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  1. Polling closes at 11:59pm Pacific on Friday, September 15. This is a run-off poll, where our general membership (that's you!) chooses which sim, from Set 3 of 2017 (Rounds 14-20), should proceed to the final round of the contest for a chance to be selected as the Top Sim of 2017! These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 14-20 of the contest. TO START, please read these sims: Round 14: Quinn Reynolds, "A Walk On the Shore" Round 15: F.J. Hawkins and Lan Riel, "Labyrinth Of Secrets" Round 16: Taelon, "Next You'll Tell Me They're Radioactive" Round 17: Choi Ji-hu and Colleen Bancroft, "Flashback: A Brief Hacking Diversion" Round 18: Tenaka, "Dreams are but windows to the Future" Round 19: T'Lea and Della Vetri, "Seven Year Itch" Round 20: Della Vetri, "Taking Time for a Good Start" NEXT, using the poll above, vote for the sim you like the most. It should be the sim that's the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. DON'T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. Any crew that "stuffs the ballot" (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful. Good luck to the nominees!
  2. (( Starbase 11 - Banquet Hall )) :: It was a cloudy night. The light from the gas giant they orbited caused the clouds to glow, offering an almost supernatural illumination to the Starbase streets and thoroughfares. Essen stashed her duffel bag in a handy flower bed before approaching the banquet hall. The big double doors were open, bright light and noise cutting through the otherwise alien evening. She distractedly ran a grey hand through her black hair before stepping through the doors into the room beyond. Crew members from across the Conny were mixed with an eclectic assortment of what she assumed were family members. There was laughter here and there, but mostly she had the sensation that the mood was a little subdued. Glancing around she spotted familiar faces and almost immediately regretted coming - she should have stuck with her original plan, sneak off without anyone noticing and be back before the Conny needed to depart. :: :: Sol was sitting at a table with her parents when she noticed Essen enter. She excused herself and approached, leaving her parents at the table. She wasn't going to subject Essen to them just yet. :: McLaren: Hey, Ess... :: Essen gave a guilty start. Sol frowned as Essen jumped, clearly having not meant to startle her. :: McLaren: I didn’t mean to startle you... Sinda: Sorry, Sol, you made me jump. Guess I wasn’t paying enough attention. McLaren: Everything ok? oO What a stupid question Sol… Oo Sinda: I just… have a lot on my mind at the moment. I needed a bit of space. :: Sol considered the other woman’s face quietly, seeing the creases of thought she was trying to hide. Sol frowned again. :: McLaren: I’ll say… you look like you have the weight of the world resting on your shoulders… and something equally important occupying your mind. < Sinda: Several worlds, really. That obvious? :: Sol smiled faintly. This would be the time where anyone else probably would have said “I'm not stupid you know” but Sol was A. far more polite than that and B. liked Essen way to much to ever be that condescending to her. :: McLaren: :: she smiled, laughing :: I’d be a pretty poor intelligence officer if I wasn't at least a little observant. :: Sol looked back into the banquet hall and then gently pulled Essen out into the planetlight outside the banquet hall. She found them a bench where they could talk a little more privately and sat on it, leaving space for Essen. :: McLaren: Ess… whats up? I want to help you if I can. :: her voice was light, annd she spoke quietly. :: :: Sol didn't want to pry, but seeing her friend this troubled worried her. :: Sinda: Something happened earlier, it’s probably nothing. :: Ess hesitated, not wanting to say too much. As Solaris had already pointed out, she was an intelligence officer after all, and very good at piecing things together. :: Sinda: Just something that’s got me thinking about a lot of old stuff. :: Sol was passive, she knew Essen wasn’t exactly the most open person and didn't want to rush her. She gently took one of Essen’s hands and kissed the top of it. :: McLaren: I don't want to pry, Ess, but I really do want to help. :: she smiled. :: :: Ess pulled her hand away and stood abruptly. :: Sinda: I know you do, Sol, and that’s the problem! People don’t help me, ever, and it’s messing with my head! I care about you, too, which is why I can’t drag you into something that could get you hurt, not again. McLaren: :: with a slightly confused look :: Ess… I knew what I was signing up for when I enrolled at the Academy. Space isn’t someplace that's all kittens and rainbows… I';m bound to be hurt, it comes with the job. Sinda: It’s not just the physical wounds, Sol. Let’s face it, I’m not a good person. Everything I touch turns to ash. Stick with me and I’m going to rip out your heart sooner or later, and the longer we stay together the more that’s going to hurt. ::she gave Sol a pleading look:: I don’t want to, believe me, but it’s who I am, it’s in my nature. McLaren: :: she sighed :: I've seen no evidence that you're a bad person… you clearly care about the people on the crew, otherwise yoou wouldn't have rushed off to save them back on that Suliban planet. Bad people don't care about others. oO Something I've noticed rather first hand… Oo You only think you're a bad person because otherrs keep letting you think that... :: Ess bit her lip. She’d let her guard down with Solaris, let her mask slip. For the first time in years, someone had gotten close to her, and she’d been happy. But that scared Essen - as much as she wanted a normal relationship, experience told her it would only end in sorrow. So it was better to run from it now. :: Sinda: I… need some space. :: Sol took a moment to decide what to say. If she let Essen go now that might be the end of it. She shook her head, standing. :: McLaren: No… Everything you've said… even your posture... tellslls me that If I let you walk away… that's probably it. I can';t do that Essen, Im not letting this… :: she gestured between them :: whatever it is that we have, end, not like this. Sinda: You deserve better. McLaren: Essen… I care about you too much to let you run from this. II'm not going to let you do it… Sinda: Not going to let me? :: He dark eyes narrowed. Happiness and love she might struggle with, but there was one default emotion she was good at. At least when she was angry she wasn’t so confused. :: McLaren: :: Sol sighed, looking up at the sky. :: Maybe this is the wrong way… maybe makking you confront this will make you hate me… I don't know. :: SShe found herself thinking back to her conversation with Merina on the surface of Dagorin VI. She returned her gaze to Essen, trying to soften it some, though her red eyes hardly allowed it. :: Someone once described a relationship to me as a chase. They also said that if both parties cared for each other it was a simple thing. I’m prepared for it Essen… Im prepared to chase you half way across the galaxy if I have to. Because I care about you, a great deal, and I think you care about me. Sinda: Of course I care about you! But it’s not the same. McLaren: Then face this. Let your shields down... to me. :: Sol stepped closer to Essen and pulled her into a kiss... a kiss filled with the same passion and aggression that Essen had showed her the night they had bowled together. When she pulled away, her voice was a whisper. :: See if your world crumbles to pieces because you, Sinda Essen, care about someone else on more than just professional level. You might find yourself surprised. :: It was a challenge as much as it was a plea. Sol was gambling with her own happiness over this. And she hoped it paid off. :: :: Essen turned away, her black hair falling forward to hide her face. She reached out to grip the back of the bench with a trembling hand, steadying herself. When she spoke, her voice was low and hoarse. :: Sinda: It’s not my world I’m worried about, Sol, it’s yours. You don’t know me as well as you think you do, there are things I've… ::she broke off, memories of Cinder playing through her mind for a moment:: If you’re determined to chase me I can’t stop you. But if you get too close I’m scared you’ll get burned. McLaren: Whatever you've done in the past is the past, and I can't hold it against you... :: Sol paused, sighing. :: Essen… I'm not afraid of being burned… I can't be afraid of it, because I can't tell the future. Sinda: Your family are here. Go, spend time with them and make every second of it count. They’re more important than this. McLaren: Do you know why my mother would tell me if she knew that one of my friends needed help and I wasn't there for her? She’d turn me right around and tell me to help them. :: Ess felt the anger boil up again and this time she let it. Anger was good, it concealed all the other emotions. Like a fire it was immediate and all-consuming. Until later, when you had to pick up the pieces and sweep away the cold ashes. But for now it would do the job. :: Sinda: Just go, Sol! :: Sol winced, but stood her ground. She wasn't going to be afraid of the future, and she wasn't going to let Essen run from her that easily. She was prepared for the chase. :: McLaren: :: Sol sighed again. :: Essen… my father has a saying: “Treat family like friends, and friends like family”. :: She paused again. :: I'm not going to walk away from a friend who needs help anymore than I would turn my back on a family member who needs help. :: She looked at Essen. :: I’m not letting you off the hook because you got angry at me… that wouldn';t do either of us any good. The fact that you are angry shows you care… :: she smiled. :: hopefully you can see that me not turning my back to you is the same. Sinda: I never said I didn’t care. It’s just… ::she tailed off:: McLaren: :: Sol shook her head. :: Listen to me… if I walked back into that party, joined my parents at their table, they’d know something was wrong, and they would tell me to fix it. So I'm saving them the trouble of having to say something at all… :: She smiled faintly. :: They would like you Essen… theyy would understand why I’m not with them… :: Sol stepped clooser, speaking quietly to Essen. :: I'm not going to just walk away from you Essen. Not now, not ever. Not even if it meant my oblivion. Sinda: Gah! ::Essen threw her hands up in frustration:: Did anyone ever tell you, you’re the most stubborn Terran in the galaxy? Why do you have to be so bloody reasonable all the time? McLaren: :: Sol placed a hand on Essen’s shoulder. :: I’ve told you… I want to help, Ess, so let me hhelp you… tell me whats going on… and then let's tackle le it together. :: Essen bit her lip as she thought about it. :: Sinda: I received a message, from someone in Cardassia. I don’t know what it’s about but I’m assuming it’s to do with my father. Anyway, I need to go and find out more, I can’t let this chance go. McLaren: :: Sol nodded. :: Then let's go… the party can wait. Sinda: No. ::she shook her head:: Me risking my career is one thing, I can’t let you risk yours, too. But you can promise me something. McLaren: oO Actually… something like this would probably iimprove my standing with SFI… Oo :: Sol nodded. :: What's that?< Sinda: If I don’t make it back, come and find me? McLaren: :: with a grin :: You better believe it… oO Plus if I didn't, I'd have to ttell the Captain… and that really would be the end of my careerâ… Oo :: Sol looked back to the banquet hall :: Come say hello before you go? :: Ess looked at the bright banquet hall and shook her head. :: Sinda: I can’t go in there, not now. Besides, I’m doing my best to avoid a certain Bajoran ex-officer. But when I’m back we’ll talk, about us. McLaren: Alright. :: Sol didn't push it further, feeling she had, perhaps pushed enough for the moment. She leaned in and planted a kiss on Essen’s cheek. :: Taisteal sábháilte, Essen. I hope you find what you're looking for. :: Essen offered a wan smile before stepping back and zipping up her jacket, heading off to where she’d stashed her kit earlier. :: :: Sol watched Essen walk off before returning to the party, wondering just what Essen would find at the end of her journey. :: (( OOC- Taisteal sábháilte = Safe travels )) ~~~ Lieutenant-Commander Sinda Essen Chief of Security USS Constitution-B R238401JT0 & Lieutenant (JG) Solaris McLaren Chief Intelligence Officer U.S.S. Constitution NCC-9012-B C239210SM0
  3. ((Ballroom, Duronis Embassy)) ::Tyr had destroyed his first plate of food and was well into the second one, realizing he hadn’t eaten anything since the bachelor party and unable to remember what (other than booze) that he had consumed then. He looked up to notice a line had formed near their table, politely wiped his mouth and pushed his plate aside, drawing a little closer to Toni. He was thrilled that so many had made it to the wedding, and were now paying their respects to him and his wife.:: o O Wife. That sounds so foreign. Going to have to get used to that. O o ::The first to approach was his longtime friend and fellow anachronism, Irina Pavlova.:: Pavlova: Congratulations. Turner: Thank you, Irina. I hope you enjoyed the wedding. Pavlova: Well, Ghyurn didn’t have stun me, so I’d call that a win. Turner: Sounds like it, but why would her consider stunning you? Pavlova: Yeah, I slipped him a phaser set to heavy stun and modified for higher power, just in case I lost it. Turner: Oh, I see, then that really was a win. I'm glad you approve of our marriage. Pavlova: I figured it out that you two were together back in the Jurassic period in that tent. Turner: Really, what gave you that idea? Pavlova: His eyes just followed that certain way. Anyway, he’s a good man, loyal to a fault. Oh, that reminds me. I had no idea what to get for you, but I finally figured it out. Turner: You didn't have to get us anything. Pavlova: You once asked me to promise you that another marine would come back alive, whatever it takes. Well, so long as I’m here, I promise Tyr will always come back alive, ::Irina paused a second :: : whatever it takes. Turner: I couldn't have asked for a better gift. Thank you, Irina. ::Irina then stepped over to Tyr.:: Pavlova: You are the godfather of my daughter, and the in a way my own personal savior. Without you, I would still be down on that hellish rock. Without your help afterward, I would be in a body bag in San Francisco like my three away teammates. You are one of a very small group who know my true past, who know what I did to survive on Kjenta II, and you are also the only person close enough to my age to almost understand what it’s like for me now. Waltas::Smiling and meeting her eyes:: I’d do it all over again, Irina. Your friendship has been a blessing to me. Pavlova: This is my gift to you. ::Irina handed him a small package while pulling back the cloth on top. The mark 1 Phase Pistol was instantly recognizable as the same one that Irina had always worn since that day on Kjenta II when a recently crash-landed Tyr had watched in horror as a badly injured Irina Pavlova used this very phase pistol to vaporize the head of her would-be assassin. The weapon was battered, scored, and otherwise showed every single day of the 219 years that Irina had carried it on Kjenta II, as well as the rather rough four years since her rescue. It even still had the hole in the grip where a wire connected it to large homemade batteries on Kjenta II after the original 22nd century Starfleet batteries no longer would hold a charge.:: ::With the weapon were three genuine 22nd century batteries, only re-built with modern power cells and an original belt clip that fortunately had spent those same 219 years up on the Columbia’s armory, protected from aging by the vacuum of space in that badly damaged section of the ship.:: Pavlova: Its not much to look at, and has less power than the modern ones, but its more accurate and it has a history of never failing its owner. It will never fail you either. Waltas: ::Haltingly:: Irina, this is yours..it’s a symbol of who you are. I can’t accept this. Pavlova: Its also part of my gift to your wife, which is to make sure you always come back alive, whatever it takes. Waltas::Sighing, he closed the box and kept it close to him:: You’re going to regret that promise. You know what a knack I have for getting myself into trouble. But, thank you Irina. You will always be my friend, and may you find peace one day that I’ve found today. ::His eyes moved to Aria, in line nearby, then back to her:: Sometimes it’s closer than you think. ::He watched her leave, then the massive Marine he counted among his closest friends approached.:: Parker: Looks like there are a lot of people looking after you, Tyr, Toni... Waltas::Chucking, sarcastically:: Yeah, great. That’s all I need are nursemaids. Won’t have a moment’s peace. Turner: Looks that way, sure enough. Allison: We haven't left the two of you off our list... Naloor: Congratulations, you two.... :: Naloor, walking Ryland, had come up behind them, bearing a wooden box. Placing it on the table, Hannibal spoke:: Parker: Admiral...when I had no place to go, you gave me a home, a future, and a purpose. Because of you, I was able to make a life here, build a home, marry Kamela, and raise our son. You have been in my corner on countless occasions, saved my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.::Turning to Tyr:: My friend, my brother. You are the godfather of my son, kept my head straight when I was First Officer, and became as personal to me and my family as blood brothers. I'm not good at this whole gift giving thing, so....just open the box... :: Hannibal slid the box over to his friend, and watched while he undid the gold clasps holding the box closed. When he opened it and saw what was inside, it was Kamela who spoke:: Allison: Both Hannibal and I know of your fondness for cutlery, and Hannibal had his armorer on Cestus Three make you both of these knives. Tyr, the Bowie knife is for you, and the dagger is for Toni... :: Both blades were dark in color, save for the razor sharp edges. The dagger, double edged with a one inch wide blade, tapered to a point, the hilt, small, made for Toni's smaller hands. Etched into the blade on one side was Admiral Turners' name, with the Starfleet insignia on each end, with the crest of the USS Thunder-A on the other side, with the words "LET'S ROLL" written in script underneath. Tyr's Bowie was inscribed with his name, with the Starfleet insignia on one side, and the Globe and Anchor of the Starfleet Marines on the other:: Parker: Never know when you gotta get up close and personal..this will make sure you can get up close and personal just in case you need your katana and another blade. Always carry a backup, just in case.... Allison: Admiral...the dagger is easily concealed on your person. It's always good to be able to do the unexpected... ::Being a blademaster, Tyr knew immediately the bowie knife was of superior craftsmanship and design. It was deadly-and had more uses than the Ba’ku could count. He smiled to his friend and quickly tucked away the knife.:: Waltas::Standing, he clasped forearms with his massive friend:: Thank you, brother. For everything. I’ll carry it with honor. ::Turning to Toni:: We’re going to be the most heavily armed bride and groom in Starfleet history. Turner: ::laughing, hugging Hannibal and Kamela, then Ryland and Naloor:: Yeah, so you better watch your step. Thank you all. ::Sharpe made his way to the table next.:: Sharpe: Admiral, Captain; congratulations on your wedding day, also Admiral might I say you look beautiful! Captain Waltas is a lucky man :: Sharpe said looking at the pair.:: Waltas::Nodding:: She is, isn’t she? Still trying to figure out how I managed to catch her attention. Turner: How could you not. Your no slouch, yourself, handsome. Thank you for the compliment, Sharpe. Sharpe: You are welcome; I think the gift I got you is more.... Practical in its application than what my wife had in mind, Alex also sends her congratulations and best wishes on this day, I sent her a secure message about this and she asked me to wish you well and to offer her congratulations on your wedding day. Waltas: Send our thanks back to her if you would. Turner: Yes, please thank her. Sharpe: :: Smiling :: oh before I let the other guest wish you well, I have managed to acquire you both a separate gift each, unlike the one on the presents table which I will not tell you what it is but do be gentle with it, the others I have you will be waiting in your quarters. :: Looking at Waltas :: for you Captain I was unsure what to get you as the last gift I gave you before I left for the Victory was either Romulan or Andorian ale. You said after that you did not drink, so this time I have acquired for you Captain a ceremonial bush from your home planet of Ba'Ku :: he looked puzzled :: I think my contact said it had something to do with well being or some such, but it was highly prized. :: now looks at Turner :: for you Admiral I have acquired you a crate of Bajoran spring wine 2230s vintage, I am told it has become quite rare, I know you are partial to the drink. Waltas::Thinking:: It must be a Garu’mai plant. They’re extremely rare. Not sure how you pulled that off Sharpe but I thank you. ::Turning to Toni:: They thrive on sunshine-we should plant it near the house in the garden. Turner: Sounds like the perfect spot for it. And thank you for the spring wine, Sharpe. I'll put it to good use. Sharpe: :: he looks back to Waltas :: If only you drank Captain, I could have gotten you a crate of drink that would be hard to get under normal circumstances, but I had to settle for the bush. I hope it is what the courier said it was :: looking behind him as he noted a queue building up :: well I will not keep you from your other guests, again my congratulations to you both. :: With a smile and polite shallow bow of his head in respect he headed straight for the drinks table.:: ::Pavlova’s current love interest (it was obvious), Aria Oddas, approached next. Tyr hadn’t had much of an opportunity to speak with the woman but he was glad that she had managed to keep Irina on an even keel-a difficult task to say the least.:: Oddas: Congratulations Ma'am, sorry, Toni. :: she sat down the box :: From what I can tell these books, :: she opened the box revealing a two leather bound set of Grey's Anatomy, 50th edition and an isolinear chip with the same text inlaid in the lid :: were the premier text for the medical profession on earth for centuries . I hope that you like them. Turner: ::Grinning:: Like them, no, I love them! How did you know? I've been hunting for them for several years, and haven't been able to find them, much less a set with the isolinear chip. Thank you, Aria! I'll treasure them always. Oddas: I appreciate it. :: Aria smiled and moved to the Captain.:: Oddas: Sir, Tyr. I understand you like classical, Terran music. :: She handed him the package with the picture of a man and "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison" in the upper right corner on it. :: I found this, it is a replica, but according to my research it is an accurate replicate of something called a '78'. :: she paused :: More importantly, if you take it into a holosuite it will reproduce the performance the audio recording is said to be of. If you don't mind me saying, it was a ... moving experience. ::Tyr’s mouth dropped open. To see he was a fan of Johnny Cash was saying he liked the Discovery. Both were gross understatements. To witness it live, in a holosuite, would be amazing. It was one of the most iconic performances in history.:: Waltas: This is amazing! Thank you. I can’t wait to try this out. ::Turning to Toni:: The Man in Black.. Turner: Oh wow! You couldn't have pleased us more, Aria. Oddas: :: smiled a smile of relief :: You're welcome. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. :: She turned to walk away, but stopped short. :: Oddas: Congratulations again. Waltas: Thank you again for the wonderful gift. ::Tyr found himself like a child during the holidays, wanting to rush off and play with his new gifts. He was about to examine the 78 more closely when T’Lea received an elbow from Vetri, drawing his attention. He figured it was their usual banter, but wasn’t completely positive. If he’d learned anything about T’Lea through the years, it was that she was completely unpredictable.:: T’Lea: Weddings make her frisky. ::beat:: Seriously, though, I am pleased you found an emotional connection with each other. Family, as I have learned the hard way, is the most important thing to have in life. Without them you’re just a single nutcase, but together there’s proof that other people are more crazy than yourself. Waltas::Chuckling:: That’s an..interesting indictment of marriage but probably accurate. Thank you both for your presence. I hope our bond is as solid as yours and Vetri’s is through the years. T’Lea: Well, we should let you both get back to the rest of your adoring minions. Oh, we brought you offerings of worship as well. :: pointing at the gift table:: It’s the box with Romulan Star Empire wrapping paper on it. ::at Toni:: If he annoys you, feel free to shoot him with it. Maybe not a mortal wound, well… depending on how badly he’s [...]ed you off- :: Before T’Lea was pulled away, she managed to do something slightly out of character. She gave Toni a hug, which shocked Tyr to his core. He never expected her to display that type of emotion, but was happy she did. For him, he expected more viperous words and threats considering their history. She whispered something to Toni, let go and offered Tyr a handshake, and after he took it she pulled him firmly in to whisper something to him. Tyr was so shocked by the display that all he could do was hug back.:: oO I don’t believe it! This is a new T’Lea. They should record this for history. No nasty threats, no evil smirk, just a genuine, loving, friendly… Oo T’Lea: Hurt her and I’ll use you as a hood ornament for the Thunder. oO Aaaaand she’s back! Oo Waltas: ::chuckling:: I promise I’ll only hurt those who try to hurt her. T’Lea: Excellent! ::she let him go:: My sincerest congratulations, Mr. Turner. Waltas: ::bowing excessively:: Thank you, Mrs. Della. Trel’lis: I wanted to congratulate you and Captain Waltas! I wish you both the best and a long and happy marriage! Waltas: Thank you very much. Turner: Thanks Trel'lis. We're glad you could come. Trel’lis: I may be ‘new’ and a visitor, but I felt it only proper to be here for this joyous event! My gift is on the table and I thought it would be a lovely addition to your home. Waltas: There’s an old saying..There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t yet met. Turner: And that's true. Trel’lis: ::a twinge of awkwardness:: Again, I wish you both well and many *happy* years together! Waltas: Emphasis on happy I hope. Thank you again for coming. Turner: You'll always be welcome here. Did you come with someone or alone? Trel’lis: I did come with Lieutenant Commander Flynn, Admiral. Turner: He's a nice man. I met him last night. Both of you are welcome anytime. ::As the line died down a bit, he noticed that the lights had dimmed and a spotlight was now shining on them. A song began to play and Raj, as master of ceremonies, introduced them.:: Blueheart: Ladies and gentlemen, dignitaries, family and friends. It is time for the newlyweds’ first dance. ::It was their first dance together as husband and wife. Tyr reached down and offered his hand to his beautiful bride.:: Waltas: May I have this dance? Turner: ::smiling at him:: You certainly may. ::Tyr and Toni stepped to the center of the dance floor as the music began to play. He placed hand on her lower back and pulled her close to him, looking into her eyes as they danced.:: Waltas: You look radiant, Toni. Turner: It's the love I have for you shinning through, Tyr. OOC: https://youtu.be/x1ubrA5SsUo ==================================== Captain Tyr Waltas CO, Strategic Operations Duronis II Embassy / USS Thunder C237910TW0
