sara just shrugged not really paying attention to the question. She answered it without much thought.:: T'Sara: A wittle while. After we gots here. The outy hull looks all banged up. Are dese red fings tiny workers? Are dey in space? :: She zoomed in and giggled that the red dots looked like little bugs.:: :: Nikki smiled at T'Sara's reaction. It wasn't often she got to see things through the eyes of a child and it was actually kind of amazing. :: Ryan: Yes, they are Engineers doing repairs in space T’Sara: Did you tell’em to go out dere to fix it? Ryan: ::nodding:: I did. T’Sara: You do have more power dan Mama D. Mo’s right. You makes dah whole ship run, n’ people listens to you. :: That got Nikki's attention focused back on T'Sara's invisible friend. She leaned casually on the console. :: Ryan: I don't think I've ever seen him around. What does he look like? T'Sara: He… ::scrunchy face:: He look kinda fuzzy and sparkly, I guess. He poofs in an’ out. ::shrug:: How do you make warps? Ooo, can you makes warps and slippy streams at dah same time? :: Nikki tried not to react to the description but she was starting to believe that maybe Mo wasn't so imaginary after all. :: Ryan: Well first, you enter the commands into the computer and then... ::She went on the explain in the simplest terms of just how the ship goes to warp speed. :: And no, we can't make warp and slipstreams at the same time. See, with the quantum slipstream drive, we route energy through the ship's main deflector, which then focuses a quantum field, allowing the vessel to penetrate the quantum barrier. T’Sara: What happen ifen you do make warps and slippy steams at dah same? :: Nikki thought for a moment. :: Ryan: Well, it would cause a phase variance in the slipstream threshold which could cause an overload in the drive's quantum matrix. If that happens, it could destroy the ship. ::heartbeat:: Where's he from? T'Sara: ::another shrug:: I dunno. He not say. Why? Ryan: ::smiling:: Just curious. T’Sara: Can I see dah slippy stream driver now? :: Nikki stood up straight and held out her hand. :: Ryan: Sure can. ::motioning across the room:: It's over there in a secure area. I'll take you in but you can't touch anything, okay? T'Sara: I pwomise. TBC T’Sara Maren 4 year old troublemaker Captain Vetri & LtCmdr T’Lea’s daughter & Ensign Nikki Ryan Chief Engineering Officer
  8. ((Deep Space 6, Deck 21, Function Room A1)) ::As the meal came out the table dominated by Kael’s family chatted quite enthusiastically. Kael found himself blushing, and remaining quiet for the most part which wasn’t all that different from his previous experiences with his parents at functions. His mother choosing to share every embarrassing event and moment of his life, even if he was only 6 months old had not changed. The Captain was very polite with his family and Kael appreciated that. They were anything but low maintenance and silent. Kael’s mother barely stopped talking the entire time which almost bordered on a rather lengthy monologue of her life. Apart from periodically indicating to her that it was time for someone else to talk, Kael did appreciate their company. It had been so long. :: ::Kael was itching to get some specific details from his family about what they had been up to and just how long they intended on being on the Station. He doubted it was for any great length of time but Kael could be hopeful. It seemed cruel to only stay for a moment. Kael’s odds of getting back to Earth to see them right now, were not all that likely.:: ::Pushing away his plate, and listening to his mum talk, Kael didn’t see a man approach him from the right. Looking up he’d never seen the man before, but he was aware of a few transfers in. Given he was not wearing dress whites it narrowed it down significantly.:: Stennes: Commander Thomas. Thomas: ::Nodding:: Hello! ::Turning to face the man better. Stennes: I’m Didrik Stennes. Your new counselor. ::It was the man that Kael expected but he was so horrible with names that he didn’t want to try and show he was on top of it to only blunder it. Glad that he was thinking on the right track, he stood up to be at level with the man. Kael’s father always taught him that unless the person intends on sitting down with you then you should stand.:: Thomas: ::Extending his arm for a greeting.:: Welcome to the Darwin Mr Stennes. Stennes: Thank you, commander. I’m glad to be coming aboard. Thomas: Well, you’ve picked the right time. ::Pausing to fill his face with a grin.:: We don’t party like this all the time I assure you. ::Looking around the room to indicate his point.:: Stennes: A time and place for everything, certainly. Thomas: Thanks for stopping by and don’t hesitate to mingle with the crew. They are a welcoming bunch. ::Kael didn’t want to fob the man off, but he knew he only had so much time with his family.:: Stennes: Of course, commander. I’ll let you get back to your family. Thomas: No problem, nice to meet you. ::Nodding Kael sat back down at the table and noticed that the Captain had left while hew as conversing with the new Counsellor. Not to perturbed by the matter he took a glass of water. He’d barely raised it to his lips, before a familiar tone hit him.:: Anthony: ::Mockingly:: Nice to meet you. Thomas: ::Closing his eyes as if to block it out, he slowly opened them.:: I’m so glad to see your maturity levels haven’t risen since the Academy. ::Leaning back in his chair Anthony had always been Captain cool. Where Kael was practical and methodical Anthony did what was quickest and easiest. Serving as an endless source of frustration for the Kael, responding only fueled Anthony’s behaviours. In another situation Kael would find the man irritating but right now he just welcomed the company.:: Anthony: Not at all. ::Putting his arm over the back of his chair towards Kael.:: So Commander. I honestly didn’t think you’d get that before you were 40. ::It was a strange comment from Anthony given he’d never thought that Kael would amount to much at all. Well, at least verbally. The sudden admittance of a change of attitude wasn’t expected by Kael but it was welcomed. Delivered as always in a classic light hearted manner as his brother was so skillful at.:: Jolaina: Well, I knew you’d get there honey. You’ve always worked very hard at it. ::Kael didn’t miss, nor did Anthony the sly glance over at his brother. His mum was someone who had always pushed them from an early age. They both got it, it’s just that they both responded to it entirely different.:: Thomas: Thanks mum. ::Pausing for a minute, Kael still had his dad’s condition on the back of his mind. He’d been quiet for the last part. Taking a deep breath in through his nose, he decided it was time to ask what he’d wanted to since he’d seen him.:: So Dad, you are a lot better since I last saw you. Reynold: ::Turning his head, he nodded at the man, still smiling.:: Thanks. Apparently Starfleet Medical came through with something useful. ::It reflected what Kael thought might have happened. They had been working for years on something but for whatever reason Kael didn’t understand, they had not found a way to reverse or slow down the dementia's deleterious effects on his father. :: Thomas: So, does that mean you’re back with us for good? Jolaina: Let's just take it one step at a time Kael. ::Kael was a lousy read of most people. He got the basic stuff but all that subtle innuendo and body language flew right past him. But not with his family. His mother had this habit with her mouth that twitched when she wasn’t being truthful. He’d got to know that look a lot when his father first fell ill. His mother had kept the flame of hope alive for so long and had almost convinced herself that he was going to be better. But this time it was different. She wasn’t playing it up, she was playing it down. :: Thomas: oO Have you been so broken mum you can’t be optimistic now? Oo ::Casting a glance over at Anthony he had disengaged from the conversation. His attention wandering somewhere else it was clear to Kael that there was something going on and he wasn’t included in it. Pushing his palms into his legs he thought about it all. Surely what they had given his dad must be long term. He was so clear so returned that it was how Kael expected him to be, how he should have been. He didn’t understand how his own mother couldn’t be happy about where he was at now. He needed more information, but it was clear with dad at the table he wasn’t going to get it.:: Thomas: ::Knowing that changing the topic was the only thing he could do, he did exactly that.:: So, Anthony, when are you getting married? ::His eye rolling would have been visible from across the room.:: Anthony: You are honestly as bad as mum and dad. Susan and I will get married when we’d like to, not when you three think it’s time. ::Kael agreed with the man, but he never missed the opportunity to get a free jibe at his brother. He and Susan had been together for some time, and in all of the girlfriends that Anthony had had, Kael had connected with her the most. She was warm, polite and held a great deal of virtuous behaviours. All behaviors Kael wished she could learn to impart on his brother.:: ::Captain Renos appeared back at the table and Kael knew what was coming before it was announced. :: Renos: I hate to do this when everything has been going so well but it’s time to roll. I want everyone recalled to the Darwin immediately. The Triumphant is here so I’m about to deliver a brief before we get after that trail we’ve been monitoring. ::It wasn’t unexpected but it was unwelcome. Kael had known this was coming, but when he realised that he didn’t know his parents were coming. Knowing that their time would be cut short made it difficult for Kael to be positive.:: Thomas: No problem Captain. I’ll make sure we’re all aboard. ::Turning to his family he did not try to hide the disappointment on his face. He had hoped for at least tonight together with them. After such a revelation and changes it was shame to put everything back on the back burner again.:: Anthony: Well that's it then. ::Getting up, Anthony understood all to well that duty responsibility. He wasted no time in going in for a hug with Kael.:: Don’t leave it so long between visit’s this time brother will you? Thomas: I promise. I’ll have to come over to your neck of the woods next time I suppose. ::They had a good relationship and one that Kael was positive would survive the space between them quite well. They both worked and they both knew that circumstances out of their control dictated their time and their location.:: Thomas: It’s been good to see you mum. ::Kael’s mum had been the rock in the family for years and it wasn’t hard to see those years had aged her immeasurably. Or perhaps Kael just hadn’t noticed before. :: Jolaina: Please do try to keep in touch. I hope everything goes well for you wherever you're going. Thomas: ::Warmly.:: You still worry too much mum. ::His dad was waiting behind his mum for his goodbyes. oO Don’t cry again dammit. Oo Saying goodbye to his dad was the hardest of all. There was something about his clarity of mind that was off and Kael just hoped that he would have more time with his father back. Putting aside his own feelings, Kael’s mother deserved to have him back. :: Reynold: ::Going in for a hug.:: It’s been good seeing you son. Thomas: ::Deep breathing.:: You too dad. ::Pushing apart, Kael stopped to look at him again. He didn’t want to lose the memory of what this moment looked like. .:: ::Standing there looking at his family Kael felt guilty for his behaviours over the years. He had been selfish, neglectful and arrogant. His mother and father needed him and he simply put them in the too hard basket. To see them here today rocked Kael to the core. His values and thoughts about his family and his attachment to them were turned on their head. Where he once thought he would spend the rest of his life frustrated and angry at them, he now wished he hadn’t wasted that time.:: Thomas: I’ll come home as soon as I get a chance. ::He knew it was a vague promise and one he’d thrown around a few times before. But he actually wanted to now. Today had wiped clean that slate and Kael was happy to try and rewrite it.:: Jolaina: We know love. Go now, we’ll be fine. ::Wiping away her own tears.:: ::Kael waved and turned. He had a job to do, and he couldn’t afford his family to weigh on him during it. Closing his eyes he thought of his work, and took his position on the stage.:: Thomas: Ladies and Gentlemen ::The noise was quite high, and no one had expected Kael or anyone to get back up on the stage area so he understood that it took a few more tries for their attention to be brought back.:: Thomas: I, as much as anyone here, would love to continue this night and share in good friends, and family. ::not daring to cast a look at his for fear of losing it again.:: But as of right now, we are all recalled back to the Darwin. ::Allowing a few moments for that to sink in, and wash away everyone’s party spirit.:: Thomas: We’ll be leaving the station as soon as we are all aboard. So please, finish what you are doing and head immediately to your stations. Thank you. ::Kael knew how he felt which was obviously heightened from the presence of his family, but he understood how cutting short a ceremony like this can be disappointing. They were great opportunities to meet new people and share stories and experiences with those you might not otherwise. :: ::Stepping down from the stage Kael immediately exited the function room. He would stop by his quarters and quickly change. While he could wear the dress whites he was not that pressed for time. Knowing he could organise what was needed on the fly also aided his decision. The bridge would be his last point of call.:: Thomas: oO What a day Oo =============================================================== Commander Kael Thomas - First Officer, USS Darwin-A NCC-99312 Academy Statistician, Calendar Master, Training Officer V238010KT0 ================================================================
  9. ((USS Avandar – Officer’s Lounge)) T’Lea: I’ll let her know. Thank you for this. :: A death threat and a thank you. Classic T'Lea.:: Ryan: Of course Commander. I look forward to it... ::almost smirking:: the tour part, not the death part. :: After… :: ((Holodeck 2)) :: There was something about the fluidity of the water that filled her soul. Fishing was never a hobby that T’Lea would have considered for herself, but after being forced into it by her father in-law, it was now something she would never consider being without.:: :: Maybe it was a form of meditation, she thought as she reeled in the line. The cool breeze, the rustling of the trees, the way the sun popped in and out of the clouds, all of it made T’Lea more aware and appreciative of the simple pleasures of being alive.:: :: Sat on the lake shore, the hybrid was enjoying the peace and quiet of fishing alone. It gave her time to think, and time *not* to think. Both were pretty important to the balance of sanity. She had a tendency to over-think everything and expect the worst. Although in her mind she was simply hypothesizing and preparing for every possible outcome. Maybe it was the scientist in her, or the fighter, or the Vulcan, or the suspicious Romulan.:: :: She chuckled to herself. More than likely it was all four and that’s why she did it so obsessively.:: :: Overthinking.:: :: She was doing it right now. She was overthinking why she overthought things.:: :: She wagged her head and threw away those thoughts with another cast of the rod. In that moment all she was thinking about was the weight of the lure, her target in the water, and closing the bail to stop the line once she reached her preferred distance.:: :: Sometimes it was nice to be alone. She felt no remorse for ditching the gathering in the lounge. After T’Sara had toddled off with Ryan to engineering, there was really nothing keeping her there except the act of being nice, and that just wasn’t her thing.:: :: The breeze picked up a little causing the floating lure to drift on the water..:: :: Enjoying her solitude with the fish, or lack thereof, T’Lea couldn’t help but wonder how the tour in engineering was going. She was worried about her daughter. This imaginary friend *thing* was highly unusual for T’Sara, but then they had put her through a lot – ripping her from her friends and home at the Embassy. She then thought about Della and the pressures and responsibility of what it meant to be Captain again. This time would be even harder than the first time around. This time Starfleet expected a higher standard, after all she was a season veteran in that command chair. Any little mistake could be viewed as a big one.:: :: There she went again, overthinking.:: :: She jerked the line a little in the water to make the lure dance in distress hoping to catch a bite, and then she found herself wondering where Della was and what she was doing.:: :: Paperwork, probably. That’s how she’d spent most of her command last time. Stuck in paperwork hell and subspace conference calls.:: :: Last time. Last time was different than this time, and yet exactly the same. T’Lea pretty much knew what to expect coming back here, but finding that balance of duty and family on a starship was never easy. The ship and crew came first. That was just the way it was no matter how hard she tried to convince herself otherwise. The truth was that the happiness and health of her family depended deeply on the health of the ship and crew.:: :: It was easier at the Embassy. They could survive on the planet no matter what. There was room to run. On a ship they were trapped in a tin-can, pretty much. It reminded her of those PTSD feelings she had after the kidnapping and hijacking. No control.:: :: But that was then. This was now. And here she was fishing and *not* overthinking those types of things.:: Lieutenant Commander T’Lea Chief Science Officer USS Avandar Author ID I238301T10​
  10. ((Mountain Lodge, Echevar - Day 2)) ::Ren Rennyn was on a desperate mission. A gauntlet had been thrown, a challenge set, an obstacle placed in his way that he was determined to overcome. But he couldn’t do it on his own.:: ::Only Antero Flynn could save him now.:: ::The Trill launched through the lodge, every fiber of him bent on finding the Risian man who was his only hope. He scanned each room, looking for that familiar face. He went outside, and tried hurriedly to spot him. As if he would be outside in the cold! Ren went to check by the warm roaring fireplace. He searched everywhere, until at last he saw Flynn and rushed to his side and, with a wild look on his face, grabbed him by the shoulders.:: ::Antero stared at the fireplace, mesmerized by the dancing flames and daydreaming of his always sunny home. He smiled at the thought of having Theo there. He would take him to his favorite cliff side perch where they would watch the lights of Lohlunat over Suraya Bay, a warm breeze passing over them. He was pulled from his thought by a frantic Rennyn. Rennyn: Flynn! I need you! ::The Risian stood quickly and glanced around in alarm, ready for whatever urgent situation had come up.:: Flynn: Sir? ::Ren released Flynn from his grip and backed away a step, trying to catch his breath and calm his frenzied demeanor. He spoke slowly, forcing himself not to be overexcited.:: Rennyn: I mean… If you’re not too busy… There is something you might help me with… If it’s not too much trouble… ::He watched his first officer catch his breath for a moment before responding, he was having trouble deciding if this was an emergency, or some kind of breakdown.:: Flynn: Is everything okay…? Rennyn: THERE’S A HOT TUB! It’s on the back deck. It’s broken, and NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO FIX IT! Your family owns a resort, right? You have to know how to fix it! ::Ren was hopping around like a fool, thrilled at the prospect of winter hot tubbing. It was the best hot tubbing of all!:: Flynn: ::His eyes going wide:: Did you say a broken hot tub?! oO It really is an emergency! Oo Lead the way! ::Antero dashed forward urgently, just in time to see Rennyn dart in the opposite direction. He screeched to a halt and reversed course, nearly crashing into a coffee table that he was forced to hurdle. He followed the Trill out a side door and onto the back deck. He felt the bite of the cold on his ungloved hands and for the first time didn’t care, intent on his mission of full body warmth. He admired the beautiful tub for only a moment before remembering himself. He turned to Rennyn and his hands gestured frantically.:: Flynn: Tools...We need tools! Rennyn: The staff said someone’s coming out to repair it tomorrow. They don’t have anything on site to repair it with. We have to wait until tomorrow! ::Ren was glad Flynn shared his sense of urgency about this. Obviously, if a hot tub was available, they needed to be in it today. He paused to think through the problem carefully.:: Rennyn: They don’t have their own repair tools here at the lodge, but I saw some kind of maintenance shed down by the ski lift. Maybe we could find what we need there! ::Antero nodded solemnly, he knew what this would mean. He would have to brave the harsh and unforgiving elements for the greater good of the crew. It would be no small task, but he could only hope that the end result would be worth it: Thankful crewmates that would bring him more of that delicious hot chocolate while he boiled himself alive. He donned his gloves firmly and put a hand on the senior officers shoulder. Flynn: I’m ready. Rennyn: Let’s go! ::Off they ran, struggling heroically through the powdery snow, down the hill to the nearby ski lift station, where a maintenance shed sat locked, but full of promise. Ren knocked frantically on the door.:: Rennyn: Hello? Anyone there? Flynn: ::Rubbing his hands together:: Do you think this shed is heated? ::They didn’t get to find out. A gruff Tellarite in a snowsuit appeared around the corner.:: Tellarite: It’s locked. Needs a keycard. ::Antero glanced at Rennyn and then back to the Tellarite.:: Flynn: Well...Do you think you could let us in? Its super important.. Tellarite: Jeff’s got it. He’s on break. Up at the lodge. ::The Tellarite shrugged and disappeared again. Ren looked at Flynn.:: Rennyn: To the lodge! Flynn: ::With a finger pointed to the air in declaration:: To the lodge! ::The Risian trudged forward with purpose, doing his best to ignore the dull ache of cold in his extremities. This was too important to give up. He looked to the Trill as they walked, it almost seemed like he was enjoying himself.:: ::They arrived at the lodge and burst through the front doors on a mission.:: Rennyn: Jeff! Jeff! ::They ran to the front desk and demanded to know where Jeff was. The Bajoran at the desk tried to hang on to her usual friendly smile, despite wondering what could possibly be going on.:: Flynn: Were looking for Jeff. Is he here? Its urgent! Bajoran: He… might be… ::Ren and Antero exchanged an optimistic look.:: Bajoran: ...out on the slopes? There was a broken down snow mobile about a half kilometer up the hill. Rennyn: Half a kilometer?! ::The Risian sunk at the bad fortune before remember what he had seen on the way in.:: Flynn: ::Brightening:: There are more snowmobiles out front! Rennyn: Yes! Now that’s how Starfleet solves a problem! Let’s roll! ::With a nod of thanks to the Bajoran, they ran for the door, headed for the bank of snowmobiles nearby They charged for the nearest one, a big yellow two-seated monster that was sure to get them where they needed to go.:: Rennyn: Do you know how to run one of these? Flynn: I have never even SEEN one of these before today. It can’t be that hard for Starfleet pilots though, right? Rennyn: Right! ::Ren jumped on the snow mobile and tried to start it.:: Rennyn: Snow mobile. Start! ::Nothing happened.:: Ignition sequence, engage! ::Still nothing. He looked to Flynn to give it a try.:: ::Antero gave a quick nod and leaned over Rennyn’s shoulder from the back.:: Flynn: Snow surfer, activate! ::He grimaced:: Is there a button?! Rennyn: Oh no. No, no, no! It needs keys! Why does everything on this planet need keys!? ::The two clamored off the vehicle and almost charged into the Bajoran that was now waiting in the doorway. She just stood there shaking her head, keys dangling from her finger.:: Flynn: Thank you! ::Antero grabbed the keys and tossed them to the Commander as the two ran back to the snowmobile.:: ::They revved up the snow mobile and streaked off up the mountain, gliding fast over the snow, wind whipping around them furiously. Ren wished he had his snowboarding goggles, but more than that, hoped this wouldn’t incur any extra charges on Brek’s account. You just couldn’t spring additional charges on a Ferengi that way.:: ::Up ahead, the sight of two people tinkering with a broken down snowmobile drew nearer, until they reached the site and Ren pulled up next to them.:: ::They smiled at the friendly-looking Terran they found.:: Rennyn: Hi! Are you Jeff? ::The second person, bent low next to the broken vehicle, rose to his feet. Just when he should have stopped, he kept rising. He was a Klingon, more than seven feet in height, covered in motor oil, and not at all happy that his lunch break had been cut short for this.:: Klingon: I am Jeff. ::Antero felt like he was going to pull something in his neck as he looked up at the man.:: Flynn: Of course your are...We um...Well we’re just wondering...uh…::He looked at Rennyn and motioned forward.:: ::Ren swallowed hard and tried to look like he still had some blood left in his face. It was best to get it out quickly.:: Rennyn: Can we borrow your key card so we can get tools from the ski lift maintenance shed so we can fix the hot tub please… sir? ::Jeff paused a long moment, carefully appraising their trustworthiness, their honor.:: Jeff: Your coat looks like it might almost fit me, Trill. I will accept it as a replacement for this one I have just ruined with filthy engine oil. ::It was just their luck to get a Klingon who was fussy about his clothes. Ren leaned closer to Flynn and whispered nervously.:: Rennyn: He wants my coat. What do we do? Flynn: ::Looking in disbelief and whispering back.:: His brain must frozen solid! Jeff: I will also require a hat and gloves. ::He craned his neck fearsomely towards Flynn.:: Yours look warm, little man. Flynn: ::Responding with sudden indignance at the idea.:: That’s crazy! Only an idiot would suggest we take off our…..::He stopped as his brain caught up to what his mouth was saying.:: Er…. ::Jeff was displeased. He dug in his pockets and produced the keycard, holding it in front of them in a taunting gesture. The poor Terran looked on amused.:: Jeff: No coat, no gloves, no keycard. And because I don’t like you, I think my price may just have gone up. ::The two pilots gave each other a worried glance. This was a sticky situation, but if they put their heads together, they could surely find a way out of it.:: ::Several minutes later, the snowmobile was gliding down the slopes at top speed, carrying a half frozen Risian clinging to a barechested Trill, holding tight to a borrowed keycard.:: ::Ren tried to look at the bright side.:: Rennyn: We’ll be in that hot tub in no time! Flynn: ::Through chattering teeth:: It’s been an honor s-serving with you sir. If I don’t make it back, t-tell Theo ::he paused for a brief moment of thought.:: s-something sentimental... ::Ren felt sweat wanting to form on his brow even as his chest and arms suffered from the whipping winds.:: Rennyn: Don’t worry! We’re going to make it! ::The snowmobile carried them swiftly to their destination. As they drew nearer the lodge and the ski lift station, more and more people stared at the sight of the half naked men huddled together on a snowmobile.:: Rennyn: They’re all going to love us once we get that hot tub fixed. ((A few hours later)) ::Antero and Ren were submerged in the sublime warmth of the functioning hot tub. They’d put themselves through a lot to make this happen, and soaked in silence for a time, enjoying the benefits of their labor. The Risian took another drink of his hot chocolate and set the glass down before turning to Rennyn with a grin.:: Flynn: Tell me Commander. Is that how you break the ice with all your junior officers? Rennyn: That was a definite first. ::He leaned his head back on the edge and let out a chuckle.:: We really got to know each other on that snowmobile. ::Antero leaned forward and let out a genuine eye watering laugh. He was certain he would never forget this day.:: Rennyn: I have a feeling that’s not the last of the trouble we’ll get into together. But it’s a good start. And we owe it all to a Klingon named Jeff. Flynn: ::Raising his mug with a smile:: To Jeff! ::Ren leaned forward and reached across to his own mug. There was no end to hot chocolate now that they were the heroes who fixed the hot tub.:: Rennyn: To Jeff. And new friends. LtCmdr Ren Rennyn XO USS Columbia, NCC-85279 A239102RR0 & Lt. Jg. Antero Flynn Helm Officer USS Columbia, NCC-85279 C239205AF0
  11. Guest

    LtCmdr. T'Mar- So now what?