  4. ((Sky Blake’s Quarters, USS Veritas)) ::Getting into contact with Veritas had been easy when the news spread like wildfire. Rosa Carrero had been killed in an altercation involving an unknown group in the governor’s “luxury” apartment. Not only had this happened when the Veritas was away - meaning Carrero probably would have found it pointless to even try to call for help - but the assailants had completely disappeared from colonial security.:: ::So understandably, the First Officer of the Veritas had been less than happy about the entire thing. The crew’s morale had dropped considerably - the trip back to Shadow’s Edge probably hadn’t been filled with any sort of joy, and the minute Sky stepped aboard, it was like being hit with a tidal wave of grief. Because the Veritas was the only Starfleet vessel out here, and communications and letters had sketchy and delayed timing at best, the crew had long ago dealt with any potential problems and meshed well as a family - a cliche description, but nonetheless accurate. Losing one of their own had been incredibly hard on them. The fact that they’d lost their commanding officer had only made it worse.:: ::Despite the problems in communication, Starfleet had been suspiciously swift in delivering a new command verdict. And when all doors had closed, and they’d ended their duty shift, the human had begun pacing her small living area, and now he was hurtling every last curse word at Admiral sh’Hiel, some of which she’d never even heard before.:: ::Zhou Tai-Sheng had throughout his career cultivated a reputation for being laid back among those who worked with him and later under him once he became a security chief and later a first officer.:: ::But today, he didn’t hold back. His anger was raw, and it had been looking for someone to strike. First it was of course the assailants responsible for the captain’s death. But next was the governor’s security detail and then the governor himself. The latest person to find themselves in his cross-hairs was the Starfleet admiral who’d recalled Veritas back to Esperance--to receive a new commanding officer.:: Zhou: We’ve been out here for how long now, put up with how much grief trying to get what she wants done no matter how unrealistic, and now she’s just going to swap in someone else who’s never even set foot in this region? Blake: The only way Starfleet want this to go down is by the book. That way the colonies are confident that the Veritas won’t be dead-set on simply hunting down Carrero’s killers and ignoring the other priorities we have. ::She hated being the middleman, trying to be the voice of both comfort and reason when in reality, she was just as ready to start a riot as he was. But someone had to maintain as much calm to keep things together - and given that the rest of the crew were having a hard time with that, and that she generally avoided being emotionally aggressive, the role seemed to have fallen to her.:: ::The first officer turned abruptly to glare back at Sky.:: Zhou: You’re damn right we’re going to hunt down the [...]s who did this! What other priorities supersede that?! ::Every time he got louder, she only got softer. She leaned against the table, putting her glass down and clasping her hands together as she kept eye contact with him.:: Blake: Do you know what Lieutenant Sands and I did today? ::Her sudden question, seemingly out of nowhere, finally made him take a breath.:: Zhou: Really? Blake: Really. ::He huffed, letting his shoulders relax, the tension having been building for the past several minutes.:: Zhou: Fine. What? Blake: Cheshire’s Run was attacked by four people with EM pistols, intent on harming innocent bystanders going about their night. While I pulled two Romulan refugees out of the line of fire, Sands took down three armed men in the span of five minutes as well as prompted the fourth to go down. ::He should have been impressed, and on any other day, he would. But now he just put his hands up in the air in frustration.:: Zhou: So now we’re the local police? Is that it? They can’t even take care of petty crime--and this is after Elis has been supposedly training the deputies for the past two months! Blake: That’s not the point, Tai. If we weren’t there, people would have died at the hands of Starfleet weaponry. That would have been pinned on us, ancient weapons or not. And saving the lives of a handful of people, no matter how we expect it to not impact anything, is better than wasting time chasing cold leads of murders. Carrero would want you to do the right thing - and the right thing here, is to continue with the job we’ve been given. Like it or not, but until such time we get a captain, you’re in charge, and I’ll be damned if I let you send us on a witch hunt. ::Of all the people, Sky Blake was the one now reminding him of his duty. He shook his head and sighed, rubbing his forehead. She was right of course. He had a duty, and it wasn’t to avenge the captain but to take care of the crew left behind in the wake of her death.:: Zhou: Do you think the attack is in anyway related to the captain’s death? Blake: It wouldn’t have mattered. Even if she called for help, there’s no way of knowing if any one of us could have gotten there in time. Not without the Veritas transporters. Zhou: No, I mean… do you think there’s a connection between the assailants? Blake: If I thought so, you’d have been first to know. But there’s no pattern - there wasn’t even a leadup. No tell-tale signs for me to go on. ::She shook her head.:: It’s too clean. ::He curled his fingers into fists, bringing them to his temples. And then he released the tension once more, taking another breath.:: Zhou: We have to leave now if we’re to get to Esperance in time, but some part of me feels like if we go now, we may never find who did this. You and I both know how many cases go unsolved here. Their clearance rate is a joke. Blake: When Command finally pulls strings and allows us to be involved, we’ll start looking. But right now, forcing our way into this will only create tension we don’t need. ::He nodded and then finally tapped his combadge.:: Zhou: =/\= Zhou to bridge. =/\= Bridge: =/\= Yes, sir? =/\= Zhou: =/\= Set course for Esperance and proceed at best possible speed. =/\= ::There was a slight pause as no doubt everyone on the bridge realized that they really were leaving, no answers in sight.:: Bridge: =/\= ...aye, sir. =/\= ::Once the com closed, Zhou looked back at Sky.:: Zhou: We should make arrangements for a service in the meantime. ::He shook his head again, looking down.:: Zhou: We don’t even have a body… ::Not until the colony’s morgue released it anyway.:: Blake: Do you really think she’d have wanted people to stare at her corpse? ::He looked back up at her, slightly annoyed.:: Zhou: That’s not the point, Sky. Sometimes… seeing the body can help bring closure for those mourning... ::His voice trailed off though as he realized Sky of course was no stranger to death, having lost her husband.:: Zhou: ...well, you know what I mean. Blake: For the sake of avoiding tears, I’ll pretend I don’t. ::She gave a weak smile.:: But I’ll see to the arrangements. ::Seeing that sliver of vulnerability from Sky made him realize that he was being selfish. The crew needed a captain now, and whether or not he was going to remain their captain once they got to Esperance, he’d step up until then.:: Zhou: Thank you. ::He reached out to touch her arm.:: They’ll get through this. We all will, I know. It’s a good crew… I just. I can’t let myself forget how I feel right now. I’m not going to let the captain became just one more statistic. Blake: Then don’t. No one is expecting you to have a typical Vulcan calm, no one is expecting you not to care. Every step we’ve taken here has been one fight after another - there’s nothing Command can throw at us that we break down to. We just . . . need time. To recover. By the time we get to Esperance, we’re all going to be yelling. ::He nodded. And so they would mourn and recover as one. And they would find those responsible.:: ::But for now, he had a eulogy to prepare.:: TBC… Commander Zhou Tai-Sheng First Officer, USS Veritas I238705TZ0 & Lt. Cmdr. Sky Blake Strategic Operations Officer, USS Veritas C238803SB0
  5. (( The Shadows. Seheik Settlement Starport. )) :: A hot wind from the west blew over the plains on the outskirts of the settlement, causing the tall, brown grass to wave over the horizon. A century ago, a Vulcan poet had dubbed the eastern grasslands the Amber Sea. And, standing from a third-story landing platform, Evan found himself making the same comparison while he collected his thoughts. The vista was a valuable reminder of how beautiful this place could be. :: :: With that thought in mind, he turned back towards the bodies and debris. The stench of burned electronics and flesh threatened to turn his stomach, but he forced control. :: Delano: The security footage? :: The settlement’s port administrator - a middle-aged Romulan woman named Koleen - had been staring at the wreckage since she’d called for his attention a few seconds earlier. The woman looked suitably flustered by the accident, and even as she processed his verbal cue, she had difficulty looking away from the carnage. :: Koleen: I’ve got it here, Sir. :: Delano pressed his lips together at the honorific. Seheik’s law enforcement was comprised almost entirely of civilian volunteers. Evan was an exception to that, if only because of his background. The elders had been concerned about some of the newest additions to the settlement and had authorized the sheriff to deputize some of the experienced volunteers. And that was why Evan was here. He was the only deputy with significant experience with explosives. :: :: Despite the title, however, Evan disliked the idea of people calling him sir. It reminded him of the life he'd left behind. Still, she woman had served on a Romulan warship until just a few years earlier. Evan knew better than most how difficult some habits were to break. :: Delano: Thanks. :: He took the offered memory chip and plugged it into his scanning device. The device was larger than a modern tricorder, and wasn’t nearly as sophisticated, but it did it’s job well enough. This deep into the Shadows, he wasn’t about to complain. :: :: He tapped a few commands into the device, then used the small display to view the moments leading up to the explosion. :: :: He counted four men loading a medium sized cargo freighter pushing an anti-grav unit containing a magazine of photon torpedoes. KDF configuration by the look of them, though Evan wouldn’t know for certain until he did a more thorough analysis of the wreckage. :: :: The footage continued, and Evan watched as the men parked the anti-grav unit on the ship’s cargo lift. One of the men tapped the controls to raise the platform to the ship’s cargo bay. Fifteen seconds later, the ship’s hull was blown open by an internal explosion. :: :: Though he’d take another look with a more sophisticated display, Evan saw nothing more than he’d expected to. The easiest explanation of the accident: A group of “scavengers” had acquired weapons and arranged to transfer them to another ship before returning to Shadow’s Edge - such activity was common here, and the elders allowed it in exchange for their discretion and occasional smuggling of passengers in and out of the settlement. The weapons had been unstable, or perhaps sabotaged, and now four men were dead. :: :: An unfortunate accident, perhaps, but nothing requiring a more in depth investigation. And yet, Evan couldn’t shake the sense that he was missing something. :: Koleen: I suppose we’re lucky none of our people were up here. :: Evan offered a polite nod as he reviewed the readouts from his scanner again. :: Delano: It might have been easier if they were. Koleen: What makes you say that? Delano: The agreement we have with the pirate factions. Seheik is supposed to be neutral territory for them. The fact that none of our people were here could be seen as evidence that no longer applies. :: The already pale woman blanched. :: Koleen: I see. :: Evan nodded his agreement, hearing the depth of understanding in her voice. Seheik was self-sufficient, and could survive without the pirates. But only just. In the best case scenario, there would still be some shortages. And given the rising tensions between the elders and some of the younger Reya-Laialara, that could mean trouble. That rosy scenario assumed the pirates didn’t try to retaliate. :: :: He continued the conversation while keeping most of his attention focused on the readouts from his scanning device. :: Delano: Don’t worry, it probably won’t come to that. I just need to rule out the possibility of some kind of attack. :: Evan was pacing slowly around a piece of debris he’d managed to identify as one of the ship’s cargo transporters. :: Koleen: I’ve been running this facility for two years now. We’ve never had an accident of this magnitude. How can you be sure it isn’t some kind of attack? :: He frowned as he recognized a familiar energy signature in what was left of the transporter’s pattern buffer. :: Delano: Do you know why they didn’t use this to bring their cargo on board? :: Koleen stepped closer as Evan crouched down. :: Koleen: I assumed it had something to do with the warheads. Maybe they knew there was something wrong with them. Delano: Maybe. Antimatter warheads can be dangerous to transport under some conditions. :: Break :: Koleen, can you remind me of the frequency the starport transporters use? I need to filter out some background readings. :: She was absently staring at one of the nearby bodies. The fire suppression system had reacted quickly, but the man’s remains had been mutilated and badly charred in the explosion. :: Koleen: 152.1 :: Evan examined the Romulan again, his eyes narrowed slightly. :: Delano: You’re certain none of your staff helped in loading the cargo? :: She looked up, expression concerned. :: Koleen: My “staff,” as you call it, is three people, including myself. We were all together when the explosion occurred. That isn't uncommon. Most of our clients prefer to handle their own cargo. Delano: Can you confirm their whereabouts? Security footage? Computer records? Koleen: I… yes, probably. Why? What have you found? :: Evan shook his head. :: Delano: I’m not sure yet. :: There was a long pause as the wind blew around them and Evan continued his scans. That last had been a partial truth. He wasn’t certain of the exact context, but what was clear is that someone had used a Reya-Laialara transporter - likely one of the starport’s - to beam something on or off the pirate’s ship moments before the explosion. :: :: He spent another hour collecting as much data as possible before finally allowing the bodies to be transported to the local medical clinic and the debris into an empty (and secure) warehouse nearby. :: :: After reporting the situation to the Sheriff, who would in turn speak to the Elders, Evan spent the rest of the day back in his apartment, pouring over the data. It was early morning by the time his analysis was over, and Evan's eyelids felt heavy. Despite this, Evan knew he wouldn't be able to sleep that night. :: :: The Reya-Laialara was an inherently peaceful group. They had no ships of their own, and few weapons beyond civilian grade sidearms like the one he wore when he was on duty. There just wasn’t any need for them. :: :: And that’s what made his findings so disturbing. Why - in a settlement almost entirely populated by pacifistic refugees - would anyone steal a shipment of photon torpedoes? :: === Evan Delano Deputy Sheriff Reya-Laialara
  6. ((Undisclosed Location)) :: Rune felt the bile rise and she swallowed hard. Denari had told her to wrap her head around who Kieran and Tra'Li Ramni’s murderer was. But she couldn’t. Jendar Tellinn was her Haemachuo sibling, her sister. They had grown up together. They had been closer than any blood relative Rune had. At least they were until they were separated following Rune’s “Attitude Readjustment” and forbidden to have contact with one another. But… :: :: The evidence was irrefutable. There were security logs, video feeds and photographs clearly showing Jendar following both Tra’Li and Kieran. What wasn’t included in the file was motive? Why would Jendar do it? What had Rune done to make her sister hate her so? So many questions still unanswered. :: :: The building was mostly dark with the windows covered on the inside, some with boards and others with heavy canvas. The darkness was fine with Rune. She blinked a couple of times to adjust her vision. In the dark, her gold-flecked amber eyes seemed to glow a soft silvery blue and her vision became sharper. :: :: Outside, the rain tapped rhythmically on the glass interrupted only by random claps of thunder. Rune stopped at the bottom of the staircase and listened, physically and mentally, for any hint of movement or presence on the second level. :: :: After a moment, she slowly began climbing the stairs, keeping her back close to the wall. Halfway up, a step creaked beneath her foot and she froze. :: :: There was the faintest sound of boots. If she had been human she may not have even heard it. Rune’s heart raced mercilessly. Then there, at the edge of her mental awareness, she felt her. :: Jolara: ::calling out:: I know you are here, Jendar. :: Movement. Closer this time. A shadow caught Rune’s eye and she took another step up. :: Jendar: ::out of sight:: You are early as usual. :: The voice cut right through Rune. Confirmation that it was her. She had still held out the slightest little hope Denari and all the evidence was wrong. :: :: Rune began moving up again while trying to get an exact location on Jendar. :: Jolara: Come out so we can talk face to face. Jendar: Talk? Please. We both know exactly why you came here and it was not to talk. Jolara: You are wrong. :: Almost to the top of the stairs, Rune turned so she could see under the railing. :: Jendar: How is Krystyan? I bet he is growing fast. It really is a shame Kieran never… :: Rune didn’t even question how she knew about Krystyan. Jendar’s taunt ignited and fueled Rune’s anger. :: Jolara: Stop! You have no right to even speak her name! Jendar: tsk… Struck a nerve did I? Jolara: ::face skewering into disgust:: Why? Why did you… Jendar: To make you suffer and in turn to make Laro suffer. ::She finally moved into sight, leaning casually against the rail with her arms.:: You always were her favorite. The things she has done… Ah but you do not even remember do you? Jolara: Remember what? :: A low-pitched shrill drew both their attentions toward a table along the far wall of the second level. Jendar raised up and looked back at a computer monitor set up on the table. :: Jendar: You disappoint me yet again, Runica. :: Without giving Rune a chance to respond, she launched herself over the rail. Her shoulder slammed into Rune’s chest sending her backwards. Rune landed hard on the floor, her head hit the wooden slats with a resounding thud.:: :: Dazed, she raised her arm in automatic response to movement above her. She barely made out a glint of light. A scream escaped as the blade slashed into her arm. She lashed out with her other arm, her fist made enough contact with Jendar to knock the woman off her. :: :: Both women scrambled to their feet as quickly as possible. Rune stumbled backwards and shook her head. Jendar took advantage of Rune’s disorientation to deliver another blow. Her fist struck Rune in the jaw sending her stumbling back further until she hit the wall. :: :: Jendar rushed at her, but this time Rune lashed out with her arm simultaneously pushing away from the wall. Jendar staggered back but quickly recovered. She launched her entire body at Rune. The collision sent both women crashing to the floor. :: :: With Rune pinned against the floor, Jendar thrust her blade upward slicing easily into Rune’s abdomen. There was no pain… at first. Then the dark haired Al-Leyan jerked the knife out and thrust again and again. :: :: Jendar pulled the knife out again but this time she didn’t get the chance to stab Rune again. Rune couldn’t see it, she barely registered it. A bolt of phaser fire struck Jendar in the shoulder, sending her backwards screaming out in pain. :: :: There was footsteps approaching. A form knelt down beside Rune and touched her. Denari. She could feel the Bajoran’s controlled rage through the touch. It was an odd sensation in complete contrast to the sudden peace she felt. :: :: Denari stood, picked up the knife that had fallen from Jendar’s hand and moved to stand over the woman writhing in pain, holding her shoulder. She looked at the blade covered in Rune’s near black blood. She knelt down and poked the tip of the knife against Jendar’s hand.:: :: Rune managed to roll onto her side, facing the other two women. :: Jolara: Denari… please… don’t… Collim D.: You had your 20 minutes, Rune. ::She pressed the knife down. Jendar screamed.:: Now it’s my turn. :: Rune didn’t get a chance to see what happened next as the world went dark. :: ...tbc... Lt. Cmdr. Rune Jolara Intelligence Officer - On Leave Writer ID: A238909RJ0