    ((Bridge, USS Consitution-) :: As Jalana took her seat, T'Mar sat in the XO Chair next to her. She could somewhat relate to how Jalana was feeling. T'Mar was not to jump to the idea of time travel. Scientifically, she grew up learning that it was physically impossible, and yet time and again instances cropped up that proved it was possible.:: Rajel: Is the rift still there? Fiorr: Yes, although its far less powerful on this side… Only slight gravimetric pulses. They won’t affect us or Earth in any way. Sinda: We were lucky enough to drop a probe just before we ran into the rift. At the moment we're still picking up some very distorted telemetry from it, but if it falls into the rift, too, the gravity differences will probably crush it. Rajel: In that case.... does anyone have an idea how we are getting back home? T'Mar: I question the safety of merely flying through the rift again. Valoru: Power is still coming back online, sirs. Life support, sensors, deflector, maneuvering, maybe impulse. I'm trying to bring more online... Rajel: We can't do one step without taking the ship apart it seems. Once power is back up, can we head back? Fiorr: ::checking his console:: With power at a minimum I wouldn’t recommend that ma’am. T'Mar: Even if we were able to make the ride smoother, we have another problem. Rajel: ::Looking to T'Mar:: And which would that be? T'Mar: The warp drive and slipstream drive were being drained of power while we travelled through the rift. If this is anything like the subspace rift the Gemini encountered, the warp core may be completely offline. Valoru: Confirming. We have minimal locomotion right now, commander. Sinda: And plenty of significant damage. As well as two minor hull breaches, there's a total power loss on deck 3 and fire fighters are trying to contain an electrical blaze on deck 8. :: T'Mar knew the situation was grim. It was surprising they had made the trip in one piece, even more surprising that they were where they were. The damage would be hard to repair, but thankfully they did not have to worry about being noticed worldwide. The nagging question was how could they return? :: Rajel: Without that, it doesn't sound like we could return. Fiorr: No doubt we can make it in with thrusters BUT… once we get to the other side odds are against us. We probably get pulled back in right away and I doubt we end up in one piece. Childyrn: We'd need some time to recoup... hopefully recoup. Maybe a stay here wouldn't be so bad afterall I suppose. Ma'am :: referring to the Captain :: I'm not seeing anything even close to a threat with this era. AS far as we're concerned anyway. Unless there's someone else here with us, we're basically all alone. Sinda: I agree. We need to repair the damage we have now before risking any more. Rajel: I agree with that as well. No reason to rip us apart completely. We need more information. About the damage, ways of repair, this time... everything. T'Mar: Agreed. What do we know about this time period? Fiorr: 1914. This year saw the beginning of what became known as World War I and also saw the first airline to provide scheduled regular commercial passenger services with heavier-than-air aircraft with the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line. Childyrn: He's got it. Revolutionary way to travel and send goods according to this. We're about eight days away from the termination of the airline contract. May 5th. :: T'Mar raised an eyebrow before noticing that Jalana had done the same. May 5th was more than 8 days from when they were, but the point was duly noted. Airlines and aircraft were a mode of transportation some time this year. :: Fiorr: Interesting, but the world war seems more important. If only we could prevent it from happening. Childyrn: There's something else here though... There's something about an Archduke, Franz Ferdinand. He is to be killed tomorrow. This was apparently what brought all the nations of this planet to war in this time. ::That fact was interesting to T'Mar. They had happened to arrive the day prior to a world wide war. She could not help but hope that they would be gone before it even started.:: Valoru: We cannot interfere. In fact, can we confirm that our presence will not be detected? Sinda: Tactical systems are not picking up any sensors capable of locating us. That said, if anyone down there has a half-decent telescope and points it in our direction... Are we sure we're not the cause of this world war, somehow? Turning up the day before seems pretty coincidental. ::T'Mar shook her head in the negative. No doubt someone would have noticed if aliens had started a war in 1914.:: Dunross: No, we are not the cause. There was a complex web of alliances between nations, pent-up aggressions, a long and expensive arms race and a lot of unfinished business that were the cause. Even if some strange object had been spotted, it would be a non-event. Rajel: Ah Ian, good of you to join us, I beleive that we will have to make use of your skills especially. Sinda: More bad news. There was a total failure of the backup systems on some of the lower decks, so internal sensors failed to detect a fire in the food storage bay. Rajel: A fire? What exactly caused it? Sinda: Unknown. The fire was only discovered when some crewman opened the hatch and almost got himself incinerated. They're dealing with it now, but it sounds bad. Rajel: I believe that. Though we still have replicators, don't we? Sinda: With the warp core offline, will we have enough power for the replicators? If not... Dunross: If not, then we should probably go grocery shopping. I’d recommend the United States of America. Abundant food availability, and they remain neutral in the coming war for another three years. :: Limited power, limited supplies. Much to T'Mar's dismay, it was sounding like an away mission would be necessary to get them out of here. She looked at Jalana who was having difficulty processing everything into an organized plan as well.:: Rajel: Okay, listen. Each of you collect data about damage, parts and recources we need. There is no way around this, we'll have to go down, so Ian you'll make a list of things we'll have to look out for, proper attire, behavioural rules and so on. If we have stuff we can use the better, maybe the theatre group has some costumes we can borrow. Otherwise we will have to replicate what we need. I want everyone prepared for a meeting in 20 minutes. Fiorr: I’ll continue to monitor the local news bulletins, see if they found us somehow. There aren’t any computers to log into so I think that would be the most usefull right now. T'Mar: I believe that is a wise decision. :: Jalana stepped aside and tapped her badge. :: Rajel: =/\= Rajel to Senior officers. Jalana here, allow me to quickly update you. Our bumpy ride can be blamed on a temporal rift. For more updates, we are going to have a meeting in about 20 minutes in the observation lounge. Please be punctual. Rajel out =/\= ::With that, T'Mar made her way to a console where she could begin analyzing what the situation was on the planet. She didn't claim to know enough about science and engineering to be of help with their return trip, but she knew security and she wanted to know if there were any threats from the planet. She found projectile weapons that would be particularly dangerous if they were shot, but nothing that would be a threat to the ship. Missiles that could reach them would not be invented for some time.:: TBC---------------------- Lieutenant Commander T'Mar First Officer USS Constitution-B Podcast Team Co-Facilitator/Community History Team Co-Facilitator/Training Officer
  12. ((Promenade - StarBase 11)) ::Shar'Wyn Foster firmly believed in never tempting fate. He would pass that advice on to others as well, though he didn't often give advice outside the medical field. Mostly because he didn't usually take advice from others and he didn't want to be counted as a hypocrite. Oh, but sometimes fate was tempted. And right now the timing was just too perfect. He was about to stay his hand when his hyperactive hearing caught exactly what Sinda Essen said, that light affirmation of good behavior that he was a hair's breadth away from proving wrong. And his fingers simply relaxed - almost apart from his conscious thought, and the popcorn sailed perfectly towards its target.:: Sinda: I've always respected Andorians, some of the best officers I've ever seen. ::Incoming... incoming. Thump! Ok, it was a highly unimpressive thump as far and knocks on the head went. Just a little piece of fluff that nearly stuck in his hair. If it had stuck, Wyn was quite sure he might not have been able to control the subsequent laughter. So he was in some ways disappointed and yet glad that it didn't.:: Sinda: Of course, there are always exceptions... ::Who, me? Oh how innocent he could look when he was clearly not.:: Valoru: What was that? :: It was a rather dry question for a rather strange occurrence. :: Foster: ::With equal measures of mirth and angelic innocence.:: You're supposed to catch it in your mouth! Sinda: How was he supposed to catch it if he didn't know it was coming? Are Andorian antennae designed for detecting incoming foodstuffs, too? ::He offered a silent, sage nod even as Valoru offered his own take on the situation.:: Valoru: It is hard to hear the intricate wind differentiation with such a small and lightweight projectile. Foster: ::feigning modesty and the best of all possible behavior:: Skill shot, I assure you. I would never insinuate that a fellow crew member has a big mouth! Valoru: So what is it that my not-so-big mouth should have accepted? :: His straight responses probably sounded arrogant, or just moronic. :: Foster: It's popcorn. You eat it. ::He tossed a few pieces in the air and caught them in his own mouth for good effect:: It's a Terran tradition. Valoru: I'm somewhat familiar, actually. :: The Cardassian hybrid waved at him and he obliged by tossing her a piece quite gently, before he untangled himself from his perch to offer quicker access to move like a normal, civilized person.:: Sinda: It feels like cardboard. Foster: ::he shrugged:: It's mostly starch. Valoru: Possibly a good pre-mission consumption item. Sinda: ::popping it in her mouth:: It tastes like cardboard too. Salty cardboard. You say Terrans eat this? ::He nodded a deep assent:: Foster: Oh yes, Terrans love the stuff. Sinda: Well that explains a lot. This pretty much sums up the blandness of Terran 'food'. ::she paused:: Actually, I had something called a curry once, that was good. So tell me, Doctor, what exactly is the nutritional benefit of eating that? Foster: Well, by itself it's full of fiber and low in calories. A decent snack. Though adding butter and salt both improves the taste and kills most of the nutritional benefits. Valoru: Ah yes, that would make sense, and add to the meal for sure. Although this was not part of the plan.::His antennae perked up as the subject changed:: Foster: Plan? Sinda: The plan was coffee and cake, but if you're happy with that stuff, then you can just stay up there. Foster: ::He clasped one hand melodramatically to his chest:: Oh please. Turn down a chance for caffiene and sugar? Never! ::He waved a hand from the landing above:: Give me a bit to get down. I don't think jumping in a safety-approved form of travel. ::By the time he got down to the lower level, Valoru and Essen had found themselves a lovely Betazoid teahouse, one that was heady with all the aromas of delicious sweet things and a variety of spiced beverages. Betazoid hot teas were particularly tasty he had found; and there were several he had a taste for. His antennae twitched in anticipation as they grouped again and Sinda turned towards the blue pair.:: Sinda: So what is it Andorians do when you get together? Recite old legends from the time before time? Arm wrestle to prove your physical superiority? Staring competitions? ::Well that was actually a very good question. One that Wyn really didn't know the answer to because, problematically, he had never been to Andor. Sure, he had known some other Andorians; though with the exception of Liani he hadn't been fast friends with any of them. Something about being raised on Earth that his kinsman found at best unusual and at worst borderline heretical. Then again, from the ones he did know he had formulated a certain perception, a hazy idea on what 'real' Andorians (as opposed to smart-mouthed ones with Terran accents) did in their free time. Still, he thought it wiser to let Valoru speak first.:: Valoru: Well... :: He thought for a second, Foster seeming to wait to reply. :: It depends where you are. In a setting such as this, we would do the very same thing we are doing now. On the snowy mountains of Andor, we might very well challenge one another to a duel. :: He smirked. :: Foster: ::Shrug:: Get drunk, swap stories. At least that's been my last few affairs. Sinda: Ah, just like everyone else then. Good to know. Foster: Pretty much. ::Another shrug. He assumed so. Maybe if he ever got a chance to check out his species' homeworld his perception might change.:: Valoru: Yes, pretty much. :: The conversation lulled after that, and Wyn couldn't help but feel a tinge of awkwardness at the subject of a people he didn't know. So he decided, for once, to stay quiet until drinks were ordered. It was a nice little break that seemed to reset the conversation into a different direction.:: Sinda: How are you finding the Conny, Ensign? I hear we've got a pretty routine patrol lined up after we refuel. A nice few weeks of absolutely nothing exciting. Valoru: Well, yes actually. I hope to get some bridge time, as well as get to those standard reports and data collection reports. I tend to walk about the ship for those instead of sitting at a console for an entire shift. I cannot stay away from *activity* for very long. Foster: ::he chuckled:: I, for one, could use the down time. Nothing exciting means catching up on routine physicals and no emergencies. ::he smiled. No emergencies was good in his trade.:: Valoru: Well, quite true. Physicals are annoying. ::As they chatted, he leaned back considering how likely it would be that they could pull off an entire survey with nothing exciting. This was Starfleet. Every mission seemed to turn into a disaster... sooner or later. But for now it was good to relax...:: ~*~ Lt Commander Shar'Wyn Foster Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B
  13. “Now that I’ve tried to talk to you and make you understand All you have to do is close your eyes and just reach out your hand” ~ Extreme, More Than Words ((Holodeck 2, USS Invicta)) ::It had been several days since they had ventured onto the holodeck in their last, rather unsuccessful venture into a holonovel. Previously their explorations of their respective homeworlds had been found mutually agreeable so, after allowing a certain amount of time, Saveron had suggested that they venture out once again in that vein. He had once promised to show her the native habitat of the flowering succulents that he kept in his quarters.:: ::The sky was a warm apricot, the air a mild 47’C and below them to the north stretched a view of the An’ahyaes valley. This time the arch had let them out into the foothills at the southern end of the valley, in the shadow of some old stone ruins that they had last seen from a distance.:: Saveron: Ut-kashi tower. ::He gestured towards the ruins with one black-clad arm. He was wearing a casual long-sleeved tunic, close-fitting trews and knee-high boots, obviously unperturbed by the heat. On a sling over his shoulder he carried a large flask.:: Saveron: If you do not object, I intend that we should walk slowly down to a ravine where the sfhai t’aihghuimh grow. I have brought water supplies. DeVeau: That sounds great. What’s that? ::One hand lifted and flicked toward a particular building that rose from the ground, a silent sentinel to the ruins. Once indicated, she let it move to wipe a droplet of sweat that trickled down her neck. It was hot, but not unbearable. It was a dry heat which made it easier to withstand than one that was accompanied by humidity. But it was still hot. Alora was in more terran clothes, a tank top and shorts that allowed for freedom of movement but limited her clothing as much as possible without being indecent.:: ::The Vulcan looked up at the tower.:: Saveron: It was an ancient stronghold of my Clan, in the days when Nel Gathic clans warred amongst themselves and against others for the valley’s resources. ::He gestured to the valley floor immediately below.:: Here Valeohroehn won a battle, and lost a war. ::He had spoken of his ancestor before. The man was called ‘Valoren’ in alien history books.:: DeVeau: In what way? ::Alora was not completely ignorant of Vulcan history, but it hadn’t been a focus of any of her studies, so she was limited. She knew more than most Terrans, but this was still quite lacking in general.:: Saveron: He killed the leader of the Kor’hin Clan, triggering a reprisal attack from the man’s three half-siblings, who inherited joint leadership. His brother led the main assault whilst his sisters planned and executed an ingenious incursion through the hills here. In that battle much of the Ayein Clan was slaughtered, including Valoren. DeVeau: You said he was an ancestor? How many generations past was that? Saveron: Twenty-three generations. I am descended from him through his eldest son to his first bond-mate, Lohraedys. ::He glanced at the ruined tower again, before indicating a faint path into the hills and stepping out onto it.:: Saveron: I am curious as to your family’s history. DeVeau: My family? ::Alora didn’t have such fascinating history behind her family - not that she knew of. Her ancestry couldn’t be traced back twenty three generations. Well, maybe it could, but no one had done so.:: DeVeau: They don’t have quite the coloured past. My mother and father met in the United states, though my father was originally from France. They had five kids, including me and...well, my life growing up was pretty mundane, really. Saveron: As was mine. ::He replied evenly.:: I do not doubt that we could all find a famous ancestor, should be look back far enough. I consider Valoren’s son and my namesake to be a far better role-model; he brokered the peace that ended those hostilities. You mentioned your brothers; they are varied in their pursuits, are they not? DeVeau: Varied. What a good way to put it. Yes, very much so. My eldest brother, Alain, has kind of followed my father’s footsteps. He’s actually a vice president in the same company. Then there’s Adrien who...well, he does whatever he wants. ::Or whatever the hell he wanted, as Adrien had so eloquently put it, but she wasn’t about to say that to Saveron.:: DeVeau: Alexandre is a Medical Officer in Starfleet and Aimé is an artist. He’s starting to get noticed for his work too. ::There were a lot of A’s, but her parents had actually planned that.:: DeVeau: You’ve mentioned your own family a little. Will you tell me more about them? Saveron: Certainly. I am the third of four siblings. My elder brother Torenan is a teacher, specifically of adolescents, and primarily in History, though he also teaches Vulcan languages. He and his bond mate have five children and six grandchildren to date. Vanyeris my sister is an agricultural engineer like my father. ::Which was a fancy way of calling her a farmer.:: Saveron: She also has a family and lives not far from where we grew up. Her name has been inherited through our paternal line, as has my own. We have a cousin of the same name in Starfleet. ::And it too had a history.:: My younger sister Aleyra is a scientist and professor at Vulcanis University, which is where I studied Medicine. My parents are both local and both of the Ayein Clan. Unlike your own cosmopolitan ancestry, mine is confined predominantly to a single ethnic group. ::As they walked the land rose and became rockier, until they were walking between boulders of beige stone, fallen from the hills that rose gradually into cliffs on either side.:: DeVeau: But… ::Alora stopped herself. She’d been about to query about his former bond mate, but she hesitated. Perhaps that was a subject best left alone. She switched to a completely different topic.:: DeVeau: You’ve told me a little about your people and their history. Are they a small group compared to other clans? Saveron: They were for many cycles following that battle. That was, however, two thousand Terran years ago. The Ayein Clan is still smaller than some others, but we know this part of the valley like our own skin. It became our shelter and home until peace was negotiated. ::The Clan had for years thereafter waged a guerilla effort against those determined to drive them out, until finally peace had been negotiated.:: Saveron: That is, of course, now ancient history. Today the Clans live in peace and work cooperatively to tend the valley sustainably and supply food for much of Vulcan. My people have prospered through careful management of the valley’s resources. DeVeau: It’s hard to imagine the Vulcans as anything but peaceful. Granted, history says otherwise, but all I’ve experienced has been...well, Vulcans like you. Those who are peaceful. Logical. ::And often who stated they could not feel emotion, though Saveron hadn’t claimed it. He’d been an anomaly in that respect.:: Saveron: To know us as we were, look to the Romulans. ::He replied blandly.:: I am given to understand that Europe had a somewhat tumultuous past. France is part of that conglomerate, is it not? DeVeau: Oh gosh, yes. I mean, wars and wars, barbarians, raids, Celts and Anglo Saxons and...well, it’s pretty bloody in general. Pretty much history, until after World War III, is mostly just either what war was happening or how long til the next war. France was a part of Europe and while it wasn’t the only place to experience bloodshed, I suppose one might say it had more than its share. Saveron: Was that due to geographical considerations, resources or culture? ::He asked, genuinely interested.:: DeVeau: I would say all three. ::Alora shook her head, her ponytail flouncing about merrily with the motion.:: DeVeau: There were motivations behind every altercation. Well, isn’t there always? Sometimes it was political. Sometimes it was because one country had something another wanted. Sometimes it was just the culture of the peoples to be war like and take what they wanted, whether they needed it or not. Well, I guess in every situation, ‘want’ had a large role to play, no matter what the exact situation. One place had gold, the other fertile soil, still another rare resources. Saveron: And it was seen as easier to take than to negotiate or share, and better to have more than one’s neighbours. So we were once. ::And these hills and valleys had been stained green with blood because of it. That part of other cultures he understood all too well.:: DeVeau: That seems to be a very common theme, and not just among humans. ::Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians, even Vulcans. It was as if every species, humanoid or not, had some innermost desire for conquest in some form or fashion. Some had changed their ways, such as the Vulcans. Some...well, some still had work to do in that area. Even humans.:: Saveron: Given that we are all ultimately descended from the same seeded genetic stock, it is perhaps unsurprising that we have similar competitive and hierarchical tendencies. In evolutionary terms such conveyed an advantage on the individual, to the detriment of their peers. The advantage of intelligence is that we can learn to work cooperatively to the benefit of society as a whole. In many ways we are all still learning. ::He observed philosophically.:: ::Around them the cliffs rose higher until they were making their way through a small canyon along what might have once, thousands of years ago, been a river bed; before Vulcan’s climate shifted and the world became largely desert. In cracks in the stone the occasional small, succulent plant showed, though no evidence yet of the ones they had come in search of.:: DeVeau: Was there water here once? Saveron: Affirmative. It was long ago, before the climate changed. ::Of course, water had been present long ago, but she thought she recognised the markings of a particularly large body, the river bed that they traversed along. She paused to crouch down, her fingers digging into the soil as if it might answer some questions. It remained silent and she rose to clap her hand against her thigh. Hologram it might be, but it was real enough to the senses.:: DeVeau: Further on, you think? Saveron: That is correct. I have walked this path before, many times. DeVeau: And we’re going to see the flowers? It’s a place you enjoy? Saveron: I find the destination agreeable, meditative. ::He allowed.:: It is not conducive to vehicles. I… considered that you might also find it agreeable. DeVeau: Agreeable? You can say that you think I’ll like it. I don’t mind, really. ::But he was a Vulcan and probably never would.:: Saveron: It… is considered impolite in Vulcan culture to suggest that another might experience an emotional response. ::He explained carefully.:: I would not want you to construe negative connotations. ::He was being polite, and considerate, as his own culture saw it. He did not really know how else to be, and cross-cultural social interaction could be such a mine-field.:: ::Up ahead the view seemed to shortened as the valley they followed narrowed.:: DeVeau: Oh I would never construe negative connotations by your suggestion that I might experience an emotional response to something. Especially if it’s a positive emotional response. ::She paused a moment, then added.:: Though I do hope you won’t think I’m being impolite if I imply that you might feel an emotional response to something. It’s...I guess just the way we humans talk and think and what not. We’re not trying to be impolite or anything. Saveron: As I am aware. ::He assured her in his usual, mild tones.:: I have worked with Terrans for nine years now, and take no offence where none is intended. At the same time I choose to abide by my culture’s social etiquette where possible, even though to breach such would not be considered impolite by yourself. I would still consider it impolite. ::Which was perhaps honest if not entirely logical. The fact that he would consider such rude even if she didn’t meant that he chose not to do her that discourtesy.:: ::Alora’s lips quirked upward, amusement evident on her face, but she didn’t press the issue.:: DeVeau: So be it, but if you ever change your mind, I won’t take offense. ::A slight nod acknowledged her words.:: ::She turned her gaze forward as they traversed onward, eyes soaking in the sights of the foreign landscape.:: DeVeau: So how much further? Saveron: We are nearing the end of this canyon. ::Not much further and the reason for the foreshortened view became obvious; the ancient water course had turned through a very narrow channel in the rock, then would once have plunged down a cascading series of falls. Now there was only a tumble of dry boulders that fell in a steep slope about fifty metres into a much broader chasm that twisted and wound away from them, not the only rock fall to do so. As they looked down they could see more