  7. ((Earth, LlamaSong Farms)) Moonsong: Most of these horses are ours, but we stable a few for neighbors. ::She glanced at Rune.:: Did you want to ride or just walk around? :: Rune looked around and drew in a deep breath. While she couldn’t really smell the air, it felt cool and refreshing. After the last couple weeks, it was exactly what she needed. :: Jolara: They are beautiful creatures. Peaceful… ::smiling:: They don’t mind us riding them? Moonsong: Not at all. It is what they were trained for. And these are used to telepathic touch. Their minds simple but full of warmth and affection. Jolara: ::smiling:: In that case, perhaps a ride while we talk. Moonsong: Of course. You can tell me about the sadness you are feeling but trying to hide. :: Rune let out a chortle and shook her head. She had tried so hard to keep her real feelings locked away. :: Jolara: Only if you tell me about yours. ::Raissa led the way to the stables and asked the stablehands to saddle a couple of the horses. She usually road Chet, an old cream colored Arabian. For Rune, the gentle Mist was saddled. Raissa showed her how easy it was to mount them and how they were guided. It was obvious her friend picked up quickly how to ride these animals.:: Moonsong: I will show you the trail I ride the most. It is very peaceful. :: It took Rune a little while to feel comfortable upon the horse. They rode in silence for as long as Rune could stand it. :: Jolara: Everyone is worried about you. ::beat:: What is bothering you? Moonsong: ::blinks at the break in silence.:: Bothering me? Jolara: ::soft smile:: As I said before, I am here as a friend not a counselor. ::Raissa was silent for a moment. She knew her family was worried about her. She was having a hard to pulling out of that. Though in a way, she didn’t care and that bothered her a little.:: Moonsong: Did you know that I can count the number of my friends on the fingers of one hand and still have fingers left over? :: Rune knew very well how that felt. It was difficult for her to get close to others and let them get close to her. When she did, well those rarely turned out well. And here she was… trying. :: Jolara: It is more than that though, is it not? Moonsong: ::Quietly:: The truth… I am empty. I have given all I could to others. I have nothing left. I have a future of more of the same… Because I cannot imagine there being anything else for something like me? ::she looked at Rune.:: Is that what you wished to hear? Jolara: I did ask for the truth. ::She paused for a moment. Her brow creased.:: Something like you? What do you mean by that? Moonsong: I am not naturally a telepath. I was born a touch empath. That has changed. I dare not touch without being prepared with my mental shielding firm. My DNA has been changed. I am… not as I was. Jolara: ::tilting her head:: Is that what you really think? ::Raissa didn’t answer for a moment. She stared out over the horse’s head, his gait steady beneath him. Was that what she really thought? She recalled Saveron mapping her DNA after the Community had left her. The power she had shared with them was still with her and barely controlled and unfiltered. It had been a struggle to regain control and sanity and still do her job.:: Moonsong: Yes… I think of myself as a freak. Humans are not naturally T6. :: It broke her heart to know her friend thought of herself that way. In a way she could understand. After all, Al-Leyans were not telepathic by nature either and here she was… whatever she was. But this wasn’t about Rune and she’d be damned if she even tried to make it that way. :: Jolara: ::softly:: I know. Moonsong: ::Her hands tightly gripped the reins.:: I had to change nearly everything I was to survive it… to learn to live with it. ::a bitter laugh:: And barely anyone noticed. They just saw the Counselor. My friends tried to understand. Saveron came the closest. He compared it to the breaking of a Vulcan Bond. Nobody realized what the Community meant to me. The love, the closeness… Then it was gone. I touched Carter, a non telepath and it put him in sickbay. He could not understand what I had become. I would always have to hold back. That was why I ended our relationship. I did not have a choice. Jolara: Why do you feel you have no choice? ::Rune had opened the floodgates and everything was spilling out. Raissa had made a habit of keeping her personal feelings inside. Now she was talking and couldn’t shut up. The horses had stopped walking and Raissa slid out of the saddle. Chet pressed his head against her and she clung to the warmth of the animal.:: Moonsong: I cannot touch anyone without making sure I will not hurt them. I have learned how to harm thanks to the Nygellians. The high priestess that possessed me turned what I was into a weapon and I could not do anything about it. I was once able to touch and be touched. It was recommended that if I should pursue a relationship it should only be with other telepaths. Except for the fact that other telepaths can tell immediately that I am damaged goods. :: Rune was finally starting to understand what was really behind Raissa’s downward spiral. She drew in a breath and slid off Mist’s back. She said nothing as she moved to stand near her friend. :: Moonsong: Except of course when it comes to my job. Being the Counselor. Somehow people seemed to think I am highly skilled at it to the point where I am now getting requests for consultations from other ships. ::Tears had filled her eyes and were flowing down her cheeks.:: Being counselor is what I do, not who I am. Yet that is all they see and I cannot seem to change it. I listen. I guide. I help them to navigate their lives and they thank me and move on. I give and there is nothing left of me. ::a deep shaky breath:: Do you wish to know the saddest part of it all? I cannot imagine doing anything else. It is a calling I cannot ignore or deny. ::Finally she stopped. She felt drained of the emotional storm she had let loose. She waited for the inevitable response. Suck it up. Get over it. Stop being selfish.:: :: Rune carefully considered her words. She reached up and wiped the tears with her thumb but didn’t let her touch linger, not out of fear of being hurt but simply because she didn’t want to make Raissa feel uncomfortable. :: Jolara: You have every right to feel the way you do. Except perhaps the freak part. ::smiling warmly:: Then again, who am I to judge? ::turning serious:: You have bottled all this up for too long and… you have denied yourself some of the most basic needs we all have out of fear of hurting others. ::Raissa didn’t realize how much she had cried until Rune touched her face. In that brief touch she felt how much her friend cared about her.:: Moonsong: ::sniffles:: I am… I am not sure what you mean... Jolara: For one, letting someone truly care for you. For another, physical contact… a simple touch or hug without fear or reserve. Moonsong: I have to be careful… always… Jolara: Perhaps you have been selfless long enough. Moonsong: ::shakes her head.:: I am not selfless… I am selfish… Wanting what I cannot have… :: Rune took a breath and shook her head. :: Jolara: That is not being selfish. Letting people in, letting them care about you is not being selfish. Moonsong: I do want that. I want to touch. I want to be touched. I want…. ::turns away.:: I want to matter. :: Rune’s brow furrowed and her head tilted. :: Jolara: You do matter. Why would you think you do not? Moonsong: Well the truth is that I have little use on a ship during missions… I believe that is why I have been re-assigned to Starfleet Medical. Jolara: That is not true. I know for a fact you have been a valuable asset to the crew during every single mission we have shared. Moonsong: ::shrugged slightly:: I will be useful to SFM I suppose... Jolara: ::shaking her head emphatically:: There are a number of reasons to re-assign you to Starfleet Medical. It certainly is not a punishment or because they think you have little use. If nothing else it is a reprieve. A break from all the madness out there. :: Though Raissa hadn’t said it, Rune felt it. Her throat tightened. She realized she had been feeling much the same way or.. Maybe she was projecting. It was hard to tell when her own emotions were starting to sneak up on her and mingle with what she was feeling from Raissa. :: Jolara: But that is not really it… being assigned to Starfleet Medical. It is being taken from Invicta, from the only friends you feel you have… being truly alone. ::Raissa looked away. There was too much painful truth in what Rune had said. The friends she had before she had joined Starfleet had moved on with their lives. She had little in common with them now. Even her ex-fiance has married someone else and had a child. The people that had become important to her were ‘out there’ scattered like snowflakes in a storm. Her second family scattered to the winds. She looked at Rune.:: Moonsong: You… you feel the same… Jolara: ::nodding:: Yes. Very much so. Moonsong: Perhaps… we have both lost… and grieve…. Jolara: ::quietly:: We have and we do. oOMore than you know.Oo ::pause:: But we can not give up on living. I tried that once and I was wrong. ::Raissa scrubbed at her face. The drying tears making her skin itch and feel tight. Moonsong: I am trying… not to. Jolara: Besides. If you give up who will be Krystyan’s… I believe humans call it… godmother? ::Raissa stared at her startled. She knew it wasn’t an Al-Leyan custom. But Rune’s using that Human custom reached Raissa’s heart.:: Moonsong: Me? Are you… sure? Jolara: ::smiling:: Yes. I am. Moonsong: ::She looks away for a moment and after a pause meets Rune’s eyes.:: I would be… honored… Jolara: It is I who should be honored. Thank you. END =/\==/\==/\==/\==/\==/\==/\= Lt. Commander Raissa Moonsong Counselor Unassigned =/\==/\=G239107RM0 =/\==/\= and Lt. Cmdr. Rune Jolara Intelligence Officer - On Leave Writer ID: A238909RJ0
  8. ((USS Conny - Akoni’s quarters)) ::After leaving Commander Sinda to her own devices (she’d have to check up on that later if she was still alive), she decided that some peace and quiet would be a nice way to end the evening before the early day tomorrow. She entered her quarters and tossed her PADD to the side to stroll over to her closet. Uniform, uniform, uniform, uniform… Uniform pajamas…. She realized sadly that she truly was lacking in any variety at all. There wasn’t much point in having civilian clothes when everyday was a work day. Even on R&R she would wander around the starbase in a less flashy uniform.:: ::She grabbed the pajamas with a sigh and changed out, pinning her hair up into a messy bun. Her PADD dinged from its place on her bed, grabbing her attention for a moment. Another aggravated sigh left her. All she wanted was a nice sonic shower and some time to catch up on the science department reports.:: ::Akoni grabbed the device and flipped through her messages, seeing that she was due for physical. She groaned inwardly and placed it as not important. They’d have to hunt her down if they needed her to get one that badly. She scrolled through the other messages, most pertaining to mission reports. After a few swipes, she spotted a name in the older messages she hadn’t seen in awhile. She tapped on the name and sat down.:: Hello Thomas. I hope things are going well for you! The Conny crew is finally about to get some shore leave after our last mission with the Orion Syndicate, if you haven’t heard from SF intel yet. Got a chance to sit in the big chair! But overall, I think it was enough excitement for me. I’m not really meant to be in the field. There’s a reason I started off in the science department! The labs are enough for me. Enough about the unexciting events of this ship. What about you? Are you still sitting in an office or are you finally exploring on a ship? Let me know how things with you are going when you get the chance. Akoni ::Satisfied with the message, she sent it out. If there was any luck, the other officers wouldn’t send messages to their families until tomorrow. The systems on the base usually got jammed and shut down if the data processors were overflowed with in and out communications. Finally at rest, she set the PADD back down and walked over to her replicator.:: Soriano: Computer, green tea, hot. ::The machine whirled, producing the tea in a matter of seconds. She grabbed the cup, almost immediately regretting the way she held it as the heat seeped through and burned her hands. A few curses made their way through her mouth as she set the mug down next to her console. The interface was already up, and with a few taps, she brought up the recent discoveries from Science.:: oO Ooooh, another neutron star update in the Alpha quadrant. Oo ::Right as she finished the first paragraph, a comm call interrupted her reading on the screen. Gaiana and Albanos Soriano.:: :: Akoni paused and re-read the name, wondering if her eyes were deceiving her. When the call continued to beep at her, without another thought, she reached forward and blocked the call. Disturbed, she continued reading the report. The same call came in again. And again, she blocked the call. What could her parents possibly want with her? She hadn’t talked to them in over 8 years. The persistent call came through again. The Tandaran leaned back in her chair. How long would this go on before they just stopped?:: oO Might as well answer and get whatever this is over with. Oo ::She reached forward and answered the call, waiting for the familiar, yet old faces to show up. A woman with bright red hair and a sharp nose appeared next to the more aged, grey bearded man with familiar bright blue eyes.:: Akoni: Mother, father. ::she greeted them shortly:: ::Her mother smiled brightly and leaned towards the screen.:: Gaiana: Akoni my dear! Oh, it’s so nice to see you. It feels as if it’s been ages! Akoni: ::passively:: Only 8 years. Gaiana: And I’ve missed you every moment of it. I’ve been meaning to call you sooner, but it’s been so hectic here. I’ve been accompanying your father on most of his diplomatic calls. Things are heating up with the Klingons. But nothing knew there. Akoni: Well I’m glad you’ve been able to talk regularly with them. Albanos: Now now, ::her father chuckled humorlessly, diffusing the every-growing tension:: this is a reunion call. We’ve received news that you’re an intelligence officer now! Akoni: ::furrowing her brows:: How did you hear about that? ::The old man shook his head and smiled as if they’d always been aware of her Starfleet status. It made her grind her teeth.:: Albanos: We might be light years away, but we do try to keep up with your life Akoni. And we wanted to congratulate you on your new position! Akoni: You’re just happy that I’m no longer associated with science. ::she accused, realizing the reason for the call.:: Gaiana: We’re happy for you no matter what you’re doing. ::her mother interjected.:: ::Akoni looked at the two with hurt disbelief, though she should have expected this. Her parents had never been happy with scientific interests. Not since the death of her unborn older brother. She’d spent her childhood suppressing her interests because of some freak accident that happened before she even came into the universe.:: Akoni: I don’t know how you can even say that to my face. You’ve never been interested in my life! Every accomplishment I’ve made has passed by you. If you truly knew what I was doing all these years, why not call and congratulate me at all? ::And awkward pause passed between the family. Her words had obviously had an impact on them.:: Gaiana: Akoni… you must understand. You know why we don’t share your love for science. If you brother was here, things might be different- Akoni: But he isn’t! He never has been! You spend so much time blaming this silence on science, but did you ever think of the other factors involved? It’s not as if Tandar Prime has ever had decent doctors anyways. Blame the medical field for the happenstance if you truly need to. But don’t put an accident from over 20 years ago on my life! Let it go! ::She paused and took a deep breath. This was why she’d avoided talking to them since joining Starfleet. Just like last time, the conversation seemed it would end with more yelling. Her father surprised her with a calm and quiet demeanor, nothing but understanding filling his eyes.:: Albanos: Akoni, when you were born, we thought it was nothing short of a miracle. We’d prayed and prayed, and so the Gods gave us you. We were so afraid to try again that we decided that we would simply pour all our love into you. We tried to rely on the highest technologies and advances in medicine, and it gave us a near death situation. I can’t even tell you how afraid I was for your mother when it happened. Akoni: But that was more than 20 years ago! ::The old man held up his hand, effectively silencing the younger Tandaran.:: Albanos: You’re right. It happened so long ago, and a lot of things have changed. Perhaps the world is not as we once knew it. ::He stopped and looked to his wife:: But who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to change the face of scientific discoveries. While we wish you would have chosen a different field, we are proud of what you’ve accomplished. ::Akoni scrunched up her sleeve and wiped at her eyes.:: Gaiana: Honey, we love you very much. No matter how many things we disagree on, we will always love you. Akoni: ::sniffing:: Love you too. Albanos: ::sighing:: Well, I think it’s time we let you get back to your business. We know how busy starfleet officers are- Akoni: Actually, are you both busy right now? ::The two regarded her with a surprised look.:: Gaiana: I don’t think so. Honey? ::she looked to Albanos, who shook his head.:: Akoni: Would you like to keep talking? ::she reached forward and closed the science reports tab on the interface.:: I’ve got nothing to do for the rest of the night anyways. Albanos: That would be great sweetheart ::he smiled and settled more into his seat.:: So, what have you been up to lately? ::She thought about the last mission and her chance to be Captain for a day.:: Akoni: ::leaning forward:: You would not believe what I got to do… Ensign Akoni Soriano Intelligence Officer USS Constitution-B C239210AS0
  9. ((USS Conny - Gard Quarters)) ::To say the last few days have been easy, would be the equivalent of saying the Titanic wasn’t such a big deal. Family visits were reasonable under the best of circumstances. But there was never best times. Jack had managed before though, and continued to do so with all the grace and stride he could muster…. It wasn’t easy. Heng, his father in-law, from his first marriage would always find that one thing to say to sour the mood. Whether it was at breakfast or dinner. The old man’s only saving grace was that he was mindful enough to say it to Jack only. And ~he~ was able to ignore it. Between that and Akeelah, her hoverchair, and her “I have no limitations” attitude. He didn’t fault her for it in the least. It was incredibly hard to give up some control, and even more so to ask for help. He had to catch her a few times when she overextended herself, trying to prove to everyone that she was just as capable as before. Much to Liling’s amusement, who remarked on the “fire” she saw in the woman. The older woman was always more forgiving and looking ahead. She knew Tabitha needed a mother figure in her life to grow up well rounded. The computer signaled an incoming message, private and important, from StarFleet command. He, begrudgingly pulled himself away and took the message in his room… Well Akeelah’s room. And now he stared blankly at the screen and the words that filled it. He read it, reread it, and read it one more time. The context never changed… But his world was about too. They had just gotten settled, just started to make friends and focus on family. He wouldn’t argue it, or fight it. But he would had to talk about it. Jack stood from his chair and walked to the door, just enough for it to open… It would crush her… Both her’s. :: > Gard: Akeelah? ::he called out solemnly.:: :: Akeelah had Tabby on her lap. The girl liked to sit with her, tell her about the day, the children, the projects, things she had learned… And no matter if Tabitha knew it or not, she loved to show that Akeelah belonged to her and Jack any possible moment. Akeelah had especially noticed that when her grandparents were around. Not that Tabby did it more then, it was just felt stronger in those times. She was just listening to hear what Tabby imagined they could do during shore leave, when Jack called. :: D'Sena: Yes? Gard; Can you come here for a minute? ::Tabby jumped down to follow.:: Gard: Just Akeelah for the moment, sweetheart. Tabitha: Oh tay. ::she pouted a little turning back to sit down. It was the last day she would have with her grandparents for a little while.:: :: The Rodulan smiled at Tabby before moving the chair towards and into the bedroom Jack had assigned for her when she moved in. She watched his face. He didn’t look like he had good news. :: D'Sena: What is it? Gard: I just …::sigh.:: Need to talk to you about something. :: She nodded and closed the door. It came by itself really, for some reason she had the feeling Tabby shouldn’t hear it. Maybe because he had not called the girl in as well. Her voice lowered as she moved to him. :: D'Sena: You sound like you got some bad news. ::He huffed, like the kind of huff that said “you don't know the half of it”. It was and it wasn't bad news, because this kind of thing happened all the time. But it affected a lot of things in that person’s life, as well as the lives they’d been apart of. It made the news more of a love hate ordeal.:: Gard: Something like that... D'Sena: What? Gard: ::he looked her in the eyes.:: I have new orders. ::Those few words said a lot. He wasn't sure how she would react; anger, hate, disappointment… he could only surmise it wouldn't be anything pleasant.:: :: She was stunned. Not a single muscle in her body moved, her eyes fixed on him - staring - as if the meaning of the words would change if she waited long enough. But it didn’t happen. :: D'Sena: You are not serious. Gard: I am. ::his words, tone and body language was completely serious.:: :: She was stunned. This couldn't be happening. But it was happening, if she wanted it or not. She tried hard to stay rational, but it was difficult. How could he just leave? And Tabby! They had come into her life like a spring rain with the force of a storm. And now they were ripped out of it again. The pain of that realisation hit her like a knife in the guts. It hurt so much, that she couldn't sense any emotions but her own. But she had to be strong, not show how hard this was. :: D'Sena: When will you have to leave? ::It was difficult to say if he was more crushed by her lack of showing emotion, or his own. But the pit in his stomach was heavy and constricting.:: Gard: I am to be ready to leave tomorrow. ::he frowned.:: :: Tomorrow? That soon? That was impossible! They had plans. Starfleet couldn't do that. Of course they could. But she needed more time. She had just been called Danny's mother and it had felt so good,so right. And now this. No, she couldn't break down now. She had to be strong. :: D'Sena: I see. ::He sat down on the edge of the desk, arms crossed and tucked in close. oO These things happen… Oo He kept telling himself. There was reallly no one to blame. And it certainly wasn’t him trying to run away from anything. To someone who knew him, they would know that wasn’t an option for him. He never ran.:: Gard: You’re shutting down… ::paused.:: What are you thinkiing? :: As his hands took hers and his face came into view he drew her attention to his eyes. Those eyes… :: D'Sena: Are you sure that is the only reason you're leaving? :: The words had come out before she was even aware of the thought. But that has been it. The fear she had ever since he had seen her in that blasted chair for the first time. Would he still want her now that she was damaged goods? He had to take care of her in a manner that was too much even for her. Why would he want to stay with her and play her nurse? :: ::He grew a little defensive. Couldn’t she see that it affected him too? Couldn’t she see that these choices had long term, snowballing consequences for all those involved? It took a lot for Jack to calm down his boiling mind. He wouldn’t let her just walk out of here though. Well roll. Of course he could understand why she would. With one hand, he grabbed the arm of the chair and kneeled down in front of her. Being on his knees made him just about the same height as her in her chair. He then took up both of her warm hands and simply held them. What could he say?... :: Gard: I’m not running away. This doesn’t scare me. ::he looked at her chair.:: But we knew, from the beginning, what we signed up for when joining Starfleet. ::he shook his head and open his mouth to say something… But nothing came.:: :: She looked at him and somehow his touch helped her to stay in the here and now. And there she felt it, the sadness and helplessness that felt like hers but wasn't her own. Her stomach sank and a knot formed in her throat. That was when the wall came tumbling down. To feel that she was not the only one in pain undid it all. Her vision began to blur and her voice cracked into a shuddering whisper. :: D'Sena: You can't leave… I need you. Gard: ::his shoulder sagged.:: I’m sorry. D'Sena: What… ::She swallowed hard.:: … will happen to us? s? Our family? Gard: I’m not giving up. ::he said sternly.:: There are those who have dealt with worse, so I know we can make this work. ::he swallowed hard.:: If you’re willing. :: Hearing his conviction relieved her. Where a moment ago she had been afraid of losing him, now sparked a glimmer of hope. He would be on another post, but he wouldn’t be out of her life. He and Tabby would still be her family. They could see each other during shore leaves, send messages, talk over subspace connections, maybe even through holodeck connections. His hands still in hers she squeezed them and nodded, trying to hold back the tears welling up in her, tickling her nose. :: D’Sena: Of course I am. ::She raised the gaze of her black eyes to look at him, her voice cracked as she spoke again.:: I love you, Jack, I’m not giving up on us.. ::He took her in a hug, one filled with promises for the future. This wasn’t forever. And it certainly wasn’t over. Not if he had anything to do with it. He could only hope that she would wait…. Sometimes that was even harder to ask of someone…:: Gard: Then we will find a way. ::He stood up with a nod. As much as he would have prefered to stay with her forever, it was going to have to end at some point. They would have to rejoin those outside of here, and they would have to tell to Tabby.:: ------ Lt Jack Gard Engineering Officer ~~ Lieutenant Commander Rustyy Hael Chief Engineer USS Conny A239202RH0 & LtCmdr Akeelah D'Sena USS Constitution-B simmed by Captain Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator A238906JL0