small plants clinging to the rock face, including one example of the sfhai t’aihghuimh they had come to find.:: ::It wasn’t that far of a drop, but it was enough to spur Alora back a couple of steps. She certainly couldn’t just jump down it. Doing so would be bad. Very bad. Fortunately, it was just a hologram and the safeties were engaged but that didn’t mean she didn’t feel a sense of trepidation and dizziness as she gazed downward.:: Saveron: We must climb down to reach our destination, if you do not object. Otherwise I can alter the program. ::Sometimes though the journey was part of the destination, and some things were worth the effort.:: DeVeau: I...guess not. ::This was going to be fun - and if she kept saying it she might just believe it. Alora might have asked Saveron to hold her hand except first, he was a Vulcan and she had a feeling he didn’t want to do that again and second, it was kind of hard to climb down rocky terrain with one hand.:: Saveron: Inform me if you reconsider. ::Slinging the water flask over his shoulder, Saveron grasped hand-holds in the rock wall and stepped down onto the first boulder. The long-limbed Vulcan had a distinct advantage in this type of activity.:: ::The boulders were not precipitous, if one slipped one would only land on the one below, but they were still a marked scramble and some were quite big. As they climbed down the air changed a little, the barest hint of a rise in humidity in the thin air starting to register.:: ::Alora gazed down upon the man who so easily made his way over the boulders. Her teeth worried her lower lip, but she crouched down, then carefully eased over the edge to the first set of holds. There was no way she was going to go as fast as he was. At least they weren’t any higher.:: ::As they descended Saveron kept a careful eye on Alora’s progress. In the thin air and high gravity he was in his element, his strength evolved to compensate for just such an environment; his companion had evolved for a very different world. He did not wish her to find the journey disagreeable.:: ::The path down the scree that they had taken had brought them to the top of a particularly large rock. The Vulcan was already hunting for a path along it’s side, using a smaller rock wedged beside it as a foot-hold. It would not be easy however.:: Saveron: Do you require assistance? DeVeau: No. No...I’m okay. For now. I’ll uh...scream or something if I need you. Loudly. I promise. Saveron: Exercise due caution. ::The safeties were engaged of course, but he would find it particularly disagreeable if Alora were to sustain an injury from their adventure.:: ::Alora continued to carefully pick her way down. At one point, however, her foot, though it originally caught onto a hold, slipped and she screeched as her hands clutched at the rock and dug painfully in an attempt to keep from taking the quick way down. The position she was in set her in between two boulders beneath - which meant if she dropped, she’d most likely drop all the way down to the bottom.:: DeVeau: Um…Sav...Sav….::Pant.:: SAV… ::Footfalls sounded on stone some distance below.:: Saveron: Let go. ::He said calmly.:: I will catch you. ::Let go? He wanted her to let go? She had to let go? It was a very long drop. Alora twisted her head to stare beneath her. It wasn’t as long as it had been when she started, but it was far enough. She swallowed. She had to let go. Let go. Let go. Dangit, let go! Finally, her fingers obeyed and she slid ungracefully downward.:: ::Braced on the rock below, long arms collected Alora as she slipped off the rock, holding her firmly against his chest as he took their collected weight and carefully maintained his stability. Like the atmosphere around them his own internal temperature was much higher than a Terran’s would have been, making his grasp particularly warm. He carefully set her down on the rock he was standing on.:: Saveron: My apologies. I should have chosen a different route down this slope. ::He hadn’t considered the issue of the large boulder until they were almost on it, an unforgivable oversight.:: Saveron: Are you injured? ::Hurt? No. Not hurt. Not physically anyway. If anything, she was embarrassed and the pink that had taken its opportunity to sweep across her cheeks was evident to that fact.:: DeVeau: Just bruised my pride. ::Her voice cracked and it was the first time she realised she’d not consumed much in the way of liquids.:: DeVeau: Um. Is this a bad time for some water? Please? Saveron: It is not. ::He unshipped the flask on its strap over his shoulder, offering it to her. While Alora drank Saveron considered the route down, calculating a path that involved as few large rocks as possible.:: Saveron: The remainder of the slope should prove easier. ::It was regrettable that he had brought Alora into that situation, which had not been his intention. He had simply wished to show her an agreeable memory from his own youth; much as she had before. It seemed that for each of them, their intentions did not translate particularly well. Cultural barriers.:: DeVeau: The worst part’s over, right? I guess this is a good way to face one’s fears, right? ::Grey eyes regarded her expressionlessly for a long moment.:: Saveron: Affirmative. ::Riiight.:: ::It wasn’t too much of a scramble before they stood on the sandy floor of what was now a very respectable ravine. Rock walls towered high above them, whilst the sandy floor was very smooth indeed. The rays of the late afternoon sun lanced a band of orange light onto the rock walls and floor.:: Saveron: The sfhai t’aihghuimh are best viewed further along. These ravines run east towards the Voroth sea, cut by ancient water courses. ::Not that any Terran would have dignified such shallow puddles with the name of ‘sea’.:: ::The ravine broadened a little and eventually they came to a place where the glimmer of shallow water was just visible in the distance and the walls were heavily covered in the small, brown plants, like sickly aloes. The Vulcan sun hung on the horizon, creating a sunset like Terran blood and bathing the canyon in red light.:: ::The Vulcan looked around for a moment, apparently satisfied, and perched on the edge of a random boulder that interrupted the flat sand, long legs stuck out in front of him at an angle, regarding the sunset..:: Saveron: This is the optimal location to view the eisgh t’Nyone. ::Which translated as the Breath of Nyone.:: ::Alora was not quite so confident as the Vulcan and any movements she made on the boulder were slower, quite a bit more careful. She eased down to sit beside him and drew her legs out to mimic his position.:: DeVeau: What is the eisgh t’Nyone? Saveron: You will observe momentarily. ::For a moment there was that light in his eyes that suggested suppressed amusement.:: ::Alora wrinkled her nose at the Vulcan, but made no verbal protest. If it was something that he thought she’d enjoy, she wouldn’t truly attempt to ruin it. She made no other comment, asked no other questions, simply remained where she was and enjoyed the beauty. From time to time, one hand would lift so she could smear sweat across her brow, or take a swig of water.:: ::As the sun dipped lower the air began to stir. Throughout the day there had been a gentle breeze moving past them, towards the east from land to sea, but now that began to reverse and draw air west up the ravine from the sea.:: ::The air from the sea was marginally cooler and more humid and as the sun at last dipped below the horizon and the colour of the sunset changed from Terran blood to Klingon, the temperature in that narrow chasm began to drop. The air was thin and as the temperature dropped so did it’s ability to hold the moisture it had absorbed from the sea; seemingly out of nowhere a mist began to form, softening shapes and giving the ravine a ghostly quality.:: ::As the mist thickened there was movement on the rock walls. Even as they had in his quarters when he changed the environmental settings, the sfhai t’aihghuimh began to unfold long, translucent filaments from amongst their fleshy brown leaves, waving them in the misty air to absorb the water. Moments later tiny, snow-white flowers opened and filled the chasm with a heady perfume. Insects with tiny bodies but large, transparent wings like a dragonfly began to zip from flower to flower, their strange proportions a response to the high gravity and thin atmosphere. As they flew they made high-pitched trills, calling for mates.:: ::It was an eerie sight, the mist despite the heat gave the ravine an ethereal feel in the growing twilight, the gossamer plants and fairy-like insects like something out of an old legend. It was as if the world of Faerie had somehow found expression on this far-flung planet, complete with resident Elf sitting and watching the display dispassionately.:: ::He looked over at Alora.:: Saveron: This is the eisgh t’Nyone. Nyone’s Breath, or the Breath of the Sea. This mist is what gives life to Nel Gathic lands. ::He said quietly.:: This is what I wished to show you. DeVeau: Wow...just… ::Just what? Silence was all she could answer with, for the sight was spectral and magical at the same time. The delicate symphony of the insects joined in the hushed melody of the breeze while the tendrils that lapped at the moisture in the air danced to the tune. As she listened to their song, any tension that had built up within the young woman melted away. She shifted and leaned back on the stone behind her to watch with rapt attention.:: ::No words were spoken for some time as she silently reveled in the glorious display before her. Eventually, a soft sigh slipped from her lips as her hands lifted to press against her cheeks in wonder at the view, then fall back to their previous position.:: DeVeau: Can we stay here forever? Saveron: Negative. We can however return whenever you wish. ::From her words he could only deduce that she found the experience agreeable. It was a reaction that he found preferable. He slid down to lean his back against the rock, so that their faces were close to level and spoke in quieter tones.:: Saveron: I had considered it preferable that you would find the experience agreeable. ::And perhaps there had been some method in his insistence on bringing her the hard way. Grey eyes met green for a long moment.:: Saveron: I find it agreeable to see you… happy. ::He’d never lightly accused her of an emotion, but there was really no other way to describe it and she had given him permission. That she was so easy to read was, in a strange way, part of her appeal. He had wondered what she made of him, who was quite the opposite. For all her awkwardly expressed interest, she was alien and not easy for him to fathom. And though he could not express himself the way she did, he had done what he could to do so with his words and his actions. But amongst his people there was another way.:: ::Reaching out he offered her his hand, index and middle fingers extended, ring and little fingers folded back.:: ::For a moment the only thing that stirred was the wildlife that continued in its display while the two humanoids rest upon the boulder. Alora’s gaze dropped to stare intently at the gesture he made.:: ::There was hesitation, but not from a lack of desire, more from surprise. It was not long, just a hint, but then her own hand lifted, her own fingers curled inward, save two. Slowly, they joined with Saveron’s as green eyes lifted once more to find and meet grey.:: ::It was a shallow contact between minds unbound, moderated by the fact that only one was a telepath, but Saveron opened that contact so that it was very mutual. Two minds, just touching.:: ::His mind Alora had sensed once before, the stronghold that kept the emotional chaos inherent in his kind in check. But where others rejected all emotion he acknowledged those that were not disruptive to inner peace. Like friendship, like contentment, like a growing appreciation of and attraction to another person, another mind, now touching his own.:: ::It was more peaceful, the mental touch this time. It was more like a caress, the whisper of fingers against a cheek, a flutter of breath against one’s hair. Although his body was warm, his mind was cool, refreshing, like a forest where she lay resting beneath the canopy. As his innermost emotions, careful and controlled, trickled through, her own rose to the surface. Friendship, yes. Contentment, they matched his in all ways - even the attraction. Perhaps that was the one most hesitant, accompanied with an almost silent fear behind it.:: :: He had barely sensed Alora’s mind the last time they had touched, it had been a very one sided exchange. Now her thoughts rippled and danced before him, bright and vibrant as sunlight on flowing water, an environmental effect he hadn’t truly understood until he had left Vulcan. She reminded him of that new, alien experience. Her mind was very different to those of his own people, and fascinating in its difference, but he did not delve into her thoughts, he had not been invited. Rather he focused on what thoughts welled to the surface freely, of their own accord, one unexpected.:: Saveron: oO Do not fear me, or doubt me.Oo ::He told her silently, mind to mind. In his own thoughts there was no uncertainty, but he had a lifetime of experience in watching his own thoughts, accepting them as a part of himself. Rather he showed her how he felt, at peace with what might come, and let her react to that. Here he could say without words what he could not voice aloud.:: DeVeau: oO I do not fear you. Oo ::There was a ripple in his thoughts, the ghost of the words ‘you should’ seemed to hang there for the barest moment before disappearing. He didn’t try to hide it. Rather he let her see him as he was. Less disciplined than many of his kind certainly, but eminently comfortable with that. He wanted her to be comfortable with him. Yet he sensed a certain hesitancy, a faint worry, in her thoughts.:: Saveron: oO Then what do you fear? Oo ::She didn’t tell him. She showed him, in a sense. It was brief, a flash of images - two faces. The first was of a man he didn’t recognise. He was young, considered fair to gaze upon in the eyes of a young woman, though his mouth twisted into a sneer. The second was that of the Orion pirate, his own face formed into an intense glare, hatred flashing in his stony gaze. Then something followed, a different sort of fear, one that was unreadable at first, then formed into a third image - that of Alora, her arms stretched out toward Saveron, but him turning away from her in rejection.:: Saveron: oO No, no and no. Oo ::He told her gently.:: ::The triple negative was applied to each image in turn. She had opened to him, showed her the fears that she held and he negated and soothed each one in turn.:: ::He did nothing without careful thought, and his actions now were the same. He had planned this evening as he had acted before, the logical progression of recent actions. Her interest, that he had been slow to understand he had also been slow to internalise, yet when fully processed he found it was reciprocated, and he would never, ever, wish her harm. He was most definitely not her Orionese tormentor. Yes he was physicially strong, but he would never hurt her. Pacifism above all else. And the third? He did not know who the other man was, but he was not Saveron. The Vulcan was himself, and all that he was he set before her, if she wanted him.:: ::A slow hush of breath escaped and Alora shifted, drew closer to him, though she never broke physical contact. Her free hand rose, her fingers danced lightly, carefully across his cheek, a silken and brief caress before they fell away.:: DeVeau: oOWhat do you want?Oo ::Her caress was sweet, like water after weeks in the desert. There was a careful pause in his thoughts, an obvious reining in of an impulsive response, held back behind that wall of training.:: Saveron: oO You. But only what you would give. Time, company. Perhaps more eventually, if you wish. Oo ::There was then a touch of humour in his thoughts, as though he were laughing at himself. He showed Alora something then, one of his own scars. A flash of a childhood memory, another mental contact, an alien one. A young Vulcan girl, he and she both younger even than Saavok was now. That influence was long gone, but it had been chosen for him. He’d never had to choose before, never had a need to court someone. It was a new experience for him. There was there a measure of uncertainty. He didn’t really know how one should proceed, and the cultural barrier only made things more difficult.:: Saveron: oO Patience, and understanding. Oo ::There was a dry, self-deprecating tone to his thoughts.:: oO And you? What do you want? Oo ::His response seemed to set her at ease and she relaxed. Her cool fingers returned to touch his cheek, the caress lingering this time, tracing a gentle path over his warm skin.:: DeVeau: oOThe same.Oo ::He inclined his head slightly, proffering his cheek for her touch, eyes half-lidded. Through their mental contact it was obvious that he enjoyed the touch, even though it had a different effect on him, activating different neural nodes as her fingers drifted across them. Hands and faces, key in Vulcan telepathy.:: Saveron: oO Then that would seem to be a good premise upon which to proceed. Oo ::He reached up to trail a finger across Alora’s cheek, touch warm and feather-light, sensing her own perception of that touch through their linked minds.:: ::The effect of his touch was different than hers. It brought on a distinct wave of pleasure and spurred her to draw even closer to him. Though the night was cooler than the day, the heat was still intense. His own body was warm to her touch, but despite it she didn’t care. There was pleasure in his closeness as well.:: DeVeau: oO I would have to say that’s a very logical conclusion.Oo ::Her skin was cool beneath his touch, but not cool enough. They could not stay there too long, she would overheat. It was a reminder of how different she was, in every way. It was part of what made her fascinating.:: ::He thought a wordless affirmation, finding a deep contentment in her closeness and their contact. It was something that he had missed these last nine years. As she drew closer he leaned in and brushed his cheek lightly against hers and lingered there a moment. It was an intimate gesture amongst his people as it brought the facial neural nodes into contact, deepening the mental connection. Here it did not have quite as marked an effect, but it was still pleasurable for him.:: ::Though she was not Vulcan, the gesture was still one of great intimacy. A soft sigh brushed against Saveron's ear and her sense of contentment was coloured with a trembling of desire and a hint of surprise.:: ::He pulled back then, just a hint of chargrin colouring his thoughts, far beneath the deep contentment and yes, happiness that he held there, kept in check behind the barrier of his training, lest he act as he should not..:: Saveron: oO Thank you. Oo ::Wordlessly he signalled his intention to break the mental contact, and a moment later his hand left hers and they were once again alone within their own minds. His gaze focused more fully on her green eyes, her flushed cheeks. She had an alien beauty about her that was very appealing, more so for the mind behind it. A mind he had touch now, the way she should be touched.:: ::Alora inhaled deeply, then let it go in a slow, controlled manner. She hadn't wanted him to break away, but she didn't want him to be uncomfortable either.:: DeVeau: That was...wow, it was... ::She really wished she could wax poetically like some she knew. Kestra would have never been so clumsy. Her tongue ran over her lips and, now that her focus had shifted, more mundane needs began to voice their concerns.:: DeVeau: May I have some more water please? Saveron: Of course. ::He offered the flask on it’s sling to Alora then settled once more with his back against the rock, watching the insects as they zipped from plant to plant in the deepening twilight, letting her be alone with her thoughts.:: ::As was his nature and training, he analysed the experience. Perhaps he should not have been so bold, but Alora had done nothing to indicate that his actions were unwelcome, and he knew of no other way to communicate what he wished her to know, nor how Terrans went about such. He simply did not have the words. Their recent interactions had given him indications that she found his company more agreeable than most, and he knew of no other way to learn the true nature of her interest.:: ::He had not wished to overwhelm her however, who as far as he could tell was completely unaccustomed to mental contact, and amongst his people such was deep and intimate. He considered it advisable to keep the contact brief. As she drank he looked over silently at her, grey eyes scanning her face as he took a moment to memorise every angle.:: ::Alora tilted the flask back and drank deeply of the water. The heat wasn’t as bad, but it was still far more than she was accustomed to. She drained a goodly amount before she came up for air, then ran the back of her hand to carry away a trace of water left there. She froze under the scrutiny from the Vulcan, then slowly closed the container so the water would not spill.:: DeVeau: What? Saveron: A memory is preferable to a holograph, if appropriately formed. ::He said honestly.:: I would remember you, here, now. ::Like it was yesterday; forever.:: ::Alora honestly felt like she was going to melt. Perhaps it was partly the heat, but truthfully, to have a man say something like that to her. Maybe it was said in a Vulcan way, but it was still as romantic as anything that those books he favoured might contain. If they were the influence behind it, then she was grateful to the author!:: DeVeau: You can see me every day. ::She pointed out so eloquently. Here he was, dancing with grace and aplomb and she was stepping all over his toes.:: Saveron: I would find such agreeable, but it may not prove practical. ::He observed, knowing their busy work schedule.:: And ‘every day’ is not now. I have an eidetic memory and will remember this moment clearly when I am old… and when you are gone. ::For even given current Terran lifespans, when she grew old he would be but middle aged. He might well live another hundred years after she died. And who knew what tomorrow might bring? She might not find his company so agreeable in the future; he accepted that possibility. That would not lessen the importance of this moment to him.:: DeVeau: You’re right. ::She agreed and inched closer though she did not touch him. Not without his permission.:: Every day is definitely not now. ::And oh how she wished now could last forever.:: Saveron: But every day brings new potential. I would find it agreeable to spend further time in your company, if you would not object. DeVeau: No, Saveron, I would not object. Not in the slightest. ::The Vulcan nodded gently. What more needed to be said?:: ::Her cheeks were flushed and he could see that Alora was sweating, noted the amount of water that she drank. The light level was dropping rapidly now and after a moment he rose to his feet in one fluid movement.:: Saveron: We can return here at any time, should you wish it. ::He looked away then for a moment, towards the sea.:: Computer, arch. ::The Holodeck’s arch appeared on the sand before them.:: ::The perfect night had to end. Alora rose as Saveron did then followed him toward the arch. She paused in the threshold to gaze upon the beauty they were leaving behind.:: DeVeau: Saveron...will you promise me something? ::Grey eyes looked down into green.:: Saveron: What would you have me promise, Alora? DeVeau: Will you promise to take me to the real eisgh t’Nyone some day? Saveron: Affirmative. END “More than words is all I ever needed you to show; Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me Cause I’d already know.” ~ Extreme, More Than Words