  10. ::From her perch on top of the world, Iris could see everything. Her entire Queendom sat below, and it was good. Everything belonged to her, from the cold ground to the raised soft-floors. Mother was down there, playing with her prey. The small creature squeaked as it pelt rapidly flashed and changed colour. Mother didn’t seem to be eating it though, just playing. She liked to do that, it was odd really, but Iris didn’t question it. Mother must have lost her appetite when she’d lost her wings. It was sad really, but it was okay. Iris was here now, she could rule these lands and look after mother.:: ::The guardians of her world stood aside with their customary call. A new subject passed between them. Hmm, interesting. The new arrival looked exactly like her favourite food, blue and hard, with lots of little wriggly bits at the front. But this one was huge! That could feed mother and Iris forever… It would be hard to bring down though, this would take patience. Iris fixed the creature with a long glare as it slowly walked towards where mother was sitting. Then, the unexpected happened. The newcomer put down a smaller creature in front of mother, it squealed a threatening squeal as it’s eyes literally flashed with murderous intent. It was barely a branch-length away from Mother! Iris had to do something! Mother had to be protected!:: ::Iris spread her wings proudly and cawed, her regal voice echoing throughout her territory, an unmistakeable show of power. Then, she pounced, diving from her perch with all the speed she could muster, her eyes fixed on Mother’s assailant:: Iris: SCRAAW!!! ::She was coming in hot, wings spread, talons extended, target directly in her sights. oOMINE! Wait, what?Oo Iris scrabbled against the raised ground as she slid across it with a loud scraping. She suddenly found herself once again in the air, only this time, falling uncontrollably to the lowest point of her queendom. She hit the ground with a thud, rolled and stood up, chest puffed out. Determined to make the fumble look intentional. All sign of the attacking creature had vanished, obviously she’d frightened it off. It was more than it deserved, attacking mother carried a hefty sentence under Iris’s rule. The avian cawed once more, glared at the giant wriggly food with a glare that said “Don’t do it again”, then fluttered back to her perch on top of the world.:: ((30 seconds earlier – Phrik’s office, Starbase 118 medical bay)) ::Phrik sighed at the call of his newest pet, he knew what was coming. His hand shot out, suddenly grabbing the bleeping PADD on the table in a blur of motion. Seconds later, a green and purple scaled bird hit his desk with a thump, slid along it in a cacophony of caws, flapping and scraping, then shot off the end, landing in a heap on the floor. She slowly stood up, shook herself off and returned to her perch atop one of the life support monitors. Phrik shook his head with the expression of a man who’d seen this happen far too many times. He tapped the PADD once, muting it, and then looked at the quaking Nasat that stood terrified in front of his desk.:: Phrik: I’m sorry, you were saying? ::Hattie stared at him, wide eyed, not entirely sure if what she had just witnessed had been real.:: Hattie: Um-well, uh, d-did tha… Phrik: You don’t mind birds do you? ::Hattie blinked.:: Hattie: ::Tentatively:: Uh, uh, n-not usually… Phrik: Good. Now, you were saying? ::He spoke again with a slight edge to his voice, as if daring her to bring up the bird.:: ::Hattie threw a somewhat fearful glance towards the strange lizard-bird as it pruned it’s wings, then looked back to Phrik, deciding it best to pretend that the past 30 seconds had never happened.:: Hattie: W-well, it’s just, well, I’m H-8 Blue, the new nurse. B-but, you can call me Hattie, if you like. Phrik: :: impatiently.:: Yes, I know, it says that here. ::He tapped the PADD she’d given him with a pointed finger.:: Now, is there something I can help you with? ::Taken aback slightly by his tone Hattie shut her eyes for a second to collect herself. Obviously not everyone was as nice as Doctor Ezo.:: Hattie: N-n-not per-say. I-I, just wanted to in-introduce myself… W-we’ll be working together, s-so, I w-wanted to say hello Phrik: Hmmm. I see… ::Phrik turned his gaze back towards the PADD, and it was at this point that Hattie realised it probably hadn’t been the best idea to give him the report of the ‘incident’. He didn’t seem like he’d be anywhere near as understanding as Doctor Ezo had been.:: Phrik: So you’re the one behind the destruction of Storeroom three? ::Hattie jumped back, resisting the urge to bolt from the room:: Hattie: W-w-well, n-no, there was a, was a pi… Phrik: ::Skeptically:: Pink targ. Yes, so I’ve read. ::If it weren’t for the mountains of corroborating evidence Phrik would have called the entire escapade a product of a young nurses’ overactive imagination as she tried to cover up a titanic blunder. But apparently there really was a pink targ on the station, and it really had been causing mayhem.:: Phrik: ::Musingly:: Cruel really. ::He snapped his gaze back to her.:: Well, I think that concludes the required introduction. I’m sure you have work that needs doing. ::She let out a short sigh of relief, thankful he’d dropped the matter.:: Hattie: Um, I was, actually, hoping you’d have something for me to do? M-maybe. That’s what Doctor Ezo said, at least. Phrik: Ahh, well, in that case, here. ::He pushed a small stack of muted PADDs towards her.:: I trust you are capable of performing mindless beuracracy? Hattie: Well, uh, I guess? B-but… Phrik: ::Cutting her off:: Excellent. These need to be back by Friday. ::She slumped, disheartened. After all she’d gone through they still weren’t giving her any real practical jobs! It wasn’t fair!:: Hatte: Uh, oh, o-okay. B-but, can I not help with something practical, a surgery, maybe? ::A hopeful tinge in her voice.:: Phrik: When you have more experience, we’ll see, until then you have PADDs to fill out. ::To Phrik’s eye it was only fair. She was still a child, barely old enough to drink let alone perform surgery. They seemed to keep getting younger and younger…:: Hattie: oh… ::Her antennae drooped and her face fell. She slowly dragged the stack of PADDs towards her and haphazardly lifted them, holding tightly with four arms. Then she turned and began to walk away from Phrik’s desk, thoroughly disheartened. Her tail swayed sadly:: ::Phrik sighed heavily. There was something about her that almost reminded him of himself. He clutched the bridge of his nose and called out to her.:: Phrik: Fine. I have 4 more physicals for today. Two Humans, a Denobulan and a Klingon. Against my better judgement, I’ll let you take them. Can you handle that? ::Hattie almost squealed in response, antennae shooting up almost instantly:: Hattie: Yes! Um, I mean, I can do that! You can count on me! ::Phrik sighed a sigh of ‘I’m going to regret this aren’t I?’ and stood up.:: Phrik: I won’t be gone long. Patient files are on the top PADD. ::He looked up at Iris, sat watching on the monitor:: Iris, here. ::She immediately took flight, swooped down and landed on his shoulder. Her tail wrapping itself around the back of his neck. It was about time something be done about Iris’s lodgings. There was a new Engineer on the station, perhaps he could help.:: Phrik: ::Glancing back at Hattie as he walked towards the exit:: Try not to make a fool of yourself. Ensign Phrik, MD Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops O239308P10
  11. ((Sickbay - USS Za)) ::After what seemed like an eternity after being awakened, the three survivors from the Morning Star finally had a moment alone together. From the time they had been reanimated from the stasis pods, to the evacuation to the Za, to the pokes and prods and scans and ministrations of the medical staff, the three had been under the supervision of someone or another constantly. Now, finally, they had a chance to speak in private.:: ::Miazra Peeex looked around to ensure that they were well and truly alone, before the scared and confused look that had graced her face since the time she had been awoken fell. In it’s place was a rictus grimace of frustration and annoyance.:: Peeex: ::in a harsh whisper:: Starfleet. Of course it would have to be Starfleet that found us. ::eyes rolling in disgust:: Lushington: :: he gave a gentle smile:: I fully understand your feelings dear Lady. But don't forget their intentions are true. Lers: Don’t worry my child, they are by nature a curious bunch of explorers ::The Tellarite spoke old and wise:: Peeex: ::to Lers:: Can you believe how that man called you a frozen ball of pork?! And that Vulcan, the way he manhandled you? I think you showed great restraint, considering how you could have reacted… ::devilish grin:: We’ll see who’s laughing at who soon enough! Lers: ::He rose his hand:: We have the advantage here, let's keep that intact if we rush things right now we will lose the element of surprise and they will know our hidden agenda. Lushington: ::he nods:: I agree with you Sir. ::to Peeex:: Young Lady, Please, don't let yourself get ruled by your negative emotions. Peeex: ::sighing:: I know. I’m just not… adapting as well as you two. Something about being Trill is affecting things. It even left me with some semblance of consciousness while in stasis. That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it? Lers: ::hums a bit:: No it shouldn’t affect the progress, but it seem to happen to my own body also.. Lushington: I have to admit that I had a similar experience during the stasis process. Sometimes I was on the verge of sleeping or dreaming the other time I was wide awake, counting sheep. Peeex: Well, if you two had the same experiences in stasis, then it’s more than just me being Trill. Still, we can’t afford me spending any more time in Sickbay. There’s too much risk in being examined too closely. The nurse is kind enough, but the pointy ears are sure to get suspicious after too long. ::The Vulcan doctor and the Romulan counselor were by nature more critical and suspicious, and all three survivors from the Morning Star knew that they would need to keep their guard up around them.:: Lushington: ::Nicholas nods. Even he didn't trust the pointy ears. They’re too smart:: If I may ask something, How do we intend to proceed further? Lers: I would suggest that we divide ourselves and get closely towards those that seem to….get along with us. Will it be positive or negative, it does not really matter….I already have security going after me. I believe you Nicolas have that focus on the ladies, use that charm! Peeex be yourself but not yourself? Could you please do that... Peeex: ::grinning wickedly:: I can garner some attention myself, I’ll let you know! ::Nicholas tried to hide his laugh behind his hand. He wasn't supposed to laugh at the young Lady but he knew it could be difficult for her with such a grand personality:: Lushington: ::he grinned:: It's not something I'm proud of Lady, Sir. But I don't mind being in company of these beautiful ladies. ::his smile faded when he realised something important:: We somehow have to convince them to come with us to our planet. Without making them suspicious. Lers: We need the Captain for that, convince the Command team would be our priority goal... ::Miazra scratched her thin thoughtfully, a concerned expression etched across her face. Nicholas understood why. Every attempt they made to get in touch with the Captain “failed”. They couldn't get near her at all.:: Peeex: True, but we need to exercise caution. We’ve dealt with Starfleet before, and it didn’t end well. We still have the upper hand, and as long as we can get them to the planet, then we’ll prevail. We’ve waited for 30 years, we can wait a little longer if it means proceeding safely. Les Lushington: ::he nods. For that was true. They had to be cautious:: they seem willing to “rescue” our people. We made it clear enough they need their help. Lers: I wonder about that, Peeex already mentioned a few times, but no real action was taken ::He pointed out with a shrug:: Peeex: And in the meantime, we don’t want to spend *too* much time together. As the only survivors of the Morning Star, the people on this ship will expect us to cling together, but if we spend all our time alone, they might get suspicious. Lushington: Indeed my Lady. We can spend time together but we have to get acquainted with some. ::he looked at Miazra:: you seem to have a good contact with my ‘little lamb’ and she seems to like you. ::he looked at Hishnend and smiled devilish:: Sir, with all the respect, I believe they don't like you one bit. Lers: It comes as a second nature my dear boy, we Tellarites love to argue and debate ::Hishnend nodded to himself when speaking:: Lushington: Well, as long as you stay away from the Bearded Guy and Panda Guy. They’re particularly sharp when you're around. Lers: Don’t worry Mister Lushington, I don’t intend to provoke them to much. They are cautious already about letting me near any of their technology. Time will tell…. Lushington: of course Sir ::he made a small bow:: I fully trust on your instincts. It was just meant as advice. As you said ::he gave them a wink:: I'll try my best with the ladies once more. Lers: ::Giving a slight nod to him he looked at Peeex:: Focus on the young nurse, she has shown….affection to you. Maybe their counselor might be of use also. ::Frowning, Miazra didn’t like the idea of approaching the counselor at all. His lineage, not to mention his profession, made him a risky person to spend too much time with. However, if it was necessary in order to reach their goals, then she would do it. She looked carefully around the room, and noted that some of the medical staff were sparing glances in their direction. It would be best to wrap this up until she was released and they could enjoy the privacy of their assigned quarters for further conversations.:: Peeex: ::quietly:: Understood. I can do that. ::then more aloud:: Well, thanks for visiting, guys! Don’t have too much fun without me. Hopefully they’ll release me soon enough. Les Lushington: ::he takes her hand and kisses it softly:: take care my Lady. We'll meet up soon enough. ::he gave her a naughty smile and whispered:: give my greetings to my ‘little lamb’. Lers: Don’t mock to much dear, we will be back soon! ::He gave a slight nod to her and moved in the direction of the doors:: ::Hishnend nodded and Nicholas waved a last time at Miazra they didn't like it to leave her behind, but they knew for what cost they had to do this. They walked out through the doors of sickbay where their “bodyguards” were waiting and headed towards their own quarters. They didn't talk much while walking, they only gave each other a nod before entering their own guest rooms. They knew what to do. The game was on:: ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Miazra Peeex Cabin Steward, Morning Star ~as simmed by~ LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor Chief Science Officer, USS Za =/\= Top Sims Contest Facilitator =/\= A239111MT0 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Nicholas Les Lushington Casino Dealer, Morning Star ~as simmed by~ Ensign Femi Cattan Nurse Officer, USS Za Z239308FC0 ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ Hishnend Lers Engineer, Morning Star ~as simmed by~ Lieutenant (JG) Nak'aqi Socxo Assistant Chief Science Officer, USS Za FNS & Podcast Member Z239308NS0
  12. ((Lomorton, Outside the Shepards School of Medicine, Turisan II, Turisan, Delta Quadrant)) :: The mission that had been issued was to survive and adapt to the planet whilst waiting for the Calvary to reach the Darwin and get the repairs underway. Survive and adapt sounded worse than it was in Graeme's eyes it was a chance to live a different life collecting research on this new alien race and experience their way of life. They had been split into groups of houses where groups of 4-5 of the crew were banded together to work and look after one another. In Cooks band of ruffians as he had heard the local lingo. The group consisted of Commander Kael Thomas, Lieutenant (Helmsman) Todd Manius and their guest and Graeme would like to call a very good friend Lyna Namid. He did wonder how the groups were picked was it by the computer at random before it shut down or was it everyone stood in a line in the playground and people picked the players for their team. Where would Cook fare would he be picked first or would he be one of the last to be picked. Regardless of that last thought his away team as he liked to call it had a good characters in it. :: :: Wrapping his scarf tighter around his neck as the air was dry but cold. Snow lay on the ground. Relaxing so his body didn't shiver. Huge black cast iron gates stood in front of Graeme. One of the gates was open and a lot of young males were going in and out of the gates. To the left a huge wooden sign with the words The Shepard's School of Medicine painted on it. One thing Graeme was nervous every about his accent. Hailing from the north of Scotland his accent was different to the what seemed cockney kind of accent. He rolled his "R's" when saying words and certain words were like a tongue twist. Words like purple, burglar and alarm. He took a huge deep breath, exhaled and headed through the gate. :: :: After walking through the school grounds Graeme could picture there being lush gardens under the snow taking in the rather impressive scenery trees were bare, the bushes were bare it truly felt like he was back on earth. Climbing the stairs towards the entrance the huge building was made of Granite each block glistening in the morning sun Entering the building the doors were huge heavy wooden doors high archways lead into an open hall with corridors all around him leading away to possibly lecture halls, classrooms and hopefully a library. Dotted around the hall Graeme spotted tables with gathered people around them. He walks over to one. The commotion was loud. Listening to the debates and discussions it would seem they were people signing up to take certain classes. Just as Graeme was going to move in to check out what there was to sign up to he felt someone tap his shoulder. :: Receptionist: Can I help you? I know the faces of everyone here but I do not know yours. :: Shocked by the comment made by the lady. Graeme gulped hard, his back started to sweat. :: Cook: Erm yes.... I'm a Doctor and looking to enrol on assisting the lecturers. Receptionist: Strange accent, you look like your not from around these parts. You also look rather young to become a lecturer. Hmm Follow me. I will take you to meet Dr Gray. Cook: oO Wow too many questions Oo :: Following the lady down a corridor. They stopped at a large set of wooden stairs these were impressive made from what looked to be oak. The spiralled upwards to an open archway. Once they reached the top. The architecture was beautiful the craftsman that built this building was truly talented. Hand chiselled decorations were carved into the woo walked down the corridor. They stopped at a huge dark stained door. The receptionist knocked and entered the door she was gone for what seemed an age. Then the door opened and Graeme was asked to come in. Sat behind a huge old fashioned large table it was solid looked like it was constructed there as it would have taken a fair few strong men to lift it. :: Gray: Please come in come in. My name is Dr Wilford Gray and I'm the Chief Head Professor at Shepard's school of medicine. My receptionist Miss Dunstan has informed me you are interested in becoming a lecturer. :: As Graeme entered the room Dr Gray raised from his chair. He was an old man bald with a long grey beard. He was a very stout gentleman. The clothes he wore looked freshly tailored. A quick glimpse around there was three huge wooden bookshelves full of big thick hardback books. Graeme wondered who this Dr Gray was. :: Cook: Hello fellow good Sir. My name is Lieu.... Dr Graeme Cook. :: Extending his hand. As they shook hands Graeme noticed Dr Gray gave a look to Miss Dunstan as if to say can you leave I'm sure you have work to be getting on with. Almost dropping his rank a little thought ran through his head maybe he could use the lieutenant if he knew if they had a military system however he shall try and stay away from that. The door slowly clicked closed. Dr Gray extended a hand to sit in a huge armchair. Sitting down Graeme awaited the questions. :: Gray: So your accent my receptionist seems to think you are not from around here? Cook: Miss Dunstan? :: Looking to make sure he got her name correct. :: Yes that it true. I come from.... Gray: Let me guess?? You have the thick northern accent of Rostern. Am I correct? I worked with a Mr McTavish from there. :: Perfect Graeme originally was going to use the state Kanta but at a guess his accent was probably too thick to be from there. With Mr gray describing another doctor that had a Scottish name sounded perfect. :: Cook: Aye you got it in one! :: Smiling trying to mask his lie. :: Well I have traveled a fair bit I'm looking for work as an assistant lecturer. My main profession is surgery from dissecting to amputations. Anything involving a knife and needle and thread. Gray: Really? Well I have class this afternoon I was going to get some of the students to come and do what I ask them to so they are doing the operation whilst I explain the procedure. Maybe if you would like to assist me. I feel my hands can't perform the surgery anymore. But my mind is as sharpe as the knife used in surgery. :: Graeme felt honoured that Dr Gray had offered him the chance to work alongside of him. Luck Graeme has had a lot of experience on using scalpels and other tools rather than all the modern technology that Starfleet had to offer. Going back to basics was going to be a challenge but it was a challenge Graeme couldn't wait for. Miss Dunstan appeared back with two cups of tea and some fancy pieces. Graeme and Dr gray sat and discussed a position that if all goes well with the surgery they will offer him a position at the university. Something seemed strange it was all too easy to get this far. Maybe the true test will be in the theatre with the Dr and the students. :: Lieutenant JG Cook - Medical Officer - USS Darwin NCC-99312-A =/\= D239206GC0
  13. (( Outside Rajel's quarters )) :: Joren Green had been with the SFI for quite a while. He was the type to follow orders, make sure the rules were enforced and do whatever he had to do, to make sure his superior would be able to do his job without distractions. Commander Prendar had been that superior for longer than Joren could remember. He knew what to expect, what was asked of him, what to do. Like a well oiled machine. Especially in his work with Fallah Rahz, who had been his partner for years. They respected each other too much to mess up. :: :: He remembered when they had been with this crew before. It had been on the Apollo-A under command of Lieutenant Commander Akeelah D'Sena, the First Officer under Jaxx, who had been called away. He did not wonder about the fate of D'Sena. He knew that she was still on board. They prepared themselves for every case. Apparently Starfleet had followed the suggestion to not give her command, or D'Sena did not want it any more after their visit. Maybe both. Now this Trill was the CO, and they had to make sure that she didn't feed any suggestions to her crew on what to tell SFI in their interviews, or do do anything stupid. :: :: She was detained, not really under arrest or she'd be in the brig. But visitors were allowed as long as one of them was there to oversee it. One of these visitors was now on the way to those doors. As if Joren was not standing there, the man in teal collar reached out to hit the chime, but Green's hand landed in front of it within a flash. :: Green: Who are you? Nijil: Hmm I’m the ship’s tattoo artist. Green: ::Flat:: Very funny. ::There were three choices were this man came from: Science, Counseling, Medical. Seeing the bag he carried, he stabbed the dark.:: Medical? Nijil: Yes, I’m here to re-Trill our Trill CO. She called me. Green: ::Ah yes, her spots had been missing, and she had worn this ridiculous dress.:: I see. Nijil: Why don’t you just… Open the door? Green: That would not be your decision, Lieutenant. :: He then looked to the door mechanism and entered a code, that opened the door. Turning as he walked inside he did not see her, but knew that Fallah knew where she was. :: Green: Visit for the Commander. Nijil: Thankssss. Someone called for spots? Rajel: Indeed, please come on in. I'd have done it myself, but was missing the equipment. :: Green looked up and saw that the CO had changed into a personal dress, which was more appropriate for the time they were in. Apparently she did not see the need for a uniform. The doctor mumbled something Green couldn't understand, before they spoke in their regular voices again. :: Nijil: I see. Can we do this privately or will we be giving them a show? Rajel: Well *he* will continue to watch the door from the outside. *She* though will remain here. :: Green gave Fallah a quick glance, who smirked slightly and waved him out. With a quick nod he stepped back and the door closed again. His partner had everything under control, so he went back to the outside, making sure nobody just waltzed into the quarters. :: ---- NPC Lieutenant Joren Green Starfleet Intelligence simmed by Captain Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B Image Team Facilitator A238906JL0
  14. ((USS Constitution-B, Sickbay)) ::After talking to Milsap, Dial had a chat with the head nurse. Sito Meru had been busy with paperwork so far and was happy to have the opportunity to delegate some of her duties but also to have some small talk.:: Sito: Hey Dial. Prophets bless you. I'm buried beneath files. Dial: Tell me about it. I worked through all those reports about 'minor injuries'. Too bad that in the chaos yesterday almost every injury that was not life-threatening was filed as a 'minor injury' cause those reports are shorter. Sito: Oh, so you went through them and corrected them? Dial: As far as it is possible to reconstruct what happened, yes. I don't want to cause too much stress today. We're shorthanded today anyway, plus, all people that were treated provisionally with less than today's standards are coming back today. ::She buried her head in a wall that was covered with a layer of foam.:: Sito: Don't worry. We'll get through this. I've been through worse. Dial: Really? Sito: I joined active service when the Dominion war broke out. So yes. Compared to war times, this is running smoothly. Dial: We should share supper at some point and exchange a few more stories. I had no idea you served during the war. Sito: Of course. Oh, by the way, would you do me a favour? Dial: What is it? Sito: Lieutenant Regn gave me an unfinished report with recommendations to prevent catastrophies like this in the future. Basically it is a collection of notes handed in by nurses and orderlies. Someone needs to make a file of it and give it to Foster, so he cand decide whether to propose some of the propositions to the Captain. Dial: Can't you just talk to him? Sito: Yes, I could. But this way, he can give each proposition the time it deserves. If you don't want to, I'll do it. Dial: Nah, it's fine. I'll get me a coffee and get to it. Sito: You're not doing by any chance one of those magnificant hand-made coffees, are you? DIal: Actually, I do. Sito: Could you make an entire can or better two of it? I mean, there are certainly others than me around who would appreciate that. Dial: Course. Won't take much longer than making a cup. Sito: Thanks. ((Timeskipp)) ::After making two cans of coffee after grinding the replicated coffee beans and cooking them, Dial got herself a cup of it. Then she headed to her workplace and started working on the report Sito had asked her to write. She opened the file suprised to find a mix of audio, video and text filed. She decided to go through them one by one..:: Report: ::Audio.:: More crewmen need to be trained as medics for emergency situations. The nursing stuff was overwhelmed by the flood of patients coming. A department, outfitted to take care of single cases of injury and sickness or small groups, can't heal the entire crew within less than a day. It is a miracle that noone was hurt today. - Crewman Tox Report: ::Audio.:: I'm convinced that more plant- and animal-based treatments, alternative medicine, would have give us more and better options on how to react in general... Also in situations like this. - Petty Officer Harak'oun Report: ::Video.:: When the Constitution's energy ressources were shortened, we didn't just lack medical equipment like scanners that would cost too much precious energy, but also drugs. Our supplies need to be trippled to ensure an emergency stock for a third of the crew. Imagine it had come to a total loss of power. What would have happened then? - Chief Petty Officer Calady Report: ::Text.:: Providing more EMHs would have enabled us not to call everyone to duty, causing less undermanned shifts the following days. Also it would have increased the reaction time of sickbay's emergency teams. - Ensign Ramirez Report: ::Audio.:: In my opinion, we got far too less traditional equipment. We need to store bandages, crutches, etc. for cases when there isn't enough or any energy. Had we had no energy, we would have failed to provide anything. We must make ourselves less dependable on replicators and modern technology. - Lieutenant Argiop ::A few other proposals, most of them paraphrases of the ones she heard before, followed and Dial sighed deeply. This would be a rather long day. But at least it would keep her from thinking about family stuff, about depressing stuff, about stuff in general. So instead of thinking she put herself at work.:: Dial: Computer, initiate an audio record please. ::Only when she spoke the words, she remembered the period when the Apollo's computer had constantly malfunctioned and tried to train her to use "please" and "thank you" and be generally nice to the computer. She had never found out what was wrong with the computer or who did this to her, but she had learned to be polite even to the arficial presence of the computer.:: Computer: Recording audio. Dial: This is Ensign Dial, nursing staff. Stardate 239108.12. This is a report about the medical crisis we went through during the Constitution-B's time travelling mission that lead us to Earth in 191427.06. It is filed after the mission containing a number of proposals to prevent triage situations like the one sickbay went through during this mission. Dial: ::She took a sip of the coffee she made a little while ago. The sugar and the warmth comforted her.:: There are two main directions of thoughts. One is how to avoid situations like this. The other train of thoughts tries to outline how to avoid overstressing sickbay's capacities in the future. Dial: ::She took a large gulp of coffee and closed her eye for a second.:: It was suggested that sickbay and engineering might cooperate to find better emergency settings improving the crew's safety during ::She stressed the following term's pronounciation to make sure it was understood as a colloquial expression.:: "bumpy rides" as the one we had. Measures to avoid people from tumbling and falling and hurting themselves badly might include an increase of gravity in situations like this. A team of experts should be formed to discuss emergency options like these. Dial: ::Another large gulp of coffee went down Dial's throat.:: Suggestions about the improvement of sickbay's emergency reactions include the recruitment of more medical personal, special trainings for personnell of other departments and to have more Medical Emergency Holograms. Trained medics would have helped a lot taking care of minor injuries that were reported everywhere aboard. Also sickbay wouldn't need to send out people to every place but only where nurses and doctors are required. Dial: ::Dial drank the rest of her coffee.:: Other proposals aim at situations where the loss or shortage of energy becomes a problem. As the logs and reports of the crisis suggest we keep a very low stockage of medicine. Our instruments need energy and without a dermal regernerator we're even unable to close a wound since we lack bandages in reasonable amounts. The main suggestion is to give sickbay one of the cargo bays where enough rations of drugs and medical equipment not requiring power might be stored. Dial: ::Dial used her long tongue to lick up the last rests of coffee left in her mug.:: While this might seem very drastic and a huge space, I'd like to stress that the amount of equipment and drugs that could be kept there would be enough to treat 2 thirds of the ship's population. Providing those ressources without having to replicate or use the ship's power reserves should be standard. And by saying it should be standard, I mean that the reports about our situation during the last mission as well as this specific proposal should be forwarded to Starfleet Medical. Dial: This report is sent to Dr. Foster as well as his assistant Dr. Milsap. In case of queries please turn to Head nurse Sito or me as I set up this report. We would like you to forward any requests needing the CO's authorization. Dial out. ::Dial pressed a few buttons and send the audio record to Lieutenant Commander Foster as well as a copy to Lieutenant Junior Grade Milsap, who was the new Assistant Chief Medical Officer. Dial also sent a bbc to Sito Meru who would most likely be interested in seeing what Dial had fabricated out of the snippets of other people's proposals.:: [[indirect TAGs/ Foster and Milsap]] -------------------- OOC:http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Dial/Personal_Glossary ------------------- Ens. Dial Nurse USS Constitution-B A239103D10
  15. (( Deep Space 6, Promenade, Orb of Taste Restaurant )) :: Didrik had disembarked Darwin at the first opportunity after her arrival at DS6. Dr Cook had kept him on a steady dose of drugs that ameliorated the worst symptoms of his Quantum Slipstream Sickness, but he still felt bouts of nausea when the device that powered Darwin’s faster-than-warp engines ramped up and wound down. :: :: He sat across a small cafe table from Dr Linnea Hanadani, who had been his therapist when he lived on DS6, between leaving Columbia and joining Darwin. They shared a pot of deka tea at a Terran-Bajoran fusion restaurant which seemed to be popping up everywhere. :: Hanadani: You look well, Didrik. Pardon me, Counselor Stennes. :: Didrik blushed at the compliment. :: Stennes: I feel well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so clear headed. Hanadani: Maybe you’ve found your calling then? Stennes: I don’t know about that. I am really enjoying the challenges of being a counselor, but it’s not exactly being on the bridge of a Starship. Hanadani: Speaking of which, Didrik, I’ve had a few conversations with Starfleet Medical about you. :: Didrik froze, mid-sip, suddenly finding it difficult to swallow. He set his cup down and studied the doctor’s expression. She was smiling an ethereal half-smile, but that wasn’t unusual for her. The silence seemed to fill the room. :: Stennes: And? Hanadani: And they’ve not been ignorant of the fact that you’ve spend most of the last year working with Starfleet, albeit in a civilian capacity. Stennes: I’m guessing they weren’t pleased. Last I heard, I was still medically unfit for Starfleet duty. Hanadani: You’re right, there is a sentiment amongst the doctors in charge of your case that you’ve skirted around their orders. That you’ve exploited a loophole to continue working in environments that may be detrimental to your recovery. :: Didrik nodded slowly, feeling his commission slipping further and further out of his reach. :: Stennes: I understand. I always knew that was a possibility. I guess I was just hoping that I’d do such a fantastic job that it would prove I was fully recovered. Hanadani: No one who has been through what you have can “fully recover,” Didrik. You know that. But recovery isn’t a destination, it’s a journey along which you learn how to cope. Stennes: I feel like I have learnt to cope. Hanadani: Then what’s this I heard about you making racial slurs on the bridge of your ship? Stennes: I don’t know what-- Hanadani: You called your telepathic colleagues “a bunch of spoon-benders”? Stennes: That is not what I said… exactly. Hanadani: Didrik… Stennes: We were in a life threatening situation, two away teams were about to be killed. And besides, I profusely apologized personally to the captain and to everyone else on the bridge. I feel like my contrition should be worth something, I felt terrible for what I said. Hanadani: Of course it should. Starfleet Medical is continuing to evaluate your condition with a view of reinstating your commission if it’s in yours and Starfleet’s best interest. Stennes: I’ve been hearing that for two years. Hanadani: And you may continue hearing it for another two years, or twenty years. That’s Starfleet Medical for you. :: Didrik’s eyes lowered. It certainly sounded like she was trying to make bad news sound less bad. :: Stennes: So what should I do? Hanadani: No matter how many positive evaluations you receive, or how far your recovery has progressed, ultimately, the decision to reinstate you as a Starfleet officer is not, and will never be, yours to make. :: Didrik nodded. There was such a finality to that statement. Ever since his trauma, he thought that if he worked hard enough, stayed focused enough, he could get his old life back. But such a thing was not possible. :: Hanadani: I’ve told you this before. You’ve been so single minded about returning to Starfleet, and I’m telling you that you are perfectly capable of living a different, but no less fulfilling life. Stennes: ::quietly:: You’re right. Everything you’ve said is right. Hanadani: I don’t want you to give up on something you want, Didrik. I just want you to have realistic expectations. Stennes: I know. And I do. I really do. I’m enjoying my position on Darwin. Maybe you were right. Maybe I do have a new calling. Hanadani: That’s the spirit. I care about you, Didrik. Not just as a former patient, and not just as a colleague. :: She smiled so warmly that Didrik could feel it radiating from her. :: Hanadani: Excel in whatever you do, Didrik. I know you can. :: Didrik pressed his thumb onto the paypad and they stood. :: Hanadani: The university is looking for some guests for a speakers’ series. If you’re staying over a while, I could see about getting you a timeslot. Didrik: No thanks. Something tells me we may not be at DS6 for very long. I should be getting back to the ship anyway. I need to speak to the captain. Hanadani: Problem? Didrik: Maybe. :: Didrik decided not to talk about the somewhat ironic masquerade ball being planned, and what such an activity said about the current mental state of its attendees. He had a strong feeling that there would be quite a few secrets, not just faces, being unmasked at the event. :: Didrik: Thank you, for everything. Hanadani: My pleasure. :: Didrik wasn’t a hugger, but she pulled him into one and Didrik complied. The diminutive woman looked as though she was being swallowed up by his bearhug. They parted, and Didrik embarked Darwin though the gangway, heading directly for the captain’s ready room. :: =/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\= Didrik Stennes Counselor USS Darwin NCC-99312-A D238804DS0 =/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=
  16. *((Bridge - USS Albion))* ::The last few minutes had been probably the most terrifying of the Gorns career. The Albion, scarred and battered suddenly face to face with a pristeen, technologically advanced Warbird and it's subsequent weapons lock had almost turned his scales white. A warning probably, not to chase and not to poke them… just let them drift away. If they had wanted the Albion shattered then there was not a [...]ed thing any of them could have done about it. A single volley to the hull and that would have been the end of that. But with their usual Romulan unknown motivations they disappeared, warping away out of the Albions primitive net after stealing the traitor and into the unknown as soon as they could get their cloak back online. What would come of the Captain who had betrayed Starfleet? Either way, if the Romulans knew what he was planning to do the likelihood of him every coming back alive was negligible at best. Interrogation and execution was likely to be the order of the day, a wanton criminal with the knowledge of an experienced Starfleet captain now a plaything for interrogators with a reputation for getting results. His anger and vengeance was now going to do nothing to save him, Tatash could only hope he chose the honorable way out, at the end of his belt from a prison cell bar or the barrel of a disruptor trying to escape. Was it a deserved punishment? If the Albion had hauled him back, would his punishment be fitting? If he was a Gorn Captain, his betrayal would have already resulted in him (not to mention his crew) executed and tossed out of the airlock. Starfleet would probably assign him to a penal colony, hoping to rehabilitate rather than condemn, to softly pick apart the reasons for his turn coating before shipping him off to some laughable 'penal colony'. That, in the eyes of Tatash, was not justice for the crewmen and women in Engineering who had been killed or the thousands of civilians so painfully close to a terrible death. So he felt a grim satisfaction, a macabre sense of completion at least residing in his mind. Let the Romulans have him, let them pick him apart like the birds of prey they idolize, vultures swarming a dead husk of a former man of respect. Anything else would have been too easy a price for a traitor to pay.:: *Taybrim*: Commander Falcon, bring us within transporter range of the Valdis colony so we can beam down the medicine, and then plot a course back to the Tribal. ::He snapped back into the room as the Commander spoke, eyes flicking over to the helm:: *Falcon*: ? *Taybrim*: It will be a short drop off. We're not staying for dinner. ::He shook his head at the planet hanging on the viewscreen. He had enough of Romulans for this day as well.:: *Falcon*: ? *Taybrim*: Mr. Vondaryan, contact Starfleet intel - let them know what you got from the Stormcrow and give them a heads up on what happened with Haz Arrhimen. I have a feeling they will be very interested to hear your report. ::That was an understatement, if anything he could just picture a sea of blackshirts suddenly flailing their arms at this screw up. Justice aside, he knew a lot, enough to cause a storm of changing access codes and any tactical plans he had access too:: *Vondaryan*: ? ::The Commanders eyes rested on him now, forcing himself to stand more upright as his back strained in protest. Despite Malcolm's wizardry, he was still wounded. Rest, a few more visits to sickbay to be patched up properly rather then the battlefield kit on his back were needed:: *Taybrim*: Do we have enough power to tow the Tribal? *Tatash*: Not yet, but I'm pretty sure the best engineer in the fleet can fix that? ::He managed a strained smile to Theo, doing his best to hide the pain on his face. Out of anyone, the person he'd last like to see him suffering was his closest friend:: *Whittaker*: ? *Taybrim*: If we don't there are other ships on patrol. They're outside the neutral zone, so technically we can hang out there for as long as we like. ::He tapped a claw on his map suite, dragging it back to where the Tribal was located and nodding approvingly at the roundal of a friendly ship heading into the area:: *Tatash*: if we time it right we have a Galaxy class passing through that area as well, they might be able to escort us back. *Whittaker*: ? *Taybrim*: ::He nodded, satisfied with that answer:: Ok, let's get medicine delivered, go rescue our friends and go home. I want everyone to get some rest on the way back. *Tatash*: Yes Sir. ::Rest... it had been barely a few hours for the whole drama to play out, but he was exhausted. He'd not tried to lay down or even sit after the explosion tore him to ribbons, but despite the pain it was going to cause, he could think of nothing he wanted more:: *Bridge (any*): ? ~~ Lt Tatash Tactical Officer SB118 Ops C239108T10
  17. (( Interrogation Room - Deck 28 - USS Constitution-B )) :: Thomas Prendar loved the initial quiet of the interrogation room. It was a solid gray room, with no windows (as a nearby holo-projector provided security a view in) and there was simply two chairs facing each other. Prendar especially had the table removed so that his next interrogation had nothing between him and the SFI officer to subconsciously hide behind. :: :: The door shifted open and he saw Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap enter. :: Prendar: Mister Milsap. Please have a seat. :: Jerry stepped uncertainly to the empty chair, taking in the surroundings as he did. It certainly fit the general idea of an interrogation room. He sat down and reached for the banjo slung across his back. :: :: Thomas’ eyebrows slowly went up as he saw the banjo on the man’s back and that he was reaching for it. :: Prendar: oO What...the...hell? Oo Milsap: Don’t mind if I do. :: He waited for the man to sit down, but before he could get situated, Prendar barked out his first question. :: Prendar: So, do you want confess now or give me a hard time and confess later? :: Jerry jumped in his seat, shock written across his face. :: Milsap: All right, all right! I’ll talk! Prendar: Good. Talk! :: Jerry pulled the banjo from his back in cradled it over his knee, hanging his head with a shamed expression. :: :: It took every ounce of control the man had not to burst into laughter. He had thought he saw everything, but this proved him wrong. :: Milsap: I...I snuck a kiss from Charlotte Mason in third grade. ::He looked up earnestly.:: But only once! Prendar: ::chuckling and looking at the PADD. :: You sure? The file says twice. Milsap: You know, I thought it seemed odd for SFI to come all this way just for that. So what is this about? Prendar: It’s about your mission. I need you to explain to me why you violated the Temporal Prime Directive. Milsap: ::nodding:: Now that makes more sense. I imagine you want to make sure we didn’t mess anything up back then. Prendar: Make sure? Oh, I know you screwed things up. I want to find out who is responsible and deal with them. Milsap: Good, that’s why I brought Mariah here. ::He gingerly patted the top of the banjo.:: She’s gonn help me tell you exactly what went on. Now let’s see…I believe I’ll call it “We Shouldn’t Even Be Here”. ::Jerry cleared his throat, picked up the banjo and started strumming a lively bluegrass melody, bobbing his head in time. When the melody cycled through and began again he started in with some lyrics. :: Milsap: Well, the Constitution was a-makin' her rounds, surveyin' Talos, seein' what could be found When she ran into somethin' we'd never seen before (well, most of us anyway). It chewed her up and spat her out at Earth, and though we had our doubts We found ourselves on the eve of the first world war. At first the only thing we knew was that we had to get back through But the first trip darn near broke Ol' Conny's back. Then we learned things down below weren't goin' the way they's supposed to go And someone had to get history back on track. We traveled through a hole in space and wound up back in time And only we know how to set things right, for what it's worth. We shouldn't even be here, but seein' as we are We might as well do what we can to fix things down on Earth. The warp drive doesn't run on dreams so we split the crew up into teams To patch things up before the core was spent. One went to China to find supplies and they managed to do it, to no one's surprise But I wasn't there, so you'd have to ask them how it went. Now, Starfleet says "Don't interfere!" and that's easy to say when you're safe back here But in a situation like ours, well whadda ya do? Can't call for help, no ships to be found, all we could do was either beam folks down Or just orbit the moon for a century or two. Ol' Connys in some dire shape, her life is fadin' fast Her hull is gonna break up and her power's gonna drain. We shouldn't even be here, but seein' as we are Instead of whinin' that she's broke, let's make her run again! :: Jerry stopped his strumming and leaned in toward Prendar. :: Milsap: Now here’s where I come in. :: He winked and picked up the melody again. Milsap: I was nervous as a man can be when Danzia, Rajel, T'Mar and me Beamed down just as the war was set to begin. I never learned what was to blame but somethin' threw off the transporter's aim And we wound up pretty darn far from Berlin. We saw a horseman nearly die, he turned out to be this Princip guy Who played a major part in those events. We knew we had to fix his head and get him in a biobed So up into the ship's sickbay he went. The medics made sure he was stable and sedated him so he wasn't able To recall any details 'bout the place. And it must have worked 'cause last I looked there weren't no mention in the history book Of Princip bein' beamed up into space. Just when we thought we had it made the Kaiser showed up for a parade, We had to make it so he stayed away. We slipped a potion in his food and at the risk of sounding crude It kept him on the crapper all next day. We found a glitch in history that just might stop the Earth Becoming Federation in a couple hundred years. We shouldn't even be here, but seein' as we are We'll fix things up so no one even knows that we were here. :: Jerry thought about the rumors he'd heard on his way to the interview. He'd picked up on the words "Rajel" and "confined" and could pretty much guess the intelligence officers were giving Jalana a raw deal, likely with others not far behind. Now that he was near the end of the story, he scrounged up the indignation he'd been suppressing and channeled it into the song, adding a subtle edge to the final verses. :: Of course we never planned to go, we didn't have much say in it, though And we might wish someone else had fit the bill But let me ask you something brother, wish in one hand and crap in the other And you tell me which one's the first to fill! Goin' back in time? Y'all might forbid it, but the present's whole because we did it And I can't see anything that we did wrong. If Rajel and the crew'd just let things be, you wouldn't be sittin' across from me And I wouldn't be here to pick out this here song! But SFI is puttin' Constitution's crew on trial, Why don't we lay this nonsense inquisition down to rest? We shouldn't even be here, but seein' as we are Let's just agree that everything has worked out for the best. Instead of puttin' Jalana in jail, y'all should thank her for savin' your tail! It's 'cause of her that everything has worked out for the best! :: As the last strains of the banjo and singing faded in the empty, gray colored room. Prendar just stared at the man. Finally, he spoke. :: Prendar: Get out, Mister Milsap. Now. Milsap: ::smiling:: Don’t mind if I do. :: Jerry grabbed his banjo by the neck and sauntered to the door. He didn’t know if his performance actually helped anyone, but he was confident he’d at least done what he could to clear up the situation. :: ~tbc~ Joint Post By…. Commander Thomas Prendar Lead Investigator Starfleet Intelligence As Simmed by… ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Colonel Nugra Marine Commanding Officer USS Doyle-A, NCC-980221-B Deputy Commandant Captain's Council Magistrate V238008N10 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ & Lieutenant JG Jerome Milsap Assistant Chief Medical Officer USS Constitution-B C239208JM01