  14. “There’s a hole in the world tonight,There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow.There’s a hole in the world tonight,Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.” ~ The Eagles, Hole in the World ((Sickbay, Astrofori 1)) ::The Security Officers stepped aside to let him pass and Saveron stepped into the isolation room that held the comatose Harrison Ross. Unlike Evan Delano, Ross had not regained consciousness, and his neural scans showed a greater degree of neural degradation; greater, and increasing.:: ::He had studied the medical literature from his homeworld, the descriptions of how one assessed this type of damage, both using modern medical equipment and that deep telepathy that was so specific to his species. He had poured over instructions on how one healed this type of damage, though such instructions could only go so far, every mind was different. And he had, at the last, strengthened his own mental barriers and revised his mental self-defence training. The implanted personality of Harrison Ross was, by all accounts, not to be trifled with.:: ::Not that he was here to fight. He was here to heal. Still, he carried with him a small, exquisitely carved crystal, his own katric ark, should the opportunity to somehow extract the infecting personality arise.:: ::He had not encountered Harrison Ross following the awakening of his implanted personality; the Commander Ross in Saveron's memory was the cheerful and competent First Officer whom he had known over a year ago. The man he'd had described to him was a monster. The man laid prone on the biobed, a drip-line in his arm feeding him and the muscle wastage from disuse already apparent to the trained eye, was neither. As with many things, it was not the body, not the tool, that was the monster; it was the mind that drove it. Somewhere in there was that monster, and if Quinn and Evan were correct, so too was the good man that he had known.:: ::Placing the crystal on the edge of the biobed, Saveron focused on it for a long moment, using it to centre himself, before transferring his gaze to Ross' face. Reaching out, long fingers touched his cheek, seeking out the neural nodes needed for the connection.:: Saveron: My mind to your mind….. oO My thoughts to your thoughts. Oo ::The wind hit him like a wall.:: ::Gale-force, the scorching wind drove rust-coloured sands that stung the face, abraded the skin and made it almost impossible to breath. Falling to his knees in a protective crouch, arms over his head, Saveron found himself pressed into baked desert sands that smelled of home.:: Saveron: oO Vulcan? Oo ::Raising the cowl of the heavy robe that he wore here to protect his face and ears, he scuttled towards a pile of boulders half visible through the storm and worked his way in between two of them to shield himself from the driving wind. The impact of sand against stone was a constant hiss, and even as he watched the stone was being scoured away.:: Saveron: oO Why Vulcan? Oo ((Vulcan’s Force, Mindscape)) ::Looking up, a great volcano towered over the boulder-strewn valley, and as he watched lightening struck it from a blackened sky. He knew that mountain; this was Vulcan’s Forge. Clearly Ross knew it too. The only indicator that this was a mindscape was the dim and sourceless ambient light.:: ::Saveron had passed his kahs-wan in the Go-an Desert, half a world away, but the privations were similar. He didn’t doubt his ability to survive here, were this real. But it was not, it was a metaphor for the state of Harrison Ross’s mind; grim and slowly being torn apart. Yet the landscape was only the architecture of his mind; where was the personality? Or rather, personalities?:: ::Focusing his concentration, The Vulcan tuned his mental shields and brought his telepathic defensive strategies to bear. This mindscape was a warzone, the enemy the environment itself. His robes wavered, appeared to undergo a moment of existential uncertainty, and solidified as a Vulcan Desert Soft Suit. With practiced moves he raised and sealed the hood and lowered the protective visor over his eyes, becoming a faceless shape in the shifting sands.:: ::Raising his now gloved hands, a slim shape formed between them and extended, becoming a rauh-uhrozjhitao, a Nel Gathic farming tool consisting of a slim rod with a bulbous foot and a small, curved blade at the tip. Using it as a walking staff, Saveron set the foot into the shifting sands and stepped out into Vulcan’s Forge. Somewhere here was the heart of the damage, the heart of the storm. Somewhere here also was Ross.:: ::Shapes ghosted in and out of the sandstorm, only ever in the corner of his eye, never presenting themselves clearly or within reach. Like ghosts or lost katras, seen only through the medium of blowing sand. Where they memories, shred of personality or something else? Saveron didn’t know. They were too tenuous for him to more than note their presence; whether or not that would change remained to be seen.:: ::Sandstorms were not uncommon across Vulcan’s desert regions, though rarely with this degree of viciousness. One learned not to go out in them unless one had to, and when one needed to travel on foot, one walked with the wind. Having no more obvious direction to travel in, Saveron let the constant force of the wind push him as he walked the length of the stoney valley, watching and waiting for some hint of the reasons behind this maelstrom, the source of the damage.:: ::The winds blew high up as well, scouring familiar cliff faces and carrying the sand in biting whorls. He could see their billows far ahead, yet as he watched he realised that the sand blowing across the furthest visible outcrop on his left was travelling in a slightly different direction. Looking to his right he saw the same phenomenon; unlike the surface of a real planet, here the winds were blowing towards one point.:: ::He knew then that, whatever the extent of the damage, it’s core would be there.:: ::A faceless figure in the Desert Suit, he trudged on through the deepening sand. How long he walked was entirely subjective; it might have been a heartbeat, or a lifetime. Timeframes didn’t apply to things that happened at the speed of thought. He knew that he drew closer however, for the angle of the wind was gradually steepening; the point of convergence lay ahead.:: ::Cresting the top of a large dune, at last he saw it. The sand ran down and down into what once would have been a deep, sheltering hollow in the dune where one might rest out of the winds, but now the winds blew down the sand dunes to the bottom of the hollow, and through it, through the black space where there should have been only sand and stone.:: ::There was a hole in the world.:: Ross: Why are you here? ::The mild voice came from behind him.:: ::Ross was wearing traditional Vulcan funeral robes, his posture inoffensive, his hands hidden in the long, bell-like sleeves. Unaffected by the sandstorm, he stared at Saveron, his face an impassive mask any Vulcan would be proud of.:: ::Turning slowly to look over his shoulder, Saveron recognised the representation of Harrison Ross; though which Ross was impossible to determine. His friend or the implanted personality? Or perhaps only the base on which both had been built?:: ::Back to the wind, Saveron lifted the visor of his Desert Suit, pulled the front of the cowl away from his mouth. Unlike Ross he was not immune to the storm. Perhaps it was a reaction to the presence of another telepath, some attempt at self-defence? Ross would have been trained in such, though whether it could be employed unconsciously, Saveron could not know.:: Saveron: I am here to heal that which has been damaged, if I can. ::He indicated the dark void below with the end of his staff.:: ::The other man took a few steps forward, peering down at the void.:: Ross: That is Mister Delano's handiwork. ::He paused.:: How is he? Saveron: He is… conscious. ::He said eventually. Which Ross was he talking to?:: He regrets the event. Whether or not he also received damage is yet to be determined. ::He said simply.:: You did not escape so lightly. ::He observed.:: Ross: ::Mildly,:: I imagine there are some people very pleased by that. ::He was probably right, but the Vulcan doctor wasn’t here to take sides.:: Saveron: Will you permit me to attempt the repair? Ross: I'd be a fool not to. ::He looked at Saveron, his gaze intent.:: You don't find the idea… disagreeable? ::The Vulcan shrugged slightly.:: Saveron: I am not here to lay blame or seek fault. One of you knew me. I am a doctor, my duty is to heal, without fear or favour. I shall do what I came to do, and then leave. ::It was a small smile that crossed Ross' face; the first outward display of emotion since he had appeared.:: Ross: Just that like that. Saveron: Affirmative. Ross: Well then. ::He gestured toward the chasm.:: By all means. ::The Vulcan nodded curtly, and turned his back to Ross’s avatar to survey the void below them once more. It was representative of the damage to the man’s mind, and he must feel carefully for the damaged threads, the broken links between synapses. He had studied Vulcan texts on the subject, but to his knowledge such had never been performed on a Terran.:: ::First, he needed to seal the current damage, prevent any further unravelling. Taking his rauh-uhrozjhitao, the farmer’s tool that here was representative of his will, he walked the edge of the Void, prodding and pressing the sand with the blunt end of the farmer’s staff to pack it into a firmer, stronger wall at the edge of the hole, resembling nothing so much as a Vulcan farmer tending his field.:: ::Rough edges of thought-paths were smoothed, ragged breaks eased or, where they could not be soothed, they were cut out, removed in such a way that they would be allowed to regrow, like an ulcerated wound cleaned of dead, infected tissue before it could heal.:: ::Saveron knew that he could not heal all the damage, only Ross’s mind could do that, like his body would heal a wound. His purpose was to stop the destructive process, prepare the wounded areas to be receptive to that healing. In time Ross’s mind would heal itself.:: ::Gradually, as the Vulcan worked, the edges of the void became firm rather than ragged, and the flow of sand into it ceased. The wind lowered gradually in intensity, though it did not abate, still scraping at the stone cliffs around them.:: ::Pausing to look around, Saveron could see the damage that the scouring wind had done to the familiar cliffs and rock outcroppings; he could only hope that, in time, the mind’s natural healing processes would restore the structure of Ross’s mind to it’s former fullness. But that process still needed facilitating.:: ::Beside him, Ross surveyed the damage with an equally impassive eye. Or was it? There was ever such a small frown tugging at the inner edges of his eyebrows.:: Ross: Evan really did a number on me, didn't he? Saveron: The damage is… significant. ::The doctor agreed.:: I can provide some measure of scaffolding for the regrowth that must take place. ::He said.:: Beyond that, your mind must be allowed to heal itself. Ross: Please, scaffold away.::Reversing the farmer’s staff, Saveron used the small blade to draw lines in the air, starting at the edge of the sand and stretching out across the Void. Entirely counter intuitively, grains of sand and even small stones flowed in the wake of that blade, forming like tree roots across the blackness of the void.:: ::Walking around the edge, the Vulcan doctor repeated his efforts, drawing lines of growth where synapse connections had been destroyed, mapping out the directions where Ross’s brain needed to re-grow its links, re-form the mind that had resided there. He could not build it himself, only facilitate the process, and that only so far. The rest would be up to natural healing processes.:: ::Gradually a network of sand-trails formed, growing and thickening as the sand flowed, until at last they merged together, and where there had been a hole in the world, there was only a sandy depression. At last the gale winds faded to nothing more than the usual desiccating breeze that blew through this valley.:: ::Above them, the cliffs were still sand-scoured and worn, different from reality. Would they also heal in time?:: ::Ross was silent for a long time, looking about the quieter, changed landscape. His demeanour continued to echo that of the Vulcan healing his mind, and his funeral robes were gone, replaced by a desert suit.:: Ross: I feel... better. Thank you, Saveron. ::He ran his hand across his scalp. As his palm passed over the close-cropped blond locks, they changed to a longer, shining black -- very much like Saveron's.:: ::The Vulcan had been about to nod, but paused when he saw the change take place. Ross was coming to closely resemble the Vulcan himself.:: Saveron: You are the implanted personality. ::He deduced.:: Ross: I wonder. Do you think Alora would be able to tell the difference? ::Similar tactics to those that prompted Evan’s outburst; referring to those with whom the victim was close, to upset their equilibrium. But unlike Evan, Saveron was a full-blooded Vulcan, born and raised on the homeworld.:: Saveron: Possibly not, until you sought to act in a way that caused injury to another. ::He acknowledged.:: However, this is Harrison Ross’s mind, his body. Now that I have completed that which I came to do, I shall leave. ::Ross smiled at him, absently thumbing a pointed ear.:: Ross: It does seem like it's time to depart. ::Saveron gathered his mental defences. He’d held no illusions about the danger of Ross’s implanted personality, though he had not expected something quite so overt. Not expected it, but he had anticipated it.:: ::Never taking his eyes from Ross, Saveron took a step backwards, and the fabric of the mindscape shifted behind him. No hole in the scenery, but rather a tunnel through it, what a wormhole might look like if one had a personal-sized one. Whatever lay at the other end was bathed in a brightness too intense to look at. As Saveron stepped backwards his image started to shift and stretch, as he began to remove himself from Ross’s mind, seat his consciousness wholly within his own once more.:: ::Ross' image blurred, melting like a picture from the human artist, Salvador Dali, before it split into two. Saveron saw Harrison Ross, blond and round-eared, collapse onto the sand of the Vulcan desert, his eyes wide and glassy. At the same time, he saw a own mirror image of himself leap forward, snaring his wrists with his hands. As Saveron pulled back into his own mind, Ross began to follow.:: Ross-Saveron: He's terrible company, you know. And he's outlived his usefulness. *You*, on the other hand... Saveron: Are not yours to use. ::Perspective shifted, turned, and the sandscapes of Vulcan fell away, upwards. They were falling, flying, down a tunnel of shadows and half-seen shapes, towards a brilliant light at the end. Saveron strove, struggled, to release Ross’s mental grip on him, sought to reach the brilliant light before Ross could.:: Ross-Saveron: We'll see. ::Releasing the Vulcan’s wrists he pushed him away and, with a burst of mental effort, Ross strove for the light, Saveron on his heels but falling further behind. At last the light engulfed him, blindingly brilliant and crystalline, and in his triumph he sought for the mechanics of this mind. He was faced suddenly with a mirror. Turning, only another mirror. Mirrors upon mirrors, brightly lit, with only his own face staring back at him, reflected a million times into infinity.::. ::The grey haze through which they had tunnelled slowly evaporated, a heavy fog that cleared as the orange sun crested the horizon, leaving Saveron standing once more on parched sands. Yellow this time, rather than red, though still beneath an ochre sky. Above him the old tower rose, stone walls bastions against inner emotion and supporting structure of his own mind. That which Ross had sought, and had passed so close by.:: ((Sickbay, Astrofori One)) ::The crystal fell from his grasp as Saveron slumped across Ross’s body, dropping onto the biobed next to the man’s leg where it settled, glowing with a faint, inner light that it had not previously held. The Vulcan lay there for a moment, motionless, checking and reaffirming that his mental bastions were sound, and he was alone in his mind.:: ::Behind him, the isolation room door opened.:: Security Officer: Sir? ::He was exhausted; mentally drained beyond anything he had ever experienced. Yet he had succeeded, and in more than he had set out to do. After a long moment he sat up, brushed his black hair from his face, and blinked. Sensing nothing more than a mind resting and healing beneath his fingers, he withdrew his other hand from Ross’s cheek.:: Security Officer: Sir? is everything alright? Saveron: Affirmative. ::He said at last, weariness in every word.:: ::The man watched him carefully as the Vulcan rose to his feet, unsteadily, and made his way over to the replicator. A few simple commands produced a small, transal sharps container; transparent but impregnable. Returning to Ross’s side he scooped the glowing crystal into the box and sealed the one-way lid. I could not be opened without cutting through the container.:: Saveron: This is a Katric Ark. It contains Commander Ross’s implanted katra. It is to be conveyed to Starfleet Intelligence. Under no circumstances is anyone to open it. Do you understand? Security Officer: Aye, sir. ::The man gingerly accepted the box that Saveron placed into his hand.:: Saveron: I will provide a full report of what occurred, in time. I will also require a full medical and psychological assessment by the station’s medical personnel. ::Not his own staff.:: Now however I must rest. ::The Security Officer watched the Vulcan doctor leave the isolation room and wander off into Astrofori One’s medical facilities. Exhausted beyond belief, Saveron wished only to rest. There was one thing that needed doing first however.:: ::Despite his protesting body and baulking brain, he sat down at a console in a quiet corner of the medical facilities and logged in. Bringing up his email he started a new message, addressed to Captain Quinn Reynolds.:: ::How to word it? His tired brain was fighting him, refusing even the limited compassion and eloquence he was accustomed to using. How to tell her? What to tell her? Finally, tired hands typed out one single line.:: ------------------------------------------------------------Recipient: Captain Quinn ReynoldsSender: Lieutenant Commander SaveronSubject: <none> Quinn, Harrison is free. Saveron---------------------------------------------------------------- ::He hit send and logged off the console. He should have got up, made his way back to the Invicta or at least found a bed somewhere. As it was he simply folded his arms on the desk, rested his head on them in a posture familiar to university students everywhere, and passed out.:: ::At some point someone dragged a blanket over him. Time passed, in undisturbed dreams and silence.:: ::When he stirred, she was sat there. Legs crossed, hands in her lap, watching him with hazel eyes. Her uniform was red instead of the familiar black, and its creases said that, unlike him, she had not slept in some time.:: Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: I got your message. ::Slowly Saveron sat up. He had been unusually deeply asleep, his mind exhausted beyond anything physical exertion could bring. Bleerily - such an odd look for a Vulcan - the doctor passed a hand over his face and blinked twice, third eyelids only retracting on the second blink.:: Saveron: I was unaware that the Gorkon had docked. ::He admitted.:: ::How long had he slept? Captain Reynolds must have come straight from her ship.:: Reynolds: What happened? Saveron: An excellent question, and one for which I do not have complete answer. ::Much as he would prefer to.:: I was able to identify the psychological damage caused by the antagonistic meld, and initiate reparations. ::Could he explain what he had found? Quinn was a telepath herself.:: It was… like an ulcer, unable to heal. I removed what was damaged and laid the groundwork for further healing, there is no regenerator for the mind. ::She hesitated before speaking again, almost as though she wasn't sure she wanted to hear the response.:: Reynolds: You said he was free. ::The Vulcan considered carefully.:: Saveron: I encountered a representation of Commander Ross, whilst I was there. It was the implanted katra. ::He paused, choosing his words.:: It would seem that he tired of his comatose host, and decided that I would make a more useful one. He attempted to follow the connection back to myself. Reynolds: But you stopped him. Saveron: I do not know whether I would have bested him in direct mental combat; I have no measure of his innate ability or training. Rather I utilised a measure of misdirection which he apparently did not anticipate. The personality is trapped in my katric ark. ::She let that sink in, glancing off in the direction of Harrison's room. A few moments passed, and she returned her attention to Saveron.:: Reynolds: Is he alright? The real Harry? Saveron: Before he pursued me he… split. He had changed to resemble me, but he left behind what appeared to be Harrison Ross, unconscious. I… suspect that is the original personality. What state his mind may now be in… I do not know. But if there is an optimal situation for his original personality to heal and resurface, he is there now. ::He gave Quinn a measured look.:: It is possible that contact with the familiar may stimulate healing. I think you would say that it would 'give him something to live for’. ::It only lasted a moment, the look of acute distress that crossed her pale, freckled face. It vanished with a breath of air, as she inhaled sharply and slowly breathed it out.:: Reynolds: I'll go and see him. ::She paused.:: Thank you, Saveron. You risked yourself for him. I know Harry will… Well. Hopefully he'll be able to tell you himself, sometime soon. Saveron: So we may both hope. ::He agreed quietly.:: END Captain Quinn ReynoldsCommanding OfficerUSS GorkonT238401QR0 and LtCmdr SaveronSO and CMOUSS InvictaR238802S10
  15. ((Chief Science Officer’s Office, Deck 2 - USS Darwin-A)) ::Having already packed up the lion’s share of his personal effects and assorted tchotchkes, Maxwell Traenor was taking one last sweep of the office before he handed over the reins to John Valdivia. A close colleague and a good friend, Maxwell was more than pleased for John to be inheriting the role of CSO in his absence. Still, it was a bittersweet feeling to be vacating the office. Not because of the locale, per se, but more because of what it represented. The entirety of his adult life had been spent as a scientist. First as a civilian, then as an enlisted man, and now the pinnacle as the head of a Federation science ship’s science department.:: Traenor: oO I had always defined myself as a scientist first and foremost. This officer deal is a new phenomenon for me. Once I drop the scientist moniker, will I still be as satisfied? Will changing tack now, with a new priority as officer first and role second, still be as fulfilling? Oo Valdivia: Hey, I see you are already leaving. ::Maxwell had heard the door open, but had been too caught up in reminiscent thoughts to turn around. Still, when John spoke up, he turned with a warm smile.:: Traenor: Oh, hey, John. Sorry about that, I was just wrapped up in my own little world. ::throwing his arms out wide:: So, what do you think of your new digs? :: Not wanting to interrupt his friend’s work of recovering everything that was his, Valdivia sat on a chair, just chatting while the older scientist moved around. Still, he had the deference to sit on one of the visitor’s chairs. Until he physically left with everything, the two of them would treat the office as Maxwell’s. :: Valdivia: Well, in general being Chief means a lot of paperwork and less time to work on your own personal projects. But on the other hand, the Darwin has amazing scientific facilities. Getting to chose what to do with them is a bit exciting, yes. :: He turned around with the spinning chair to look at the now empty office and finally faced Traenor again. :: Valdivia: oO First on the list of requisitions: two whiteboards for my office. Oo Traenor: ::pointing at a small box left on the desk:: That’s the last of my stuff there. If I’ve forgotten anything, then it’ll just give me a good excuse to come down and visit. Valdivia: Well, you are welcome to come down whenever you want. And I’ll get you a lab if you ever want to run your own experiments. :: Valdivia tried to affect a noncommittal tone, but he had been in the same position, and knew it was harder than one would imagine. Leaving the science department it was not only a job change, it meant your objectives as an officer had just changed. Still, seeing how organized Traenor had managed to keep a normally messy science department, he knew he would be a great asset to Ops. He just wondered if Ops would be so great for Traenor. :: Traenor: That would be nice. I don’t know how often I’ll be able to come down and putter around the labs, but it’s not something I totally want to give up in my life, either. ::with a sigh:: I know this is part and parcel of being in Starfleet, but changing roles is a big thing. I’m left wondering how different it’s going to be. Not to be called ‘scientist’ any longer... Valdivia: At the end of the day, not that many people call you ‘scientist’. For me the hardest part was dressing myself each morning and noticing my uniform was the wrong color. But you get used to it. Traenor: ::with a chuckle:: Good point. I should have gotten myself a title, like you, ‘Doctor’. And as for uniform color? Already got that out of my system. Red looked good on me. But gold? That remains to be seen. :: That was true, the last mission had already seen Traenor in red as acting First Officer. What was another change, anyway. :: Traenor: Though these types of radical change must be second nature for you by now. I mean, you left Starfleet for the civilian world, then came back in at the bottom. Valdivia: I had been involved in the Mainardi project since the beginning. I just had to be there. Some regulations forced me to leave Starfleet for that… but in the end, being stuck in a planet might get boring. ::It was hard for Maxwell to imagine John not on a starship, manning Astrometrics or the bridge with equal aplomb. The man had a solid presence about him, of familiarity and comfort, that exuded professionalism. It had been an utter pleasure to work closely with him, and had made his transition as a new Chief during the Darwin’s relaunch so much easier.:: Traenor: oO It’s not like you won’t be working with him anymore, or will never see him. Stop pining like you’re leaving the ship! Oo I agree. The opportunities out here on a ship such as the Darwin are just too good to pass up. Like studying the Prometheus rifts, right? Valdivia: That in particular I wouldn’t have minded watching from a distance. :: That wasn’t completely true. Now that all had ended well, Valdivia loved to have been able to see it first hand. But his first encounter crashed the Victory, and his second encounter phased him away. Surprisingly, this had been the least dangerous of them. :: Traenor: Mind you, now that we’ve seen them twice, I can do without seeing them ever again. ::chuckle:: But still, a science ship is a great place to be a scientist. Enjoy it while it lasts, and all that sappy stuff. ::Clearing his throat, and annoyed at himself for being so sentimental over the change, it was time for them to start talking about the actual logistics of handing over the departmental reins. The older scientist palmed up the wall display, which had a rough schematic of the ship’s labs and were color coded. Labels on the side had various officer names. Honestly, trying to accommodate lab space requests was one of the hardest parts of the role, and placating eager scientists was akin to herding cats in simplicity.:: Valdivia: :: friendly stopping the cascade of instructions:: I have been Chief of Science before, remember? I’ll get over it. I want to know the specifics of the Darwin. Anything in particular I should do about the Sphere? Traenor: ::smiling:: Of course, my friend. I’m being foolish. The Sphere requires a lot of coordination with Engineering, and coincidentally Ops, when in use. So many field generators! But otherwise, the sky’s the limit. We haven’t really tested it yet, but I’m sure when we do, it’ll do great! Valdivia: Engineering and Ops. Got it. And any talents I should know about in the labs? I’m sure we have some brilliant minds, but any scientists in particular whose results I should keep track of? Traenor: I’ve got all that noted down in the PADDs I’ve left for you, and logged in the computer. I’ll let you peruse those at your pleasure. Personality wise, there’s no discipline issues, but watch out for a couple. There’s Crewman Bri Tiralta, who has shown to be… antisocial. And Doctor Patelli, she can be a handful as well. :: Although struggling against it, as they talked the older officer had been slowly walking towards the doors. The two of them knew the moment he crossed the doors would be definitive, Valdivia would be Chief of Science, and Traenor would be Chief of Operations. They already were, if you asked the computer, but in their minds that was the great moment. Their conversation died out, and before Traenor sadly stepped outside, Valdivia frantically looked for a new subject. :: Valdivia: So, this stack of PADDs here. I’m assuming that’s the technical data I have to check, reports, etc. Traenor: ::with a smirk:: Yes, and a few of the more interesting problems you’ll need to face. Have a read, when you’re sitting down. :: Valdivia grabbed the PADDs and looked at them. :: Valdivia: Sphere protocols, current running experiments, crew projects… :: At this point something drew his attention to a particular project. He would have sworn he had seen the world ‘disco’ somewhere, although now he could only see an abstract talking about lighting up the Darwin sphere. :: Valdivia: Wait, Doctor Patelli wanted to what? :: Looking up, he could just see the doors closing behind Traenor, leaving him to his own new responsibilities. :: END Lieutenant John Valdivia - Science Officer - USS Darwin NCC-99312-ADepartment of Veteran AffairsD238701JV0 ~and~LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - Chief HCO Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-AGraphic Contest Taskforce =/\= Characters Guild Co-FacilitatorA239111MT0