  18. (( Bridge | USS Albion )) Tatash: Well, eliminating the obvious, there are no planet’s nearby within transporter range, and locking through an asteroid field would be challenging from the outside. There’s no bases in the field, nothing but mines and dangerous gasses that wouldn’t be conductive to operations. We’ve also got the fact that the Stormcrow was destroyed by a weapon that wasn’t our own, seemingly by an invisible force. So… ::he glanced at Theo and nodded:: Yeah, you can see where I’m going. ::Theo felt a pall of dread run through him. As a child he had heard stories of how James T. Kirk defeated a Klingon Bird-of-Prey that could fire through a cloaking device. Although that ship had been a prototype that was swiftly outlawed in the first amendment to the 1st Khitomer Accords, the idea that the technology was possible gave him nightmares for months as a child. Nightmares of invisible enemies stalking through Whittaker Manor and striking him down. It was only after his mother had taken him to see her chief medical officer, who was an expert in sleep disorders that the nightmares had ceased. They returned several years later, however, after he read reports of how Captain Jean-Luc Picard had defeated a similarly equipped Reman predator in the Bassen Rift. After another course of treatment, Theo decided that he wanted to join Starfleet to help battle anyone who possessed the technology. He had already become fascinated with machinery- and the upswing of applying for the academy at the age of 16 was that he could anger his father. But that was another story. He knew that when he fell asleep that night- the nightmare would return. But for now, those vivid, terrifying nightmares could wait. He had a job to do. Grateful that the academy had drilled the concept of ‘honour and duty’ into him harder than a Klingon initiate, he found the courage to put his fears to one side and look at Tatash :: Whittaker: A ship that can fire while cloaked. Tatash: It wouldn’t be the first time Starfleet’s seen a ship that fire while cloaked, let alone transport. Theoretically the latter should be easy if they haven’t got shields raised. The former worries me, it worries me a lot. Especially with the firepower they are packing. ::That, Theo decided, was putting it mildly. A cloaked Romulan vessel, capable of what it was capable of with murky intentions at best. If they had fired on one Starfleet vessel, what was to say they wouldn’t fire on another- especially one that was such an easy target as the crippled Albion presented. Theo felt the invisible figure getting ready to haunt his dreams.:: Whittaker: oO Not. Now! Oo Falcon: ::Sighs.:: Why don’t we ever get to use the cool toys? Tatash: I don’t doubt that if whatever is out there wanted us out of the picture we’d be a wreck by now. The Albion’s wounded and wouldn’t stand toe to toe against whatever is out there. Their attack on Stormcrow seems more of an assassination than a sortie, very quick and precise and at just the right moment to make us second guess ourselves. ::Theo stepped closer to Taybrim and dropped his voice into a whisper, as another frightening prospect occurred to him. He might not have been executive officer, but he was the second senior-most officer on the bridge and it was, apparently, his job to offer another opinion. This one, however, nobody but the CO should hear.:: Whittaker: Sir, we have Arrihman on board right now. What is to stop the Romulans from assassinating him by destroying us as well? Taybrim: Very little. ::he paused, brows forming a dark straight line:: Unless they actually cannot fire while cloaked - they may be hiding and waiting for the right opportunity when our back is turned. ::He paused, looking towards the engineer for answers:: Can we get any sort of tracking on them in that asteroid field? Tatash: That I don’t know. :: he motioned towards Nira :: Any ideas on how we can tag it? I’d strongly urge if we can act as passive as possible, if they get wind we can track them… well let’s keep our distance, but don’t look like we’re trying to keep our distance. Falcon: And how, pray tell, would you suggest accomplishing that? Tatash: I don’t know, fly casual? Falcon: Ah. ::Smiles.:: How appropriately vague. I think I can manage that. Whittaker: There may be another solution. ::He wished he had not spoken because the plan was only just beginning to form in his mind. Once again, every set of eyes on the bridge seemed to be directly staring at him with great expectations.:: Taybrim: What's your idea? Whittaker: We don’t necessarily have to be able to track her, :: he motioned to Nira :: Although if we can that would be an absolute advantage. :: beat, looking at Taybrim :: We just have to look like we. :: beat :: I may have only been in Starfleet for nine months as an officer, but I’ve grown to learn that Romulans are extremely cautious unless they have to be. The cloaking device is their greatest advantage because it allows them to silently analyse and strategize before taking definitive action. :: beat, he looked at Taybrim :: I say we call their bluff. That way we’ll avoid a confrontation with them and it’ll give the diplomatic team more time with whatever they need to do. Taybrim: I say that's pretty solid plan. ::He turned towards those on the bridge:: The question is how do we startle them without spooking them into another dogfight? Tatash: Anyone ever play battleships? ::he muttered, before turning to look at some of the others on the bridge giving him a curious look:: It's a game, you have a grid, each player takes a turn firing a shot into a grid not knowing where the enemy ships are, you aim towards the place most likely to have a concentration of ships in. It's guesswork, but you can at least feign a look of confidence if you're methodical. Vondaryan: ::[...]ing his head, smiling:: Sounds... tactical. I shall look forward to playing that back on the base. ::beat:: This Romulan ship, if it does exist, must be somewhere in this minefield, then. Falcon: Certainly not wrong. Given the make-up of this field, the mines floating around, there’s only so many places they could hide. Especially if they had the power to punch through Stormcrow’s shields and cripple them; you’d need a decent sized cruiser, at least. If we make some educated guesses, we could probably pull something like that off. Taybrim: Well, we did plan a whole bunch of countermeasures to deal with the Stormcrow - can we turn any of those into a way to flush Romulans from a bush. Asteroid field. You know. ::hand wave:: Falcon: Don’t worry about where the ship needs to be. You tell me a place, I can put her there. Impulse drive is still ready, and the thrusters are hot. TBC
  19. ((Shuttle Landing Site, Talaxian Base.)) Logan: Darwin shuttle closed, don't wait around Lieutenant. Thomas: Lieutenant, let's get out of here. ::Shayne was gratified to find the shuttle the way they'd left it. He had no desire to stay any longer than necessary. Indeed, given the...unstable nature of the structure they now planned to abandon with the definition of haste, Shayne couldn't wait to take off.:: oO And to get back in my uniform. This suit is killing me. Oo ::His instruments indicated a steady flow of power to the flight controls, and it was difficult to fight the urge to blast off at full speed. Training kicked in, however, and Shayne knew a slow ascent would be required to make certain the floor did not give way beneath them before they achieved a stable altitude. Shayne: Hang on, travelers. ::With a purr like that of a contented Sehlat, the Eddington lifted off from the wrecked base, on course for the Darwin.:: ((USS Triumphant, Deck 1- Bridge)) ::Shayne had been happy to note that whatever was left of the Numiri had limped away. But there had been enough blood spilt. Needlessly. Pointlessly. It was infuriating. He could hardly wrap his mind around what had transpired.:: ::Back at his station on the bridge, Shayne tried to distract himself with the many duties inherent to the helm position. There was much on his mind; the Talaxians, the Numiri, Raikenoff. His eyelids were made of lead, perpetually threatening to close, whether Shayne wanted them to or not. Exhausted, both emotionally and physically, he did his utmost to hang on to operational readiness until he was dismissed. He didn't dare relax. Not yet. He'd need to soon, but that required solitude, something not commonly found on the bridge of a starship.:: Renos: =/\= Renos to Commander Thomas, destroy the base, then lay in the coordinates we’re sending through, we’re taking the survivors back to the nearest colony on the way home. =/\= Thomas: =/\= Understood Captain. Thomas out =/\= ::Shayne looked forward. The ruined base, pockmarked with scorches, hung in space.:: Thomas: Ensign Logan, fire cannons and destroy the base camp. Logan: Yes sir. Area targeted..... and firing. ::In one blow, the terrible destructive force available to the Triumphant smacked into the base. A bright light, and then nothing.:: Thomas: Lieutenant, punch in the coordinates from the Darwin and keep us in close. As they prepare to warp, follow their lead. Shayne: Aye. ::The oddly shaped Darwin leapt into warp, and Shayne followed suite. The mesmerizing streaks of starlight confirmed their superluminal velocity a moment later.:: Thomas: Lieutenant, you have the Bridge. Varaan: Aye, commander. ::The commander departed from the bridge, and the subtle sounds of an operating center massaged the helmsman's ears like a lullaby.:: oO Time to go. Oo Shayne: ::Turning to Varaan.:: Sir, permission to leave the bridge. Varaan: Granted, lieutenant. Shayne: Thank you, sir. ::Slowly standing, Shayne made sure to control his breathing as best he could before proceeding out of the bridge.:; ((Corridor, Deck 1, USS Triumphant.)) ::He knew this part would come. It always did. But that admission never made it any easier.:: ::Doing his utmost to walk at a steady pace, Shayne tried to calm himself. Already his breathing had become shallow and quick. Sweat poured from his temples. His stomach, a volatile subject at the best of times, was churning like he was in an endless free fall. A wave of dizziness assaulted him, causing him to collide aggressively with a bulkhead.:: oO Just let me get to my quarters. Please, just let me get there...Don't let anyone find me like this. Oo ((Officer's Quarters, Cabin G, Deck 1, USS Triumphant.)) ::At last, he found his way to Compartment G, his designated living space. The tiny size of the cabin did not bother Shayne. He was simply grateful that the bunk bed's top level did not seem to have another occupant. Staggering over to the replicator, he managed to gasp out a request.:: Shayne: Pure...mint...extract. ::The alcove obediently provided the requested substance. Shayne wasted no time in pouring half of the contents onto the perpetually burned back of his left hand. The potent liquid reacted with the ever-present wound, causing pain on a staggering scale. Shayne didn't care. He eagerly lapped up the extract with his tongue. It had an almost immediate effect. While his stomach was still complaining angrily, he no longer felt in danger of vomiting. A definite improvement. But the worst was yet to come.:: ::With enormous emphasis on gentleness, Shayne pulled his tunic and undershirt off, and stared at his left shoulder. The sight that greeted him was not pretty by any means.:: ::While they were escaping from the Talaxian base, a Numiri boarding team had shown up, guns blazing. Shayne had been so ridiculously pumped on adrenaline, he hadn't registered that he'd been shot. A glancing blow at most; certainly nothing life-threatening. The energy bolt had cauterized the injury, as well. Nevertheless, it had taken an ice cream scoop- size chunk of skin with it, and the crimson canyon of flesh hurt like hell.:: oO I need to see the doctor. Oo ::It was a tempting thought for a moment. The idea of being cared for with the best equipment available, under the watchful gaze of the professional staff down in Sickbay appealed. Then he imagined explaining the burn on his left hand, talking to the doctors about himself, revealing things that no one could know...no one...:: oO Intolerable. Oo ::Once again he approached the replicator, this time asking for a serious amount of first aid materials; dermal regenerator, tricorder, cleansing unit. After laying the armload of stuff onto his bunk, Shayne began to clean the wound. It stung and burned and ached, but nothing was so blindingly agonizing that he couldn't function. He vaguely remembered his old Earth history, how amputations during the Civil War were achieved with hacksaws, and the patients were given a hunk of wood to chomp down on in order to keep them from biting their own tongue off. Shayne gave silent thanks to the universe for delivering him from that kind of barbarism. It would have made his job considerably less pleasant.:: ::It took time, but he was finally satisfied with the cleaning job. Next, the dermal regenerator. Having trained as a doctor for a year at the Academy, he knew the general skills required to treat such an injury. Several minutes of flesh knitting later, and Shayne's shoulder was still quite tender, but not the open gash it had been before. Making sure to cover his tracks, he returned all the unused materials to the replicator and wiped the memory logs. And then he sat.:: ::And waited.:: ::It wasn't long before it hit him. It was reminiscent of his difficulties in the corridor, only a hundred times worse. Panic and fear exploded in his mind and heart, tearing through reason and control, shredding his mental discipline. Anxiety seeped into his mind, driving away rational sense. Against this onslaught, Shayne could do nothing but curl into a ball on his bunk and cry like a baby, begging for the overwhelming feelings to depart. Deep down, he knew they wouldn't. Not for some time. And even when they abated, they were never truly gone. But even a moment's respite would have been gratefully accepted.:: ::It was hours before he finally fell into a fitful sleep.:: TBC... Lieutenant J.G. Randal Shayne Helmsman USS Triumphant NCC- 75692 Escort Vessel for USS Darwin-A NCC- 99312 G239202RS0
  20. ((Deep Space 6, Deck 73 - The Surak Arboretum, the day after the ball.)) ::This was not the first time Varaan had done this, but it had been a while.:: ::The Vulcan was dressed in civilian clothes, sitting reflectively in the Surak Arboretum on the station. He was sitting on a bench that was facing a topiary of what was supposed to be a large predatory Terran feline at the beginning of a pounce. Most likely it was supposed to represent a lioness or a tiger, but without the benefit of coloured hide on the green bush, it was difficult to tell. Vulcan didn't have any felines that large. It barely had felines at all.:: ::The topiary was bathed in a soft white light from overhead, casting a large shadow on the deck-plated path and sodded ground that surrounded it. It was both disturbing, when one thought of the violent nature of the act that the herbivorous feline was supposed to be performing at the conclusion of its jump, and peaceful, if one simply stared at the bush. It had an aesthetic quality about it that most species would probably find positive. Varaan was not one for aesthetics, unless it also improved performance or efficiency. The structure of the large felines was both aesthetically pleasing and a very efficient design. The topiary..."looked nice.":: ::Having spent the past 6 years in the Par'tha Expanse, flitting from world to world undercover on a Starfleet Intelligence mission, Varaan had seen a great many wild animals he had never seen before. Obviously. The Par'tha Expanse had been secluded away from the Federation behind the Jenatris Cloud until a dozen years ago. Millions of years of evolutionary processes on worlds very different from the ones he was familiar with...obviously creatures would develop differently. Some were near copies of species in the Federation, some looked like they could be distantly related. Many were unique. Aesthetically, some would be called beautiful, but most would have been termed "ugly." Varaan had only appreciated the evolutionary processes that allowed these species to survive and thrive in their respective environments.:: ::There were other topiaries in the arboretum. Many of them Terran animals, presumably since the majority of gardeners on the station were from Earth. There were some species representatives from other planets, and many topiaries of non-animals. Varaan hadn't ever been to this arboretum before, and had done a tour by himself to see the place, named after the Vulcan "father of logic." Varaan did not have enough data on Surak's personality to know if the stoic Vulcan would have approved of putting his name on this haven of nature surrounded by millions of tonnes of metal, and then...nothing. But that was the way of the living, to honor the dead by naming things after the deceased. The deceased could not approve nor disagree.:: ::This was certainly not his favourite topiary, but this is where he was.:: ::This was where he had been for the better part of the day. Sitting on the bench, pondering nature as he visually absorbed his surroundings. The Darwin was not scheduled to depart the station on their next mission yet. Many of the crew had accepted the captain's offer to teach them a form of J'naii martial arts. Many forms of martial arts doubled as fighting techniques and as a form of meditation. At least, the Terran ones did. And the Humans had many different forms. Vulcan had a couple of its own forms of martial arts. None of them would double as a form of meditation. All of them had been developed in the pre-Surak days, when Vulcans embraced their emotions, and violence ruled their history. Vulcan martial arts were designed to either kill or incapacitate your opponent in as little time as possible, with the minimum amount of energy expended. Very violent, yet very efficient. Ironically, there was a certain logic to that.:: ::So most of the crew was busy preparing for whatever was to await them. They had not been briefed yet on what that mission was, but there was speculation. There was always speculation. Varaan did not believe in speculating. If you speculated correctly, you may be more prepared than others, but if your speculation was incorrect, then you were further behind. Better not to take the chance. If you wanted to be more prepared, then one should simply ask. You would either be told, or not. Either way, you were no worse off than you were before. Varaan was as prepared as he could be. He had surveyed Engineering, met a couple of his new colleagues. There was a Laudean crewmember he hadn't met yet...another lieutenant. And the scuttlebutt was that the department would be receiving a new chief.:: ::No one knew who the new chief would be, whether it was an existing Darwinian, or a transfer. Not that it mattered to Varaan. His job was his job, no matter who was in charge. Interpersonal relations would be where the work efficiency would suffer, if the new chief did not "like" him. But Varaan virtually never had problems working with others. His old friend Torin Jamar used to use the phrase "plays well with others," though Varaan never would characterized what he did as "playing." Engineering was a serious job. Lack of attention to detail could result in injury or death, in certain circumstances. Varaan never played. Except for kal'toh.:: ::Until now he had been alone in the arboretum. Now a young humanoid female, probably human, with an infant in a hover-stroller, came strolling into view. She was wearing a floral print dress, and sensible shoes. The infant was wearing a pink onesie, and appeared to be mere months old. Humans equated pink with female, so the infant was most likely a girl. She was sleeping, a pacifier in her mouth. The dark haired woman was not in a hurry. Most people in an arboretum were not. The arboretum was a place where most people came to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, to relieve stress and forget their troubles. Not Varaan. The woman and infant continued to move through the area, but before they had left his vision another individual came into his view from another direction.:: ::This gentleman, who also appeared human, strolled into the area studying the topiary, and referring to a PADD in his hands. He kept looking up at the topiary, then back down at the PADD. He was wearing a brown jacket with dark pants, and black shoes. At one point he was close enough to Varaan for the Vulcan to see the text of a tour guide program running on the PADD. The man was on a tour of the arboretum. Varaan knew of these PADDs, available to rent at the entrance of the arboretum for only a couple of credits. Varaan had not bothered to get one when he came in. He was not interested in learning of the arboretum at this time. Perhaps if he came back at a later date. The man continued on his tour, soon leaving the area for the next topiary.:: ::Varaan reached up to his face and scratched an itch he had on his left temple. His internal clock was telling him that it was approaching dinner time. His stomach concurred. He had skipped lunch today. He had received a communication from an old friend, and had been busy doing him a favour. It had taken most of the afternoon, and Varaan was almost done. Dinner would be most welcome. Chief Marquette had mentioned a restaurant on the station here that he highly regarded. Varaan was willing to try it out. Varaan, as a Vulcan, was a strict vegetarian, and many entrees at restaurants included some form of meat. Having salads all the time was very...repetitive. Finding a restaurant that served new and interesting vegetarian cuisine was a welcome distraction.:: ::The man with the PADD returned to the area and stood in front of the topiary for another moment, studying it. Then he turned and moved to the empty spot on the bench beside Varaan. Neither man looked at the other, and neither said anything. The man put the PADD down on the bench between them, and bent over to tie his shoe. Varaan looked down at the PADD, and read the single word on the screen. "Hyperion.":: ::Varaan stood up and strolled out of the arboretum on his way to the restaurant. He did not look back. He did not need to, knowing that once he was out of sight, the man with the PADD would finish tying his shoe. When he sat up he would bring with him the metal case that Varaan had left under the bench, and would spend another couple of minutes wandering the arboretum before leaving by another exit.:: ::And that was how a covert ops drop was done.:: --------------------------- Lt. Varaan Engineering Officer USS Darwin-A, NCC-99312-A Serial: V237810V10