  16. ((USS Avandar - Main Bridge)) ::If he was capable of blushing he would be a bright shade of crimson after T'Lea had rather bluntly corrected him on his mistake. To be fair, he'd barely had time to glance the senior officer roster before coming on board, although ignorance was never an excuse when it's highlighted on everyone's collar's in gold pips. The captain remained in her ready room as the rest of the senior staff were relieved, although Tatash had requested an additional few hours on the bridge. He could go well over twenty four hours without needing sleep, one of the few perks of being a lumbering brute, although that did mean that he was unofficially expected to do the overtime when he could. Still, it gave him a moment or two to relax as he took another sip of his tea. The after-action report he was putting together with a single hand was brief and to the point. No damage inflicted, no real damage sustained with a single shot fired. Not bad considering the mess they had found themselves in as soon as they dropped out of the bizarre tunnel of the slipstream drive. What did he make of this new crew though? The Columbia had took a while to warm to him, but they had arguably been a little more accustomed to exotic species considering their Ferengi captain, the Avandar seemed a little tougher a nut to crack. Especially when those nuts seem to be as cold as deep space like T'Lea, she was an enigma for sure. It also wasn't a help that his job tended to be the most counter-productive to the Starfleet ideal. Where Science was about discovery and Engineering about invention, Tactical was solely defence and destruction. Unlike the Gorn Navy, he felt more like a necessary evil than a reputable colleague, a reminder of the harshness of space beyond the borders of the Federations core worlds. Even now he found himself watching the scanner from the corner of his eye, ever mindful of the shapes that flitted across its surface. Each one could be a distant trade ship or an incoming combatant, yet he treated each with as much suspicion as the other. He pinged one of those blips with a few console presses, a standard computer to computer check. The return message gave basic details of flight plan and the fact they had marked themselves as a light freighter, cargo transporting. Thoroughly un-interesting. The rest of the bridge continued working like the well tuned machine Starfleet made every ships command area, a little conversation between the second shift helm and ops officers just out of earshot while the rest of the silence was filled with the usual electronic bells and whistles of various systems doing their own exercises. A flashing icon caught his attention appearing on the bottom corner of the screen, a subspace message addressed to him. Normally he'd retreat to his quarters, but in the middle of such silence he afforded himself to peek at the heading at least.::   To: Lt Tatash Ssiolassh - USS Avandar NCC 80203 From: Talash Ssiolassh (Jnr) Subject: Business Venture!   ::He couldn't help but groan internally, his brother was at the best of times shady when it came to his wheeling's and dealings. He wasn't surprised a personal message had got through even the non-federation relays. Civilian traffic was marked as such, although he had no doubt it had been read by countless eyes already. With trepidation, he opened the message.::   Tatash, Where have you been brother? I visited mother and father a week ago and all mother did was complain that you never seem to call as much as you used too. I'm guessing your duties keep you under the thumb, so i'm just going to say 'I told you so' now and get it over with. You should make the time when you can, mother is as well as ever and still grills a better steak then you do. Father is as well as he can be, although from what the doctors have said he only has a matter of months left with us. That's not me trying to play your heartstrings, just giving you the truth as I know what mothers like, always looks for the positives.   ::How long -had- it been since he'd actually spoken to his parents face to face, even just over a video screen? Weeks, maybe longer. His heart sank slightly into a little pool of guilt welling up inside him.::   Anyway, getting to the point of this note. I need your latinum, I know you have a fair bit put away and I also know those Starfleet types don't use currency so as far as I can tell you've got it stashed away gathering dust. I need twenty bars, and before you even ask it's all above board. There's some decent land up for grabs on a new mining venture, but let's just say I might have 'acquired' a bit of information on where there's a decent vein of Topaline. Twenty bars will get you 50% of the plot, I'll front the rest and even pay for the drill rigs myself. Can I count you in? I've already got the transfer forms filled in just need your approval. Talash   ::He couldn't help but have his curiosity perked. Mining was always going to be a money earner as long as there was starships in the sky and buildings on planets. What harm would it be though? Talash was right, the Federation provided anything he could ever want, without so much as moving a coin, and twenty bar's was barely half of what he'd accumulated in his tours.::   To: Talash Ssiolassh (Jnr) From: Lt Tatash Ssiolassh - USS Avandar NCC 80203 Subject: Re: Business Venture! Talash, I know i've not been in touch with them as much as I wish I could be, thank you for your concern and thank you for letting me know how they are getting on. I'll speak to them in the coming days, you have my word. As for this venture... against all better judgement you can have the money. If it makes a good return then i'm sure you'll be totally honest and transparent with the figures, won't you?   ::Tongue firmly in cheek.::   Once we're finished here we'll be heading back to Starbase-118, would be good to see you again. You might even be able to peddle some of the masses of ore you'll be scooping! All my love Tatash PS: Don't screw me over, the Avandar has bigger guns then that garbage scow you call a ship.   ::A toothy grin appeared on his muzzle as he sent his sassy reply, even if he lost out, the finger-wagging rights he would have would be worth double the bricks. He caught the Captains eye as she stepped out of the ready room.::   Vetri: Lt. Tatash, I'm going to assume that smile on your face is not related to there being less people around here than the last time I looked. Tatash: Nothing to report Sir. Business as usual.  Vetri: ::dryly:: Given recent events, that is not especially inspiring.   Lt Tatash Chief Tactical Officer USS Avandar C239108T10
  17. (( USS Apollo-A, Deck 11, Ensign Saalik's quarters)) :: Fortunately, the tree had survived the trip with very little damage, and Saalik was able to install it in an appropriately respectful location in his new room. With the tree attended to, Saalik had the opportunity to survey his new home. He walked to the other side of the room. He kept walking. It was a very long walk.:: Saalik: ::muttered:: I think this was the size of my entire dorm floor at the academy. :: Saalik wandered over to his viewport, which looked out onto a streaked field of stars. :: Saalik: oO I won't get tired of this. Never. Oo ::The computer trilled suddenly, startling him out of his reverie. Saalik walked to the bare desk and accepted the personal hail. A middle-aged Valakian appeared on the screen. His hair was tastefully streaked with grey, and his expression was the practiced face of one whose every public appearance was scrutinized:: Saalik: Prime Minister Rielo! This is a surprise! I'm honored. Rielo: No Derovan, you honor me and our people in your service. I thank you and the Valakian people thank you. :: Rielo's eyes twinkled, and then the politician's mask dropped a degree. :: Rielo: And so on and so forth. But really, Derovan, I wanted to see how you were settling in. The Apollo is an impressive ship, is she not? Saalik: Incredibly so. I think she's larger than the L-5 station. One warp pylon alone is as big as one of our planetary defense skiffs. Rielo: Of course, she's the best in the fleet. The best of Valakis with the best of Starfleet. Just like it should be. Saalik: You flatter me. Rielo: Old politician's habit. And here's another one. This isn't strictly a social call. Now that you're aboard the Apollo, you're mingling with the cream of the crop. Some of your fellow officers will be admirals one day. Some may even become something more. You need to make sure they remember you favorably. Valakis has invested a lot in you, and it's not just for reasons of pride. You may be representing the Federation out there, but don't let yourself forget that you're representing Valakis as well. And we're far more in need of your attention. :: Saalik sighed. :: Saalik: I can only do what I'm able to do, Minister. :: Saalik was brought to a halt with a short, sharp realization. :: Saalik: Minister, how did you know I was on the Apollo? The new duty posting won't be public until tomorrow. :: Rielo grinned conspiratorially. :: Rielo: We're not complete rubes on Valakis. I have connections inside Starfleet. Saalik: Oh no. Oh no, it was you that did this. I thought Captain Varak had pulled some strings for his own reasons, but it was you, wasn't it? This post was far too generous for an ensign of my experience and standing. But not if I had the leader of a species running interference behind the scenes! This was a [...]ed political appointment! Rielo: Calm down, boy. Everything is a political appointment. You can either make that work for you or spend the rest of your career on a glorified tugboat like the Achilles. Valakis can't afford that. Saalik: Oh for—you don't know what you've done, do you? Starfleet does not respond well to this kind of manipulation. You may have won me a plum assignment, but it's one I may not ever exceed. I have to earn my station. I have to earn my respect. Otherwise, they'll never let me be anything more than a junior comms officer. Since you seem to think so much of me, do you think Valakis can afford that? Rielo: Don't you dare throw this back at me. I did you a favor. This cost me a great deal. :: Saalik put his head in his hands, then pulled them back through his hair with a long exhalation.:: Saalik: I—I appreciate your intent, but please, don't do me any more favors. Your political instincts won't serve you as well out here as they do in Parliament. You're not in the middle of the situation. You can't judge what will work and what won't. Rielo: If you say so. I have confidence in your ability to correct course on this. ::Prime Minister Rielo grimaced one last time, then resettled his face into the initial neutral expression.:: Rielo: Your father says hello. Saalik: Thank you for telling me. Please tell him I'm well. And tell him that he's supposed to be keeping you reined in! ::Rielo grinned:: Rielo: I'll tell him you're settling in. Saalik: Good day, Prime Minister. I have to go try and fix this. And please, no more of these schemes. Rielo: I make no promises. Rielo out. :: The comscreen went blank and Saalik's stomach churned ominously. It had gone from dream to disaster in just a few short moments. Thinking back, had the captain seemed a bit cold, somewhat overly formal? Had the interest in Valakis been polite or political? Had he misjudged the motives of everyone he had met to date? :: :: Saalik groaned :: Saalik: I'm going to have to talk to the captain. --------------------------- Ensign Derovan Saalik Com/Ops Officer USS Apollo-A NCC-71669-A Serial: A239209DS0
  18. (( Holodeck 4 )) (( Riverside Simulation )) :: Mei’konda gazed out over the simulated river. He’d asked the computer to pick a relaxing location somewhere on a Federation planet, and he’d had to admit that this one wasn’t one that he was familiar with. Trinary system, though, judging by the one proximal star and the two others he could see on the horizon. Warm, but not uncomfortably so, Mei’konda had dressed down to his shorts and was letting his feet dangle into the cool water off of the pier here and Evan were seated on, eyes fixed on Odin while the rottweiler splashed happily about in the shallows. :: :: It had seemed like a good idea to go someplace relaxing after the court decision. The Caitian had been sitting in the background, listening and trying to keep his heartbeat down. After the harsh decision Saveron had handed down, he’d stood up and left without a word, because he wasn’t sure any words he might’ve said would have been with a cool head. :: :: Evan, in a loose button up shirt and a pair of light shorts, had been relatively quiet. It was clear he was still in some amount of discomfort from the after effects of the mind meld with Ross, as he occasionally rubbed his fingers as if he were trying to force circulation. :: Delano: The captain offered me a role back in Strategtic Operations. With Starfleet’s increased presence in the region, having an experienced officer in that position is more important than before. Mei’konda: Fair enough, but… I would argue thaat experiienced securiity personnel are even more importaant, consiidering the… unsecured naature of our shiip. :: He paused. :: Are you okaay? Delano: It does feel like a step backward. :: Evan unconsciously reached for his collar, though he wasn’t wearing his uniform. :: Mei’konda: I understaand. At least, I thiink I do. :: The Vulcan-hybrid looked to his partner. :: Delano: I know it’s been hard on you too. Are you doing okay? :: He let out a short sigh, and brushed fingers over his feline ears before reaching for a small pile of sticks he had on the pier next to him, tossing one out into the water for Odin to go get. :: Mei’konda: I am feeling… frustraated. Thiis did not go anywhere how I thought it would. Delano: Because I pleaded guilty? :: Mei’konda hesitated for a moment. That was part of it, and he’d never found any value in being less than totally honest. :: Mei’konda: Paartly that, though it’s puurely… an emotionaal reaction. You did do what they accused you of, afterr all. But the haarshness of the sentence. :: Mei’konda let his frustration show a little more in his tone as he continued. :: Mei’konda: Perhaaps if your name were Spock, Saveron may have let you off more eaasily. :: Evan had thought the same thing more than once since the sentencing, but he had tried to dismiss those suspicions as just another product of the stress he’d been under over the last few months. :: Delano; I think Saveron did the best he could in a difficult situation. I don’t think I’d have handled it the same way, but… well, we’re very different people. :: Mei’konda forced himself to nod. He had to assume impartial intentions. Saveron was one of the most Vulcan like Vulcans he’d ever met, after all. :: Mei’konda: I thiink what bothers me the most is the… enforced Vulcan meditaations and schooliing. It remiinds me of an old Earth custom I heard of once, for addiictions… the twelve step prograam. :: He paused. :: It requiired that one adhere to a system of religion, to giive oneself over to a higher power, regaardless of belief. :: The Caitian shrugged. :: Mei’konda: Thiis reminds me of that. You chose not to pursue those teaachings, and now Saveron is sentencing you to them. Delano: I’ve had the same thought. A part of me is still opposed to them. Even so, I don’t think Saveron is trying to force his beliefs on me. To be honest, it’s very similar to what the magistrate ruled when I was a kid. Mei’konda: Yes, but… I caan’t help thiinking that if you’d had a non-Vulcan judge, thaat particular… aspect of the judgment would have been left out. :: Mei’konda tossed another stick out into the water and watched the dog go lunging after it. :: :: Evan got to his feet and closed the distance between them, placing a warm hand on the Caitian’s shoulder. :: Delano: I’ll be okay, Mei. To be honest, I’ve been interested in some kind of training like this for a while. I might have even asked Saveron. Eventually, anyway. :: Mei’konda glanced over toward Evan after that hand settled on him, and forced a small smile. :: Mei’konda: Maaybe so. There’s one more thiing that bothered me about this. please answer me honestly, Evan. Do you thiink Saveron was capable of understaanding the… emotional turmoil you went through during that interrogation? :: He settled his hand down on top of Evan’s own. :: It doesn’t maake what you did right, but you were in the middle of an intense interrogation, and then you were interrupted by a comms call that made you think I was dead… :: Even the memory was enough to stir the latent emotional maelstrom that had caused him to attack Ross. Far less intense than it had been in the moment, but still palpable. The tightening of the muscles in Evan’s face wasn’t lost on his partner. :: Delano: I don’t think it’s my place to question that, Mei. I know you and he don’t see eye to eye on some things, but he is still the second officer. And I agreed to abide by his decision as judge. I can’t back out on that now just because the outcome will make things difficult for a while. :: Slipping his hand back down again, Mei’konda tossed the last of the sticks, the biggest one, out to Odin. The dog caught it in his mouth and paddled back to the simulated river bank, wagging. :: Mei’konda: It really just depeends on if you… agree with the decision, I suppose. Maaybe I’m being emotional, I don’t know. But you could always appeal the judgment. :: Evan squeezed a little on Mei’s shoulder and offered a smile. It wasn’t as easy as it usually was, but a shadow of his usual humor was still there. :: Delano: I understand. And maybe we should think about that. I don’t know, why don’t we give it a few weeks and see how this goes. We can always go to the captain if we need to. Kells: =/\= Captain Kells to the Invicta senior staff. =/\= :: Mei’konda instinctively glanced upward, though modern starship audio design tended to make those sorts of calls sound like they were coming from all around. :: Mei’konda: I guess that’s still you, huh? Delano: As far as I know… Mei’konda: =/\= Mei’konda here. =/\= Kells: =/\= R&R is at an end, I'm afraid -- or at least has been suspended for the moment. Please return to the bridge, where Lieutenant DeVeau will brief us on an anomaly that she believes warrants investigation. =/\= :: Mei’konda exhaled a slow breath, pushed up to his feet, and offered the taller half-Vulcan a hand up. :: Mei’konda: Thaat’s our cue. Maybe some work will help us get our miind off this. Delano: Maybe. :: Exploring an unusual anomaly did sound just mundane enough to even allow him some time to think, Evan thought. :: Kells: =/\= Commander Mei'konda, Lieutenant Johnson, please inform the dockmaster that we may need to leave rather quickly. ::beat:: I'll see you all in half an hour. Kells, out. =/\= Mei'konda: =/\= I’ll maake it happen, Captain. Mei’konda out. =/\= Johnson / Any: =/\= ? Delano: =/\= On my way =/\= Mei’konda: Well. Let’s go get chaanged. Odin, come. :: As the dog trotted over, Mei’konda called for the holodeck program to end, and watched the hint of confusion on the animal’s face as the water all over him quickly evaporated. Another good modern perk. The Caitian offered one more slight smile to Evan as they made their way out. Along the way, he called Johnson. :: Mei’konda: =/\= Mei’konda to Lieutenant Johnson. =/\= Johnson: =/\= =/\= Mei’konda: =/\= Please report to the Bridge, taake helm, and ready us for depaarture. =/\= Johnson: =/\= =/\= ==== Lieutenant Evan Delano Strategic Operations Officer USS Invicta T239007ED0 And Lieutenant Commander Mei’konda Chief of Operations USS Invicta M239002M10
  19. ((USS Darwin, Deck 7, Personal Quarters)) ::Kael was a creature of habit. He liked to maintain a schedule and achieve certain things while on every shore leave. It’s not to say that he didn’t like the touch of spontaneity or surprise but just that his shoreleave tended to look much the same every time. Which is why he was sure that no one would be surprised by his need to visit the Gym as much as possible during shore leave. Although, he hardly imagined anyone particularly cared to give it a thought. Entering his quarters he realised he had failed to organise with Ensign Logan to join him, and made a mental note of it next time. Working out alone wasn’t a problem for Kael, but doing it with someone else allowed him to push his boundaries a bit higher.:: ::Showering and getting changed Kael sat on the corner of his bed, put on his shoes and pondered the rest of the day. Having just worked out food was his first plan of attack. There were a few places on the Promenade that he favoured but he had heard there was a new place open. Deciding that is exactly what he was going to do, he stood up and headed for the door.:: Renos: =/\= Captain Renos to Commander Thomas =/\= Thomas: =/\= Thomas here =/\= Renos: =/\= I’m holding a little get together tonight for all of the senior staff and a few friends. I felt the crew have had to deal with so much recently that it would do us all good to enjoy a meal together. =/\= ::Smiling as if the Captain could hear his thoughts about food, Kael was glad the crew was getting a chance to get together. They had worked incredibly hard of late and any opportunity to recognise that would be most welcome.:: Thomas: =/\= I think that’s an excellent idea. Is there anything I can do to help? =/\= Renos: =/\= It’s all arranged. I’m about to make the announcement to the rest of the crew. All you need to do is turn up at 20:00. Oh and it’s a dress white occasion. =/\= Thomas: oO Dress whites? Oo ::Kael had been around often enough to know that wearing dress whites almost always indicated something else was happening tonight. Not one to raise conspiracy theories whatever the reason was for tonight, he was enthusiastic. The man actually liked the idea of dressing up formally, but he would have rathered, if the Captain wanted a formal attire to be allowed the freedom of civilian dress.:: Thomas: =/\= Understood Captain. I’ll see you there. =/\= ::Having checked the time recently, he knew that he had more than a few hours before the event. His dinner tonight would not derail his plans to have an amazing lunch right now and proceeded immediately to the Promenade.:: ((20:00 - Deep Space 6, Deck 21, Function Room A1)) ::Kael always ensured he had plenty of time to dress himself when the occasion called for dress whites. So formal was the occasion that looking as though you’d spent about 30 seconds getting ready was obvious to all and entirely unprofessional. Taking pride in one’s appearance didn’t seem unnecessary to Kael, but important. Particularly in his case, being a senior officer it was important to set a good standard to model for the junior crew. Finally satisfied with his appearance, he stepped into the room.:: ::The room was large and well dressed with decorations and people in various places around the room. Central to the room was numerous round tables already housing well dressed staff. Immediately in front of the middle set of chairs it was hard to miss the stage setup which at least confirmed there would be some announcement or platform for a speech. Unsurprised by it all, Kael turned to Captain Renos who was just inside the door.:: Renos: You look so smart your mother would be proud! ::Kael’s eye twitched every so slightly. It was entirely involuntary but brought on by the reference to his parents. Very seldom had anyone made reference to Kael’s parents during his career. The single reason being that they were not a presence in his life. They had chosen to remain on Earth and were in various conditions of ailing health. Captain Renos had certainly never met them and the reference to them certainly caught him off guard, and took his mind back to them. A place it hasn’t been for some time.:: ((Backsim - Several years prior)) ((USS Vigilant, Personal Quarters, Deck 2)) ::There were a few days of shore leave left, and Kael was planning today, to just spend them in the Gym and the Holodeck. He thought about seeing if anyone would want to come along, but decided he's just wing it. He was ok with heading out on his own.: ::Dressing in his casual Gym gear, he grabbed a towel and headed towards the door, when he was stopped by his communication terminal.:: oO Incoming call from Mum. Wonder what she wants? Oo Thomas: =/\= HI Mum =/\= Jolaina: =/\= Hi Kael, how are you? =/\= Thomas: =/\= Yeah good. ::Pausing a moment, and asking the question he knew his mum was waiting for.:: How's Dad? =/\= ::Kael had a good relationship with his Mother, but his father clashed with Kael often. It wasn't that they didn't like one another, they just were so similar. Throw in that Kael never seemed to match up to his expectations tends to create for fiery discussions.:: Jolaina: =/\= He's good. You can talk to him if you want? =/\= Thomas: =/\= Nah Mum, I don't think we have much to discuss for a few years. =/\= ::Their last discussion was during Kael's leave of absence. Kael spent a few months at home, when his dad became quite ill. His dad had a difficult time accepting his compassion, and simply used it as an excuse to attack his career goals. Had Kael been a rational observer of it all, he might have realised that his dad was under a great deal of stress, and his ego couldn't allow his son to be helping him. But he wasn't, he felt the target of an unneeded attack from someone he was trying to help. The situation remains unresolved.:: Jolaina: ::Making a face displaying her disappointment, she move don.:: =/\= Well, when are you coming home? =/\= Thomas: =/\= DO we really have to do this again. How well did coming home last time work out? =/\= Jolaina: =/\= You know what your Father is like, he doesn't really mean that stuff....=/\= ::Kael wasn't really sure if his mum was naive or genuinely believed that. Her face indicated however that she did believe it.:: Thomas: =/\= As a matter of fact I think he does. =/\= Jolaina: =/\= Ok, ok, well, have you spoke with your brother lately? =/\= ::Kael hadn't spoken with his brother since the last mission. He knew he was going on something also dangerous himself. He assumed it ended up fine, as he hadn't got that fated call. Nor did his mother open with this question.:: Thomas: =/\= Not for a while. Why's that? =/\= Jolaina: =/\= He's not responding to my calls. =/\= ::His mum had a propensity for blowing things out of proportion. Anthony was extraordinarily busy, as was Kael. There wasn't always time to report in. Kael was ok with assuming he was fine, and talking to him whenever he could.:: Thomas: =/\= He's Chief of a Department mum. He doesn't always have time to answer every call. =/\= ::A fact she knew all to well having been in Starfleet herself for the majority of her working life.:: Jolaina: =/\= I guess. I only want a few minutes though. =/\= ::If Kael wasn't on a video call, he would have smiled to that comment. His mother rarely was only wanting a few minutes. :: Thomas: =/\= Yeah, well, If I speak to him, I'll make sure he gets in contact with you. =/\= ::Kael and his Mother both knew, that no one controlled Anthony. Of the pair, it was clear that Anthony had infact inherited their Father’s stubbornness.:: Jolaina: =/\= How are you going anyway? Still Chief Engineer? =/\= Thomas: =/\= Yeah. It's going well. We just got a few upgrades, which could change our discovery of the region. =/\= ::Kael was going to say what it was, but he didn't know if this communication was being monitored. He didn't need anyone else knowing the Vigilant now had a Slipstream Drive.:: Jolaina: =/\= That sounds exciting.::Pausing:: We are very proud of you, you know. =/\= Thomas: =/\= I know mum. =/\= ::Speaking on behalf of his dad had become the norm for Kael’s mum. His father and his relationship so strained that Kael could not remember the last positive thing his father had to say about him. His Mother now entirely shouldered the burden of trying to mend that gap.:: Jolaina: =/\= Well, that's all I really wanted to say. I'm glad your doing OK. Please come home for a visit soon. =/\= Thomas: =/\= Thanks Mum. I'll talk to you later. =/\= ::Deliberately ignoring the request for the second time.:: Jolaina: =/\= Bye Kael, Love you! =/\= Thomas: =/\= Love you too Mum. =/\= ::As the link closed, Kael took a moment to pause. He did love his family, and he did miss them. But they were fine without him ,and he knew his mother never really dealt with the fact that him and his brother both moved away. He could imagine living with his father, was moderately difficult for her. :: ::Getting up from his chair, he moved towards the door, and out to the Gym just like any other day..:: ((Present Time)) ((Deep Space 6, Deck 21, Function Room A1)) ::Turning his head back to the Captain, he warmed to the comment. It was a nice one, and one meant with no ill intent despite the complexities of the comment for Kael.:: Thomas: Thank you Captain. Renos: You get the best seat in the house today. Come on, let’s get settled and you can tell me about how your shore leave has been. ::Renos led Kael over to the middle of the three front row seats. There were enough seats for 5 people and Kael thought nothing of the other occupants. Simply assuming it was likely other Darwin crew yet to arrive or someone important from the Station. Sitting comfortably on the chair, Kael got to talking with the Captain; a too rare of an event for the two of them. :: ::Sipping from his recently filled glass of wine Kael was enjoying himself. He had only been here for a few minutes but he’d already gotten to share and learn much more about the Captain in that short time then he thought they’d managed since launch. Kael wasn’t one to strike up events or conversations like this, but he wasn’t one to shy away once invited either. Grateful for the opportunity, he had to stop talking as the Captain made a move towards the stage area.:: Renos: Since it's been a while with the crew I just wanted to share a few words. Excuse me. Thomas: No problem. ::Renos stood up and took place at the centre of the stage a short distance from their table. With a gold curtain backgrop the Captain certainly popped and yielded a great presence. It took mere moments before the room took notice of an impending announcement and ceased their conversations.:: Renos: ::With a Clap of hands the Captain got things underway.:: Ladies and gentlemen, crew of the USS Darwin, it’s my great pleasure to be back in command and with you all again. We’ve been through some incredibly testing times together this year and got through it as a team. I couldn’t be more proud of you all and felt we all deserved a moment to enjoy each others company and reflect upon our successes. ::Kael could not have agreed more. The last few missions had been trying and difficult for all involved. The Captain in fairness had probably shared the brunt of that with the health concerns. The chance to get together and celebrate the crew's great work and their bond with each other was an excellent opportunity and further highlighted the great things the Captain was doing.:: There are a few people I’d like to recognise today beginning with a man who has been the Darwin’s backbone since the day it launched, as in originally launched. A man who has an unrivalled sense of justice and always wants to do the right thing. Whose hard work, dedication and passion are unrivalled. Thomas: oO Mmmm Oo ::The pit of Kael’s stomach churned. There was a crescendo building and Kael felt it centering on him. He expected dramatically for there to be a spot light that might track to him any moment requiring him to have to slink under the table. Kael could handle surprises but only so long as they weren’t centred on him. Looking up at the Captain, he had no idea where this was going, with the only certainty being that his anxiety was building.:: Mister Thomas, you’re been with the Darwin and with me since the beginning of our journeys and I couldn't have got through it without you, so get yourself up here so you can get what’s been coming to you for a long time. ::It took a few seconds for Kael to register the request. His head was busy spinning with what this could possibly be all about. Standing up, Kael moved with enthusiasm and thinly veiled curiosity stop stand up near the Captain who made no effort to hide a smile..:: Thomas: Thank you, for the kind words Captain. Renos: You’re an outstanding officer and it is my absolute pleasure to promote you to the rank of commander with all the rights and privileges that go with it - but I’m not going to pin you - no. I was pipped at the post by some very important people. ::The announcement alone was enough to almost floor Kael. He’d worked hard these last few years but never felt as though the giddy heights of a Commander promotion were yet within his grasp. His heart racing at the news Kael did not need to wonder long about the Captains other final piece of information.:: ::As the veil fell, three people appeared in it’s place. His family. There was his Father. Completely stunned for a moment, Kael baulked at what to do next. Torn between appropriate behaviour and wanting to run to his family and the realisation that they were barely a family he was stuck. In the back of his mind were all the times he slammed the door on his father, the times they yelled abuse all the times that his father didn’t care about his development or his existence. His anger at the man kept his feet planted like boulders bolted to the ground. His indecision was ultimately assisted by his father moving. Kael’s father moved towards him with the traditional rosewood box in his hands. Had Kael met his Father's face however he might have realised that something was different.:: Thomas: oO Dad, how is this possible? Oo ::Kael’s father had dementia that Starfleet Medical to their credit had tried for years to cure or at least provide a remedy. They had been unsuccessful from Kael’s knowledge and the evident worsening of his Father's condition. It was his Father’s condition and attitude, even during his most lucid moments that drove Kael away and to break off most of his contact. That’s not to say that before his dementia he was a shining example of a man, but it was his cutting comments during the last few years that destroyed their relationship. :: ::His last engagement with his father was one of anger and frustration not unlike all before it. To see the man in front of him, his Father, now looking at him with life in his eyes was too much for Kael. The deep seated hatred, resentment and anger were gone from behind his eyes. Replaced was his Father, smiling from ear to ear with a face that Kael hadn’t seen since he was a little boy. Something inside Kael gave way. The little [...] inside of him that held back all of this resentment and anger broke. Tears streamed down his face despite his wishes to hold them back. He’d never expected to see his dad again least of all like this, least of all with the look of pride on his face.:: ::His Father still surprisingly silent replaced the half pip on his collar with a full one. Kael wiped his eyes with the back of hand and turned to his father. The strong, stubborn man who raised him, now shared the same red eyes as Kael. :: Reynold: Congratulations son. ::They embraced longer, and harder than Kael could ever remember. The tears fell from their closed eyes onto one another’s shoulders as though they were meant to. The void in their relationship that Kael once felt was impossible to mend had all but closed in this one moment. He cherished the embrace and the moment for as long as he could. Opening his eyes he saw his family, he could see Anthony and his Mother with their arms around each other looking at the bonded pair. Kael smiled at them with the deep knowledge that they were closer to being that family unit his mum had always tried for.:: ::Pulling back from the embrace naturally Kael looked at this father, who by all rights shouldn’t be as lucid and as clear as he is right now. His eyes were alive and the cloud that was on his mind lifted. He knew that question would get an answer shortly, but right now, he developed a sudden realisation he was still standing on a stage, and the applause was alive. Wiping his eyes as though he was a little boy on his shirt sleeve, and turned around to compose himself.:: Renos: Congratulations again Commander. ::Grinning:: ::Captain Renos. The J’naii that Kael didn’t even know before his most recent posting on the Darwin had done more for Kael than almost anyone he had known. The simple act of bringing his family here, to bring them together had changed his family. From this day forward they had a new shot at it and for that Kael wouldn’t never forget what was done here. What Captain Renos had done for him and his family, without even knowing it.:: Thomas: Thank you Captain, but this time, a handshake won’t cut it. ::Kael hated involuntary hugs and contact. But none of that apprehension would stop Kael's riding of emotions right now. Renos was his Captain and he wouldn’t ever consider hugging his Captain, but right now, he considered Renos a friend. Friends deserve a hug.:: =============================================================== Commander Kael Thomas - First Officer, USS Darwin-A NCC-99312 Academy Statistician, Calendar Master, Training Officer V238010KT0 ================================================================
  20. (( 1900, Counseling Office )) :: CD took a breath and relaxed as he rang the chime. Due to the amount of stress he was under, Gabi had ensured he had at least a sandwich to go with his tea. He was relieved when she was the one to suggest they reschedule the date they had made for this evening. Now, he was wearing the standard issue Starfleet Teal, because he was the acting boss. :: Moonsong: Come in! ::she was finishing up some notes on her padd:: :: He entered with a smile. :: Skyfire: Things got busy. Apologies. Moonsong: ::lifted her head to smile at him but it didn’t quite reach her eyes:: No problem. I heard it was something of a madhouse over there. ::she sets the padd down.:: If you don’t mind, I'd like to cover a couple things with you first. ::gestures toward the chair in front of her desk:: :: He nodded faintly and had a seat. He tried to relax a little, but all of the last several hours ranging from his promotion to not having performed the host transfer had him a bit on edge. :: Skyfire: Dare I ask? Moonsong: ::sets aside the padd she was using. She folded her hands on the desk top, her face a calm, serene mask, a faint smile touching her lips:: Yes, you may ask. Skyfire: What sort of things were you hoping to cover before we start? Moonsong: ::pulled up the file on her desktop device:: Nothing to be nervous about, Doctor Skyfire. We didn't get a chance to cover some of the details of your file. Skyfire: Alright. Where did you want to start? Moonsong: You have seen a number of counselors since you've gained the ability. I was wondering if you could tell me why you think that is? ::she knew why this was thanks to the message from Taybrim, but she wanted his side of the situation.:: :: Skyfire sighed heavily and lay back in his chair. He didn't know how to answer for a few seconds. :: Skyfire: I've technically seen four. Ensign Riverview. Last known posting: Excalibur. Not helpful because we only had one session. Lt. Taybrim, last known posting: Columbia, which was recently launched, as I understand. He was helping me learn how to control it. Lt. Collim, though an Intelligence officer, had previously been a counselor. Her last known was also the Excalibur. Said we would work on my shields, though also only one session. :: Pause. :: If you count the informal one I had with Pritzker, which happened during breakfast about 10 minutes before I met you. Moonsong: ::she frowned slightly:: You do have the option of continuing with Pritzker. As far as I know, he’s not due for a transfer? :: The doc ran a hand along his face, thinking for a long moment before speaking. :: Skyfire: I...I don’t feel that he has a good enough grasp on telepathic and empathic stuff to fully understand my situation. Moonsong: ::she was silent a moment and then nodded:: I have a reason for asking. It is important that you feel comfortable with me. This isn't something that will only take a couple sessions to fix. This requires a long term commitment, and you will need to trust me to be here for you and to help you come to terms with your gift. :: He nodded faintly as he took another breath. oO Curse. Oo :: Skyfire: I understand. Moonsong: So the question is, do you wish to proceed with me? ::she leaned forward slightly:: I feel it is important that we commit to a long term plan. Skyfire: Yes. Lt. Taybrim hinted if I didn't get it under control that I may become a liability. Moonsong: ::she decided to be blunt:: You could go insane from the constant barrage of information. :: The doc raised an eyebrow. :: Skyfire: He must've left that part out when he was talking about it. Alright. Where do we start? Moonsong: ::rises from her desk and gestures to the two comfortable chairs to the side:: Make yourself comfortable. :: He got up and stretched before removing his uniform jacket, underneath wearing a teal tank top that said "I work for Starfleet" in black lettering. As he sat down, he took the cup of tea from her and took a slow inhale of its aroma. :: :: While he was getting settled, Raissa went to the replicator and ordered a cup of tea in a large earthenware mug, then she handed it to him. She couldn’t help but smile faintly at the message on his shirt. That meant a sense of humor existed somewhere in the man.:: Moonsong: ::She sat down in the chair opposite him.:: That is a blend I developed. It's to help you relax. ::she settled with her own cup:: Let me know what do you think of the taste. :: Chythar's body seemed to relax as he inhaled, his eyes closed as he exhaled. Then he slowly took a sip and pondered over it as he savored the flavor. Upon swallowing, he gave his reply. :: Skyfire: Tasty. Like...kind of a darjeeling and a oolong combined. Similar to one I use. Moonsong: I’d like you to finish drinking it. Take your time and let your body relax. ::she paused:: You can talk about anything or not speak. :: He pondered over that for a moment. He needed to trust her, including with things that might seem insignificant. Or majorly significant. He didn’t know what the deal was with either of his moments he had today, but thought that he could use this time to make those moments clear to him. :: Skyfire: Well, to start with...do you know why today was a madhouse? Moonsong: I know you have injured, but I don’t know specifics. Skyfire: Commander Tan collapsed. I...haven’t dealt with a Trill symbiont before, and had to find a new host for him in a hurry. Moonsong: ::she looked surprised:: He didn’t look well during the last mission. I hadn’t heard that it was that serious. Will he…. they… be all right? Skyfire:I did try to keep it quiet. Far as I know, they are fine for the moment. Both are in stasis, which is the best I can do on short notice. Moonsong: ::frowns with real concern. If he had to find another host for Tan….:: What will happen to Alleran? Skyfire: :: took a breath. :: Symbiotic rejection is a serious business. The host has a week, at best. Maybe longer if stasis modules are used. Moonsong: ::she looked down at her own cup, her expression troubled:: He’s going to die, isn’t he? Skyfire: Likely, yes. There was one case in which a host was joined to a symbiont, experienced symbiotic rejection and the original host was reunited with the symbiont that was removed. Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax. Moonsong: Did the host survive? Skyfire: No. Moonsong: I… I am saddened to hear that… On the bridge… ::she shook her head.:: I’m sorry… It’s just a little hard to hear. ::Raissa struggled to push down the emotions that had risen. She didn’t know the navigator well, but after what they had shared on the bridge during the last mission, she knew she would miss him. His occasional light comments had gone a long way to help her control the fear she was feeling:: :: He nodded faintly in understanding, then took a breath. He had something else to add. :: Skyfire: I also had a moment during this crisis in which the captain called me up to her office. To promote me to lieutenant. And the host transfer is still incomplete. Moonsong: ::she could seriously relate. Her fingers absently reached up to touch the new pip on her collar. :: Apparently she sees something in you that helped her make that decision. :: Skyfire nodded faintly, and bit his lip. :: Skyfire: She also said I...have to become less arrogant and dismissive. Once that asserts itself, then my appointment to permanent CMO will be complete. Moonsong: ::There was a telling pause:: I see…. We can work on that as well if you like. :: He just nodded and had another sip of his tea. :: Skyfire: Not now, though. :: and finished up the last of it, setting the cup down. :: Moonsong: ::nods:: Now I want you to close your eyes and take some breaths. Slowly, in and out. Listen to the sound of my voice. :: He followed her instructions and closed his eyes once more. He tried to concentrate only on her words and feel the relaxation. :: Moonsong: ::her voice was soft and pitched to a soothing caress:: How do you feel...? :: Skyfire's voice sounded almost distant, as though he was 20 light years from the room. :: Skyfire: Strange...empty, almost. Moonsong: ::she frowned slightly. It seemed odd that he shifted perception so quickly:: Just flow with it... Our minds gives us images that are symbols.... what do you see? ::she planned to use visualization therapy, but she wanted to see what images came to him first instead of just imposing something on him:: :: He tried to stay relaxed, his body tensing slightly as he attempted to interpret what was in his mind :: Skyfire: My meditation blocks. Teacups. Lt. Taybrim. Moonsong: ::she leaned forward to touch his hand and stopped herself. It was instinctive to touch people to help them but she was learning that it was not a good idea anymore.:: I want you to think of a place you are comfortable. oO Don’t do it, girl. You’ve barely got control of yourself here. Focus on your patient. Oo :: He nodded faintly, imagining his little mountaintop with the roaring waves below. There was no Ensign Skyfire to share his space, which he was grateful for.. :: Moonsong: Tell me what it looks like... Skyfire: Terran sunset. The sky is sort of purple, orange and blue. I'm on a jetty which has rocks of smooth stone, a beach like setting. Beneath me, the waves crash against the cliff face, a deepish sort of purple and blue. Moonsong: ::she frowned slightly:: Do you feel safe there? Skyfire: Yes. Moonsong: ::she found it odd that he considered such an image safe, but she would find a way to work with it:: All right.... continue to breath... in and out.... now…. come back to me... :: It took him several minutes to comply, as though he was nearly reluctant to leave the beach and his solitude. When his eyes opened, that is when he began to perspire with the effort. :: Moonsong: You did really great. ::smiling:: A lot of people have trouble reaching their center the first few times. Skyfire: It seemed harder for me to pull myself back this time. Moonsong: You'll soon get the knack of moving in and out at will. Now I just want you to relax. :: His eyes closed again as he attempted to comply. After a few seconds, he forced himself to relax completely. :: Moonsong: ::she leaned back:: How are you feeling? Skyfire: A little drained. :: He felt too weak to tense up. He didn’t like that question, and hoped it wasn’t obvious that he hated counselors that much. He still had his scorecard packed away in his bag from the Excalibur. :: Moonsong: I hope you'll eventually learn to be honest with me. You tense up every time I ask you how you feel. ::she made a few notes on the padd:: What do you hope we can accomplish in these sessions? :: He wasn't at all eased by her words, and tried not to let it show through. When he spoke again, he forced calm into his voice. :: Skyfire: Develop some level of control over my abilities. oO Curse. Oo Moonsong: What do you think of your abilities. ::pauses:: Don't tell me what you think I want to hear. Tell me the truth. :: His eyes opened slowly, and he tried to keep his cool. :: Skyfire: I think it's a curse. I want to make it not a curse, and a useful tool; but until I learn how to control it, it's a curse. Moonsong: ::she nodded understanding.:: I think we did well today. You accomplished more than I expected and that is a good sign. Skyfire: Then...why does it feel like I'm still on square one? Moonsong: It's important to define what square one is. It's different for different people. Knowing what it is, is the first step in moving forward and helps me figure out the best way to proceed that is tailored to your needs. :: The words 'define square one' made him almost as uncomfortable as 'How do you feel?' Each question seemed like a trap. And he knew that both questions were not meant as traps, but given his turnover rate for counselors, they felt like a trap. :: Skyfire: Alright...? Moonsong: Dr. Skyfire, in order to help you, you have to trust me. Trust takes time. Eventually you'll get to the point you are comfortable enough to tell me what you are really thinking. Right now you're guarded and that is normal. That is why it we are starting slow. ::She paused and then straightened her shoulders:: You'll do fine. :: He nodded faintly, forcing a smile onto his face in kind. He wanted to be able to trust counselors, and wanted to overcome his hatred of them. But he stayed quiet. :: Moonsong: You should be aware that your body language tells me a great deal. Skyfire: I'm aware. Moonsong: I'm not offended, so don't worry about that. ::she set her padd on her lap:: Would you like to make another appointment? :: He stood slowly and grabbed his uniform jacket, then nodded. :: Skyfire: Yes. Moonsong: Daily? or would you like time between? It can be exhausting as you've noticed. Skyfire: Daily is good. Mission or no mission, I would like to get a handle on my cur-- :: pause. He was going to say 'curse.' Poor word choice. :: ...current abilities and not be driven insane by them. If that makes sense. Moonsong: ::rose to her feet:: Of course, Doctor. I'll see you tomorrow. I'd like you to stay on the inhibitors for now. We'll start lowering the dosage as you get comfortable with the basics. ::she smiled although it seemed a touch forced:: Skyfire: Stay on them? :: he looked a bit curious. :: Then again, it’s shore leave. I can afford to be useless for a bit. Moonsong: ::Her expression was serious:: Until you are drilled in the basics, you would be even more useless if you are comatose. Of course the choice is yours. :: That thought frightened him. He'd been sedated before just to deal with the effects. Twice. And it wasn't a fun experience. So soon after the meld, his brain nearly exploded. And he tensed up as the unbidden thought came to him. And just once, he was hoping that he’d be able to meet a counselor who didn’t bear the same no-smiles-policy as his brother did. :: Skyfire: I see your point. Moonsong: Like your other senses it can be overwhelmed. I can help, but it will require work on your part and it will take time. There is no short cut. :: He nodded grimly as he tugged the uniform shirt into position. :: Skyfire: Understood. Moonsong: I'll see you sometime tomorrow, then. ::smiles slightly:: Skyfire: Right. :: and headed out the door. What he craved more than anything was control over his abilities. And it was, for now, beyond his reach. :: ::Raissa sighed as he walked out. He had taken a big step, but until he learned to stop fighting his ability, his progress would be slow. She returned to her desk. It all boiled down to trust:. It was not just his ability he was fighting. He was fighting her. He may not have said anything, but his body language screamed at her. In a sense, she was the enemy. On a purely personal level it hurt a little, but there was no quick fix to that either. :: === Lieutenant Chythar Skyfire Acting Chief Medical Officer USS Garuda NCC 73809 Lieutenant JG Raissa Moonsong Counselor USS Garuda