  21. ((Personal Quarters, Deck 6 - USS Darwin-A)) ::After a long day in the office dealing with personnel files and liaising with departmental heads, Maxwell Traenor was beat. He was used to office work, a career of lab work had prepared him for that, but the bureaucratic finagling was still foreign to him and taxed his acuity. All he wanted to do now was sit at the piano for half an hour to limber his fingers and arms, then flop on the couch with a snifter of brandy and read the latest FNS feeds. A bit of smooth jazz wafting through his quarters would be a nice relaxing addition as well. Then, after a light meal, he'd hit the bunk early.:: ::When he opened the door to his quarters, Maxwell paused for a moment. Though he liked his room fairly dark, at half illumination, it was darker still than that. Puzzled, he walked in and threw the ever-present PADDs in his hand onto the closed piano lid.:: Traenor: Computer, raise lights to half illumination. Eden Taylor: Surprise!! ::A shape sprung out of the darkness, and Maxwell nearly fell flat on his rear, saved ignominiously by clutching at the edge of the piano. He might or might not have screeched in shock, but either way his response to the visitor in his room was not graceful or dignified.:: Traenor: Eden! Darn it, you scared me! What are you doing here?! ::The teenager had fallen on the couch herself, holding her sides and laughing at the reaction she had managed to elicit. Maxwell had half a mind to chuck a PADD at her, but in all honestly he was overjoyed to see her. It had been over a year since he had last been to Earth and seen her in the flesh, and she had grown into a proper woman. At 17, she was pretty much all grown. It was a poignant reminder of the rapid passage of time, as he could remember holding her swaddled form in his arms on the day she was born as if it was just yesterday.:: Taylor: I came here to see you, Mr Starfleet-I'm-Too-Busy-To-Come-And-Visit-My-Niece-Anymore! Traenor: ::drolly:: Somehow I don't see that moniker fitting on my office door plaque. Taylor: Seriously, though, Uncle Gordie. It's been like forever! I was tired of seeing you only via vidchat once every couple months. I had a mid-term break, and I decided to come out here to see you! ::Maxwell marveled; she must have caught some fast transports in order to get out to the Zeta Gelis region and still plan to get back to Earth in time for the spring term. Not that he minded, in fact he was overjoyed, but he wondered how she had managed to convince her mother to let her travel alone to the far reaches of Federation presence. His sister Kirsten was overbearing when it came to family, and it must have taken a LOT of negotiations between the two to allow this trip to happen.:: Traenor: You should have told me! I could have prepared for your arrival, made plans... Taylor: What, and miss that look on your face when I jumped out at you? Nuh-uh. ::wicked grin:: Wouldn't have missed that for the world. ::He tried to shoot his niece a dour frown, but the muscles in his face refused to comply. He was simply too happy to have her here to even pretend to be anything but overjoyed. She jumped up off the couch, and he swept her up in a crushing bear hug.:: Traenor: It's great to see you, kiddo. Whatever the circumstances, I'm glad to have you here. ::Maxwell let her go, and was going to go get them some refreshments from the replicator when he heard a strange muffled sound. He paused for a moment, head tilted, trying to suss out the location and cause of the sound. Eden, seeing him stopped, moved forward with a bit of a blush on her cheeks. She stepped between him and the door to the washroom.:: Traenor: Did you hear something? Taylor: Yes, umm... well, your birthday is coming up within the next several weeks, and I didn't think I'd get the chance to see you before then again, so I kinda got you a gift... ::Maxwell was able to eke out a slight frown this time. Eden was acting strangely, almost as if with a guilty conscience, and her cheeks were continuing to redden. He heard the odd sound yet again, and between his niece's actions and triangulation, he was able to determine that it was coming from the washroom. Confused and consternated, he affixed Eden with an accusatory glare.:: Traenor: What do you mean, a gift? ::The teenager turned and went towards the washroom door. As it swooshed open upon her approach, a small four-legged apparition with floppy ears and a long snout, big dark eyes, and a lolling tongue hanging comically from its mouth. It stopped and gave a squeaking yap.:: Traenor: That - is that - is it what I think it is? Taylor: Uncle Gordie, meet Barque. Barque, meet Uncle Gordie. He's a beagle puppy! ::The furry creature bounded up to Maxwell and jumped up against his leg. It looked up at him with a lopsided grin, and yapped again.:: Traenor: "Bark"? Awfully onomatopoeic for a name. Taylor: Not "bark", as in "woof, woof", silly. "Barque", as in the boat! Huh? Huh? Get it? ::Maxwell groaned in mock distaste at the terrible pun, but in actuality he thought it was quite hilarious and clever. The wide grin of humorous anticipation on Eden's face betrayed that she thought it was a pun so terrible as to be hilarious, as well. The two of them shared the same twisted sense of humor, after all. Charles Darwin, the namesake of the vessel Maxwell called home, made a journey of evolutionary discovery on a sailing barque named "HMS Beagle". A barque named "Beagle", a beagle named "Barque"... Yup. That was definitely shared humor.:: Traenor: Whatever gave you the idea to choose that name, I wonder? Taylor: Easy. I suggested it to Mom, and she thought it was stupid. ::evil grin:: That's when I knew it was perfect! ::Maxwell knew he shouldn't laugh at such a disparaging comment about his sister, but it was so true that he couldn't help himself. The laugh was short-lived, though. There was the elephant in the room to deal with, or more accurately, the Canis familiaris in the room. Maxwell was diametrically opposed to the idea of "pet ownership", considering it barbaric to wield dominance and control over another creature. Yet, here stood Eden, telling him that she had just gave him a dog. He was not pleased.:: Traenor: Eden, you know how I feel about pets. Whatever possessed you to think I would accept a dog? ::She affixed him with a scolding, imperious stare, hands on her hips. Eden might have gotten her humor from her Uncle Gordie, but this gesture was all Kirsten. In fact, in this pose Maxwell could see the striking resemblance between his sister Kirsten and Eden. The more Eden grew, the more she adopted her mother's natural beauty and easy grace. As long as the younger Taylor woman kept her easygoing smile and didn't allow it to morph into the dour frown that seemed to dominate Kirsten's face constantly, then the similarity was not a bad thing.:: Taylor: You only hold that stance because you've never taken more than an analytical thought process to the issue. Use your withered, cold heart to look at that little bundle of joy and tell me that you couldn't love him! Traenor: It has nothing to do with love. It has everything to do with denying a lesser creature its natural instincts, caging and restraining it, forcing subservience onto a living, breathing animal. Taylor: Yes, but Terran dogs are naturally inclined to a subservient relationship with people. Their evolutionary traits have formed synonymous with those of humans. They have an inherent need for companionship and a pack hierarchy, where they look to a dominant figure for guidance, subsistence, and affection. Being a dog owner doesn't pervert their needs, it enhances and fulfills them. It's genetics and evolution, Uncle Gordie, plain and simple. ::Darn, but if she didn't come prepared. She was using science against a scientist, his greatest weakness! Maxwell needed to change tack to try and get himself out of this predicament.:: Traenor: A starship is no place for a pet. It's improper to have a dog in such a confined space. Taylor: On the contrary, Uncle Gordie. Starfleet regulations have no qualms with officers having small pets in their possession while on active duty. As a senior officer, you actually have the luxury of large quarters that make space even less of an issue. The Darwin has a large arboretum for natural space, and the holodecks can create more space to devise any number of engaging environments for training and exercising a dog. Oh! By the way, congratulations on making First Officer! The Security officer that escorted me to your quarters and let me in told me all about it! Never thought you'd be anything but an egghead scientist, if I'm being honest. ::Maxwell sighed, realizing that he had neglected to contact his family yet and tell them the good news. Their return from the Delta Quadrant had heralded a heavy workload, and his own personal commiserations had distracted him from thinking of making the social call.:: Traenor: Thank you, but quit trying to change the subject. What about his health? There's not exactly a veterinary doctor aboard. Taylor: ::looking askance at him:: You trying to tell me that a science ship with a full contingent of xenobiologists and a medical staff trained to deal with hundreds of alien physiologies can't give a little puppy a regular checkup? Besides, ::slyly producing an isolinear chip:: many ships without the Darwin's prolific benefits make do with caring for crewmember's pets. Here is a veterinary subroutine for the holodeck, a program which fully simulates an animal hospital replete with trained and friendly doctors and nurses. Barque will not want for the best care possible. Plus, I've already programmed in the recipes for a dozen nutritional supplements for Barque into your replicator, varying based on the nutritional demands as he grows, several healthy treats for training and spoiling him, and the replimat catalogue has plenty of chew toys. Traenor: ::at a loss:: This all may be true, but having a pet still requires permission from a commanding officer. There's no guarantee that my captain will allow me to keep a pet! Taylor: ::broad grin:: I've already sent a message to Captain Renos on your behalf. Ne has the request. I was very sweet and convincing in it. I expounded on the benefits to your morale and health due to the regular exercise you'll get from walking him. By the way, you have a J'naii captain? That's so cool! I didn't know there were many J'naii in Starfleet! Traenor: ::distracted, exasperated:: There isn't. It's complicated. Never mind that! The most important thing is, you never considered whether I actually want to keep, care for, and train a dog. What if I say no? Are you prepared to take the dog back and keep him yourself? Taylor: You wouldn't. You couldn't. How can you say no to such a cute little face? ::Maxwell looked down at the puppy at his feet, and when the beagle caught him staring at it, it started wiggling it's tail enthusiastically. It let out another little yap.:: Taylor: C'monnnn, Uncle Gordie! You know you wannnt to keep him! You know you wannnt to love him! You're so lonely out here at the fringes of the Federation, and Barque will be the perfect companion. Please? ::Eden clasped her hands in a prayer fashion and skewered Maxwell with puppy dog eyes, affecting a begging whimpering to try and convince him. Barque, skewering him with real puppy dog eyes, affected a sympathetic whimpering in response. Though he tried to look annoyed, Maxwell actually found the both of them to be endearing.:: Traenor: Tsk tsk, Eden. You're not eight anymore. That won't work on me. oO Except that it kinda is... Oo ::Eden tittered in response, and called Barque over to the couch. The puppy, ungainly on his oversized paws, scampered over and jumped up. She proceeded to scratch him behind the ears, which caused the poor thing's eyes to roll back into his head with ecstatic pleasure.:: Traenor: Y'know, with the level of intellect and dedication you've applied to this debate, have you ever considered becoming a scientist? Or a diplomat? Taylor: No way! I'm going to be a pilot. You know that. I've already started flying lessons, in preparation of acing the Starfleet entrance exams next summer. ::Thinking of Eden entering Starfleet was bittersweet for several reasons. First, the fact that she was but a half year away from being eligible to enroll was mind-boggling. Second, a career in Starfleet wasn't without risk, and could be an isolating choice of callings, which was not a palatable thought to an overprotective uncle. However, with both himself and Eden's father being Starfleet officers, it was in no way surprising that Eden would be drawn to the service. Why as a pilot he had no idea, but it was something she had obsessed about for most of her life. Traenor knew she could be most anything, an engineer like her father or a scientist like himself, or even a negotiator, he thought ironically. But, if she wanted to join Starfleet and aspire to be a helmsman, then Maxwell would be honored to sponsor her wish. He moved over to the couch and sat down on the opposite side of the puppy from Eden, and started stroking his back.:: Traenor: Oh, his fur is so soft! Taylor: ::with a knowing smile:: I knew you'd fall in love with him! ::He mock scowled at her, before looking down at the puppy. He was kind of cute. His fur was very soft, softer than he expected. He was so warm, and looked cuddly. His eyes were closed now, possibly napping, as they both continued to pet him. Though it was for all the wrong reasons, Maxwell could appreciate the sentiment behind getting him a puppy. It went against all he had believed in, that owning pets was wrong and borderline evil, but if she was right and it was a mutually beneficial relationship? Would it really be so bad to own a beagle named Barque? He snorted in laughter.:: Traenor: A beagle named Barque. You really are a dork. Taylor: ::quick retort:: Takes one to know one. ::The two laughed, a deep belly laugh that resonated throughout the quarters and roused the puppy from his slumber just long enough to give them a baleful look before slumping back to sleep. This made them laugh anew, and the two settled into a comfortable and animated recollection of their lives during the months they had been absent from each other. All desires for quiet relaxation dissipated as Maxwell cherished the chance to catch up with his beloved niece.:: TBC LtCmdr Maxwell Traenor - First Officer, USS Darwin NCC-99312-A Graphic Contest Taskforce =/\= Characters Guild Co-Facilitator A239111MT0
  22. ((School rooms, USS Invicta)) ::Alora hovered outside the door to Saavok’s classroom. There was no window for her to peek in at the students and their dark, petite teacher. She was early, that she had to admit, so her impatience was unwarranted - as was her nervousness. Or was it? Despite a lack of obvious telepathy, Alora was usually fairly adept at reading people. Vulcans, however, were among those who were not so easily understood as they held their emotions easily in check. Saveron somehow seemed a little more available, even before they had officially begun their romantic relationship. Perhaps it had been because of that fleeting mental contact they had shared during their exploration of virtual Vulcan. She had an enjoyed a similar contact with Saavok, but even so, she couldn’t predict the child’s reaction. He had yet to say anything, but that didn’t mean the child did not harbour emotions about recent developments. Her thoughts were interrupted as the doors slid open with a sigh and children spilled from within. As the flurry of bodies rushed out, Alora straightened and waited for one in particular.:: Alora: Sochya, Saavok. ::Her greeting was accompanied by the ta’aland she continued conversing in Vulcan, her translator already disabled.:: ::Saavok looked up as Alora greeted him, and automatically responded with the same gesture. He was becoming accustomed to her as a presence in his life.:: Saavok: Sochya, Alora. Alora: Mind if we talk? Saavok: I have no objection. ::Alora motioned down the hallway with a flick of her hand, then spurred her feet into motion.:: ::The young Vulcan obediently followed, falling into step with the Terran scientist.:: Saavok: What subject did you wish to discuss? Alora: If it’s all right, I’d rather do it in private. Wherever you are comfortable. ::Her quarters, his, it didn’t matter to her.:: ::That earned her a raised eyebrow for a moment, then Saavok seemed to consider the question more seriously.::Saavok: My father will not be home for another hour. May I come to your quarters? Your plants are interesting. Alora: Sure, that’s fine, though many are still recovering. ::At least a couple of the African Violets had started blooming again. Alora walked alongside the child, keeping pace with him. Rather than wallow in silence as they walked, she at least continued pleasant conversation.:: Alora: Did you have a good class? Saavok: It was not disagreeable. ::He allowed. He wouldn’t say that he found it particularly fascinating either.:: Alora: What did you guys learn today? Saavok: The class studied basic mathematics; I had matrices from my distance classes. Then we investigated some early Terran literature. ::Which was interesting because it was different.:: Tasnim learned not to delve into other people’s thoughts without asking. Alora: Wait..Tasnim learned how to delve into other people’s thoughts? I didn’t realise she was telepathic. Did the teacher teach her that? Saavok: Tasnim is half Betazoid. My mother taught me basic mental self defence; I will learn more when I am older. Alora: Oh! ::Alora knew Vulcans were touch telepaths, but she hadn’t thought about how early mental training must start, though it made sense. They came to a stop when they arrived at her quarters and the computer bleeped, but the doors didn’t open. Since the doors had been replaced, Alora no longer had to pound them just to get them to open. In a way, it seemed to take away some of their personality. Ah well.:: DeVeau: Come on in. ::She actually waited for the child to enter before she did so herself, and the doors hushed closed behind her. It was cool compared to the quarters the child was used to sharing with his father, but warmer than most Terrans might like. As a child of the South, she did tend to prefer warmer weather, even though it got awfully cold in Japan sometimes. Also, it was better for most of her plants.:: DeVeau: Have a seat. ::Alora lowered herself onto the couch and patted the space beside her.:: ::Saavok obediently settled himself onto the couch, his PADD in it’s case on the floor below his dangling feet. He looked at Alora expectantly; judging from her behaviour that this was a serious matter.::Saavok: What is it that you wished to discuss? DeVeau: Okay...so...how do I ask this. Um...so, you know your father and I, we’re courting right? Saavok: Affirmative. ::The little Vulcan’s blank expression was entirely unhelpful.:: DeVeau: Well, what I want to know is… ::No no she had to ask in a Vulcan way. Child or no, communication might be aided if she used terms they tended to use. DeVeau: Are you agreeable with this arrangement?Saavok: I find the arrangement agreeable. ::He used the same convoluted grammar that his father did. He also had the same grey eyes, which were watching Alora carefully.:: Saavok: You considered that I might object? ::He asked after a moment.:: DeVeau: I considered it as a possibility. I’m not telepathic - well...not in the usual sense of the word - and while I care about you bunches, I don’t know your thoughts about me. ::She leaned over to cross her arms over her knees.:: But you’re his son and I want you to be okay with this. You’re too important not to be considered in the equation. ::His not being okay with it wouldn’t really change anything between her and Saveron, but she had hoped the child would be amenable to the idea.:: ::The little Vulcan gave the matter serious consideration.:: Saavok: I find your presence and company agreeable. ::He said eventually.:: You are an interesting person and… you seem to find us equally interesting. ::Not everyone found Vulcan idiosyncrasies particularly tolerable.:: Saavok: My father finds your company agreeable. ::He added thoughtfully.:: He has been… more centered, since you became ko-ri’telsu. ::The word meant an unbonded female partner.:: DeVeau: Wow...I don’t think I’ve heard that term in forever. Saavok: It is not in common usage. ::He admitted. Such arrangements were relatively rare in Vulcan culture.:: The Nel Gathic term is ‘t’aehtlu fheigh’. Will you Bond with father? DeVeau: ‘T’aehtlu fheigh’? Bond...well, I don’t know. It’s a bit early for that, don’t you think? ::Not that Alora opposed the idea, but she also didn’t want to move too fast.:: Saavok: It means ‘desired one’. It is the equivalent Nel Gathic term. I do not know, I am unfamiliar with Terran courting rituals. Since Surak, Vulcans have traditionally been preliminarily bonded as children, to become bonded mates as adults. The practice is becoming less prevalent however. DeVeau: Are you bonded? Saavok: I am not bonded. Neither were my siblings. My parents were and they… were not fully compatible. ::Which perhaps explained why their children weren’t.:: DeVeau: I see. ::Alora leaned back into the embrace of the couch and pondered the question a little further before she expanded on her previous answer.:: DeVeau: At this point, I would like to, but not necessarily right now. It’s something I can see for the future. Maybe sooner, maybe later. I think...I think we’ve both been hurt and we need to make sure we’re both sure before we take a step like that. Does that make sense? ::The little Vulcan gave this some thought.:: Saavok: Affirmative. ::He decided.:: It is preferable to determine that one’s relationship is agreeable to both and will remain so. ::The boy was acutely aware of the effects of the breakdown of their relationship on both his parents.:: ::Alora was pretty darn sure it would remain so for her, but there was no sense in rushing things. Saveron also needed to be certain - and she would not lock him into something where he had doubts.:: DeVeau: You’re right. It’s better in the long run that way. Well, I’m glad you’re okay with it. You’re his son, I didn’t think it would be right to leave you out of things. Saavok: I appreciate your consideration. ::He said gravely.:: You… said that you had also been hurt. ::He observed after a moment.:: ::He had wondered how Alora viewed his own presence but she had just told him. Admittedly in a very alien way, but never-the-less making it clear that she found his own presence agreeable.:: ::How much should she tell him? While Saavok was a child, he was a Vulcan child and more mature than most children his age would be. However, that didn’t mean he had to be privy to the details of what had happened. For a moment, she pondered what to say and finally simply stated,:: DeVeau: There was...a boy before. Our relationship did not end well. I think that’s probably all I should say about it for now. ::Even if he had been an adult, she still wasn’t comfortable divulging too much information.:: ::Saavok considered this for a moment, then nodded. He was not familiar with how Terrans conducted their interpersonal relationships, but he understood that a relationship could end badly. His parents were a prime and personal example. Clearly such was not something restricted to his own species.:: ::But how did Terrans do such things?:: Saavok: What are the Terran conventions? Will you ask S’Rel and Teron also? DeVeau: Has your father said anything to them? Saavok: I do not believe that father has spoken with them yet on the subject. Perhaps, like yourself, he wishes to see how the relationship will progress. ::Alora nodded slowly. It was so easy to fall into the idea of plunging forward and it felt good to be with Saveron. Obviously he cared for her as much as she did for him. However, diving headfirst haphazardly into something so serious could lead to a detrimental outcome, and that was the last thing Alora wanted.:: DeVeau: I’ll admit, I didn’t think to ask them. Mainly because they are grown, they have their own families, and thus are no longer a part of their father’s household. That is not the case for you and so our relationship has a direct impact on you. Saavok: That is true. It has not been a detrimental impact. ::Far from it, from the little Vulcan’s point of view. Having spent the first six years of his life with his mother, he had still felt an immediate connection with the man who was his father, a man to whom he was so very similar. Born after the breakdown of their relationship, he had never known his parents when they were together, but he had seen his mother’s contentment with Serok. He wanted something similar for his father.:: ::Alora was intriguing in herself. Saavok’s exposure to aliens had only begun three years ago, and he didn’t get to know many adult aliens closely. She was one of the exceptions and an insight into Terran nature and culture. He was aware that there were marked differences in both psychology and physiology. Some of them his father had tried to explain.:: Saavok: Alora, how old are you? ::He asked suddenly.:: DeVeau: Twenty five. ::Alora had no qualms about sharing her real age, unlike some women. Still, the question was not one she had expected from the child.:: DeVeau: Why do you ask? Saavok: I am aware that many other species mature at a faster rate than Vulcans; it is still an unusual concept. You are younger than my siblings. ::And from a Vulcan point of view, almost too young to mate.:: DeVeau: How old are your siblings? Saavok: Teron is thirty Terran years, S’Rel is twenty-eight. Naarin would have been twenty-three. I am eight. DeVeau: And your father is…. Saavok: Father is sixty-six. DeVeau: Ah that’s right. ::It was quite the age difference and for some it might have been a concern. Not so for Alora. A smile tickled her lips.:: DeVeau: Well, I always did have a thing for older men. ::That earned her a blank look of the same type that the boy’s father gave her when he was trying to work through something that she’d said that didn’t quite make sense to him.:: Saavok: What is, ‘a thing’? ::He asked eventually.:: ::She couldn’t help but giggle although Alora did her best to stifle it as much as possible.:: DeVeau: I’ve always found older men to be more attractive. ::Although the one guy she’d been with prior had been far closer to her age, but Alora wasn’t going to return to that topic.:: ::Saavok’s first impulse was to ask what the logic was behind that statement, but if there was something that he was learning about aliens it was that, when it came to personal preferences, there often wasn’t any. Misha hadn’t been able to provide him with a logical reason for his preference for sugary foods, but was quite adamant about it. He’d also become cross with Saavok when the young Vulcan persisted in asking. So although the child opened his mouth to frame the question he quickly shut it again. So be it.:: ::Instead he considered the whole situation thoughtfully.:: Saavok: So what happens now? ::It was hardly the most logical or well structured question; at the end of the day he was still just a child and, although he liked Alora, he was aware that such things fell well outside many conventions.:: DeVeau: What happens now is we keep spending time together with the purpose of finding out whether or not we want to spend the rest of our lives together. ::Honestly, she had a hard time imagining a future without Saveron, but there she was trying to rush things again. Time would tell, and there wasn’t a hurry. She was young and while Saveron wasn’t exactly a teenager, he wasn’t old for a Vulcan either.:: DeVeau: Sound okay to you? ::The little Vulcan considered this statement.:: Saavok: I have no objection. ---------------- PNPC SaavokVulcan ChildUSS InvictaR238802S10 & Lt. Alora DeVeauScience OfficerUSS InvictaM239008AD0