  21. ((Rathos Prime, idyllic site by the lake)) ::Tosz and Vanessa sat there and just watched the sky showing thousands upon thousands of little, sparkling lights… each of those representing the vastness and sheer magnitude of the universe.:: Driscoll: This star… over there… ::Her voice was now nothing more than a whisper almost drowned now by the light and gentle breeze that could be felt coming from the lake. Tosz followed the direction of her finger before her hand almost fell back. Vanessa’s strength had gone. It had vanished rapidly in these last few hours. Now she even seemed to have difficulties keeping her eyes open, but she was trying. Still fighting the deadly illness till the last minute.:: Driscoll: D’you see it?... The small one next to those three… They almost form a …perfect square. Tosz: ::nodding as he now knew which star she was talking about:: Yes, I can see it. Driscoll: That’s my home…. where my brother lives. Tosz: ::looking at the small light:: Yes. This is just amazing. There are so many. Driscoll: Indeed… and that’s why I always wanted to… travel to them. See what is out there. ::They both kept looking in silence for a moment.:: Driscoll: Do you… believe in a life… after death, Tosz? ::He kept his eyes on the stars, but felt the questioning look of Vanessa.:: Tosz: Our people believe in a life after death, yes. Driscoll: What about you? Do … you believe in it? ::That was indeed a good quation. He had never been that religious, but this whole Armageddon that his pople and his world was facing had somehow changed something inside him. It would have been enough for many people to lose their faith, buit for Tosz it somehow caused the opposite to happen.:: Tosz: Yes, I do… This is such a vast and… wondrous universe. And I tend to believe that there must be something awaiting us. ::Tosz looked at Vanessa giving her a reassuring look. He didn’t just say it to comfort a person who was dying. Tosz really believed in what he was saying.:: Driscoll: I… hope that… you ::Another heave cough attack followed. When it was over there was again blood so Tosz wiped it off and gave her another dose of the painkiller. It still worked and he could see that Vanessa felt slightly better again. The pain she had to go through was unimaginable, but she was still brave. She was looking at Tosz and her eyes clearly reflected the thankfulness she felt for the man she hadn’t even known a few hours ago. Now he stayed with her as he had promised. He kept his promise and Vanessa didn’t have to be here alone, dying alone on a planet without her friends near.:: Driscoll: Thank … you… Tosz: Don’t mention it. ::pause:: You know, you somehow remind me of my wife. She… she died a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have the chance to be with her when… when it happened. ::Tosz looked at the calm and serene lake lying before him:: Tosz: I was trying to get help, find a doctor who would come to us and help her, but no one would come. Some didn’t even care or open their doors for me. They were afraid of getting infected as well. Can you imagine this? Doctors! ::One could still hear the anger and deep sadness that had almost broken this man.:: Tosz: When I came home, she was already dead and because they had been afraid of getting infected as well, they had burned their body… I wasn’t even able to say goodbye to her ::beat:: Then my daughter became ill. And she was shot by the police force when I tried to reach that hpsital. Again I was not able to say good bye. ::Tosz looked at Vanessa who was still looking directly at him. :: Tosz: When I saw you in the lab, I knew you were infected. And all that because you were here to help us. Our own doctors didn’t come, our own police shot us dead, but you – an outworlder – came here to our planet to try to help us. And then you had to pay the price. ::Tosz took a deep breath as he felt his anger coming up again – an anger which he didn’t want to feel now that he was here to stay with a young woman who was about to die.:: Tosz: It is the least I can do for you. The least I can do to honour you and what you tried to do to help us. ::Vanessa smiled at him, but she was not saying anything. She tried to keep her eyes open, but eventually failed. Tosz saw that she tried to reach him with her hand, but she was too weak, so he took her hand and held it. He looked at her and watched her chest as it slowly went up and down again… One more breath… and one more… He still watched her as she did her last breath. It was almost like falling asleep. But he still kept sitting there, holding her hand looking up towards the stars and to the one sparkling light she had shown to him earlier. ::As the sun slowly started to light up the scene, Tosz was standing there in silence. He was speaking an old traditional prayer to the Gods he had almost forgotten. Tosz had never been a religious man, but now it felt right to say at least one of those old prayers that his grandmother had taught him. In front of him there was a pile of rocks he had gathered the whole night to cover the grave of Vanessa Driscoll. She wasn’t able to go home again – not even her remains. And Tosz was not able to leave her body lying here due to the wild animals. So he had buried her. This would be the place where she would rest and as long as he was here and alive, he would be coming here and visit her every now and then. As he had finished saying his prayers, he put a little flower on the pile of stones. Then he grabbed the only thing that was still here – Vanessa’s communicator. He had used it to contact the authorities of Rathos Prime. They had been surprised to be hailed via a Strafleet signal and then being greeted by a Rathosian. Tosz had asked them to send a message to the Gemini and they had agreed. The message was simple and plain: --Your crewmate Vanessa Driscoll died this night – peacefully and quiet she just fell asleep. Tosz – ::Then Tosz put the communicator on the top stone and turned round to leave. He had kept his promise.:: END ======== Lieutenant JG Vanessa Driscoll Science officer USS Gemini
  22. I know Jeremy already submitted part 3, but I wanted to submit all three parts as one sim because as sad and well written as part three is, the whole closing chapter of the character of Vanessa Driscoll is heart breaking and touching and well worth the read as a complete short story. ((Rathos Prime, an idyllic spot)) :: As the whirling, blueish particle stream of the beaming process was slowly replaced with normal sight again, Vanessa took a look around. On her right there was a small river, which was peacefully burbling its way towards a lake on which the light of the sun was sparkling like thousand little stars. On her left there was just wood. No one could be seen or heard from her position. The only thing reminding her of civilisation and her Starfleet colleagues was some Starfleet emergency equipment that they had beamed there. This was really a nice spot. The first thing now that she was alone was to get rid of her EVA suit. The science officer would not need it any more. At least not now that the sun was shining so nice and warm from the Rathosian sky. Vanessa looked for a nice spot to sit down as she felt a little weak. Not far from the place she had been beamed to was a nice big tree, right beside the little river. This was the spot she chose, so she sat down and leaned against the tree. Its bark was warm and Vanessa closed her eyes for a moment just concentrating on the bubbling water from the river. She had always liked to listen to water. It reminded her of her home planet Toral IV, the colony where she had grown-up and where she had spent hours playing and sitting next to a little river not far from her family’s home. Only the thought of it, the pure memory of those precious little moments of her past made her feel lighter and warmer inside, as she could feel the warm sun on her face and body. Those moments were precious, very precious to her as she would never be able to go back there again and as she would not be able to see her brother again. Vanessa had to cough again. Doctor Frankenstein had scanned her earlier and had told her that the pathogen had attacked her lungs. 24 hours… that was the number which echoed in her mind. That would be about the time she had left. She could feel her body as it became weaker due to the infection. Breathing was becoming harder and harder and she had already had several cough attacks. But the worst thing about the infection was the terrible pain. She had taken some painkillers before beaming out, so right now she was feeling quite well, given the circumstances. Right next to her she kept a hypo that they had handed her with more painkillers. Vanessa wondered what would happen if she administered herself all the doses at once. Would she just fall asleep and… drift away without any pain? Would it even be enough to do that? She looked at her left side. There was the phaser that T’Mar had given her earlier to defend herself. But perhaps she could also use it for a different purpose, if she wasn’t able to bear the pain anymore? Right after that thought had crossed her mind, she shook her head. She didn’t feel like taking her own life. It still seemed wrong to her. But even now as she tried to convince herself that this was not a way she would choose, there was a little spark of doubt deep inside her. Who could tell how she would think about it when the painkillers wouldn’t work anymore. The fear was there – fear of not knowing how her last hours would be like and how hard her fight with the illness and eventually death would be. She really didn’t want to be alone then. Vanessa looked around and hoped that Tosz, the Rathosian civilian who had promised to stay with her till the bitter end, would be able to find her here. He had been given the coordinates. Hopefully he would be able to get away from the lab safely. Then as she closed her eyes again and listened to the water, she thought of her crewmates who had hopefully made it back to the ship somewhere up there in orbit – and the friends she would not be able to see again. Vanessa didn’t know how long they would remain in orbit or if they would leave as soon as possible. :: Driscoll: Godspeed, Gemini. :: She said looking towards the sky with tears in her eyes. :: :: Suddenly, Vanessa awoke as she had heard a noise coming from the woods. She must have fallen asleep in the warm sun. No wonder as she was feeling very weak as well. The illness had clearly left its mark on Vanessa. She grabbed her phaser, just in case it was a wild animal or some Rathosian mob who had managed to find her. Then she was able to see a figure coming out of the woods that seemed familiar. :: Tosz: Ah, thank the Gods. I found you. :: Vanessa put her phaser down and smiled. :: Driscoll: Tosz. You… made it. :: Surprised how deeply relieved she felt now that she didn’t have to be alone anymore, she beckoned the Rathosian over. As Tosz came nearer he looked at her before he sat down next to her. The young woman was already ravaged by the disease, but Tosz didn’t want to show any sadness. He was here to give her strength for her last hours – and because he felt he had to do it out of personal reasons. :: Tosz: This is really an idyllic spot. The right spot to… :: He paused to search for the right words :: Driscoll: No false modesty… a nice spot to die. :: Tosz looked at the Starfleet officer. Her eyes showed a severe and frank expression. :: Tosz: A nice spot to … spend a few hours with you. :: Vanessa looked at him then she smiled. :: Driscoll: I am really glad that you made it here. :: This was indeed more than strange. A few hours ago they hadn’t even known each other. Vanessa had come down to the planet to help the Rathosians and find a cure for the disease. Tosz had fought against police forces – and his inner anger and demons. Now they were both sitting at a picturesque spot somewhere in the nature preserve – far away from the problems, the government, the anger and fights. At least it seemed that way. :: Tosz: I promised you to come and I keep my promises. No one should be alone in such a situation. :: Vanessa nodded. That was indeed true. She knew that no one of her colleagues could be here and stay with her. And she was not able to go back to them or to the ship that had become home for her although she had not been on board that long. Her brother was light years away and wouldn’t even know what she had to face now. But this unknown alien would stay with her. :: Driscoll: Did you get out without problems? Tosz: :: nodding :: I waited a moment and used the chance to escape as your friends left. They all made it out safely, Vanessa. Then I sneaked out the back door you could say. It seemed the other Rathosians were in panic and no one really kept an eye on the others. With the coordinates your friends sent me, I was able to find you here… even though. :: He paused waiting for the questioning look of Vanessa:: Tosz: Even though I had to make my way through all sort of vegetation and thorny bushes and I almost fell into a little stream not far from here. The stones were quite slippery. :: They both laughed. It was great to see Vanessa laugh. It reminded Tosz of his daughter. Whenever his daughter had been depressed or didn’t feel good, he had been able to make her laugh… even though those moments became rare towards the end. The rarer they got, the more precious they were. :: Driscoll: I knew I was better off lying here in the sun waiting for you. :: It was good to see that she hadn’t lost her humour either. :: Tosz: Do you want something to drink? Driscoll: That would be great. Tosz: Alright, let me see if your friends left us something here. Although I guess, I won’t be able to bring you a [...]tail to add some perfection to your sunbath there. Driscoll: I knew there was a catch. :: They both laughed again until Vanessa got another spasm of coughing. She was holding her chest as it seemed as if her lungs were going up in flames. With two big jumps, Tosz was over there again next to Vanessa, holding her as she leaned forward. Slowly, she recovered from her cough attack, but the hand she had held in front of her mouth was red… She had coughed blood. :: Tosz: Did they leave you anything to fight the pain? :: Vanessa just nodded and pointed to the hypospray. Tosz took it and looked at it. It was quite similar to the injections he knew. He handed her the hypo and Vanessa injected herself a painkiller. Then she closed her eyes, leaning back against the tree again. :: :: She took a deep breath, but Tosz could hear a gurgling sound accompanying every breath that hadn’t been there earlier. It seemed that Vanessa wouldn’t have as much time left as he had hoped. When she opened her eyes again, she was able to see the sun just over the horizon. A long, red-orange reflection was showing on the calm water of the lake as the sun slowly set. :: They both just sat there, as Vanessa watched what was very likely to be her last sunset. :: :: They both kept looking in silence for a moment. :: Driscoll: Do you… believe in a life… after death, Tosz? :: He kept his eyes on the stars, but felt the questioning look of Vanessa. :: Tosz: Our people believe in a life after death, yes. Driscoll: What about you? Do … you believe in it? :: That was indeed a good question. He had never been that religious, but this whole Armageddon that his people and his world was facing had somehow changed something inside him. It would have been enough for many people to lose their faith, but for Tosz it somehow caused the opposite to happen. :: Tosz: Yes, I do… This is such a vast and… wondrous universe. And I tend to believe that there must be something awaiting us. :: Tosz looked at Vanessa giving her a reassuring look. He didn’t just say it to comfort a person who was dying. Tosz really believed in what he was saying. :: Driscoll: I… hope that… you :: Another heave cough attack followed. When it was over there was again blood so Tosz wiped it off and gave her another dose of the painkiller. It still worked and he could see that Vanessa felt slightly better again. The pain she had to go through was unimaginable, but she was still brave. She was looking at Tosz and her eyes clearly reflected the thankfulness she felt for the man she hadn’t even known a few hours ago. Now he stayed with her as he had promised. He kept his promise and Vanessa didn’t have to be here alone, dying alone on a planet without her friends near. :: Driscoll: Thank … you… Tosz: Don’t mention it. :: pause :: You know, you somehow remind me of my wife. She… she died a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have the chance to be with her when… when it happened. :: Tosz looked at the calm and serene lake lying before him. :: Tosz: I was trying to get help, find a doctor who would come to us and help her, but no one would come. Some didn’t even care or open their doors for me. They were afraid of getting infected as well. Can you imagine this? Doctors! : :One could still hear the anger and deep sadness that had almost broken this man. :: Tosz: When I came home, she was already dead and because they had been afraid of getting infected as well, they had burned their body… I wasn’t even able to say goodbye to her. :: beat. :: Then my daughter became ill. And she was shot by the police force when I tried to reach that hospital. Again I was not able to say good bye. :: Tosz looked at Vanessa who was still looking directly at him. :: Tosz: When I saw you in the lab, I knew you were infected, and all that because you were here to help us. Our own doctors didn’t come, our own police shot us dead, but you – an outworlder – came here to our planet to try to help us. And then you had to pay the price. :: Tosz took a deep breath as he felt his anger coming up again – an anger which he didn’t want to feel now that he was here to stay with a young woman who was about to die. :: Tosz: It is the least I can do for you. The least I can do to honour you and what you tried to do to help us. :: Vanessa smiled at him, but she was not saying anything. She tried to keep her eyes open, but eventually failed. Tosz saw that she tried to reach him with her hand, but she was too weak, so he took her hand and held it. He looked at her and watched her chest as it slowly went up and down again… One more breath… and one more… He still watched her as she did her last breath. It was almost like falling asleep. But he still kept sitting there, holding her hand looking up towards the stars and to the one sparkling light she had shown to him earlier. :: As the sun slowly started to light up the scene, Tosz was standing there in silence. He was speaking an old traditional prayer to the Gods he had almost forgotten. Tosz had never been a religious man, but now it felt right to say at least one of those old prayers that his grandmother had taught him. In front of him there was a pile of rocks he had gathered the whole night to cover the grave of Vanessa Driscoll. She wasn’t able to go home again – not even her remains. And Tosz was not able to leave her body lying here due to the wild animals. So he had buried her. This would be the place where she would rest and as long as he was here and alive, he would be coming here and visit her every now and then. As he had finished saying his prayers, he put a little flower on the pile of stones. Then he grabbed the only thing that was still here – Vanessa’s communicator. He had used it to contact the authorities of Rathos Prime. They had been surprised to be hailed via a Starfleet signal and then being greeted by a Rathosian. Tosz had asked them to send a message to the Gemini and they had agreed. The message was simple and plain: --Your crewmate Vanessa Driscoll died this night – peacefully and quiet she just fell asleep. Tosz – :: Then Tosz put the communicator on the top stone and turned round to leave. He had kept his promise. :: END
  23. (( Sickbay, USS Garuda )) :: A light chemical push. Alleran felt it as a real, physical thing; an intrusion into his sleep, forcing him awake. Forcing him to live. Open his eyes. :: :: It wasn't truly living with half a mind -- unjoined Trills were perfectly capable at any task they set their minds to, really -- but after years of having two brains, it certainly felt that way. The world was sluggish, dull, and had a strange unrealness to it; as though the dream, and the Otherplace was the reality. :: :: A shadowy figure stood above him. Alleran's eyes had not yet adjusted to the light. :: Alleran: Mum? Reynolds: Not quite. :: Oh. Through the fog came emotions; strong and raw. Embarrassment was one of them. :: Alleran: Hey. ::Perched on a stool by his bedside, she smiled at him, an expression worn and ragged around the edges. She looked pale and tired, strands of mousy brown hair falling limply about her face.:: Reynolds: How are you doing? Alleran: Oh... you know. Stuff. ::he managed a lopsided smile:: Dying. ::She tried to reply, but there seemed no words to express what she was feeling. Instead, she breathed a deep sigh, and nodded.:: Alleran: It's not so bad, really. I dunno. I'd always imagined I'd go in a... some kind of crash. Something dramatic. Lots of fire. Not like this. I don't think anyone really imagines it this way either. Just sort of... slowly fading away, and then one day, falling right over. Not everyone gets a dramatic send-off, I suppose. Reynolds: ::Quietly,:: No, they don't. :: He smiled -- strongly, more genuinely now. :: Alleran: I'm glad you're here. From the academy to the end, huh. There's a... pleasant symmetry to all this. I like symmetry. Reynolds: It's symmetrical for you, Alleran. Me, I just get to watch another friend die. ::Her voice cracked toward the end, and she looked away, taking a slow, deep breath. Yeah. He had buried friends too. It was never easy. :: Alleran: Yeah. ::She shook her head, looking back at him and forcing a smile.:: Reynolds: I'm going to miss you. :: That felt good. To know he was going to be missed. :: Alleran: I’m going to miss you too. A lot. ::a pause:: And I mean, well... I’ll still be here. Kind of. It’s complicated. Reynolds:: :She nodded.::I can imagine. I have a hard enough time just dealing with my own crap, let alone a couple of extra lifetime's worth from other people. Alleran: It would depend on the wants and desires of the new host, although it won’t be just up to them. There’s a whole host of emotions and feelings in there all mixed in together. Sometimes there’s a really desperate need to reconnect with the past host’s life -- something that’s very problematic and fraught with all manner of risk -- and sometimes... well. Sometimes they just want to get away from it all. I can’t promise anything. Reynolds: Is there anything you need? Anyone I can contact for you? :: It sounded really stupid, but Alleran had really only one request. :: Alleran: Make sure you come to my funeral. It sounds stupid, but Marlee -- my previous host -- well, she was something of a bitter workaholic misanthrope, which is easy for me to say now that she’s killing me. Accordingly, well, it was pretty empty when they put her in the ground. Couple of her old students. Some distant family members there because that was expected of them, just boredly waiting for the service to end. :: She winced. He reconsidered. :: Alleran: Actually, hell with that. No service. Just a big party. Lots of booze. Fun. Reynolds: One drunken wake on short notice. I'm sure I can organise that. :: He managed a little laugh. :: Alleran: Thanks. I’ll be kicking around for a while yet. Couple of days, maybe, on the outside. :: She nodded, her gaze dropping. He seemed to remember something. :: Alleran: Oh. And if the new host gets here, make sure that you check that they’re not crazy first. Who knows who they’ll send this far out. They might not have that many options. Reynolds: You might not want me vetting potential hosts. ::Her smile briefly returned.:: I suspect none of them would be good enough. :: That actually made him feel really, so much better about the whole thing. Just the idea that someone was going to look out for him. :: Alleran: Okay. I know you’re busy. I think I’m good here. Biobed’s nice and comfy. ::he smiled:: Take care, okay? I’ll be back soon... more or less. Reynolds: Call me, if you need anything. Anything at all, alright? Alleran: Yeah. Will do, for sure. ::She tried to say something else as she slid off the stool -- a goodbye, perhaps -- but for the second time in short while, words failed her. Instead, her hand found his, and after a brief, firm squeeze, she was on her way.:: -- Captain Quinn Reynolds Director of Intelligence USS Garuda & Lt. Commander Tan Chief of Navigation USS Garuda
  24. ((Chief Science Officer’s Office, USS Gemini)) :: Ensign Riel was walking through the corridors of deck 6, feeling better. The meditation had soothed his nerves for a while, and the drugs started wearing off. The latter being, on the flipside, the reason why walking past the CSO's office felt like the empathic equivalent of a punch in the gut. The pain was almost physical, enough to make Lan's eyes water. Lan sighed. Apparently, his star-crossed lunch break with Lieutenant Rejoh was once more thwarted by the imperious call of duty. Composing himself, he pushed the door chime button. :: Richards: Enter. :: Normally Alexander would have found the sight of a counsellor in front of him imposing. For the first time in his life however, he welcomed the intrusion. He had a lot on his mind and could really use the company. Perhaps the Ensign would be able to help clear his mind. :: :: At the Commander's invitation, Ensign Riel made his way inside the room, and respectfully nodded to Richards. :: Riel: Commander. Richards: Ensign Riel. Please take a seat. Would you like me to fetch you anything from the replicator? Riel: :: Taking the offered seat :: Actually that was part of the purpose of my visit, Sir: I made my rounds to see if someone was up for dinner. :: He managed a half-smile; that was technically true. :: Richards: oO Dinner. Now there is a thought. With all that has been going on I haven’t eaten since. Well, I don’t recall eating at all today. Oo :: Alexander turned his chair and headed for the replicator half expectant that the next words out of the Ensigns mouth would be what he wanted to eat. :: Riel: After all, it's part of my job to make sure that the crew doesn't go mad-hungry and start devouring each other. :: Under normal circumstances, Alexander may have found the joke funny. However these were not normal circumstances and he wasn’t much in the mood for fun and games either. :: Richards: :: In a calm, almost pleasant manner. :: Funnily enough, with how busy I have been on this double shift Ensign, I completely forgot to eat anything today. Your timing is impeccable. I assume you have not eaten either, what with being stuck on the bridge for most of the shift since the away team went to the surface? Riel: Indeed, Sir, skipping meals seems to be in fashion. Actually, I don't think I've seen the mess since I arrived, which may very well have been yesterday or a lifetime ago. :: Alexander hadn’t seen the mess either since joining the crew of the USS Gemini all those months ago. In his mind he justified this fact by claiming that he had just been far too busy to socialise during meal times. :: Richards: Neither have I if I’m honest Ensign. What can I get you? Riel: Catfish sandwich, if you please. :: That was a very Terran dish for a non human to order. Alex smiled to himself internally before ordering the Ensigns sandwich and his own cheese and pickle sandwich. He was hungry, but right now he felt that his choice was all he would be able to stomach. With both dishes placed carefully on his chair, he turned and returned to his desk, happy that he would be able to socialise whilst eating rather than go mad with the pain of the suggestion he had made to the captain. :: Richards: Here you go Ensign. Enjoy your meal. I must say, that a catfish sandwich is a rather odd choice for a non human, any particular reason for the choice? Riel: Thank you, Sir, enjoy yours. Comes with the job description, I think: a counsellor is also a diplomat, and you have to keep a very open mind when it comes to food when making contact with alien species. That being said Earth food is quite pleasant, especially the spicy kind. :: Cue a bite into the fried fish and vegetables, and an approving nod. :: :: Noticing the Ensign bite into his own sandwich, Alexander began on his. Unlike the coffee the replicator tended to produce, the sandwich was quite palatable. It wasn’t quite the same as biting into the real deal but it had managed to capture the essence of a good mature cheddar cheese and the sweet, yet tart flavour of a good sandwich pickle. :: Riel: Mmm. Anyway, besides the lunch, I had come to talk, if you have some time to spare, Sir. I have barely had time to say hello to everyone since I arrived, and I thought it'd be nice to get acquainted a bit, wouldn't it? Richards: Well, as of about five minutes ago, I am officially off shift so I do indeed have some time to spare Ensign. What made you choose me over someone else. According to my own wife, I’m not exactly known for being good dinner company. Riel: Well, honestly, it was between you and Lieutenant Rejoh, since I owe her a lunch. But you have the higher rank, and your door was closest. :: He smiled, half-apologetically. Again, technically true. :: :: That response sounded almost forced to Alexander’s untrained ear. Almost as if the Ensign had an ulterior motive for calling on his door, especially when considering both were now off duty. :: Riel: That, and the fact that the whole situation with Lieutenant Driscoll has hit you hard enough that you're broadcasting pain and grieving through all the deck, Sir. :: Alexander very nearly choked on the mouthful of the cheese and pickle sandwich he had been chewing at that statement. His mind had to do a double take just comprehend what had just been said. Had it been any other officer he probably would have evicted them from his office immediately. :: Richards: :: With a raised tone to his voice. :: I beg your pardon Ensign! Riel: My apologies, Sir. I plead Betazoid cultural bluntness and a firm belief that a hard, clean truth does less long-term damage than a sweet poisonous lie, Sir. :: Alexander had half a mind to terminate the conversation right there and then. However a little voice in the back of his head told him just how bad an idea that would have been. He took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking again. :: Richards: :: Slightly calmer. :: I hadn’t realized that I had taken down my mental blocks so much during this crisis. Normally I am very good at keeping things from telepaths. Anyway, I thought you were supposed to be off duty now? Riel: Heh. I'm a counsellor, Commander. There's no real 'off' to my duty, you are a person I'd like to know more, as a human being as well as a patient, and this catfish sandwich is delicious, so I don't mind mixing business and pleasure as long as there is pleasure. :: He reclined a bit in his seat, making himself comfortable. In all honesty, the famed Betazoid bluntness in him had been mostly tamed during his long hours of diplomacy lessons at the Academy. However, as a counsellor, he had discovered it could be a fantastic tool. It put people off-balance, and forced them to think. Or even better, it caused mild irritation, which was a stimulant not to be overused, but an excellent stimulant nonetheless. And right now, Richards needed it. Lan just hoped he'd be able to mend the fences afterwards. :: Richards: oO Pleasure! There was pleasure until you interrupted proceedings with that statement. Oo :: It was taking all of Alexander’s strength to remain calm. It seemed that this counsellor, like most others, had the innate ability to get under his skin and he didn’t like it. He didn’t like sharing his thoughts and feelings with others. They were private, intimate, his own. Then again, he was now in for a penny so he may have well gone in for the pound. :: Riel: I guess Lieutenant Driscoll and you were more than just colleagues for her predicament to hurt you like that. Would you mind telling me about her a bit, Sir? Richards: :: Being deliberately obtuse. :: You’re a counsellor. You have access to everyone’s records. You don’t need me to tell you about her. Hell, if you really want to get to know her, she is only on the other end of the communications line, slowly dying for a species we’ve only just met! :: Alexander was furious. It was one thing to have someone to talk to, it was quite another to have one’s mind picked apart by a medical professional one hardly knew. He tried to keep his defences up but he knew that with enough probing they would all fall away. The truth of it was, he was now stuck between the rock and the proverbial hard place. Either he terminated the discussion and faced the almost certain probability of being relieved of duty or, he continued it and bore his soul to the Ensign. :: :: Yeah, that was understandable, which doesn't mean that it should be allowed to stand in their way. :: Riel: Well, as I said, I didn't have the time to see everyone, and I don't think I even saw the Lieutenant in person before she went dirt side. I reckon she'll be a major subject in my counselling sessions soon, and I'd hate to talk about her as an abstraction. One in a billion, you know? I think I owe her that. :: Admittedly, his catfish had suddenly gained a faint aftertaste of emotional blackmail, but that was for the greater good. :: :: The conversation just took a nasty turn. If there was one thing Alexander hated more than his mind being probed, it was being blackmailed, emotionally or otherwise. Taking another bite of his sandwich he chewed it slowly, methodically as he formulated his next response to the ‘good’ Ensign. :: Richards: Lieutenant Driscoll was. :: He paused, realizing that his own acceptance of her fate had caused him to think of her in the past tense. :: Sorry, is an incredible woman able to apply her scientific mind to any problem thrown at her in almost any situation. She came to my department from tactical/security and immediately began applying herself to the task at hand. I lucked out when she found her way to my department and she very quickly became one of the ships greatest assets. Riel: Yellow to blue, that's a huge shift. How did she adjust? Richards: Like any member of Starfleet. She applied herself to her new role with both feet forward, asking questions when she did not understand things and following orders. What made her stand out was that she did all this whilst suffering from a great loss. Riel: Wow, that's harsh. How did she get over it? :: Not 'did she', but 'how did she'. Lieutenant Driscoll seemed to be the kind to adapt and overcome. :: :: The truth of the matter was, Alexander did not believe that she was over it. That did not mean that she had not dealt with her sorrow and pain, just that it still followed her like a heavy suitcase over loaded with clothes and souvenirs. :: Richards: She didn’t. Lieutenant Driscoll just learned to live with it and carry on moving forward. I don’t think anyone ever gets over the loss of a loved one, which in its own way is a good thing. I mean after all if we continue to mourn for those we have lost, are we not continuing to carry a part of them around with us? But I digress. Vanessa Driscoll had the strength of character to get past her sorrow and perform her tasks to the best of her abilities. I really couldn’t have asked for more from a subordinate, and a friend. :: This was hard going. The more the Ensign questioned him about Vanessa, the harder it was for him to avoid having a breakdown there and then. His mind was racing, trying to keep up with the probing. Each second that passed chipped away another of the last vestiges of armour he was able to keep around his own mind. :: :: Richard's admiration and friendship was almost palpable. And incidentally, hearing the Commander talk about someone else's qualities was a pretty good way for Lan to learn about him. :: Riel: ... Amazing, I really hope I'll have the opportunity to know her more. Well, so does everyone, I guess. :: Blind hope. The last desperate attempt of a person to cling to the chance that everything might turn out all right. He had passed that point several hours ago. He was more than aware that his CO had as well. Why else would Liam be considering his assisted suicide option unless he too had accepted that Vanessa wasn’t coming back. :: Richards: Sometimes all we have in life is hope. It lights the darkest nights and the foggiest of days, guiding us on towards a safe tomorrow. :: Richards was cold but not cold enough to dash the hopes of either the Ensign or the rest of the crew. Holding on to hope was certainly good for morale although it did mean that when the inevitable happened, the fall back to reality would be hard and fast. :: :: That had been heart-warming, and recollection seemed to have eased Richard's pain by the slightest margin. At times like this, Lan really hated his job, but it was time for the next banderilla. :: Riel: I beg your pardon, Commander, but there's still something that doesn't click, if you don't mind enlightening me some more... Richards: In for a penny, in for a pound Ensign. Riel: Well, I wouldn't sound cold about it, but Lieutenant Driscoll volunteered for this mission, and losing friends and crewmates to acts of selfless heroism in the line of duty is more or less in the job description. I understand it hurts, I really do, but I can't see what you could do about it. So where does that guilt of yours come from? Richards: oO Guilt? Where the hell has he pulled that from. There was no way my guilt has been plastered on my sleeve with my heart. That feeling of guilt is something I keep locked in the very back of my mind along with the self doubt and fear. Oo :: Alexander was furious and you did not need to be a mind reader to see it. This! This was the reason he had a deep routed fear and hatred of telepaths. Their innate ability to look into your mind, probe your darkest thoughts, fears and feelings. To probe the deepest recesses of your mind and use what they found as evidence against you or a way to obtain information. Worse still was that the fresh faced ensign had dared to mention the loss of friends and crewmates was almost a part of the job description, none more than Alexander and now Vanessa knew the risks of wearing the uniform. If he could have stood, he would have done. Instead he launched the plate bearing the other round of his cheese and pickle sandwich off of his desk, hearing it smash on the floor. :: Richards: :: With gusto. :: Don’t you dare presume to lecture me on life in Starfleet Ensign. Look at me! I know more than anybody else on this ship just what is meant by risk whilst wearing the uniform. I was clinically dead for at least five minutes owing to an accident in the line of duty, an accident that has left me confined to this chair when not sleeping, showering or going to the toilet. I can never give my wife the joy of having a second child. I will more than likely never be able to rock again. For the longest time following my accident, I held on to the hope that it was only temporary. Just prior to joining this vessel, that hope was completely destroyed. :: Alexander angrily snatched the glass of water from the table and gulped it down in a matter of seconds. Slamming it back on his desk, he once again focused his attention and anger on the Ensign. :: Richards: So why the guilt you asked Ensign? The guilt is because I knew this would happen. I even stated as much during a heated discussion in the initial briefing. Worse still, I later added my support to putting the mobile lab on the surface of this God forsaken backwater rock knowing [...]ed well that the likelihood of something like this happening was nigh on 100%! You are right about one insinuation. Risk is a part of being in this uniform. That risk however is supposed to be an acceptable risk. Here we have a situation where that does not apply. I’m guilty Ensign because when Vanessa volunteered to go to the surface, I failed to stress to her just how much of an unacceptable risk this actually was. Speaking of guilt, how is yours feeling. Last I checked, reading someone’s thoughts without their permission was a crime!? :: Finally Alexander had an outlet. Somewhere and someone he could vent is own ager and personal frustration towards. This had been building for a very long time and poor Lan was right in Alexander’s sights! :: :: Aah, yes, Lan had forgotten to quote the bit in the Book o'Words about ethical uses of mind-reading, and had pushed his interlocutor to the brink to boot. Way to go, Ensign, you got what you deserve. He snapped as close to attention as you could while sitting with the last bit of a catfish sandwich in hand, and replied in the most professional voice he could muster, trying not to let his feelings show. :: Riel: With all due respect, I didn't, Sir. And that kind of thing is written down as 'mind rape' in my book, just to give you an idea of where it sits on my moral values scale. But I believe I'm a quite decent counsellor and a [...] good interrogator, Sir, if I'm allowed to say so, and it doesn't take mind reading to see that all over you. But if you don't want to talk about it, Sir, please accept my apologies. I won't trouble you any further. Richards: My world fell apart the moment I had my accident Ensign. Every [...]ed time that I get close to having any semblance of a normal life fate throws a great big obstacle in the way throwing me all the way back to the start. Sometimes, even further! You want the honest core of my guilt over this? If I still had full use of my legs and did not have this [...]ed fatal virus locked in them, it would be me on the surface of that rock now and not her! :: And there it was, laid out as bare as a stone in a fast flowing river slowly, over the aeons, turning to sand. After his rant, Alexander was exhausted. He was caught completely off guard by the Ensigns next statement. :: :: Lan instantly softened. That was... all too familiar. Ironically, he had been struggling for years with similar feelings, and still was for a large part. How he could help someone when he couldn't help himself was beyond him, but Deities willing he'd do his best. :: Riel: I know how you feel, Commander. Richards: :: Quizzically. :: How on Earth can you know how I feel Ensign? Riel: :: With a sad smile :: Sir, empathy means that my 'I know how you feel's are usually literal. And I've grown up with a reading disability in a family where telepathic prowess was considered the true measure of a person's worth. So I can somehow relate. Richards: :: Unusually calm given the situation. :: C’est la Vie Ensign, and ‘la vie’ hasn’t exactly been kind to either of us. :: Alexander’s mind was a complete mess. In the space of one conversation he had gone from pensive, to sorrow, to anger and back again. The Ensign had completely broken down Alexander and it was beginning to show. Despite everything the Ensign had throw at him, Alexander hadn’t quite come to his wits end though he was rather close. The slightest misstep by the counsellor would be likely to tip him over the edge. :: :: Yes, it was all too easy to feel that way, and Lan knew it firsthand. He could have pointed out that some among the crew were stuck on that ship without any knowledge that could help the aliens and crewmates in danger or dying just below them, but self-pity contests were usually not the most productive activities. Maybe it was time for another little push. He just prayed to all the Protectors that the result didn't blow in his face. :: Riel: Permission to speak frankly, Commander? Richards: Granted, but watch your step Ensign. With the freedom to speak frankly comes great responsibility. Push the wrong button and I am highly likely to end this session. :: Riel took the time to finish his sandwich, clean his fingers, and switch his combadge pin from the left to the right side of his uniform, before tenting his fingers, leaning towards the Commander and taking a big breath. :: :: Tented fingers. No matter where you were in the universe, no matter what the situation, that was never a sign of anything good. Alexander braced himself for the next torrent of probing and quite frankly, what he considered to be abuse of position by the counsellor. :: Riel: Commander, next time you want to employ the lexical field of powerlessness, uselessness, or you mean to use the word 'cripple' in a self-demeaning way, can I respectfully suggest you don an EVA suit first? Richards: :: Through gritted teeth. :: I beg your pardon Ensign? Riel: Because that would be deserving of the kind of therapeutic kick in the aft-deck that would require you hitch a ride on a comet to come back, Sir, with all due respect. Richards: oO The nerve of the man. He doesn’t know me. The struggles I’ve faced, the looks, the probing eyes. Oo :: The gloves were off. :: Two things ensign. First of all, never, ever insult a person’s intelligence, state of mind or mental faculties and close with ‘with all due respect. :: With gusto and in a fevered tone. :: And never, ever stab a man in the back with words or otherwise. :: Now through gritted teeth and seething with rage. :: How dare you! :: This had now moved in Richard’s mind from an impromptu counselling session to an inquisition. He was seething with anger and quite frankly, despite the current damage to his hands wanted to do nothing more than reach across the table and smack the Ensign with his fists. :: :: Yes, he supposed it was a bit of overkill. Lan Rennan Riel's; ‘Famous Last Charge’. Do or die. But it was worth the brig if he could help Richards, because he could do much more for the mission than Lan could ever hope to. Calmly, he put the pin back into place, and carried on seemingly unfazed. :: Riel: Hear me out, Commander. I'm sorry for the way I treat you, I really am. And I'd wish I wouldn't have to. Richards: :: Without a single thought. :: Out! Get out now! :: He was done. The line had been crossed and for now he would play no more of the counsellor’s games. Even though the Ensign may have had Alexander’s best interests at heart, he was not prepared to continue. Suggesting assisted suicide to Liam had been one thing but facing the Spanish inquisition was quite another. Yes, he had made up his mind. This meeting was over. :: :: He winced internally. Maybe he had been too tainted by his Intel training. He would have to work hard on that. :: Riel: Sorry, Sir, I didn't intend to sound that way. But I need you, and Driscoll needs you, to realize that your disability isn't relevant here. This disease is not something you can outrun, or kick or shoulder away. We need science to beat it, and when I entered, I distinctly remember a CSO label next to your door. I don't know if someone can save that day, Sir, but you're on the shortlist. What I can do is keep you angry, focused and reasonably sane. By any means necessary. Richards: The sooner you wake up and realize that despite all our technology we have no chance of finding a cure, thus no way to save Vanessa, the sooner you will be able to prepare yourself for the £$%^&*( !%”£ that will be this ship’s crew when she dies, starting with the captain. :: He took a very long pause and started grinding his teeth before finally continuing. The anger in his tone clear as day. :: Richards: :: Sarcastically. :: Thank you Ensign. :: Now with gusto. :: Now get the hell out of my office! :: Alexander watched as the Ensign gathered his thoughts and proceeded to leave. Once again in his mind, Alexander mused on just how much he loathed counsellors, especially telepaths. As the adrenaline drained from his body, he once again found himself weeping, staring at the mess he had created when he forcibly removed his plate from his desk. :: -END- Lieutenant Commander Alexander Richards Chief Science Officer USS Gemini & Ensign Lan Riel Counsellor USS Gemini
  25. (( Courtroom, Deep Space 10 )) ::And here it came. Harry looked across at Telaan, mentally bracing himself. For all Damos had known he didn't want to be here and didn't want to cooperate with her prosecution, she had still provided him with a few sage words of wisdom. ::"Keep your answers short. Don't elaborate. Don't lose your temper," she had said. Advice to live by, perhaps.:: ::Gaareth took a deep, relaxing breath before standing. He needed to keep his temper under control. He needed to fight this fight like a Vulcan, not a Tellarite. His friend's career depended on it. Starfleet regulations supported Kells completely in this matter, but Damos had turned it into a witch hunt. She was considering Commander Ross an expert witness and, as such, attempting to use his opinion to destroy Aron's career. Well, two could play that game. Sparing one quick glance toward Aron, he turned his attention to Commander Ross as he approached the witness stand.:: TELAAN: Would you state your name and rank again for the record, please? ::Harry gave the lawyer an odd look, but complied readily.:: ROSS: Commander Harrison Ross. TELAAN: Commander, would you consider yourself a career officer? ROSS: Yes. TELAAN: ::looking down at the PADD in his hands:: Looking at your file, I see a list of commendations as long as my arm for courage above and beyond the call of duty. Citations of your cool head under pressure, and a near flawless understanding of Starfleet regulations. It's quite impressive. ::raising his eyes to Ross again:: You hope to have a ship of your own some day? ROSS: I do. TELAAN: Is it true, Commander, that one of the primary functions of a ship's Executive Officer is the preparation and issue of duty rosters? ROSS: It is. TELAAN: Could you explain to me, then, how it's possible that you might have been completely unaware of Dr. Saveron's disposition toward his required duties during the mission to 83 Leonis-II? Did you not read his file along with the rest of the crew upon your assignment to the Mercury? Starfleet personnel files do still include personality profiles, do they not? ROSS: I was aware of his disposition, he was quite vocal in the briefing. But he also accompanied me on an away team, and though he didn't like it, he did appear to accept the decision not to interfere. TELAAN: I see. Were you aware of Saveron's clearance levels aboard the Mercury? ROSS: I was aware of his major security clearances. But there are more than five hundred people on the Mercury, Starfleet and civilian; I don't remember the replicator privileges for them all. ::He almost said, "that's for Operations to manage", but he had no intention of throwing someone else under a bus. Truth be told, he'd simply assumed that Saveron would only have basic replicator rights, rather that his Starfleet privileges carrying over to his civilian posting.:: TELAAN: Interesting. ::glancing back down to the PADD:: You have been married twice, is that correct, Sir? And divorced as many times? DAMOS: Objection! Relevance? ::Damos was on her feet, fingertips resting lightly on the desk. She was quite placid, despite the force in her voice, there was something in her eyes that Harry didn't care for. ::Smug. She looked smug.:: TELAAN: Your Honour .. if I may be allowed to continue, I am merely attempting to ascertain the Commander's moral fortitude and credibility; something I believe to be quite relevant if he is being asked to condemn the actions of another officer in regards to the moral implications of the Prime Directive. SHYN: Objection overruled. You may continue, counsellor. ::Damos left it at that and sat back down, still occasionally taking notes on her PADD.:: TELAAN: So Commander… married and divorced twice. Is that correct? ::Harry flicked a look at Kells, taking a breath and struggling to keep his face neutral. He'd expected a few things, but not that he would be dragged over the coals regarding his personal life. He wondered if Kells' lawyer had gone so far as to contact Sveta and Mary about the divorces — as far as he knew, the official paperwork simply cited 'irreconcilable differences'. ::He hoped not. Mary had never quite forgiven him. He'd never quite forgiven himself, either.:: ROSS: Yes. TELAAN: How did your first marriage end, Commander? ::Damos was staring at him, and he could hear her voice in his head: "Don't elaborate. Don't lose your temper." He released a slow breath, and answered the question.:: ROSS: I issued divorce proceedings. TELAAN: And the second? ROSS: She issued divorce proceedings. TELAAN: Can you elaborate on the reasons for the court, Sir? ROSS: We had irreconcilable differences. TELAAN: Commander, you have been subpoenaed and ordered to cooperate with these proceedings. If you will not answer, I'm afraid that I will have to insist that your ex-wives be subpoenaed as well. ::A look of disgust crossed Harry's face as he looked at the lawyer. Telaan and Damos were every bit as bad as each other.:: ROSS: ::Flatly,:: I had an affair. TELAAN: ::raising his brows and nodding in clear disapproval:: I see. What is your current role aboard the USS Mercury, Commander? ROSS: Acting Captain. TELAAN: It's funny how things work out like that isn't it? So let me see if I've got this straight. You expect this court to believe that even though you knew what Doctor Saveron might think about letting the population of 83 Leonis-II perish, and you knew that he very likely had high level clearances aboard the Mercury, you failed to provide any oversight to the team that he had been assigned to on this mission. Such a lapse in judgement would be very uncharacteristic of an officer with your service record, would it not? ::Harry had to unclench his jaw to answer, else he would have spoken through gritted teeth.:: ROSS: When you put it like that, yes. TELAAN: ::shaking his head as he turned to Shyn:: Your Honor, I move that the entire testimony of Commander Harrison Ross be stricken from record and not given any further consideration during these proceedings. SHYN: On what grounds, counsellor? TELAAN: The Commander may have served with distinction in Starfleet to this point, but he has also shown questionable moral fortitude in his own personal history. He has admitted his desire to advance through the ranks, and with Captain Kells removed from command he has received an instant promotion. His records show an impressive history of following regulations and besting his peers at every turn, yet somehow he managed to turn a blind eye in regards to a prominent figure among the Mercury's crew. Commander Ross is either incompetent or corrupt, and I'm not sure which one would be worse. In my opinion, the Commander should be removed from duty until a formal investigation can be launched into his own actions at 83 Leonis-II. He had both motive and opportunity, Your Honor. All I'm asking today, however, is that his opinions not be taken into account, and this case be settled based solely on facts and regulations. ::As Damos rose to her chair to answer, Harry stared at the back of the courtroom, unable to trust himself to look at either Telaan or Kells. He was being portrayed as a man delighted to testify against his captain, desperate for a chance to sell him down the river and take his command. It was a trade, a barter — his career to save Kells'.:: DAMOS: Your honour. There was nothing in that testimony that warrants it being struck from the record. As my colleague so kindly pointed out — repeatedly — the Commander is a Starfleet officer of particular merit, honour and distinction, as well as being present during the events in question, easily fulfilling the requirements of relevance and reliability. His appearance as a witness in these proceedings is entirely appropriate. ::She paused, apparently considering something more, then left it at that. Shyn dipped her head in thought for a few moments, before nodding.:: SHYN: The motion is denied. ::Harry grimaced. He had thought, for a moment, he had been presented with a get out of jail free card; had his testimony been dismissed, his entire appearance would have never had happened. No insinuations about his conduct in his married life, no tearing down his decisions and performance on the Leonis mission. Free to go with a clean slate. ::No such luck.:: SHYN: ::She gestured toward Telaan.:: Do you have anything further? ::Gaareth tugged on his uniform as he turned to Commander Ross with a look of grim determination on his face. He had tried to get Ross's entire testimony dismissed. Doing so would have saved Aron's career, while also sparing Ross's. Unfortunately, it seemed that Damos was out for blood and Shyn could hold a grudge. Now he was going to have to do this the hard way.:: TELAAN: .oO Sorry, Commander. Oo. I do, Your Honour. ::Harry grimaced, bracing himself. His bad day was about to get much, much worse.:: --A Joint Post by Captain Quinn Reynolds (as Kora Damos)Lieutenant Commander Isaac Bale (as Gaareth Telaan)
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