  23. ((Deck 42, Corridor Near Cargo Bay 18, USS Constitution-) ::Onil stood, watching the swirling mass of energy in the Cargo Bay grow before his eyes. The researcher in him was fascinated, transfixed by the power and beauty, as well as the scientific prowess that been able to physically mark an unidentified foe. He felt the corners of his mouth tick up in a slight smile.:: ::However, the smile hid his fear. His fear of the unknown. His fear of dying. His smile disappeared entirely when he heard the Andorian science officer saying his name.:: ::Pulled from his terrifyingly close enchantment, the Ktarian listened to what the young officer had to say.:: Udas: =/\= Doctor Aralo, this is Lieutenant Udas. We need you to manually override the cargo bay controls and jettison the contents. =/\= ::Onil frowned for a moment, letting out a deep huff.:: Onil: =/\= Understood Lieutenant. Stand by. =/\= ::The Ktarian moved over towards wall panel and touched a few keys. Nothing happened. He tabbed through another screen and then another, attempting to manually override the controls of the door way again and again. The same error message scrolled across the screen every time.:: ::He slammed his fist angrily against the wall.:: ::Taking a deep breath, he looked around the corridor, for anything or anyone to assist. He was, as he had been for many months, alone. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. :: oO You have to do this, Aralo. You have to make amends. Oo ::He dropped to one knee and pulled off a wall panel underneath the controls. It was fairly standard for a three manual lever to be underneath the control panel as a fall back in case the doors wouldn't respond. He paused for a moment, suddenly realizing what was about to happen.:: ::In heavy breathes, he spoke into the comm system.:: Onil: =/\= Commander Faranster, Morely. The manual ::his breathing was labored:: manual override seems to have...failed. No other way to jettison...to jettison...the contents of the cargo bay except from...inside. ::there was a long pause:: I'm so sorry for everything. I...really really am. Morely, tell...my daughters.. Well, you know.... =/\= ::Feeling his fingers wrap around the cold, metal level, Aralo pulled with all his strength. Looking towards the doorway, he was relieved to see about a meter opening in the Cargo Bay doors. Just enough for him to squeeze in.:: ::Rising to his feet before he could think about it any longer, the pudgy man squeezed himself into the cargo bay and the energy fields.:: ((Deck 42, Cargo Bay 18, USS Constitution-) ::The feeling couldn't be described as painful. The energy immediately washed over him like a cool bath, immersing him, covering him. A million different thoughts and feelings, the feelings of people he'd never known, the feelings of those aboard the ship poured into him and through him. The energy was reacting to his presence.:: ::Blindly feeling his way along the wall, he found a control panel. Kneeling again, he removed the wall panel and reached into to find the lever. Finding it easily, he pulled it, watching the meter or so gap in the doors close behind him. He was sealed in.:: ::Moving through the energy, he felt overwhelmed. Everyone he had ever known, his daughters, both his ex-wives, his grandmother, and teachers from his days at university, random strangers, Commander Faranster and Morely, all of them were inside of his mind. All of them were watching him, silently.:: ::Stumbling, the energy becoming almost too much to bear, he found the opposite wall of the Cargo Bay and the manual jettison controls. Raising his fist above his head, he crashed his hand down, breaking the glass covering.:: ::A red button, marked ""ONLY USE IN EMERGENCIES" stared back at him.:: oO This is it, Aralo. No turning back. Oo ::A voice broke through the energy, a voice he had heard a thousand times.:: Voice: Papa, it's time. Come home. ::Onil smiled, tears being pulled from his eyes:: Onil: I'm coming, honey. ::With that, Aralo slammed his fist into the red button.:: ::He felt, only for an instant, the gravity of the Cargo Bay being pulled out from around him as the contents of the Cargo Bay were pulled into space. He too was floating, a suddenly weightlessness about him. He was spinning, spinning, spinning. His vision slowly fading to black. His eyes couldn't focus much, so he closed them. Everything went white, he lost all feeling. There was nothing any longer to Doctor Aralo Onil. Nothing except the voice of his daughter calling his name as he tumbled further and further away from the Constitution and closer and closer to home.:: TBC..... MSNPC Doctor Aralo OnilResearch, Sotra Orbital Research Station Simmed by Lieutenant Udas
  24. ((OOC by submitter: The main figures in this post are J'naii and the writers use gender neutral pronouns. For an overview and explanation of those used you can check Renos' Biography: http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php/Renos)) ((Chief Medical Officer’s Office)) ::The screen flickered onto a dark scene, with only the haunted face of an individual staring forlornly into the camera. Long shadows accentuated the obvious anguish on nir features, and ne took sharp, ragged breaths as if ne had just been chased. After a drawn out pause, where the individual appeared to steel nir nerves, ne started talking:: Nila: I don't know what else to do. I don't know where else to go. I don't even know if this plea will get me safety and relief, or if it will ensure my swift and decisive trip to the psychotectic chambers. And at this point, I'm not even sure it matters either way!:: ::Nir voice hitched in a sob, and it took several seconds for nem to regain composure. Finally, in a wavering tremolo, nir voice continued.:: Nila: It all came to a head yesterday. I was crossing the square's atrium on my way home from work, minding my own business, when somebody jostled me in the crowd. It was hard enough that I dropped my satchel, and a tube of lipstick rolled out and across the cobbles. ::Ne stopped, a pained, faraway look crossing nir face. It was obvious ne was reliving and replaying the event in nir mind.:: Nila: It rolled to a stop against a foot. Of course, it had to be a magistrate's foot! Just my luck! It was as if time had crawled to a stop. Ne stooped, ever so slowly, and gingerly grasped the tube between the tips of nir thumb and forefinger. Ne had held it distastefully as far away from nemself, and let nir incredulous, imperious gaze fall upon me. "Does this belong... to you?!":: ::The small J'naii screwed up nir face in pain, as a tear trickled down nir cheek. Nila shook nir head, as if by doing so ne could shake the acute images from nir memory.:: Nila: ::voice squeaking:: What could I do?? Of course I yelled out, "What are you talking about? I've never seen that before in my life!". I gathered my satchel and ran, ducking and weaving through the crowd. I could hear nem yelling, telling me to stop, but I got away... That one item of makeup cost me half a month's salary on the black market. ::bitter laugh:: Can you believe that even matters to me? I'm only a low-level clerk, so I don't have many credits to spare. My life, my identity is in danger, and still that pops into my mind unbidden. How many credits in contraband makeup did I flush down the reclamator when I got home? Does it even matter?! I don't know!! ::Heaving, gasping breaths as nir manic eyes bore ceaselessly, unseeing, into the camera. It took nearly half a minute this time for nem to start again.:: Nila: I'm told that there are those who can help. That you can help. If this even makes it to somebody useful. I took a huge leap of faith coming here today, all because someone told somebody, who told someone else, who told me that I can get out a message this way. If this is true, then please, I need your help. They all look at me like they know! My coworkers, my neighbors, even the people I pass on the street! They all know! And it's only ::shudder:: a matter of time... they're coming to get me... ::Ne looked rapidly from side to side, seemingly reacting to nothing.:: Nila: Did you hear that!? Is someone there?? ::back to the camera:: I don't know when I can attempt contact again. I'm so scared... This room is within two kilometers of the civic chamber, for goodness' sake! It was foolish for me to come here... ::The recording stopped, the screen going blank.:: :: Renos had squirmed uncomfortably the whole way through watching it and felt really quite distraught because it touched raw nerves or nir own. The fingers of nir right hand hand eneded up getting chewed at the other hand scratched at nir scalp and tagged at nir hair nervously. :: Renos: oO ::Despairingly:: How many more people have to suffer like this? Oo :: Ne had to put down the PADD and step away from it. Maybe the issue seemed magnified to nem because of nir personal experiences and involvement with a particular secretive group but this seemed to be frighteningly common. It was a video ne could just as easily name nemself back when ne was on J’naii because everything in it rang true. :: :: The way ne felt, the cost of expression and the danger it held, the fear of being caught. Ne knew exactly how this poor J’naii trapped on home world felt because ne had felt it before and ne felt it now in watching this and remembering what it was like. Ne felt fairly distressed about it all. :: :: Ne snatched up the red PADD and left the office wearing a stiff expression. Ne stomped down the corridor on autopilot and only when ne approached the turbo lift did ne realise ne needed to select a destination. :: :: Renos knew full well that in the silence and emptiness of nir quarters ne was likely to become increasingly upset as ne thought more and more about the poor anonymous J’naii. Ne knew ne needed to find a way to help. The chief medical officer was acutely aware that ne was only able to live this great life now because ne had received assistance some years ago. First ne was going to need to figure out who had sent this. :: :: For a split second the well-developed sense of paranoia, honed through years or living in fear resurfaced and ne considered that this might be a trap! Ne was a wanted criminal. Wanted for being, in the words of the government – unwell, mentally deficient, unevolved… deviant. Ne had seemed so genuine though…. :: Renos: oO That’s what they want, to sucker you in. Oo :: Ne selected the deck for the Mess Hall hoping that even if ne wasn’t up to eating the bustle would provide a distraction. This kind of message was always hard to take and ne knew that ne needed to calm down and think reasonably or ne would be no help to anyone. Ne was not prone to over emotional reactions on a normal day and ne hated to feel like this all over again. :: Renos: oO Don’t kid yourself that after all these years they still care to look. If I am lucky I am dead to them. Oo ((Mess Hall)) :: Renos realised ne had arrived in the Mess Hall firstly because of the increase in noise and then because ne tripped over someone’s foot and almost fell onto nir knees. While the yellow collared individual apologised for having had her foot stuck out ne wasn’t really listening or interested. It did bring nem out of nir own head for a moment though. Ne replicated a glass of water and went to sit down, preferring to stay away from the more crowded tables and popular areas such as the seating near the viewports. :: :: Most people were here to eat and had plates and bowls atop their trays but Renos didn’t care. Ne wore an expression of deep concern, hugged nir PADD with the left arm and sat staring at the glass, increasingly unaware of nir surroundings. Ne was deep in thought about how ne was going to get a message back to the J’naii and what ne could do to help. Ne almost wished ne was back home, if only because ne wanted to be able to comfort this J’naii in person and give nem a hug and a new lipstick. Ne absently rubbed nir lips together thinking about how easy these things were to come by for nem now. :: :: Every so often a louder noise nearby, like the irritating scraping of a really sharp knife over a plate, or a dropped spoon would catch nir attention and make nem look around and pay attention to the Mess Hall for a bit. Whenever ne thought about the video and the expression ne saw, the emotion in the voice it made nem have to blink back the tears as a wave of emotion hit him. How ne hated nir own people at times. :: --- Lt Cmdr Renos Chief Medical Officer USS Apollo-A and Nila simmed by Ensign Maxwell Traenor Science Officer USS Apollo-A
  25. (( Menthar Memories )) DELANO: Why come to me with this? :: The human on the other side of the table was leaning forward, his hands clasped in front of him. Andrew Davenport. Journalist and, apparently, troublemaker. Something about the man had made Evan suspicious of the man the moment he’d sat down at the table. :: :: At Davenport’s request, Evan had come in inconspicuous civilian clothing - a simple button up shirt and dark slacks - to conceal his Starfleet affiliation. Davenport himself wore a dark hooded shirt that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a few days. :: As the reporter talked, Evan watched for any tell that might betray a lie. :: DAVENPORT: Because you’re the closest thing to a cop I’m willing to trust right now. (lowering his voice) Someone tried to kill me - or have me killed - and I don’t think it was one of these Maquis Reborn. :: Evan looked the man over. He’d done a little digging into the journalist’s background before agreeing to meet with him. The man was not well-liked within Starfleet, and though he did have a following among some political ideologues on Earth, he was virtually unknown outside of the Sol system. In fact, Evan had learned, the man hadn’t so much as left the system in at least seven years. Until he abruptly decided to move to the frontier. He also happened to arrive on DSX the day before a terrorist organization had attacked the station. :: :: Andrew Davenport wasn’t just suspicious. It was clear he was hiding something. Something that Evan intended to know before this conversation was over. Whatever it was, Davenport seemed to think it was dangerous. :: DELANO: What’s wrong with Glinn Zorkal? :: The human looked surprised.:: DAVENPORT: Besides the fact that he’d probably arrest me as a suspected Maquis sympathizer? :: Evan narrowed his eyes. :: DELANO: What makes you think I won’t? DAVENPORT: Because you’re Vulcan. Or at least half-Vulcan. Zorkal seems like a good man, but he’s also the Cardassian chief of security on a station that just lost its Cardassian CO to a terrorist attack. A terrorist attack with Federation - and more importantly, anti-Cardassian roots. I think you’re more likely to be able to see past that and help me figure out what’s going on. :: Evan sighed and picked up his drink. He’d barely touched it. He liked black russians, but he wanted to keep his mind clear. A very large part of him wanted to simply get up and walk away from the table. Maybe send a message to Zorkal, or Calderan, or even Egan Manno. But he could see the logic in the journalist’s explanation. The Cardassian justice system was inconsistent at best. If higher ups were calling for arrests, Evan wasn’t sure he’d put his trust in a Cardassian security officer either. :: :: On the Starfleet side of things, Evan, a lieutenant, could be more discreet than a higher ranking officer like Calderan. Besides, if Davenport’s would-be assassin wasn’t part of the Maquis Reborn, there was a good chance he - or she - was a Federation citizen. Davenport’s background didn’t seem to account for enemies from other jurisdictions. :: :: Evan set his glass down without so much as a sip. :: DELANO: Alright. I can probably look into this. But I’ll still need to talk to Zorkal. :: Davenport looked like he wanted to object, but he held his tongue. That earned him a few points, Evan thought. :: DELANO: I don’t know if the captain will go for it, but I may be able to get you quarters on Garuda. That would put you in our jurisdiction and give me at least some legal authority to start poking around. :: Davenport nodded and remained quiet for a moment. He looked around the bar, then returned his focus to Evan. :: DAVENPORT: I always hated space travel. :: Evan raised an eyebrow. :: DELANO: You’ve come an awfully long way, then. :: The journalist shrugged and downed the last of his own drink. Something orange and with a vague floral scent. He thought it might be Risian, but Evan couldn’t identify it with any certainty. :: DAVENPORT: I have a good reason. I was… I thought it would make for a good story, but after this… :: The human averted his eyes and focused on the single ice cube at the bottom of his glass. :: DELANO: (harshly) I’m through with vagueries, Mr. Davenport. If you want my help, you need to tell me what this is about. Why would someone want you dead? :: Davenport swallowed, once, then looked him in the eye. :: DAVENPORT: (voice low) How closely do you follow Council politics? :: Council? As in the Federation Council? What the hell was this about? :: DELANO: I vote. I read up on the candidates when I do. That’s about it. DAVENPORT: Did you know that they heavily influenced the decision to share this station with the Cardassians? DELANO: And? DAVENPORT: None of that debate was public. I only know about it because… (break) Ugh, that’s not important. Don’t you think it’s a little strange that the Federation Council is making backroom deals with the Cardassian government? DELANO: Not really. We’ve been working with them for decades. Ever since the war, really. DAVENPORT: Exactly! But that cooperation has always been transparent and open. Why keep it behind closed doors now? Why not tell the Starfleet officers in the region until the deal was done? :: Egan Manno had asked him about this very thing while he’d still been Garuda’s Strategic Operations head. He’d never managed to find her a good answer. :: DELANO: I still don’t understand what you’re getting at. :: Davenport leaned even closer. Deep brown eyes locked on his. :: DAVENPORT: Something big - something very big - is about to happen between the Federation and the Cardassian governments. Something that a lot of people aren’t going to like. Something that could even lead to things like… say the rebirth of an anti-Cardassian terrorist group. :: Evan immediately thought of the sabotage he’d found in Ambassador Prianna’s shuttle during Garuda’s encounter with the Kubarey. Of the strange rumblings out of Zeta Equulei regarding the end of the Myr Luuk/Community conflict. Harrison Ross’ not-quite-explained treason. Could there be a common thread? :: :: Now it was Evan’s turn to whisper. :: DELANO: Are you saying that factions within the Federation are actively conspiring against the Council? :: The reporter’s eyes lit up and a mirthless smile curled his lip. :: DAVENPORT: I don’t know for sure, but I can see it in your eyes. It would explain a lot of what’s been going on around here, wouldn’t it? DELANO: Yes, but… :: For centuries now, the Federation believed itself to have moved beyond this kind of petty politics. Yes, the occasional official was removed from office for scandals, but this was way beyond that. It bordered on sedition. The memory of the Dominion War was still fresh for many of its survivors. Yes, the Cardassians had ultimately paid a heavy price for their role in escalating to war, but there were those who had called for greater reparations. Sanctions. Some had even advocated for the complete annexation of Cardassian space. A few of those people were still sitting members of the Council. :: DAVENPORT: You understand, right? The Council is sitting on an old fashioned powder keg. They’ve started the ball rolling towards… something. Only now they’ve realized that some of us - Cardassian and Federation - aren’t ready. So both governments are trying to find a way to resolve this without having it blow up in their faces. DELANO: And you think someone would kill you to keep you from… what, telling others what you know? :: The reporter shook his head. :: DAVENPORT: Probably not for that. But… I know I seem suspicious, and when tensions are high, it isn’t hard to force a connection between one suspicion and another. Maybe some Cardassian gul thought I was an agent for the Council - some kind of shadow representative, perhaps. Maybe some other government caught wind of the deal and is trying to stop it. Who knows. That’s what I need you to find out. DELANO: And what’s in it for you? :: Davenport shrugged, finally leaning back and folding his arms across his chest. :: DAVENPORT: It’ll still make one hell of a story when it’s all over. :: Evan resisted the urge to roll his eyes.:: DELANO: Unless someone kills you first. :: The journalist’s expression quickly soured as Evan stood up to leave. :: DELANO: Don’t worry, I’m not going to let that happen. If I can help it, anyway. I suggest you return to your quarters until I have a chance to talk to the captain about bringing you on board. DAVENPORT: And what should I do in the meantime? :: Now it was Evan’s turn to smile. :: DELANO: Write. Or whatever it is you normally do. You just witnessed the rebirth of one of the most infamous terrorist organizations in the history of the quadrant. Isn’t that enough to keep you busy for a few days? :: The other man nodded, though he seemed reluctant. :: DAVENPORT: You're right, I suppose. :: The reporter sighed and started getting to his feet. :: DAVENPORT: Lieutenant, I really appreciate you helping me out with this., DELANO: Don’t thank me yet. Something tells me this is going to get a lot messier before we're done. === Lieutenant Evan Delano Chief of Security/Tactical USS Garuda Andrew Davenport Freelance Journalist
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